seldnei: (converse who white)
(also on my WordPress blog)

So I have a husband. He's a good husband--he cooks! He vacuums! He's smart and cool and makes me laugh, and I think he's pretty cute. We've been together for 22 years, so basically my entire adult life I've been attached, in one way or another, to this particular goofball (who is currently sitting on the other end of the couch, buried in his laptop whilst "Bizarre Foods America" plays in the background).

They tell you, when you get married, that your spouse will always surprise you. And it's true, but as the years wear on those surprises become fewer ... then when they do happen, they're just ridiculously shocking.

The last time I completely shocked Scott, it was 2010 and I tried sushi (I am a notoriously picky eater, mostly because texture is a thing for me) and I liked it!

My most recent surprise, which has been ongoing for the past few years, is Scott's crafting ability.

(Okay, yeah, I hear "crafting" and I think felt and glitter and maybe poster paint. But that's not what I'm talking about. Bear with me.)

It's not his urge to make stuff that surprises me, because he's always had that. He's dabbled in writing, he worked in radio production for eleven years, he cooks, he's a creative person. That he wanted to make decorations for the boy's room and bottle cap magnets was not the shock. No, the shock came in that his stuff comes out looking really good.

Look, he can't manage to get his dirty clothes into the damn hamper even when it's two feet away from him. He only started remembering my correct birth date when we'd been together for seventeen of my birthdays. I love him, but I was somewhat skeptical about his patience and attention to detail.

Yeah, I was proven wrong. In fact, I now have five bottle cap magnets in my office at work, and people constantly ask me where I got them.

Anyway, all of this is to tell you about my Christmas present from 2010. (Because what's a blog post by Laura without some crazy amount of backstory as a lead-in? I am the Heinz Doofenschmirtz of blogging. Someday I'll tell you the woeful tale of my time spent as my family's lawn gnome ... no, actually, I won't, that's plagiarism and copyright infringement, and I like Phineas and Ferb.)

So! Christmas 2010! I was going through a serious steampunk phase (which I am not completely out of, nor will I ever be), and I'd made some noises about Things I Might Like Were I Able to Find Them.

I opened the box from Scott and got this:



]These are actually the ones he just ordered for himself, but they're the same basic thing.  (Wow, hello fingerprints!)
These are actually the ones he just ordered for himself, but they're the same basic thing. (Wow, hello fingerprints!)



They're generic welding goggles. I looked curiously at my husband, who said, "I'm going to steampunk them up for you."

Cue montage (for which I have no photos) of spray paint, brads, lots of internet searches, frantic phone calls to our costumer friend David for instructions, the use and/or discarding of said instructions, ordering things off the internet, swearing and slicing up of fingers with copper wire, and many, many detours into bottle cap magnet-making, laptop decorating, pin making, and other various and sundry projects that were not my steampunk goggles, after which there would be an explosion of progress on said goggles before the next detour project happened.

Three years later, this past Saturday, at the conclusion to one of those progress explosions, Scott emerged from my parents' garage with my goggles and told me to try them on.

(My favorite part of this process has been sitting in front of Scott while he measured my head for the strap. There's something very quiet and very intimate about it, like when he fastens my necklaces for me. Sigh. /end schmoop)

"How are they?" he asked after I tightened the strap and shook my head around a little.

"They're good," I said.

"Awesome. They're done."

Wait--what? Three years of work and he just ... handed them to me with no fanfare at all? This is the man who, after completing a chore I've asked him to do, has been known to enter the living room and triumphantly yell "BOOM, MOTHERFUCKERS!" Have aliens replaced my husband with a clone?!

I suppose the fanfare is up to me, then.

BOOM, Y'ALL--I HAVE GOGGLES!

They are seriously cool. Here, look:


From the front.  Check these bad boys out!
From the front. Check these bad boys out!




From the side (not pleased with this photo, but we do what we can with the iPhone camera)
From the side (not pleased with this photo, but we do what we can with the iPhone camera)



And here they are on me:


Selfie!  With goggles!
Selfie! With goggles!


(The idea is that I, the mad engineer, needed special goggles for my insane plan to take over the world using ... I dunno, dirigibles and an army of steam-powered hairless cats, so I cobbled these together out of stuff that was laying around my lair-slash-laboratory. I feel that alternate universe steampunk mad engineer me is very talented and her steam-powered hairless cats would be quite the sinister minions.)

Best Christmas present ever. Totally worth the wait.
seldnei: (converse who white)
Tangent Online put "The Drowned Man" on their 2013 Recommended Reading List.[1]

Also, Jenny Barber placed "The Drowned Man" on her list of recommended "funky stories" of 2013 (and I'm not sure I can tell you how tickled I am to have that story termed "funky"--I love that word).

So, yay, total strangers liked my work! (As you may know, this is basically my definition of success.)

There's a lot of good stuff on those lists, as well, so if you're looking for things to read ...


1 They currently have it listed as a short story (with a star! woot!), but I have let them know it falls under the "novelette" category.
seldnei: (converse who white)
(this is also over on the WP blog, just FYI)

So the reason I sort of fell off the blog over Christmas was that, about three days after I went on break [1] , I got sick.  I got nobody else sick, so I figure it was allergies, but still.  Tired, sore throat, gunk galore out my nasal cavities ... blech.  I managed to take the boy to the best-friend-in-law's Peter Pan [2], finish up all the Christmas shopping, and survive the holidays [3] ... but I was tired and living on Mucinex and Alka-Seltzer sinus.

I started feeling better the Saturday before I had to go back to work, though that gave me about four days.

Now, I had heard about Unfuck Your Habitat before, but I'd never really checked it out.  But earlier in the week, a friend had posted one of those "Things To Make Your Life Easier" memes on Facebook--you know, use nail polish on your keys so you know which is which, cord labels made out a bread ties--and once again, I saw vertical folding.  My dresser was a freaking disaster, I'd just gotten a bunch of new t-shirts and funky socks for Christmas, it was not looking promising ... so I'd thought, why not? There be photos below! )

I like the whole 'system,' thus far.  I dig the swearing--it's like cleaning a la Quentin Tarantino!--and the snarkiness of the blog, and I like feeling that it's something I can maybe maintain ('resetting' the house sounds so much more do-able than 'cleaning' every damn day, and I think it's making it easier on the husband, too).  I also like the 20/10s.  Because I sometimes feel overwhelmed and sort of defeated before I begin (like, when I look at the filing? Or the after-Xmas closet?), but this gives me a structure.

In the end, I'm hoping once the major unfucking is done, the resets will not take up a whole lot of time.  And when, inevitably in a house with an elementary-school-age child and a parent who works in a library, we all go down with the plague again and the house devolves into chaos and despair, I'll have the 20/10s and the app and the blog to fall back on.

We shall see how well it works.  So far so good.

Oh, and yes, I am totally doing paperless billing now.




[1] College library day job; I get Winter Break.

[2] David costumed it--steampunk Peter Pan!  Hook and the pirates basically stole the show, though Peter and Tiger Lily were excellent as well.  The boy loved it; it was a very late night for him, and he was desperately trying to stay awake through intermission, but he refused to fall asleep until he found out how it ended.

[3]  I hate the holidays.  I just do.  I spent a lot of my life trying to deny it, and I always ended up feeling like utter hell once they were over.  When I finally admitted it (in a hysterical monologue in the car to my husband about eleven years ago) and gave up on trying to enjoy them ... I started actually enjoying them a lot more.  I don't try to Scrooge on anyone else's enjoyment of them; I will not Grinch your holiday party.  I just want to peacefully hate getting out the decorations and ignore most of the specials on TV while debating whether a hockey stick or a cattle prod might be more effective in the damn store two days before Christmas.
seldnei: (Default)
So the boys are playing a video game. I sit down on the couch, and Z asks for a drink. Since all his drinks are in containers that are about half his size, I get up and head into the kitchen, where I promptly slam my foot into a cooler Scott someone has left in the middle of the floor.

I did not swear.

Instead I yelled, "OW!" and then went on, as I got the drink, "I just wounded myself in the pursuit of a drink for my child. Send that Best Mom In The World Award to me!"

Z. tells Scott to pause the game, then comes running into the kitchen (he's wearing his Heat Blast costume, too, by the way).

He stands behind me and yells, "Delivery!" When I turn, he throws his arms around me and gives me a hug.
seldnei: (Default)
Ladies and gentlemen, "Items Found In a Box Belonging to Jonas Connolly" came in FIRST in the Strange Horizons 2011 Readers' Poll!

(hang on, I have to do a happy dance ...)

I am so happy about this, let me tell you. Because I love this story. Maybe in five years I'll look at it and feel like it could be better or whatever, but right now? I look at it and am totally proud.

Also, the fact that I wrote it for [livejournal.com profile] sugarcoatedlie based off her wardrobe ideas adds to the whole thing for me. Tiffany rocks.

So if you voted for Trinity and Jonas et al, I thank you very, very much. It means a lot to me.
seldnei: (Default)
I meant to post this last week, actually.

Last Friday, Z. and I had a playdate with Miss B and Miss A. It was a good one--for a while there I deapaired of our ever having a good playdate; they're both good kids, but they're both only children and they're both three--at the Imaginarium. We've been there before, but they'd rearranged things somewhat, so it was exciting in that regard.

I had a free pass, from back when Erin was down and we'd taken her to the Imgainarium (it was a cloudy day, so we didn't hit the park). We'd stood in line at the gift shop while the woman at the counter set up a bunch of memberships; it took her a while, she was short-staffed, and we were chatting and Z. was bouncy but not obnoxious, and I don't think we even noticed we were waiting that long, but the lady was so grateful that we weren't annoyed or rude about the wait that she gave me a free pass for two adults and two kids.

Anyway, we used that, and let the kids run around like nuts. They played together and played apart. Z. was actually, I think, bugging A. on purpose--like, when your spouse/partner person gets in your way as you're doing something, or steals your seat on the couch when you get up to do something. A. was in the mini-block pit, making towers, and Z flopped down across it (he's tall!) and just proceeded to play his hand-held ring toss game with this little grin on his face that reminded me of his father.

So A. and I buried him in blocks.

B. and I got to chat while the kids played in the sandbox (they dumped sand in each others' hair; it was cute but we had to get after them about it), which was nice because lately a lot of our playdates are at really loud places where you can't just talk.

We fed fish, ran around, did science experiments, looked at rays, saw a godawful depressing (and also just godawful) 3-D movie about extinction, and finally went to the animal show.

We've done the animal show before, Z. and I. He is an expert at the two-fingered petting technique they ask you to use to touch the snakes and alligators. Z. has touched snakes and alligators--they usually do a volunteer section to the show where a couple kids get to go up and handle the animals, and then at the end everyone can file by and touch one critter.

Today the audience for the show included a group of kids on a field trip. They were on a schedule, so the lady running the show stopped it a little early and went out with the alligator so the kids could touch him on their way out. But she asked the rest of us to stay so our kids could have a chance.

Well, once the field trip cleared out there were about seven kids left, so the lady just had any of them who wanted to come up to the front. So Z. got to wear a ball python on his shoulders and hold a tarantula.

The python, he said, felt like a cardboard box. The tarantula (named Mrs. Fuzzy Feet) did, in fact, have fuzzy feet.

I went up with him and just held his hands while he tried on the snake, and then put my hands under his so that if he flinched from the spider he wouldn't drop it. But he didn't flinch at all. He was awesome, and just carefully held and looked at it.




After ward we stopped by the station to see Scott. We took the elevator upstairs and exited into the upper lobby area, where these guys were sitting. Z. and I were babbling on about puffer fish (a new addition to the Imaginarium) and Mrs. Fuzzy Feet, and the guys smiled like you do when you see a babbling kid. Scott asked if they were being helped, they said yes, we went on in.

Found out later? Those guys were 2 Live Crew.

2 Live Crew smiled at my kid because he was cute.

Dude!
seldnei: (Default)
Took the boy to the monthly Art Walk.

Dinner beforehand was annoying on a number of levels, since the restaurant was ungodly slow and we wound up with about an hour to actually go look at stuff.

BUT.

Well, wait. An aside. Scott and I actually like to go to those city art shows that primarily consist (down here, anyway) of paintings of herons, beach sunsets, and hibiscus blossoms in extreme close-up a la Georgia O'Keefe. We like this because, tucked in here and there, you find people who do funky sculpture, or bizarre photo montage, or steampunky paintings of circus performers made from gears (except that was a few years before anyone heard of steampunk), or people who make beautiful wooden toys with signs that say "DO NOT BUY THE TOYS IF YOU DO NOT PLAN TO PLAY WITH THEM."

We like art. Scott responds to the visual quite a lot for someone who works so much with the auditory.

So it's important to us that the Zweeble be exposed to art. All kinds of art, really, but we've got music and books down, I think, so when a friend's SO was having his first exhibition, I said we'd all three be there.

(I sort of figured we'd take turns going inside while the other parent kept the kid entertained, really. That's what we did through our long-ass dinner.)

Okay, back to:

BUT.

The Zweeble, when told about the Art Walk, was intrigued. "I wonder what the artists will color?" he said.

At the exhibit, he looked and discussed and described. The name of the show was Leviathan Rising, and it was a lot of metalwork sculpture--tentacles, squid-esque stuff, some sketches. It looked really cool (and heavy. Holy cats, one of the pieces on the wall weighed 300 lbs. My house would collapse if I hung it). Z. said we were looking at "hair monsters." He dug it. He also found the monster toys they had round the back of the gallery, and we got him one that he named "El Button-o," much to the gallery owners' delight.*

We then hit the Howl Gallery/Tattoo, which I knew as soon as I saw it would be the place to take my husband. Pop culture! Comics! Funky art, not all comics-related! Huge wooden statues of a man and a dog! Life-sized statue of Yoda looking bad-ass! Tiny little Asian figures that Z. fell in love with and had to have one of! (Ant-Zilla is now El Button-o's buddy. I am a pushover.)

And, again, Z. looked at the art and checked it out, and talked about it. Yoda made the biggest impression; the dog and then man came next.

He talked about the art on the way home. Mostly it seemed to be something he needed to create stories about, maybe to explain it, or maybe not. But he really liked it, and he wants to go again. And it makes me really happy.

I want him to have the concept of the working artist. I want him to know that you can create things no matter who you are or what else you may do--that art is not exclusively for Picasso or Rembrandt; I don't want it to be, for him, something that other people do, or that you can only do in a large city, or that you can only do if you're rich. Or dead. :)

Basically, I want him to know that there are levels of success in art, and that it is available to him if he wants it. And if he doesn't want to make art, I want him to enjoy seeing it.

So I think that last night was a good start. Ant-Zilla agrees. :)



*I was a little worried that a three year old at the Art Walk, and in the gallieries, would result in a lot of hipster scorn. But it was cold and he was wearing his Spider-Man knit hat, which--combined with his Darth Vader Lives skate punk shirt and glow in the dark shoes--got him a lot of comments from the other patrons. It restored my faith in hipster-dom. :) of course, he was very well-behaved (long nap), so that helped, too.
seldnei: (Default)
My short story, "Items Found In a Box Belonging to Jonas Connolly, Upon His Death," will be appearing at Strange Horizons sometime early next year.

I know, I know, it's a long time to wait. But go check out the site in the meantime, because there is a lot of really great stuff in their Archives to read.
seldnei: (Default)
Scott and I get back to my parents' house after our hair appointment to find no one there. A few minutes later, Mom and Grandma arrive with the Zweeble and some groceries.

Z. greets me at the door with, "Mom! We got some flowers for you! Roses!" (please note, all flowers that don't look fuzzy [like a marigold looks fuzzy] are, to Z, roses.)

My thought was, pretty much, Aw, Mom and Grandma got me flowers from Z. for Mother's Day, they're so sweet! Also, that they were probably planning on his bringing them to me, and he'd just ruined their plan.

So I wander over to the car to grab a bag and say, "There are no surprises with the Zweeble."

And Mom hands me a bag with a pot of begonias in it and says, "He said we had to get you flowers, and I asked him if he wanted to get you roses, but he said no and picked out begonias for you."

So this year I got my first actual present from the Zweeble: picked out by him and appropriate for me. A pot of yellow begonias.

My heart is a little puddle of squish right now.
seldnei: (Default)
So as part of our Huge Disney Extravaganza next week, we found out that, if you're staying at the grounds, you can have stuff left in your room--like flowers and balloons and so on--for your kid to find when you get back. This is cool, so we wanted to do that for Z. We found a Cars balloon bouquet with toys, and a Mickey toy that comes with a thing of candy bars and a pretend candle, and we thought that would be really cool.

Last night, Mom went to order and found that the Cars bouquet thing isn't being offered anymore, so I got online and found some other stuff that looked okay--though not nearly as good as Cars--and called to place the order.

Here's the thing--if you ask Z. who his favorite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse character is, he'll tell you Goofy. But there were no Goofy bouquets. So as I was asking all my questions, I randomly asked, "Do you all have anything with Goofy?"

Well, not exactly ... but they can switch out a Mickey plush toy for a Goofy plush of the same size. So Z. is going to get the Mickey toy and candy bars one night, and then a balloon bouquet (with giant singing balloon, god help us all) with a Goofy toy!

And I am feeling downright triumphant, by god!

But neither my husband noe my mother is able to answer their phones right now, so I have to crow on LJ.
seldnei: (Default)
So today I ran diagnostic tests on my son.

The backstory: the husband heard about a really good local daycare/preschool,** and he went looking at all the stuff they teach the kiddos: numbers, letters, large and small motor skills, and so on.

I'm on the fence about day care. Pre-K I'm all for, but that's in another year or so. Scott's all right with that--I don't think he's totally set on sending the Zweeb to day care at this point, either, he's just thinking it might be cool and good for our little smartypants--but he did ask what I thought of our starting to work with Z. on some of that stuff he'd seen that the good day care teaches. And that I'm into.

So today while we were drawing, I took some crayons and wrote out the alphabet, numbers 1-10, drew some shapes (if we're going to work on shapes we need some flash cards or something, because my squares are not entirely square. Any confusion about squares on the Zweeble's part is totally my fault), and scribbled all the colors they'd mentioned on the website (blue, green, yellow, orange, red, black, brown, gray, pink, purple).

He did pretty well. He recognizes a lot of letters, but he's getting letters that look similar (like C and G) confused, and he only recognizes 1-5, though he can count to 10 (more or less). He did great with shapes and colors. So I'd say he's on par with the other kids his age in terms of what he knows in these areas. Maybe a little higher in the stuff he's interested in (he digs colors).

I don't want to push him to learn anything at this age. Learning stuff as a toddler should be fun and somewhat self-directed, I think. But we can keep doing what we've been doing, just with an eye to, say, recognizing the difference between O and Q, and focusing more on 6-10 when we do counting.


**let me just add, when I was researching Pre-Ks a month ago, I had heard about and looked at the same school, but at the time Mr. [livejournal.com profile] dealio was not that interested. I'm not sure what caused the wind-change, but I want it on record that I was there first!

uh-oh

Nov. 24th, 2009 09:39 pm
seldnei: (Default)
In addition to figuring out the whole lying thing, the Zweeble today had another interesting conversation with his Daddy and me.

One of the Zweeb's favorite shows is Little Einsteins. It's not my favorite, though it gets points for using classical music and actual art--some of it really whacked-out--in its shows. Anyway, the Little Einsteins are Leo, June, Quincey, and Annie. Leo conducts and drives the rocket, June dances, Quincey plays every musical instrument known to man, and Annie sings and makes up songs.

Scott and I have an ongoing opinion that Quincey's the only kid out of this bunch with any real talent, and poor Annie's just fooling herself. So tonight, as we watched a preview for their show, we all had the following conversation:

L: Okay, so talent-wise it's 1: Quincey, 2: June, 3: Leo, and 1: Annie.

S: Wait, Annie's number one?

L: Did I say that? No, no, Quincey is number one, Annie's number four.

Z: (sort of half paying attention) No, Leo is number one.

S: (intrigued) Is Leo number one because he's the leader?

Z: (still only half into the conversation) Leo's the conductor, and the conductor is number one.

(Scott and I blink at one another for a minute.)

L: Are you going to be a conductor, Z.?

Z: Yeah. When I grow up.

Doomed. We're doomed. And not just to symphony concerts, either. :)

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Laura E. Price

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