Okay, so I was named in this Thanksgiving meme by Amy Bai over at PurplePatch, about the 10 Things I Am Thankful For. Yeah, yeah, I realize I’m a wee bit late, but just go with it, okay? We’ll pretend it’s still timely. Anyway, every even numbered item has to be related to writing, and the rest can be about other stuff. Like mounted heads.

And we’re off!

1. I’m thankful this is my blog and nobody can give me smack for not doing this meme on time. My blog, my timeline. Yay!

2. I’m thankful for the awesome 10 inch laptop hubs bought me for X-Mas last year. It’s super light, which is a must, since I cart around about a billion pounds of paper in the same bag, and oh-so-cute. Although, its cuteness factor actually gets in the way of writing sometimes—people often interrupt me mid-thought to ask me ridiculous questions. Like, “Does that really work?” (um, no—this is just my new mime routine) or “Wow—can you SEE that screen?” (of course not—computers with actual visuals are passé). Maybe I need to knit a disguise for it—like, a little computer sweater. That way, they’ll think I’m nuts and leave me alone.

3. I’m thankful my house hasn’t burned down, flooded, or otherwise imploded while hubs has been on kid duty lately. If you’re familiar with my family life, you’ll understand.

4. I’m thankful for my amazing writing peeps on AW—both my Purgies and my OPWFTers. There’s no way I could undergo this crazy writing process without you—at least, not and preserve my sanity. No, the latter part of my statement is not up for debate. Oh, and I’m especially thankful for freaky Krampus Kringle making an appearance in the forums last night—because it means somebody’s sense of humor is more warped than mine.

5. I’m thankful for my wonderful family—the kidlets, the hubs, and yes, even the doggage–although there are times I think the small demented Rottie might look good mounted over my fireplace. In fact, there are times when I think hubs and the kids might look good there, too. But that’s only like 5% of the time—okay, 6%. Which means I don’t think about how peaceful the house would be if they were stuffed and mounted like, 94% of the time—and I consider that a major victory. And no–my sanity, still not up for discussion.

6. I’m thankful for Boudin, the place where I go to write and terrorize the staff. Their caffeinated iced-tea has saved me from permanently imprinting my keyboard on my forehead on many occasions. I’m especially thankful for the baker there, who gives me free chocolate chip cookies.

7. I’m thankful for chocolate, without which the baker could not give me free cookies. We wouldn’t want to put a damper on her altruism. Or my expanding tushy.

8. I’m thankful for my laser printer, cranky and decrepit as it is. Even if the blasted thing does decide to take unscheduled breaks halfway through printing my manuscript—only to start over from the beginning.

9. I’m thankful for my AWESOME husband, who is more supportive of my writing than I could ever hope for. Also, I’m convinced there’s no other father alive who spends this much time with his kids and enjoys it so much. No, you may not have him—go find your own.

10. I’m thankful for all of the wonderful YA writers, agents, editors—everyone in the industry who makes those YA books come to life. Without you, there’d be no wonderful stories to read—and no dreams of publishing my own one day.

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Wii Wii Wii all the way home

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Nov 30, 2008 Under babies, family life, health, mommies, Uncategorized

Oh yeah.? There’s nothing like a baby on a time change to? put a little extra spring? in your step.? Or a little? extra baggage? under your eyes.? No, really–I enjoy waking up at 4:45 in the morning.? Almost as much as I enjoy cutting hound dog toenails.? It just hacks me off a? teensy weensy? bit that she goes back to sleep instantly, whereas I toss and turn, beat my pillow, and check the clock every five minutes in? some? sort of psychotic, sleep-deprived, delirium-induced ritual.? Hopefully this is not indicative of what to expect for the upcoming month.? Because there’s nothing worse than? a grumpy Santa.? Bah humbug, already.

So, I just had a birthday the day after Thanksgiving.? Which was actually quite nice, once we got past? the baby plane vomiting incident.? And no,? I did not turn 45, regardless of what the stinkin’ Wii fit says.? That has got to be the most masochistic birthday present ever.? I mean, I did ask for one, which demonstrates that? I’m obviously a glutton for punishment.? But seriously, to add 7 years to my actual age just because I can’t stand on one leg and balance without my foot looking like it’s having a seizure?? Totally unfair.? It’s not like the darn thing can actually see my wrinkles.? Or can it?? CAN IT?? And I fail to see what’s wrong with missing a measly eight gates on the downhill slalom game.? I mean, if they were all that important, they should really think about putting them closer together.? Like in a straight line.

I don’t know about you, but so far, I’m finding 38 to be a bit of an awkward age.? It’s too old for mini-skirts, yet too young for a mid-life crisis.? Maybe I could combine the two and have a mini? crisis.? Which is in the works if that baby keeps waking me up butt early.? How can I be expected to assume crazy? balancing poses? when I can barely keep my eyes open?? On second thought, maybe I should try closing them the next time I slalom–it could only be an improvement.

I guess I’ll give? the Wii fit another chance–’tis the season, after all.? But seriously–if I see “Wow, your wrinkles look way more pronounced this morning–Add five more years to your Wii age,” up on the screen, I’m getting out the jackhammer.

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I finally did my meme

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Nov 2, 2008 Under memes, mommies, random stuff

Wow, talk about procrastination.? I was tagged by Mary at Mimi All Me to do a meme back on the 8th of October, where apparently I share 6 things about myself that nobody knows.?

But I’m thinking—if I haven’t shared these things up to this point, then most likely? it’s stuff that’s better kept secret.? I mean, does anyone really want to know that I sometimes peel off my toenails and then forget to throw them away?? (And on that note–anyone know if Ridgebacks eat keratin?? Yum.)

So, what I thought I’d do is put about ten things out there–five actually true things, and five utterly fictitious pieces of crap.? And it will be up to you to decide which one is which.? So here we go.

1.? I’ve been known to? use Depends-style undergarments at night, because there are times when you are just too lazy to leave your bed.

2.? When I go to bars, I typically like to balance at least one beer bottle on my head.? Just because I can.

3.? I often run around our house naked, even though we have large picture windows in the front.

4.? I once got sent to the Principal’s office in grade school for hopping on the students desks and croaking “ribbit” when the teacher stepped out of the room.

5.? I scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the GRE.

6.? Tom Petty is my distant cousin.

7.? Most of my friends probably thought of me as the nerdy, studious type during college.

8.? ? I am considering homeschooling my son? during kindergarten.

9.? I often go for weeks without shaving my armpits.?

10.? I’ve strictly forbidden my husband to bring home the packages of cream-filled sandwich cookies, because I eat them all in one evening.

So, you decide which is true, and which is complete BS.? And maybe, just maybe, I’ll fill you in later on.? Of course, that’s providing I ever remember I did this in the first place.

Which leads me to—who’s supposed to be the ADHD one in this marriage again?? Because if it’s not me, I think it’s contagious.? Which is a scary prospect. I mean, there’s only room in this house for so many sets of dirty undies on our floors……And toenails, of course.

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Okay Kiddie Kandids—Kandid This!!

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Oct 15, 2008 Under babies, family life, mommies, Uncategorized

I can’t believe I’ve been so remiss as to neglect? posting? our? Kiddie Kandids? photos from my daughter’s first birthday.? First, I had my son and daughter pose together:

? Cute, huh?? Next, I had my daughter sit by herself for the “real” birthday shot:

?

?

?

What’s that you say?? You? can’t see anything?? Strange.? Well, actually, I suppose it could be because before we got any shots we could use, Finley? SOMERSAULTED OFF THE ELEVATED STAGE AND LANDED ON HER HEAD.? No, I’m not kidding.? It was seriously horrifying.? In fact, I’m pretty sure I gasped loud enough to be heard at the Babies R Us in San Francisco.

Apparently, the photographer must have been new, memory-impaired, or on crack, because instead of reciting the safety rules and having me sit right by my daughter the entire time TO PREVENT HER FROM BRAINING HERSELF ON THE FLOOR, she instead had me stand back behind? the camera? and make faces, so that my daughter would smile.? ? And don’t get me wrong–I’m all? about smiling baby photos.? Heck, smiling baby photos are the bomb–so long as? your baby doesn’t do? a header off the stage and land with a loud “splat” on the cheaply padded Kiddie Kandids bargain carpeting.

Having rarely been to Kiddie Kandids before, I guess I didn’t realize that kids actually might try to crawl off the platform.? Although, in retrospect–duh.? And I should have known to be cautious after the same photographer? kept attempting? to? perch my twelve month-old daughter on a completely uneven, unstable, and unsuitable? rock prop? lacking even? one iota of? back support.? ? I’m thinking she finally? realized it wouldn’t be safe after I uttered for the fifth time, “This isn’t safe.”? But? when the props were removed, I just went? along with? the photographer’s? directions, never? imagining that my poor little Fin-bucket would topple off the stage.

To make matters worse, they had their insurance company call me a few days later.? Not out of any genuine concern for my child, mind you, but rather just to get me to sign off on any store liability.? When I told them I really wasn’t interested in suing, but it would be nice if they offered to pay for Finley’s doctor’s appointment (to make sure she had no major brain damage) and chiro visit (her neck was totally out of alignment), the lady huffed and puffed and told me she didn’t think the policy covered any medical expenses.? Say what?? And when I said I probably wouldn’t sign anything right away, just to be on the safe side? (a personal family experience turned bad has left me cautious), she basically told me never fear, they wouldn’t need me to sign because her client probably wasn’t negligent anyway.? And I repeat–Say what?? Um, since when is the client not? negligent when they not only neglect to inform? the customer? of company safety policies, but also? violate those same policies?? Because after talking to a bunch of friends who frequent Kiddie Kandids, well, frequently, it becomes readily? apparent that there was? a flagrant lack of regular procedure during my visit.? Namely, that parents MUST be within an arm’s reach of their child, on the stage, at ALL times.?

Oh, and just to top off what was already an utterly miserable experience–the one photo they got of my daughter prior to the fall?? That I might have purchased?? Well, apparently, I’m not allowed to have it.? You see, silly me, I put her in a denim overall dress with nothing under it,? going for that? cute chubby baby look.? Little did I know that flashing a? minuscule bit of my baby girl’s? skin would be considered pornographic by Kiddie Kandids.? Not that they said that in so many words.? What they did say, however, was that infant girls are never allowed to expose their, eh-hem, “chest”, EVER.? As in, ever.? And little boys?? Only until they’re 9 months old.? And if that isn’t absolutely the most ludicrous thing I’ve heard in a very long time, I’ll eat my hound dog.? Well, maybe just the tip of her tail–with all the junk Fergie consumes on a daily basis, I can’t imagine she’d make a very tasty meal.

Needless to say, I think my Kiddie Kandids days are over.? Picture People, with your on the floor photos and hopefully less? moronic policies regarding exposed baby flesh, here I come!

So, how’s that for Kandid?

?

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Home sweet home and Fergie’s ribbons

Posted by houndrat on Friday Oct 3, 2008 Under dogs, family life, husbands, mommies, Ridgebacks

Okay, so things are FINALLY settling down to normal here after my 5 day stint at the Ridgeback National Specialty in Gettysburg, PA, which involved me leaving my almost one year-old and 4.5 year-old home alone with my cleanliness-challenged husband.? Although I have to say, I was completely shocked in a good way? when I arrived home and? our house was not only still standing, but actually didn’t resemble a recent bomb site on the inside.? And nary a broken glass to be seen.? Honestly, I’m left sort of wondering when the bulldozer came and how long it was here, but that’s okay.? I mean, I don’t really care what means achieved these ends, as long as? they don’t? involve me wading knee-high through daddy-was-home-alone-with-the-kids carnage.

At any rate, I’ll try to write some about my adventures this weekend, but for now, here’s a photo of me and the Ferganator in our hotel room, with all the awards she helped win.? As it turns out, Fergie apparently is good for something other than destroying random objects around the house.? Although saying she was? “good” at the show would probably be a bit of an overstatement—just ask my aunt.

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Just lock me in a padded cell.  Please. Because the enormity of my decision to leave? the kids with hubby? while attending the annual Ridgeback Specialty is starting to sink in.? And the deeper it sinks, the more obvious it becomes that I have utterly and completely lost my mind.

Any mother with even an ounce of sanity would spend her first kid-free days in over a year doing something relaxing. Like soaking in a spa while eating bon bons and getting a foot massage by a young Antonio Banderas doppelganger.  Or lounging on a squeezably soft yet tasteful comforter at the Four Seasons while ordering room service and reading trashy novels, only venturing out to float on a raft in the pool while sipping a strawberry margarita.? ? Or perhaps even sending the kids away so she could hole up in the house ALONE while eating Dulce de Leche Haagen Dazs and watching endless reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Veronica Mars.

But apparently all my sanity was sucked away into? the black hole of? motherhood long,? long ago.? Because instead of doing any of those things, I’ve chosen to squander my hard-earned freedom at a dog show.? Where the dogs will be pampered more than I.? This wonderful trip involves me flying on a red-eye (read, no sleep whatsoever) and arriving? at 6:00 a.m.–just in time to shower and throw on some show clothes so I can take the Ferganator into the ring.? Where instead of humiliating me with her naughty antics in front of just a few local Ridgeback folks, she’ll get to take on the whole nation.? Then, there’s the endless pottying of dogs, exercising of dogs, grooming of dogs (okay, so at least with Ridgebacks, the grooming part is? pretty brief–thank god I didn’t choose Samoyeds), before staying up late at the Top 20 event, followed all too quickly by the next show morning, where I will attempt to split myself in two so that I can show multiple dogs and puppies in stud dog and brood bitch.? Speaking of which, maybe I should just enter myself in the latter category.? Think I’d have a shot?? My kids are pretty cute, if lacking in ring demeanor.? Which basically is to say they’ll fit right in with the rest of the crew I show.

And then for the grand finale, I get to drag my kid-free butt out of bed at? 4:30 a.m. so I can have the supreme honor of driving 50 miles to the lure coursing field,? because nothing says relaxing like being? dragged willy-nilly across a dirty old field by four absolutely bunny-crazed Ridgebacks.? And of course, there’s the peaceful event of chasing the especially naughty ones down after the course is over.? To add to my vacation, I’m sure I’ll fall a few times, as well as almost pass out from the humidity.? Oh, and lets not forget that during this entire “vacation”, I’ll be pumping at least four times a day.

And then there’s the return home, where my house will surely look like a condemned property inhabited by one hundred transients and ten families of rats upon my arrival.

So, please, lock me up.? And make sure you do it before 7:37 p.m. Otherwise, save me a strawberry margarita? (or five) in Pennsylvania–I think I’m going to need them!

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Should I stay or should I go?

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Sep 17, 2008 Under dogs, family life, husbands, mommies, Ridgebacks, Uncategorized

Hold on everyone, because here comes Armageddon.

Well, maybe not for you.? But for me?? It may as well be.? Because next week I’m leaving for four days to attend the annual Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty in Pennsylvania.? Which means the hubby is staying behind.? With both kids.? In the house.? ALONE.

And while the idea of a four day kid-free vacation sounds like a little piece of heaven right about now (even though I’ll miss the little stinkers like crazy), the idea of returning to the shambles of what was once my fairly structured life is going to be something altogether less angelic.? Not to mention that I expect my house to be in shambles as well.? Literally.

It’s not that I don’t think hubby can handle taking care of the kids, dogs, house, shopping, chauffeuring, and all the accompanying chaos that makes up the life of a stay-at-home parent.? It’s just that I don’t think he can complete all those tasks without letting a few things slide along the way.? And I’m shuddering inside at the non-stop visuals my overactive imagination is so thoughtfully providing me.

I know, I shouldn’t sweat the few, minor little details. Like what they’ll be eating (for my son, whatever no-no’s he can coax out of daddy–which is to say, Oreos for breakfast and? Ho-Ho’s for dinner.? The baby will probably get her first taste of? Ho-Ho’s as well.? Okay, now I’m REALLY hyperventilating).? Or what they’ll be wearing (striped shirts with checkered shorts that have already been worn five days in a row.? In the mud.? And rain or shine, the baby will likely be naked).? What they’ll be doing (watching non-stop episodes of entirely inappropriate violent cartoons.? And possibly even my hubby’s favorite–zombie movies).? What they won’t be doing (managing to find the trash can or the diaper pail.? Or buying more toilet paper when they run out, and instead, resorting to hubby’s old sock method.? Gag).

I know.? I KNOW.? I shouldn’t? fret so much over my husband’s priorities.? Or lack thereof.? And just because last time I left him unattended with the kids this happened doesn’t mean anything quite so dramatic will happen again, right?? Especially given the fact that we’re down to only a single table in the entire house now. Statistically speaking, our odds of breaking the one remaining glass table have got to be pretty darn low.? Right?? RIGHT???? ? And as a plus, the Ferganator? will be in PA as well, leaving? only the marginally naughty, shoe-eating? Skye hound and the growling Pig dog.? ? Fergie alone is the equivalent of about eight GOOD dogs, so surely this has to be helpful.

Seriously, though, I’m okay leaving the kids with hubby.? He’s got to be one of the most involved fathers I know, and as a consequence, he is entirely secure in his ability to take care of the kids while I’m away.? And so am I.?

Really.? It’s the house I’m worried about.

But maybe I’m overreacting a little.? I mean, just because the house looked like this last time I left hubby to his own devices–WITHOUT THE KIDS–doesn’t mean it could get that? much worse? in just four days WITH the kids.? Right?? RIGHT???

Yeah.? Right.?

So, hypothetically speaking….is it too late to change my ticket?

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The Great Purge and Give-away

Posted by houndrat on Monday Jul 28, 2008 Under contest, family life, mommies, random stuff

The? great purge has finally arrived.? And it’s about time.

No, not that kind of purge–I enjoy my yummies entirely too much to sully their memory with the? flavor of? vomit.? Besides, we don’t clean our toilets enough for me to? chance? sticking my face inside ours on a daily basis.

No, I’m talking about a stuff purge.? As in, cleansing our home of the five zillion useless pieces of crap that clutter every square inch.?

Hubby and I have been vainly attempting to get organized for years.? And finally, it’s? dawned on us why even? the smallest drawer has thwarted our? most? Herculean efforts to? conquer it:

It’s all about the stuff.? Granted,? both hubby and myself? are utterly devoid of any organizational talents.? ? Not to mention, ? the thousands? of brain cells? we’ve sacrificed at? the altar of parenting haven’t helped our cause.? But,? really, people.? Surely? even the most organizationally-void? soul doesn’t clean their garage for an entire day, only to end up having it look like this:?

(And yes, the same totalled car? from over a year? ago is still in residence.? Talk to my husband, because I honestly don’t have an answer for you.? At least, not a coherent one.)

So, finally, after a stunning number of failures, we think we’ve excavated the? root of our issue.? See, it’s not just an organizational thing, it’s a stuff ? thing.? And we’ve got too much.? Stuff, that is.?

I know—for a couple with three and a half graduate degrees between us, it took long enough.? I mean, when your counters look like this, and your garage like this, you’d think anyone with an IQ over ten would have come to this conclusion years ago.? Let’s face it—even? the love child of Pamela Anderson and Dan Quayle? would have comprehended that there are simply not enough organizational devices? in the entire Northern hemisphere to encompass the vast amounts of junk taking refuge in our home.?

So, in a massively ginormous effort to both de-stressify and greenify our lives (hey, this is my blog, and thusly, I am granted the power of making up words as I see fit), we’ve decided to purge.? The plan?? Simple.? We sell some on craigslist, list some on freecycle, and give any leftovers? to charity.

Oh yeah, and I figured I could give some stuff away on my blog.? And here is the perfect place to start:

Yes, that is my closet.? Disgraceful, I know.? But just think—you can assist me in at long last determining the color? of the? carpet inside.? Assuming I actually have carpet in there.? And here’s how it works:

I’m going to be photographing various items I need gone and posting them here over the next month.? If you want that item, leave a comment.? At the end of a set period of time, which I’ll state in my post, I’ll randomly pick a winner and send them the item.? Oh, and feel free to leave a comment even if you don’t want the item–seriously, you won’t hurt my feelings.? Well, maybe just a little.? But I’ll get over it.? I mean, I am giving the item away after all, so logic dictates that I can’t be too attached.?

Then again, there are times when logic? is just? as elusive to me as the? plentitude of Pamela Anderson’s bosoms.

Anyway, I figure it’s a win-win-win situation here–I’m cleaning my house, you’re getting prizes, and we’re all recycling and saving the landfills.? And all joking aside—hubby and I are really serious about scaling down the material goods.

So, here’s the first item.? I honestly don’t think I ever bought this dress–is it possible my clothes are procreating in there?? ? Frankly,? it’s? just a wee bit too short for somebody getting ready to attend her 20- year high school reunion next month (yikes)!? The brand is Billabong, and it’s a size Medium, and never been worn (unless I wore it with the tag once, which, knowing me, is a distinct possibility.? Details are so not my thing).

And if you are one of those people who must see it on first, then here you go:

Love? it?? Need it?? Or absolutely detest it, but just want to get to know your mailman better?? Then leave me a comment.? You have until midnight Thursday.

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And my least favorite bodily fluid is…

Posted by houndrat on Monday Jul 21, 2008 Under babies, family life, mommies, Uncategorized

Everybody’s a fashion critic these days—even Finley.? ? And? here’s what she had to say about my Tar-jay bling bling sandals:

(In case you’re wondering—yes, that is a gi-normous pile of baby spit-up.? On my foot.)

So they’re obviously not Manolos.? But really, are they that bad??

Well, we obviously know Finley’s opinion.? Then again, just about anything can make her upchuck.? Even her own drool.? The real question here is—does it make me a bad mom to admit how high on the icky scale I rate massive amounts of baby yak?

And for the life of me, I can’t fathom how something so cute produces such a vast amount of yuck:

Stacey and Clinton, don’t get any fancy ideas!

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This morning was pirate dress-up day at preschool.? And water play day.? I suppose the two are compatible—after all, pirates did live on ships most of their lives.? Still, I felt a little strange having my son don striped pirate breeches over his blue and orange plaid bathing suit.? I mean, what would Stacey and Clinton think?

We picked up his friend on the way, which always makes for an interesting experience.? Here are just a few scintillating snippets of conversation? from the seemingly never-ending car ride (Note:? preschool is about two minutes from my house).

“Ahoy there, you scarfy dogs!”? (These being the? scurvy dogs’ more fashionable cousins, presumably.)

“Baby sister, quit being so full of happiness!”? (Ah, a budding Morrissey.)

“Go faster, mommy, go faster!”? (He won’t be allowed to drive until he’s thirty.)

“Yeah, Miss Debra, go fast!”? (Ditto his friend.)

Son:? “We’re going faster than a walking piece of nothing!”? (I wasn’t sure if I should take offense, or? if this was some sort of preschooler existentialism.? And how exactly does this relate to pirates?)

Friend:? “We’re going faster than poop plopping down from the sky!”? (Now, that’s an analogy I haven’t heard before, but I suppose plopping sky poop would be quite speedy.? ? Though I’m still not sure what any of this has to do with pirates.? Or Gordon Lightfoot, for that matter.)

Then of course, the inevitable round of “Quit touching me!”? “No, you QUIT touching ME!”? And so on, until my head? demanded? an IV of Extra Strength Tylenol.

You know, Wordless Thursday really has a nice ring to it……

And here’s the pirate swag my son created and brought home.? I’m? thinking less swashbuckler, and more, I dunno, Liberace meets Dead or Alive, maybe?? And the apple stickers are throwing me off a little.? ?

Unless? the? pirates ate them to fight off “scarfy”:

?

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