Thursday, July 24



Striplin's Open House was this morning, and I had three VERY EXCITED kiddos milling about and digging around in their school supply boxes. (Kris took Ani on to the daycare.) They chatted all the way to school about various teachers. Cash hoped to have Mrs. Tow but also Mrs. Barber. Zoe explained that he couldn't have Mrs. Barber yet, as she is a 2nd grade teacher.

We went and found all of their classrooms. Cash did get Mrs. Tow, and Ben got Mrs. Barber. (He hadn't told me, but apparently this is what he wanted, just like getting Mrs. Keeling for 1st grade.) Zoe got Mrs. Greer, who seems SUPER NICE. The kids don't know her since she doesn't do Edge, which made Zoe a little shy.

I had some excitement yesterday: I found out who Grace's parents will be! (Grace is the little girl with albinism that was in Zoe's same orphanage.) The mom-to-be and I are now Facebook friends and I was able to send her all the photos I collected of Grace from here and there.

It would have driven me CRAY-ZEE to not know where she ended up. Such a blessing to find out.

We met Ani five months ago today. We haven't even known her half a year yet!

One morning this week, she climbed on the little car Kris' parents got for her birthday. As she scooted it around, I thought about how when she got this gift in May, she didn't know what to do with it. At all. Toys were not in her repertoire.

Now she knows to push the buttons to make noise, and she knows she can climb on it and use her feet to push it. (I haven't managed to show her how the corn popper works, but she does so love the sound it makes.)

Similarly, when she came home, books were foreign to her. Now she will sit in my lap and let me read her a board book. She might turn the pages or lift the flaps or touch a fuzzy part. (She has a favorite paper-pages book. Not to read, of course, but she knows it by its spine and will pull it off the shelf to play with it. And I wonder "why this one?")

Monday, July 21



The Mister has passed into a new decade mark. We invited a bunch of people over and asked them to "bring something delicious" to help celebrate.

The Moxie Crew

The whole Moxie crew was there (including Krystal, who started her Moxie tenure like that day).

Fleegans, Library Ladies, Vineyardites, you name it... (well, minus Brutes. Some couldn't make it and some had Significant Others land themselves in the hospital...)

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There were enough kids present to keep themselves entertained.


Happy 40, K-ris.

Saturday, July 12

Landline fanmix

Cover art for my Landline fanmix
Listen at 8tracks. On Tumblr here.


1. "The Writing's On The Wall" by OK Go

The writing's on the wall
It seems like forever
Since we had a good day

Georgie, our protagonist, and her husband Neal are on the outs. From the book's description:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Why, OK Go, how thoughtful of you to come out with a new EP just in time for a Landline mix! I do so love using an OK Go track. Plus, this is a California band, which is where our story starts.

2. "Almost Happy" by K's Choice

This is a book about Grown-Ups. It takes place in December 2013, but Georgie and Neal met in college in the late 90s. Hey! I attended college in the late 90s! K's Choice was one my college bands, hence their inclusion. "Almost Happy" is so Neal.

Neal wasn't happy. Neal hadn't been happy for a long time.

But there are other aspects to the song that work, like the "smiling in the picture" reference for when Georgie pulls the old Polaroids out of her closet and the "I want to return to you."

3. "Nothing Left to Lose" by Mat Kearney

Come on and we'll try, one last time
I'm off the floor one more time to find you
And here we go there's nothing left to choose
And here we go there's nothing left to lose

Okay, so there's a magic phone. (THERE JUST IS, OKAY?) And while Georgie is in California, her husband having left her but not really (but kinda), when she calls him on the landline in her childhood home, she gets Neal in the past at his childhood home in Nebraska. With me so far?

Present Georgie has nothing left to lose. She can be raw and honest because maybe she has just irreparably fucked up her marriage.

[Should I have asterisked that? I honestly can't remember if I try to refrain from swearing here. Hmm. If I do, there's every chance a reader that might be offended is skipping this post anyway as it is neither about the kids nor adoption. MOVING ON.]

But Past Neal doesn't know he's talking to Future Georgie, so all of their conversations are make-it-or-break-it for Will He Still Propose? (Time Travel woes, y'know.)

4. "Pieces of the Story" by Mardi Lumsden and the Rising Seas

You have something special that you don't think people see
And every now and then you share a piece of it with me
And the three of us don't need to dance around it,
We've done enough of that to last a lifetime

Just hold my hand and we'll be
The best versions of ourselves we can be

Georgie has this best friend: Seth. He's been there from the beginning.

"He's your soul mate," Neal said. ... Georgie's jaw dropped against the receiver. "Seth. Is not. My soul mate."

Seth thinks he's knows Neal. "I secondhand-smoke know him."

But Seth also thinks he has shared custody of Georgie, and she informs him he does not. "No. Neal is my husband. He has full custody."

5. "High Hopes" by Kodaline

I remember it now, it takes me back to when it all first started
But I've only got myself to blame for it, and I accept it now

We have not only the Magic Phone to the past, we also get peeks back to how Neal and Georgie met and got together.

6. "This Is Love (Feels Alright)" by Camera Obscura

So turn out the light
Just give in to the night
This is love (feels alright)
You're a star on this fine night

This is for the not-quite-necking at the Halloween party. (Though, sorry Dawn for the implication that you're a killer tease. I mean, I know you're not, but surely Georgie had some not-so-warm feelings toward you after finding out Neal had a girlfriend.)

7. "Letting Go" by Saint Raymond

in love and in life there's no turning back
I'm letting go

This one's for Seth. If he had a way to communicate with the past, he'd probably tell himself to realize that Georgie makes him happy like no one else. But by the time he realizes this, she is Neal's.

"That's what I'd change," Seth said. "If I could go back."

"We can't go back," she whispered.

8. "Soon We'll Be Found" by Sia

Well it's been rough but we'll be just fine
Work it out yeah we'll survive

The lyrics are happier than this song is sonically. But Georgie is not convinced she can save her marriage or if she's actually ensured it won't happen. Which would mean her kids were never even born. When she looks at the Polaroids taken after Neal proposed and waits for them to go black? I was not prepared for the Back to the Future pathos, Rainbow! And jeez, when she just wants to hook up her phone and look at pics of her kids to make sure they still exist and the charger won't work? AAAAAGGGGHHH. (She settles for looking at her c-section scar.) So yeah, we had to have a little angst in here.

9. "Easy to Love" by Ivan & Aloysha

When the sky turns black
And we know it will from time to time
We've been through that
And we came out on top because

You're really easy to love

We actually have the sky turning black, because Georgie decides to fly to Omaha after all, but there's a Snowpocalypse going on. (Ivan & Aloysha's "Be Your Man" is for Levi — another of Rainbow's darling characters.)

10. "They're In Love, Where Am I?" by The Weepies

Lovers walk two by two, doing things lovers do
They're in love, where am I?
I see them on my way home, how I hate to be alone
They're in love, where am I?

I guess I have to hope
that today the sun will shine
And maybe tomorrow you'll be mine

Poor Georgie, wandering the airport alone, trying to get to Neal and her kids. Good things those Nice Lovers give her a lift. :)

11. "Walking After You" by the Foo Fighters

if you walk out on me
I'm walking after you

When Georgie goes to talk to Neal for the 1st time, there's a Foo Fighters song playing on the radio. Now, this song actually IS appropriate for them because of its theme. But really I'm including it as an Easter Egg for Bex. (The book has an egg in the appearance of a couple of Rainbow's other characters. This one for Bex is because she and I are X-Files fans and this is the Foo Fighters song from the X-Files movie soundtrack.)

12. "I Choose You" by Sara Bareilles

I'm trying to work a symmetry thing here! I used a Sara Bareilles song for the opening track of my Fangirl mix.

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you

From Georgie:

You don't really know what it means to crawl into someone else's life and stay there. You can't see all the ways you're going to get tangled, how you're going to bond skin to skin.

From Neal:

Wasn't that the point of life? To find someone to share it with?

And if you got that part right, how far wrong could you go?

*sigh* I adore Rainbow. I hope she and her posse are having an excellent time rockin' the UK.

Monday, July 7

Hello, July

4th of July family

For Zoe's first 4th of July, we took a family photo on the deck. The kids had come home with American flags from the daycare, and Zoe had the CUTEST red, white & blue dress (a gift from Kris' client Gina Wilson). It was her first 4th as an American citizen, so photo op!

And then it became a tradition: dress in red, white or blue and take a family photo on the deck. I really needed to do this again this year because it's already time (!!!) to start prepping for Ani's six-month-home report, which requires a family photo. (Once again, adorably patriotic attire a gift from Gina!)

Shortly after this, the big kids ditched their clothes to hang around the house in their swimsuits because they were SO EXCITED about going to the Finlayson pool. To say they swam until pruney is an understatement...


The big three went up to the water tower to spend the night and watch the fireworks. We just brought Ani home and went to bed. Which I could blame on my lingering summer cold, as all I wanted to do by then was drink some hot tea. But it's more accurate to say that many events this year we consider it a win if we just make it there at all.

I was there! I had some Fence Post! I talked to many of my dearest friends FACE-TO-FACE. Win.


Double bonus win: my oldest two are getting the hang of this "swimming" thing. Which will add some parental relief.

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Ani had a better time once the sun began to set. Since the 4th of July tends to be about (look, yes, I know it's about FREEDOM and all that, but I mean in how it's celebrated) being outside and food and fireworks... I see where it's kind of a bum holiday for her this year.

"Christmas and New Year's will probably be more your speed," I told her. "Indoors, lots of lights and sounds."

But I tell ya, she's a pretty happy kid. She spent FIVE HOURS poolside either strapped to my chest or in a playpen. With no complaints. WINNING.


Happy first 4th, Ani. Maybe we'll try the pool next year.

Thursday, June 26

Four months of Ani


We've been your parents for four months today, Ani!

You continue to be delightful. It's been a joy to see you learn the beginnings of play. And your laugh is still just the best sound ever.

It looks like you'll have early intervention therapy meetings twice a month.


You've had a growth spurt.

I think you're starting to come around on this whole Family idea. Your dad got home from his workout right as you finished your bottle this morning, and you'd run from one side of the room over to him and then me. You'd play with our legs and then look up to us to share in your fun.

On Saturday, the big kids were being zany (as usual) and spun themselves around into a pile in the living room. I wasn't there, but Kris said you came over laughing and added yourself to the pile.

When I go get you from daycare, Cash runs into the room while I sign you out and he picks you up. It's awkward, since he's not that much bigger than you are, and you used to fuss about this. I guess you've decided now that it's just what a big brother does. So he lifts you off your feet and you just kind of hang there until I come rescue you.


When we get home, I take you upstairs with me, so I can change out of my work clothes. Sometimes you cry as we ascend the stairs, which I take as a complaint of "bedtime already?!?" Then I set you down, latch the gate and you go "oh, no, time to play, no need to fuss" and wander into Zoe's room.

You refuse to let your toddler bed stay made. You pull the blanket and sheet off. Zoe makes the bed, and then you come in and unmake it again. (Hmm... how is this roomie thing gonna go with you two someday???)

Your world is getting bigger and it's fun to see you take it on.

Wednesday, June 25

Captain Swan fanmix

Listen on 8tracks

So I make it about a month before I start jonesing for new tunes to drive around to. But I am incapable of making a mix if I don't have a THEME to work with. I stumbled across a few tracks that I thought would work well for Captain Swan (Captain Hook + Emma Swan on Once Upon a Time) and decided I'd make a mix for it in hottsyforpottsy's honor. (Making a mix for someone gives me a special impetus to finish it.)

Up there on the cover art where it says "hijacked by a pirate captain and his swan?" Is swiped from her About section.

This mix gave me some fits. I wanted opening tracks for both Emma and Hook how they are when we meet them. Badass and jaded? But I never found the perfect one for Emma, so we're just gonna jump in to where the chemistry has begun to spark.

Track 1: "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic

I have long thought this was a great song for them. Dude, "counting stars" can be such a total Neverland reference. But I like the whole vibe of this song. Losing sleep because of the possibilities, "Everything that kills me makes me feel alive..." Hook is a thrill-seeker, out for revenge. A dashing rapscallion indeed, but also? Villain.

Track 2: "You Got Me" by Ingrid Michaelson*, featuring Storyman

I made an effort to include several artists that are on my Syfy Alice mix, because these two 'ships have SO MUCH in common. (Seriously, my Alice blog has gotten oodles of followers because Oncers keep telling all their friends "you have to go watch this miniseries!" Which is so very Nerd Community FTW that my heart bursts with joy.) Artists on both mixes marked with an asterisk.

You come as some surprise

Hook was NOT expecting to go and fall for Ms. Swan. (And hoo, was Emma ever in denial about any feelings for Hook.)

Track 3: "Drumming Song" by Florence + The Machine*

There's a drumming noise inside my head
That starts when you're around
I swear that you could hear it
It makes such an almighty sound

I love it when the female-driven vocals apply to the male character. Because once Hook is about Emma, he is ALL ABOUT Emma.

Regina: You’re going to pretend everyone doesn’t see the yearning looks and doe eyes?

Emma: I don’t yearn.

Regina: Well, maybe. But he does.

Track 4: "Ships in the Night" by Mat Kearney

Fanvids can be a good source of "what songs does the fandom deem appropriate?" Like this "Evolution of Captain Swan" video:

Track 5: "Wait for Me" by Kings of Leon*

Gonna open my heart
Right at the scars
Listen up
Gonna do what I'm told
Go where I'm told

Once Hook is in love with Emma, he's pretty much willing to do anything for her. World-hopping, time travel, give up the Jolly Roger, babysit, you name it. (And become a hero in the meantime.)

Hat tip: oswiinss' fanmix

Track 6: "Live Your Life" by Yuna

Find your light
Don’t hide from what you are
And rise before you fall
And hope for something more
Live if you really want to

So there's ANOTHER curse (yeah, let's not get into it) and Emma ends up in New York, unaware of all the fairy tale stuff AGAIN. She's trying to live her life, but deep down, she knows something is amiss.

Track 7: Stop the World I Wanna Get Off With You

Well I know that getting you alone isn't easy to do
But with the exception of you I dislike everyone in the room
And I don't wanna lie but I don't wanna tell you the truth
Get the sense that you're on the move and you'll probably be leaving soon
So I'm telling you
Stop the world cause I wanna get off with you

Since the mix was in H4P's honor, I trolled through her archives and watched the fan videos she'd reblogged. There was one that used an Arctic Monkeys song. One must never twist my arm to use an AM track, but I didn't want to use "I Wanna Be Yours" since I think of my fandom valentine.

Track 8: "Human" by Christina Perri

Now, this one IS from a fanvid she reblogged...

Track 9: "Silent Sea" by KT Tunstall*

I was happy in my harbor
When you cut me loose
Floating on an ocean
And confused
Winds are whipping waves up
Like sky scrapers
And the harder they hit me
The less I seem to bruise

The thing that makes Hook & Emma work is how similar they are.

Track 10: "Youth" by Daughter

I looked to see what songs others used for their CS fanmixes and this track made the cut many times. I already owned it, so why not?

And if you're still bleeding, you're the lucky ones
'Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone

I think this echoes the part where Hook tells her at least if her heart has been broken again (by a flying monkey BUT LET'S NOT GO THERE), then at least it still works.

Track 11: "True Love Couples Theme" by Mark Isham

Plays when Emma FINALLY kisses Killian. End of the track cuts off a bit.

Track 12: "I Know It's You" by Guards

Oh there's a girl I love
And she's coming home with me

Well take the very best moment that you ever had
That's the one, that is what we have

They've broken the curse(s) and are back in their own timeline in Storybrooke and Hook has done some Heroic Deeds... the whole season three finale was like a Captain Swan shippers fever dream. So upbeat final track!

Tuesday, June 24

Everything Leads to You

Doesn’t this book have a lovely cover? Back to that in a moment.

I saw this book recommended a couple of times on Tumblr. The first time, I went and read the synopsis.

A dream job, a film legend’s living legacy, a shining mystery, and an epic sun-soaked summer—it’s the stuff of Hollywood, and that’s the stuff for Emi. She is 18, a set designer, and a deep believer in the romance of the movies. When a series of coincidences lead her to beautiful and talented Ava, the long-lost granddaughter of a film cowboy, Emi no longer just works in the movies, she is living in one. But as the final kiss and a fade to black seem just within reach, Emi begins to see that life outside of the frame is messier and harder, but has the potential to be much more rewarding.

I was like “oh, a book about movies and young love, that sounds nice.” But I didn’t order it or anything.

And then somebody else suggested it (Rainbow maybe?) and I was trying to qualify for Super Saver Shipping and boom, got this book. I am having a hard time finishing the non-fic I am working on, so I picked this up on Saturday.

When I got to pages 103-104 where she is describing how it’s the Art Department’s job to create the world the characters live in? And she’s choosing that Juniper’s room will be blues and greens – because she’s a botanist but also melancholy – and George’s place will be corals and warm tones because it’s like the home is trying to comfort him… I had A Moment.

Because Emi is a designer and she’s just immersed in what she does, what she loves. And I’ve never seen that put to words in fiction, that process where the ideas start to flow and you know what to do. It was a joy to read.

She also nailed it with Emi’s revelations of what she still has to learn:

I drive away feeling, once again, like such an amateur. Botanicals are the obvious choice, the first impulse meant to be replaced by a better one.

From the LA Times review:

Although, for example, we know early on that Emi's mother is a professor of African American studies, it's not until two-thirds of the way through the novel that Jamal, a teenager meeting her family for the first time, says to Emi, "I didn't even know you were black," to which Emi replies, "Yeah. My grandpa's black, so I'm a quarter," then shows him a photograph of Toby who, we learn for the first time, is so much darker than Emi that strangers often have a hard time believing they are full siblings. "The mysteries of genetics," says Emi, and shrugs.

After I read that, I remembered “oh yeah, I did read some mentions of white-washing of the cover on Tumblr...”

Oh, Tumblr.