Just Trying To Make Sense Of It All

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Stuff and nonsense and more


Posted on : 16-Nov-2011 | By : Amber | In : Uncategorized

Sometimes I think the hardest part of blogging is coming up with a title for the post. I’m just sayin’.

So, yeah, I’m actually writing fairly steadily now. Not sure what to think about that. It might mean I’m developing some discipline. It might mean I have a brain tumor. It might be a sign of the apocalypse. We’ll see, I suppose. Or not.

R. turned 10 this week, and while watching my baby girl grow up and reach double digits is amazing, it just underscores how time is not just flying by, but at mach 3. Seriously. I know I just heard the midwife tell me one more push and she’d be here, you know? You’d think I’d learned that with B., but nooooo…

She wanted a camera and a ukulele for her birthday, which she got. She and B. can already play the ukulele. That brings the instruments between them to – well, let’s count. Violin, tin whistle, recorder, guitar, mandolin and now ukulele. 6. They both did a headline benefit concert with the Flowing Tide Ceili Band last Saturday, which was very cool. It was R.’s first “real” gig. B. has been playing paying gigs for years. Fair bit of coin was raised for the homeless meals program at the Jewish Christian Outreach Center, which is the organization that hired FTCB. Much awesomeness all around. Lovely venue, too.

Archer got to go play with the sheep the other day, and I have to say, he did really, really well. He’s matured so much, unlike his owner, and is starting to think before he does something, watching what the shepherd is doing, working in balance with her. No, the shepherd is not me. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing with sheep. I can do neat things with their wool, but not while it’s on their backs. That would just be weird.

Does anyone else on twitter worry that when someone you tweet to doesn’t respond, you’ve been blocked or are considered a pain in the butt? No? Guess it’s just me, then. Figures.

Actual conversation in the car the other day:

B: So, I’m so going to end up married to a military guy.

Me: How so?

B: Uniforms are just hot.

Me: Is that XXXXX in the uniform there?

B: Mmm-hmmm

Me: OMG. You have a type.

B: No, I don’t!

Me: Yes, you do! He could be XXX’s brother, and you have a type!

B: Well, so do you.

Me: I know. Tall, handsome, and carrying a weapon. Have you looked at your father? Why do you think I drag him to the range as often as humanly possible?

B: I try not to.

And that is why I won’t be getting any mother of the year awards.

R and I, on one of the days that she decided it was cool to hug her mother.

See? I can do the regular bloggity-blog thing.


Posted on : 07-Nov-2011 | By : Amber | In : Uncategorized

It’s way later than I should be up, and I should be writing on my NaNoWriMo project, but since I’m really, really good at procrastination muti-tasking, I’m writing on this instead. Where, you know, I don’t need to worry about things like plot, or income, or – yeah.

If you’re wondering what NaNoWriMo is, you can go here and find out. I’ll wait.

Pretty neat, huh? At least I’m hoping it’ll really force me to finish my @#$% book and stop looking at my lack of words-on-paper as a personal failure.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. Yeah, I wanted to be a veterinarian, too, but since I passed out when the vet let me sit in on my dog’s surgery, that one sort of went out the window. I did my internships in college and wrote for a local magazine. I taught English for 8 years (and yeah, I’d have snatched a kid up for using these run-on sentences), and I enjoyed that, but – couldn’t say I’d achieved my ultimate goal. I’ve written for OTHER people’s blogs and got paid to do it, which was pretty cool, because, hey, getting paid to do what I actually enjoyed, even if writing about RV refrigerators wasn’t the most exciting thing ever. But – it wasn’t the writing I wanted to do for ME.

So, here I am, and I’ve got this FEELING hanging over me that, if I don’t get this done, I’m going to have to cross it off my list unfinished, and I’m just not willing to do that, not yet. Life will always have a string of “I wish I’d have”, and I accept that, but this – this one I’m not willing to count among them. Not yet.

I don’t expect a lot out of the first draft of this. All first drafts are crap, it’s been said (and by much better writers than yours truly) and, really, my biggest obstacle is getting the whole thing down to start with. I tend to over-think. I tend to over-analyze. I tend to then procrastinate, because I’m fed up with my over-thinking and over-analyzing. I think this is where the whole “daughter of a Special Forces military guy and an artist” really shows itself. I wage this constant battle between organization and happy chaos.

So, this is where I ask for you guys to help out. You see – I really do better when there are outside forces curbing my ADDish tendencies and redirecting what brain cells I have back to where they need to be. If you know me (and you probably do, because, let’s face it, I think all of four people read this), nudge me. Poke me with a stick. Whenever you think of it. Try to think of it often, please. I need it.

A lot. Really.

If you don’t know me, but think that’s something you might enjoy, you can poke me with a stick, too. I do carry a gun, but take it very seriously, so you’re not in any danger.

I DO. Take it seriously. If you lived here, you’d carry, too. Just sayin’. I’ve got daughters to protect!

See, there goes that whole tangent thing again. I told you so.

Wow. I stink at this whole updating regularly thing.


Posted on : 28-Oct-2011 | By : Amber | In : Dogs, homeschooling, miscellaneous garbage, Rambling rambles, Uncategorized

I’ll try to make the post worth your while though. You might want to pour a drink. I find it helps in dealing with me.

So I’ve been TRYING to get into the whole “homeschooling for a new year” thing since the end of August, and to be honest, I still feel like I’m swimming upstream. Wearing ankle weights. And a sweater.

We’re managing, but I haven’t managed to attain that zen attitude I keep hoping for. Maybe I’m just not a zen sort of person. Maybe it’s because my man is sitting next to me yelling at Texas in the World Series. Maybe I’m the one that needs that drink. Stop judging me.

You’d think, with Halloween so soon upon us (wow, that sounded posh), that I’d be more excited. Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited. I’ve invested so much time making sure that my daughters truly appreciate the macabre and bizarre that I could miss the actual donning of the costumes/sugar coma and still enjoy the moment. Thing is – well, to be honest I dunno what the thing is. I think I’m just in one of those weird places I get when the days get shorter and P. yells at professional athletes. I need to spend more time with Archer the Wonder Dog. That makes me, if not zen, then at least not bitey and snarly. And I cook more.

Archer the Wonder Dog

My pup makes me happy. Handsome boy, isn\’t he?

I HAVE been writing, which is a good thing, and I’ve been doing it the old fashioned way. No, not stylus and wax, I’m not that old. Shut up. Fountain pen and paper. This has been good for my creative process, and for my manicure, because I’m sort of a beast at the keyboard. I type violently. I don’t know what this says about me. However, I am discovering that I can still type with nails! I am discovering this right now. This instant. It pleases me.

Writing this way must be good for my creative process, because I’m having very vivid dreams, that I actually remember, and my characters are starting to stand up for themselves and tell me what they’re really thinking, and I’m pretty sure that means I’m becoming more in touch with my creative side. Or more insane. Either/or, really.

I am glad that cooler weather is here, because sweating when you’re just walking to the car is just not on, and my pups really, really, really don’t like the heat. Of course, Ceili the Elder Dog doesn’t like the cold, either. She does like raw chicken, so there is something left in the world that makes her happy. Cooler weather also means, maybe, Archer will get to play with the sheep some more, and that will make him happy. And tired.

It will also give Bri more of a chance to work on her action photography, and Rori a chance to, well, be a kid on a farm for a few hours. There could be baby ducks. There will at least be eggs, and she’s got a good imagination.

If Texas loses tonight I’m going to have to buy a pound of taffy and force feed it to Patrick. I don’t know how much longer I can take the yelling at the television without doing something suddenly and all over the place.

I have a short fuse. Deal with it. Or don’t, really. It’s all ok.

The Spam – Dear Lord, the Spam…


Posted on : 04-Aug-2011 | By : Amber | In : Complaints and such, general complaining, Rambling rambles

If I’d known about the amount of spam I’d get in my comments, I might have reconsidered writing a blog in the first place. Ok, maybe not, but I would have complained a lot more about it.

Spammers – why do you choose me? I don’t have a large readership. I’m not sponsored by anyone. I can count on my fingers and toes the number of people not related to me who read this, and still have digits left. I’m pretty sure my mom gave up reading after the second post or so. Listen closely to the words that are coming out of my virtual mouth.

I do not want to buy generic drugs online. I am not interested in anime porn. I don’t ride a motorcycle, speak russian, or need a way to increase the size of some anatomy I don’t possess. Really. Your comments aren’t going to help you. No one who is interested will read them, most likely because I won’t approve them, and even if they get through, because I was half asleep (something my kids take advantage of way too often), I’ll figure it out eventually and take them off the blog.

Go away.

Go far, far away.

You make me unhappy, and that upsets my family’s delicate balance – you know, the one where they tiptoe around and don’t upset the crazy woman who lives in their midst.



Posted on : 20-Jun-2011 | By : Amber | In : Dogs, general complaining, married life, parenting brilliance, Rambling rambles, Teenagers, zombies

So, I’d like to say that the reason I haven’t updated in oh, ever, is because I’ve been doing Really Exciting and Wild Things ™, but in fact, I’ve just been lazy. Sue me – it’s not like I get PAID to write this stuff. Contact me about doing ads on this blog and we’ll talk.

Instead of doing R.E.&W.T. ™ , I’ve been doing stuff like the following:

Threw a ball for Archer the Wonder Dog to catch, but instead he hit it with his nose and it flew back and clobbered me in the head.

Watched my eldest go to her first prom, and nearly died because (a) she’s gorgeous and (b) I’m old.

I am in so much trouble, being this one\’s mother…


Still not feeling better about my parenting chances here…

Wrote not nearly enough about zombies and way too many tweets.

Became addicted to The Glee Project, because not only do I watch Glee with the sort of rabid intensity I usually save for scifi and chocolate, I am apparently a sucker for people younger and prettier than myself who have so much talent it hurts. If you’re wondering, I’m pulling for Damian McGinty.

Damian McGinty

Yeah, I wanna see this guy on GLEE.

Realized that all the shows I usually watch are now in hiatus, got very sad, and then realized that Eureka is about to come back for the summer, and got glad again.

Remembered that the next installment of Gail Garriger’s The Parasol Protectorate series is due out very, very soon, and became rather giddy.

Bought Argent Vite by my dear friend Kaye and devoured it in a day. It’s available via Lulu and iBooks, and you should all go out and read it. Right now. Go on. I’ll wait.

Planted growing things in my gardens, realized I hadn’t bought enough of them to do the job, and since I’d already cleared out the OLD things for the NEW things, my flowerbeds look like they have alopecia. I guess that’s ok, though, since that matches my lawn. I rock so hard.

Tried to convince my guy that I could use a pet dryer for things other than drying Archer the Wonder Dog after his bath. The thing is, I actually COULD, but he’s not buying it – the story or the dryer. Why did I ever think practicality was an attractive quality in a man?? It’s a good thing he’s hot, that’s all I’m sayin’.

So – yeah. How did this become my life again?

P.S. – after proofing this for me, Patrick thinks everyone will believe that all I do is watch television and that our life stinks. Ya’ll know better than that – I eat and bathe occasionally, too. Take that, Patrick.

P.P.S. – if you’re just leaving a comment here because it’ll get you more traffic and better ratings with Google, then you need to go away. I actually READ the comments before I approve them, and if you’re putting up things like “this article had great informations can you tell me more?” while coding 482 links to Russian porn into the comment, you’re not going to get approved. Don’t try to sell stuff on my blog, ya’ll. I don’t even do that.

Makes You Wanna Scream…


Posted on : 16-Mar-2011 | By : Amber | In : Parenting Fails, Rambling rambles, Teenagers, Very Important Things

*Author’s Note – WordPress ate this once already. I love you, so I’m rewriting it. Fear me.*

So – there’s this kid I know. Good-natured, hardworking guy with a big heart that I totally want in my corner when the zombies come, because he’s big enough to swing a mean machete and loyal enough to swing it to help out his friends. The problem is his family treats him like crap.

I’m not talking about your ordinary, garden variety crap, either. I’m talking the sort of crap you find encased in glass domes with signs saying “for when the usual crap just won’t do”. THAT kind of crap. This kid’s stepfather is a class A Numbskull, and his mom must either be threatened or drunk, because she allows said Numbskull to dish out the afore-mentioned crap. Oh, not to all the kids, mind you – the kids she shares with the Numbskull get preferential treatment. It’s the kids she had B.N. (before Numbskull) that get the short end of the stick, and you’re not going to convince me that she doesn’t see it, because she’s got eyes in her head.

You know, I’ll take a lot of things from a lot of people, but you don’t mess with my kids. You want to be safe during the Zombie Apocalypse, then stand behind my kids, because I guarantee you they’re gonna survive. Nobody messes with my girls. That means that I don’t understand why in the Sam Hill anyone would treat their children like this, step or other, and since I have seriously great great step-parents, I really really have no frame of reference for this. No one would do this to my child, no matter who is the one doing the “doing”.

I know all I can do, at least at this precise moment in time, is offer support. What I’d like to do is significantly more, um, action oriented. And probably frowned upon. Or not, depending on who you are and what organizations or municipalities you work for. I am open to suggestions, however.

Yeah, I know, but my life is a time suck – don’t judge me!


Posted on : 12-Feb-2011 | By : Amber | In : miscellaneous garbage, Rambling rambles, zombies

I realize I need to update this thing more often. I kinda stink at things like that, so if you’re looking for me to entertain/enlighten/enrage you on a daily basis, that probably isn’t going to happen, unless you want to pay me to do so, and then I might think about it. Maybe.

The thing is, despite being home most of the time, I never seem to have the time available to update as often as I want to or think I should. I’d offer a reason, but I really don’t have one, and I’m not good at excuses, since they all come out something like “I would have updated but I had to attend an emergency meeting of ‘Citizens Against Zombie Attack’ because we’re preparing for the upcoming zombie apocalypse”. Which might or might not be the truth. Most people tend to disbelieve me when I tell the truth, funnily enough, so I tend to just stay silent and glare. I save lies for my writing.

However, because I’m made of awesome (shut up, I could be, in some cultures), I’m going to attempt to update more than I have been lately, which shouldn’t be too hard, really. The fact of the matter is I’m basically boring and a bit unhinged, so I haven’t wanted to wear anybody out with my ramblings and wordy insanity.

Also, and this is off the subject but not really, what IS it about my posts that invites hundreds of comments from Russian escort services and Canadian drug sellers? Do I have something secret written in Cyrillic, that maybe I wrote in my sleep or something? Am I moonlighting as a purveyor of purloined pharmaceuticals? Maybe I used the word “perv” too much. All I know is I wish they’d quit leaving those comments, because they make me feel dirty, and not in a good way.

Before you leave, you should go to my friend J’s blog; she’s a fantastic writer, and you won’t regret the time you spend there. Plus, she’s a lot more interesting than I am, and she updates more. J’s blog; tell your friends.

Barnes & Noble is after my retirement, ya’ll


Posted on : 11-Jan-2011 | By : Amber | In : Rambling rambles, Reading, zombies

Seriously. I’m not joking.

I got a nookColor for Christmas, which is one of the best things an addicted avid reader like myself can get. The thing is, I’m beginning to think a crack habit would be easier to support, because I read really quickly, and then I’m all “I’m out of stuff to read”, and my nook is all “It’s ok, just hit the shop icon and you can buy something else to read without even getting out of your chair, and you get to read it instantly”, and then I’m all “Well, ok, just one more time”, and the next thing I know Patrick is glaring at me and asking me if I know how much money I’ve spent at Barnes & Noble.

Um, no, I don’t, because it’s like crack, and you don’t keep receipts from your dealer. If your dealer even gives receipts, which they probably don’t, but since B&N is a really classy dealer, they do, but they email it to me, so I just delete it because, really, who wants to be constantly reminded of their crack book habit?

A nook should come with a medical or financial warning label. And maybe a referral to a couples counselor. Or financial planner.

Oh – yes, I did buy a book – ok, 3 books – that had zombies in them, but really, the zombies weren’t the whole raison d’etre for the books existance, and see, I’m using French, so I’m becoming more literate with every dollar I spend book I read.

And you should all go read Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest, even if you’re not into zombies, or steampunk, because everyone should be into good writing and great storytelling. I loaned it to my man, who has yet to read it.

A Christmas like no other


Posted on : 20-Dec-2010 | By : Amber | In : Very Important Things

For those of you who don’t know, and you must be a little isolated if that’s the case, Jenny of TheBloggess.com started what has become the most amazing outpouring of Christmas spirit I’ve ever seen.  I’m not going to relive the entire thing here, because Jenny has kept us all up-to-date with the avalanche of goodwill HERE.  I’m going to sit back and let you go read it, and then you can come back here.


Now, if that’s not the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen, if you can read that with dry eyes and not have your heart torn out of your chest and then put back together better, then you’re not human and I don’t want to know you. Really.

The fact that I was able to take some money that was literally sitting around (change, but it’s real money, yes?), put it in the bank and literally make Christmas happen for someone – not so much with the money, but with the fact that someone CARED enough to make the effort for a person they didn’t even know – has taken my Christmas and made it, well, MORE. More valued, more treasured, more peaceful, more sincere, just – MORE.

I know what it’s like to wonder where the money was going to come from for groceries, or bills, or to keep the lights on. I know what it’s like to lie awake at nights and wonder where the Christmas presents were going to come from for my girls. My husband is the hardest working man I’ve ever known, and the Economy of Doom has nearly taken everything from us; it’s because family and friends offered a helping hand when we needed it that we’re finally, maybe, seeing a light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t an oncoming train. Full of zombies.

This year, we could pay it forward a little bit, and the funny thing is, it’s done as much or more for my Christmas spirit as it could possibly have done for the folks we were able to send gift cards to.

And – you want the icing on the cake? I told Bri about it, and she wanted to give a card, too. She’s a hard-working 15-year-old, and she makes her own money teaching violin classes. When we sat down with her debit card and the amazon.com gift card site, I went to put in the $30 – and she told me to make it $50. She said then there’d be a little extra for Christmas dinner. I asked if she was sure, and she just said “I can afford it”.

How many teens would have done that??

How have I, truly, become so blessed?

Merry Christmas, everyone.

*Cough, hack*


Posted on : 07-Dec-2010 | By : Amber | In : miscellaneous garbage, Rambling rambles

Yeah, so I should have updated this a lot sooner, but I’ve had ebola the flu, so if you’ve got a problem with it you should come over here and let me cough on you so you can share my pain. Deal with it.

I’m TRYING to get into the Christmas spirit, but as you can imagine, the plague cholera the flu tends to put a damper on the holiday mood, as you can imagine. Or don’t imagine. I’m not sure I care at this point.

There is a tree. There are lights on the tree. My line of advent calendar boxes are strung between the living room and the dining room. There is, however, no candy in the boxes yet. Don’t judge me; have I mentioned I’ve got typhoid fever the flu?

There is also a bottle of Dewer’s, which everyone keeps telling me will help make me feel better, but all it does really is make me sleepy. That might be the reason my dude keeps making toddies for me to drink, now that I think about it, because if I’m asleep I’m not complaining about how crummy I feel and making demands for hot tea and chocolate. I just thought he was trying to take advantage of me.