Monthly Archives: August 2008

Preschool: Day One

HRH asked for my moral support in dropping the boy off at preschool this morning. “This is my school, Dada,” the boy said as we pulled up in front of it. This is where I work.” HRH and I exchanged amused glances at this. Because if HRH ‘works’ at a school, the boy’s school must be where he will ‘work’. We had to call him back to take off his shoes, and back again for hugs and kisses goodbye, just like on Friday. “It’s harder for the parents,” the teacher said. “Are you kidding?” we said. “We love this!” The boy flew back through the entryway and out the door to dance in front of two new arrivals, shouting, “Hi! I’m here!” and then leaping back into the entryway, throwing his hand out to indicate the newcomers and say to us, “These are my friends!” He then darted away through the corridor to the classroom. “Oh, yeah,” the teacher said, “he’s so ready for this.”

HRH took me to school with him after dropping the boy off, and I saw his office for the first time and did the first half of his morning walkabout with him. The work rooms are huge and airy, with lots of windows. The weather was just lovely today, too; it really felt like the first day of school. Not too hot, sunny with a scattering of fluffy clouds, a good breeze. I walked the ten minutes to the metro station, which is set in a terminal that looks remarkably like a modern airport, and figured out the new ticket system. I thought I was buying a permanent card that gets loaded with money and debited as you pass checkpoints but I ended up with six paper cards that get fed through the turnstiles and stamped with dates and such. I smiled all the way home through two metro rides and a bus ride. It’s such an incredible day in all respects. I love feeling like this.

When I finally got home after the hour and a half commute, there was no mail, alas. I was hoping for my new glasses. Tried to return a couple of phone calls without success.

On the way home I read some of A Thousand Days in Venice and made a connection that had been lacking about the Poppy book, which has been in mothballs for a couple of years. I realised that I have to work my protagonist through her fear of travel. It’s the obvious and logical conclusion to the conflict and the story, and I evidently needed those two years away from the book to see that. I’d been trying to work another story thread through, thinking it was the main issue and therefore the focal conclusion, and it wasn’t working properly in my head. Paired with the other Revelation, this may mean a finished novel by the end of the year. If I focused only on it, that is. Which I will very likely not do, as I don’t think it’s as marketable as some of my YA stuff. Whatever. I have lots of time to work on writing now; I don’t have to pick and choose what to cram into a day or so. A good thing, really, because I’m feeling somewhat blissfully bemused at what to do first today.


I have four beautiful pristine Clairefontaine A4 properly ruled notebooks! As a bonus I picked up one of Clairefontaine’s 17×22 cm Forets vertes ‘Forever’ notebooks made of completely recycled paper. It doesn’t have the brushed vellum finish but it’s the smoothest recycled paper I’ve seen, and I want to see how my fountain pens work on it. Because, you see, they do an A4 Forets vertes cahier too and although Clairefontaine specifically uses pulps originated from certified ecologically managed forests, recycled paper is just that much more responsible. I managed to rein in my automatic desire to buy pens just because I’d bought new notebooks.

I am such a papeterie geek.

Let’s see, what else? We saw the film adaptation of The Spiderwick Chronicles last night, and I was disappointed. If I’d seen the film first then gone to the books I would have been thrilled, because I’d have gone from a coherent story to a much more complex and rich plot that unfolded at a more measured pace, but as it is I did it the other way around and felt the story was rushed. I was impressed at the characterization of just about everyone (except the main villain — can we say ‘cipher’?), loved the CG work and the general design, but the story just felt… well, it’s hard to describe, because the scriptwriters did a good job of taking key plot points and constructing a story that took place within twenty-four hours. It just lost a lot of the story’s impact and scope.

We went out this morning so HRH could order shoes for himself, and I found a pair of shoes to dye green. Now, two years ago I decided I wanted red shoes, and searched long and hard before I found a pair that was right. This year I decided I wanted green shoes. Can I find any? Of course not. But everywhere there are red shoes I’d love to wear. (I have to keep reminding myself that I own a pair already that don’t get worn very frequently and I do not need another pair.) Not long ago I realized that I could buy a white or bone-coloured pair that I liked and get them dyed green. Today, even though I wasn’t looking, I found a nice pair of loafer/pump type things with a nice stacked heel in a light tan colour that fit me like a glove (always surprising), and I bought them. Nice bonus: on sale! Now I need to find a reliable local cordonnerie who will dye them dark green for me.

Whirlwind = Exhausted

The boy officially begins preschool on Monday, but we’ve spent the last two days doing trial periods and acclimatising and mounds of paper-signing (government forms, sigh). He loves it, loves it so much he cried when it was time to leave on Thursday. His teacher is wonderful, and knew just what to do to help him: she offered the opportunity to borrow one of the school’s train cars. When he accepted and chose one they made up a little card together that had a drawing of the train and a sentence outlining the deal: Liam would borrow it overnight, take good care of it, and bring it back the next morning. Liam was so fascinated with the card that his attention was completely redirected and he left all smiles, looking forward to showing HRH the train he’d chosen. This morning he ran in and held the train out to his teacher with a huge grin, saying, “See, here it is, I brought it back for you!” Today he signed a book out of the library and promised to bring it back on Monday. He’s made new friends already, and his teacher has already remarked positively on his language skills (er, yeah, sorry about that), sharing, behaving well, and helping with clean-up. (Possibly because it’s a novelty with new toys and equipment. We’ll see.)

This morning after he’d given the train back to his teacher he practically ran in, heading for the classroom; I had to call him back into the cloakroom to take off his shoes, and then again so he could give me a kiss before I “left” (to go sit in the yard and read for two hours, but he didn’t know that). He loves it. Evidently the timing of a classroom environment is perfect. He’s already made friends who were thrilled to see him again this morning. I’m very proud of him. And very thankful to have found this wonderful place last spring, and to have been offered a spot for the upcoming school year, and that it’s all going so very smoothly for everyone involved.

What with all the sudden rushing about and handling of things that cropped up at the last minute as well as the normal running of the house I’ve managed to get absolutely no work done this week. I’ll make up for it next week, of course, because I’ve just realised that the boy is gone all five work days (there’s a grandma day and a day with the caregiver, too). Incredible.

Anyway, I’m headachy and exhausted, which is why I haven’t been at the computer very often since Monday (or I have been but haven’t been able to do much more than scan news and blogs and try to make sense of Facebook). Also, I have a new reading chair in my office which I’ve been using. I was looking forward to writing longhand in it, but the Clairefontaine notebooks I picked up yesterday don’t have plain lines; they have five slightly lighter lines in each regular ruled line as well as vertical ruled lines, and just looking at the density of lines on the page makes my eyes hurt. (Apparently it’s called French Rule.) So it’s back to the shop to return them this weekend. Yes, I’m an idiot for not opening the notebooks to double-check before I bought them. I was so thrilled to actually find the right size that I grabbed three while chasing after the boy. Lesson learned. No, I don’t know why I’m suddenly taken with the obsession to use Clairefontaine books. I have one A4 size that I bought years ago from a little corner store in NDG and I love how the pen travels across the paper and the size of the rule. I’ve become disenchanted with the little 5×8 hardcover notebooks I’ve used for years; I want something bigger, and I particularly want the brushed vellum paper so the ink from my fountain pens don’t bleed. And my subconscious has decided that this is what it Must Have to work on Orchestrated.

Wow. I have three hours before I have to leave, and nothing concretely scheduled with which to fill them. I may just go lie down and hope the headache goes away, with a bit of help from Advil. My work ethic tells me I should try to bang out some words in the book, but my health monitor is telling me that lying down would be better than trying to force things out at this point. Going to pick up the boy in an exhausted state helps no one.


1. I have a new printer. Completely functional! Copying, scanning, printing without stress, at last. And for the low price of two ink cartridges too. Thank you, back to school sales. And I purchased an extended warranty, thankyouverymuch. No way this one is going to conk out on me without recourse. Now if I could just isolate what’s clogging up my CPU after startup…

2. The boy has secured a two-day slot in the preschool we wanted for him! This will likely be confirmed as a three-day position tomorrow. I think I’m going to continue with the local caregiver one day a week for now anyway, because the boy hasn’t seen two of his friends in ages. And this way I can get tons of work done (read: get back on the manuscript review wagon) and sock away some funds.

3. I am making a kick-ass pot roast for dinner. You wish you were here. No, really.

4. I finally did the Facebook thing. Except not quite. The pro name is a Public Person page; my alter-ego Autumn is the regular page. This should calm my wibbles about the whole thing. Also, this way I get to be a fan of myself. This is important for building self-confidence and belief in one’s own validity.

5. EMILY THE-PIRATE-QUEEN HORNER HAS JUST SOLD HER FIRST BOOK AND A SECOND AS-YET-UNWRITTEN BOOK!!! Yes, this deserves all-caps. I capered madly about the office when I read the news. If you were a YUL NaNo back in 2002 you might remember Emily as my personal quota bar and word count nemesis. I ended up passing 50K before she did, but she’s absolutely beaten me to the publishing of fiction. And I couldn’t be more thrilled by the news.

Weekend Roundup

So, that increasingly bad fibro thing on Friday wasn’t my fibro getting out of hand. It was actually me getting ill. No wonder doing all my usual Soothe The Fibro! things weren’t working. It also explains the somewhat below normal two days leading up to it. I fought bad nausea all afternoon, and after consultation with HRH and Paze I cancelled my appearance at the Friday evening outing. Good thing too; I reached the falling-over dizzy stage of the Sick not long after I tendered my regrets.

However, I passed out and slept almost twelve hours straight, and woke up Saturday morning feeling a million times better. So much better, in fact, that we decided to hit Ikea as soon as it opened to see the new bed we’ve been thinking of getting in person. Not only did we agree on the bed but also on a redesign (read: actual thought-out coherent design as opposed to using the mismatched things we had — I cannot tell you how grown-up this makes me feel) for the bedroom, and a reading chair for my office. We introduced the boy to the concept of bunk beds on the showroom floor, which threw him into a level of cooled out far beyond what we’d expected. This is a good thing, because HRH is buying a set for the boy’s room from his office mate at the end of the month. We will be the Coolest Parents Ever when this happens, I’m sure.

We came home with a new duvet cover, a new carpet for the living room floor, a magnetic knife strip for the kitchen, and proceeded to clean the heck out of the house. I moved the books and bookcase that was serving as my bedside table downstairs to the communal office. We got rid of HRH’s highboy (which also served as his bedside table), I put three drawers’ worth of things into plastic storage containers and stacked them in the cupboard, and we now share the six-drawer bureau. We have two short tables on either side of the bed at the moment, rescued from other uses. Suddenly there’s lots of space and the bedroom isn’t so, well, not-relaxing. The clean-up continued: I moved a bunch of things out of my office closet, and I took down one of the shelf units in my upstairs office, condensing my herb collection down to about an eighth of what it had been. As I did I was struck by how familiar some of the smells were even though I hadn’t worked with those specific herbs in years, because they were the first ones I worked with: angelica, marshmallow, hyssop. Reorganising the storage for all my spiritual practise-related supplies made me think about how my practise has evolved over the years, and how my focus has flowed through certain areas and into others, and what sort of techniques appealed to me at different times.

Absolutely everything in the house got dusted, swept, and vacuumed. I tell you, it was like we combined spring and fall cleaning. We’re nesting, I suppose, getting things ready for winter. It certainly felt like fall late last week.

On Sunday we had brunch with the neighbours, a once-weekly event that got dropped when people ended up booked for other things on a regular basis. We’re going to try to get it going again on a semi-regular schedule. It was wonderful to sit and talk and munch. Blade introduced his Rubbermaid tub of Lego to the boy, who had lots of fun playing with the Lego people and dragons and vehicles, but wasn’t completely clear int he concept of building with the bricks. There’s nothing like a box of Lego to get all the adults in the room interested in what’s going on and mucking about with it.

Sunday afternoon HRH and Blade swapped our washer and dryer for the ones in the communal office space, and HRH moved things around in the garage yet again, making even more room. His bike is now ready for use; all we need is an extra coupler attachment for the bike trailer and we’ll be set. There was gardening done, groceries obtained, and I made my very yummy and creamy much-less-than-seven-teaspoons-of-sugar (gah! who knew!) version of iced cappuccinos in the blender. We finished the day off with a truly delicious homemade spaghetti sauce and garlic bread. I made two loaves of bread yesterday because the first one was completely gone by the end of the day. Yikes.

Despite the amount of work and the being sick at the beginning of it, this was the best weekend we’ve had in a long, long, long time. I think we’d forgotten what being relaxed around one another was like.

I leave you with a six month old Foxtrot cartoon. Yes, I am behind the times.

(Oboe! Hilarious!)