Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chaos Child preview

So... The Chaos Child isn't coming to me linearly (yeah, that does look weird, doesn't it?). It doesn't help that this story is actually the one that started the entire 'verse. I'm picking through my old notes and trying to take out the things that still work (Duke was originally a very minor character and Sebastian was less of a jerk).

Most of chapter one is done. This is a snippet from the second chapter:

A loud crash from the vicinity of Duke's office has Viola jerking out of Duke's embrace and reaching for the tranq gun tucked underneath the side table. She flicks the safety off with her thumb and checks to make sure a dart is loaded. Whatever demon thought it necessary to ruin her reunion is going to be so very sorry.

Duke watches Viola's quick, efficient motions with unadulerated admiration. He's a sucker for women who can handle weapons. The glint of determination and glee in her eyes pulls him out of his lust-induced haze. "It's just your brother, sugar."

Viola's grin stretches from ear to ear. She rolls her shoulders and toes off her sneakers. She tiptoes stealthily towards the office. Duke wraps an arm around her middle and hefts her over his shoulder.

"Oh no, sweetness. I didn't spend the better part of six hours restraining myself just so you could waltz in and shoot the bastard."

I just love Vi and Duke - it's romance but not mushy.

Glide Like Ghosts - April 1990

April 1990

“Dude, did you have to bring your sisters along?” Eleven-year-old Toby Duke glanced over his shoulder at the two younger girls trailing behind. He’d been looking forward to spending the first warm, sunny Saturday of April with his best friend. Not his best friend and two Barbie-toting girls.

Sebastian Ashwood shrugged his shoulders. He tossed his baseball in the air, squinted as he tilted his head back and easily caught it. He often watched his sisters while her parents did grown up, Network things. They weren’t so bad. Olivia had fun playing by herself and Viola followed Sebastian around like a puppy. She could be annoying, but it was also kinda cool having someone who looked up to you.

“You want me to send them back to the house?” Sebastian asked. They’d taken off for the wooded area behind Toby’s house, but Sebastian could still see the roof of the back porch. He hadn’t thought anything of letting his sisters tag along, but if it bothered his friend, Sebastian would send them back.

“Nah.” Toby ran a hand through his shaggy blond hair. His dad had promised to take him to get it cut three weeks ago, but was too busy whenever Toby brought it up. Ever since his mom left, his dad seemed to always be busy.

Paul Duke and Sebastian’s parents were in the small shed next to the house doing Network stuff. Toby knew that if they sent the girls running back, his dad would just tell him to keep them out of the way. At least this way, it didn’t feel like a chore.

The wind kicked up suddenly. The few dried leaves on the ground swirled around Toby’s ankles. Several yards away, a twig snapped. Toby jerked to attention. Sharp eyes, eyes that didn’t belong on an eleven-year-old’s face, scanned the familiar woods. He sniffed the air tentatively.

It smelled like rotten eggs. Toby tightened his grip on his Louisville Slugger. The muscles in his legs tensed. He could run as fast as possible to get help. If he started shouting before he hit the old pine tree he’d climbed earlier that morning, his father would be able to hear him from inside the shed.

“Peee-eeww! That you, Bas? It's stinky!” Six-year-old Viola Ashwood pinched her nose, stuck out her tongue theatrically. She giggled at Toby’s eye roll and stuck her tongue out even further. Toby was funny when he was mad.

Okay, so he couldn’t run for help. Though the older of the two boys, Sebastian didn’t have the training, such as it was, that Toby’d had. Sebastian still froze in place at the first sign of a demon. Toby couldn’t leave behind his wimpy best friend and two scaredy-cat girls.

Sebastian dropped his baseball glove to the ground. He grabbed Olivia by the shoulders and spun the oblivious girl around. “Livy, run to the house. Get Mom, Dad, and Mr. Duke. Tell them it’s…” Sebastian glanced nervously at an avidly listening Viola. “Tell them it’s a d-e-m-o-n.”

Viola whacked her brother in the knee with her Skipper doll. She scowled crossly. “Spellin’s not nice. ‘Sides, I know what it means.”

“No you don’t,” was the automatic retort. Sebastian winced when Skipper’s head and torso hit his knee again. He gave Olivia a small shove towards the house. “Go get the grown-ups, Livy.”

Olivia raced back to the house. Her shiny white tennis shoes were a blur on the dark soil. Her blonde hair trailed behind her like a flag. Her lungs burned, but she didn’t stop running. She hated demons. They gave her the willies.

“Can I help with th’ demon, Bas?” Viola tugged on her brother’s t-shirt. Her daddy had been teaching her how to tell which demons were good and which ones were bad. She liked to look through the colorful picture books even if she couldn’t remember, or pronounce, many of the names.

“No!” Toby glowered at the little girl. The last thing he needed was to get in trouble because Viola got hurt. If anything happened to her, his dad would ground him for a year. The stench of rotten eggs was growing stronger. He could hear something moving not too far away. “You should have gone back with your sister. You’re just in the way.”

Fat tears welled up in Viola’s eyes. She sniffled noisily. Stupid meanie-head Toby. “’S that true, Bas?”

Sebastian wrinkled his nose. It was true, but he couldn’t tell Viola that. He hated hurting his sister’s feelings. “Nope, squirt. In fact, I've got an important job for you. Go sit by that tree over there and be lookout, okay? Keep your back against the tree and don’t move.”

Viola wrapped her arms around her brother’s side for a quick hug before happily skipping off to the tree Sebastian pointed at. She stopped abruptly when something pierced the leather of her pink My Little Pony sneakers and imbedded itself in the tender skin of her big toe. She collapsed to the ground, Skipper doll forgotten as she kicked her throbbing foot wildly.

“Ow! Owie! Owie! Owwwww!”

Both boys spun around at the high-pitched squeal. Before either could take a step towards Viola, a tall, thin lizard-like demon emerged from behind a fat tree. The demon cautiously approached a still-screaming Viola. Filmy black eyes were glued to the crying girl. The demon crouched on the ground beside Viola. Pointed yellow teeth flashed when the demon spoke to her in a language none of them understood.

Seeing the demon extend a clawed hand towards Viola spurred Toby into action. His vision narrowed until all he could see was the nasty demon trying to hurt his friend’s stupid sister. No one got to mess with his friend’s stupid sister but him. And sometimes his friend.

With a snarl of rage, Toby charged the demon. He swung the baseball bat, made contact with the back of the demon’s shoulder. The demon pitched forward. Toby swung again, this time hitting the demon on the side of the head.

“Get away from her!” Toby slid in between the demon and Viola. Chest heaving, he hefted the bat over his shoulder and glared at the demon with wild eyes.

The demon’s gaze slipped past Toby to land on Viola. It slowly rose to its feet, said something to the hiccupping girl, and sped out of sight. Toby let out a small sigh of relief but didn’t loosen his grip on his bat. His heart was pounding so hard he was afraid it would bruise his chest.

Sebastian, finally over his shock, pried the bat from Toby’s hands. He should have been the one defending his sister. It was embarrassing to know that he’d frozen when the demon had appeared yet Toby had raced in to save a girl he couldn’t stand half the time. Some Tracker Sebastian was going to be. His father was going to be so disappointed in him.

Toby dropped to his knees next to Viola’s feet. He could see a long, thin black spike sticking out from her shoe. A small stream of red blood stained the pink shoe near where the spike entered. “It’s just a Lefla spike, Vi.”

“C-can you g-g-get it out?” Viola scrubbed at wet cheeks with her dirty hands. She wiped her runny nose on the sleeve of her bright pink shirt. She didn’t like crying, hated doing anything that made people think she was a baby, but it hurt so much.

Toby grinned reassuringly at the girl. He reached forward and brushed a sweaty strand of dark hair off her red, puffy cheek. “No problem, kiddo. It might hurt a bit.”

Viola nodded bravely. She didn’t bother to tell him that it already hurt. She met and held Duke’s eyes while he grasped the spike firmly and quickly yanked it out of her foot. A sharp cry of pain passed through her lips before she could stop it. She was such a baby!

Toby handed the spike up to a nauseous-looking Sebastian. He held open his arms, mildly surprised when Viola flew into them. Her faith in him was humbling. He treated her like an annoying, buzzing mosquito most of the time, but she still trusted him enough to take care of her foot.

He had to admit that she’d been pretty brave, too. Most girls, heck, most people he knew, would have been screaming if they were that close to a demon. Viola had been crying, sure, but he figured that was mostly due to the Lefla spike. He'd had one in his thumb once and it had hurt for days after his dad pulled it out. Maybe Sebastian’s stupid baby sister wasn’t so bad after all. For a girl.

“You did good, Via-mia.”

Viola beamed at both the praise and the new nickname. Thin pale arms wound their way around Toby’s neck. She snuggled into his chest and closed her achy eyes. It felt almost as good as being hugged by her daddy.

The sound of heavy, hurried footsteps had Toby turning his head. He tensed, ready to shove Viola off his lap if the demon was back for more. He could still feel adrenaline pumping through his veins. His hands ached from the vibrations of the bat, but he would ignore the pain if it meant protecting his friends.

Paul Duke, closely followed by an anxious Gerard Ashwood and panting Alicia Ashwood, skittered to a stop in front of the two boys. His eyebrows hit his hairline at the sight of his son holding on to Viola. He knew full well that his son didn’t have much patience for either of the Ashwood girls.

“What’s going on?” Gerard clamped a hand onto Sebastian's shoulders. All a frantic Olivia had managed to stammer out was the word “demon.” Hearing the echo of Viola’s scream only made them fear the worst.

Viola’s eyes popped open at her father’s voice. She smiled at him brightly, arms tightening around Toby. “Daddy, Toby’s the bestest boy in the whole world! He saved me from the bogeyman and he fixed my toe!”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Precious - a one-shot challenge fic

Written for Cathy who wanted: romance, fantasy, and some angst all written in one hour. Slave driver. Here you go.


They meet at one of her mother's grand soirees. He looks out of place, like an alien, in his wrinkled, simple cotton clothes and scuffed but comfortable boots. She feels out of place, like an alien, in her shimmering silk gown and jeweled tiara. They are outcasts so it's only natural that they gravitate towards each other.

Though it would make for a dramatic, romantic tale to recount at bedtime, it is not love at first sight. For one thing, it is not his first time to see her. He's heard the few true friends he has in his world talk about the beautiful and brilliant Princess of Nasha. Nor is he a stranger to her. What child does not know the stories about the mysterious, heroic Veil Crosser?

For another thing, it is not love. Something as all-encompassing, as soul-shattering, as life re-shaping as love takes more than mere seconds to form. Love requires work. It requires pouring everything you possess, every breath you take, into giving it life. Love cannot be created at the blink of an eye. Even if one of you is an immortal time-slash-dimension traveler and the other is the genius heir to the greatest, most prosperous kingdom in history.

His sharp, dark eyes are drawn, naturally, to the brightest thing in the room. And, oh, how she shines. She's twice as blinding as the three suns of Loph'hang. It is not her physical beauty that pulls his feet across the polished hardwood floor, though that certainly isn't stopping him. It's the brilliance of her mind, the light in her pretty little soul that draws him in.

Spotting the Crosser beside a silver tray of imported wine sends a shiver of relief down her spine. She hates these parties. She hates the insincere compliments, the pointless small talk, and the gossip. She's absolutely certain that her mother only requires her presence as punishment for something terrible she did as a child but can't remember. He, though, is the cure for her terminal case of boredom.

She politely excuses herself from the conversation with the Duke of Whocaresistan and drops into a deep curtsy in front of the Crosser. She knows all eyes in the room are now on her so she pastes on a wide smile. Might as well give everyone a show. She can only hope he is willing to play along. "It is an honor to meet you, My Lord Veil Crosser."

The Crosser does not disappoint. His goofy grin sets her nerves at ease. His formal bow looks ridiculous on someone dressed so casually. "On the contrary, both the honor and the pleasure are all mine, Your Highness."

She holds out her hand, family jewels twinkling on her slender fingers. She does not keep wrist up and fingers limp. She extends her entire arm, palm sideways and fingers straight. It is her father's handshake not her mother's. "Lila."

His large, warm hand engulfs her smaller, cooler one. He squeezes her hand tightly and is pleasantly surprised when she returns the gesture. She's got spirit, this little princess. "Vic."

Hand still tucked in the Crosser's, Lila cocks her head to the side and regards him with sparkling gray-blue eyes. "Vic-tor, I assume. You don't strike me as the Vic-tim sort." She chuckles softly and it reminds him of pearls and rubies and wild songbirds. "Then again, it could be Lodovico for all I know. If it is, Vic's a wise choice."

Vic, not Victor or Victim or, gods preserve him, Lodovico, but a fourteen syllable name only pronounceable by the handful of people who speak the old language, knows without a shadow of a doubt that he's going to take Princess Lila with him when he leaves. She's not the poor, abused, lost princess of fairy tales, but he is going to rescue her. Staying in this dull, slow, colorless world will only atrophy her mind and kill the spark in her soul.

By the time the last of the intoxicated lords and ladies have been seen into their shiny chauffeured cars, Lila is standing beside Vic in front of her parents, a small black suitcase at her feet. She listens to her mother list the dozens of reasons she should stay behind.

It is an impressive list. Aside from being heir to the throne, Lila has responsibilities. She’s supposed to be guest-lecturing at the Nasha Institute of Science for the rest of the year. She’s the strongest energy manipulator in Nasha, and she is a veil child. There are people and, at times, entire worlds depending upon her.

And if she stays, she’s going to drown under the weight of all that. Her father, the King of Nasha, simply smiles at Lila when he wife winds down. He kisses her forehead lovingly then turns stern, concerned eyes onto Vic. “Take care of my daughter.”

Though he is thousands of years older than the king, Vic nods his head in acknowledgement. He is, after all, taking away the man’s most precious possession. The brightest jewel in Nasha. “I will.”

With a wide grin on her face, one her parents haven’t seen since she was a child, Lila lifts her suitcase and grasps Vic’s hand. Her heart thuds in anticipation. This is it, the start of a grand adventure.

Oh what an adventure it is. They visit worlds Lila had only dreamed about. Vic teaches her more about the Veils and about energy manipulation than she could ever learn back home. He couldn’t be more pleased with his pupil. She soaks information like a sponge and offers her own observations on social interaction and the politics of the various worlds they see.

The love that didn’t steal their breath at first sight grows slowly, silently. It remains unobtrusive, only showing itself through small gestures: the hand he keeps at the small of her back, the goodnight kiss she presses to his cheek at the end of every day, the way they learn to say a hundred words without having speak aloud. Each trip, each time they land with that skip and bump that makes Lila’s heart miss a beat, only makes the love grow.

It’s not all stops at tropical paradises or shopping at bustling, shiny shops. He takes his self-appointed duty very seriously. The Veil Crosser is a one-man universal police force. He stops slavery on several worlds, takes down tyrants, and even stops an earthquake once. He admits to himself, and to her once, that it’s easier when he’s got his shiny, brilliant girl by his side.

All adventures, though, must come to an end. Four years after placing her hand into Vic’s, Lila, still crown-princess of Nasha, learns that lesson the hard, painful way.

On Tritash IV, she sprains her ankle running away from a squad of gun-toting Freads. They make it to his vessel, the Crosser before the bullets start to fly. As soon as the doors close, they slide to the floor, still arm in arm, and listen to the tings as bullets hit the sturdy metal hull of his ship.

Lila is panting for oxygen, her cheeks are flushed, and her hair is in disarray. To him, she's still the most beautiful creature in the universes. The tings remind him how close, how so very, very close, he came to losing her. She's connected to the Veils, true, but she's not of them like he is. She is not invulnerable. She can die. She will die if she continues to bounce from one troubled world to the next with him. It's just a sprained ankle here, but it was a broken arm three trips ago and a concussion during their visit to Mariz.

Mouth set in a determined line, he surges to his feet and brushes the dust off his trousers. He holds out a hand, hauls her to her feet, and then returns to the ship's consoles. He punches in the coordinates for her home world. The ship lurches and he feels the familiar tingle as they cross through the veils.

"So? Where to next?" Lila leans back against the cool, metal wall and crosses her arms over her chest. She would have liked to stay longer on Tritash IV, but their job is to start the revolutions, to set the wheels in motion. They're not the ones who stick around to watch the fall out.

"I'm taking you home."

She shrugs her shoulders. Home's not so bad a place. It'll be good to see her parents and brothers again. "If you can put us back a week after we left last time, we can be there for the Strawberry Harvest. It's always a good time. We can make a long weekend of it."

He crosses the control room in three large strides. He cups her cheek with a cool hand. He keeps his face as blank as possible. She's called him a heartless bastard before. It's time he tries to live up to that label. "You're going home to stay."

"What? Is it because of that thing on Legoa? I'm telling you, that wasn't my fault." The teasing smile slides off her face when he doesn't join in her laughter. Oh. Oh no. He really is sending her home for good. Hot tears sting her eyes and a lump clogs her throat. "Why?"

He brushes a tear off her cheek with the pad of his thumb. "This is dangerous, princess. Too dangerous for someone as precious as you."

Her eyelids flutter shut. Of course. It always comes down to that. She nods jerkily and takes a small step backwards. His hand falls off her face and hangs limply by his side. For a moment, he looks as lost as she feels. Every cell in her body, her stupid, weak mortal body, aches to comfort him.

She'd like to believe that when he calls her precious, he means that she's precious to him. It would be so nice to tell herself that he's sending her way, locking her in an ivory tower, because he loves her too much to lose her to a Fread or a Huloa or any of the others they've been up against. It wouldn't make leaving him any easier, but at least then she'd have a leg to stand on when it comes to arguing.

But, that's not what he means. When he calls her precious, he means precious to her world. Her value comes, not from who she is, but from what she is: future Queen of Nasha, most advanced energy manipulator in her kingdom, genius scientist, and Veil Child. She's too valuable to everyone, but or maybe including him just not in the way she wants, to risk taking on any more adventures.

She wants to beg to stay. Wants to lock herself in her room on the Crosser and refuse to come out. She wants to tell him how much she absolutely, completely loves him. She can't do that to the man who taught her to be more than a bored, spoiled princess. In the end, all she does is pack her suitcase with clothes and the trinkets she's picked up over the years and step out of the ship that feels like home into the palace that does not.

Before she's swallowed up by her mother's enthusiastic hug and her father's booming voice, she risks a glance back at the man in the Crosser's doorway. He raises his hand and wriggles his fingers in a half-wave. His mouth opens like he's going to say something and the breath catches in her throat. If he says the word, she'll pick her bag back up and follow him to the end of the universe. He slips back into his ship without saying anything at all. In the small gaps of silence between her mother's squeals, her father's greetings, and the cacophony in the throne room, is the sound of a heart shattering into a thousand tiny pieces.

For a year, she tries to move on. She learns at her father's right hand. She absorbs every scrap of knowledge she can about peace treaties, trade agreements, and national defense. She can see her father's excitement about it all, but after chasing down rogue armies and talking down a tyrannical Daddna, it all seems a bit dull to her.

She picks up her energy studies and even attends a physics conference or two. She spends time with her family, becomes the perfect sister, daughter, and princess. Her hours are filled, from sunrise to well after dark, with millions of things, but it never seems to be enough. Her mind and body are in Nasha, but her heart and soul are still stuck on the Crosser.

Thirteen months, four days, and sixteen hours after returning to Nasha, she makes her decision. She can't live this life anymore. It's killing her from the inside out. It's not fair to those who depend on her, either. They deserve more than half a princess, sister, daughter, whatever else she is. So over breakfast of toast and eggs, she surprises her mother, but not her father, by announcing her plans to remove herself from the line of succession. Her brother George, only ten months younger than her, is king material. He'll do the House of Neyla proud.

Hands washed of that, she starts tutoring her youngest brother Tom in energy manipulation. After a few false starts, he picks it up. He's not the natural she is, but he's got a quick mind. Late at night, when the rest of the palace is sleeping, she writes down all her thoughts, every scrap of knowledge, every theory, into thick notebooks.

It doesn't take long to become a ghost. She drifts through the halls but has no impact on anyone except the servants who clean her room, wash her clothes, and prepare her meals. She limits the time spent with each family member to ten minutes a day. Her mother wails and rails against her, but her father seems to understand. If she ever gets the chance to go back to him, she'll take it without thinking twice. And this time, she won't leave behind anyone or anything that relies on her.

Three years, two months, seventeen days, five hours, and twenty-six minutes after he left her in the palace throne room, he reappears in the garden outside her suite. He has not aged, one of the benefits of being of the Veil, but she can see the strain around his eyes and the tenseness in his lean body. She uncurls her legs and smoothly rises off the concrete bench. This is not how she envisioned their reunion, she'd had plenty of time to plan it down to the laces on her shoes, but she'll take what she can get.

"Hello, Princess Lila of Nasha." He pauses for a moment and tilts his head to the side in that way she loves. It makes her want to clamp her lips on the juncture between his neck and his shoulder and finally answer the question of whether or not he tastes as good as he looks. "Or is it Queen Lila, now?"

She shakes her head solemnly. "Not Queen. My brother's coronation is in three months. King George, can you believe it?"

She takes advantage of the astonishment on his face to step forward and wind her arms around his waist. She presses herself against, making a happy hum when his hands automatically fall to her hips. She rises up on her toes so that her lips brush the shell of his ear. "Guess what? I'm not precious anymore."

He throws his head back and laughs. It's a joyous, infectious sound. He's still grinning when he kisses her forehead and snuggles her closer. Later, when they're back to bouncing between and through veils, he'll make her understand just how precious she'll always be.

I missed my vacation for this?

So, in case you haven't heard me complain (read: whine) about it, I gave up my vacation time to work because we're seriously shorthanded and there's no one who can sub for me. It totally, completely sucks, but I'm a grown-up and we're supposed to do sucky things, right?

Today has been the day from hell. I could be basking in the warmth of my family and sipping a beer (or a glass of wine) while eating too many sweets. Or Mexican food. I love Mexican food.

Nope. I'm here. At work. Having my soul slowly sucked out by a bunch of morons.

And it still totally, completely sucks.

/end rant.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Birds & Bees Sweet White Wine

Have I mentioned lately that I love the new HEB they built near me? Well, I do. I love how bright and open it is and how friendly all the checkers seem to be. Oh, and the wine samples. I really, really love those.

Today's wine was Birds & Bees Sweet White. I declined the sample at first and then saw the price on the tag near the bottles. For wine I drink around the house, I generally like to spend under $15 a bottle. For company or parties, I'll splurge. This wine was under $8.00, so I took the small plastic cup.


The wine is crisp and fruity.  It's light and sweet, the way I like my wines.  There is no underlying "alcohol" aftertaste. It's one of the few wines I'm willing to break my "Texas Wine Only" rule for.  I'm sure, if I were inclined, I could give you the whole "with hints of berries and summer fruits" or whatever, but honestly, when I'm drinking wine, I don't think about things like that.  I care about how it feels on on my tongue, what kind of aftertaste (if any) it leaves, and how it tastes.  I'm happy to say that the Birds & Bees Sweet White Wine was easy to drink, left no aftertase, and was the perfect balance of sweetness (without being cloying) and crispness (without being too tart).

Mom's coming over... time to run out and buy a new bottle!

Yum. Yum. Yum.

For reviews of Texas wines, please visit here

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Book One of the Family Lies saga is done. I'm fairly set on re-titling Book One Daughter of Deception so that I can rename the saga.

I found an e-mail I'd sent JT on 12/8/08 with the first four chapters of the original Ashwood story. I've been working with these characters, off and on, for over a year!

I was so relieved to be done (one year and 105,000 words later) for about an hour and then I started asking myself, "Okay, so how do I want to start the next book."

Off to wrap Christmas presents! Is it wrong that all my shopping (except for JT) is done but my tree's still not up?

Monday, December 7, 2009

I <3 Gloriana

I admit it, I bought myself an early Christmas present. I've heard a couple of Gloriana's songs on the radio and broke down and bought the CD when I was ordering a bunch of presents on I absolutely love the CD! It's country but not twangy or all love/drinking songs. Defnitely Southern Rock-ish. It's, surprisingly enough, helping with the writing. It's the sort of music Duke listens to - and would make a good compromise for Vi & Duke.

Speaking of the saga (and when am I not these days?), chapter 32 is done so that leaves... 3. Three short chapters and it's all over.

Is it wrong that I'm a little giddy?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Four to go!

I just finished writing chapter thirty-one of Family Lies. That means only four chapters to go! I can't believe it's gotten this far (most projects don't get past the 30,000 word mark - my attention span just isn't that long) or that I've got the next two books in the Ashwood saga already plotted out. I think it's just that I adore these characters so much.

Perhaps I wasn't wrong when I said I wanted this one done by Christmas.

One step closer to Christmas

It's been cold for over a week. I'm talking so cold we actually turned on the heater (which we try to avoid since it makes my skin dry and JT's allergies act up). Now to some yankees it might not seem very cold when it's in the 50s and 40s (27 Saturday morning!), but to a gal born and raised in South Texas, that's hibernation weather. Which all means that I haven't done anything around the house since we got back from Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house. They gave us a very nice chair that used to belong to a great-aunt. As of this morning it was still sitting by the door with my suitcase and toiletry bag still on it.

I got the motivation (thank you writer's block) to actually get ready for Christmas decorations to go up. Two and a half hours later, I completely cleaned out my desk, cleaned off the entertainment center, and made room for the chair. We probably won't get anything out of storage until next weekend (when it's warmer), but if I keep doing one room at a time, I'll finally get over the kitten-mess from this summer and be ready for holiday company.

What's the soonest you've ever put up holiday decorations?

Friday, December 4, 2009


Sticking to the ground.
In Houston.
Damn, it's cold.