Baby J


Am I back? Not sure. I’ve been meaning to hop on here forever, but don’t I always? Maybe I can work myself back up to semi-regular posting, little by little. Although I’m in the throes of tax season at work, and at home, kept so completely busy by an almost 8-month-old, which doesn’t even make sense to me. Wasn’t I just pregnant? How is she this old?

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Anyway, everything seems to be a blur. Amazing, but a blur none the less. I’m trying to take as many pictures and videos as I can, because she’s probably going to be in college before I realize it.

My first Clarion short story to be published (not the one I expected, either) appears in Innsmouth Free Press Issue 12! The issue can be purchased here, and will be out on the website in a few days. This story is, well, let’s call it strongly PG-13 rated, so not one I’m likely to be talking about much on Facebook. I’m very glad it found a home, and a good one.

What else? It’s sunny outside, this Valentine’s Day, and I’d love more than anything to go for a run. Instead, I’ll bill some tax returns! Whoo!

It’s been so long, and unfortunate, too, as I really would love to be prolific with blog entries. It’s interesting how we’ve finally found a schedule at home, now, but it does little to allow for extra time, even writing. I know that will come back as Baby gets older, and when breastfeeding is no longer a marathoning extravaganza because there will be too many toys and dogs and cats to play with, and then suddenly bed. So until then, I’ve come to find peace in this being my life right now – at her beck and call, for as long as she needs me. It’s really quite exciting, because every day there’s something brand new that happens. People say “oh, they grow up so fast,” and wow, nobody was kidding. Only yesterday she had scrawny little limbs and big solemn eyes and today she’s plump and holding her head up for ten minutes during tummy time and squealing at her mobile. Yesterday she actually grabbed for a toy while on her belly. I’ve never been so proud.

16 weeks old!

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So as sad as I am about how quickly she’s growing, I’m also thrilled … it makes me feel so unbelievably successful. And at the same time, it’s helping me become ready to pick up Harvester again – the lack of writing time has somehow made the plot churn in my brain (in a motivating way). Plus, I’ve been craving books more, and taking more chances on reading things I’m not sure I’ll like. Based on all that, I am fairly confident I can make the book work, which is very exciting.

In other news, I’ve decided to step down from Lightspeed Magazine. It’s been a terrific two + years, and I’ve learned more than I could even describe and met some truly lovely people.

What else? Finished The Passage, which started off strong, and then for me went limp about halfway through, dropping any emotional resonation. Read the third Mira Grant novel, the first half being new and entertaining, and the second half containing just about the same content as the first two books and all kinds of dancing around the main relationship instead of letting us actually experience it. Just started the new Datlow/Windling anthology, After …. and I hope its everything it promises to be.

And one last thing – I’ve been trying desperately not to comment on too many “Go Romney” posts I see on Facebook by my friends… and John keeps telling me to not mix friends and politics. But if you can’t, then who can you speak about politics to? I guess what it comes down to is that I cannot understand how ANY woman would vote for Romney, given what he and Ryan have said/claimed/voted for in the past. This is even before the “Binders Full of Women” thing the other day; that was just a dumb comment he made while floundering to stand up to Obama. And so I see these smart women choosing to (proudly!) vote for a man who does not empower women, who wants to control their reproductive rights (and frankly, their HEALTH), and who would rather give all the power to men than dole it out equally. (And don’t even get me STARTED on the environmental issues…) So yes, there we go. If you’re a woman, you shouldn’t be voting for Romney, not with his policies. If you care at all about the future of our environment, the same. And Obama isn’t perfect (who is?) but at least he’s aware of those two things. Which are really the most important to me, I suppose.

John says we’re moving to Canada if Romney gets elected…I suppose we’ll see what happens in 3 weeks.

baby 2

Mostly back indeed! Josephine Sandra Rubin was born June 22, 7 lbs 5 oz and 19 inches long. After six week off, which were a blur of figuring out the craziness of breastfeeding (which is so much more complicated than it seems – I really want to do an entire post on everything I’ve learned with that, as well as labor and what that was like, and the amazingness of cloth diapering – which I love – but I doubt time will let me!), sleep cycles/schedules, and trying to get used to such a tiny dictator, I’m back to work. The kiddo above is at school (no kidding, there are baby classes! but oh, the first few days of sending her there were absolute torture; I still watch the clock until I can go feed her at lunch, and then go pick her up at 5 pm), and sleep deprivation has fully kicked in. I did my first critique of a friend’s story a few days ago, have picked up reading again (am currently working through The Weird anthology, and just finished George R. R. Martin’s “Sandkings,” which was horrifying) and am debating what to work on in my own writing – book, Clarion shorts (two which still need to be reworked) or something new?

Next week, she’ll be two months old. John and I are pretty wild about her.

Josephine

If I don’t update with something, I probably won’t until post-baby, and who knows what’s that’s going to be like (aside from everything I’ve read and been told…). So here I am, with a few paragraphs. 38 weeks tomorrow, and J was full term (technically) last week, so I’ve been waiting impatiently, doing whatever I can to encourage her that now is the time for her to take action. Yesterday, I even mowed both the front and the back lawn. And … nothing.

Two weeks ago, my Chicago girls all came down and threw me a beautiful shower.

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I took so many more pictures, but they’re all at home on my other computer, so this will have to suffice for now.

hydrangeas

Let’s see. I’ve been on a cloth diapering kick – who knew one can obsess about that? But it’s completely possible, and how absolutely FUN it’s been. I think there’s going to be a lot of trial and error once J is born, and figuring out what works for us and for her (since apparently, it really depends on how skinny/chunky the baby’s legs are), but I’m very, very excited about it, and I’m pretty sure we’re relatively prepared for whatever she hands us. The nursery/still my office is put together apart from a few shelves John is going to put up, the car seat needs to go in, we need a baby thermometer, and other than that, we’re just waiting on her.

We saw Prometheus over the weekend. By the time we did, I’d read enough WTF reviews from friends that made me slightly skeptical, but then one wise woman suggested that what you get out of the movie is what you bring to it, that the responsibility lies with you and how much you decide to enjoy it. So I went into it hoping desperately it would help me fix “Sarscon 8,” written just before Clarion last summer and still suffering from some structure issues, and I think it may have done that, or at least inspired me to give it another shot. It’s a stunning movie, visually, with a few scenes that are just excellent – enough so that I didn’t care about the plot devices or lack of character development or some of the campy alien shots. I mean, compared to the hot mess of John Carter with its 100% cliche dialogue, and then Cowboys and Aliens from last summer? This trumped both of those so much. So that’s my stance.

Hopefully, by my next entry, there will be a baby in the crib, I’ll be fighting lack of sleep instead of the nausea that’s persisted (and come back with a vengeance in the last 2 weeks) over these nine months, and my body will slowly be becoming my own again – that’s been the hardest part of this. I suppose, from a rational point of view, I didn’t really think pregnancy would be awesome, but I honestly never expected it to be this difficult.

Here’s to the next stage!

Today makes 32 weeks. (I’ve been counting since week 5 or so.) I’m still not one of those happy glowing pregnant women, and I’m starting to think I will not be. But that’s okay, because only 8 weeks left, right? And then I can drink coffee to my heart’s content, without it making me nauseous. Not to mention finally making a beloved dirty vodka martini with bleu cheese stuffed olives.

I’ve meant to write a half dozen times since the end of tax season, but the stress of work just kept rolling over, although it’s nice to not be working 60-hour weeks anymore. Somehow, Harvester the book got kicked to the back burner by my 4th week Clarion story, “Grotto of the Helpless;” perhaps I needed a smaller scope in order to accomplish something. Thanks to the crit notes from Clarion and a few other helpful readers, I believe the story does what it’s supposed to, and I’m pleased with it – as pleased as one can be with a slightly sociopath protagonist who enjoys torture. There are few markets this one will work for, if any, but I’m okay with that, and also okay with setting it aside to wait for the right anthology. And who knows – maybe now I can go back to my Jack the Ripper transsexual alchemist 2nd-week Clarion story, with Grotto out of the way!

The big news of my week is that a story written with Gio Clairval, originally called “A Rope for the Witch” and then settled with “Hempish Love,” found a home at Polluto Magazine, and even made their Editor’s Choice. Gio and I had a great time with this story, told from the point of view of a rope. Here’s how Editor Victoria Hooper describes it, including a sneak peak at the story itself.

The Avengers movie this weekend, an audit at work to prepare for, twenty-five daylily and gladiolus bulbs to plant, and two crape myrtle trees to get in the ground. The fun never stops!

So in all the tax madness and third trimester (!!!) exhaustion that’s almost as bad as the first trimester, I’ve neglected the blog, and haven’t worked on Harvester the book nearly as much as I’d intended. But that will change, and soon, since April 15 (or rather, the 17th, which is this year’s tax deadline) is nigh!

However, I have not neglected my gardening. The roses framing the shed in the back yard, which we’ve determined are peace roses, are absolutely stunning, with multiple colors from cream to yellow to blush-pink, and I think even some brighter pink, given the new buds yesterday morning. I’m just relieved they’re not too crippled by the fungus which was trying to take over … my dad assured me that’s perfectly normal, and happens all the time, but it’s a first for me, and I was spraying like a fiend. I’ve also put four more hydrangea bushes next to the three already in the back, and we still need to plant the shade flowers, like the lily of the valley bulbs, and stone up the edges.

But the front garden is taking off nicely, including the rose bushes we planted last fall. You can just barely see the corner of the new fence John built in the first front yard picture; this weekend we’re going to stain it and carve out 3 more feet of garden for the day-lily bulbs, which I need to get in the ground asap. I even tried some vegetables in containers, which wasn’t as easy as I thought, although the beans are coming up, as is the Swiss chard. (Nellie or Buddy knocked the container of peppers across the porch, so that’s that for those.)

This weekend, some much needed writing time; I want to clean up “Grotto of the Helpless,” the Clarion week 4 story, but every time I open it I feel like I’m avoiding Harvester the book. So we’ll see what happens.

Also had my 7-month appointment this week! Hard to believe I’ve been pregnant (and sick) for over half a year; at least there’s an end in sight, and Baby J shifts enough, uncomfortably, to remind me nearly all the time she’s there. This baby-carrying thing is truly the most bizarre experience of my life.

Let’s see – loved the Hunger Games movie. I found it truly chilling and horrifying, almost more so than the book, frankly. Or maybe seeing that dystopian world come to life was what undid me. Sure, some things couldn’t be as fleshed out as in a book, and the end wrapped up quickly, but how else can adaptations work? Either way, I was pleased, although that’s not the right word for it; it was a very affecting movie for me.

Finished Caitlin R. Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl, which is remarkable, but not so much for me. Right now, I think I need very, very strong elements of spec in my fiction, and those are more weak in that particular novel, however masterful Imp’s unwinding is (and it truly is). For now, Kiernan’s shorts hold the power over this reader.

And, courtesy of my friend Steve, something that nearly made me die this morning: http://www.happyplace.com/15235/the-creepiest-easter-bunny-photos-ever-taken. Happy Easter!

Quickest blog entry ever today, before I miss another week from drowning in taxes. Six more weeks of this.

Broke 60k on Harvester the book! Not without fighting myself over lack of inspiration (what the hell happens next? I’ve got the larger picture, but the smaller?) and the predictable how-on-earth-did-I-think-I-could-ever-ever-ever-pull-this-off chanting in my head nearly every morning. And the entirety of every day when I think about all the short stories I’m not writing in order to get the first draft of this book done. And the ever-present nausea, which continues to be an issue even six months into this baby-carrying thing. And I miss running so much. Onward ho!

Caitlin R. Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl came out yesterday, and I read Chapter 1 last night. I’m going to try and savor this experience as best possible.

The really big news is that John’s iPhone game is out! Carl the Spider, now on the app store.

Carl

I’m playing through the game again since its official release, as the testing phase is off my phone. I’m loving the progression from beginning to more advanced levels, as well as trying to catch all the ladybugs (although I’m dreading the ice spikes in the Winterlands, which seriously give me heart palpitations). John is working on the first update, which will let the player see the tutorial any time they want/need to; I’m lucky in that I’ve learned how to play as he’s coded the game. That damned double jump is tricky, and is absolutely key to getting through the levels. Oh, and he’s got the iPad version coming up, with the art in retina mode (I think I said that right?), and a whole new level set to build – the Firelands. I’m most excited for that.

Oh, and the youtube video, in case you need any more convincing. Go on, buy it!

We’re going to bite the bullet and see John Carter this weekend. I know, I know. Could regret it. But we’ve both agreed to enjoy it for what it is. Plus, I’m going to need some fun since I’ll likely be at work a good deal of Saturday.

Adios, for now!

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