lenora_rose: (Default)
I'm not pregnant, again.

No miscarriage, unless it's the kind you can't tell from a regular period. Just not pregnant. But I'm more depressed about it than usual.

And yet, it, and some coincidental reading, and some stuff about Joseph, all have me thinking again about the hard world of child raising, and trying to have kids, and choosing not to try to have kids. Then I ran into these (Because I've been reading her Narnia Deconstructions, but a few months behind, and slipped into the Storify one, and linked back to the older one from there...)

And in some ways, even though our situations as regards EVERYTHING (fertility, cause of failed pregnancies, efforts to get pregnant, even feelings about wanting children ahead of time) are different - I felt like I had seen a strong mirror of my own feelings. (Also, some serious WTF??? about the Grown Babies in Heaven from every lost zygote. Like, nuclear explosion degrees of WTF???)

The miscarriages were alive enough to me to have possible names, if only after the fact (Names I would never have applied to an extant child and names that are no-one's business but mine and Colin's), but they were mourned as she says; as potential, not actual children. It was losing a whole attachment of dreams (Dreams that didn't cover half the reality I already face, but she talks about that, too) -- but it was not half of what losing Joseph on the day of his birth, when he was a real and whole and solid BABY, would have been. And it is NOTHING, and I repeat that with huge emphasis, to what losing him now would do.

Potential, not Person

Storify: Infertility and Abortion

I wonder what it is about having faced the consequences of our own reproductive efforts (None of which actually WERE abortion in either my case or Mardoll's) that makes it so very clear why reproductive choice, including abortion, is so very important? Maybe it's because it's us, not some abstract woman, and our zygotes and fetuses and babies, not some abstract "Fetuses are babies" platonic ideal. (I held and touched one of those fetuses, an inch or so long at the time, and I knew exactly hat I was holding, and it was devastating -- but it was not a baby.)
lenora_rose: (Yaaaay!2)
I've been fighting a cold the last week, mostly just coughs and explosively runny nose and not being much able to sing. And extra care for Joseph, who has all of the same but less comprehension that this is a temporary state, and has needed a few more middle of the night snuggles than usual.

How a mom, or at least this mom, feels about mid-night child cuddles is probably the definition of ambivalent. When I drag myself from the bed, and he's howling and won't stop, or wriggling and flailing and refusing to settle, it's all bad, some of the worst mom-stuff that doesn't involve diapers at *their* worst. But when he settles and is lying on you because it's the one thing that makes all the sickness feel okay, and he's dropping off to sleep, warm and trusting... well. There's times you want it to linger just a bit more after he's sound asleep before tucking him back in his bed and sneaking off to get your own desperately needed sleep.

This is complicated by the fact that he can get out of his crib entirely, and has at least once found a way over the baby gate (We now have a knob cover on the door, so the latter part is solved. That it's almost the only door in the house that can *use* a knob cover was lucky, though.)

Dealing with the colds in the daytime is helped somewhat by the fact that my mother in law is here visiting her grandson (Oh, and the rest of us). Though I feel badly, because when we were at their place in November, we arrived with colds, too. The timing is coincidence, but we really didn't invite her to come to be a nurse.

Dealing with not being able to sing has complicated a second project of mine, though, which is my current pledge to practice mandolin at least 1/2 hour for every day for 55 days (Ends March 28th. As I explained, it's a purely arbitrary number based on a vaguely remembered and probably equally wrong thing about 55 days being what it takes in ingrain a daily habit (And 3 months for a habit that is not purely daily). But hey, pledging to do NaNoWriMo is arbitrary. And pledging to have to write 5000 words to allow myself a coffee flavoured drink until such time as my draft of Labyrinth was done was also successful in producing a finished draft. As of yesterday.

My last three days therefore, have been me being up past midnight to respectively:
- Finish the whole of the book besides the epilogue.
- write what I thought was the full epilogue, though I had a nagging feeling some loose end of the dissatisfying kind was straggling
- write the piece of Epilogue that I had figured out I needed to add.

AFTER which i finally scrambled to get in the mandolin practice. (I kept telling myself to get the mandolin work in firs,t and kept going, "But I just need a few more words...". I actually the think the chosen order might have got me to bed marginally sooner, because doing the mandolin practice last, I tended to stay much closer to the 1/2 hour minimum, where I might have lingered if I'd done it the other way. I'm still regaining practice and callusses both, and I'm not making my elbow explode, so I think I'm not doing the mandolin wrong by it.)
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SO. I have a complete draft.

It's 150,272 words. It's much more drafty than a lot of finished drafts of mine, and oddly, most of the bits that I already know need the most revision are prior to the NaNoWriMo rush.

What the NaNo rush did on that front is prevent me from going back to do the small revisions I always do during a draft when I hit a later point that makes me change my mind about a previous one. Or where I realise there's a plot hole. Instead I just inserted notes for the most part. (There were monsters in the way a few minutes ago. What happened to them?).

There's also a LOT of dross wordage. Partly due to those not-revisions, but also when I was failing for the key plot or figuring out world-building on paper through the NaNo and post NaNo bits. (These characters stand around and TALK so damn much, and a lot of it is "As you know Bob"s I needed to write but nobody but me should ever be forced to suffer through reading.)

AND there are some plot twists on paper I'm debating dropping and possible others I'm considering slipping in. (One ends up fucking with gender. Also making one character more consistently reliable in spite of having their brain played with, and another much more bitchy and antagonistic even though they're decidedly a victim not an antagonist. Whether these are plusses remains to be seen, but it's all in character for the villain's fondness for mind games.)

I anticipate being able to make this a 120k book.

Final verdict? I think it's a solid story under all the first draft baggage. I mean, I would and should think so. But I have done a bit more attempt to pick apart the viability than just "Well, I liked it or I wouldn't have wrote it." I liked and wrote books whose immediate commercial viability I doubt, after all (Looks sadly at Raising the Storm).

It's much less bog-standard fantasy than the Serpent Prince books but in a way that might be pitchable as "fresh" not "Look, it's weird". (It's a portal fantasy - though one in which the word "Unsustainable" is directly relevant) It's MUCH less depressing than Bird of Dusk, but has some of the same urban fantasy audience accessibility with the modern world protagonists. It has a non standard heroine (or two). I think it can become a less unwieldy and unsalable length than Raising the Storm. Unlike Bird and RtS, some of the ways it's less traditional feel like things I can point to as selling points, not forces working against it. It's easier to sum up the gist of the story for a blurb, which always helps. (The fact that the heroines are lesbian and bi of course can count against it for some publishers and readers, but for it for others.)

It's also at least one significant revision from even a beta reader call, which probably means a year or even two to sales pitch time, especially as I need some time to clear my head of it (And do some relevant research) before I dive into revisions. So I'm not stopping shopping around Bird (or Serpent Prince if I get the rewrite of THAT down pat). But I think it's more likely than either to get more positive attention.

I could be wrong, but I'm content with it until the betas destroy it.
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So... what's the next project? Well, #1 is actually a beta reading for a friend with a relatively short deadline. So, not writing per se, but analysis of someone else's writing is always good for the editorial muscles.

#2 is some of the research I need for Labyrinth itself. (It's all character background stuff, and I could probably leave it as fudged as I have. But could and should aren't the same.) That can be relatively ongoing until i decide it's time to do the revision though.

#3 is that I have a small hope of scraping together a working short story for one of the Eggplant anthologies, but the deadline being in March, it's a slim hope.

#4: I don't know. Back to revising Serpent Prince. Back to writing The Poisoned Tongue. Off to try another of my various partly finished projects. I was after all looking at the old OLD OLD draft of the Allerleirauh screenplay, and thinking how to make it A) a stage play rather than screen play, B) less cringe-worthy when it comes to a few racial tropes I was doing my then-best on but are horrid now C) More selkie-y, if that can even be a word and D) both better and finished. And I was thinking about Meri's tale because a story about a girl saving a god from the Fae has to have some appeal. And there's the apocalyptic one. Or ones.

#5: After whatever I choose comes the revision of the Labyrinth story.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Just posted on FB, but relevant here.

In spite of his newfound ability to get out of the crib, Joseph has actually stayed in it every night at bedtime (It's middle of the night wake-ups that have differed.)

Until tonight.

When he will not stay.

He went to bed at 8:00.

He was last seen at the baby gate on the door at 10:45.

I am (at midnight) about to check on him so I can put him in his crib instead of the high non-toddler-railed bed where he was lying the one time around 10:00 that he looked like he was trying to sleep. (I put him in the crib. he lay there until the music ran out on the bassinet. then got out to turn it back on.)

Long night already...
lenora_rose: (Default)
Since I have been so behind on posting. These, for those who don't read my facebook or who missed some, probably sum up several things I don't feel like discussing at length.

On the Desolation of Smaug:

I liked expanding Bard's story so he doesn't just appear at the end of the Dragon thing. I liked the dwarves in the mountain attempting to do something other than just wait for Bilbo and actually confronting Smaug, up to the point where it turned into more video game antics. (Also, you'd think they'd have, you know, some dwarf sized corridors....). Most of the other changes I think could have been dropped in favour of more time with Beorn and more of Smaug and Bilbo's banter, both from the book.
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(Re: Someone's comment that Legolas was there for the women....)

Legolas was indeed unnecessary (And I say that as a woman). He made a little sense being there as the son of the King, but only a little.

But what he really made me do is long for the Legolas of Lord of the Rings.

Jackson seems to have decided that he wasn't badass enough -- but *this* Legolas has me wondering why he let all those annoying humans and Hobbits slow him down in the Lord of the Rings. As he was shown in Smaug, he'd have been all the way to Mount Doom with the Ring before it even had time to tempt him, hopped over the giant black gate in a couple of Parkour tricks, killing all the guards in the process, chucked it in, surfed away from the lava explosion on a piece of debris, and wouldn't have even mussed his hair.
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My son:
Dec 19: As I just mentioned to Colin, I was just re-watching "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances". And, hearing it so often on screen, Joseph starts repeating "Mummy. Mummy."

Not sure whether to giggle or shudder. #WhoHumour

Mid December Photos, including the Christmas Tree I made for JoJo. )

December 27 (The first not miserably freezing day in a while at that point, and only a day or two before a cold snap that lasted distressingly long. We're talking vicinity of -40 for DAYS cold snap... and when it wasn't that, it snowed...)
photos behind cut )

Jan 2: JoJo has sung along to music a few times now. He's had some rhythm (Not enough, but some) for a while, and has seemed less random in his choice of notes and sounds, if not harmonizing at least clashing less and less.

But today, he found the actual melody for London Bridge.

Toddler progress is progress after all.


Jan 9: It's official. Joseph can climb out of his crib on his own.

He got out of his playpen (Used as a travel crib) twice on New Year's Eve, so it's not like we didn't know it was coming.... but still, sigh.

________________

Other:

Jan 4: We got to archery today! Current plan is to keep going on all Saturdays we can. (Though Not Imbolc, obviously, but I did reserve babysitting for the Friday night shoot)

(ED: we have kept this up. Shooting regularly again feels GOOD.)

Jan 8: First day of work since Before our trip to AB and BC! Finished the horse, other than the bits under and around water.
photo behind cut )

Jan 15: Sigh. Mom was sick (Get well soon - and not for my sake) so no chance to mural paint because no babysitter. Then ploughed through the snow with a stroller to get JoJo and myself flu shots. Sigh. Well... on the plus side, the new orthotic insoles I slipped into my boots WORK LIKE AWESOME. A lot less pain now...

(ED: Plantar fasciitis. Had it before, but this last bout was BAD. Days of barely being able to walk bad. I still galloped around daily with Joseph on my shoulders, though, because awesome.)

Today:

"Imagination is a little white light, waiting for a chance to grow
bigger and bigger till it glows so bright it eliminates all you know..."

Wait, what?

Oh. ILLUMINATES.

Enunciate, Fred.

#FredPenner #mondegreen
lenora_rose: (Yaaaay!2)
Exhibit A

In the last couple of days, when I have had my back turned, I have variously returned to find Joseph:

- Playing quietly
- Flipping through books.
- Spinning whatever item he can find will spin (Pot lids, toplike toys, flat discs, etc.)
- Has dunked a book in the toilet (we usually keep the bathroom doors shut. Book is destroyed, not due to anything extra in the toilet, but just from general water exposure.)
- Is standing on a stepladder, watching the fascinating waterfall effect of tipping the Brita jug onto the counter (And the water's subsequent pour to the floor)
- Is standing on the kitchen windowsill looking out.(Sill is roughly 6 inches wide) (Moved the stool he used.)
- is sitting calmly on the kitchen windowsill kicking his feet. (Got there from the back of the high chair. Which I know because I caught him straddling the distance another time.)
- is sitting in his high chair. (This involved the stool again, not going over the back of the high chair. I hope. NB. these events were hours or days apart.)
- Has cleaned my desk by dropping almost every object from my trackball on smaller to the floor of my study.
- Has emptied a fabric bin (he used to completely not notice) as far as his arms could possibly reach.
- Is dropping any number of experimental objects down the stairs.
- Is lying perfectly safe on the couch but giggling crazily like he's done something awesome.
- Has once again taken apart all the play mats in the living room and scattered them.
- Is dropping either his toys or the dry cat food in the cats' water dish. (This has been one of his standard things for a while.)
- Is carrying his 3' inflatable pool into the kitchen like he hopes I'll set it up indoors for once.

In other words, he's a normal healthy toddler.

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Exhibit B

So we still buy JoJo a number of toddler packaged foods or other easy foods for those times we're eating something he can't/won't or just don't have time. (though some days finding the acceptable from the suck is hard...there's one readily available brand where a lot of their stuff is either lacking in nutrition or full of stupid levels of salt.)

So I found a rather nice series to try. One of them being pumpkin and squash with quinoa. Opened it. Offered JoJo a spoonful. He ate it but made a face. I tried a bite. Said, "I see the problem." Went to the cupboard. Added small doses of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stirred. Gave him another spoonful.

He ate every bit of it.

Good god, people. You do not have to avoid reasonable seasoning in Baby food, and especially toddler-level food. Kinda the opposite...

He had some issues with actually spicy thai food, but I mean "feel the heat on your tongue for a while after you ate it" food. (And even that, he had several bites before he was all about "Give me the cup of milk to kill this!")

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Exhibit C

At the age of 21 months:
My boy climbs EVERYTHING.

He's been doing this for a few weeks.

It looks like the embed doesn't work, so here's a link.

The stairs he's been doing a while, but the posts are new.

It looks like the embed doesn't work, so here's a link.
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Only Semi related

The picture is fuzzy but here's the progress on the mural. I need to redo the horses size-wise (That's what I get for, like, measuring them the first time.)
Cut )
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
- Today is the day the second of Colin's best friends (And his roommate, another good friend if not quite as close) leaves town within the last half year. I wish Nathaniel (and P.) well, but I suspect that there are going to be some gaps ion our world in the next while. One or both of us did get to see them four out of the last five days, so we managed a lot of goodbyes. They're going to be living in BC, not too close to Colin's parents, but near enough that when we visit, we will be able to make a trip out to see them.

- We have a kitchen sink again! (Actually, we had it in working order yesterday) This after over a week of not having one. It would have been less but Colin was sick this last weekend. In other words, kitchen cupboard installations continue only slightly behind schedule, and it will look good when it's through. Naturally, on the days my father in law can't do quite as much because Colin is gone, he's found other side projects, or we've had other things break down, or in one case, the attempt to fix a minor issue lead to discovering it's a bit more intensive a repair than first thought (That would be the main floor toilet, alas.) So he's stayed busy. And the results are decidedly worthwhile, even if we ahve had to occasionally do interesting things like figure out how to wash dishes in a pair of pots and a bathroom sink, or sort the dishes from the tools.

- JoJo managed to be green again yesterday. I turned my back while getting his breakfast ready, even though he'd made it into the kitchen (Not a place he's usually allowed, and never unaccompanied, during the reno), turned back to him, and there it was around and in his mouth. I do NOT know for sure what he got into; I scoured the kitchen for every possible source (and most of the main floor for every possible greenish substance) and found nothing at all that could turn him green, never mind nothing poisonous. (Everything dangerous that was under the kitchen sink is in the bathroom he is NOT allowed into).

Right now my best theory is that he found some small fragment of his green crayon (Most of which is up here), and it's just that, like with his first encounter with it, the colour spreads amazingly once dissolved.

In any case, he didn't appear to suffer ill effects - after I'd cleaned his mouth as best I could, I fed him breakfast, on the reasoning that if it was dangerous, diluting it was a good first step, and watched him all day for anything out of the ordinary. He was fine, though his diapers got interesting later. He's been fine today, too. But wow, it really does take no time at all...

- One of the first things I did upon getting the e-reader was to look through my own book. It's ... an interesting experience. I did find three typos, only one of which (Free reign instead of free rein, because it's a personal peeve) did I manage to report to Raechel, so if you spot the other two, which are places two words run together, let her know!

BUt the part that interested me is seeing something I wrote in 2004 but have no chance to edit or amend. Normally, there's a difference between reading my prose and someone else's. When I spot something I would want to edit in someone else's work (This happened a lot reading Tamora Pierce recently - more than it did in Illusion of Steel, and no, I am not saying I am a better writer than someone so oft-published, though it does give me a kind of hope -- we're writing for different audiences with different expectations), I know it's hands-off. When it's my own, I can simply tap a few keys and voila. Fixed. So reading a work of my own that's about nine years old, knowing I can't tweak it, gives me a little bit of an itch.

It could have used the edit. I've improved as a writer. I can see a number of ways I would tidy the prose. Mostly, as ever, tightening it up. Shaking out some of the formalities in the dialogue, so that people sound a little more natural, (or at least if they don't it's obviously on purpose).

At the same time, I'm relieved that to my eye, the plot hangs together, and overall it works as a story (Someone else can of course disagree and pick it apart. I'd be curious.) I like the dealing with the souls in the sword, and the multi-generational complexities, and the past not being left behind. I like Kanna, and her wariness and her refusal to dwell on nasty stuff, and I hope it came across to others as it does to me that it's a character trait, not a failure on the writer's part to account for the traumatic nature of trauma. I was kind of sad I hadn't been able to flesh out Daemon a bit more, but there's no room. There's no saving it from the "He's evil, I say EVIL!" of the villain, it doesn't work if he's not.

It was, as one says, the best I could do at the time I did it. It's not bad, just not ideal. I'm not ashamed of its flaws. A little chagrined longing to take it back in and see what I could make of it now is reasonable, as long as I don't actually do so. It would be stupid to refuse to forgive my younger self for being younger.

I have other stories to tell in the now.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Last Wednesday, serendipitously, the healthy baby topic was "introducing your baby to solid foods." (it had been requested by several of the other moms, even though it was covered relatively recently, as in about three months ago). Serendipitous because I'd been sort of hoping to ask about just that. In any case, it did help decide me to do just that, though the first stage is hardly solid. Nonetheless, as of last Wednesday, Joseph's been eating a bit of rice cereal once or twice a day. So far, he seems to rather like it, and he certainly gets the idea of a spoon, even if he needs to work on some refinements. (Ie, he still ends up with food all over). I let him try to handle the spoon a bit; really glad it's a soft tipped, as I wouldn't be willing to do that with a metal.

Plus, as a bonus, I'm offering him sips of water from a cup. It will be a while before he gets to hold *that*, I can say. I have no sippy cups for him yet; they're not strictly a necessary thing, as I understand it, though convenient as anything, it seems to me.

He made the most interesting faces when I tried him with egg yolk, though. I was thinking for a second try I should mix it with milk, not water. but first I'd need some means to Get milk that doesn't involve hand expressing, because that hurts. I'm not practiced at it, and I have no desire to be if I can avoid it.

Anyhow. Yay for strange food exploration.
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Sigh.... a friend of mine started calling Joseph "JoJo", and while we were in Spain, I realised it stuck in my head, too. Iulianna, I have a bone to pick with you.

Better than Joey, I guess.
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I started going through the pictures from Spain. May post some soonish, along with a bit of babble about what we did. As much for my own record as for anyone else's curiosity.
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Sigh. I should make a new icon for myself. I haven't been to archery in a while. Ineed to get to dance practice, if only to prove I have no intention of dropping the SCA.
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Apparently, I'm considering revising The Serpent Prince again. Actually, I started.

Here's what happened. In that writing meme I still haven't finished, one of the unfinished questions questions is "the ten worst things about your novel." It's unfinished because I didn't get to ten. But two of the things I did get down are the general fight with doing things in a patriarchal setting, and the difficulties that causes, and an issue specific to Serpent, which is that in the course of the novel, a woman gets Refrigerated*.

I could have lived with one or the other, but the combination was nagging at me. Because of the nature of the patriarchy they're in, I already felt I was stretching the bounds with the number of active female characters I had. And there wasn't a lot of room to make more of them active; Ketan is focused on the events that lead to the big ending. As to the Refrigeration, her death starts the whole climax and collapse, and has effects that carry over into at least the second book. She had to die. It's unfortunately very in character for the one who did it to slaughter innocents, knowing it hurts the people he's punishing worse than killing them would. But I still found it rankled. I don't tend to like Refrigeration in other peoples' stories. There are a few cases where it worked; in all of them, the woman had agency and personality before it happened, and was About more than her death. This female character has some personality, but the constraints of novel length and the main plot don't give her as much on-the-page time as would be needed to really make her shine.

So I started worrying again at ways to make this better. Give her more screen time. Leave her as is but get even more female characters up and active. Again and again I bounced off the fact that there just seemed no more room for a change. Count on the rest of the books in the series, or the rest of the books I write, to make up for it? Didn't seem like enough.

And of course, I'd already turned yet one more character female in the second book. I really couldn't do that again...

Two days after we got back from Spain, and suddenly, I found myself thinking there WAS one character I could feasibly turn female. A major player in the story. Someone whose gender would alter the whole dynamic of the story and happily spit in the face of the whole damned patriarchal setting. Mostly because it would highlight a whole lot of hypocrisy. Theo.

Instantly, I started going through his scenes and revisioning them with a "her", and trying to see if they would fit. Some of the scenes and plot points made even More sense than they had; she or her antagonists had stronger motivations. Some didn't -- until I started debating definitions of legal versus actual gender and how that might work in this particular culture. (In this case, it's More transgressive for her to be a cis female than it would be if she were transgender -- because if she wanted to be male, the Gods would just grant her wish, and the whole gender flip would pretty much end on the first page. And if she was born male, it also wouldn't work as well, for reasons that would involve getting too far into plot and culture for an already overlong ramble.)

And the name was easy. At VP, I had a lot of people who didn't much like Theokoi anyhow; one person said they stalled on the "koi" because they saw Fish, and therefore associated it with Japanese, when most of the stuff around it was obviously Europeanish (French for the Serathi and Cerissan, Scandinavian for the Germainesh). But as soon as I wondered what feminine thing I could use instead, I immediately remembered Jo Walton's Tiffany Problem, and she was renamed Theophanie. And thinking how to shorten it, my brain instantly went "Teo", pronounced, well exactly like Taeyo. (The "th" in French is usually a t with a bit of aspirated sound after it, not a th as it tends to be in English. Most of the 'e's in all the other names are already pronounced as if they had an acute accent over them.)

And yeah, I started right in; saved a new copy of the last draft and started poking away. I really think it could work.

(A friend of mine said that when she has thoughts about changes that big, she just writes another novel. I considered that, and my brain immediately rebelled, because adding another unfinished novel would be far far worse than doing even a major rewrite.)

Of course, I'm already trying to sell the story. So the real question is, do I keep sending samples and queries to agents, or do I stop again so I can finish yet another draft? The draft I have is finished and polished enough that I don't think they have anything to worry about re: newbies trying to sell unfinished works. Without Joseph, I think this might be the work of a month, maybe two. But I *am* slowed down by the baby...

Well, I'll see if it stalls partway through. I do still have the whole and complete novel with the guy Theo to fall back on.

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I can't help think I make a very poor feminist. EVERY time I've changed a character's gender, it's been male to female (In one case, one female character replaced not one but TWO male characters from the prior drafts). Because, Labyrinth aside, I keep shortchanging the women and focusing on the men. :P I suppose it's a kind of consolation that other than this series, most of the men are gay or bi. But really, too many ingrained assumptions.

And yet, obviously these things do matter to me or I wouldn't keep worrying at them.
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* For the few of you who don't know the term, this means: a female character is killed JUST so a male character can have massive Angst and Manpain. She's not killed for anything she is or does, but entirely because of her relationship to the man. It got its name from a comic book wherein a woman is literally killed and stuffed in a refrigerator.

Fretting.

May. 22nd, 2012 03:00 pm
lenora_rose: (Baby)
I'm about caught up on reading LJ, ML, etc to about Sunday -- admittedly skimming a fair bit, and *not* running through all the shiny comment threads.

I called Air Canada, and my bag is found and likely in Winnipeg, but needs to Clear Customs. Then it will be in the hands of some transport company to drop off. So. Not in my hands or house, but a step forward.

Joseph went to sleep around 3 in the afternoon the last two days, waking at midnight (and a couple of times before that, but in obvious "middle-of-the-night" manner, not for serious), with a second sleep an hour or two later, getting up for the day at 4 AM. This schedule is... not optimal. And of course he drifted off in my lap at the same time tonight. Debating on waking him and trying to make him stay up a while once I have this written ... or doing so after he's woken naturally, when he might be the less unhappy for it. I'm also doing the "Leave the light on and the music playing and let him Know it's daytime" this time, as I haven't crashed myself yet, which apparently can and will help adjust things even if he's registering it in his sleep at first.

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It's one thing to talk about the worries caused by the otherwise awesome increasing mobility of the baby. They're like the stress of the first weeks; you can warn and think and try to prepare, but the reality is scarier still than expected.

Joseph at this point rolls in every direction. He's closer and closer to crawling, though so far he gets the best distance by rising onto his arms, then having them slip out from under him - thus pushing him backwards. It frustrates him when he's trying to go forwards to a toy, but there are times he seems to think mostly, "well, it's movement", and rinse and repeat on purpose. (He can get forwards if he has something to push his feet against, or something he can grab with a hand and pull on).

One of our last days in Spain, I had changed Joseph's diaper and needed to go wash my hands*. So I set him down in the middle of our bed (which seemed to me to be slightly smaller than the queen-sized at home, but noticeably bigger than the double), ducked into the bathroom, and emerged to find him right at the very edge, and starting to roll over one more time... the noise I made brought Colin at a run, even though I reached Joseph in time. I think I was saying "You're okay, you're all right" in a kind of chant to calm him, since my noise definitely had him a bit confused and upset, as did my grab. (there was a thin rug on that side, but the floors are marble. He'd already smacked his face on the stone while attempting to crawl - which unfortunately I abetted instead of moving him back onto the blanket that was his play area).

Anyhow, that made me decide that if I was moving him off the change table again, it would be into the crib for sure, since that was at least safe.

I thought.

This morning, when he got up, I had to do a similar dance, except that I'd be a bit longer in the bathroom.* So into the crib he went; a little fussy but he was good with a pacifier. While I was in the bathroom, I heard him go from quiet to full blown upset, and while it seemed unusually fast, I mostly just thought "I hope he doesn't wake Colin". (4 AM, remember?).

Until I got back in the room. Joseph had done his push up on his hands and slide backwards trick -- unintentionally, as there was a toy just where he'd no doubt been trying to reach it. But this time, his legs went between the bars. Past the knees and into the fleshy part of the leg that was too plump for the space. You know how you can sometimes slide a tight ring on, but then getting if back off over the knuckle is a huge production? That. Only with a screaming and confused baby who probably tried moving forward again and jammed himself in harder.

I tried to just lift him forward and out, but pulling too hard was worrisome and would hurt him. Trying to keep his legs straight and steady and ease them through wouldn't work without pulling
his body forwards (And at one point he started to attempt to twist sideways. Which would have been Bad.) IN fact, he seemed stuck enough that I half worried it would be impossible to free him without cutting the middle bar. After a few attempts, I gave up hoping Colin had slept through the noise as usual and called for him.

He was awake - he said before Joseph started crying, as he'd gone to bed at 7:30 and wasn't all on Winnipeg time himself. So he lifted Joseph while I guided his legs. MUCH easier than I'd feared, though it did need four hands.

There is a bit of bruising, but not much. Joseph hasn't wanted to jump as much as usual today, which makes me suspect he's feeling it, but he's got the mobility. But add it to the bits of skin trouble he seems to have from the trip, and the other little nicks and scratches (he got a much needed nail trim yesterday), and for a fit and healthy baby, he's not going to look so great on his doctor's appointment Friday.

At any rate, I've decided it is time to put on the crib bumper. They're supposed to be a suffocation risk (especially for babies who can roll over one way but not the other, but there are worries about issues for any baby that could end up against an edge while asleep, older or younger), but apparently my safety-standard acceptable bar spacing is still dangerous to a mobile baby. My compromise, which is also because I like to be able to see the baby from the bed, is to fold back the front sections when he's in the crib to sleep (Like now) and close them again when he's in it to play. When i'm usually standing over him anyhow.

* The improvised change table in Spain was a dresser top which was more than big enough, but absolutely required one to either be pressed up against it or holding the baby at all times. Our change thing at home actually has sufficiently high edges that he's *probably* not able to roll out of it even now; before he was adept at rolling, I would wash my hands while leaving him there, and this afternoon, when he was, ahem, taking his time over things, I actually watched him roll over in it, sliding safely back to the bottom whenever he got too far up the edges. But that was under supervision.

Pics!

Apr. 30th, 2012 04:45 pm
lenora_rose: (Yaaay!)
Colin moved some of the pics. Reposting with correct urls.

Lessee. First there's the fuzzy Tardis:

With cat for sizing )

Door off but better angle )

Then there's this baby (for both grandmas: more at Colin's photobucket, all from the last 2 weeks):

April 28th, showing off his latest fashion accessory )

He inherited his talent for putting his foot in his mouth from his mother )

And a video:
My son the skirt chaser )
lenora_rose: (Default)
I wrote most of this the 18th and had no chance to post. So, with edits for updated stuff here goes now.

Joseph is now a month old. I'm getting used to some of the changes and chaos in life, and sometimes he sleeps over three or four hours at a stretch, which means sometimes so do I.

A friend commented recently on how calm I am about the breastfeeding chaos (compared to someone else she knows who posts continuously about it on facebook). Trust me, that's all illusion. I have some decided struggles still; it's just this isn't the medium. I just sent my doula a long e-mail about it, and I've talked to others, and I intend to call the public health nurse tomorrow and see if she has any chance of talking to me before Christmas, or at least answering a few questions.

Christmas still feels pretty abstract to me, especially as the 17th was the first day I even tried to play Christmas music. And that partly as a change of pace from some overused playlists.

This is less so since I first wrote that, as we've at least gotten in a couple of trips out of the house to peoples' places where trees are up and Christmas is more immediate. I've done some of my most urgent shopping online but I don't know yet if I'll be braving the malls at all. If so, it will be Joseph-free, as I have no stroller yet (It's on the way). This little-Christmas feeling was making me gloomy in some of my baby-blues moments, but right now, with the focus mostly on visits and music, and a lot less on the purchases, it feels almost more a boon; less of the crass side of things and more of the celebration as it ought to be. Though is till assert that commercial and all as the shopping side of things is, at least it's mostly focused on shopping for people other than oneself, a change from the rest of the year.

I feel like I have a lot more to say, but I've been composing posts in my head and not on paper. What little writing time I've felt myself to have has mostly gone instead to editing bits of Soldier of the Road -- rather than rewriting the last scene, I'm fighting with the puzzle of where a particular character leaves, and someone else's motivation. not exciting writer-stuff, but another kind of frustration. Ah, well, at least one thread has resolved itself in my head, and it;s good to have those little successes to cling to. In any field.

More pics:

I actually got outdoors!


Unwrapped Bundle of Joy

lenora_rose: (Default)
If you've been on Facebook, You've seen these. IF not:

Hidden for Size )
lenora_rose: (Baby)
It seems simultaneously odd and yet logical to make a post basically saying nothing has happened yet. Because, well, at this point it could be Any Time Now in which that changes. But no, nothing has happened yet.

(Colin's facebook comment on this was that he now feels the need to preface every phone call to or from his parents with "You're not a grandfather/mother yet" This trend I think started with my own dad's last phone call. Dad doesn't call, or get called, often -- once or twice a year unless something big happens, and about that many e-mails -- but this news, he's waiting for.)

The crib is assembled, the furniture placed in the nursery, and some of the bedroom was cleaned up and out with the thought that if we want the bassinet in here, it would be nice to be able to fit it around the detritus we allow to accumulate. Also, I killed many's the dust bunny. Colin's been doing a number of smallish useful jobs around the house; nothing that makes as much visible progress on the reno as might be, but he's been far from inactive.

Writing is going argh-wise. I chose to make another potential change which required another quick wave of revision (2-3 days total). I need to remember to save a version without this particular change, because I really am undecided if it was a good idea or a disaster.

Although I think I went back through and did it as much so I had a chance to think about the ending stuff I'm feeling slightly uneasy about. And now I'm saying, Enough thinking. Go forth and do.

Or at least, at this hour, go forth and do tomorrow. :P
lenora_rose: (Baby)
Wow, that was a day.

First, there's a phenomenon they call "nesting" that tends to happen in late pregnancy. IT involves
- a brief burst of inexplicable energy
- a strong desire to help get things ready for baby.T his tends to mean that the energy gets focused on nursery prep or housecleaning (Things one otherwise has been struggling with energy-wise).

All good, right?

Well, I had my first direct experience of the phenomenon last night -- when I got out of bed at 1:00 or 1:30 to deal with a combination of restless leg and mild acid reflux. So instead of doing a few leg exercises and crashing again, I ended up sweeping out a couple of the places downstairs where the plaster had made a mess (Again), moving a few itemks around in the kitchen part of the new extension so as to make more room, and roaming between that and the middle bedroom making plans -- because even I could tell that running the shop-vac in the kitchen extension at 2:00 Am was not a good idea. So instead I quieted it by laying in plans for today.

Anyhow, I slept poorly after that, too (After I fed the cats at 7:00, I lay awake for at least an hour and a half). SO not only was I the usual backachy, I was also short of sleep and disinclined to do much but nap.

Hah.
________

In spite of what I said a handful of time ago about how long things might take, this is how it went:

- While I got up and went to my latest doctor's appointment, Colin and his friend Chris Q worked on laying down double-sided tape for the flooring upstairs.
- While I came back and ate lunch, they laid down the flooring itself.
- Also, I hashed out with Colin where we'd started thinking at cross-purposes about certain things regarding what would go where for storage. And how much of a priority baseboards are. (This sort of planning and communicating happened in tandem with some of the other stuff, but takes its own time, and really is essential...)

- In spite of having no energy, I decided to start the first steps of what I'd been planning to do the night before; while they guys ate lunch, I moved some *more* things around in the kitchen extension to provide even more useful space (And a bit more room to get the dryer through to the basement), and applied the shop-vac to it so that one could get to the back door without walking on splinters of lathe, broken tile, and plaster chunks.

- Swept the upstairs hall, bringing up the pieces of the crib, and giving them all a thorough wipe-down (especially the mattress) due to plaster dust, general dust, and just being cautious. While I was doing this, the guys were cleaning out the construction related stuff in my study - then consulting me on what could be moved where to get it out of the way.

- Chris Q. vaccuumed out my study, while I washed/dusted a number of other things in urgent need of attention, in and out of study and nursery. (Like the stair rail that had gone from creamy to grey with ingrained dirt during all this summer). Including the bookshelves we were about to move.

- We all moved most things out of the nursery and either into the storage side of the new upstairs extension or back into my study (they did the bookshelves and chests, I just hauled armloads of books or small boxes). (Books are not in order; this was somehow not a priority yet. Lord knows, there will be a day or two or three coming when I obsess over it...)

- I swept out the nursery -- and stripped and moved the bed around, and actually put baby things in the dresser drawers now I could reach them -- while Colin and Chris Q cleared out the passage into the basement and hauled up most of my wheel, some shelves, most of the boxed-up pottery, and most of my working supplies. I also helped arrange/rearrange these once they were upstairs; Chris just left the boxes to me once they were in the room.

- After dinner (Which Chris made), I also mopped the nursery.

- In short, we went from three rooms which couldn't be used for their intended purposes and didn't even contain the right furniture, to three rooms that are all back to fully useable for their intended purposes, *even* conceding that none of them is completely *finished*.

Beforehand, I'd have said that this was at least two days of full-time work. More once they started digging into the basement for boxes and stuff. But most of this was done by 5:00 - actually the biggest bout was done by 4:00, after that we were slowing down. We also fit in a viewing of Kung Fu Panda 2. If we'd also got the dryer into the basement, I'd call it a full out miracle.

And thanks to my lovely timing, I did most of what I did without the benefit of nesting energy. OR any decent sleep.

My back hurts. But as I noted to Colin, it hurt when I sat still too long, too. Right now I don't think I overdid it, just that I should go to bed NOW.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
I Really need to buckle down on this stupid book if I really intend it to be done before the baby makes an appearance.

Of course, things were complicated by going back to make a POV change for several major scenes. I had to go through the scenes a couple of times to be sure where I should have the changes, which I can't do easily on the Dana, so the usual solution of "Run off to the library to type without distractions" wasn't as feasible as it should be.

__________________

Green Arrow: Year One (Andy Diggle and Jock)

This comic is four years old, nigh on five, so not exactly new, but I decided to pick it up because I always liked Green Arrow, and a Year One story, being a retelling of a character's origin, is going to be a newcomer-friendly entry point. (Not, I grant you, usually a major issue with your average superhero, but I've read enough other comics of other genres, especially manga, where that isn't the case, I'm allergic to reading too much out of order).

Anyhow, I recall the Green Arrow origin story always involved him being stranded on a random island with a bow and a need to survive. I don't recall if it always involved discovering criminals on said island, and beating them to get off, but it sounds like typical super-hero stuff, and that twist didn't feel new.

This version of the story is well written considering how much was crammed into its length, and the usual restrictions and assumptions of comic-book heroism (this version of Green Arrow is right back to maiming rather than killing people, and devising trick arrows to prevent needing to shoot deadly bolts at anything other than animals), but falls right into the obnoxious, noxious and undesirable territory of "What these people need is a Honky" when the current incarnation of criminals on the island turn out to have enslaved the local population (Those they didn't just murder and dump down a well -- that particular discovery scene was... effective), to grow their massive secret poppy crop. Of course, they're helpless to save themselves until some blond guy comes by and does it for them. I *don't* recall the original story being one of these, so if I'm right, that's a regression.

On that basis, I'd dismiss it as an uninteresting entry. But there's *one* character who does interest me, because in a story whose base narrative type was a bit less pernicious, she could have been a lot more. Taiana first appears as a helpless slave, heavily pregnant. She looks like a wide-eyed innocent with the only note of interest being her willingness to approach the site of a helicopter crash and try to help the men therein. Classic lovely native waif stuff, also classic set-up for the person who draws the Honky in to the local culture if anyone does (In this case, there's no time for that step in the mini-series, so they skip nigh straight from "White man meets natives" to "white man saves natives".)

However, on her reappearances, it turns out that Taiana is a fully-trained doctor, even if one forced to work with primitive tools, and a calm leader of her people. When Green Arrow is slow getting back to rescuing the slaves, she makes her own attempt to free them, which GA mostly aids and abets by creating a distraction to keep her from getting shot in the back. She's the one who gets the slaves to a boat, and finds them guns. Ultimately, she saves his life at least once by pointing a gun at someone (But not shooting, of course. The only people who kill are bad guys.) And, if certain hints in the last pages are to be taken, is doing the last section while in early labour (She gives birth pretty much instantly once her people are free).

I'd call that a thoroughly awesome character, and I would totally read a book just about her and what she does then and afterward (Opening a free clinic, or a series of them, wrangling to get adequate medical supplies against the odds, turning over assumptions about what her people, and particularly a woman therefrom, can do, all while raising a toddler alone) ... except that she spends too much dialogue telling Oliver Queen he's important and he's special and he made all the difference. Because that's the narrative voice of the "What these people need is a honky". (To some degree, it's also a part of this mini-series being Green Arrow's story, and partly a flaw in superhero comics that the super-hero must always be the most important person). But it doesn't matter how awesome the woman who does it all backwards and in high heels while heavily pregnant is. The guy has to be that little bit better -- or at minimum, she has to think so.

_______________

There are times I really want to write the story of Therien Damina.
The gist of the story idea is, he comes to the New World with the Hudson's Bay Company (And yes, there's a background story behind someone with a French name ending up with a British company -- but I don't know that one), and starts to talk to the native population. But then Therien, in his eagerness to help and his too-shallow understanding of the Cree nation, makes some severe mistakes and screws up royally, causing the actual central problem (the only part of which I really know at this point is that it involves a very angry Bear Spirit, which he reads as A Bad Guy, something to be rid of, when it's nothing of the sort). Things only get better when he gets out of the way of the Cree people and lets them fix what he made wrong. The actual heroes I rather intended to be the elders of the people, with some hope that, with sufficient study, I can be sure the ultimate hero is a woman.

Then there are all the times I know why this story is not for me to tell. At minimum, not yet. No chops, no research, no research discipline, not nearly enough grasp of the history or the people. Not nearly enough of the actual story nuggets (Most of which would need to come from the research - even the bear spirit thought popped up due to an essay read for another subject - so won't hit spontaneously the way that the Serpent Prince plot kernels did, which only required looking at an extant story sidelong and asking a stupid question.)

_______________

A thought I mentioned in passing a few times, but which I think is worth chewing on.

When shopping for baby clothes, I looked at what i have so far, and the question "what if we're all wrong and this turns out to be a girl?" popped up.

My conclusion on the spot, and which still seems true looking at what I have, seems to be that there's not a thing clothes-wise that i wouldn't also put on a girl, no problem. NO shade of green or blue that screams boy to me, though some will to other people, no depiction of animals, or dinosaurs, or rocket-ships, that couldn't be put on a female body. The only one that felt even fractionally iffy was the one with the construction trucks, and that one I probably wouldn't have bought for a boy, either, left to my own devices (mom did. And it's pale blue and fuzzy, so I decided it was acceptable.)

The reverse would not have been true. There are still some colours (and I include colours I like, like lavender, not just the pinks I often don't) and some subjects that I would have bought for a girl and hesitated about using if surprised by a boy.A girl can wear blue, dammit, and who cares if she's taken for a boy by random strangers, but a boy can't wear lavender with flowers. Gasp. He might be *mistaken for a girl*. And that would be awful.

Fortunately, I don't seem to have this same sticking point, so far, about picture books (The only children's playstuff I have already in the house besides the everygender-safe stuffed animals), whose stories might actually influence the growing mind, or about most toys (The majority of baby toys and many toddler toys I've seen are pretty gender neutral. This changes as they get older, and turns into a whole different ball game. But the worst examples of female-gendered toys, the ones I would consider the least suited to give to a boy, are the ones *I* didn't much play with as a child and wouldn't buy -- like Barbie.)

But I do see this as a hint of what has been pointed out about current attempts to address gender equality - girls can be more masculine than they used to be and still be girls, but woe betide the boy who is feminine.* Even though the latter takes (at least) as much personal courage.

(Random side point. I've always thought I'd take "men's rights" groups more seriously if, rather than wanting to reclaim already-masculine things from those grubby female hands, they wanted entry into traditionally female spheres. If, rather than wanting to have men-only gaming groups to counter womens' desire to occasionally game with each other instead of always pushing into a male-majority space, men's rights advocates wanted to have men's nights that involved giving one another manicures, or learning embroidery and crochet, instead of being the minority, if present at all, at famale-majority get-togethers of this kind. And that's before you get to the "Men's Rights" types who are effectively rape apologists, a group for whom I have two words.)


* Transgender and genderqueerness add piles of complication on both sides. This point, however, is mostly about the cisgendered cissexual boy who still likes 'girly' things, or the cisgendered cissexual girl who likes "boy stuff".
lenora_rose: (Baby)
Chopped my hair again. Thanks to reading Alternity, my first association seeing the new look was "Pansy Parkinson" (per here) though she has more bangs. Hoping to bug [personal profile] haasiophis to get a chance to add some turquoise or blue streaks, though. So I may save pics until (if) that happens.

Colin's remark though, was that it was pretty similar to the cut another friend got since her son was born, and "Is this a mom thing?"

(Make no mistake, he seemed to like it anyhow... but we both think she's an attractive woman.)
__________

Official word is in: this coming week is my last one for work. Later than I was originally intended to last, sooner than I hoped. I can't exactly mind. Besides, I can always tell the agency I can still work for a couple more weeks, if they have anything short term. In spite of the Kicker.
__________

Mom and I went shopping yesterday, again, and I'm feeling a bit closer to ready for this baby thing (yes, I updated the list, for those of you still threatening something shower-like). But it did lead to one interesting trip-up.

Grandma gave us money a while ago for us to get a high chair, because she has trouble getting out to shop herself. Yesterday, while mom and I were in a new/used baby place - mostly I'd been planning to look at playards and baby carriers, the backpack style. Anyhow, while we were there, mom decided we should look a little bit at high chairs, since I really haven't. They had one I actually quite liked; it wasn't plastic like most of the others, except for the food tray, but wood, and it looked like solid wood, and except for a bit of store dust, quite clean. And the padding on the chair was much less vinyl-feeling and much more comfortable to my touch than most of the others. And it was in very good shape for used, and less than half what grandma gave us for money. So I bought it.

Grandma took terrible offense. Because "I had a chair picked out. And you don't know who had it before. How could you?" Less than not choosing *her* chair, she mostly seemed against buying used things at all.

She'd never said she had a specific chair in mind -- and neither mom nor I had any guess she'd be angry; mom bought almost all her baby furniture used if she didn't get it from friends.

And so far everyone else with an opinion has said that, other than safety concerns like mattresses and car seats (And of course, diapers...)*, used is a good thing, or at least an acceptable one. Assuming one is used to shopping used and knows a bit of what to look for.

If she hadn't been so angry I could have said that it meant her money also went to a quilt set and the Snugli I picked out. Or that Colin and I are on a pretty tight budget. But I decided to say very little until she's either calmer or at least more inclined to maybe listen. I certainly didn't want to hurt her. I hope this is one of the times when she's mad about something until she thinks it through, not one of the times she sticks to her anger. I like my grandma, prickly and stubborn as she is.

Anyhow. Today started as a writing day, and it's time to get back to that.


* Even cloth diapers don't usually last long enough to go from child to child. And I certainly wouldn't buy them, even if some I already owned survived the transition between my own kids, should that word turn plural.
lenora_rose: (Baby)
This list is specifically for people in Winnipeg or otherwise who seem to be plotting to get me baby stuff. Nothing here for anyone else.

Based on things said/implied, I probably have enough baby clothes in the newborn size, and possibly the 3 month, and enough full-sized blankets.

Read more... )

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