Quote Monday makes me feel old

Evelyn: “It’s so nice to feel the wind in your hair!”
Evelyn, to me: “…I’m sorry if that was rude.”

Me: “Before there were apps to tell them where to pick you up, you had to hail a taxi. Like put your arm up and whistle. Now we just use the app.”
Ollie: “Yeah I know. I’ve read books from back then.”

Me: “She is not going to like that fruitcake. When your mama says you’re not going to like something, they’re usually right.”
Alex: “Except I don’t like broccoli and Mama says I have to like it.”

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New Fiction – The Last Squirrel Keeper in Analog!

Catch a new story by me in the January / February issue of Analog, in bookstores / on sale now!

It’s always exciting to be in Analog, of course, but THIS month, my name made the cover!

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Imagine someone picking up a magazine and going, “Huh, a new story by Shane Halbach?”

I can’t even.

BUT IT GETS BETTER!

As if that weren’t enough, I flipped open the magazine to this PERFECT IN EVERY WAY, MULTI-PAGE illustration of my story:

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There are not enough hearts-in-eyes emojis to properly demonstrate my feeling about this illustration.

In Regards to 2018

Because my birthday comes right at the top of the year, it is often a good time to look back on the previous year and reflect. Usually when I write up my birthday / reflection post, I look back at the previous year’s post to see how far I’ve come, but I forgot to do that this year.

I went back and took at look at it now, and…yowza! I guess I was already starting to forget how stressful 2017 was. I said in last year’s post:

At the very least I’m hoping for a calm, uneventful 2018, after which we will look back on 2017 and see it for the aberration it was.

So I guess the good news is that 2018 wasn’t NEARLY as stressful as 2017. Not to say it was all rainbows and unicorns….there was THE GREAT FROZEN PIPES incident of 2018 and that time I got shot, but luckily those were the exceptions, not the rule.

I am physically the healthiest I’ve been in decades, and I am mentally light years ahead of where I was in January of 2018. There are still some big things with the house on the radar, and of course you never know when calamity can strike, but

My 30s: One Last Time

I should probably save some of this angst for next year’s birthday post, but as I enter the last year of my 30s I do find myself reflecting on the impending big 4-0.

I have never been one to put much stock in the “milestone” birthdays, but as I am turning 39 it occurs to me that maybe that’s only because I haven’t really hit any big ones yet! 30 didn’t seem like a big deal because I *felt* like a 30 year old. I owned a house and had a second kid on the way. But I don’t know that I’m ready to be a 40 year old, and I’m suspecting to feel the same about every milestone birthday from now on.

BUT, I am going to see Hamilton (again) tonight (for the 3rd time), so it seems appropriate to say to my 30s:

One last time
Let’s take a break tonight
And then we’ll teach them how to say goodbye
to say goodbye
You and I

One last time, 30s. Let’s make this a good year, shall we?

Alex and the dead cat

So, we were going for a walk the other day, with Alex on his balance bike, and we chanced upon a recently dead cat on the sidewalk.

Death has been on Alex’s mind a lot lately. He will routinely say things like, “I don’t want Mommy to die!” or “Why do we have to die?” I remember the other kids going through a similar stage at the same age. But kids are so funny about death: they don’t have the same hang ups and baggage that us older folks do.

For example, as we were passing the cat, and Alex was pondering life, death and the mysteries of the universe, he said to me, “I’m going to drive over it with my bike!”

Me: “No, no, never touch something that is dead. It is yucky and has germs on it.”
Alex: “No, with my bike.”
Me: “Don’t touch an animal that is dead.”
Alex, perplexed: “No, with my bike. *I* won’t touch it, the germies will be on my tires.”
Me: “Alex, there are diseases. I don’t want them on your bike either; that bike has to go in my house.”

Now, this went around and around for a bit. He REALLY wanted to run over that dead cat with his bike! So finally Ollie stepped in. “Great,” I thought. “Maybe Ollie can talk to him kid-to-kid. Get him to understand why we shouldn’t drive over dead cats.”

Ollie: “Okay, so, imagine if Evelyn was dead and she was lying on the road. Would you drive over HER with your bike??”

That is…not how I would have approached the subject.

EXCEPT IT WORKED!

Alex thought about it for a bit and then said, “No, I wouldn’t. But…” I could tell he was still struggling with it a bit – he felt like he still had an argument to make – but he couldn’t escape that kid-to-kid logic. And anyway, by that time I had coaxed him down the street a bit, so riding over the cat wasn’t feasible anymore.

I warned Sara about this because I knew it was bound to come up again, so I wanted her to be prepared. (Oh, that and the fact that she was going to have to walk by that dead cat on the way to work.) So tonight, Sara decided to broach the subject and see if Alex had any more to say about it. You know, work through his complicated feelings on the subject? Maybe he had some feelings he needed to work out?

Sara, while stirring food in the crockpot: “I saw that dead cat…”
Alex: “Did you cook it?”

Quote Monday is on the right path

Sara: “How was shopping?”
Alex: “There were three disasters! There weren’t any shopping carts you can drive, the shopping cart didn’t go on the escalator, and we they didn’t have any of the good deals!”

I feel like he is already showing good signs of dramatic storytelling.

Alex: “Mama, do superheroes eat oatmeal?”
Sara: “Yes. Yes they do. They also eat a lot of veggies and salad.”

Alex: “Ollie got up in the night to go to the bathroom so I started to wash the windows, but Ollie said I had to go back to bed. But then my washing windows thing made a sound like a toot so Ollie was laughing!”

Can you imagine walking by at like 2 am and looking up and seeing a 2 year old washing the windows?

Mom: “We can’t just take the food without paying for it.”
Alex: “Yes you can.”
Mom: “What if the police come?”
Alex: “Drive really fast!”

Quote Monday gives a lump of coal

Alex: “We were reading Mercy Watson but Mama only read one chapter because she hates me!!”

Alex: “Mama turn off that light! You’re being mean you’re going to get a lump of coal in your stocking!”
Alex: “…what does a ‘lump of coal’ mean?”

Alex, narrating story: “People who love people don’t go pooping on them.”

Alex: “I don’t like anything to stick in where my poop comes out…”
Sara: “…”
Alex: “…so all the time I’m picking my pants out.”
::Sara repeating it carefully to make sure she heard correctly::
Sara: “That’s called a wedgie.”