Friday, March 30, 2007


Not a good day for Arthur. He must be growing because he's been extra clumsy today. I fear we may be entering the Frankenstein Era of his toddlerhood, as he's gotten a collection of scrapes over the last week.

At leaste he still has a "good side" to photograph...


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Uh, Houstin?

Yesterday we discovered that Arthur can count. To sixteen. I knew he could count to twelve, but sixteen?

Our eleven year old friend Robbie said, "Sixteen? I couldn't count to ten when I was five."

OK. We do help him a little by alternating numbers. He doesn't really know what he's saying, as Mark will demonstrate by holding up four fingers and asking Arthur how many are up. The answer is almost always, "Two!" Mark usually goes on to say something like, "All this proves is that he's got a toy that counts up to ten for him."

I guess it's time to break out the number lines.

Writing Goals

+ Mailed Write-O-Rama story to Eric so he can send it to our Guest Editor
+ Printed out a very rough draft (still no ending) of "Lapis Heron"
+ Did about a forty-five minutes worth of line edits on the printed draft (away from home)

Thursday (big family day -- lots of fun)
+ Re-wrote the dues ex machina part on the palm-top somewhere on I-5.

"Lapis Heron" is getting there; the characters seem a little two dimensional, though.

I'm closing out an old ISP account (should have done it ages ago), and it's taking longer than I thought to get everything transfered from the old servers. A lot of it is really old e-mails, and I've deleted quite a bunch... but there's some that I'd like to keep. I guess I'm a data pack-rat.

Monday, March 26, 2007

John's Writing Progress

Went to print out *Sky Dance* and discovered (after fiddling with power and data cables) that I don't have enough paper. I'll have to buy some tomorrow so I can make my drop-dead deadline for mailing it out to Eric.

Managed to get John Goodwin's newspaper clipping together and will mail it tomorrow morning before Scary Reading Hour.

Mark was great and entertained Arthur this evening. Got further in the *Lapis Heron*. Realized I'd put in a Dues Ex Machina and now I have to take it out. And write the conclusion. And double-check my character's emotional calculus.

Arthur's cutting a secondary bicuspid (it looks like he's getting a left vampire fang). Between going to Scary Reading Hour, visiting my Grandmother, and buying paper, I have a feeling that going to Wordos is the only "writing activity" that I'm going to get done tomorrow (unless the nap fairy comes).

- John

Christine Lavin Understudy

Scene: The local super market. John is pushing Arthur through the Isle of Wickedness.

John: (Looking at yet another potato chip bag marked "no salt" in between two others marked "sea salt and vinegar" and "salt and pepper"). Where are the ones that are marked 'salted' or even 'extra salt?' (Contemplates chocolate) Gee, I guess I really do want potato chips dipped in chocolate."

Arthur: (Loudlly) "Cwrack!"

John: "What? (recalling the Christine Lavin song, 'Stop Your Sobbing,' wherein the ex-spouse is described as an 'potato chips dipped in chocolate then crack'). Um. Potato chips dipped in chocolate ?"

Arthur: "Cwrack! Cwrack! CWRACK!"

At least it wasn't "Meth!" he was shouting.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Christ Died for This?

Mark and Arthur hopped into Mark's truck and went on a trip. I got lots of gardening done -- I placed a paver ring around our ornamental cherry and (finally) planted iris. I also got about two hours in on a short story that I want to send to Sword and Sorceress.

Mark and Arthur returned from their adventures with emergency cat food (Fred Meyers was having a sale). . . . and an Easter (ahem) toy -- a small animatronic rabbit-ear wearing chicken that fills the entire house with the "music" of The Chicken Dance. Somewhere along the way Arthur has learned to place his hands under his arms and flap like a barnyard bird. I don't have all the details, but apparently, Arthur entertained a very large shopping establishment for ten minutes.

I can see that I'm going to have to get a copy of Switched on Brandenburgs and The Well Tempered Synthesizer to counteract all the "musical" toys Mark keeps buying for Arthur.

I suppose asking for your prayers for weak batteries would be wrong. Uh, send earplugs?

Can't Read Giraffes

Last night there was bed time trauma.

Mark was reading Giraffes Can't Dance to Arthur. We've been reading this book to Arthur for about a year now, but last night we got to page three. Gerald the Giraffe runs in an illustration, trips and falls on his face. Mark added sound effects and said, "Oh no, is Gerald hurt?" Arthur's face turned beet red and he started crying. After Mark and I schooled our faces, we quickly turned to the end of the book where Gerald is having a better time.

"At least Arthur's not a sociopath," said Mark after Arthur had fallen asleep. Apparently we can't read The Bear Snores On because some of the animals are tucked into the bear's arm to nap and it looks a little like they've been decapitated (I guess -- at least that's the reason we can't read Cat's Colors, either).

"It's wild," said Mark. "He understands what death is."

"I don't know," I said. "He knows when someone is 'broken.'" (And for some reason he thinks it's "funny" when skateboarders wipe out.)

I suppose we won't teach him 'If I should die before I wake." Or he Monster Song. We will, however, start straight away on the song Sensitivity from Once Upon a Matress.

Friday, March 23, 2007


At first I thought Arthur wanted to go to a bookstore. He kept saying "Borders, Borders." But then he followed it up with a hearty "Dude!" and Mark explained that he and Arthur had seen a bunch of skateboarders at the park. "Dude!" is up there on the list of Arthur's favorite words.

In other word news, Arthur was very excited the other night and kept saying, "Give. Guys. Hats. Sticker." Apparently the security folks -- who wear wide brimmed hats -- for the Lane Transit District gave Arthur a junior police sticker for his vest when Mark and Arthur rode the bus for entertainment Tuesday night.

Arthur seems to be going through some sort of growth spurt or else he's cutting molars. He's fallen asleep at 9:30 AM twice this week (about two hours ahead of his normal nap time), and he's been going from zero to sixty to zero to sixty a lot. On the "engages in symbolic play" front, this afternoon as were were playing outside, he decided that the trunk of his kid-sized plastic car was the mail slot in our front door. For about five minutes he brought me imaginary mail from out of the trunk, and I handed him imaginary mail from my pocket for him to put into the 'mail slot.'

Then he got bored and found a trowel to throw around and a rake handle to trip over.

Our back yard is looking better; although I've noticed that my potted dwarf rose has a bunch of aphids on it. I found a wild ladybug in the grass next to rose, but when I placed the ladybug near the aphids, it scuttled to the end of the plant and flew off. Hmph. So much for natural pest control.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sixteen Minutes of Babbling

I made the front page of the local newspaper along with fellow Wordo Damon Kaswell.

The article is here (requires registration).

It was lots of fun being interviewed. Damon and I met the reporter at Tsunami Books. I had Arthur with me; so I thought maybe Arthur would make the paper, too. Mark came in half-way into the interview and Arthur and he explored the bookstore (I thought maybe Mark might make the news, too; but since he's not a writer, he didn't).

Having read the (edited) article and compared it to my memory, I've decided I need to sit down and work out sound-byte answers to various questions so I don't rattle on like Hobbit going on about geneology.
  • When did you first start writing?

    In 1982 -- I got bored with my high school English vocabulary assignment and incorporated the weekly assigned words into short stories.

  • What kind of stories do you write?

    Stories wherin the protagonist must make a choice about how to live.

  • Who are your favorite authors?

    Ursula K Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles de Lint, and Jane Yolen.

I'm sure there are more, but I need to get to work on a story while the house is quiet.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

You Are Getting Sleepy

The last few days have been a bit of a blur. Arthur has been really cranky, going from zero to sixty to zero to sixty to zero. He's also been waking up at ungodly hours. I think there might be a tooth involved. It got so bad that Saturday we took him to the doctor to make sure that the problem wasn't his ears (he'd been on antibiotics a few weeks earlier for a slight ear infection). The doctor at the Saturday clinic pronounced his ears "dull" but not infected (and therefore not the source of Arthur's frequent and violent mood swings).

When it's mostly sunny and in the seventies, like today, the best solution seems to be to let him run loose at a park. I have a feeling a giant hamster wheel may be looming for those rainy days. On bad days, when Arthur doesn't get what he wants -- oh the high drama! -- I suppose that it's wrong to want to laugh when he hits his forehead on the floor (on purpose) and then says, "Youch!"

On the other hand, when he's not having a melt-down, Arthur's one of the most even-tempered kids I've met -- I don't know too many twenty-two month olds who would put up with fourty-five minutes of seeing a home show from a backpack.

This weekend was a domestic weekend. Mark was a sweetie and put a cap on our chimney; the chimney swifts wont be happy, but at least we wont have to listen to baby swifts being fed at odd hours of the day. We also did yard maintainence, and I think the drabness of last year was due in part from neglect from the house's previous tenants. We're taking a wait-and-see approach to the yard; once we've figured out what everything is, I think we'll remove a few odd choices in shrub placement and only add sunflowers, irises and strawberries to the current plantings.

This evening Mark watched Arthur while I got to speak as the neopagan speaker at a Interfaith Prayer and Reflection Service. It was interesting and educational. There were several times when the dome of the church the service was held in reflected conversations into my ears and it was all I could do not to say, "I can hear you." I'll have to work that into a story...

My presentation was a four minute guided meditation on air, fire, water and earth. I worried that it would be too rushed to be meaningful, but my radio voice saved me. (Afterwards, several folks wondered if I worked in radio and two more jokingly wanted to know if I had any hypnosis tapes.) The event was well received and I think CUUPs might see a jump in interest.

Well... off to bed so that when Arthur wakes up at an ungodly hour (on daylight savings time) I'll be coherant.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

W is for Weasle

Whew... uploading this to Google took forever. I don't know why the uploader kept dying on me, and eventually had to visit the web page for uploading. I'm not sure the video quality is as good as the first one video; I'll have to write down what I do each time. A minute, two and a half minutes, three minutes, three and a half minutes are the funnier parts of this video. Have fun.

Monday, March 05, 2007

W is for Wicked

Scene: Arthur's room. John is gathering materials to change Arthur's diaper.

Arthur (entering from the living room): "Table. Sit."

John: "What?"

Arthur: "Sit. Cat."

John: "What, are you telling me that the cat is being wicked and is sitting on the table?"

Arthur: "Wicked."

John (going to the dining room table): "Thank you, Arthur. Muriel! You wicked thing --"

Arthur: "Wicked."

John (snapps fingers): "Off of the table."

Muriel sullenly jumps down to a chair....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Flashcards & Memory

Arthur, Mark and I went to Corvallis to visit with Grandma today. When we got to the nursing home parking lot, Arthur said "Maggie!" Mark and I spent a few moments trying to figure out Maggies in Arthur's life (OK, actually, I was trying to stop the replay of the really irritating Maggie May song by Rod Stewart that plays in my head whenever I hear the name...)

"Oh," Mark said. "Maggie the Beagle!" Arthur had met a Beagle last week when we were visiting Grandma and he was remembering the dog's name.

Grandma was the most lucid I've seen her in years (although she was sort of scooting around in the nursing home hallway in her wheelchair trying to figure out where her room was). We played a flashcard game with her; we'd give her a card with an animal on it and she was supposed to ask Arthur the name of the animal or what noise it made. Arthur got a little fixated on the owl, and said that cats go "whoo-whoo." He does know how to say "eagle," probably because eagles are on the sides of US Postal Trucks.

We visited for about an hour, then went and visited with my folks. They seemed to be in good spirits. I helped my dad move a chair to Grandma's new foster home while Mom and Mark watch Arthur re-arrange all the furniture on Mom's deck. Arthur got to feed Sierra the German Shepherd a dog treat, and generally lounged all over her. Other hightlights of the day included spotting two deer, a helicopter on a helipad outside Monmouth, and driving by Independence's really cool old bank.