cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
That right there? Yeah, that sums up parenthood pretty well.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
One of the things I've missed since becoming a stay-at-home mother/employee/writer is taking public transit. It's true--for reasons you shall see. So this Saturday, some friends of mine were having a birthday thing at Psycho Suzi's, and I took the bus to get there.

Dear reader, I chose the right bus: the crazy bus.

It began when I heard [ profile] matociquala's voice. "That's odd," I thought. "She's not anywhere near the Twin Cities right now." I turn in my seat to check. "Nope. Not her. Some other person who is her vocal doppelganger. Ha! Well, I'll have to note this down, because it's amusingly random."

The woman in question is talking on her cellphone. I am working on a writing project in my notebook. She's talking about the drought in America. Very sad. I shake my head a little and keep working on my own thing. Drought...blah blah blah...prophetess--wait, what? My ears may have literally perked up at this point.

The doppelganger explains that the Prophetess Miriam had a prophecy called The Poisoned Catch, which it was revealed referred to how the BP oil spill had destroyed the gulf. Huh, I think. There was another prophecy about famine and drought in America, which would lead to our children starving like the ones in Africa. Ugh, I think. The doppelganger explains that she saw these prophecies on YouTube.

I chuckle a little to myself and go back to my writing, because this crazy has already exceeded the standard bus allotment and surely this is the end of it, right? But no, there's more!

It's a conspiracy to destroy American agriculture. The government is in on it. George W. Bush and Obama are both in on it.

"Well," I think, "it's nice to see some bipartisan conspiracy!"

Because Bush and Obama are both fascists, like Stalin and Mao--though it wasn't really Mao. Mao didn't do anything. It was all his wife, because Mao had Alzheimer's and his wife was secretly running things.

At this point, I have stopped my own writing and am just taking notes on what the doppelganger's saying. And remember, this is all in [ profile] matociquala's most reasonable voice.

The plot to destroy American agriculture and make it so nothing can ever grow again is apparently because the American public is too dangerous and they need to kill a lot of us off to keep us under control. You see, despite the apathy of the American public, they are afraid that we will rebel, since we're all armed and dangerous.

"Uh-oh," I think. "Crazy's armed!" I start paying more attention to exits etc.

"What?" the doppelganger says. "Oh, I have to be at work in half an hour, so we can talk for another twenty minutes."

Cue doppelganger trying to convince the other person that they should keep talking, while the other person is clearly trying to disengage.

The conversation ends with the doppelganger saying, in a bit of a huff, "If you want to read something, then go ahead!"
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
This weekend (for a fairly flexible definition of weekend that stretches from Thursday night through early Monday morning) we attended 4th Street Fantasy Convention 2012 en famille.

4th Street is single-track programming, so there are a whole bunch of panels in a row with breaks in-between. It's not quite like, say, CONvergence, where there are a ton of things going on at once and you sort of pick and choose whether you want to go to a panel or watch a movie or go to a craft room or play games and then you take a nap at some point and circle around all the themed parties in the evening. 4th Street is all about the panels, and attendees are at least 80% writer-related: editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers.

This year, Phil and the baby also went to the hotel and we got a room. During panels AKA all day long, Phil took care of the baby. I would sneak back during breaks to feed the baby, and I had my tablet with me so that Phil could email me updates like, "Baby asleep. Do not come back to the room and risk waking him up," and "Baby awake and fussing. Will hold the fort until the break," and "Oh God. Baby super-pooped. We may need a new room." I would feed baby at the beginning and the end of the meal breaks, and go out to dine with people in the middle. In the evenings, sometimes I wandered out to socialize on my own (this may seem like a contradiction, but it is a sadly accurate reflection of the way I socialize in large groups--I am more of a drifter than a joiner), sometimes I took care of the baby in the hotel room so Phil could have a break, and sometimes I wandered out to socialize and took the baby with me. It was a good dry run for WorldCon, and I'm feeling more confident about doing these things with Phil and baby in tow.

I had a good 4th Street. The panels sparked shiny thoughts. I have more story ideas to add to the list. I have new aspects of the writing craft to explore. I talked to some people, if not as many people as I would have liked. There were things different from previous years, and some of them were good, and some of them were not so much. I did not (I hope) say anything to an editor that will forever blight my writing career. (Phil: "Because you didn't talk to them. Cojones mas pequeño.")

Enjoyable things to remember:

* Seeing Mary Robinette Kowal give her introduction in both "the phone sex voice" and "the gnome voice." Yes, that is what the next two pictures are of.



* Ellen Klages auctioning things off with the authority vested in her by the finger-tentacles.

* Delicious frosted sugar cookies shaped like computers and books and cauldrons and dragons and swords and Minnesota.

* Mary Robinette Kowal, puppeteer extraordinaire, manipulating a shoe that seemed to have a complex relationship with Scott Lynch (to illustrate a point regarding body language and movement in the writer's workshop). "What did you say?"

* Seeing Cassius meet Connor, who is about four months older. Cassius: "It is a person my size! I must follow him! Mama, let me hold your fingers so I can walk after him!" Babies do not understand the idea of personal space. Cassius stalked Connor the entire time. I did have to explain that we do not strangle other babies upon first meeting them, however. (If you think about it, when reaching out to another person, the neck is a convenient place to grab!)

* Getting photographs of people sitting in the seats lit by spotlights. I usually have a camera with me, but at 4th Street I swap that out for a writing notebook, and it has always felt strange to attend such an enjoyable event and end up with no pictures! This year I have pictures. On the other hand, wanting to take pictures did slightly distract me from musing on writingy things, so I think it is not a thing that I should plan on doing for more than a couple of panels. But I am happy I did it. Even if I did forget the low-light telephoto lens I wanted to use (grr).

* Trying dim sum for the first time! I had always supposed it was another type of Chinese food, instead of a serving method for trying lots of different types of Chinese food. Variety-seeker that I am, I liked it very much.

* Sitting on the edge of the pool with Cassius and watching him kick his feet furiously to make the water go splash.

* Discovering that Phil left our front door at home unlocked and open for a couple of days while we were at the hotel, but nothing bad happened because of it! We also forgot to take the trash out when we left (Would-be burglar: "Ugh! What's that smell? Is there a dead body in there?"). The cats enjoyed spending time in our covered front porch (WBB: "Those cats look really well-fed. They've been eating the dead body! I'm outta here!").

* Boggling at the variety of options at the buffet that ate three other buffets (Golden Moon something-or-other?) and trying new foods like snails (They were crunchy! What?!) and frog (pretty tasty).

* Seeing Janet Grouchy in the auctioned-off golden-cream shawl that the 4th Street attendees as a whole bought for her.


* Sipping scotch and learning that (you guessed it) MRK has somehow gotten John Scalzi to agree to wearing a regency dress (possibly with bonnet) at WorldCon if certain fundraising conditions are met. There was also talk of Scalzi and Cory Doctorow doing a Rocky Horror Picture Show dress-up. This was when Phil came out to get me because the baby had woken up fussy (did I mention he was teething?) and needed Mama. Phil took the scotch; I took the baby. Phil may have gotten the better end of that bargain....

* Hearing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" (okay, but why is everyone acting like they're in agony?) and then seeing the video (brain processing overload! does not compute!).

(All my 2012 4th Street posts, of which this is the first.)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Now what do I do?


One of our cats, Fu Manchu, has taken to jumping into the playard's diaper-changing basket in the morning when I set the baby in the playard and go upstairs to shower and get ready for the day. This is probably because the baby usually cries when I do this, and Fu Manchu finds it important to keep an eye on crying babies, and also when the baby has Fu Manchu to watch, he cries less. But there may be other reasons....
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (tender)
You know those little posturepedic pillows that people get to put against the small of their back when they're sitting in a desk chair? Well, I'm not sure how posturepedic the cat is, but he's sure giving it the old school try! He's being supportive of my writing in his own way.

The end.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Cassius at 2 months

He's grown really well. He's in the 90th percentile for height (about 24.5"), weight (13 lbs), and head size. He's almost too long to lay width-wise in the playard, and he's pretty much outgrown the <3 month onesies. The receiving blankets are too small for him now, as are a couple of hats and the tiny baby socks that never stayed on anyway. I've started packing away newborn things that he's outgrown. Shocking!

He survived his first cold and didn't run a fever, unlike his father. He even found the snot-sucker bulb amusing instead of terrifying.

We had a terrifying scare when Phil slipped at the bottom of the stairs and dropped the baby about 3 feet. Cassius hit his temple somehow (Phil says he landed mostly on his back), and was scraped and bruised. One trip to the emergency room and one CT scan later, and the doctor told us he looked like everything was fine.

A few days ago he had his 2 month checkup and was given the looks good--along with a barrage of vaccinations and a dose of baby Tylenol. He was a little feverish for the next couple of days, but baby acetaminophen kept the temperature down and hopefully helped with the muscle discomfort from getting injected.

Even if he did hate the flavor. I don't blame him. Artificial fruit flavors are pretty nasty, and babies have no reason to like them--no positive associations with the fruit. Artificial breastmilk flavor would probably work better. I had to do the stealth administration of painkiller by dropping it in while he was engaged in actual nursing. Droppering it in while allowing him to suck on a finger wasn't going to do it. That's the usual method by which we give him his vitamins, and he really hates them too--enough to launch him into vomiting and screaming fits if I don't administer it when he's a) really hungry, and b) somewhat groggy from sleeping. Well, he really hates the multivitamin. He's okay with the extra Vitamin D.

Developmentally, he's about where he ought to be, I think. He recently discovered his hands. There has been less random flailing and a lot more sucking on his fists and batting at the dangly toys on his bouncy seat and his mobile. He smiles in response to all kinds of things, and he makes it very clear that he likes us and when we play with him or talk to him. He "talks" with little gurgles and coos in the appropriate conversational intervals. When I sit him up to burp, he mostly supports his own head, but he certainly doesn't have head control yet. He has enough that I can hold him upright against my chest, at a slight incline, and not worry too much about his head flopping around, but he still needs support.

He is a mostly happy baby. He starts fussing when he wants to eat, and that can escalate faster than I can get settled with him. He also fusses about wet diapers. He may fuss if he gets overtired. And he sometimes fusses just because. A couple of days ago he would not stop crying and nothing worked to soothe him, but that was a first. Usually feeding or bouncing or rocking will do it. He eats, he poops, he plays, he eats, he sleeps, and sometimes he vomits up the entire contents of his stomach.


In a strange way, I have more "free" time now than ever before. When I'm feeding him, it's time to read on my Nook or perhaps watch stuff through Netflix. When I am soothing him to sleep by bounce-rocking him on the bouncy ball, it's time to read the internets...or ebooks on Calibre. It's very relaxing. Playing with or cuddling him is happy-making, as well as necessary to keep him from fussing.

I'm doing well. Every day, I definitely eat, shower, wear clean clothes, get enough sleep (one way or the other), keep up with the internets, read fiction, and get a little something done around the house. I usually cook dinner. I frequently get a few sentences of writing done. I've lost all of the 45 pounds I gained while pregnant. I'm far from back in shape (for one thing, that will require rebuilding my abdominal muscles--for another, I was at a high weight point from previous medical problems when I got pregnant), but I can at least fit into my two largest pairs of jeans. Yay, non-maternity clothes!

I'm generally relaxed and happy and very much in love with my baby. Life is good, as long as I remember to just go with the flow (of milk, other bodily fluids, etc.). Just go with the flow, search for the pattern that emerges instead of trying to force one, and always prepare one step ahead.

When he's awake and not eating, we play. He can go in the little swing and we play the laundry game. The laundry game involves exciting narration and description, dancing laundry, peek-a-boo, exploring different textures, tickling laundry monsters, and eventually laundry folding. Or he sits in his boppy pillow on the couch and gurgles and coos and smiles while we play with his hands and feet or play the blanket game. The blanket game is when we play peek-a-boo by tossing a light baby blanket over his face and pulling it off, then tucking it under his chin and letting him kick it all the way off. While chortling. There's also tummy time, on the couch or on Mama or Daddy's chest. He doesn't lift his head up yet (well, he did once), but he'll wiggle his arms and legs and he seems comforted by the cuddling. The item he likes most right now is his bouncy seat.

Daily routine:
* We stop going back to bed sometime between 10 AM and noon. I either skip breakfast or eat at the waking around 6 AM.
* After feeding and changing, I carry his bouncy seat up into the bathroom, and sit him in it while I shower, get dressed, and prepare for the day.
* Then we go downstairs and settle on the couch. I take care of my hair and generally try to do something on my computer until he demands to be fed again, which is usually a 15-minutes-later thing.
* I eat lunch, settling him into the big swing near the dinner table. He doesn't like the big swing so much, so I have to eat fast. Mr. Wiggly the caterpillar helps keep him distracted.
* While he's awake, we play, or I try to clean or do computer stuff in between distracting him.
* His next nap is around 2 PM, he goes down for his afternoon nap, for between one and three hours. This is when I do my work-from-home projects or (theoretically--I've been working a lot instead) write.
* More playing/cleaning/cooking.
* Then Phil gets home and he mostly takes over baby duty, playing with the baby between feedings.
* Sometime between 10 PM and midnight, Cassius gets tired enough to go to sleep. Then we go to bed.
* He may have a long sleep, four to five hours. After that, he only goes an hour and a half to three hours between feedings (or, forty minutes to two hours twenty minutes of sleep). It takes about forty minutes to change, feed, change, and soothe him back to sleep. Time between feedings is counted from the beginning of each feeding. And this continues until sometime after 10 AM.

And of course there are the tiny little baby posts from the last month (which I am regularly updating on G+). Oh, and more pictures!
Read more... )

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
One of the fun things about doing a writing market list is getting to read the "stories we see too often" lists that some publications include with their guidelines (note to editors: please do this--it's enlightening and fun!)

This particular publication concludes with the following gem:

There is a twist ending. It in any way involves Hitler.

This is a story they've seen too often. o.O
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Man, being a new mom just changes how I perceive everything. In breastfeeding, the term "latching on" is used to refer to the process of getting a baby to open its mouth wide, latch on to the breast like a little lamprey, and go om-nom-nom.

So when an editor says that the reason she rejected a story is because she lacked a character to "latch on to"...I picture an editor wandering through storyland, mouth opening and closing like a hungry baby, looking for an appropriately breasted character. Snorfl.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Looking for Golden Girls to use for an old TV show potluck, in addition to some highly unfortunate art that proves Rule 34, I found these horrifying/amusing images:

Read more... )
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Fun side-effects from pregnancy: the whites of my eyes are whiter; my skin is glowier; my fingernails grow like a Chinese super-villain's (supposedly hair does this too, but I can't tell the difference); I can sleep forever; I feel warm a lot more of the time, which is very nice in Winter; and my dreams have been turned up to 11.

The dreams thing is really cool. I'm having awesome dreams pretty much every night that are vivid enough that I remember them clearly without effort. Of course, this might also have something to do with the getting up to pee three times a night.

Last night? The thug mercenary aliens from The Fifth Element had come up with a complicated plan to conquer Earth by persuading militia groups that it was the right thing to do. So they were having, basically, "how to be an evil footsoldier" classes that involved things like being okay with letting children cry, and sending toddlers down slides without waiting at the bottom to catch them. It was pretty hilarious, and took place in an oddly verdant Arizona desert.

These guys!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
It has been a good week. But first, let me tell you about the banishing of evil spirits from NgithOwl.

Recently, I got the first "yes, we have bananas work," phone call I've gotten in too long to think about. So I go in, and there's work, and that's a good thing. Maybe I won't have to do the temp thing after all (for now-obvious reasons, I'm not looking for a permanent job at the moment). I'm on my break in the dead-end break hallway (we don't have a break room, we have a hallway that dead-ends just past the restrooms), when I smell something--herbal.

"Who's burning incense?" I ask.

"Oh," says a salesperson, "they burned sage everywhere yesterday."

"To drive out evil spirits?" I say, half-joking.

"Oh, you're familiar with the practice!"

Yes, boys and girls, after a two-month work slowdown (as happens sometimes) at NgithOwl, the owner decided to smudge sage through the offices and the production floor. When I asked the minion designated to the task about this, she said, "Well, you know, when there isn't work for a while, employee morale gets low, and there's just this icky, funky feeling in the air."

Apparently, the solution to low worker morale is to smudge sage. You heard it here first.

And--it does seem to have worked! The next day, there was work, and there's been work on-and-off all week. The face-shatteringly (yes, this is my new favorite adjective) cold weather, combined with bus schedule changes resulting in a fifteen minute walk as part of my commute, meant that I've gotten rides into work from Phil a couple of times. The timing is such that I usually need to leave about five minutes before I would have gotten on a bus, and I get to work half-an-hour early. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

So my next paycheck should help our financial situation immensely. And on one of the days when there wasn't, I was able to bus over to Mixed Blood theatre and get the paperwork filled out so I can get paid for some sewing/set construction work I did for them. Which was interesting, and yay money!

As I said, it has been a good week. The nausea's steadily fading. I've been tired a lot, but that's because my body's been busy knitting. (What is it knitting this week? PLACENTA!)

Work pretty much tires me out, so then I come home and sleep, but I've managed to get a little cleaning and a little writing stuff done, and today I finished my overdue market list, and I hope there will be actual writing in a bit.

Yesterday there was socializing. Chad came over with his goyle, he ordered us all Pizza Luce (their Margarita Pizza was ridiculously peppery), and we hung out and chatted and then he foolishly revealed that he hasn't really watched Bollywood movies. So we watched the first hour and a half of Welcome (it's funny, with ridiculous plot twists you only see in Bollywood--and available on Netflix streaming). He seemed to enjoy, and it reminded me that we should go back to that movie theatre that shows current Bollywood movies again sometime soon.

And today looks like it will be a good day. I'm getting my (belated, as everything these days is) market list out, Phil is making lunch, and then there will be foraging for maternity clothes and soup fixings, and then there will be planned socializing (over soup and wearing slippers, which seems an entirely ideal combination to me).
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Phil and I)
Phil, talking to the cat about me this morning: "Yes, you're right, if I don't turn the heat on in the house she'll stay in bed forever. She's like a tarantula. She'll only stay in her small, warm spot."

First thing in the morning and my husband is comparing me to a tarantula. Harrumph. Harrumph, I say!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
I came home from my writing group meeting and immediately started to prepare for dinner. Because it was starting to get dark out. And I was a little hungry, so it must be dinnertime, right?

It was 4 PM.

The end.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Descriptions that are ridiculous when you really think about them:

Costumed, he expanded to fill six times the space of a normal man.

The End.


Sep. 18th, 2010 06:21 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Because everybody needs to laugh sometimes.

Read more... )


Sep. 8th, 2010 04:59 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (crazy)
I should really cut back on the evil laughter when I'm writing in a public coffee shop, but it's so hard when I'm writing a gruesome death scene.

My standard genuine laugh is silent. My evil laugh is...evil.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (eyebrow)
Apparently, the tea I'm drinking is "wide awake to the ancient juju of the continent where life began."


I think the copywriter was getting a bit loopy. OTOH, the tea's not bad, and it does indeed have a faint honey flavor.


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Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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