Friday, September 23, 2011

The Friday Letter for my daughter

Dear Baby girl,

Well, little bean, you are three and a half months old today.  No, I haven't written you other letters before now.  Mostly because I'm just now rediscovering the meaning of the words "regular sleep cycle" and "quiet."  Since I'm mentioning it my darling, would you mind not waking up an hour after I go to bed, every single night?  I don't know how you do it, as I go to bed anywhere between one and four a.m., but it never, EVER fails that you will wake up ten minutes after I've fallen asleep. Frankly, you've done it far too many times for it to be mere coincidence.  Mommy loves you a lot more when she gets sleep. 

Also, you're a little more interesting now than you were when you were born.  You smile and you giggle now. You're working on learning how to use your vocal chords for something besides screaming your head off, though if I'm honest, I can't wait until you progress past squawking.

You've got a strawberry mark at the base of your skull where it meets the spinal chord.  I like kissing you there.  It's my secret spot, so don't tell Daddy.

You were a bit horrible today.  Everything was fine right up until we left the Teeter.  You see, I figured you would be getting hungry and we should go home before I hit Sam's Club for a brief break.  This is normally a wise plan. You ate, got changed, and seemed happy to sit in your little chair. Then for some reason, one of your brain switches got flipped, and you went ballistic.  Full-on Baby Rage with the red face, ear-piercing decibels, and heart-breakingly adorable baby tears.  Rocking, walking, sitting, soothie, breast-feeding, diaper, - all failed.  You refused to be soothed.  After thirty minutes, I gave up and put you in the car seat to head to Sam's, hoping the car ride would put you to sleep.

You went to sleep one minute before I pulled into the parking space.  You did not appreciate my having to wake you up and put you in the Maya wrap.  Though, I will admit your talent for comedic timing is already well-developed.  You'd paused to rest a few seconds as I went in the door.  I'd hoped you were done expressing your rage at whatever was making you so furious. The greeter leaned over to peek at you, and got a full face of screaming angry baby as you picked right up again.  I managed not to laugh, though I wanted to, even as I apologized.  On the other hand, I've never gotten passed through line so fast in my life.

You fell asleep in the car again, and I turned the radio off so I could see if the ringing in my ears had stopped.  It hadn't, but I still considered it an improvement.  When we got home, I begged your father to take you for an hour, so I could go make oatmeal raisin cookies, and not dwell on the evils my uterus had brought upon the world for a few minutes.  In retrospect, I should have realized that you would not be so easily thwarted, as you blew up in Baby Rage at Daddy.  For thirty minutes.  Eventually, you tired yourself out and went to sleep in the pillow nest on the couch.  We all rejoiced.  The cats came out of hiding.  Your father and I had cookies, and carefully avoided looking over at you in case the weight of our gaze woke you up.

When you did wake up, it was all Jekyll.  Super sweet baby with smiles for everyone, willing to cuddle quietly, laughing during your bath, and smiling at your reflection while you were wrapped up in your pink dolphin towel.  You really are an adorable baby, but don't expect me to enter you in any beautiful baby competitions.  Those things creep me right out.  Tonight we read Dr. Seuss's "You don't know how lucky you are!", and you even went right to sleep after I put you in the crib with your music and mobile going.

Just so you know, I'm not falling for it. 


(Also, I'm still getting used to the idea that *I* am the one responsible for raising a baby human.  Hopefully you'll turn into a moral person with a sense of joy, and the ability to pursue your happiness.  Everything else is negotiable.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Keep on Truckin'

Perking right along.

Gym time today, with less muscle-ache afterwards.  An excellent nap.  And I've gotten 7,451 words added to the story.  Granted I'd written most of them already, but I'm now at the point where tomorrow night, I can start adding in the new material.

And the baby is still healthy and acting like a baby, though she's discovered that she has vocal chords to make noises aside from primal screaming for food or diapers.  She's turned into a duck. 


"Yes sweetie, Mommy still loves you."


"You've been squawking for the last forty-five minutes.  Aren't you getting tired?"


"No, you say.  Do you know how hard it is for mommy to concentrate while you're making irregular squawking noises at unpredictable intervals?"


"I just can't wait until you're a teenager."

*Big spit-bubble smile, with giggles and a flung pacifier.*

"Yes, you're adorable."


Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's working so far!

The new routine of writing at night is working out fairly well.  I've been able to regularly get some writing done at night, after Husband of Doom and Babygirl have gone to bed.  I am cautiously optimistic.

I went to the gym on Monday to lift weights for the first time in three months.  I may have been a little over-optimistic as regards my capacity, because I have been limping around the house the last two days whimpering every time something requiring me to use either my quadriceps, shoulders, arms, or calves.

Babygirl seemed to know Mommy was hurting because she all of a sudden decided she needed cuddling.  And walking. ALL DAY. 

This does not bode well for her teenage years if she can already zero in on my weaknesses.  She's lucky she's cute and that baby tears with a pouty lower lip of utter sadness is heartbreaking. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Staying motivated.

It is really difficult for me to stay motivated on a long term goal.  I opened my novel this afternoon during a blessed few hours while the baby slept, and I could not write a single word.  I managed eventually to throw in a few notes about what I wanted to accomplish with the scene, but my brain was completely blank.

My biggest problem is that I have yet to manage to establish a routine, something that has always in the past been my route to productivity. The baby is particularly unhelpful in allowing me to carry out my plan for the day, which is driving me up the wall.  I may plan to spend the day writing, going to the store for vital groceries, hit the gym for some weight time, rake the yard, and finish spackling the cracks in the wall, but if the baby is clingy or having a temperamental day where she is not willing to let Mommy out of her sight, that entire plan gets shafted.  I might manage to get the groceries, but the rest is just not happening.  By the time SuperHusb gets home, after a 12 hour day saving lives and burning adrenaline, we're both exhausted, and just want to either vegetate or spend time together. And thus my day is shot, and I get mad at myself for failing at the "butt in chair time."

My other problem is that I can't decide on an approach to my writing.  Do I finish the fantasy story I'm tempted to test the self-pub waters with, or do I finish polishing and re-polishing and oh-god-I'm-still-polishing the first novel?   Have I polished it into oblivion?  I've never gotten it to the point where I was happy with it as a novel, and I feel deep in my gut that I should at least try to get it there, before I allow myself to move on to the next one.

I suppose all writers feel this way.  The bitter slog of writing, the frustration when the words won't come in those fifteen free minutes you have between feeding and the diaper, the anger when they finally show up just in time for the kid to have a blowout requiring a bath and complete change of clothing, and they flitter off, unwilling to wait.  I've just got to figure out how to adapt.  Right now, I'm thinking my prime writing time is going to be after 9 p.m., when the baby's gone to bed, and the husband and I have had two hours to spend time together, and I'm going to save the days for all the house chores / baby stuff, and not spend all day stewing in hopeful frustration.  I'm just going to make myself crazier that way.

I will be published some day, I will be published some day.. I think I can, I think I can..

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Revision hell

So I rewrote a chapter of the mystery novel upon the suggestion of my writer's group.  I'd glossed over a prison interview scene, and they nailed me for it.  I've also never been happy with the opening.  Never.

My first opening had been in media res, and it was too abrupt a drop into the action without the introduction of the characters or scene.  I tried changing the moment it was in the middle of the action before I realized that it just didn't work. (Reading over multiple mystery novel openings has convinced me of the error of my ways.)  So I wrote another opening this afternoon out of nowhere, and I think it works a little better, but I'm really interested to see what my WG buds think.

1612 words today, despite spending an hour or two reading blogs about self-publishing and opening a twitter account.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cooking experiment! Lemongrass Curry London Broil

Given:  London Broil, artichokes, lemongrass curry powder, chopped spinach

What would you make?

I made a marinade of lemongrass curry, thyme, lemon pepper, rice vinegar, and a little bit of soy sauce, and soaked the london broil in it for thirty minutes in a glass pie dish.  Popped the pie dish in the oven at broil for 5 minutes on one side, and five on the other, before pulling it out to let it rest before I sliced it against the grain.

Served over whole grain brown rice (I mixed a spoonful of Better than Beef bouillon into the water it was cooking in) with chopped spinach mixed with canned artichoke hearts.  It came out surprisingly good.  The beef took on the lemony flavor and was tangy and delicious, the curry marinade poured over the rice and spinach was delicious.

I win!