This weekend’s been a mixed bag. On the plus side: I slept some, the cake was really good, my friend Christian is in town, and we got to visit Jes and Eric. The down? Work, work, more work, kid being impossible…the usual.

I got into this completely pointless sort-of argument with my friend this afternoon about a mutual friend who had killed himself years ago, and seriously, why do I not just keep my mouth shut about stuff like this? It’s not anyone else’s fault that I have an irrational pet peeve about canonizing the dead. It’s not helpful to point out that maybe the deceased wasn’t the stand-up guy everyone seems to (now) refer to him as. (You can tell I’m upset because my sentence structure has gone all to hell.)

So I feel kind of bad about that, and even worse about the fact that I drank wine, because now my head hurts and I have no one to blame but myself.

But: there were chickens.

ellison and chicken

back to basics

Why’d I call myself Cranky Mama again? Oh, right.

Here’s a list of this week’s peeves:

  • Yes, I can probably build that website faster than you can. No, that does not mean I will do it for 1/16th of my stated estimate because you ‘think that’s what it should cost.’ I post my rates prominently on my business site; if you can’t afford to hire a designer, don’t hire a designer.
  • That said, don’t come crying to me when your website looks like crap.
  • Especially if I did do you a favor and make some tweaks to your site on the cheap, which is RARELY A GOOD IDEA, so remind me of that next time, yes? 
  • Although sometimes it works out gorgeously, which lulls me into a false sense of security. 
  • Dear Public: Maybe you do not use the same internet I use. Because my internet gives me the ability to fact-check, while yours apparently just supports every crazy-ass idea that comes into your head. You should use my internet next time.
  • And on an unrelated note, having a long torso means low-rise trousers look terrible on me. Yet what is in all my drawers? LOW RISE, YOU HAVE WON THIS ROUND.
  • Hair. Specifically my hair, and the fact that it does not do what I want it to do. Why you got to be like that, hair? I style you. I buy you expensive shampoo. What more do you want from me?

Oh, but it’s not all doom and gloom at Chez Cranky! No sir and/or madam, there are plenty of reasons to put on a party hat and dance like the devil, and here I shall enumerate:

  • Easter candy. YES I SAID IT. Creme Eggs, people. I am just depraved enough to kidnap me a Cadbury bunny.
  • My kid woke up in the middle of the night and said quite clearly “The dinosaur doesn’t eat that. Okay, mama?”
  • Also: “Row, row, row your boat / gently down the drain…”
  • Clearance at Target = closetful of cute clothes for me. Yay Target.
  • I solved the Scone Issue that has been plaguing me and now have freshly-baked scones upon which to gorge. Burp.
  • I have mostly wrapped my head around floats (in CSS). Shut up, it’s exciting to me.
  • My new MacBook is all that and a bag of chips. It’s so sexy I keep having to stop myself from making out with it.
  • I’m almost up to 80,000 words on my book.
  • And stuff.

So, see, I am balanced. BALANCED I TELL YOU. Now be quiet: I’m hunting wabbit.


6 random things

newborn me1. If I’d been a boy, my name would have been Jeffrey David.
2. My parents were sure they were having a boy. So sure, in fact, that they hadn’t discussed girl names.
3. I was named after my father’s dead ex who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend while on the phone with her alcoholic mother. Why my own mother went for this, I will never know. Perhaps after the 70s-era C-Section she was disinclined to be picky.
4. My mother claimed she wanted to name me Alison, after the character in The Magus, but it’s my mother, so: grain of salt.
5. I would have like to have been named Alison. Also Sara, Julie, Susan, or (briefly) my old middle name, Diane.
6. When we got married, we both changed our middle and last names. So there! (I have the same first name as always, though…clearly I didn’t think that one through.)

butterflies are free

Butterflies remember caterpillar experiences. Am I the only one who finds this ridiculously evocative? Imagine what it would be like to have memories of being an entirely different creature. I wonder if they’re dim or vivid. Are butterflies self-aware? I sort of hope not, since the tests that brought this discovery to light are somewhat unpleasant.

Tobacco hornworm moths (Manduca sexta) revealed that they could remember pain stimuli they had experienced as a caterpillar

Butterflies remember caterpillar experiences – life – 05 March 2008 – New Scientist

So I guess the question is, what sort of memories does the butterfly have? An instinct-like aversion? A Pavlovian response to the negative stimuli? Or does the butterfly remember how, as a caterpillar, it learned a trick, and if it tries really hard, it can still do it?

I have the power, except when I don’t

Hi, I’m Adam, Prince of Eternia, defender of the secrets of…er, no.

Where was I? Oh yeah. I blow-dried my hair the other day. Big deal, you say – but what you don’t realize is that I haven’t actually blow-dried my hair the entire time we’ve lived in this apartment. So, like, eight months? And it’s not like I was prom queen before that. So doing my hair = big fun, let me tell you.


Of course, there was a catch. This is an artistic recreation of the combination between blow dryer and historic apartment building (with its corresponding historic wiring):


(Okay, secretly I like this picture because my arm looks positively muscular. But, also! Also it is illustrative.)

Yes, two minutes into my hair-styling routine, I blew a fuse. Then I did it again, just for fun. Old wiring FTW!

So apparently I actually can’t blow-dry my hair. And in related news, I should always be viewed by low light, and possibly in a tank top.

go ahead and quote me about that quote

I was reading Work Happy today, as I do, and there was a quote from Tiger Woods about his philosophy on life:

The greatest thing about tomorrow is, I will be better than I am today.

And I realized…that’s pretty much the antithesis of the way I look at my life.

If I’m not good at something now, I feel like a failure. The idea that I might be a better mother in a year? Is practically admitting that I am a horrible parent now. I might as well just hang a sign around my neck that says “Still Not Good Enough.” I mean, I fully anticipate that I will be a better designer in the months to come…but I cringe in anticipation of how sophomoric my current work will look to me by that time (no matter how pleased I am with my skill level now).

If wanted to play armchair therapist, I’d hazard the guess that this has something to do with the fact that I was a “gifted” child, which is just another way of saying that I was ahead of the curve for so long that average sounds like an obscenity. Oh! Can we talk some more about my issues from my childhood? Pretty please? Because there was this one time when I was five…

Seriously, there is nothing wrong with personal growth, okay? I just expect that any growth I require for my life now will have already occurred. Which is totally reasonable, yo.

a little bit of this, a little bit of that

I just – just! – had lunch, so my brain is all ping-tastic and fluttering hither and thither. Thither. I don’t think I’ve ever used that word without hither attached to it – have you? I am scampering to Merriam Webster right now to see the fun I have been missing.

Well, so. Here I am in the unexpected silence of my house (silence being a term I use loosely, as the whoosh-whoosh of the dishwasher is providing this afternoon’s background noise). The kid and the cat (one of them, anyway) are napping adorably on the bed, and I’m sort of nominally waiting for a phone call from a potential client while searching the internet for cookie recipes using agave nectar. Oddly, I am not finding very many. I think it’s time for a baking experiment, don’t you?

I also think that I need to think of a new moniker for Happy Fun Baby. He’s a toddler now, so the “baby” bit is somewhat outdated, and “Happy Fun Toddler” sounds weird. I could call him by his name, since it’s not like that’s a big secret or anything, but I like using aliases because it makes me feel like a spy. I would have made a very poor spy, although I would have liked the outfits. Probably. As long as I wasn’t undercover as a badly-dressed person. Certainly there’s more call for those than for Jennifer Garner-esque wigs and push-up bras, yes? I mean, way to blend, right?

But speaking of the kid, and my brain, and the two together…he woke up last night at midnight, cheerful as you please, and then would not go back to sleep. He snuggled. He sang songs. He played with my hair. But sleep? Sleep is for losers! At 3am I finally broke down and went to get Not So, who (of course) was still awake, since insomnia apparently runs in the family. Even after he came to bed, the kid was all wriggles and kicks, so basically I shared my pain instead of finding a way to fix the problem. Hey – YOU try thinking rationally at 3am when you’ve been repeatedly yanked from the edge of sleep by a tiny grinning demon baby. Er, toddler.

All I can say is: it’s a good thing he’s so cute.

Photo 40

resolve face

Happy New Year, internets! It’s an even-numbered year, which always makes me feel vaguely twitchy, but I have high hopes for 2008. If I knew anything about numerology I’d probably have something pithy to say about the auspiciousness of all the numbers adding up to 1, but I don’t, so I’ll just…move on to something I do know about. Like resolutions! I resolve things. I do. And sometimes I actually do the things I resolve. More often not, since I tend to forget my resolutions by roughly January 2, and don’t remember them again until the last days in December, when…well, it’s a bit too late to lose 20lbs by that time, yes?

So in an effort to keep this year’s resolutions in the running, I give you my list:

* Finish at least one novel (incl. rewrites – I technically *finished* at least one during NaNoWriMo, but it needs to be reworked, to put it mildly) and submit to agents
* Exercise at least 2x/week
* Schedule 2 afternoons/week to devote to playing/spending time with the kid
* End next year with at least $5000 in our savings account (current balance: 68 cents)

I feel like there ought to be more in there, like “Get thee to therapy!” or “Learn to Salsa!” but I’m going with what I have. Optimism! Optimism is my friend.

Except maybe there should be something in there about my hair.


hypochondriacs do it with Google

I have weird pain in my side. Not the appendix side; the other one. Feels like stabbing and burning. Not So says it’s probably my stomach, and he’s probably right, but will that stop me from fretting? It will not.

Honestly, it’s probably stress-related. This whole working-like-a-mad-person so I won’t have time to feel any pesky grief for my stupid dead father thing is coming back to bite me in the ass. Or the side, as the case may be.

I need a day off. Like, badly. I *might* be able to take one next weekend, if I can catch up with everything else before then. And assuming I’m not dying of some obscure side-pain related ailment.

(Off to Google the likelihood of that…)

visual-free since ’93*

I was going to post a picture, but I’m on Not So’s laptop, which means I’m only using one browser, which means – you really want to hear this? Okay – I’m not logged in to Flickr under my Cranky Mama alias, so I can’t grab the code for the image I want. The short version is “because.”

Today I went to the office, where there is STILL NO BLOODY INTERNET, and spent the day stitching together the various and sundry body parts of a new batch of Cranky Pals. Then I came home so I could work some more! My life, you wish it was yours. Also, I wore unflattering jeans, but that’s okay since I haven’t exactly been feeling like a sex beast, what with the death in the family and the…death in the family. Yeah, weirdly, that’s not hot. I was surprised too.

The kid is currently sleeping on my chest (I’m in bed, which is the beauty of using the laptop). You will note that is is 9pm; he’s been out since 8. Miracle? Why yes, if you call the Great Nap Boycott of 2007 a miracle. At least it means I can get some work done without anyone jumping on my head. Yes, cats, that means you.

*…not really. But it made me giggle, so it stays.