Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Cell Phones

Still no word from WOTF and the various web sites discussing the contest remain silent on the subject of the 2006 Q4 winners. I amused myself by pretending to be a paranoid delusional writer when one of the Wordos asked, "So, you hear anything from Writers of the Future?"

"What do you mean?" I asked, grabbing his jacket lapels. "What do you know? Tell me, TELL ME!!"

After Wordos, I came home and our new cell phones had arrived (Mark's old one refused to charge properly, requiring hours of charging for minutes of use; and mine gradually refused to connect to any cells to such a point that I couldn't receive any calls).

My new phone is huge. I guess that it was inevitable, but it takes photos and video. You can also flip it open to reveal a keyboard and a kind of joystick. For a small fee, I'm pretty sure I can get more internet connectivity than the computer I'm currently using to type this. About the only thing that it wont do is talk to the Macintosh... oh well, time to enter in phone numbers again.

Arthur woke up again at 5:45 this morning. I'm hoping this isn't a permanent switch, because I'm not much of a morning person. I amused him by taking him to the local grocery story and showing him the chickens rotating over an open flame. He still asked for "Itty-Itty Bang-Bang" as we left for some bananas.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Then the phone rang...

Yesterday afternoon around 3 the phone rang. It wasn't WOTF; it was my sister. We had a nice chat about my dad's birthday and made some plans for president's day.

Last night around 7 the phone rang. It wasn't WOTF; it was some realator asking if we might be interested in selling our house in the next 18 months. I thought about all the painting we've done, the furniture rearanging, and the fact that we're still in recovery from moving and then I laughed, "I don't think so." When I told Mark, he asked, "How much were they offering? I'd sell this house if they offered us enough." I don't think Mark saw me cringe.

Arthur woke up this morning at 5:30. Luckily I went to be early-ish last night and Mark was already up so he fed Arthur French toast and a whole lot of other foods. I got up earlier than I normally do and took a shower so I could take over when Mark left for work.

As the sun rose, I read about five books to Arthur. We watched the red rectangle the sun painted on his bedroom wall and dancing rainbows from the leaded crystals. Around 9 the phone rang. It wasn't WOTF; it was the folks with our new sink and they wanted to deliver it. Arthur fell asleep a little later (he's about two hours ahead of his normal schedule), and I had time to clear some space in the garage for the new counters.

When the phone isn't ringing I try to remind myself that there are eight or so finalists and only one first place; so -- all things being equal -- I have about a 1 in 8 chance of placing first, and a 3 in 8 chance of placing, period. Then I distract myself by contemplating octahedrons. I'll have to dig out my old D&D dice.

Monday, January 29, 2007

From the TMI Department

We gave up.

After about a week of hoping that Muriel would use the cat box in the garage (and cleaning up afterwards) we got a small litter box that we can wedge into our small bathroom. I suppose that it's useful to have the box so close to the toilet. What's weird is that she's figured out that the food is in the garage -- I can't figure out what was keeping her from using the cat box there. And she's certainly figured out how to rattle the cat door to achieve maximum sleep disrupting effect. Oh well. Muriel is truly an irritating creature in the shape of a cat.

In more pleasant news, I continue to marvel at how deeply the winter sun penetrates into the house now that we've removed that aluminum awning. I can only conclude that the previous home owners were trolls, or only lived here during the months of July and August.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Going Insane

OK. Mark says that waiting for the WOTF results is driving me insane.

I did some Google searches, and the latest thing I've heard is that the contest administrators didn't have judging results last Wednesday, but that they were expecting them as early as next week (i.e. tomorrow). So... I suppose that if you want to call and ask, you should call Mark on his cell phone. If you call our house line, you'll probably get me; I promise to not sound dashed when I realize you're not WOTF.

On the Domestic Front

Yesterday we went to Corvallis to visit my folks on my Dad's birthday. The night before I made a chocolate mousse, and we brought it down in our faboulus Denby Storm Ramkins. Although I poured all the chocolate into the custard instead of the other way around, the mousse came out okay, if a bit less creamy.

I took a series of unfortunate photos of Arthur and my Grandmother (she was having a bad hair day), but I did get a good shot of him in the Corvallis waterfront park area. Arthur is going through some crazy sort of growth spurt or something -- his sleep schedule has been all over. He really likes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and pesters us all day to watch it. Right now we're limiting his video viewing to no more than fifteen minutes at a time and we try to only watch videos once a day. That doesn't stop him from yelling out "Itty Bam Bam!" all the time; usually when he sees a car or when I'm surrounded by people who wonder where my infant learned how to swear. I prefer it when he says, "Chootchie," which is his request for the Baron and Baroness's song and dance routine.

Earlier in the week it had been up in the mid fifties, but yesterday and today have been a bit cooler and windier. Yesterday, I took off the awning over the dining room window. I did have one of those "stupid houseowner moments" where I was unscrewing the top screws of the awning while the ladder I was standing on was leaning up against the awning -- note to self: yes you really should leave the top two corner screws in place. Luckily, I escaped with only skinned knuckles when the awning (and the ladder and me) slipped. The result was worth it, though -- our dining room area is now flooded with light. Before, that area was like a cave; now I think we'll only have to use the dining area light on cloudy days or at night. I can feel my seasonal depression lifting already.

Mark and I have plans for the back yard, too. I think we're going to rip out a bunch of the uglier and ill-placed shrubs. I'm going to move the herbs (and their attendant bees) away from the patio area and to the sides of the yard. We have to figure out something for the patio, too; right now it's sort of like a landing strip with a tin roof over it. I want to figure out some elegant shade on the west side for when it's too sunny in the summer time and some storage benches so it doesn't look like a toy store delivery truck crashed in our back yard.

Still no word from Writers of the Future. Any day, now.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wild, Wild French

I don't know how he did it. I turned my back on Arthur for a moment, and when I looked again, he had taken off his left green rubber boot, put it on his high chair tray, then stuck his bottle into it. I'm not sure if he was pretending to be from the Wild West or the opening of a French opera. So of course I grabbed the camera and started snapping photos.

It wasn't until I had a few that I noticed the potatoe and other food in the tread of his boot. Luckily, there wasn't too much food on his tray, and I reasoned that if he had managed to get the boot on the tray in the first place, that he was probably finished eating anyway.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Mark wins an award for dealing with the cat this morning at 4. During the clean up, Arthur woke up hungry and Mark fed him a lot. Arthur's going through a growth spurt; he's currently in the Buddha stage and I expect that he'll convert his extra fat into height in a week or two. And in the "rhymes-with-Buddha" department, Arthur's favorite cheese (at least this morning) is Gouda.

I managed to write for about an hour last night -- forgot to get a word count. I got an insight into the story just before I turned out the light; thank goodness for palm pilots by the bed. I'm still waiting to hear from Writers of the Future, but it will probably be next week before they call.

After a week of ice and snow, it's up to the 50's here. Yesterday Arthur and I did a little bit of landscaping, so now we have a step off of the west end of the patio. Oops, Arthur's stirring and we have to go to Scary Reading Hour soon.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Muriel's Hair Salon

OK. One would think that having used her cat box once in its new location in the garage, Muriel would be able to find it again. Don't cats have honed senses that allow them to find things? Anyway, at something like 4:30 AM I heard Muriel rustling around and making the random cat trill. I woke up a little bit when she jumped up on our pillow, and I really woke up when I smelled juniper. In my hair.

This is simply more proof that Muriel is an irritating, useless creature in the shape of a cat; and I'm a few steps closer to selling her to science or the World Weekly News.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Anti Valentines

Forbidden Zone

It's finally happened: this afternoon we've moved Arthur's crib out of our bedroom and into his very own room. Mark's a little emotional about it and I had to break into my secret chocolate stash to console him. At the risk of sounding unfeeling, let's just say that this morning was a little bit like "S is for Sunday" from "Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book," so I'm looking forward to Arthur having his own room. The most practical benefit is that our closet isn't blocked by the crib.

In order for Arthur to have his own room, we had to move the cat food and litter box into the garage, which meant we had to cut a pet door. I'm hoping that this will not air condition the kitchen too much. Muriel seems to have figured out what to do, but that hasn't stopped her from complaining about it to us.

We've also had to rearrange all sorts of things this weekend, as Arthur's room was previously "The Forbidden Room," where we kept fragile things. And heavy things with high centers of gravity. And pots filled with plants and dirt. And CDs.

Eventually all the forbidden things will move into our bedroom.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Spin, Art Boy!

Arthur has entered the verb phase of his development. He's very much into opening and closing things, and kicking and spinning.

Mark has a ballerina jewel box, and Arthur commands us daily by saying "Pin!" (spin) to wind it up and open it so he can see the spinning ballerina twirl in front of a triangular mirror to the sound of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." He's just getting to the point where he can spin in a circle by himself.

Arthur has also become very attached to a picture of one of my relatives, Steve, taken during a Thanksgiving Hat Contest. I made up a mini photo album of my family at one point to take back east to show Mark's family. Steve is wearing a hat made up of snowmen, and Arthur must think the carrot noses look like beaks, because he'll make the signs for "bird" and "book" and won't settle down until we've gone to Steve's page.

Arthur likes drawing with crayons, and particularly likes it when we draw the moon for him; and he was very thrilled when I drew a picture of his other obsession, "Itty Bam Bam!" (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). So far we've managed to keep the crayons on paper. He managed to draw a two this morning, and all though he pointed it out, I'm not sure if he drew it on purpose or simply recognized it afterwards.

There's still some snow and ice on the ground here, and as Arthur has a slight cold, we haven't been going out much. We do make it to the store two blocks away to replenish our supplies of bananas. I'll be glad when it's safe enough to drive to the library without having to worry about unseasoned Oregonian drivers.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


We got about two inches of snow at our house last night, and the interstate in our area is being described as "a skating rink." I think Arthur likes the snow, but he's had a cold the last couple of days, so I didn't really let him play in it much. And it appears that the neighborhood kids have put up a two-faced snow person in the middle of our street that blocks our driveway, so I'll have to go attend to it before Arthur wakes up.

In Writers of the Future news, I querried:

Is there any news on the finalist judging?
When I'm awake, I tell myself, "no news is
good news," but when I'm asleep I have
various dreams about the contest, the
latest being that I won "Miss Congeniality"
and then my roses got thrown away.

and got the reply:

Not to worry, your roses haven't been thrown
away! Judging is still in progress. We expect
results back within the next 1 - 2 weeks.
So hang tight.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


On this date in 2006 I came out to my folks. I was driving them to the airport, and twenty minutes after coming out to them, they had to hop onto an airplane for a five day vacation. Yeah, probably not the best strategy...

Today, Mark, Arthur and I went to my folks to help them take down their Christmas tree. It's a large, artificial one; and despite Mark and my Dad's efforts to use a winch to compress the artificial limbs against the artifical trunk, it no longer fits in the shipping boxes it came in.

Our tree is still up. For a few weeks, our tree was simply eight strings of lighs hanging from a ceiling hook. It looked sleek. Then we added a potted tree and the ensemble looks like hell. I think either the tree or the lights alone would have been fine, but we didn't know that until the whole thing was up.

Still haven't heard from WotF. No news is good news at this point and I'm free to imagine that the judges have placed my story in first place and are arguing about which stories are second and third.

I found a new way to use my time on the web: LibraryThing. I figure that I've got about a third of my library entered. You can see a random selection of book covers to your right.

Arthur and Mark are well. Arthur broke my glasses yesterday when he grabbed the stem (I had to fix the frames where a screw had popped out). So a new word in his vocabulary is "broken," and it was one of the first things he said to Mark when he came home from work. Arthur didn't quite get it that my glasses were fixed, and kept pointing at them and saying "broken." Then I made the mistake of saying that I needed my glasses because my eyes were broken (I guess I should have said that I have an astigmatism). He really didn't get it when I told him that the glasses fixed my eyes, and demanded to feel my eyes.

Mark says that he's learned my scowl.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Still a Finalist


Still no word from WotF.

On Dec 28 I had my first Finalist Anxiety Dream: I dreamt Joni Labaqui, the WotF Contest Director, wasn't really the Contest Director at all, but some sort of literary grifter. I hadn't really reached finalist status, it was all a confidence scam to get into my bank account and steal my identity.

I guess I'm going to have to watch what I eat before going to sleep.

Even though I know some of my fellow Wordos from the year's previous quarters had to wait a really long time (OK, four weeks) to hear about how their stories placed, I kind of hoped that the e-mail that said I'd hear from them "in the next few days" meant within the next seven days. Yeah, I know, it's an unrealistic expectation, especially given the holidays. Still I secretly thought I might receive a New Year's Eve phone call.

So. Now I wait and try not to visit The WotF Blog Site too many times a day and try not to count unhatched chickens.