Wednesday, February 25

Ani's first snow

Snow 2015 Snow 2015 Snow 2015

She's like "so... it's really cold out here? And kinda of wet? And bright? Yeah, um, why are we doing this?"

Agreed, Snow-Bani.

Your siblings like it, though.

Snow 2015

Snow 2015 Snow 2015 Snow 2015

No school for at least two days. Which is fun for the littles and stressful for the adults. I'd like a snow day, too, if it meant I got to sit around and read or watch TV. Alas.

Snow 2015

Tuesday, February 24

One year

Untitled One Year One Year

We met you a year ago today, Ani.

The list Ben and I made for the 'fridge – of all the things we wanted you to learn to do – is full of checkmarks. Talking doesn't have one, and "makes eye contact" shows improvement but isn't totally there yet. (I should add "will let me take photos." You know when I am trying to take your photo and either refuse to look or go blank face on purpose. Goose.)

Kris is in the midst of meeting with the school board to get you set up for Even Start. All of your Early Intervention therapy will transfer to that once you turn three.

You're still in a crib in our room, and Zoe is still eager to have you in her room.

You're so much better at the stairs, but I am still anxious about you descending them without someone holding your hand.

If I am in the room, you want me to be holding you. At the very least, holding your hand. (And not checking my phone or talking to your dad, either. You want sole control. I let you sequester me to the couch for hours on end, but I draw the line at not being able to check my Tumblr activity or tell your dad about a conversation I had.)


The pack-and-play is put away. Kris looks forward to ditching the high chair, but you're still mastering self-feeding, so not time for that yet.

We can't wait for spring. I wonder how you will do being outside this year.

You still don't watch TV. (Wow, could I get SO MUCH DONE when Ben was your age because he liked watching television.)

You're still drawn to books but not terribly invested in having us read them to you. (Oh, but you LOVE to go get them off the shelf.)

Dry the baby CNY 2015 Untitled

It's been a great year.

This next one will be even better.

Friday, February 20



The other day, Cash was taking a long time to get out of the van. Ben had already gone upstairs. Zoe was sharpening pencils. (Kris installed a pencil sharpener in the garage this month and on two occasions, Zoe got up early on a school morning and went downstairs to sharpen pencils.)

Ani used the extra time in the van to crawl into Zoe's seat. And then Cash went on his merry way and Ani looked at me like "so, you're, uh, gonna let me get away with this?" Because usually I'm like "it's cold, I'm tired, I want to change into my pajamas, let's go!"

She snuck between the seats and scooted herself into the space between her brothers' chairs. And it struck me that this is something I got to do with the first: let Ben have free reign to roam as he pleased. It's nice to get to do that with the last.

She crawled up to the front. I wondered if she'd pretend to drive. She did.

Enjoy it, kiddo.

With flash

Thursday, February 19

Bird by bird, buddy

Okay, let me tell you guys a Nerd Goal that I had for this year: I was going to do NaNo. As in participate in National Novel Writing Month this November. I thought maybe if I planned the whole year, I might could make this happen.

(Which, it is only February. But still. Fiction, y'know? Where you need characters and plot and premise and pacing and a cohesive narrative theme. Man. I just. Can't seem to manage all of those at once. We'll see.)

Anyway, what with NaNo on my docket, I thought "hey! I could read a book on writing!" and asked my pal Samantha for suggestions. When she suggested Bird by Bird, it was a no-brainer, because I love Anne Lamott. And then last week Iris asked how I liked the book and I thought I'd bore you guys with some of my favorite passages!

It is one of the greatest feelings known to humans, the feeling of being the host, of hosting people, of being the person to whom they come for food and drink and company. This is what the writer has to offer.

Yes. YES. I love this feeling. It is probably why I like hosting parties. And running a fan blog. I had never really thought about how writing does this, too, but oh man, it so does! (Yes, Iris, when excited about something, I really do speak in exclamation points. And italics!)

Toni Morrison said, “The function of freedom is to free someone else,” and if you are no longer wracked or in bondage to a person or a way of life, tell your story. Risk freeing someone else.

Too true.

So write about the things that are most important to you. Love and death and sex and survival are important to most of us. Some of us are also interested in God and ecology.

Vampire metaphors are important to me. I don't know why; they just are. (Werewolf ones, too.)

You want to avoid at all costs drawing your characters on those that already exist in other works of fiction. You must learn about people from people, not from what you read. Your reading should confirm what you’ve observed in the world.


I once asked Ethan Canin to tell me the most valuable thing he knew about writing, and without hesitation he said, “Nothing is as important as a likable narrator. Nothing holds a story together better.”


Writing can give you what having a baby can give you: it can get you to start paying attention, can help you soften, can wake you up.

Um, yeah.

And they may even go from wanting to have written something to just wanting to be writing, wanting to be working on something, like they’d want to be playing the piano or tennis, because writing brings with it so much joy, so much challenge. It is work and play together.

It IS. Even when just structuring something for the paper, there is joy when it comes together.

With fiction, it's this problem (for me) and I mull on it and then a piece falls into place ("oh! she has a brother, that's how..."). Work. But play.
and some of them aren’t really fast and don’t write all that well, but they still love good writing, and they just want to write.

I don't write fast. Nor particularly well. But I LOVE GOOD WRITING. And I find that me trying to write makes me appreciate good writing even more.

Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do—the actual act of writing—turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.

Yeah, perhaps I shouldn't ditch this NaNo goal quite yet...

Tuesday, February 17

Primeval fanmix for Luvconnor

Listen on 8tracks

Okay, SO. Last summer, I made a Captain Swan fanmix and dedicated it to hottsyforpottsy. I then wanted to make something for luvconnor, cause I think of them as a package deal. :)

What I wanted to make was an Evolution of Connor Temple collage: tracing his character development from college conspiracy-theorist nerd to full-fledged gun-toting, time-traveling hero. But dude, you need screencaps for that. I don't have a trove of Primeval screencaps to wade through. So I broke down and just asked luvconnor if she had a request. She said she'd like a fanmix, too.

I thought, okay, just swap the medium! A Primeval fanmix with emphasis on Connor's story arc. How hard could that be? *weeping*

This mix did not want to play along. I loved Primeval! I especially loved Le Connor Temple. WHY WAS THIS SO HARD?

Granted, some of my usual methods for procuring song ideas didn't work here. I couldn't find a list of songs actually used in the show. There are precious few Primeval fanmixes to listen to. And what works for a fanvid for the show doesn't necessarily translate well to a fanmix.

But I'm crafty, right? I can work around a dearth of sources, right? "Well, fighting dinosaurs is kinda like fighting kaiju, maybe some Pacific Rim fanmixes will help?" No. Because you fight giant aliens with dubstep, it seems, and that didn't feel like the ARC crew to me. Hmm, a lot of the Primeval peeps would probably be sorted into Gryffindor, maybe...

Luvconnor, I listened to SO MUCH MUSIC trying to make this mix. And in the end, I am still only like 80% proud of it. But it's the thought that counts, right? So here we go...

1. Primeval titles

I never found what I'd consider to be a great opening track, so I instead I cheated and went with the opening credits. Less than a minute long, but fond memories of the title cards, right?

2. "Velociraptor" by Kasabian

Velociraptor, he’s gonna find ya
He’s gonna kill ya, he’s gonna eat ya

(if the hotlinking works, all the gifs in this post are by luvconnor herself)

3. "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" by Florence + the Machine

While I was looking for songs, this came across my dash. And it's very Jurassic Park Moment, y'know? Stepping through an anomaly to see, oh, say, the Cretaceous Period.

The caveat: this album doesn't come out until June. (Music industry: how about don't release a song and not let us buy it at the same time, hmm?) So, uh, the song is (illegally) on the version I burned to a cd and will be on the 8tracks version come June, because I assume I'd basically be asking for your mix to be flagged and taken down were I to include it now.

4. "Jungle" by Platoon

Under the rocks
Down by the beach
No, I'm not, not where you
Want me

Y'know, I can't even explain this one. It just sounded like dinosaur-huntin' music to me. (Gah, do you remember how many minutes of each episode they spent chasing dinosaurs?)

5. "Eat You Alive" by The Oh Hellos

child, I'm afraid for your soul
these things that you're after, they can't be controlled
this beast that you're after will eat you alive
and spit out your bones

6. "Nothing Stays the Same" by Luke Sital-Singh

Let your guard down
Get your heart pounded
We all bleed
We all breathe
And nothing stays the same

Cutter: “It’s on you now.”
Connor: “No. No, come on we can do this together, we’ve always done it together.”
Cutter: “No. Not this time.”


7. "Dirty Paws (Live)" by Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men may not remind anybody else of Primeval, but I first heard this band around the time I watched the show, so for me the two are linked. This is for the creatures Connor & Abby keep: Rex, Sid & Nancy.

8. "Instant Crush" by Daft Punk

Think of the title of this track as referring to Abby but the vibe as Duncan:

I listened to your problems
Now listen to mine

"Duncan. What happened to you?"

"You did Connor. You happened to me."

9. "Amalfi" by Hooverphonic

You're like a real strong cup of tea
Giving me more than energy
Caffeine is just a small advance
For all the triggers that make me

Na nana nana nananana boy you make me dance

10. "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons

I really fucked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?

Oh hey, remember when Connor got caught up in Philip Burton's New Dawn scheme? Good times.

"All I ever wanted to do was to prove to Cutter that he was right to trust me."

11. "End of the World" by Ingrid Michaelson

At the end of the world
Will you find me
So that we can go together

Yep, Abby would.

12. "She's On My Arm Now" by The Cinema

Cause she's on my arm now
And we're burning shit down

Yeeeeah, who's back from the Cretaceous with the girl, huh, huh? Ready to fight for the right to take down some creatures.

13. "The One Moment" by OK Go

And this will be
The one moment that matters
And this will be
The one thing we remember

Whew. I hope you like your mix!

Wednesday, February 11

It can't be. Right?

Ani, you little goose, are you going to be left-handed too?

We were thinking Ani would balance us out: another right-handed person to offset our set of lefties. She seemed to favor her right hand for tasks.

But Ani has so many more tasks now! Eating, playing, yay! Now that she does much more, I catch her using her left hand more.

“Hey, look, she’s trying to color on the chalkboard like Cash!” With her left hand.

She takes the spoon from Kris and attempts to feed herself. With her left hand.

She can’t quite get the microphone to go back into her musical table with her right hand. So she switches and bam, it’s in.

ANOTHER lefty? How even.

Maybe she’s just trying to throw me for a loop. I wouldn’t put it past her.

Things I wish I could bottle and save: when she squeals with delight. Most recently was me mimicking some sort of noise she made. She was in my lap and babbling, it kind of went “burble, burble… burbleBURBLEBURBLE.” Getting faster and louder at the end.

I copy her sounds all the time, so I copied the getting faster and louder part, too and oh, man, she thought that was the BEST.

It is difficult to communicate with a non-verbal kid. Because I know that while she can’t tell me things, she has plenty of desires. She just can’t make them known to me.

(Of course, some she can make known and the answer is “no” and hooboy, THAT IS THE END OF THE WORLD. Because she is also 2.)

Monday, February 9

Hashtag nerd

I have some Nerding Out to do.

So I binge-watched The 100 over the holidays, right? But then I was all caught up and waiting for the show's return. Which it did, a few weeks ago. The day after the new episode aired, I got a text from one of my fandom friends asking if I'd watched it yet. I answered that I'd have to wait a week for it to be added to Hulu.

But look, when a fangirl wants to talk about something, WAITING will not do. So she sent me her Hulu Plus log-in so I could watch it without delay. I promptly did and kept us both up past our bedtime, because, duh, of course I had to text her all my thoughts, right?

Now for two weeks in a row, she's stayed up a little late on Thursday to watch the new ep and then I get up early on Friday morning to do the same. (Ben and Cash came down to see me sitting in front of the TV and asked "did you stay up all night?") And then of course we message all day about it. As you do.

Okay, nerdy thing #2: these days, I only make a new Alice graphic when the blog reaches another 100 followers. As it passed the 750 mark, I thought "hmm, I want to do something with that line 'this is a dangerous place...'" So I made this:

I stuck it in the queue and then it was a race to see if the blog would hit 800 followers before the graphic posted. (It was at 799 when the graphic went live but by day's end, it was up to 801.) I think it had maybe 75 notes when pottsfanatic reblogged it.

But not only did the graphic get a boost in notes — five new followers were a direct result of her reblog. So I sent her a note in thanks. And she said "My pleasure, it’s a lovely graphic. It also seems as if Pottsy has seen it as well. :) So congrats on that too."

It linked to ALP's fan Facebook page, but I had never friended that so I couldn't see what she was talking about. I sent a friend request, but what did I just say about fangirls and waiting???

LUCKILY, I am friends with hottsyforpottsy on FB and I cajoled her into sending me a screencap.

Kris had to listen to me jabber all evening about how excited fandom makes me.