Friday, January 25, 2008

Random Crap

- This week we had a meeting with Mr. Seventh Teacher, where he couldn't have been nicer and more helpful. And it wasn't even tense, even though the day after I called the Slap Squad out on him, Mermaid evidently announced right there in his class, "I hate social studies and my mom hates Mr. (Seventh Teacher)!" So I am officially calling off the Slap Squad, but I reserve the right to re-engage their services if things don't actually improve in social studies this coming semester.

- Heath Ledger -- wow. I just looked up his IMDB filmography to confirm what I was already thinking, which was that yes, I've actually only seen one of his movies. But it was a doozy. "Brokeback Mountain" is one of the best dramas I have ever seen, and he was great in in. It's very sad he died so young. RIP, Heath.

- The Academy Award Nominations -- I was glad to see "Juno" get so much love, but sad to see the equally quirky/good "Waitress" be totally ignored. I guess timing is everything when it comes to the Oscars.

- I am inching toward having a draft of my Nano novel ready for my circle of readers. There is one section that needed a major rewrite and I am letting it intimidate the hell out of me -- no idea why. Hopefully I can get over it and finish today.

- I feel a little dirty about this so I'll just admit it here and then try to live with myself: I bought the new Tom Cruise biography in audio form to listen to on my iPod. I was shopping around for something to listen to, and there it was, and I just couldn't help myself. According to Amazon, the thing is selling well, so it's not like I'm the only one.

- It's been a rainy week, which made it hard for me to go down and visit my grandma, but I finally made it down there yesterday while the kids were at school. And it rained on us, which was no fun, but we had a nice time anyway. RM just told me there's supposed to be a big storm today, and I am glad I don't have to go anywhere in it.

- It's Friday -- yay!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Slap Squad

Years ago I was part of a listserv for parents of children with conditions similar to my daughter's, and there was one particularly spirited woman on there who came up with the Slap Squad, who could be dispatched to punish whomever was getting on our nerves that day. The intended targets were usually uncooperative teachers, school administrators, insurance companies, or providers of services like speech or occupational therapy, those kinds of people, against whom some special ed parents are continuing battling. Reasonable Man and I have tried hard over the years to not be that perpetually-squeaky-wheel type of special ed parent, but everyone has their limits, and we have fought the occasional battle, and come up against the occasional foe who could use a visit from the Slap Squad.

This is our daughter's first year in junior high, and hence her first year with multiple teachers. In the past seven years, we have been lucky enough to have seven teachers who really wanted the best for our Mermaid, and this, her first year in junior high, we have been lucky enough to have six teachers who want the best for her. This is great, except for the fact that Mermaid has seven classes, and the seventh teacher is such a complete and total tool that he a) he seems to attribute the trouble Mermaid has in his class to her having an attitude problem, b)he manages to get RM and me all aggravated and riled up on almost a weekly basis, b) Mermaid starts crying pretty much anytime the subject of his class comes up. Clearly this is not cool. I could describe his latest offense for you, but why? It's just more of the same we have been suffering for the past several months. I am actually beyond the point of finding comfort in picturing him dealing with the karmic ramifications of picking on an autistic student. And for that, Mr. Seventh Teacher, you have earned yourself a visit from the Slap Squad. Not that I expect it to do you any good, but I will enjoy imagining it happening anyway.
And as long as they're out there doing my bidding, I decided I might as well come up with a list of others who have incurred my wrath and need a good smacking-for-hire:
People who don't drink coffee, or don't watch TV, or don't read Harry Potter books, and are kind of self-righteous about it (not to be confused with people who don't do one or all of those things and manage to say so without making you want to kick their pompous asses about it);
Dr. Phil, for constantly telling people "I always say don't substitute my judgement for your own" when that is basically what he does on every damn show, and what would be the point if he didn't;
The people in Hollywood who are now complaining about the writers' strike, not because the writers have been getting screwed over for years, but because the Oscars might get cancelled;
Sociopaths who appear on reality TV and are arrogant enough to think no one will notice there is something seriously wrong with them;
George W. Bush and everyone in his administration who has not yet resigned in disgust;
Everyone who has made the current presidential election seem like it's already been going on for two years when there are still ten months to go.
So that's it. Let me know if there's anyone I need to add to the list!

Woo Hoo!

Today, I finished NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, which technically was in November. I did not "win" NaNoWriMo this year because I did not write 5,000 words within the month of November. I wrote about 43,000 words in November, minus the ~6,400 words of that document I wrote over the summer. In any case, I feel like I completed the thing, even though it's January, because as of today my novel:
a) is over 50,000 words, and
b) has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

It doesn't matter that it's a wreck, and I might literally die of embarrassment if another human being actually read it in its current condition. In fact, its being in that condition is practically a requirement of a just-completed NaNoWriMo project. I plan to spend the next few weeks whipping it into shape worthy of the readers who eagerly await its arrival into the world.

Just thought I'd mention it!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Being a shut-in isn't working so well for me. I am as much of a homebody as anyone, but yesterday, my third consecutive day of staying home putting away, organizing, watching taped TV shows and pretending to work on my novel, I kind of lost it for a while and fell into a pit of despair. It didn't help that we've been having these storms that made the house dark all day long, nor that I haven't been sleeping well, both because I'm staying up too late and also because I can't get to sleep once I do actually go to bed. Anyway, it all caught up with me yesterday, and I had a few hours of misery. Then RM came home and we ate In'n'Out Burger for dinner and drank some wine and watched "The Big Lebowski," and even though I had a hard time sleeping again last night, I woke up in a much better frame of mnd today.

It was a-stormin' again today so I didn't leave the house until late this afternoon, and then only because we have no internet connection at home right now, but it's still been a much better day today.

I have connected with more people on my MySpace page and so it's proving to have more of a purpose than I thought before. And I actually did get quite a bit of work done on my novel today, in spite of my best efforts to thwart this goal by watching my "Persuasion" DVD for the umpteenth time in the middle of the day and calling my mom for a lengthy chat. Hey, family is important!

Even though I've been staying home unshowered far too much of the time this past week, I'm still not looking forward to having to start up my real life again on Monday when the kids go back to school. Getting up early sucks, and so does 7th grade social studies. Oh well.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I'm the mother of a teenager...

and here is photographic proof:

This picture could only be more perfect, in my opinion, if there were earphones dangling from her ears and maybe the stereo next to her didn't have the Spongebob theme. Oh, and if she didn't have a smile on her face.

If you must have a teenager of your own, I highly recommend getting one of the mildly autistic variety. Sure, the preschool years were hell, but she's never once told me she hates me, demanded a brand-name anything, or refused to go to school with that zit on her chin because what if someone sees her? How many moms of teens can say that?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Name

We haven't lived in a green house in six months now, and nothing pithy was coming to me, so I borrowed from Schoolhouse Rock. It's probably too cute. Oh well.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Family Portrait

This is our family portrait, taken on Block Island, RI in October. How cute are we?

New Year

I'm glad it's a new year. My daughter is officially a teenager now, and that's a little scary, but whatever. 2007 was a far more eventful year than I really cared for, and now I'd just like to have a regular old boring 2008. As I told Reasonable Man earlier this evening, in 2008, we get to live in our nice new house without the aggravation of buying it and moving into it, and that is a fine thing indeed. I would also like to have no one in my family require surgery, emergency or otherwise, this year. Elective cosmetic procedures don't count -- not that I have any planned, but I wouldn't rule it out either.

I now have a MySpace page, for no good reason other than that over Christmas, RM and I were drinking copious amounts of wine with his younger brothers, and they all have MySpace page, and so does RM because he needed one in order to join, or "friend" or whatever it is, the page someone in his high school class started in order to organize/gather info for their upcoming 20-year high school reunion. And so now I have this MySpace page with six friends: RM, his three brothers, the aforementioned high school reunion page (and I didn't even go to that high school), and a page that apparently represents the comedy club they sometimes have at a restaurant here in Davis, which sent me a friend request. My brothers-in-law explained to me that now I need to gather lots and lots of of these "friends." I'm not that into this, though, considering that I don't even know why I have the damn MySpace page in the first place. Nevertheless, if you happen to be reading this, and you have a MySpace page to and you want to see mine or friend me or something, the URL is and, you know, whatever. Anyone who reads something I wrote and says something halfway nice to me is my friend forever, so they can certainly be my "friend" too.

When I started this blog, I swore I would never use the word "blog" as a verb, and now I do it all the time, so I'm not even going to pretend I won't someday use the word "friend" as a verb on a regular basis if I get into this whole MySpace thing.

In other news, I limp toward the 50K mark and, more importantly, completion, on my November novel. I haven't worked on it as much as I would have liked, but I've still made some good progress on it, especially in the past week. Obviously the concept of 50,000 words is arbitrary at this point, since I didn't "win" NaNoWriMo this year, but I do think that the novel needs to be at least that long and probably somewhat longer in order to be viable, marketable, etc. I would very much like to have a draft for my "inner circle" of readers to read pretty soon, and am toying with the idea of a January 30 deadline for that.

This year I think I enjoyed the preparations for Christmas better than the experience of Christmas itself. I got some very nice gifts and always appreciate what people are kind enough to give me, but I guess I really am an adult now because receiving presents just isn't that big a part of the holiday for me anymore. Here were the things I enjoyed most this season:
1) Getting out the decorations and watching all my stress about them eventually result in the house looking great for our first Christmas here
2) Spending time with our friends here (and other places) before and after Christmas and on New Year's Eve
3) Going to Weight Watchers and feeling proud of the fact that I was staying accountable and not gaining a bunch of weight over the holidays
4) Having my family come for our annual early Christmas dinner on the 22nd and especially sitting around the table after dinner, talking and laughing and enjoying each other
5) Hanging out with my brothers-in-law, creating the MySpace page I have no use for and laughing a lot

I just realized none of those things involve my kids. That is definitely something to work on next year!

Tomorrow, RM heads back to work after being off the last week and a half, and for him it's almost a new job, since he has handed off the work that has taken up most of his time for the last two years and can start doing the stuff he much prefers. So that is yet another way this year will be better. And I head back to the gym for only the second time in the last week, for a personal training session. And that's a good thing. I can definitely see the results of my working out regularly this past year. I am also 10 lbs thinner than I was a year ago. I'd like that to be more, but 10 lbs is not bad, and I will keep plugging away at it.

Finally, I've been watching a lot of this show "Clean House" on the Style Network. I guess it's pretty much the same as "Clean Sweep" on TLC, where people who are drowning in clutter have the show come in and help them get rid of stuff in a yard sale and then use the money they make to organize and decorate. I never got that into "Clean Sweep," though. Anyway, it gets me thinking, and in the past several days, I have done a lot of decluttering and organizing of our bedroom closet, which is big enough that when we moved in, we just kind of put all our crap in there in a stupid way and it didn't matter because there was room for it. I've freecycled off lots of stuff that is now making someone else happy, and RM and I got in there and moved some stuff around so it all functions more efficiently. It's a good thing. It's never going to look like one of those professionally tricked out closets, but it doesn't need to. We're happy with it. And all of this has me really thinking about simplification, recycling, reusing and all of that other earth-friendly stuff as I go into the new year.

So that's how things are in the not-green house on this first day of the new year. Here's hoping we all have a great 2008!