Our silverware drawer

The Boy, if I haven’t expressly mentioned it before, is both on the autism spectrum and also ADHD. He has difficulty out in the wider world sometimes, crowds making him anxious even though he loves people. It sometimes makes our life difficult, to put it kindly.
A few weeks back, we were out running errands in Akihabara on a moderately busy boy-facepalm-child-youth-exasperated-tiredSunday. It was lunchtime and we had two options as we emerged from the JR station. Both were family restaurants, both serving what he wanted for lunch: pancakes. The problem? He remembered being to one but not to the other, and even though the second place was pretty much exactly the same as the first, and made more sense in terms of logistics (it was much closer to our next errand,) The Boy dug in his heels and refused flat out to even consider the place.
This is a remarkably common experience for us.
Usually, The Boy just starts melting down at this point and it becomes a huge ordeal and nobody ends up happy. About half the time I give up and take him home and we both stew in our misery for a while. But that day I had, I swear, a moment of being touched by the divine and I crouched down to look the kid in the eye and asked him if he was trying to conserve his spoons.
cutlery-panel-cutlery-knife-forks-spoon-silverwareIt was amazing. His eyes got really big and he actually smiled at me and said, yes. Yes, he was. This led to a long conversation about spoon theory and autism and our own spoons and different kinds of spoons and the whole day was really pretty lovely. Understanding what he was trying to tell us made a thousand percent difference.
This all happened in the middle of a streak of my totally failing to post here on the blog. Over the days that followed that outing, it occurred to me that I was, myself, conserving spoons without even thinking about it much by staying away from my social media more.
See, I’m a fairly introverted person. Unfortunately being an indie author means I have a lot of business stuff to take care of all on my own, and frankly even authors published through one of the big houses have to promote themselves via Twitter and Facebook and all that social media stuff. That can be pretty rough for those of us who just don’t have many Being Social spoons to hand out in the first place. I hadn’t even noticed that I was running low on my ability to be out there in public until my son forced me to think about it.
So now I have thought about it, and I’m trying to come up with a better way to conduct my online life. I’ve started changing up my morning and evening routines, and have started trying to do this meditation thing on something approaching a regular basis.

I’m going to try to keep up with posting again, but you know how it can go. Especially in the summer when the heat and humidity of Tokyo reaches a crushing degree. Hopefully, I can find some nice air-conditioned room to hang out in and work on my social media. Then I can go back to my Introvert Cave and hide out with my Kindle again where it’s safe and quiet.
What do you do when you’re socially overwhelmed?  I’m taking suggestions.

Life, large and small

14949202534_bacd339174_bI had a blog post all written out but when I looked at it this morning, I kind of hated it.  So I scrapped it and here we are. Post-less and out of ideas first thing on Monday morning.  Ah well.

If you’re following my Facebook or my Instagram, you’ll have seen some of our adventures this weekend.  We got out and about and played, and left our son’s backpack on the train, and got the bag back with everything but his Nintendo Switch.  We had some amazing food, saw some awesome people, and I still have some photos left to post later this week

I got to practice my terrible Japanese a little, which is honestly pretty surprising.  I’m one of that terribly self-conscious sort of people who don’t want to sound like an idiot in any language, and when it’s a language you don’t know well… Well.  But my husband’s friend is super cool and I felt pretty comfortable to try my limited Japanese on her, and in return, she used her somewhat less limited English on me.  We both had beers and honestly, it was kind of perfect.  I hope we get to hang out some more soon.

When we got home last night, we were getting ready for bed, and my husband made a comment about how he can tell that I’m really here now.  When I asked him what he meant, he pointed to the small desk he was standing next to and pointed.

“I’ve never been so happy to see coffee rings,” he said.  I, naturally, threw a pillow at him, but honestly?  I love you too, sweetheart. And I’ll start using a coaster, thanks.

 

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Coffee rings are a symbol of love.  I think.   Photo credit: roger.karlsson on Visual hunt / CC BY

Space Patrol

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Photo credit: darastar via Visual Hunt / CC BY

The packing continues.  The Boy’s sheets and most of our winter clothes are in a box and in a couple of hours I’ll trek down to the post office to ship it all to Tokyo.  We’re not really taking much, but that still ends up being a ton of stuff.  So much that I’m surprised, actually.   Clothes take up a remarkable amount of space, it turns out.  I’ve been going through all the stuff I don’t wear, or don’t love, and the pile for the charity shop is getting to be fairly substantial.  That doesn’t even count the kid clothes I’m pulling because The Boy is growing like kids do.

It’s a good thing he’s got a fancy whole-apartment-in-one bed from Ikea, or we’d never have anywhere to put The Boy’s things.  In addition to the clothes and the bedding, he’s got an army of stuffed animals that he will die without.  And books (in English and Japanese) that he requires for his continued good health.  And Legos.  I have tried to explain that we won’t have all the space there that we have here in his grandparents’ house, but it’s like shouting at a rock.

And, of course, all his school things are there already as well.  We’re sort-of homeschooling until his Japanese reading and writing catches up a bit to his peers, and the online school we’re going through has sent two boxes of supplies, from books to an inflatable globe to art supplies.  His desk and shelves and dresser will be full to overflowing with his things and it’s going to be an adventure keeping everything tidy.

Meanwhile, I get two shelves in closet and no room for all my books.  I’m heartbroken, my bed doesn’t even have fancy drawers under it!  Kids get the best stuff.    What would you take if you had to live essentailly out of a suitcase?

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But where do I put all my books?!!!      Photo credit: OFTO via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Getting back

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It’s been a long couple of weeks, you guys.  I had a much more visceral reaction to this show that is normal, and I have to hand it to the cast for that reaction.  It’s a pretty powerful and important musical and I’m proud to be working on it.  The downside, as you’ve noticed, is that basically, all my other work has swirled off into the great black hole of mental space-time.

However, now that the show is open and we’re on a regular run schedule, I’m starting to get myself back on track.  I’ve realized that while I can work just about anywhere, I need to have some kind of consistency about it.  The same time every day, the same (or damn close) setup of my laptop, some music, and a cup of coffee.  I can’t have people constantly swirling around me or talking at me.  It’s been pretty interesting, actually, trying to get work done in odd places and strange times at the theatre.

So I’m home in the mornings now, working out my new schedule for the next couple of weeks.  Get up, take a walk, have some coffee.  Take The Boy to school and when I get back, I sit down and get cracking at the doing room table.  Yeah, I have a desk upstairs, and yeah my family wanders in and out, but mostly they let me work and knowing they’re around is comforting.  Okay, usually it’s comforting.

I discovered a few months back that I work well in sprints, so I’ll set my alarm and plow through 45 or so minutes of writing or plotting or edits and then take a break so my mind doesn’t crumple under the strain.  It’s good to be getting words down again, finally.  Even if they’re more character sketch, unconnected scenes, or general rambling.  I know I’m brewing the next few things to get out to you guys, and the process settles something in my soul.

Wish me luck, though.  School’s out in two weeks.

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Everything hurts

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             Jacob’s Sheep are super adorable.              Photo credit: Alan Weir on Visualhunt.com / CC BY

This weekend, I took some time off editing to hang out with my family.  We all bundled off to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival because when you have the chance to pet a Jacob’s Sheep or an angora bunny, you take that chance.  Seriously, you guys, so soft and adorable!

My mom and I always love seeing the sheep (she was a Future Farmer of America, back in the day.  You know what they say about the best-laid plans and all that.) and I’ve been a knitter, spinner, and weaver since… for as long as I can remember actually.  I can crochet, too, but somehow I never got as hooked on it. So we love wandering around the festival when we can get out to it.  All that fiber!  All that yarn! All those amazing projects and beautiful craftsmanship!  Last year it took us a good 4 hours to see a small fraction of the event, and we basically only left because it started sleeting.

The Boy went with us this year.  It was super fun to be able to share this with him, and I was looking forward to taking him through the fleece barn and show him around the sheep and the goats and poking around the craft stalls to find some wonderful treasure that was small enough we could take it to Japan in our luggage and not have to pay a million dollars to ship it.  We could spend a lazy sort of day mostly outside in the pleasantly not-too-hot weather, and learn maybe a little about how we all end up not wandering around naked all the time.

The Boy, on the other hand, was on a damn mission.  He arrowed into the festival and

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Ok, to be fair.  Picking the right button is always a challenge.

went straight to the first stall and pointed to the pink yarn like “This one, Mom.”  Um… we just got here, sweetie.  We can buy some yarn but let’s look around a bit.  Finally, he put his foot down and we got a skein of candy pink yarn for him (me…) to make a hat from.  Once he had his bag of yarn in hand, he was done with the festival.  Mom wants a fun kit to play with? Tough.  Gramma wants to see the sheep? Nope, time to go home. There’s a whole main barn we haven’t even reached yet?  Meh, who cares, we’re done here.  The Boy had his button and his yarn.

 

Fortunately, there was ice cream available for bribing the kid with, so we did manage to make it through the main barn at least, mostly by carrying the post-growth-spurt first grader piggyback through the thick crowds and now my whole body hates me.  Still, the only other things he stopped to look at after his purchase?  The biggest spinning wheels he could find.

That’s my boy.

Thursday?

So I got a little lost in the week.  I’ve been busy, doing my re-writes and getting the book ready to send to my editor and whatnot, and apparently got totally lost in the moment rather than remembering the whole of the week and preparing stuff for later.  Like blog posts.  Whoops!

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Basically, I’ve been either deep in the antics of certain residents of Los Gatos, or over at my son’s school helping to set up a New Tool for him.  You see, The Boy is ADHD, and has been diagnosed as on the autism spectrum.  Personally, I don’t care about the labels the school system has to use to get him the help he needs.  I just want to make sure that by the time he’s an adult he has all the skills necessary to function in the world.

That, however, includes paying attention in class and actually doing his work, among other things.  So this week they’ve started an experiment.  (That’s how I’ve presented it to him because science is a motivator in his case.) . They’ve decided to try putting a ‘bug in his ear’ during class.  I know, gross, right?  Really what they mean is that they’re adapting a system they brought in for heard of hearing kids and are trying to see if it will help The Boy.  His teacher gets to wear a fancy microphone necklace and he wears the receiver and a fancy headset, so when she needs to make sure he’s on task but she herself isn’t near him, she can just hit the button and talk right into his ear.

Fancy!  And if this works for The Boy it might help other kids who are deeper into the spectrum than he is.  The Boy’s teacher is hopeful and encouraging him to give it a chance.  I’ve been on the phone and emailing both her and the special education specialist who watches The Boy’s case, and basically, when my brain isn’t in editing mode, it’s been following the exciting adventures of the bionic boy.  We’ll have to see if it helps… so tune in next time for further updates!

Lindsey Wagner and Lee Majors

                                                   Maybe next time The Boy can join them!                                                        Photo credit: Gage Skidmore on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

Crash

I have something to admit.  I was not very productive this weekend.  I didn’t even manage to get dressed.  I did venture out on the front stoop to sit with my coffee on Sunday afternoon when the sun was gloriously tempting, but otherwise, I pretty much hid in my room for a little over 48 hours.

 

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me, this weekend.

 

See, my brain crashed completely on Friday afternoon while I was having my eyes checked to get my glasses updated. (Something about sitting in front of a computer while writing or reading for about two-thirds of every day seems to affect my vision.  Go figure.). I crashed so hard that I couldn’t even manage to tell the nice folks doing the exam the right number of letters on the last line, let alone what letters they were.  It was maybe a reverse Miss Marple: instead of being dismissed as a fluffy-minded old lady who is really sharp as a tack and can see all the connections, I was probably viewed as a competent, well-put-together adult who had the brain of a jar of whipped marshmallow.

So… I didn’t get much work done.  I caught up on sleep (slightly.)  I played some Super Mario Oddessy with The Boy.  I read about 6 books on Kindle Unlimited (and I have a few opinions about one of them, I’ll maybe post about that on Thursday.) But I just couldn’t manage to sit down for more than 10 minutes to do anything work-related.

It was hardly surprising, I suppose, after the past few weeks.  April, in general, was a rough month full of fairly heavy real-life stuff, so my brain deciding that it had had it at some point was probably something I should have expected.  Still, it inspired me to get

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Okay, maybe I’m not here *yet* today, but I’m working on it.

up bright and early this morning and get showers and dressed and all made up for the day long before I had to.  And you know what?  It feels pretty good, actually.

 

I realize that weekends like this are a bit of a luxury for me while I’m still living with my parents before the Big Move.  Still, I’m going to capitalize on my good fortune while I can, and honestly, I feel a lot better today than I did last week.  Have you ever had a weekend like that?

Rainy Day

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As I sit here, writing out this blog post my head feels a bit fuzzy.  It’s raining and almost freezing outside, has been all day, and there are cinnamon rolls (Conjured Mana Buns, excuse me) baking in the oven smelling warm and sweet and yeasty. I just woke up from a nap, you see.  I was reading and warm, and lounging on my bed to take a break from the busy Saturday morning and just dozed right off.  It’s easy to do on a day like this.

I don’t have a ton of things to say here today, thanks in large part to that fuzzy-headedness.  I have coffee and more of that book which is sweet and easy and not filled with the angsty, angry characters I’ve been coming across so often in the fantasy genre lately.  I was looking for a book to review here, but my heart just couldn’t let me read about people who were so determinedly hostile to each other.

males-man-personableSo I’m probably going to write a review of an older book, one of my favorites that I’ve been reading for years, and I hope you’ll enjoy that on Thursday.  Then, I’ll either curl up with another cup of coffee and this book I already have going until it’s time to drizzle the brown sugar glaze on the mana buns.  Maybe chip another few hundred words out of this bonus short story I’ve been fooling around with in the Spirits of Los Gatos universe.  Then this evening The Boy and I will work on finishing up a few more valentines for his classmates— he’s decided to make them each a card rather than just buying a box of them from the store.  I’m both proud of his thoughtfulness and creativity and exhausted at the idea of glue and stamps and stickers for 25 first graders.

In all though, it’s a pretty damned good way to spend a rainy day.

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Photo credit: Steve took it via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Jul

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It’s the winter solstice today, and I just got back from dropping The Boy off at school.  I’ve got all the presents left to wrap (and I bought them all literally yesterday) and I have to work on Sarah’s Inheritance so I can get that out to you fine folks, and I have to bang out some problems with the sequel to Sarah.  And this afternoon I have a meeting at The Boy’s school about his IEP  (Individual Education Plan, because acronyms.  Basically, it’s how we’re all going to deal with the quirks his autism presents.)  Then I have a show to run this evening, which means I have to leave my house around 4 to get there around 6 because D.C. area traffic.

Basically, I’m busy as all heck, and it’s making me late for EVERYTHING.

So I think I’m taking next week mostly off.  I’ll make sure to post something next week, but it probably won’t be new content. If it is at all, it will be a preview of Sarah for your amusement.  So if I don’t get back here to say anything particularly witty, I hope the end of the year is not at all hectic for you.  I’ll be back and I’ll have a list of resolutions, probably, and some talk about the upcoming year’s schedule.  We’ll see how it all pans out.