Again with the random bits.

I am topic-less. So. Once again, a Friday Five!

1. Pregnancy update. I can feel the baby move now, and I’m getting BIGGER and BIGGER. I see the size as a mixed blessing. On one hand, being humongous has never appealed to me, and already I’m having an awkward time trying to give myself more room to slide sideways through the sliding glass door while keeping a ready foot for Clarkie in case she tries to make a break for it. Also on that same hand, I’ve started grunting every time I bend to pick something up, try to zip my non-maternity jeans, or tie my shoes. Or roll over in bed. On the other hand, at least now I am starting to look pregnant and not just overweight. Status of belly button (because this is important): it’s still an Innie.

2. Because I entered a past manuscript we shall never speak of again in the Amazon Breakout Novel contest a couple of years ago, I had a free proof copy from Createspace (Amazon’s self-publisher). So I uploaded a recent draft of le manuscript and made my manuscript into a BOOK! Not only is it nifty seeing it in book form, with a cover & everything (even an ISBN, which is pointless, if you ask me, because this copy isn’t going anywhere), but my printer’s broken and so this saved me from imposing on friends and/or shelling out dinero to get my printer fixed.

3. Husband will no longer be nicknamed “Husband” on this blog. For awhile now, I’ve been calling him “Homes.” As in, “True dat, Homes,” and “I don’t think so, Homes.” I am not sure where this came from, but it has stuck. Sometimes I picture the word as “Holmes” in my head, giving him a Sherlockian air. Does this make me Watson? I did read an essay once, an argument that Watson was actually a woman, so I guess it could work.

4. I cooked! Our CSA box has been heavy on the leafy greens lately. Other than salad, I don’t know what to do with these things. So I actually put forth the effort required to A) look up recipes and B) buy ingredients and C) try not to hyperventilate while operating the stove. Result: Hot Wok Bok Choy (say that five times fast) last week, and Collard Greens Sauteed with Garlic this week. And baked potatoes. I’d never baked a potato in my life. Decided to consult multiple sources – Homes, my mom, and the Better Homes cook book. I don’t know what potato out there can finish baking in 40 minutes, but it wasn’t mine, so we had dinner late that night.

5. Enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast put on by Z’s preschool class today. The kids even had cute little placemats and napkin rings they’d made. Food was delicious; I could have easily eaten six plates full. Should have gone back for more mashed potatoes and roast potatoes. There is something about the Glorious Potato right now that has me wanting them. All the time. That and loaves of soft Pugliese bread from the Nugget and tubs of hummus. If I don’t stop rhapsodizing about food now, I don’t think I ever will. So. The end.

I won’t be updating the blog next week, so have a great Thanksgiving! I hope your car rides are shorter than mine!

I Kinda Miss the Little Monster

It’s been said before. In fact, I say it all the time: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And I know I just dreamed of quiet, with lots of time to myself, the kind I used to have B. Z. (Before Z). But it’s really quiet.

And when she comes home, she doesn’t necessarily want to hang out with me. It could be she’s burnt out from being around people at school all day. Or I’m just not fun. (Maybe both.) Or she really missed her toys. Yes, that’s it. She does love having adventures with her imaginary friends.

8:15 to 3:15 makes a long day. And I’m typing away, being all productive and so on. Even cleaned the shower this morning!

Well, whatever nostalgia I’m feeling now will surely end next week. No school at all, plus what I’m sure will be a perfectly lovely, without-any-tantrums six-hour drive to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving. And then, two days later, the six-hour drive back home.

So, forget all the above. I’m going to enjoy this quiet. No more naps! I need to stay awake and hear how quiet it is.

Random Bits

No energy – sick with a cold. So let’s do a Friday Five.

  1. Z’s Great Grey Owl costume turned out really well! Husband did the feathers for the mask, I did hours of sewing for the cape o’ feathers, and she absolutely loved it. I absolutely loved sneaking chocolate from her Halloween bag. Will post a how-to-make-an-owl-costume some other time.
  2. I’ve got a Fabulous Support Network re-reading le manuscript, but already I’ve found Flaws In The Middle. I really shouldn’t read books on craft when I’m trying to finish a project. One of the chapters in Donald Maass’s The Fire in Fiction covers what he calls the “saggy middle.” No, he better not be talking about my tummy. The problem with middle scenes is that the main character tends to go through the story, and these middle scenes, especially, without a clear goal or inner or outer turning points. Now angry at the world and frantically revising.
  3. I need a really good book to read. Fiction, nonfiction, YA, adult – doesn’t matter. But I need something to suck me in, and fiction usually does the job better than non, for me. Preferably something short. Recommendations?
  4. Have I mentioned I’m sick? Murphy’s Law must govern preschool schedules, because the week I get sick is the week Z has two days off of school. So now I’ve got to keep her busy all day long. We’ve been doing special art projects. We made a paper chain for Thanksgiving, and I got her a bunch of fall-themed foam stickers so she’s making more Thanksgiving decorations. Also, at her school they give them those perler beads that the child puts on a plastic peg board, and then the theory is that the adult will unearth her iron and iron the plastic beads so they stick together to make a fun, bright shape for everyone to enjoy.
  5. Finally, on the subject of school. Z really wants to go for the full day. She’s been going for half-days, so we promised to talk to her teacher about it at the parent-teacher conference, which was today. Her teacher recommended starting on Monday! As in, three days from now. I’d thought there would be hemming and hawing, and we’d start her full-time maybe in January, giving us all a lot of time to get used to the idea. But Z wants to go now, and her teacher sees no reason not to. Plus in the coming weeks there will be lots of breaks for the holidays, and supposedly this will make the transition easier. Part of me is overjoyed at the prospect of so much time to myself before the baby comes, and a part of me is weeping, “She’s growing up so fast!” But that second part is mostly quiet, especially when I have a headache and a cold and all I want to do is take a nap that lasts until March.

That’s all! Happy Friday!

Z Goes to School

“I don’t want to tell you about that right now.”

That’s what she tells me when I pick her up at school and ask what she did. That and, “Later. I’ll tell you a tiny little bit later.”

If preschool’s going to make her secretive and controlling, then I’m taking her out right now. But I’m certain this is just part of the adjustment, her way of coping and exerting what little control she has over the situation.

Plus, not one hour after she informed me she would tell me about it after her “nap” because at the moment she was too tired to talk, she regaled me with stories of the chickens in the school’s yard and which kids fell down and which ones stayed for lunch and naptime.

Today she cried when I dropped her off, and that was hard. It makes me really glad we’re starting with half days.

The adjustment’s been much smoother for me. I have my little routine (the one I dreamed up before school even started, with a few adjustments), and I’m sticking to it. Each day so far I’ve exercised and followed it up with a (quiet!) shower and two hours of uninterrupted writing time. I’ve gotten a lot of work done on le manuscript…plus another fun story I started over the weekend.

The weirdest part is now I feel like I’ve started a real job, or something. Like, we have to get up and leave every day. At night, I make sure I get to sleep on time so that I’m rested enough to get us out the door the next day. And even though we live in a smallish town, the school-morning traffic is a fierce sight to behold.

Overall, it’s going as well as I’d hoped. Even better, when I hear Z talking about her “close friends at school.”

17 Days

On August 22nd, I hope to begin a new morning routine. It will go something like this:

6:30. Start to wake up.

7:00. Be out of bed (or else). Begin fixing breakfast.

7:45. Finish eating breakfast (at this point, I will have been finished with my peanut butter on toast and will have been avidly watching Z eat her two eggs, toast, bowl of yogurt and fruit, and glass of orange juice) (whoops, no I won’t. I keep forgetting I’m going to have to pack a lunch for her. Weird! So I’ll be throwing wholesome, handcrafted cuisine into a lunchbox). Brush teeth, wash faces (mine & Z’s). Get Z dressed.

8:05. Leave house.

8:15. Here’s where it gets interesting. Drop Z off at preschool. She will either a) cry or b) completely ignore me. I will either a) cry or b) speed home, shouting Huzzah! at every corner. Maybe it’ll be a little of both.

8:30. Hop on the elliptical trainer. (Or do Just Dance on the Wii, or, ugh, the 30 Day Shred.)

9:15. Shower.

9:30. Write!

Now, 9:30 needs some classifying. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Because the world is full of distractions. So, at 9:30 I will write fiction. Not blog posts. Not emails. Not letters to friends. Not Twitter or Facebook updates. Not treatises on how I am going to write just as soon as I X, Y, Z. And Definitely Not Play Mahjong Titans.

11:15. Email, blog, Twitter, Facebook.

11:45. Leave to pick up Z at school.

Believe me when I say I am very much looking forward to letting the world know how this works out. Only 17 days!

The Other Kind of App

It wasn’t something I downloaded. There were no electronic gadgets involved, only a pen and paper. On it, I wrote down Z’s name, her birthday. I circled eight adjectives that Husband and I thought best described her. I listed contact information. I attached a check.

It’s not the kind of app for your iPhone (I typed “eye-phone” at first, sheesh).

It’s The Preschool Application. And soon after her third birthday, I will upload my daughter into the car, drive her across town, unfasten the connection (aka the umbilical cord) and download her into the preschool parking lot. My feelings about this are already mixed, but I will admit I am mostly happy. When Z goes to preschool in the mornings, I will have an empty nest.

Party time!

Well, not exactly. I plan to do some work, maybe tutoring, maybe freelance editing, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be unable to work because I’ll be crying my eyes out from missing my daughter’s companionship. Don’t laugh, it’s entirely possible. Negotiating the terms of our relationship is never straightforward, and my reactions (and hers) are often surprising.

Happily or not, we are about to embark on a very different era. One in which I don’t know every exact detail of every moment of her day. Strange, sad, and somewhat liberating.