You May Already Be a Winner of Jen Merrill’s “If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional”


…also known by me as: “ITiaG,CISiB?:SitLotGaTE” published by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF).  I love a good abbreviation.  Simplifies things, no?  Sorry for the delay in contest results, btw.  My life is unmanageable.  I blame the kids.

Anyway, I was finally able to finish the book I was reading, and its sequel, so I could get this contest put to bed.  I meant to do the drawing last night…but I started the book, and then needed to know how it ended.  It didn’t end well!  Neither did the sequel!!  I can’t wait for the third.  My 24 hour accidental internet detox was successful, in case you were wondering.

That, however, is not what you care so much about.  On to the good news, as well as the confirmation that you might be a loser.  It hurts, I know.  Keep reading my blog to feel better about yourself, your life, your kids…

Unless you are:


15 Cass post comment
100 Marianne M. FB LIKE
287 Rebecca W. FB LIKE
53 Secret Identity FB LIKE
183 Meredith FB Share
172 Jen C. FB Share
301 Tara L. FB LIKE
227 Brian F. FB LIKE
27 DiAnna M. post comment
42 Holly R. post comment
86 Kathie S FB LIKE
73 Heather C. FB LIKE
255 Jody M FB LIKE
24 Rodney post comment
224 Dawn D. FB LIKE
Kelly Close proximity auto win
Mom/Jen Close proximity auto win
2nd Round:
205 Wendy H. FB LIKE
130 Mia K-N FB LIKE
42 Erin S FB LIKE
202 Tedra O FB LIKE
67 Ellen E FB LIKE
67 Heather G. FB LIKE

…in which case you are a winner!  Congratulations!!  You can keep reading my blog anyway, to feel superior and stuff.

My process for choosing winners was easy.  I opened an excel spreadsheet and pasted in the names of people who met the qualification criteria.  I copied the names as many times as necessary, and my kids named 15 random numbers between 1 and 309.  I deleted winners and my kids named 5 more random numbers, between 1 and 209.

Special Note:  “Secret Identity” won, which is actually a long ago FB account I used for Mafia Wars.  It was a cheap FB like in the early days, so I’m naming my own winner for that copy:  Congrats to Carolyn K!  Duh, she’s Hoagies.  Of course she gets a copy.  :-)  Also, 67 happened in a confused manner, so there were two winners there.

N said it wasn’t so random, and not so scientific.  Whatever.  It’s also 23 copies of the book given away so far, instead of 15, and 8 winners are complete strangers to me.  Cool!

I don’t hear any of the winners complaining, now do I?  I don’t pay much attention to losers, because, well…

Aww. So sad. Loser.

Another Special Note:  If you still want to win a copy, I will post about the Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) giveaway later in the week.

Congrats, again, to the winners!  I will contact you for shipping info.  Please read the book and post your reviews everywhere: Amazon, Goodreads, BN…

My apologies to the losers.  :-)  Your cats still love you.

Maybe.

Contest Extended to Saturday…Homeschoolers Gone Wild!!


No joke, I can’t even hold a proper contest!

The last couple of weeks have blurred by and I’m losing my mind already. We homeschool around these parts, as you may know, and N’s OnlineG3 classes started on Monday. Coincidentally, Monday was all drama, all the time. One family member cried for two hours because he discovered a conflict in his schedule that denies him *more* class time. He always needs more. He has clear expectations and doesn’t respond calmly on the first pass when things are not to his specs.

I have no idea from where that fantastically noisy trait originated on his family tree.

Pictures of cute kitties make us calm.

Tuesday and Thursday classes were smooth and he had a blast, though we then had a difficult discussion about dropping a science activity we were both looking forward to…but we already see the writing on the wall. He’s a year young for it, and they’ll have a full team, so maybe it’s not fair to have him participating anyway. I don’t know. It brought on more tears though. He wants to do all of it.

In a few weeks we’ll start Friday co-op in Skokie, which kicks off our Beelers on Wheels grand tour for both boys.  This co-op is not negotiable for them.  They love it like a diabetic loves low blood sugar readings.

Monday Science Spectacular begins a couple of days later–4 hours at the Chicago Botanic Gardens for them both as well, with a friend thinking about some fun opportunities for the kids to hang out even more. Tuesdays are always our local unschool group, which is our home base, so that leaves Wednesdays and Thursdays home. Oh wait, Wednesday is for gymnastics, swimming lessons, field trips, and scouts. So, we’re home on Thursday. Part of the day. Sometimes. Homeschool skate is Thursdays for 4 hours. E’s favorite, next to gymnastics.

OMG We’ll never make it.

Calming kitty *and* puppy….

E is technically going into 2nd grade, but he wants to take all of the same classes as his brother. He’s pissed he’s not in Online G3 also, so I sense our lives are only going to get more complicated as E gets older and more joiny.

We also have trips to Iowa and South Dakota this Fall, as well as Symphonic concert, Opera, a one woman play about Marie Curie, and … ?  Some other stuff I can’t see on my calendar because my eyes are bleeding.  Why can’t I say no to those people I ever-so-craftily made myself at home?

We have a very ambitious schedule this Fall. I’m not really sure we can pull it all off, so I’m stressed. I’m always stressed. Last night I had the mother of all hissy fits because Jeff brought home dinner and my order was wrong. How dare he?! How dare Quiznos run out of Au Jus for my sandwich?! WTF is going on with this crazy world? He was surprised at my, shall I say emotional, reaction to the disappointing news.

Calming kitty picture……

Week One of our rabidly over-scheduled and mostly unschoolie-yet-eclectic homeschooling 2012-13 year has begun, and I’m already overwhelmed. I’ve almost forgotten my church bingo wins with my parents and sister this weekend, and that was a spendable cash euphoria!  I will be blogging in the future about the FREE goldfish.  Thankyouverymuch, Aunt Jen and Uncle Tim.

Long story short: you have an extended period to try and win Jen Merrill’s (link to Laughing at Chaos blog) new book:

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional

Read back a post for contest details. I’m way too comfy (lazy?) to grab the link myself. Work for it, people!  I will draw names on Saturday.  She signed them a week or so ago, so they’ll be ready for the mail in a jiffy!

Also, still not sure how the contest will go for the Chicago Gifted Community Center, but I’ll be giving books away there too. :-) CGCC is new and awesome, so check us out and help us grow!

DAMNIT!! WTF is the kitty doing in the toilet???? What is wrong with that cat?? I’m not calm anymore.

First Contest Ever! Win Jen Merrill’s Awesome “If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?” (“ITiaG,CISiB?:SitLotGaTE”)


Welcome to Delicious Minutiae’s first ever contest!  I’m giving away copies of Jen Merrill’s book, “If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional”, but I’m torn.  I want this to be about supporting her…but I’m also feeling a little selfish and want it to be about me too.  Hopefully this will be a mix of both…  My review of the book, which I loved to itty-bitty pieces, will come in a couple of days.

So, here’s how to win your own copy (comments can also be about other people’s kids, btw):

 

1.  Like my blog on Facebook = 2 entries (everyone who already likes my blog is already in!)

 

2. Share my blog from the Delicious Minutiae Facebook page = 5 entries (selfish, selfish)

3. Leave a comment on my blog (doesn’t matter which post) = 1 entry per comment (new posts only)

4. Leave a comment (on this post) inspired by one of the chapters in Jen’s book: = 1 entry per comment

Chapter 1: Connecting the Dots (how and when did you know your kid was gifted?)

Chapter 2:  One Heck of a Ride (suggestions for how to relax and pamper yourself when the kids are making you crazy)

Chapter 3:  Taking the Leap (if you homeschool, how did you make the choice?)

Chapter 4:  Our Grand Homeschooling Adventure (so, how’s that working out for you?)

Chapter 5:  Living My Walter Mitty Fantasy (go with it…make something up…use your wildest, most fantastical skills…or whatever!)

5.  Post a picture of the loads of books you buy and don’t read, or your TBR pile, or overflowing nightstand…or your piles of papers and clutter.  Show me you’re my people! = 2 entries (bonus for bravery)

6.  Make something up.  Make it obvious it’s a contest entry; I’m kinda slow. = 1 entry

7.  Send me $6 and you are an instant winner of a signed copy of Jen’s book! = instant winner!

8.  Leave a comment on my blog that you want to enter this here contest, but don’t like leaving comments and are too lazy to post personal pics in public. = 1 entry

I will randomly pull 15 names out of a hat on August 23.  If you are one of the lucky winners, I will send you a signed copy of Jen’s “ITiaG,CISiB?:SitLotGaTE”…unless you’re local, in which case I’ll drive slowly by your house and fling it at your front door.  I might also deliver to Ohio residents, if they are really nice to me.

If you win and are no longer in the US, like, say, you just moved to JORDAN (wah!), I will send you a Kindle or Nook copy via the interwebs.

Okay, this was more about me than Jen, so: 9. post a comment about how awesome you think Jen Merrill is and get another shot at winning a signed copy of her book.  :-)

10.  Stay tuned for the Chicago Gifted Community Center’s 15 book giveaway.  Jen’s on the board.  So am I.

Get over yourself. Everyone gets a rash some time… Enter this contest and be a WINNER!

Disclaimer: 1 winning entry per person, void where prohibited by law, etc.  Participating in this contest, Delicious Minutiae’s First Ever!, may cause some or all of the following side effects:  migraines, explosive diarrhea, vomiting, blurred vision, rashes in private places, loss of your eyebrows and eyelashes, and maybe even sudden death.  Delicious Minutiae cannot be held responsible for your explosive diarrhea, or any other side effects from participating in Jen Merril’s “ITiaG,CISiB?:SitLotGaTE” book giveaway.

Peace out, bitches.

 

Tsundoku Might Be a Real Word…and Delicious Minutiae’s First Contest!


I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone who read the sad story of my Amazon.com calendar purchase, that I also buy a lot of books.  My friend Dawn, mentioned frequently around these parts, pointed out an internet forward that kinda-sorta reminded her of me.  It went something like this:

I have nothing to add to this.

This brings me to confessional time.  I’m pretty sure every post I make here is something of an accidental confessional, but this is on purpose…not just me blathering on about personal stuff and TMI.

I have a lot of books I haven’t read yet.  I used to read SSSSOOOOOO much.  All the time.  I called in sick to work every now and again if I had a book I couldn’t wait to read.  I missed most of elementary, middle, and, come to think of it, high school.  One of my childhood besties and I used to walk to Park Drugs, and sometimes I bought a book instead of candy or beverages.  Candy and beverages was the entire point of the exercise, btw.

Side note:  I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but in 5th or 6th grade one of the books I bought from Park Drugs, with my own money even, was a time travel romance that still makes me question my own taste in reading material.  Constance O’Day-Flannery entertained me well enough with her Timeless Passion, and I learned a little bit about 1856 antebellum plantation living to boot!  I also learned that if I wind up traveling back in time, it would be indiscrete to listen to my jammin’ walkman tunes while singing Huey Lewis out loud.  My “husband” might think I’m cray-cray, or I might be drowned in the swamp in order to free the demon spirits.

It’s always a concern.  One can never be too careful while time traveling.

So, I was somewhat preoccupied with reading not so many years ago is what I’m saying.  Then BAM! Procreation.  Along with the precious babies came regressing literacy.

Fast forward to last month and I went to the SENG Conference in Milwaukee.  I had a great time and on the last day I couldn’t help myself any longer…I bought some books from the vendor hall.  Great Potential Press had a few books that had been on my wish list for years.  Literally.  Years.  What the crap; they were giving my books away at the conference!  All I had to do was pay 70 percent of the cover price and I could take them home with me for FREE.  That’s all there was to it.

How could I say no?  I couldn’t.  I didn’t.

Trouble here is that I already have a robust library of gifted-specific books, but I haven’t even read close to half of them.  Homeschooling?  Have a bunch of those too.  Aspergers?  Check.

Now these shelves of books aren’t going to remind me that my devilishly handsome plantation-farming faux husband from 1856 might not understand about OTC pharmaceuticals, but they might, just might, help me parent my extremely high needs children.  Constance O’Day-Flannery didn’t write about twice-exceptional kids, but if she did I might have to put her book to the top of the TBR pile.  As it is, I spend all day with my quirky, intense, always “on” spawn, so I don’t want to relax with some helpful reading material about them when I could be watching Toddlers & Tiaras, or getting my ass beat at SongPop.

True story.

Several things have been happening serendipitously in recent weeks:

1.  I recently reviewed Jeff Salyards debut Fantasy novel, Scourge of the Betrayer, right here on this blog…and really enjoyed the reading *and* reviewing.

2. I went to the gifted conference and bought some more books.

3.  Decided at the conference, while standing in the vendor hall, to start *reading* and then *reviewing* the books on my blog.

4.  Went home and lost track of time.  Got my ass beat at SongPop.

5. My conference roomie’s book was released, and she’s unknowingly written about my life.  All of it!!  She, too, noted that the last thing a person wants to do is read a book about gifted kids when they’re knee deep in the soup.

5b.  I bought LOTS of copies of Jen’s book and planned it to be my kick-off gifted book review / combo kick-off contest.

6.  Dawn posted about tsundoku (see above) which reminded me that I planned to read and review all of my gifted/homeschooling/2e books, but haven’t started yet.

6b. Nor have I announced the contest.

7.  I’ve been drinking tea ALLLL NIGHT and now I can’t sleep.

8.  So it’s time to launch this contest.  WOOHOO!

9.  But I think I should create a new entry because this one is really long already.

10.  Plus, I don’t know what the contest is yet…just that at the end of it I’m giving away 30 copies of Jen Merrill’s ” If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional“.

11.  A lot of people say they read my blog and like it, but I don’t get very many comments…and not many new “likes” on FB lately.  Sad face.

12.  Maybe I’ll give the book away to people who comment on my blog!

13.  And like me on Facebook.

13b. I like making lists.

13c.  In fact, I’m making one right now.

Amazon.com Should Know I’m a Low Rent Ho


I just bought a new wall calendar that is perfect for my family.  We have so much scheduled, and everyone has their own stuff to remember, but none of us can apparently do it without losing parts of our souls.  It’s grisly.

I finally thought I’d just slap an ugly calendar on the wall and see what happens. The three different Franklin Planners, spiral bound calendars, generic planners, electronic organizers, homeschool-specific systems,  the computer…none of them work for our family.

I’ve tried them all.

Not this one. I haven’t tried the ear plug calendar yet, though all it will tell me is the last day I remembered to move the plugs.

Well, more like I buy them all and then don’t get around to implementation.

Because we’re so busy.  And I’m disorganized.

So, we have post-its, random notebooks full of jotted down info, receipts with important scratches on their backs, lists about the list of lists.  Pages of notes about the lists.  Piles and piles of papers, some of which might be important.  This has been a successful system so far, but I’m sort of stressed out.

There are people in the piles.

Don’t judge; it’s not nice.

But alas!!  Amazon, my love, showed me a sweet $5 solution.  It was so seductively presented, with a picture, description, product number, and everything…  Amazon overplayed its hand and should be familiar with my slutty shopping ways by now.  All they really needed was to post a plain old sans serif “Hey, we’re selling shit” and I would buy.  I would also buy some of that delicious ambrosia as gifts for my friends, no less.  I’m easy like that.

Amazon sends me covert messages that indicate it prefers a classier sort of clientele. I’m not buying THAT!

I pointed at my cart and told that calendar to get in.

“Get in there now!” I told it.

I bought that calendar but good.

Get in the cart NOW!                    “Whip Dragon” by Richard Mark Huffman

It arrived on my doorstep with free super saver two day shipping, and I was all twitchy with excitement.  I couldn’t wait to get all of our activities, classes, appointments, whatevers, recorded.  Organized.

WTF?  My calendar, my precious, expired in June? But I bought it in August!

 

Returns Center > Request Refund

Keep this item and receive a refund!
We’ve got you covered! There’s no need to return the item to receive your refund.

Request Refund

1 of AT-A-GLANCE Recycled Monthly Wall Calendar, 12-Inch x 17-Inch, White-Cream, 2011/2012 (PMA2-28)
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
Reason for return: No longer needed/wanted
Details: Not sure how I missed it, but this calendar expired two months ago. I have no need for a 2011- June 2012 calendar! Why are you even still selling it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon doesn’t even want me to return it.  They told me to keep their trash and are giving me my money back with no questions.

Amazon sold me their recycling!

Good thing I just bought a new planner at Target.  I think it’s going to be just the thing to help me get the family organized.

I paid full price, ‘cuz that’s what I do at Target.  My new planner was just sitting there on the end cap.  Asking for it.

Root Canals are Fun *OR* More Than Anyone Needs to Know About My Mouth


The summer is flying by so fast I can’t keep up.  I was going to blog about a bunch of different things, but by the time I had a computer in front of me, the topics were not so interesting to me anymore.  I told my kids I’d blog about my birthday, which they were pretty jazzed about, but then I forgot to even do that.

What the hell people, I need some excitement in my life!

Here it is! My new, exciting life. Let’s all wait for it together.

So, in order to get some of that excitement I’ve been craving, I went to the dentist last week.  I’m phobic, so it’s only the second time in over ten years that I’ve gone.  The other time was because my teenie-weenie cavity from the late 90s had turned into a painful crater and I had to get a root canal. Have you heard about these?  Root canals are torture.  A person is way better off just tying a rope to the tooth, the other end to the back bumper, and letting their ten year old son hit the gas pedal.  Or the seven year-old.  It doesn’t really matter which kid.

Just in case your kids aren’t up for helping, you might consider just doing the job yourself. With a wrench. In the library. With Prof. Plum.

After that root canal @ four years ago, I swore a sacred oath with my subconscious to never go back to the dentist. Any dentist.  Shit, who needs that kind of stress?  Not me.  Not you, either, I’m pretty sure.  People’s teeth rotted and fell out all the time back in the day.  There’s no shame in nature.  No shame.

Why is stereotypical Jesus pulling teeth?  He should just let the mofo rot.

Well, unfortunately I cracked a childhood filling a year or two ago and the stupid thing fell out! You get what you pay for I guess, and I don’t recall paying for jack when I was a kid.  Maybe my mom and dad paid?  Whatevs.  It was junk.  It cracked!  It fell out! Color me not impressed with late 70s / early 80s dental work… which cracked and fell out of my head.

I often thought about my cracked filling over the ensuing year or two.  I put my tongue in the craggy bowl it left behind.  I brushed a lot.  I flossed.  I picked at it.  I never chewed on that side.  I did what I needed to do, man. I didn’t, however, go to the dentist. That would be crazy, and I’m not crazy.

Dentists hurt people.  Drills make a lot of shrill, screaming noises inside a person’s head.  Water and dental debris spray a person’s face.  Plus, they can see up your nose.  Right up in there.

They might be able to *see* up your nose, but this guy can *lick* up his nose. Klassy with a K.

Got an eye booger?  They see that too.

Well, that is symbiotic and delicious.

So, I was up half the night last night alternately freaking out and looking up card catalogs to buy on Craigslist, when I finally decided to chill my shit and call it a night.  I wanted to be alert for my first combo heart attack-stroke today, so I made a mental note to share my awesome Craigslist finds with Jeff before dying the next afternoon (today)…my adoring, loving, card catalog enabling husband…and I slept soundly for about 18 minutes.  It was enough.

Also, I’m lying about Jeff’s enabling.  He hates my card catalog pipe dreams.  He says it sounds like a million little drawers full of stuff.  Pshaw.  It’s fabulous furniture, but that has nothing to do with my teeth or this blog.

This could go on forever, so we’ll just fast forward to me sitting in the dentist’s chair.  She’s so sweet, my brand new dentist.  I shared with her that I had an awful taste in my mouth since starting the mega-antibiotic.  You know, the one I had to take for the chronic infection in my jaw?  Weird, she said.  No one had ever complained about that…just…diarrhea.  Have I had diarrhea???

Alleged storm.

I don’t think we need two diarrhea pictures, but what’s not to love about a turtle on a toilet?

Does she not know yet that people don’t talk about diarrhea in polite company??  Not even impolite company, really, though I do try to work it in as often as I can.

She reclined my chair and shot me all to hell with “numbing” shots.  Hey, guess what?  They didn’t work!  She poked me and asked if I felt it.  Yes, thank you, may I have another?

At that point my dentist and her impeccably timed assistant wanted to know about my kids.  So, they wondered, am I ready for them to go back to school soon?  Lessen the stress at home?

No, we homeschool, I explained with the big mouthguard clenched between my teeth.  It went something like this:  “nnnnooooowwwweeeeeedfklgjhslkdjfhglksdfhj”  I dribbled a little.

This is what I looked like today in the chair. It’s a good look.

I always try to be an ambassador for homeschooling.  A lot of people just don’t get it.  The assistant wanted to know, “so, you registered your kids then?”  Hmm.  No, not necessary in Illinois.  What about testing?  Didn’t I have to register them for testing, she wanted to know?  No. No testing necessary in Illinois.  Do we follow the school schedule at least?  NO.  Do I teach them?  NO.  How do my kids interact with other kids?  THEY DON’T!  We stay home all day, every day!  My kids sit in the front window and try to catch the attention of passers-by…  They cry themselves to sleep at night, then dream of the day they’ll be able to have friends, and do standardized tests with rooms full of same-aged human people.

This would be funny if not for the life-sized skeleton my 7 y-o carries around the house.

Actually, the assistant and I had a nice conversation after she took my dripping mouth guard out.  Turns out her son is thinking about homeschooling.

My dentist was ready to move on, so I got more shots in my sensitive, anxiety-ridden face, and a couple of minutes later she started drilling into my head.  It was awesome.  But NO!  I COULD FEEL THAT TOO!

“You can feel that?”  She was somewhat incredulous.  Like all my jerks and flinches were an act.  All the jabs and electrical-like shocks into my brain.  MY BRAIN!

“WTF?? How many times do we need to do this? You should feel NOTHING!!!”

“UNGHUN!”  I shook my head yes.  More numbing attempts.  My tongue felt like a balloon; the roof of my mouth felt like it was closing in and making my gaping maw a mere cozy nook.  But I felt it…  That was the perplexing issue. I. Felt. It.  All of this activity was happening very close to my brain.

More drilling.  Drill, baby, drill…my ass!  Stop drilling!  I was still able to feel the damned drill, but I pretty much just spaced out and let the dentist finish.  Doc muttered a lot to her assistant.  About abnormalities. In my tooth.

I meditated.

“Most people have three canals.  You’re lucky; you have four!” and “Your canals are so tiny!  I can’t see.” and “You have a stone in your canal.” and something else weird.  I felt glorious and special and unique.  Apparently she hadn’t seen a tooth like mine in a llllooonnnggg time, if ever.  All kinds of rare and abnormal features, “and all in the same tooth,” she exclaimed.

Well, here’s the deal.  I still hate going to the dentist because now I know I’m a big freak of nature.  I love nature, but not when it’s freaky and requires 46 shots of knock-out juice injected under my skin every two minutes.  That business hurts, and here I had two c-sections with no post-op painkillers…once upon a time.  High pain tolerance is all I’m saying.

This dude’s got nothing on my four tiny canals. He’s so unoriginal.

When we were finally done with our torturous exercise, I jumped from the chair and commented that the numbing was almost completely gone.  My dentist and her assistant were all like, “It’s supposed to last four hours!”  Nu-uh.  Nope.

Now that she’d drilled and scraped and filed all the nerves and tissue out of my freaky four canals, drugged up the hole, and stuffed it full of papier-mache, I think I may never go back.  I told Jeff that it looks like I’m all set until 2022.

Dentists suck, for realz.  They also drill and give painful shots, in addition to the aforementioned sucking.  It *so* doesn’t pay to have a dental phobia, I’m finding out.

So listen up, kids.  Learn from my mistakes.  Either skip the dentist forever and learn to love creamed corn, or go every six months whether things are rotting or broken or not.  There is no happy medium here.

Yum. It’s what’s for dinner!

I have no idea why every dentist I’ve been to compliments me on my brushing skills, and oral hygiene in general.  What good is it when they come after me with shots and drills and scrunched up, confused faces?  I’d much rather they just punch me in the face, steal my wallet, and post compromising pictures of me on the internet.

Plus, while all this happened, and I didn’t even mention all the crap at Walgreens afterward, my friend kidnapped my kids!  Took them right out of my house and drove away with them.  True story.

Tough Choices: Running Away to a Circus, Abbey, or Cave…


The week leading up to vacation almost did me in.  The week before the week leading up to vacation was even worse!  This is the evidence I’ve long been seeking that my destiny is to either run away and join the circus, convert to catholicism and become a cloistered nun, or live in an internet enabled cave.

Everything is better with Monty Python. Even running away. Read the rest of this entry »

My Frickin’ Awesome First Book Review: Scourge of the Betrayer


I’ve never written a review before, and Jeff Salyards has never published a book before.  We’re even.  Somehow, I think my review is going to be more awesome.  Anyone can publish a book, right?  You know, like hundreds of pages in a row, with character, plot, and all those other literary terms driving a story.  Agent, editor, illustrator, publisher (other people helping).  That sort of thing.

Publishing is a team sport.

I’m doing this review of Scourge of the Betrayer all by myself.  Consider that.

Book Review Blogging. Alone.

I started reading Scourge with an open mind.  My friend, Dawn, had invited me to the book signing last week.  It was compelling to listen to Salyards talk about his process of writing, and what it took to get this debut of his onto the shelves.  I’d heard it was a great read, but I was worried I wasn’t going to like it.  I’d have to tell my friend it sucked, or lie; neither outcome so comfortable.

Quite the opposite!  I believe my reaction was “Holy shit, he can write!”

All Empires crumble.
All Kingdoms die.
Bloodsounder’s Arc Book One

I delved into the first couple of pages and dropped right into the story, captivated by the turns of phrase, descriptions, dialogue, and entertaining characters.  Those are the elements that are most important to me, so I’m not asking for much.  I mean, I’d previously read a few sci-fi/fantasy efforts that were just ridiculous, like the author felt he or she had to recreate the entire world or it didn’t count.  Binstavalerd is chair, and mugstobbabeast is horse.  Plus no one has a mouth and everyone talks and eats through their belly buttons…AKA umbillipieholes.  Sort of similar to going to IKEA, but no cheap bookcases.

Salyards, on the other hand, immediately drew me in with the opening sentence’s description of Captain Braylar Killcoin, as seen by our narrator, Arkamondos: “dark hair slicked back like wet otter fur…”  I know exactly what that looks like.  And hey, I like otters.

Wet otter fur, yo.

Arki is a young scribe hired to take us on a mysterious journey, recording the deeds and misdeeds of the Syldoon soldiers.  We don’t know much because Arki doesn’t know much.  We listen, observe, and get a feel for place and personality.  We learn as he learns.  I wasn’t overwhelmed with epic worldbuilding, or turned off by a bunch of weird crap thrown in for effect.

Another description, besides wet otter fur, that captured my imagination introduces Glesswik (pg. 3): “a long face, splotchy and deeply pocked as if it had been set on fire and put out with a pickaxe.”

Getting ready to put out a fire…on your face!

You’re thinking about that right now, aren’t you?  How could you not?  It’s brilliant.  And funny.  There’s a lot of unexpected humor throughout the book, though it’s certainly not a comedy.

So, through Arki’s narration, we get to know this small band of soldiers, the merciless Syldoon, that are on a questionable mission.  There’s a package.  What’s in the package?  Where are they going?  Why?  I was antsy to know, and pulled along by the easy flow of a natural storyteller.  The characters really struck me, especially Lloi, Arki, Braylar and super crass Mulldoos.  The economy of words and characters really impressed me; it was all sculpted precisely down and no blathering on about nonsense.  There was a lot of violence, foul language, gallows humor, and even some supernatural in there to keep it lively.

Braylar’s flail is badass, for sure, and I’m looking forward to learning more about it in the next book, as well as Braylar’s relationship to it.

(Am I the first person to notice the possessive “Braylar’s” has almost identical letters as Salyards?  Salyarbs, or Draylar’s would be cleaner.  I digress.)

As the story unfolds, it also gains focus and intensity.  We gain a clearer picture of Braylar’s path; we see Arki grow and evolve.  There are emotional twists that paint the world through showing, not telling, and which flesh out the characters richly.

When it was done, I was already looking forward to the second installment, which is bothersome because it won’t be out for another year.  Write faster, Salyards.  No pressure.

I highly recommend Scourge of the Betrayer to others.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Here is a fantastic guest blog by Jeff Salyards.

Squeezing the Charmin, Making the Donuts, Insulting your Mother


We’ve been running ragged for as long as I can remember.  My kids and I are tired of our schedule, but not willing to give anything up, so we keep going until one of us drops.

Someone in this picture is winning, but I really don’t know who.

It’s like a game.

I think I can win this game.  I have more weapons in my arsenal (money, car keys, smartphone, calendar, lock on the outside of the basement door, etc), while their strongest ammunition is youthful verve and willingness to band together with their profound precocity. To conspire. Against me.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! I’ve got this one in the bag.

Sometimes when we come home from being away all day, we just veg in front of the television for awhile and wait for our vestibular systems to calm their business down.  This is also when we decide if we have good attitudes or if we’re going to descend into chaos.  As they get older, we all choose chaos less, but it’s always creeping around our perimeters.

“It’s not magic! It’s physics. The speed of the turn is what keeps you upright. It’s like a spinning top.” Says Deborah Bull. Well, F-U Deborah Bull. It *is so* magic! And maybe overscheduling. But mostly magic.

Last week (haven’t posted in a few days on account of the game), we settled in for our electronic meditation time.  We were in good, yet tired, spirits.  Companionable even.  I don’t like the kids watching tons of commercials, so we usually opt for DVRd stuff, or pre-recorded programs.

Not this day!  We were letting it all hang out

We were planning to squeeze the Charmin,

Even Bob Dylan can’t help himself.

make the donuts,

This is an actual book cover. It exists. Fresh Hot Glazed Make those donuts! Make them good!

and ponder the burning sensations in our nethers and taints.

I vote “entertainment”. I mean, no one is going to get out of this alive. Death, with or without explosive medical diarrhea, is a certainty.

Drug commercials are some of the most entertaining.

We didn’t wait long before the first meat hook claimed a Beeler victim.  Of course it was E, my 6 year old.

“We need one of those Roomba machines!”

I know the kids have been wanting one since they saw it on America’s Funniest Home Videos, or AFV for true fans of the show.

We have cats, the boys have ideas.

It’s a versatile vacuuming robot machine. Also takes on the fight between good and evil.

“What are you talking about? I asked him.  “You don’t even vacuum!”

Crickets. Sometimes they punctuate silence.

I continued to fling feces all over his great idea.  “I think the person who vacuums should decide if we actually need a robot to help us vacuum.”

“So,” no beats missed, “dad needs to decide if we get a Roomba?”

Ouch.  His aim is true, the black-hearted brigand.

N snorted.  I don’t know how I should have interpreted that.

Schrute knows. N doesn’t. N needs to stop laughing at his mom’s expense.

 

I do vacuum.  They just don’t realize that I do it after they go to bed.  Punks.

They thoroughly appreciate Jeff, so maybe it’s a chromosomal magnetism thing.  Perhaps they are repelled by girl cooties?  I’ll have to think on this some more.

________

Feel free to Like Delicious Minutiae on Facebook or leave comments on my blog.  My family doesn’t appreciate me, so I will seek my approval over here.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? That’s Right! Bear Grylls!!


“E wants Kielbasa for dinner,” I told Jeff over the phone last Thursday.  “Can you grill them tonight?”

Seems reasonable, one might think.  I’m just a silly woman, so no way could I fire up the grill and cook that meat in the outdoors by myself.

“Those bitches don’t know jack about grilling meat.”

Turns out something died under our deck, however, which Jeff discovered that morning before work.  He went out back to investigate two boards that had popped up, warped to a crazy degree, and there in the hole was a deceased something.

So, I ran with the phone to the other room, to look out the sliding glass door, while he informed me of his plan to get some gloves on the way home from work and remove the deceased something’s remains.

“It’s pretty big, but I can’t tell what it is,” he said.

“There are a lot of flies,” I told him.  “And crawly things around the deck.”

“Game over. I win!!”

Well, forget it.  Flies and crawly things?  He changed his mind.  No kielbasa for E.

Bear Grylls might have enjoyed a fine dining experience, but we weren’t even willing to go close enough to remove it.

Good thing it wasn’t a zebra under our deck. Or was it?

Thursday turned into Friday turned into Saturday.  Hot days, for sure.  Saturday was somewhat sweltery, even.  The kind of day that might find an egg frying on a sidewalk…or maybe a coyote slow-roasting under a deck.

Satan is so silly. He’s gotta know I don’t *do* phone.

We weighed our options.  By “we”, I mean Jeff is 100% in charge of all dead bodies on our property.  I’m happy to micromanage all sorts of projects, but Jeff is our circle of life correspondent.

Turns out it costs a lot more to have someone come out on the weekend.  Oh, holiday weekend you say?  Double it.

“So you see, it’s like this… We can come today and it’ll cost you $eleventy-hundred million, or we’ll come by in three days and remove the liquefied, putrified remains for $6.”

No can do!  We’ll let it rot for a couple more days and accept the less expensive removal, thank you.

So, Saturday turned into Sunday.  The neighbors erected a tent in their backyard.  The bouncy castle inflated to epic proportions–not the cheap little one, but the “impress your guests” sized one.  They had a slip and slide.  They had balloons on the mailbox.

They had a dead body in the neighbors yard.  The downwind neighbor.

Vomit cleans up quick and easy with paper towels.

While Jeff was out running an errand (Fine, he was grocery shopping!  Happy now?  He was getting our groceries.  So what?  I’m educating his children!  I *do* do something useful. Not that I’m prickly about it.), someone knocked on our door.  I knew it was the neighbor, probably wanting to alert us there was going to be a party, or that there’d be a lot of cars, or inquiring about the smell of rotting flesh wafting from our backyard…  Neighborly stuff.

Then again, it might have been an alligator.

So, we ignored the doorbell.  Knocking?  I don’t hear anyone knocking.

“Are we going to answer?” one of the kids asked.

Umm, no.

“WTF is the smell coming from your yard???”

I also crept into the sunroom and sssllllloooowwwwllllllllyyyy pulled the blinds down.  Eased them down so no one would notice their descent.

I guess their party was fine.  I didn’t hear anyone vomiting in the bushes, so I’m sure it was okay.

Monday was Memorial Day.  We marched in a parade with our Scout Pack.  We did lunch at Chili’s for my friend’s son’s birthday (who I later flipped off by accident…he’s 9 now, so he can take it).  Then we got home and Jeff said he’d be outside if I was looking for him.  He was gone a long time!  I checked after awhile and he had done the body removal.  Why he waited for the 5th day is beyond me, but he did it.

I wish I had taken pictures of Jeff doing the removal, but he didn’t tell me that’s what he was doing. Maybe next time. Until then, enjoy this guy.

He still doesn’t know what it was.  I’m kind of pissed.  I wanted to take a picture of the boards, but I waited five days too.  Jeff said the ground was still moving long after the host was triple bagged.  Is it wrong that I still wanted to see it?  The smell held me back though.

“Trust me, you don’t want to see it.” Jeff assured me.

Jeff replaced the deck boards with new ones and life returns to normal.  This is just another footnote in Beeler history…  Well, the new and improved history, now with rotting animal corpses!

Imagine my surprise when I googled “rotten animal corpses” hoping for something funny…and got this! We love Bear Grylls something fierce in this house. <3

My apologies to the neighbors.  I hope you had a nice time at your party.

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