We went to the zoo today. It was that or put up the Christmas tree. I campaigned heavily for the zoo. God, I hate that tree.
It’s a windy day and a little brisk out. It turns out that those are the ideal conditions for the animals. Everyone of them seemed to be active. When we first got there, the monkeys were swinging, the polar bear was swimming, the giraffes were stretching their long necks and tongues over the wall to snatch mesquite bean pods from the hands of the delighted people on the other side.
I was able to translate what I overheard The Bandit saying the other day. “The cantaloupe has horns,” is what I heard him say. Turns out the “cantaloupes” live on the prairie with the lions, zebras and rhinoceroses. Cantaloupe = Antelope. “Hey, mom, look at all the cantaloupes!” Whew- mystery solved.
I also learned that boys have inherently better tortoise detectors than girls. Don’t ask. Just know that it is so.
Also, in a very strange development, I learned that my husband wanders the zoo contemplating wrestling with the animals. He’s fairly sure he could take the Andean Bear and the Dwarf Caiman. I think this is very odd, as well as being a strictly masculine behavior. I sincerely think that a woman would not look at a bear in a zoo enclosure and wonder if she could pin it or not. I know I don’t. Unless it was standing in the way of the cupcakes.
But the real excitement came at the lion enclosure.
Our zoo recently obtained a new lioness. Her name is Kaya and she is magnificent. Usually, the lions are so comfortable lounging around in the grass that we don’t linger very long at their enclosure. Today was not one of those days. This was the first time I’d seen Kaya – the other times we’ve been there she must have elected to stay inside. You can see the lions from several vantage points, most of them giant windows. One of these has the feeling that you’re standing in a giant cave. There is one big wall of windows and a smaller window at the floor to the left that peeks into a cave like recess where the lions sometimes go to nap.
We were standing next to the wall of windows when the Kala decided that she was a little bored. She wandered over to the pond and fished out a ball.
She proceeded to play with this ball around the enclosure, batting at it and then giving chase. She sent the ball into the side of the male lion, who wasn’t as excited about playing ball as she was, so he got up and they wrestled a bit.
At one point she disappeared from view so Sassy, The Bandit and I knelt down and pressed out faces to the little window into the cave. She looked right at us and lunged at the window, snarling and growling. Her face actually hit the window and then she pawed at it. The three of us screamed and jumped. It was so awesome!
We stayed there for a long time. She paced the length of the big window and thrilled all the people.
At one point I sat down on the concrete and she and I had a staring contest.
It’s just awe inspiring. I could really feel her watching me and then she would make an almost imperceptible change in position from sitting to ready-to-pounce. Even through the window, I could feel the increase of adrenaline.
This was sooooo much better than putting up that stupid tree.
I love Black Friday. Ava and Isabella think I’m crazy. I think it’s fun. Participating in the ritual of Black Friday and all that it entails actually sort of jettisons me into the Christmas spirit. Conversely, I absolutely despise putting up and taking down the Christmas Tree. I hate everything about it. My Honey has done everything possible to make it a less odious task: we have a pre-lit, artificial tree and I have the short people that live in our house to put on the actual ornaments (as long as you’re OK with all of them in a three foot clump.) Ava loves to put up the tree. She can come over and put up mine, too, if she wants.
So on Thursday, I studied the ads. I made notes and folded the pages of the items I wanted to get. I made a plan of attack that took into account the crowds and the location of each store along with the opening time of each and the popularity of the targeted items. My sister-in-law brought my niece and nephew and my mom came along for fun. Sassy wanted to come, too, but I used the “you wouldn’t wake up” ploy because a lot of my items were on her list. We picked her up a couple of hours later after she had a conniption fit that I had failed to wake her up.
Everyone met at my house at 4:15 - in the morning. Except for Black Friday, the only reasonable excuse for getting up at that hour is to head off for Disneyland. I have seen 4:15 many times but as I was going to bed – not getting up. That is almost what happened on Thursday. My Honey had started suggesting that I head off to bed at 9:00. Right. I went to sleep at 1:45 that night. My head was busy, what can I say? So I headed off into the murky crowd with 2 1/2 hours of sleep.
We ended Round 1 at 8:35. I managed to get a 1/2 hour nap on the couch. Around 2:00 that afternoon, I snuck out of the house and did another 2 hours.
I was handling things pretty well. We went out to dinner and everything. However, things changed when I put Sassy to bed. She read her book to me and then, when it was my turn to read my book to her, things really started to fall apart. I kept falling asleep in mid sentence. Apparently I was injecting dreams into the story. Poor Sassy kept saying, “What are you talking about?”. She knows the Barenstain Bears books pretty well so it was apparent when I would drift off course. It took me 1/2 an hour to read that short little story.
Now here is the really sick thing. After she fell asleep I got out of her bed and drifted into the office for a second to check on a few things. Guess what time I actually fell asleep last night. Come on – take a guess. 12:30. Seriously. I have no idea what is wrong with me.
Yesterday I had a great Thanksgiving. I stayed in my jammies all day. I only cooked for four adults and my little daughter. I kept a fire in the fireplace all day, even if that meant turning on the AC to keep the house from reaching an interior temp of 90 degrees. After all, it’s not actual fireplace weather here in the desert, but I can make it so in my own house.
Last night, after my parents left, my hubbie, daughter and I snuggled in on the couch to watch my daughter’s favorite thing…pretty girls in princess dresses singing. The Celtic Women have a Chistmas show out on PBS. They put on quite a show with a full orchestra and a huge choir. There are four featured singers and one designated violin player that take turns singing and strolling about in gowns.
My daughter was enthralled at Away in a Manger. She was leaning forward, hanging on every sung word from the pretty girl singer wearing a princess dress. It was beautifully sung. It brought tears to my eyes to see how much she was enjoying the show.
Away in a manger, no crib for his bed. The little lord jesus lay down his sweet head…
By the second verse, my sweet daughter looked up at me with her beautiful blue eyes and whispered, as to not interfere with my tearful happiness, “Mama? Why are they singing about cheese sauce?”
Apparently, their nearly indistinguishable accent made the word jesus sound like cheese sauce. You know what? I replayed it at least 3 times and I literally believe that she is singing about cheese sauce.
I love it when happy tears are replaced by hysterical laughter.
I was at the grocery store today. I don’t know what I was thinking, entering a grocery store the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I’m obviously either completely insane or a glutton for punishment. The lines were obscene, the people were crabby, and it was hot.
Regardless, I had to go. I needed to pick stuff up from the pharmacy. For example: birth control. Lord knows I love Sassy and The Bandit, but My Honey and I have mutually agreed that we do not wish to be out numbered. Things could go horribly awry – can you imagine? Yikes. While I’m over sharing, let’s dig around in that pharmacy bag a little more, shall we? I am shocked, quite frankly, at what the hell is in that damn bag. I am now taking 6 pills every night before bed. SIX! Dear God in heaven, how old am I? There is migraine pills, blood pressure pills, and now freaking high cholesterol meds. You know who I blame? Well, besides my family for giving me these genes, I blame Ava. She is the worst possible influence. She knows damn well that I have no self control. Zero. But where Ava is, there is dessert. Deep sigh.
Unbelievably, the above is not what I was intending to tell you about. I know! Me – a tangent – who’d have thought.
Last week when Ava and Isabella and I were wrapping up the pitch blurb, we started talking about deodorant. I have absolutely no idea how that topic came up, but that’s typical for us. Isabella mentioned that she had bought a new brand and worn it to work the other day. This new deodorant smelled like Hawaii or some such nonsense. Every time she moved her arms, she got a whiff of pineapple and, by the end of the day, she was starving. I laughed because I’ve had the same experience – only mine was coconut and I was craving mai tais.
So there I was in the grocery store. There are several other women browsing the aisle with me, and I remembered that conversation. So now I’m not just browsing down that aisle, but I’m also cackling like an idiot.
So, here is the secret to shopping the Wednesday before Thanksgiving: make the other shoppers fear you. The place clears out pretty fast.
I went to write a post yesterday and it didn’t happen. I stared at the blank screen. And stared and stared and stared. Nothing came out. I have a notebook I keep with me so I can remember funny things that happen that I want to blog about. I looked at the notebook and all those little potential pots of blogging gold and my reaction was, “meh.” I think I’ve run out of words. I haven’t even been talking as much today as I normally do. I’m sure my coworkers are thanking whatever it is that has shushed me up. I’m an quite confident that another delivery of words is expected soon. I hope that there will be many words that have multiple syllables for the Girl that lives at Ava’s house. I also hope that when I string these words together, at least some of them are funny.
So I leave you with this:
My Honey was waking up The Bandit this morning.
“Time to wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up. Come on, little dude, time to get up,” he said in a sing song voice.
A tiny, sleepy, grumpy voice came from under the covers, “Nooooo, my feet aren’t ready yet.”
Then while I was making my lunch, he wanted to make some contributions. He gave me a Clementine orange and a whole, shelled walnut. “Just ’cause I love you, Mom.”
I have no idea what to do with this walnut.
The Sisters had a victory today. A milestone victory. I have an urge to want to be humble and talk it down, but screw that. I worked really hard, and my dedicated and ever faithful sisters worked really hard, and we deserve to bask for a bit in the satisfaction that work has brought. BASK BASK BASK.
Today was the day I was meeting with an agent. The point of the meeting was to pitch to the agent, meaning to sell my book idea to her well enough that she wanted to read more pages. It seems a humble goal, but seriously people, it’s a big one. With the multitudes of writers out there scrambling for an audience with an agent no matter how brief, just getting a toe in the door is such a break.
We worked so hard this past couple of months knowing that this meeting was coming. We dissected the first 3 chapters of Seeing Love Clearly to the point of inducing nausea. Then when we had tinkered with that enough, we started in on the pitch blurb. That is the same thing as the paragraph or two you see on the back of the book that makes you decide if you want to read it or not. If I were to say that we obsessed over this blurb it would not be an understatement. We went to lunch at Barnes and Noble and read dozens of them trying to find the ever elusive trick. Thank the God of Pastry there were the red velvet cupcakes there to give us fortitude. We must have written 20 of the things all told. None of them made us excited. Then on Friday, we had an epiphany. I actually heard angels singing, or maybe Roscoe howling, I don’t know for sure…by this time I was fairly well on my way to a breakdown. We got it. WE. GOT. IT.
Today at the meeting, the lovely agent in question gave a seminar on how to write a pitch blurb. She was fantastic and helpful and generous with her advice, and everything she said we had in our blurb. I have never felt so confident before. I didn’t want to throw up. My mouth didn’t go dry. There were no flop sweats. For the first time in my writing career, I realized that I was actually prepared. It was beautiful and peaceful and calm, and those of you that know me well, know that I rarely find peace in anything. I am very dramatic and hyper and “on” all the time. I can’t even tell you how exhausting that can be.
So it was my turn to speak with her one-on-one. I sat with her and read my blurb. I started out too fast, but that was just from excitement. I was able to coherently answer questions and volunteer more information. I was completely in the moment without the usual hysteria going on in my head. And then she said the magic words….. “I’d really like you to send me more pages.”
I’m telling you, I wanted to kiss that poor, unsuspecting woman right there. Instead, I floated out of the meeting and the three of us, Ava, Isabella and I squealed in the parking lot like little girls.
Now we just have to resist the urge to dig back in an make all kinds of changes. Will the God of “Just Let It Be” please send down some words of encouragement?
AMYLYNN!! You MUST post. You know why. I know you have children hanging off of you and you are probably trying to lock yourself in the bathroom for a moment of silence. BUT BLOG!! Your fans are waiting…And I really have no patience.
The faithful readers out there are aware that Sassy has a project in her first grade class, and that I have roped several of my family members into participating. You may recall that Flat Sassy visited New Mexico, the International Balloon Festival, and Washington DC. Her first grade classmates were the most impressed with her visiting the Lincoln Memorial. I have to agree with them….the memorial is stunning and provoking.
Most recently, Flat Sassy is with my Mom-in-law in the Caribbean. We haven’t received the photos yet, but I hope she’s wearing sunscreen.
My uncle and his wife have been traveling in Thailand this month and it didn’t take much convincing to get them to agree to let Flat Sassy tag along. I posted about this a while ago, I was so excited because I was totally going to kick the ass of all the other first grade Moms.
Well, we received some of the pictures via email (I LOVE technology!) while they are still in Thailand.
(Click the pictures for a larger view)
These are pretty cool, huh? I am so jealous of Flat Sassy! She’s not even Buddhist! I shall practice my zen breathing and try to find the love…..namaste.
There were a couple of pictures that …..well…..I am a romance novelist after all and a mom and an adult woman of some experience…..but still. I had to look at this for a couple of minutes to decide that what I was looking at was really what I was looking at. Then I blushed furiously.
THE UNDER 18 AND PARENTS OF ISABELLA SHOULD DISCONTINUE READING NOW!
I can’t even tell you how thankful I am that Flat Sassy is not in this picture. Although, my friend Michelle suggested that if she were, it would make an excellent picture for her wedding day. I’m just twisted enough to agree.
Michelle and I also pondered the following: So, say you want to travel to Thailand to make an offering at the penis shrine, do you just walk through the airport with that under your arm? What about the carry on luggage rule? Do you need to buy it it’s own seat? What about customs?
Michelle and I have a lot of questions. I’m sure Michelle is still sitting at home and “pondering” the penis shrine.
It’s 1:41 in the morning. I can’t sleep. My shoulder is killing me and I’m waiting for the Vicodin to kick in. I’m not holding out a lot of hope. Besides, I can’t sleep with the dueling snores of My Honey and Roscoe.
Instead, I’ll relate to you a story of The Bandit.
Last night I was reading The Bandit a bedtime story of his choosing: Robin Hood from The Walt Disney Treasury. It went like this:
Me: Robin Hood lived with is Merry Men in Sherwood…
Bandit: What are Merry Men?
Me: Their Robin’s friends. Like Chapman and Izick and Austin are your Merry Men.
Bandit: Oh. Cool.
Me: Some people said he was a hero. Others called him a bandit.
Bandit: What’s a bandit?
Me: Funny you should ask. It means he did sneaky things – some things he shouldn’t do.
Bandit: Is he a bad guy?
Me: No. Robin Hood is the hero. Bandits don’t do bad things all the time. (Something I’d do well to remember.) …One Day Robin and his friend Little John…..
Bandit: Is this Little John. He doesn’t look very little.
Me: I know. Weird, huh? ….saw King Richard’s golden carriage pass by. But the king was away at war…..
Bandit: War? What war?
Me: King Richard was in the Crusades.
Bandit: What’s the Crusades?
Me: (deep sigh) It was a religious war. Can we talk about that another time? It’s a very long story and I’d like to find out what happens to Robin Hood.
Bandit: OK, read on.
Me. Thank you. …Instead, it was the king’s wicked brother, Prince John, pretending to be king.
Bandit: Oooooh, he’s going to get into trouble, huh?
Me: Probably. ………..Prince John had no hope of catching up with the thieves. He had to watch helplessly, dressed only in his underwear….
Bandit: (squealing) HIS UNDERWEAR (hearty laughter) Prince John is so stupid. Why doesn’t he just put his clothes back on?
Me: Robin and Little John stole them, remember?
Bandit: (the laughter tapering off just a little bit) oh yeah. Robin Hood is funny.
Our story carried on in this fashion until the end. There was a constant stream of questions and comments. I had to explain why Robin would want to kiss Maid Marion even though she’s a girl (gasp!), why Prince John keeps raising taxes (because he’s a meanie), what exactly Friar Tuck’s job is (no, he doesn’t fry food. He works in the church), why the prison guards are birds (because this is a Disney story – see all the characters are animals. I know birds aren’t very scary), why Mommy Bunny has so many little bunnies if she is so poor (I’m not getting into a conversation on birth control with you, Bandit. It’s just the way it is).
Finally I did conceed that maybe, just maybe, the moat below the castle could possibly, that it isn’t completely out of the scope of fiction, be filled with hot lava.
The Bandit has started referring to his little gang of friends as his Merry Men. I’d like to make a formal apology to his preschool teacher now. I’ll be waiting for your call.
I told you that I’ve been feeling poorly this past week. It’s a chest cold with lots of coughing and that led to the inevitable. Well, for me it’s inevitable. Normal people don’t have this problem. Any time I get a cold (that leads to bronchitis and then to pnuemonia) I cough so hard I will throw a rib out. I’m not kidding. It’s sounds absurd, but it’s true. It’s also painful.
It will all begin with a stiff neck – like you slept on it wrong, but instead of loosening up as the day goes on, it gets stiffer. And then there’ll be a twinge of a little muscle spasm. From that point on, I can cancel all social engagements. It ALWAYS happens over a weekend so that by the time the doctor’s office opens on Monday morning, I’m weeping over the phone and begging for an appointment. This time it was late Sunday night. I got into the office for an adjustment at lunch time. My wonderful sympathetic doctor was able to put the wayward rib back in and several others that were just itching to slip free. I’m talking down the experience because really, it’s terrifying. There is a lot of jumping up and down on my spine and twisting my neck around like she plans to unscrew it from my shoulders. I heard 4 or 5 loud pops and I thought that must have done the trick.
Nope. I got no sleep last night and zero writing done. This is not the time for a major writing derailment. I had to lay on the bed, my right arm cradling my head just so, and my left arm wrapped around the top of my head. And avoid breathing. And blinking very hard. I asked My Honey if he could arrange hovering above the mattress instead of sleeping on it.
This morning I showed up at the doctor’s doorstep (I had to give blood for lab work) and I just looked as pathetic and pitiful as I could, and the doctor agreed to see me on short notice. This time it was my doctor’s dad. Dr Senior. She calls him The Hammer. He beat me a while longer and put that damn #1 rib back in place and a few others as well.
I’m still miserable. I look pathetic. A sweet coworker of mine tried to give me a hug today and I nearly died on her, right there in my cubicle. My mom (the drug pusher of the family) sent my aunt over with Vicodin. God bless her (the God that created pain medicine).
I ABSOLUTELY MUST get some writing done today – the agent meeting is looming ever nearer and I have to have a pitch ready to go. That blurb thing is a nightmare – I keep thinking that the Sisters are making it harder than it needs to be by over thinking it. We have that tendency. Maybe I should give it a try while on the Vicoden? Who knows – that may just be the push I need.