Running Update and Savage Kid Again.

Kid: “What did you get for your running?”
Me: “A pair of two-pound gloves and an eight-pound weighted vest.”
Kid: “You are going to kill yourself!”
Me: “I’m not going to wear it all NOW. I have to train for it. Like Dragon Ball Z.”
Kid: “So, it’s going to take you two seasons to train?”

This kid is savage… XD

I was going to just throw this up on Facebook and forget about it but I figured this was also a good time to talk about where the running is these days.

I did indeed get some weighted workout gear but if you have been following me on Instagram, you may have seen me complain about getting to 2 miles in under 30 minutes in an effort to have a complete 5k take less time. If I can get to 5k in 30-45 minutes, a 10k becomes much more feasible from a time standpoint. I can’t imagine cramming 2 hours of training into every day. I’m lucky to get 1 hour between reading for reviews, writing, needlework, working full time (and overtime), and kicking ass as a single mom.

Currently, I am hovering around the 31-32 minute mark for 2 miles. I get disappointed but I try to remember that its a process and I’m not doing too bad if I’m getting back the speed I had before my surgery and after being sick for a month. Heck, I’ve even lost a pound. I am used to beating myself up over my “failures” but I am forcing myself to see this as a journey and I am perpetually taking steps forward. I want to be faster and stronger and I am absolutely going to get there.

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Today’s Hilarious Kid Convo… 

Kid: “Someone called you a cracker?”

Me: “Yeah, work can be interesting…”

Kid: “Does that mean I’m a cracker?”

Me: “No, hon. You are multi-racial.”

Kid: “… So I’m a multi-grain cracker?”
I AM DED!!! XD

Random Video/TV Thought: Has Our SciFi and Fantasy Become Too Sexualized?

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This week’s Finally Watched It post is going to be Black Mirror and in watching this, I had a strange thought: SciFi these days has a lot of sex in it.

I find myself more often than not being super excited about a new fantasy, science fiction, or horror series only to start it and with in 5 minutes think “Whelp, I can’t watch this with my kid.”

I have very fond memories of watching Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Star Trek, Quantum Leap, A-Team, and Knight Rider with my mom. We would talk about what happened, joke about stuff; it was a bonding experience for us. So, when a new series is announced, part of me gets all nostalgic for those days and I want to recreate them with my kid. Like a good parent, I watch it alone first to make sure it’s alright for a 9 year old to see (at least in my opinion) only to end up with a sex scene, massive amounts of cursing, or a pair of breasts right there on the screen. This happened with Defiance, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and now, Black Mirror. And to have a kid who LOVES SciFi, comics and horror who is too young to really be grabbed by something as old as Twilight Zone and has already seen Star Trek, it’s a little disappointing when something I think is cool comes out but I can’t share it.

With the exception of Stranger Things; which had a tolerable amount of cursing in it considering at 9, my kid has heard all this already and it’s not excessive in the show. It also has characters closer to her age group; much like Goonies was for my generation.

I’m not saying that every show in this genre needs to be accessible to children. I’ll sit and watch Gravity Falls or Star vs the Forces of Evil all damn day because they’re entertaining, well written, and fucking hilarious. But so much of the new stuff relies on all this sex to sell itself and it’s a trend I noticed. Has anyone else noticed this? I know it’s not a NEW thing but with TV not being as strict as it was 20 years ago and the advent of services like Netflix having none of the restrictions traditional cable has, there’s a lot more boobs and sex now. And it doesn’t always seem necessary for the plot half the time.

Or, I just got old. I dunno…

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Finally Watched It: Watership Down

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If, like me, you’ve never seen or particularly heard of this movie; it’s about a young rabbit named Fiver who has a vision of his warren being in great danger and and he tries to get everyone to leave. Only a few end up following him and the rest of the movie is this small group trying to find a new home.

With that synopsis, I can see how parents would just pop this in thinking it’s a cute, fun little animated feature. NOPE! There’s some pretty nightmarish imagery! There’s blood, gore, death, and it barely flinches. I hope I don’t spoil too much when I say there’s train tracks involved and I flinched but thankfully the movie spared me there.

I generally enjoy when a movie doesn’t pander or talk down to children but this is a movie where a parent should know what’s in it and decide based on their individual kid. I personally would rather not sit my kid down to watch it; it’s pretty dark and violent. But I’m glad I saw it. It made me want to read the book.

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Fiction Friday – Winter Boot Chapter 12

Chapter 12

The skittering comes faster. Closer.

“Leave the phone under the table and hide. When you hear me say so, blow the whistle in the bag!”

Rabbit dives into the bag and I push the phone under the scary mirrir where it disappears into the darkness. I can feel Rabbit squirming to find the whistle as I search for a big enough patch of shadow to hide me.

I crouch behind a giant pot that stinks of rusty ice. I can feel the cold seep through my mittens as the skittering grinds into the room and the Cold One drags herself near me. Her toenails on the floor hurt my ears and I fight really hard to keep from whimpering in pain.

The Cold One scuttles over to the table and leans on it so hard it groans. The small weight of the whistle is suddenly in the palm of my hand and fear steals more of my breath than the cold. I watch her curl her spindly hands over the edge and press her face right against the surface. I think for a second about wet tongues getting suck on poles but I bet the Cold One doesn’t stick to anything.

A horrible sucking sound makes me clap my hands over my ears. Frog and Rabbit burrow deeper into my coat and all I want in the world is to scream for her to stop. When I peek, I am instantly sorry I did as I watch jagged spikes grow from the bent back and hunched shoulders to make her look like a great big, scary, ice porcupine. The house shakes and groans as the noise stops and I swear it’s even colder; so bad my throat hurts when I breathe.

“Do it NOW!” I hear Marsalla scream and I take a deep, burning cold breath and blow on the whistle so hard, my face heats up. I’m exhausted and panting when I stop just in time to hear the little phone I left under the table say; “Run like hell! Don’t forget the necklace till help!” before it explodes in a burst of orange light.

When the bits of toy phone hit the ice, black goo leaks out and the Cold One roars. I don’t stick around to see any more and I do exactly what Marsalla sais. I hold the glowing candy out in front of me with Rabbit in my other arm and run as fast I my shaking legs and flopping bag will let me.

It’s seconds before I hear angry growling and scratching behind me and I dare to look back. Black ooze splatters around the Cold One as she runs after us, making such a mess, she slips in it, stumbling to the ice floor as I flee around a corner.

The candy jewel flutters when I make a wrong turn and gleams bright in the dark when I’m right. I nearly scream with joy at the sight of the front door but I feel a snag on my hood.

“Cheater!” The Cold One screams. “Sneak thief! Tresspasser!”

I hear the cricking whine of ice forming on my hood and pull hard to get away from the leaking ice monster. My hood doesn’t rip, it snaps where she touched it. In my panic, the candy necklace gets so hot, I have no coice but to throw it at her.

When it hits her in the cheek, a huge black mark of rot forms. I don’t watch it spread, I yank hard and run away from the wailing. The house is shaking under my feet. The wail becomes a howl when my mittens hit the door knob. I don’t even have to pull; the door crumbles to shards of frozen wood. I jump over them, side stepping the trap door, and reach the gate trembling all over. I don’t trust looking back anymore, not till I’m off the sidewalk and halfway into the empty street.

I hear Frog and Rabbit gasp as we all watch the house fall in on itself. Steam rises from the black ooze creeping over the whole thing. A blackend, clawed hand reaches out of the doorway, scraping at the wood. She screams louder, hissing and spitting under the rubble. I take a step back and bump into something soft. I hand hands on my shoulder and I look up to see the frozen prince smiling down at me. He gives me one calming pat before gliding around me.

His feet leave no prints as he passe the gate and walks silently up to the scratching hand. He looks at the Cold One, watches her try and crawl from the junk and I can see his skin glow golden brown. Light pours from his skin and with one final scream and a blinding flash, I’m pushed back by the force of a warm wind so hard, I pass out.

Fiction Friday – Winter Boot Chapter 11

If you saw on my Facebook and Twitter, I finished another short story! Winter Boot was it. There’s probably typos but hey! Here’s the next chapter! 😀

 

Chapter 11

The room around us is filled with the same light eating fog that surrounds the house, the floor so cold, I can feel it through my boots as I hurry to the dim outline of a door. I don’t wait long before squeezing through it and I don’t think about getting cought until I hear Rabbit’s horrified gasp.

“Sorry.” I whisper and my blush of embarassment is so warm, I’m sorta glad I goofed.

“Just be more careful!” She scolds me.

Being extra, super quiet, I follow the tug of the hidden candy around my neck. When I slip on the icy floor and catch myself, I find the walls sticky; groianing umder the press of my mitten. I look down at my two friends and we all share the same look of stomach rumbly nastiness.

The jewel leads me down the squishy hallway to a grey, dirty cersion of Marsalla’s warm and pretty kitchen. A pot boils on the stove, way too small to fit the three of us inside it. I would snoop to see what is in it but the jewel shivers around my neck and pulls me around the corner.

Frog hunkers down deep in my pocket. Rabbit squeeks and pressed against me. I don’t think I’m breathing. My eyes tear as I focus on everything the three of us thought we would fine in Masalla’s home because of how people talk. But it’s here. All of it. Jars of creatures, most not moving and others wishing they weren’t, bones littering the floor, some with meat still on them, and a black table with a mirrored top covered in tiny animal skulls and dripping candles. And the smell… How could it just be in this room? How did we not smell it from the hallway? It smells like something the dogs rolled in that made Auntie throw up.

When the jewel urges me inside, I can almost feel it apologize.

Downy feathers fly up, disturbed by my steps as I move and forcing me to look around. I see my poorly repacked bag and rescue it from the floor. With it on one shoulder and Rabbit on the other, I move to the table. I feel the jewel heat up when I look down into it, wax smeared and dribbled all over the edges and a wet, red handprint in the center. The glass shimmers with the frozen man’s face, the handprint making the blue features look wobbly.

“What should we do?” Says Frog in a shivering whisper.

Before I can guess, a low beep comes from the backpack. With Rabbit watching for the Bone Woman, I pull out a tiny cellphone toy. Blinking in confusion as it beeps again in my hand, I hopd the pastel plastic up to my ear.

“Boot?” Marsalla whispers through the toy.

I sputter a minute before answering. “Yes?”

“A real phone won’t work there. I bet whatever is sucking up the warmth is sucking up all kinds of energy so I rigged up this toy.” Marsalla fumbles with the phone on her end. “What do you see?”

“It’s a mirror with candles on it.” I lean forward and shiver. “I can see the Prince’s face but there’s a red hand on him.”

Marsalla gasps. “She’s sucking the life right out of him. Don’t touch the glass. Don’t touch anything, actually.” I hear glass bottles being moved through the ear piece of the toy. “What else did you see?”

“Not much. The walls are sticky and the Bone Lady had us in cages.”

“Bone lady?”

“Ugly, hunched, skinny old bat.” Rabbit huffed. “I bet she would eat me.”

“Boot, be careful! That’s the Cold One!”

I hear skittering heading towards us from the hallway, like the dogs sound when they run around the kitchen, nails clocking on the tiles.

“Get out of there! Whateve ryou do, don’t let her touch your skin!”

“I don’t understan-”

She’s draining the life from the Prince through his blood on the mirror! If she touches you directly, you’ll die!”

A Generation of Idiots – My Issues With YA

Having watched the Hunger Games recently (no, I haven’t read the books yet… They’re on my list), I have noticed a disturbing trend in YA these days. It’s not the violence, the sex, the vacuous characters (I’m looking at you, Vampire Academy) and it’s not something I noticed when I was a young adult myself but I can see it now as an adult:

Incompetent, stupid, lazy parents/adults. And I mean pull your hair out stupid…

Beginning with the Hunger Games, which cemented this annoyance from me, Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute in the death match for her district…

If this is spoilers for you by now, please get out from the rock you’ve been living under.

Anyway, as I watch the movie, Katniss gets stung by super wasps and hallucinates. One of the things she sees implies her father was killed in a mine accident and her mother has been traumatized ever since, leaving Katniss to be “mom” to her younger sister. She is literally screaming and shaking her mother in the vision to get her mother to actually SEE her. Not to mention that the parents don’t go batshit crazy at the THOUGHT of offering up their pre-teens to a death game that will be broadcast for the amusement of others. Defeated in a war or not, I can’t see how an uprising wouldn’t happen at the mere mention of such an edict. The parents are frighteningly complicit (as mocked here).

Then there’s Twilight, where Bella moves in with her dad because her mother is busy traveling with her boyfriend and her father is just plain ignorant of what his daughter is getting up to with a 107 year old vampire. She sits in a room and mopes for three months when Edward leaves (for some reason) and weeks pass before her father even notices something’s up with her. Bella can also manage to drop everything and leave the country with a total stranger (as far as her father is concerned) to face supernatural creatures and he isn’t even informed. Bella’s no toddler (debatable, I know) and it may not be right to compare her to my 6 year old (again, debatable) but if my kid takes too long to get something from the fridge, I go to investigate. I don’t see not figuring out something’s wrong with my kid if she hasn’t left her own room for months… Or left the frigging country.

Harry Potter doesn’t get a pass here, either. Harry’s parents sacrifice their lives for their son and even come back from the dead to help him in battle (again, if these are spoilers for you, what the bloody hell…) but the other authority figures are pretty damn good at allowing small children into deadly situations. Cracked has touched on this (twice) and done a great job of pointing out how kids are sent to deadly places as a punishment, allowed to attend a school where paintings spy on them and the staircases move at a whim (cool for a moment till you think about it…), and you know what? As much as we all love Lupin as a character, he IS a danger to the students! I get you wanna give the guy a fair shot but (again, spoilers if you never saw these) he is just a human being. If he forgets to take his potion for whatever reason, he could turn into a werewolf make a meal of the whole damn school.

Wanna go back further? How long did Buffy’s mom have no clue what her hero daughter was doing? Put aside the gut reaction of “Young lady! You put that stake down and get your hands off that old (but hot) vampire right now and go do your homework!” and think about it for a second: Her daughter was a hero. An awesome hero who literally went to hell and back to save lives. Buffy had her friends, she had Giles (the definition of awesome), but her mom was mostly in the dark and portrayed as a bit of a ditz before she finds out after two years of washing bloodstains out of her daughter’s clothes!! But can you imagine if she’d had her daughter’s back from the beginning!? If she came home at night to a proud mom who had a hot cup of tea and some bandages ready and saying “Great job on saving the world AND getting all your homework done, sweetie.” Because remember, Buffy graduated. Yeah, she’s proud of Buffy later, but at first she saw Buffy as a typical trouble making teen; remaining willfully ignorant of what her daughter is going through. And if you’ve seen the show, Buffy really could have used her mom’s support.

Now, I’m 33 years old but I remember being a preteen and teenager. I thought all adults were idiots and they didn’t get me or understand life the way I did because I was so smrt and knew just ALL the things. But I DIDN’T. Not only did I NOT know everything, I had really smart adults guiding me to make the right decisions in my life. As a parent, I’m a little afraid of the idea being marketed to kids that adults know nothing or are useless.

I get it, though. As a teen, you know more about life yet you are still at the mercy of everything and everyone. Even if you’re one of those responsible, level-headed kids (like I was), you still get the sense you are not in control and you’re being pandered to because of your age. I remember telling adults “I know I don’t know everything, but you’re ignoring what I DO know!” Ya know the shocker? My mother listened. Not all parents/adults are idiots.

Pertaining to the heading, I’m not saying YA is raising a generation of idiots, I’m saying it’s encouraging kids to believe the generation ahead of them is useless to them, can never understand them, never listen to them, and is an implicit danger to them. Of course there are major exceptions (we can start with any adult comic book hero, but again a lot of them had dead/absent parents) but the overwhelming idea is to fear and shun adults because they are either useless or the source of your problems. And it’s scary to see so many of these characters to be unwilling or unable to turn to their parents for help because one day, my daughter may look up to characters like these and assume I’m of no use to her.

Don’t get me wrong; I am completely aware that it is MY job to be a parent and earn my child’s faith that I’m not an idiot and can help her. If I’ve done my job right, I’ll be the first one she comes to. But media has a powerful sway over people of any age (TwiMoms, anyone?) and it scares me how often I watch a movie or a cartoon and think: Where the hell are the parents and why are they morons?! Who keeps letting the Rugrats get more than five feet without supervision?! I wanna smack Timmy Turner’s parents just right in the face… I find myself going back to older cartoons because Kim Possible’s parents were reDONKulously proud of her and – while a bit of a ninny himself – Professor Utonioum was proud of his girls, too.

I’m also a writer. Stories need conflict. It’s kinda the point. And perfect lives don’t make riveting stories or back-stories. “I was born in a perfect family with perfect parents and lived a perfect life till I died of old age surrounded by love. The end.” Better hold on tight for that literary roller roaster. However, the default setting shouldn’t be dead, incompetent, or ignorant (willfully or not) adults, pandering to the worst feelings adolescents have about the world. I would love to see a major franchise sweep the nation for young people showing their parents as a competent support to their children at the very least. It could show them that the world may suck; I have to fight demons, there’s a war, there’s a bully, there are zombies, the sky is on fire, and the aliens stole my lunch money again. But when I came home? My parents told me I did a good job. I got a hug and somebody told me it’s gonna be ok.

And the worst part about all this? As parents they tell us the kids need our attention and support in order to really thrive. The kid’s entertainment tells them in order to be great, their parents need to get the hell out of the way. It shouldn’t be all or nothing here. I tell my daughter we’re a team so her heroes should have parents on their team, too.

Maker Faire!

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Last Saturday I went with my friend MisfitLibrarian to Maker Faire; a tech nerd’s paradise! 😀 It was really cool but alas, it would have been cooler if I could have brought the kiddo. There were so many stations where things could be assembled:

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That’s me making a button. ^_^ One of the few stations not PACKED with people. @_@

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I haven’t ridden in a school bus in… At least 15 years. 0.0 These were the “shuttles” going from the faire to the parking lot. It made me feel old… ;_;

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But it was worth it because there was a man in a metro card suit with a robot metro card dog… A robot dog. Very awesome. 😀

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The theme of the place was so techie, I was very disappointed to find this beer garden was not in fact some kind of garden powered by beer. That would have been too cool for words. Alas, they only sold beer.

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This is why it would have been so awesome to get the kiddo here. These were butterfly bikes you could ride in!

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And a giant felted t-rex… Because life needs more of those. 🙂

All in all, it’s a really cool place and I wouldn’t mind going back next year. Unfortunately? There is jack my library can do with any of the tech I saw. Sure, if we were a huge library with money to burn and unused space I could see having a maker center with kits and 3D printers and such. But us? We’re lucky we’re here after Sandy. I’m lucky to have a job!

Besides, if the library has any extra money, they need to buy that giant dinosaur.

End of Summer and Why I Shun Playdates

Ahh, the joy of back to school. I am blessed that my child is at the age where she’s excited to go back to school because she gets to see all of her friends again. To be honest, she hasn’t seen much of her friends over the summer. Partly because they’re busy too and partly because I shun playdates like a mofo.

Why? Am I some sort of antisocial malcontent who hates spending time with other people?

Well, partly. >D Give me a good book and a glass of wine any night but that’s not why the demon seed hasn’t seen much of her friends in a setting outside of camp or the daycare.

Reason #1 is that I’m a single working mother. I don’t have a lot of time to be schlepping my kid all over creation just to see her friends. A lot of her friends mom’s work at home or part time so it’s not easy when I get out of work when our respective offspring should be eating dinner already.

Reason #2 is (and this is the most important) is that I’m a single working mother. What little spare time I have I want to spend it with my kid! Sorry to disappoint fellow parents but I don’t think real quality time is spent running errands and doing chores. It’s awesome that your kid wants to play with my kid but aside from rushing her to eat, get clean, get to whoever’s watching her, rushing home, rush to eat, get clean, and get to sleep, I’d like to play with her!  Damnit, I made her so I should get first dibs!

So, with the first Saturday I’m not working looming ahead and about a dozen or so invites from various parents to come see them on Labor Day weekend, I have holed up like a crazy person hiding from the Black Plague. It’s MY weekend, for gods’ sakes; the LAST weekend. And I aim to make it count. 😉

You all can play with her when I’m done with her.

 

Fiction Friday – Winter Boot Chapter 10

I wake up to the sound of my bag being picked through and the painful creak of rusty metal. First I see the metal bars of my cage, them a small glass bottle sails towards me. I flinch when it hits the ground but doesn’t break. Turning to the source of the noise, I see a shuddering, hunched body of dancing colors. All the color the darkness ate or the snow covered glimmered on the creature’s skin.

The moment I move, it’s eyes are on mine, dingy yellow and squinted at me in suspicion. “Where is it?”

“What?”

“What lead you here.” I think it’s a she. The wobbly voice sounds a bit like a girl. “I know Marsalla gave you something from the prince. Where is it?”

I feel the candy pulse under my coat. “I was just walking with my friends and we fell into your house.” I look around for Frog and Rabbit but only find Rabbit in a smaller cage hanging next to me. Everything in the room around me is flat, painted a furry gray except for puffs of white from my breathing and Rabbit’s. She looks at me before looking back to the skinny, bone woman.

“Liar.” She growls, and turns back to the mess she’s making.

I look down and there’s only a couple of inches between me and the floor but I don’t dare reach for the little glass bottle. Everytime I breathe, the metal cage creaks. I don’t know what the bone woman will do to me if I move more.

I feel a poke in my side and see Frog’s glittering eyes in my pocket. He gives me the froggy version of a thumbs up and I smile.

Bone Woman finds nothing useful to her in my bag and she skitters away in a huff, ragged clothes dragging on the ground. I think of Auntie telling me not to be seen looking raggedy. For a moment I miss her.

“Maybe hunger will loosen your tongue.” Bone woman rasps and a door slams somewhere in the gray mess around us.

I hold my breath. By the time my body forces me to gasp, Bone Woman hasn’t come back. Frog crawls out of my pocket and hops up to my knee, shivering in the cold room. “Don’t worry, Boot. I saw where she hid the key, I can get to it and we can get out of here.”

“Be careful!” I call after him as Frog jumps to the floor. I worry about him since he can’t warm himself but I am relieved when Frog is bouncing back to me with a tiny gold key. I pick him up to take it and put a grateful and proud little Frog back in my warm pocket.

I don’t hesitate once my door is open, running right to Rabbit to let her out. The candy jewel pulses happily as the three of us repack the bag and leave the cages behind.