Steamphone Shenanigans (Steam Powered Giraffe fans will see what I did there)

Just like Lia’s thing is to troll my manuscript, it seems Emily’s thing is to leave all kinds of crazy pictures on my phone. She’ll frequently steal borrow my phone for Snapchat and Instagram, and I never know what I’m going to see when I get it back. The following are a few of my recent favorites:

Oh, and hey guys, look what I did to my new leather phone case! I glued some gears on it and called it steampunk. It’s the closest I’ve come to steampunk in freaking forever.
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Our 2013 in pictures

Blogging the other day was so much fun I decided to do it again! I thought I’d make some kind of year in review thing. No weighty resolutions, nothing fancy – just a buttload of pictures of memorable things that happened in 2013. But some funny things first…

A friend sent this to me from this fun blog. I died. Because everyone loves grammarrrrtically correct pirates.

Don’t you hate it when Michael Buble messes with your presents?
And now. Lots of fun things happened this past year that I didn’t have my camera handy for, such as when we went to Lagoon and I decided to put my phone in a locker after it fell out of my pocket on a roller coaster (thank goodness it was picked up by a park employee). Most of the time, however, I obnoxiously have my phone on hand to get lots of embarrassing pictures.
Like when I had too many kids to fit on the church steps on Easter.
Or when the kids did weird things at a museum.
We found strange but friendly livestock in our neighborhood.
And snakes!
Someone finally got a job and made something of her life.
And someone got really weird outside the mall.
I turned the big 4-0…
And we had a couple other important birthdays. 🙂
The cats discovered they’re comfortable to sit on.
And I discovered a pretty (but uncomfortable) couch for $16 at Savers!
I lost weight (but not too much).
The girls freaked out over meeting this famous YouTuber in Salt Lake City (same time as the Lagoon trip), mostly known for his hilarious life stories.
We went on a midnight hike and picnic in the desert…
And brought home a cool pet!
Some of us suffered horrendous injuries.
And Emily kind of went insane or something.
We got lost in a lot of corn mazes. I mean A LOT. I didn’t know there was so much corn in Idaho, I thought it was supposed to be potatoes?
And we geeked out over some pretty awesome movies.
All in all, 2013 was a pretty good year, and I’m excited to see what 2014 will bring!
While I was looking up a good Olan Rogers video to link to, I found this new video he posted about his Eat A Slice With Me tour. Wow. He’s just an amazing guy. Apparently our part of the tour was a bit of a turning point for him, which he starts mentioning about four minutes in, and there are clips of the hours-long line we stood in. Worth every minute.
And now I’d better stop procrastinating on an assignment that’s due in the morning! Have a wonderful, happy new year, all you nice peeps. 🙂

Musings on what a loser I am, but also kind of a winner

So I haven’t blogged since June?! Let’s just gloss over the fact that I’m a total blogging loser compared to some of my amazing writerly friends, because I have some exciting news! Before I get into that, a little on what’s been going on in the lives of the Baker clan, for those who are interested. If you’re not, scroll down to the really weird picture and read from there.

So now I’ve been working for BKA Content for over a year, and still loving it! It’s wonderful to work for a company that makes me feel so valued, even if my bosses are a little nuts. I also hold them responsible for several new gray hairs over the past year. 😉

The kids are thriving here in Idaho and getting good grades. They’re in counseling and continue to heal. We just enjoyed our second happy, peaceful Christmas here with my family.

She walked around the mall like this on the premiere night of The Hobbit.

Christmas is also fun for cats who like to lick the Christmas tree! He started opening one of the boys’ presents right after I took this picture. O_o


And now, an announcement

Normally it doesn’t take me so long to finish writing a book, but I had a few setbacks in the personal life department. I’m back on track and ready to kick butt! I promised my 15-year-old that I’d finish Cobalt by Christmas (because she was going to hurt me if I didn’t), and I did manage to finish it very late on Christmas day. She’s re-reading it now, and finding some minor typos for me. My goal is to have it polished and ready to submit to small publishers in March (I’ll hold off submitting to agents until I get some feedback from publishers).
You’d hurry up to finish your manuscript too if you had this freak following you around threatening bodily harm. Every author needs a motivator like Emily!
So, to celebrate, I’ll share a snip from the second-to-last chapter, along with one of Lia’s special embellishments at the end. I came out of the bathroom last week to see her skipping away from my laptop. “I like your story!” she said. I was confused for a moment, because she hasn’t read Cobalt yet. Then I realized what she must have done. Her best embellishments are the ones that catch me by surprise – although the ones I twist her arm to do for me are pretty good, too.

“Which key is it, which one?” Alexei was frantically jamming one key after another into the keyhole.

“I don’t know!” Kate cried. “Gerta never let me have the keys. Hurry!”

“I’m trying, I’m trying!” There was a loud click, and the door swung forward. Five exhausted, terrified people and one ruffled, hissing squirrel tumbled into the dark kitchen. Everyone scrambled forward and moved out of Anthia’s way so she could slam the door shut. The faint sounds of enraged howling, like a strong wind through the tops of the trees, came through the keyhole. Alexei quickly locked the door, and Kate grabbed a rag from the kitchen table to stuff into the keyhole. For good measure, she pushed a small rug up against the bottom of the door. 

Trembling and out of breath, everyone found chairs to collapse into. Kate yanked the kitchen curtains closed against the shafts of moonlight shining through the barred window, then felt along the wall until she found the switch that lit the kitchen globe.

“Well, everyone,” she said, leaning weak-kneed against the wall, “welcome to my home.”

They looked around. What they saw terrified them. Hanging on one wall was a portrait of a large woman, about the size of a whale, leaning naked against the hull of an airship. Captioned underneath were the words “Sexiest Lady Alive, Gerta.” Resting on a counter they found a jar of eyeballs and a basket full smaller eyeballs, sitting next to a beaker of even smaller eyeballs, which stood atop a tupperware container of the smallest eyeballs you could ever imagine. In the sink they found a half-eaten PB&J and that wasn’t even the worst of it. There was twice as much jelly in that sandwich as there should have been. It would totally overpower the peanut butter! Probably why it was only half-eaten. Whoever made that sandwich must’ve been a huge jerk.


And now, the funnies

 How could I leave my first blog post in over six months without something funny, and some musics?

…yep.

I’ve had this song stuck in my head the last couple of days. Not this awesome cover, but the original.

Lia Channels Her Literary Weird Al Again

Yippee, Lia punks Cobalt again, this time playing with some alliteration. I love it when she does this, even if it makes me look back and question my writing style. I wonder if she’s making fun of me. Well, of course she’s making fun of me! Hehe. She should write an entire Cobalt parody, it would be hysterical.
The first few paragraphs are mine, and then it’s pretty obvious when she picks it up.

Their pursuer chose that moment to appear at the line of trees behind them. With a noisy cracking of limbs, it lurched out into the clearing and paused. They could all see it in the twilight: the gray bulbous body supported by what looked like a dozen or more writhing tentacles. It hesitated at the Forest’s edge, looking just as confused by the abrupt end of the foliage as they’d been.

“Looks like the younger brother of the thing that brought the ship down!” Viktor said.

It was true. The creature was many times smaller than the monstrous beast that had attacked the Velia Rose, but it looked no less deadly. The body pulsed and swiveled, until a pair of malignant black eyes glared at the group only a couple dozen feet away.

The beast stared them down malignantly with its muddy eyes. It moved malevolently towards the meek mass of migrants with maliciousness in mind. Suddenly, it did the macarena. Needless to say, the travelers were mystified. Never before had they seen a mollusk macarena with such magnificence.

“My oh my,” shouted Milek. “Such majesty!”

“Marvelous,” mimed Marty the mechanic.

“Miraculous,” mumbled Anthia. The massive mollusk modeled for the multitude.

“Mayhaps I might join your merry mass? We may have many marvelous misadventures and I can match many in mighty melee!”

“Nope,” said Kate, and stabbed the squid right between the eyes with her little dagger thing. To this day, nobody knows how she did it because apparently she’s not very good at fighting or whatever.

Wait, I’m not done being funny! I want more, before I go back to the day job.

Oh! I had a major fangirl freakout over this one. One of my favorite steampunk bands (I’ll post some music below) favorited my 40th birthday tweet!! I didn’t even know they were following me. 😀

And this time last year:

I Suck Because… – Oh, last year I didn’t think we were moving to Boise. And I was switching to my maiden name. Heh. I also had a broken foot. What else is new?

Now…

Birthdays Are Relentless – And Some Music

So this last week I had a milestone birthday, which I am surprisingly okay with – probably because all year long I never told anyone I was 39. I kept saying, “I’m going to be 40!” so when the dreaded day finally arrived, I was just over it already. And it was awesome because my parents went all out with the decorations and I GOT CAKE which is a huge deal for someone who’s not quite but almost given up sugar.

Take a look at the purple suckers in the cup on the table. There’s a story to follow.

Okay, there were only 12 candles, but it took me FIVE TRIES to blow them all out! You don’t realize the meaning of “restrictive lung disease” until you actually really try to use those weak lungs. (I am totally making an excuse for “just getting old.”)

My awesome step-dad painted this beautiful picture of Anya, and I got a print with a custom-made frame.

So about the purple suckers. They were root beer-flavored. I got in trouble for chomping down on mine (I don’t have any patience with hard candy), because my mom said they were supposed to make a fart noise when you lick them. Lia and Emily patiently licked theirs, waiting for a fart that my mom assumed was due to the suckers’ design. When everyone started to express their disappointment that no raspberry sounds were forthcoming from their pops, my mom took out the package to try and figure out how they were supposed to work. I grabbed my phone to look up reviews, and discovered the fart wasn’t in the design – it was in the ingredients! And the reviewers all gave the suckers 3 to 5 stars. -_-

I’m more than okay ripping some good ones in the comfort of my own home, but not in front of my sister and my step-dad! And I quickly found out that if I didn’t walk around all clenched, I sounded like a bag of popcorn in the microwave.

That’s the story of my 40th birthday party.

Now for musics. I’ve been obsessed with the following songs lately:

Lia’s already laid claim to the beautiful Russian actor in the Woodkid video. Sorry, ladies.

Hooray for the League of S.T.E.A.M. and their awesome props! Also – there’s just something about a guy in guyliner. MMM.

I am really getting into chap-hop lately, which is saying something because I hate traditional hip-hop and rap. Mr. B is one of the quintessential chap-hop blokes over in England, and I’ve been overplaying this song like crazy. Which is cool, because we just put up our interview with him over at Behind the Steam!

And earlier today we talked with some more lovely fellows from England – our first non-music related interview, with some filmmakers who are working on an indie steampunk webseries project. (Geek alert, one of the actresses was a former Doctor Who companion!) But they’re in need of funding for the project, which can be found here. We found them all so charming and friendly that we promised to get the word out to help them make their project come true. Our interview with them is set to release on Monday.

Now here’s a couple of funny pictures because I need to get them off my hard drive! :B

This time last year:

Monday Sickie – Yeah. I’m getting over another flu. I’m always sick on my birthday! And I’m appalled that a whole freaking year ago I thought I was within weeks of being done with Cobalt. That’s it, I really need to get strict with a fiction schedule.

Baby Steps

Oh, guess what! I finished editing that crazy montage video I was telling y’all about. It’s at the end of my post, along with another funny video, but read all this first because it is a writing blog after all and I like my peeps to read what I write. I’ll know if you don’t, and then I’ll break into your house and steal all your cookies.

So anyway, I don’t know if it’s PTSD, anxiety, or what, but ever since our big move, it doesn’t take much to completely shut me down. Just the simple acts of checking my email or replying to Facebook PMs exhaust me after maybe three or four messages. Same with phone calls and making appointments. I have to go grocery shopping every three or four days to get smaller amounts at at time, instead of once a week, or I’ll get overwhelmed by too many items in my cart. And forget about my writing and my blog. I’ve always been a bit of a flaky airhead, but the former me looks like a responsible adult in comparison. 😉

Well, after several months of learning to cope, and adjusting to a new life and routine, I’m finding myself able to handle a little more at a time each day. Well…kind of. I haven’t checked my email in almost two weeks – the thought of it makes my chest tight, for no good reason. But catching up on my email and setting up some important doctor appointments is on my list for next week. Baby steps.
This time last year, we were in a rough place, but I had no idea how challenging things were about to get. This challenge is far from over, but being in a safe, peaceful place makes all the difference. And thanks to my job, I’m writing about 2000 words almost every day, and even getting in a little fiction writing now and then. Each day I feel like I’m able to accomplish a little more. I’m excited to be blogging and writing again, and I’m even feeling up to catching up on my friends’ blogs. It’s been a long time.

Laughter really is the best medicine, and it’s something that has never left our lives. It seems like my family gives me no shortage of material to work with! The following is a video I took a couple days ago of Emily’s poor kitty Crybaby. He’s not used to a collar, but had to wear one because he was being treated for a rash and needed a cone (he’s doing fine now). Poor guy, the collar kinda broke his brain.

And now, finally, this video here that can just be summed up by saying a combination of any of the following scenes happen in my house on a daily basis. I should probably be immune to such weirdness by now, but the kids still make me cry tears of laughter all the time. Their madness keeps me sane. 🙂

This time last year in my blog:

What Happens When I Leave My Laptop Open – just Lia being the Queen Troll that she is.

It’s Epic Pain Time – The hubby is no longer in the picture, but this post is one of my favorites because funny, and no matter where I move, my accident-prone feet will always come with me. Earlier today, I found a two-inch-long sewing needle in my houseplant (don’t ask what it was doing there, but I once found a dried octopus in my houseplant, so I wasn’t surprised). Miraculously, I found the needle before my feet did.

Oh holy cow, it’s 2:30 in the morning. I gotta run. To my bed! And I’m planning a writing post for reals next time!

I Was Missed??

My friend Elizabeth just wrote the sweetest post on her blog griping about my absence in the blogging world lately, so I’m dedicating this post to her. Nothing fancy today, no writing updates, just pure unadulterated silliness.

I think it’s important to instill the love of reading in your children. Even if, in my house, it means reading isn’t necessarily a quiet activity…

The following is a lovely (if lovely is a synonym for brutal) game my daughters play.

Lia really does have scars on her hands from playing “the eraser game” a couple years ago. The rules of this game are simple: You sit there and let the other person vigorously erase the skin off the back of your hand with a pencil eraser while singing the alphabet. Don’t hold me responsible for whatever happens if any of you try it! I didn’t participate. I saw what it did to them!

One more, Emily’s recent foray into class assignment movies (topic: the basilisk for her myths and legends class). As with all their assignment videos, there are bloopers at the end:

I had this really great compilation video of all the girls’ most insane moments, but my video editor crashed when I was almost done saving it and now I’ll have to start all over. It’s worth it, though (as in, pee your pants hilarious), so I’ll start working on it again soon.

Thank you Liz, for making me feel loved and missed! Here’s a big squishy kiss for you.

So until my next post (I’m planning something writing-related), here’s one more thingy that’s freaking awesome:

Oh! And here’s what happened this time last year:

How To Give This Momma a Heart Attack. Also, Some Music and Stuffs – Wow, I’ve come so far in Cobalt. Some cool steampunk music from a cool steampunk game, and Lia really misses her backstage job.

The Good, the Bad, the Funny, and the Freakout – My shoulders are still killing me (guess I should see a doctor?), and I think the fanmade video of The Hunger Games had more emotional depth than the official movie scene. Still looking forward to the next movies, though. 🙂