The Court Jester.

"Those who try to tangle with my derring-do, wind up at the angle that herring do. They hold their heads like very dead herring do."

I love that movie.

PBS Saturday and Sunday afternoons, spent watching black and white movies. The Court Jester. Ivanhoe.

And we knew when pledge week was on, because Anne of Green Gables would play. And Sherlock Holmes would be on Mystery! For some reason, we never really got into any of the other episodes...

Oh! We'd watch Dr. Who on Saturdays, right before church. We couldn't leave until we'd finished, and then we'd rush screaming out the door...
O Mi-Mi Tee!

We put up our little Christmas tree on Friday. I love Target. In a world of ritzy glass tree ornaments, they had shiny, tinted, plastic snowflakes and ball ornaments on sale, so we could decorate the tree together and leave it where Ray could touch it and not get yelled at (too much).

We had some discussion about not putting the lights in our mouths, but after the tears dried on that one, it's been a pretty good deal. Ray's even practicing her colors. "Pink" still comes out as either "green" or "pig oink-oink," but she's working on it.



Don't take a nap just before sunset, no matter how full and lazy you are. You'll be so disoriented when you wake up.

Bleah. And your mouth tastes funny.

I know a good cure for nap-overs, though.


You don't know nap-overs? Rachael and I know nap-overs. There are times when we wake up from naps and just whine at each other. Until you get some chocolate in the system, life is no good.



Not a major epiphany. Not enlightenment.

But a victory!

Making dense cheesecase, you don't really need a full crust to hold everything together--you just need some way of easing the thing out of the pan.

So: Brush the pan with melted butter. Scatter graham cracker crumbs on the butter, about 3-4 Tbs. or so, and shake loose anything that doesn't stick.

Pour in your cheesecake batter, bake as normal.

You can barely tell the crumbs are there. Tra la! No more sticky cheesecake!


Book Reviews. Summer of the Dragon, Elizabeth Peters, Monstrous Regiment, Terry Pratchett

Elizabeth Peters is a mystery writer. She writes "perfect" novels--beginning, middle, end, all items neatly resolved at the end of the last page. The world extends just as far as the front and back covers.

So, as far as it went, Summer of the Dragon was good. Perfection isn't bad.

Oy, give me Agatha Christie, who tucks in little things that you may or may not notice, let alone figure out. Give me Sherlock Holmes. Even give me Janet Evanovich, almost as perfect, but not quite.

Maybe I was just annoyed because the main character's first name was Deanna, and she hated it so much she went by DJ. Thbbbbt.


After I put down Monstrous Regiment, I didn't care for it. I'd though it was about one thing (sexism), and the ending seemed cheesy because of it. Then I though about it. It isn't about sexism; it's about doing what you're going to do. Sexism was just a vehicle for it. I'm rereading it, and I like it much, much better now.

Knowing the ending makes each line echo. Bittersweet.


Ray's first complete sentence.

I want chocolate!

The first draft of The Gods of Grey Hill is done.

Done! Done! I tell you, Done!

Now I have 67 pages to type in :)


I feel sad. I went to a coffee shop to drink chai and write the last few pages and I cried on the way home.

It's done. It was wonderful to write, to really live there, and now it's done.


Ray Updates.

Damn. She's getting so tall.

We have good days and bad days, which seem to follow a correlation with my patience level. What's the word? Heterodyne?

Yeah, that's the word.

We're definitely already two women living in the same house, which means, yes, that we have to hold hands going to the bathroom (which never made sense before, but there you go). And other things. If you've ever lived in a house with more than one female, you know what I mean.

Insight of the millenium: destructive tendencies can be a way of expressing intelligence, curiosity. Guided destruction (i.e., experimenting) is one of the most useful ways to entertain a toddler.

Insight of the next five minutes: food coloring, used in moderation, can repair many problem days.

Insight of the next five minutes after that: it's good to wash the grapes. After you wash the grapes, it's good to squash the grapes.

I tried to take her for a haircut on Sunday. The first place didn't open until eleven (we were there at ten thirty--I figured that anything that was going to be open on a Sunday would be open by then, but no) and the second place was being remodled. I took it as a sign and took her to the zoo instead. Nobody commented on the fact that she has to tilt her head up to see anything over two feet off the ground.

Oh, well.
Neener neener neener.

I found the perfect Christmas present for my folks and siblings.

And I'm not going to tell them what it is!
Thank you.

Lee's mom (in South Dakota) sent me a jar of chokecherry jelly.

Thank you.

I haven't opened it yet; I swore to myself I'd finish the open jar of jelly in the fridge (blackberry) before I did. Sure enough, every time I look at it, I think, "I could be having chokecherry jelly instead."

Yeah. It's still in there.
Working. Almost done with Saturday. Scary.

As it turns out, things fit together better than I would have predicted. Do you know how scary that is? The story put itself together out of random items that I didn't originally include in the plot, but suggested themselves.

It's like watching a movie in someone else's mind.

Well, maybe I've overstresed the terror factor. I'm pleased with the way it's going; don't get me wrong.

End of the month. End of the month.
Cracked me up.

Now, maybe this is just too obscure, but I thought it ought to be immortalized in more than one place:

Quote from Randy Timmer, in a comment of ***Dave's blog (you'll just have to read the full entry to get the context):

"If you sign up to be the main attraction in a geek show you deserve whatever happens to you."


Lee Quote:

"Sometimes you you have to switch the gerbil over to decaf."

--On having waaaaay too many 'brilliant' ideas.


Clone Wars. The Clone Wars Micro-Series is online at Cartoon Network here.

Psycho-logical test.

My brother Matt sent me this:

This is an authentic psychological test:

It is a story about a girl--While at the funeral of her mother, she met a
man whom she did not know. She thought he was amazing, her dream guy, and
she fell in love with him but never asked for his number and could not find
him after the funeral. A few days later the girl killed her sister.

Question: What is her motive in killing her sister?

(To be continued in comments.)



Taking showers is supposed to be good for having ideas because, according to whatever source Doyce heard it from, ios are released into the air, exciting your brain.

Neat idea, but sleeping in always works better for me...I lay in bed (I'm always the first one up) and wait for everyone else to wake up...things come to me then. Showers are for things that you forgot to do the other day, or last-minute inspirations. Sleeping in is for longer things.
Spirited Away.

Lee dug this out the other day for Ray.

The first time she watched it, he said, he kept having to rescue her. Yubaba would come on, or Haku would get hurt, and that would be it.

But she kept insisting on watching it.

She sat snuggled in my arms the whole time a couple of days ago, and we sang to the song at the end while she "played" the lyre on my arm.
...has been survived.

I managed to get all the errands done in the afternoon with time still for Ray and me to take a shower. It's difficult to convince her to get out of there before the water turns cold, but I did it. And even then there was time to do some yoga, so I didn't kill anyone or end up spraining something while dragging Ray around.

We waited. And waited.

The other little girl didn't show up. Phone constantly busy--ah, dialup.

Six thirty. I put a dish of candy outside the front door, buttoned Ray up, and heard voices outside the door. Kids. Big ones, about fifteen-sixteen. As I opened the door, one of them was stuffing the dish--the entire dish--into a bag large enough to hold an adult body of average height and weight.

"She's standing right here," one of the other said. "You better put that back."

F------ kids. I bet these are the same ones that keep knocking the rocks off the retaining wall.

Anyway, left another bowlful of candy outside the door, got out of the house, vroom vroom, and drove down the road to the mall.

By the time we got there, most of the candy was gone.

No, this was a good thing. Even though they were finishing up, we still had to wait a couple of minutes just to walk around a corner. So many kids! Ray didn't take trick or treating well until I convinced her that the plastic pumpkin filled with candy was hers, and she could put the candy into it instead of holding it all in one sweaty little fist and staring painfully at people when they offered her candy, because she'd run out of hands. She even let me hold the candy while she talked to Scooby Doo.

Nobody else had such a cute little elephant. A zombie dressed in blood, wig, bustier, transparant skirt, and g-string, pushing a stroller with a baby dressed as a duck, gushed: Oh izzu a ne'ffant den?

We wandered the mall and everyone else went to happier hunting grounds, places with more candy and fewer trick or treaters. It was fun. I don't know when the transition was made, but Ray's more fun to take windowshopping now. I don't know...she seems to understand that we're just looking at stuff, possibly poking it or cooing at it here and there. I don't have to carry her the whole way, and she'll hold my hand whenever there are just too many people.

We left about eight thirty, came home, rescued the empty candy bowl (which had not been stolen), listened to phone messages: the weather outside town had been so bad that the other girl's mom had turned around halfway out, stopped at the store for candy, and had gone home. As it turns out, the age of two may be the last time before post-adolescence that it's possible to do this without a screaming fit. --Well, you're at risk for screaming fits at any moment with a two year-old, but there you go.

We picked up Lee from work early, but Ray fell asleep in the car, so I lay her down, still dressed in her elephant suit (but without the hat, so no ears or trunk). Zonkzilla, as Lee likes to say.

And that was Halloween.


I remember my father driving us around in a blizzard to go trick or treating out in the country one year. At best, we'd hit about nine or ten places: I think we made it three that year, and shouldn't have gone to any, but dad was too stubborn to take us back before then (or unwilling to face the consequences of two kids with loooooong faces).

Lee laughs when I tell him about it, and says, "I always knew I liked your dad. He knows his priorities."