And yet more bragging. And I made dim sum and hotnsour soup. Neener neener. Both good, but somehow the sauce for the dim sum conflicts with the hot and sour soup, so not as pleasing as I'd hoped. Individually very good.
And submission: Doyce kindly directed me toward a contest at New Genre. Squeaking in just under the wire, I've sent in "Abominable," a horror story whose plot I shan't reveal. It makes me shiver every time I read through it. Mostly because some of the scenes are set in the Great Plains during the winter. And I retyped it while sitting in the basement. Brrr.

Thanks, Doyce!

See "Games" at Toasted Cheese. It wasn't supposed to be up until tomorrow, but I checked. It's there, there, thaaaaay-re!


Clean. Yesterday I cleaned the apartment. The good news is that the apartment is now clean. The bad news is that Lee couldn't find the set of keys with the housekeys on it, so I had to pop out a screen, get snagged on something, and shatter the glass as I tried to get unstuck. Thin glass. No injuries. I lie. I spent five hours cleaning, including chipping ice out of a freezer that wasn't defrosting fast enough for my taste. I woke up last night in more pain than I've ever felt since I went through labor, my hands swollen and sore enough to make me nearly vomit. Weird. I got up, nursed the baby, woke up Lee somehow, accepted pain meds from him, and went back to bed. It's hard to hold a pen today, but fine to type.

Turns out when you have a cruisin' bebe, you have little hanny prints from the base of the wall to waist height. So you end up washing some walls while you're waiting for the damn freezer.

I had to do it. I'm still pissed off about the way the former roomie chick left the place, still pissed about the glass. Ray found (and nearly ate) a BB yesterday (Lee caught her).

I went to drop off the key today, got all the way down there, checked for any leftover mail, and realized that we still hadn't found the key. This is De before nap.


Don't get me wrong.

The guys moved stuff today. I went to work.

"Are you sure? I can get the day off. I can watch Ray. I promise I won't get in the way..."


I get home. They want me to go take a nap with Ray while they unload all the stuff. Can I help?


Don't get me wrong. I have no love of moving stuff, and there's still a ton of work to do.

I get to do the, um, girly things. And since Joe's on a diet, he and Lee don't want to eat the same things.

Hamburgers for Lee; baked pork chop with sauteed onions and mushrooms (nonfat skillet spray. That's how), smoke seasoning (just a little, in place of a bacon wrap), and worchestshire sauce.

Joe says, "I don't want salad."

'Kay. I'm just wondering whether I should brine the chop first. Off to the store as soon as I get Ray cleaned up. They corralled her in a bedroom with a teething cracker. This could be ugly; I'm doing the "I used to clean houses for a living" move-out clean tomorrow.
Raspberry Milanos.

Some things are just too damn good for this world. American commercially shipped chocolate usually isn't one of them.

Oh, when Milanos go on sale...


Sorry. Hee hee!
Bluebroad (Snippet)

Attachments can be so difficult to sever -- unless one has, ah ha, a knife sharp enough to cut to the point. A heart-shaped scalpel. A straight razor to the affections.

Ah ha.

Brian had gone all to pieces when I'd confronted him about his behavior. No more cheating, no more lies, no more excuses. (What a relief -- I'd been running out of clever ones.) He denied, despite the overwhelming evidence, ever having opened the forbidden door downstairs. He made all sorts of unfounded accusations (perhaps not inaccurate, but that's not the point), blamed me for all the problems in our relationship (I kept too much hidden, he said. One room, I ask. Is a little privacy too much to ask?), and refused to listen to a word I said. He'd been hysterical. He'd said my laughter would drive him mad!

Ah ha.

He'd always been too curious about the locked room in the basement. He'd resorted to all sorts of tricks to get me to open the door. He'd threatened to leave me. He'd threatened to stay. He'd tried forcing me to open the door. He'd tried -- not forcing? -- withholding himself sexually to get me to open the door. He tried to pick the lock; he tried to batter the door itself down. He'd had to hire a locksmith, finally.

The room itself hadn't contained anything mysterious or of any particular horror except some old pop albums from the late seventies and early eighties and a dead Chia pet. There was a comfortable chair, a shelf of romance novels, a secret package of cigarettes and some air freshener, shelves full of junk and old craft projects, a velvet Elvis, and a box full of winter coats.

The painting was slashed off its backing, the albums smashed, the chair cushions shredded and the stuffing scattered, the old coats ripped open at the seams, the romance novels...well, let's just say that all the romance was gone.

"The money! Where is the money?" He'd grabbed me by the shoulders and shaken me; he'd hit me.

Fortunately the money, as with my other toys, was elsewhere.

Ah ha.

Finding nothing, his passions ebbing, he slapped me a final time, accused me of being the most banal and boring person on the face of the planet, and left. Then he came back. Then he left again. And back again. He waffled for weeks. I realized he'd never have the courage to leave me, so I helped him. It was my house, after all.

"I hope you don't need any more closure than this," I said. Then I threw his heart on the floor and walked all over it.

Ah ha.


Other, scarier types of fools, a Rumor.

Got this today from a chica at work:

hello my favorite people. take this for what you will.
a friend of a friend of mine was in a minimart up in washington during the weekend and was standing in line behind a man of middle eastern origin. he was $3 short for his purchase, so this lady passed him the money and went on about her business. he was waiting for her outside the store and told her "since you were so nice to me let me return the favor. Don't drink any pepsi products after the 25th." truth or hoax i don't know, but the police have been talking to her non stop.

Brr. I don't know what's up. Hopefully just a hoax.
Fools, a ramble.


As I grew up, I often only realized that my illusions had been shattered (melted? eroded? robbed blind?) by noticing that other people still have the same illusions. Pop music is good...Alternative music is good...franchise sequels are good...fast food is good...fashion is important...makeup will make you more attractive...pretending to be cool can actually make you cool...being smart is stupid...I'm the center of the universe...you know, little illusions like that.

Another illusion is gone: A fool is something special, something unique, something outrageous.

Hee hee hee hee hee...

Fools are funny. I've often played the fool, and I've often been laughed at. But taking foolishness seriously invests a fool with power, whereas laughing at a fool provides nothing but a good giggle.

Sarcasm isn't the same thing, and neither is cynicism: both sarcasm and cynicism contain too much seriousness. Mockery is a kind of obsession with foolishness, and it creeps into you and makes you a little bit like the thing you mock.

Sometimes laughter isn't enough. Some kinds of foolishness require seriousness -- the kinds of foolishness that cause pain and suffering. (You'd punish a child for hitting her playmate; you wouldn't put her down, mock her, or tell her that she'd never be anything but a bully.) Even then...a little laughter couldn't hurt.

I will suffer fools lightly.

The first time I laughed at a fool with an open heart...Thinking back...yes. When we drove past that anti-abortion march in front of Planned Parenthood and I burst out laughing. Had the window rolled down...what fools, packed in double rows on that busted-up sidewalk, so careful to stay off the grass, and so quiet that I'm sure they could hear me a block away. That was...a month ago?

It wasn't until today that I realized that that illusion was gone. I was reading the news and some commentary thereon. The fool of the day...was a fool! Who could believe it! What a fool! (On the other hand, most of the national-level republican party in the news deserves a good spanking. See pain and suffering reference.)

If I were a tarot card, I'd be a fool, and I'd just like to say that all these fools touting these minor asses as fools, well! Dress me in robes and a pointy hat and call me the pope. Some people have too much fun exaggerating on a slow news day and clearly should burn in hell.
Hm... So far, there have been two door-to-door kids selling things. No Mormons. Those cowards! Come to our door and get politely turned away just like everyone else!

Speaking of cowards, using school-age kids as fundraisers is inhumane. Ends, means. Means, ends. What a beautiful friendship.
Our cat has moved in. He sniffs, he circles, I just know he's going to be pooping somewhere.

He was a good kitty on the ride over, a bit freaked out, but there you go.


Closure. Damn it. I can't find that study about the different ways men and women deal with breakups. If you happen to know, pass it on, eh? The results, as I remember them, were that men rate breakups differently depending on who they did the leaving, and women found both kinds of breakups equally painful. Also, men were more likely than women to feel that there wasn't any closure if the woman did the leaving.

Anyway. Closure. We've moved into Joe's place, and the ex-roommate has moved to Denver. Technically, that means that the woman has done the leaving, I guess, because Joe's complaining about closure. She left some stuff -- a microwave and a few other things. I suggested he email her and tell her what she left behind and note that if she doesn't let him know what to do with it by a certain date, he'll do with it whatever he likes. But it started me thinking.

I have no problems with closure. When a relationship is done, I'd just as soon be the fuck away from it as soon as possible. Whatever I leave behind -- is gone. Books that I've loaned out, clothes, letters, gifts -- you can keep 'em. This doesn't mean that I've dealt with all the issues raised in the relationship. Oh, no. I drag them on and on. Self-doubt and other emotional scars are carried around for a long, long time. But -- I don't obsess over whether the relationship is truly over or not. I know. There's a moment -- sometimes almost a literal second of time -- that I can usually identify as being the point where I never want to see the other person again.

There have been exceptions. My first boyfriend is an incredibly sweet guy that got married to a friend of a friend, and I was happy to see him again -- I left because I knew I wasn't the kind of person that could be happy with incredible, untainted sweetness. And in the other direction, I had to see an ex-boyfriend for a long time after I'd (to put it bluntly) dumped him, because we were both living in the same group house, and that was a situation made of several moments, going from "don't want to date any more" to "it wasn't really me, was it? it was you" to "if I hate anyone, it's this guy."

The people I don't have closure with are the old crushes that didn't get a chance to get going in the first place. Now, they are the people that are going to hang around in the back of my mind for the rest of my life; they have a kind of mythical status up there with a couple of movie stars. The not-quite-real sex idols. Don't get me wrong. There isn't anybody that can't yank on my gonads like Lee when he has a twinkle in his eye. With half-real sex idols, it's all about what the mind imagines. With the love(r) of your life, it's what the mind imagines, what the heart delights in, and what the body just plain knows.
Note: The thing about the priests doesn't have to be real.


On the subject of snippits. I'm going to try to write more snippets again and stop worrying about the limitations I have when submitting them. Screw it. I was having too much fun with them to sell my soul over it.

Unfortunately, I've been sitting here for the last half-hour with a dozen ideas in my head, ones that aren't clicking...

"The best priests are the ones that don't want to leave the monastary, the ones that wander from parish to parish, town to town, never returning home until their fruitfulness is done: the cemetary in the grove of oak trees to the northwest, next to the field of sweet corn and east of the bees, had been the only idea of home some of them still held."

The quest for the Jewel of Delight, which, when found, brings nothing...

A retelling of Snow White in which the evil stepmother is just the evil mother...

"Adulthood is when you feel regret without intent. Adulthood comes early to some people. Lise's older sister grew up fast. You'd hear her every night, her mother calling her in Spanish to come in, or her abuelita telling her not to pick on Lise so much. "I'm sorry! Lo siento!" And she'd run off into the night, or leave little Lise crying and bruised on the ground."


Recent Events. We're moving.

Doyce was in town, and graciously helped us move books. Booooks. Booooooks. The shelves we have are already full, and God help me, I think there's a used book store across the street.

The house is big, an interesting backyard (terraced, begging for sod but going to get something more...interesting), needs paint inside and out. A room for a library, with a fireplace and a a patio door.


Two days ago, Ray started walking. Three steps, down, up, three steps, walking like a drunk for the rest of the day. Yesterday, seven steps. She doesn't do it when we're holding our hands out to her. A trip over to momma and poppa (that was an interesting typo a second ago...nevermind) requires more speed than she can achieve walking. No, it's that moment when you almost aren't looking that she does it.


And something from work. A few days ago, I arrived at work a little before 6:30 a.m. to find a red carpet rolled out, a row of management staff with party favors, and a mysterious cheering noise...Eh? In the lobby were doughnuts and coffee (Starbucks...I had a twinge of guilt, but I had two cups anyway. I try to stick with the local coffee places. A) Better. B) More character. C) Not Starbucks)(and good doughnuts, too. I have to find out where they were from: better than Krispy Kreme. My worship of Krispy Kreme is over...but I shan't dis them, because they once were a true love of mine). And posters. Posters. All over. I noticed it right away, because I remember giggling the first time I saw them, but I wasn't really conscious of it at first. Yesterday I suspected, but today I'm sure. The "Appreciation Day" posters all carry the logo of a shooting star. Cartoon star, pale yellow halo following it, darker golden halo surrounding/following that, brown halo the same, and finally, around and trailing the whole business, a blue halo. Yellow sparklies surrounding.

Dang things look like jelly dildos.

The perspectively correct base that makes it look something like a wobbly tube doesn't help.

...Ahhhh haaaaaaahhh. They really appreciate us, don't they?



Doyce posts at his website today that it's time to start submitting his writing.

All sorts of cliches apply. Putting your money where your mouth is. Separating the men from the boys. That thing about the eagles and the turkeys. Bake at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Here's to Doyce (I raise my virtual glass of Bushmill's), who'll open up his writing to the world at large, change from "someone who writes" to a writer (no matter how rejected, although my envy fears it won't be enough rejected to soothe my ego), and start thinking of what he does not only as a creator and editor, but also as a businessman.

Chocolate is bittersweet, too.

I'm proud of him, and I'm going to be after him about it if he just lets it drop.

Call it a warning.

Gone, gone, gone.

My brothers went back to South Dakota on Sunday.

We went to the Will Rogers Shrine to the Sun while they were here. Interesting. Very veritical. Very much way up the mountain.

The shrine is fronted by a pair of white marble Chinese temple dogs, each about four feet high, on granite pedestals. The shrine itself is built like a castle tower, square, slits for windows, multiple balconies. There's a chapel at the base of the shrine with the remains of the Penroses, one of the city's "founding couples" and the builders of the Broadmoor hotel and a lot of railroad track. Funders. Backers. World-travelers. Philanthropists. That sort of folk.

You know the type.

The interior of the shrine is partly covered with a mural depicting scenes from the life of Will Rogers, or so saith the information at the tourist stop at the bottom of the shrine. There were lots of railroads and, uh, g-strung Native Americans.

I spent a lot of time hanging onto Ray as if her life depended on it (huh) and daydreaming about windswept castles watching over valleys below...

I just figured out something today. The old apartment complex manager was fired recently for embezzling, right? Well, yesterday the new apartment manager (who goes by the nom de guerre "Bunny") dropped off a friendly little packet of papers, one from a single stack of papers that she carried and left at every single door.

One. They're shutting the water off on Thursday morning. No reason given, but I happen to know the city water inspectors are making the rounds. Two. They're doing bug inspections -- and they want everything out of all cupboards in the kitchen and bathroom. Kay. Whatever. Three. They want a copy of my door key, because they don't have one.

What the fuck?

Are all the door keys missing? Did the old apartment manager take off with them? If so, you better be replacing the locks, you dipshits. No? You're not replacing the locks?

Christ. The owners of the apartment complex are supposedly not pursuing legal action against the old apartment manager. I'm starting to think that it's because they're more afraid of exposing themselves in court than they are of getting sued.

Out of here.


Published! Word came in today that I'm going to be published in the September issue of Toasted Cheese. I will, of course, remind y'all on THE DAY. The story is the flash fiction piece, "Games."

The other good news is that my brothers are in town.

Ray took one look at the older (and now, shorter!) of the two, Matt, who'd buzzed his head a couple of days ago, and bawled. And bawled and bawled and bawled. And bawled. While her mother held her tightly and laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed. And laughed. Eventually Matt charmed her out of it.

Andy, sixteen, on the other hand was accepted immediately. He is Shaggy. No, I mean, he's Shaggy. I got used to the idea of the youngest son of my clean-cut father...well, being Shaggy after about half an hour.

They left here a little after ten, saying that they'd call when they got back from Mountain Biking, there being Mountains available in the area.

No news yet.


Ramble of the day.

I've been thinking about quests lately. I haven't read enough of Joseph Campbell's stuff, so let me know if I'm reinventing the wheel here. Two traits of a quest: motive for quest and object of quest, i.e., "to save the world" and "magic sword."

I'm trying to work out some realistic, modern quest motives and objects. I'm trying to stay out of the realms of fantasy, myth, or symbolism. I'm trying to think of real-world quests for real-world people. I ended up with a couple of pages of side tangent about modern day rites of passage that I'll type out later, but this is what started me off originally.

It's very hard to do. I can make up realistic-looking quests, with realistic-looking motives and objects (for example: You're trapped in the desert. You have a quest. Motive: survival (possibly even rescue of another, even more helpless party). Object: oasis, water bottle, cel phone (or whatever). The stuff of many a great adventure film, the realistic-looking quest.

But a realistic-looking quest isn't the same thing as a true quest that can happen in a real setting.

A couple of other traits about quests. The person that finishes the quest isn't the same person that started the quest. The motive of the quest represents the greatest need of the culture that the questor belongs to (if the questor rebels against his or her culture, it shows that the culture is repressive, unjust, etc., and needs a good ass-kicking to make it healthy). The object of the quest represents the set of values or traits that will best fulfil the need of the culture. Examples: In the Talisman, the questor's motive is to heal his mother. The quest object is the talisman, a representation of a planet. The greatest need of the culture, human sickness (of the soul?) can best be healed by paying more attention to the world in which we live. In The Lord of the Rings, the questor's motive is to prevent his culture's greatest enemy from destroying everything he loves from within. The quest object is the ring, which, as a reversal, the questor takes with him -- in order to destroy it. The greatest need of the culture is to get rid of a power it never should have adopted.

A realistic-looking quest doesn't do this. The person trapped out in the desert doesn't symbolize anything but people trapped out in the desert, and the oasis (etc.), doesn't symbolize anything but water. Oh, there are adventure stories that try very hard to do the same thing that quest stories do (Black Hawk Down -- quest motive becomes the protection of the wounded members of the party while getting the hell out of the city; the quest object is the downed helicopters. But what does it mean? The highest need of our society is to protect our own, and we can't do it? Behind Enemy Lines -- quest motive is to reach safety in the possession of the quest object, information about genocide. Does it mean that the biggest need of our society is justice in the face of opposing law and treaty?)

I want to find out if a real person, in Western society, can go on a true quest. Native Americans can--or could--go on quests--their quests could also be considered rites of passage. Western people in the middle ages could go on pilgrimages (a pilgrimage is a quest. The greatest need of their society was to honor and uphold their religious society, and they did so by overcoming great obstacles (the chaos of the roads, disease, poverty) in order to reach orthodox places and objects of worship). Practicioners of Buddhism have a built-in quest: reaching enlightenment or Nirvana. Islamic people can go on Jihad (with ugly results--and don't think I don't ask myself what that doesn't represent for their society).

The best quest-story I can come up with off the top of my head is "The Joy Luck Club." (The main character travels to her ancestral homeland in order to meet her family.) The greatest need for Western society -- or at least members descended from other societies that live in a Western society -- is to honor their cultural heritage. (There are other types of stories that identify society's needs and the means by which we should satisfy them, but I'm looking particularly for quest stories.)

So my idea right now is that there really aren't any good, standard quests for members of society in general. OK, everybody in America could stand to pay more attention to to their ethnic heritage, but for me that doesn't say anything about what I see as our society's greatest needs, or what society seems to see as its greatest needs. What I see as our society's greatest need is a sense of balance (or wisdom or maturity). It seems like everything's a conflict: people are idealistic or self-serving; they're liberal or conservative; they're capitalistic or socialistic; they're zealots or they're apathetic. Wisdom itself isn't valued; having an opinion is valued. I can come up with symbolic quests for this issue, but I have trouble coming up with realistic quests. I can come up with realistic stories for this issue, but I can't come up with quest stories.

And as for what society itself seems to value, it seems like my best idea so far is The Quest for the Golden Cel Phone, representative of money, connectivity, and technology.

What a hollow piece of crap. Well, it might make for good satire.



My brothers are driving out from South Dakota to come visit us. Upon hearing that we were moving, the older of the two said, "Great. This is just a plot to get us to help them move." When I told my mother, her reaction was, "Do you need stuff? The guys are driving out in the Explorer; they'll have room."


Well, they're big, strong, strapping (if somewhat whiny) young men, and no pianos are involved.

(I spent a couple of hours today packing and sorting. The hall closet (stuff it an' leave it) is done.)

Dale, my brother-in-law, called a couple of days ago. I don't know if everybody knows, because it's a shameful secret, but he's currenly working for AOL. He has two different possibilities lined up right now, one with a college and I forget what the other one is. He's had a girlfriend for the last month and a half. He intends to maybe come out to Colorado over Thanksgiving (he hasn't seen Ray yet). He's threatening to get in a menage-a-trois with his girlfriend and her best friend, and then send pictures for proof. (As the immortal Doyce said, "I'll believe it if the story ends, '...and then I fell off a balcony.'" Yep. That would be a Dale.)

We haven't heard anything from Mike in a while. Mike? Mike?

It's a brotherly time of year, you know.



Ever have that feeling when you can't write...ah, yes, writer's block. I feel blocked. I wish I knew what was back in here, building up. There's something.

Like a sneeze.

I'm starting to get twitchy.
Guest blogging by Ray.

-bvvvnb n cxzzaz k j6ytr, ms nem zxc ccq`t5we

(Now the keys are all spitty.)
Fingers crossed, pointed shoes not dropping...

Joe and his roomie have come to the point of irreconcilable differences. (Having decided that the differences are irreconcileable, Joe's started on the admirable work of getting over it. Most impressive.) The roomie is moving out.

Unless some other shoe drops and crushes the house (in a strange reversal of the Wizard of Oz), we're going to move in with Joe September first.

I'm sorry that things didn't work out between Joe and the roomie. I didn't like her from first sight, and my opinion of her dropped like a spaceship into a black hole, with no chance of a wormhole. She's a feminist* and ecologically concerned.** She's pregnant. She chainsmokes and throws the butts into the lawn.

But she might have changed. Especially around someone so different from her as Joe is. Aiii, but I doubt it.

Joe was so blissed out to make a friend of her.

*as if female sexist pig, rather than goddess-woman of strength.
**shops for groceries at natural foods stores, doesn't cook, eats fast food most of the time.


Neil Gaiman.

A neat little essay he wrote on his new children's book, Coraline, at Borders.

I've always been moody. Not as much as some, obviously; I don't have bipolar disorder or anything. No, just moody. Nothing to whine home about.

My musing of the day is that perhaps my mood swings are the reason I find Buddhism and Taoism so appealing. It's not that I don't want to have emotions, it's just that I feel better when my happiness is untarnished by depression. My favorite koan (if you haven't heard it yet) is the one about the bowl.

A young seeker of the truth travels to a far monastary, looking for enlightenment from the wisest monk in the monastary. He arrives late at night, is shown to a room, sleeps, wakes, dresses, and eats breakfast. He's so beside himself that he approaches the monk about joining the monastary still carrying his half-eaten bowl of rice. He prostrates himself at the monk's feet and humbly asks when he can begin his training. The monk says, "First, clean your bowl."

This is the one that sticks with me, the one I use at both ends of the spectrum. When I'm flying too high (too many projects going on at once, too many obligations, treating the people I love off-handedly), it helps; when I'm a bit low (like right now, to tell you the truth), it keeps me from going any lower. For some reason, it makes me laugh at myself.

Maybe because I spent so much of my childhood in fights with my brother Matt about the proper methodology of washing dishes. Any dishes thou leavest soaking overnight thou shalt do thyself, dickwad. And the time I spent washing dishes in college, giggling over some of the brilliant-but-disgusting creations and watching huges piles of jell-o get sucked down the rinse trough. And learning that there was only so much of a pit I could live with when I moved in with a gaggle of insane roommates (the kind of SCA people that make RPGamers look normal, eh?). And living with Lee, both of us of a similar degree of fastidiousness and laziness.

He's been a little bit down, too. You know, I couldn't tell you why.

Anyway, I just needed to blog.



Here are some things I want to remember:

She and the cat get along now. She'll sit beside the cat and pat him (not gently) until...well, pretty much until she gets so excited that she throws herself over backwards and lies there giggling to herself.

She tongue-kisses herself in the mirror whenever we put her on the edge of the bathroom sink.

She's an inch taller than a thirteen-month old baby she was playing with at the library. They peeked at each other through a hole in the books on the shelf. Ray kept fleeing to my leg every time the girl, Alyssa, came toward her, so Alyssa let Ray chase her around the circulation desk.

She squints when she smiles sometimes, just to be especially flirty and cute.

When you say, "Where's the kitty?" she'll look around for him, even crawl from room to room looking for him.

It's very rare, but sometimes she'll just suck her thumb and look like she's thinking hard about something.

She's not afraid of the vaccuum cleanner, but at least I've got her to where she won't chase the cord anymore.

Will sit contentedly in her highchair and eat biter biscuits. Still hates baby food. Loves ice cream and all types of bread.

Her babbles are starting to sound like someone speaking English backwards.

She likes to bang on things to see if they'll make noise.

She likes to rock the banana chairs -- I don't think she's pinched fingers or toes in them yet. She got ahold of the plastic lawn chair the other day, and banged it and shook it until she tipped it (and herself) over. She laughed and laughed.

She likes to play peek, hiding around corners. Today we played peek between the rungs of a chair -- it didn't seem to matter that she could always see me, it was just that we were behind something and peeking around it. I stuck my toes through the rungs and she squealed with laughter.

She just crawled over the cat, who lay there.

She's been taking 2-3 naps per day. For as much energy she has when she's awake, it's amazing that she sleeps that much.

Sometimes Lee will wake up with her sleeping beside him, because she can climb up onto the bed.

She still wakes up to nurse during the night.

I am so wrapped around her little finger.



The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster; Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling.

The Phantom Tollbooth.
I was first introduced to Norton Juster by my younger brother, Andy, who, when faced with the task of finding me a birthday present a couple of years ago, wandered aimlessly through the aisles of a bookstore until he found this. I recommend it for people who like, uh, bad puns. The Dot and the Line struck me as just exactly the kind of book that Mike Callahan would like. Perfect for me, anyway.

So I found out what else this guy has written. Hm. The Phantom Tollbooth. I've heard of that before...never read it...

(Love the Internet. Looked up the book, two minutes later had a transfer placed at the library so they'd move it to the branch six blocks away from my house.)

Well, I've read it now.

What's the word I'm looking for here? Pedantic? Didactic? Preachy? I can't recommend this book. There are other people out there who could, but I'm not one of them. I owe my loyalty to Lewis Carroll, the great genius of shooting down overly-instructive children's book, the worker of wonders for the sheer sake of wonders being worked. This is a book that instructs the young not to waste time, to slack off, to allow themselves to be misled by ignorance, to jump to conclusions, to...need I go on? Learning is good, wisdom is better. That's the message of this book. The time may come when I have to eat my words and say, "Without this book, Ray may have grown up to be a slattern and a sad case of wasted talent"; however, I'm not reading this book for her sake. And maybe this book comes as a giant flash of insight for some people. "Learning...good? Ignorance...bad?" I have to admit there are people that I'd like to bludgeon with this book.

But I was disappointed.

This book should be subtitled, "So You've Read 'The Man Who Was Thursday,' And Now You Want to Know What That Was All About." The Man Who Was Thursday and Orthodoxy were written about the same time, both in 1908. G.K. Chesterton wasn't accepted into the Roman Catholic Church until 1922 (just in case you were wondering). But I'm supposed to be reviewing a book, not...heck. I'm supposed to be doing whatever I want to. This is my blog, after all.

Anyway, I liked the book although I didn't find any of the arguements convincing enough to make me want to become a born-again Catholic. What I enjoyed was the enormous sense of joy that Chesterton seemed to have about life, and about religion. I can't say I agree with his arguements (outline what it is that belief is supposed to do, then knock off all other systems of belief for not fulfilling the definitions, leaving only an undefined Christianity behind), but I loved the additude. I think it'd be fun to have a college course combining Nietsche and Chesterton, but of course you'd have to have security guards at the door, lest the combatan--students kill each other over it.

Comments on the fourth Harry Potter....
I know, it's been out. I've read it already. But it just came out in paperback, see?

And it hit me: Ms. Rowling has to reinvent her style with every book in this frikkin' series for a different age level while still keeping things mostly readable for her youngest readers. Most JV fiction writers stick with one age.

The mind of an eleven-year-old isn't the same thing as the mind of a seventeen-year-old, you know. And that's her audience for the last HP book.

What a cool lady.
Life is Good.

You know life is good when your roommate's psycho minipoodle bites you on the hand, causing multiple puncture wounds and a loose flap of skin, but the dog's just a big softie, really, when it bit the roomie's sister, she didn't get rabies, after all, and you have to go to the doctor for a tetanus shot and the doctor has to report the dog, which, if it doesn't have papers about its shots, will be put down, and your roomie is an immature chain-smoking preggers pseudo-feminist (which means she gets to call people sexist pigs for spurious reasons but doesn't have to live up to any ideals or anything) who will blame you when her damn dog gets put down.

Because, after all, you're a guy.

I think less and less of this chick every day.

First, let me note that she isn't talking yet.

But Ray, at 9 1/2 months, has entered the world of language. She knows what a word means, and that word is "kitty."

She probably has a good idea about "no," too, but she won't admit it :)

I got her to search the house for the cat a couple of days ago. Kind of cruel, since Fafnir was outside, but there you go.


Joe's House.

Joe's place is a place of nevertheless. It should suck to be over at Joe's. It's not babyproofed. There are two non-disciplined dogs and a spoiled kid running around. The roomie situation is tense. The floor is covered with innumerable tidbits that Ray can't have. The backyard is tiered, with stone steps and sharp corners everywhere.

I had a great time. We grilled catfish and brats, ate mushmelon (well, not me), and played Trivial Pursuit far into the night--the closest game I've ever seen. I tied for second place with all six pieces. Much good jibberjabber that I won't repeat here. Many friendly insults. Having a yard must be bliss.
Doot Da Doo!

The new edition of Banshee Studios, Lughnasadh, is up and out! Doyce won the short story contest with "Vayland Rd."

And, of course, yours truly wrote a book review for Stories of Your Lives and Others, by Ted Chiang.

I haven't read anything else yet :)