The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Archive for the ‘Alien Antecedents and Descendants’ Category

1, 2 Skip a Few….Miss a Bunch of Letters

I have an excuse. I was out of town, playing with Wonder Babe. She’s almost 8 months now, crawling, sitting up, playing with beach balls, and generally being delightful. But spending time with her is a full time job. So I missed J, K, L, M, and probably some others. I will catch up. I will.


I is for Independence

That beautiful creature to the left is my youngest daughter, Meg, on the Spanish web. Basically, she’s hanging by her wrist from a rope way too high above the floor for her mothers’ comfort.

But we wanted our daughters to have more independence than we had growing up in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Our three girls are children of the 80s and 90s, and they are fiercely independent.

So independent that one is a circus performer and two are bank managers. Never career paths I would have chosen for any of them, but they are all very good at what they do.

I was raised by a mother who had my life all mapped out for me. I vowed I would not do that to my girls and I succeeded, with a vengeance. They’re all powerful, decisive, strong, and above all, independent.

I’m not an outliner when I write. I used to try to map out books and never got one started. Finally, I just decided to start writing. That’s when I was finally able to get something done.

I spent 20 years in journalism, writing ledes in my head on the way back to the office and spilling it out on paper as soon as I was done. A professor of mine calls it “committing journalism” and it is sort of a sin for those who see writing as pure art.

But it taught me a lot, gave me some great material, and taught me how to write in tight confines of column inches, word counts, AP style. So maybe that’s why when I write creatively, I can’t know what’s going to happen. I just have to let my story tell me. That’s my independence.

And, for your viewing pleasure, a person doing something no person should be able to do. Yes, she is my daughter. And this is just the warm up. You should see her on stage.



This blog post brought to you by the words igneous, indolent, iota, implacable, and ingenious. Also by the Japanese number ichi.

G is for Grandma

I know. I’m on a single-track today. But how many days do you get a new grandchild?

I love being a grandmother. The grandkids are great, but the real joy is in watching the mothers my own daughters have become. So far, two out of our three girls have had kids, and both of them are amazing mothers. There is nothing I enjoy more than watching the way they interact with their kids.

Our oldest has two “big” kids, a 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl. Both great kids. And today they have a new sister, the Amazing Polliwog. My daughter and her husband are incredible parents and have decided they want four children. So in a year or two, three will become four. I’m so excited.

Our middle daughter and her husband have the incredible Wonder Babe. This child lives close enough to visit. We’re in Portland, Wonder Babe is in Seattle, the other grandkids are in Texas. So we’re getting to spend a lot of time with WB.

Since our other grandkids have lived all over the world (Army brats), we don’t get to spend a lot of time with them. And when we do see them, it’s all concentrated time. But with the WB, we can just run up for dinner when we feel like it.

As a publisher, my grandkids make me think a lot about the books we publish for kids. I want every book we put out to be something I’d be proud to have my grandkids read. Because we have one firmly in the early YA stage, I also want all our books to be age appropriate. I’ve talked about this in other posts here.

Anyway, I’ve been basking in new grandparenthood long enough. Time to make some money. But I thought you needed to know.

This post brought to you by the words grandchild, gratitude, grannie, and gratefulness. And by the number google. You did know it was a number before it was a search engine, didn’t you?

F is for Family


I know. I’m a day late. But I had to wait for this: Amelia Pauline, aka the Amazing Polliwog,  born this morning, 7 lbs 14 oz. So far this is the only photo to come over the wire but I’m sure there will be more.

Amelia joins her 13-year-old sister and 10-year-old brother, two horses, four dogs, a flock of chickens, and her mom and dad.  So this is today’s miracle.

And in the past few months, we’ve welcomed another granddaughter, Wonder Babe, now almost 8 months, two great-nephews, and a great-niece. Soon our comadre’s daughter will have another little girl, and another niece will have a baby (I think it’s a girl?), and I think there are some I’m missing.  Wow! What a lot of babies.

Having a big family is so much fun.

This post brought to you by Aubrey and Todd Jacobson, Shannon and Tyler, and a long line of people who went into the making of this baby.

Also by the words fanfare, fantastic, fabulous, fun, and far-out! And by the number four. This is our fourth grandchild. So excited.

C is for Catch

One of the best greeting cards I ever got had Henry David throw on the outside and Henry David catch on the inside. Maybe you have to be a Unitarian and big into the Transcendentalists to get the reference without a hint, so there’s the hint to the left.

But I’m not going to talk about Thoreau, or Walden Pond, or any of that. Although I will tell you that H.D. was not the hermit you might think during that time at Walden Pond. In fact, he was quite the gadfly. But that’s an aside.

Today’s word is catch. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about this word because it has so many uses and means. There’s catch as in catch the ball (which is what Thoreau was doing on that greeting card. Catch as in catch the fish—a whole different type of catching, and catch as in what the fish are after you’ve caught them.

Then there’s catch as in Catch-22, meaning something that gets you coming and going, catch as in what a lock does AND sometimes the lock itself. And what does “Catch as catch can” even mean?

Anyway, maybe it’s just musings more appropriate for Walden Pond in the 19th century, but it has amused me. What words amuse you?

This post brought to you by the words catamaran, calico, cadmium, cantaloupe, and cesium. Also by the Roman numeral C, the French nombre cinq, and the Spanish numero cinco.

All together now: “Uno, dos, trace, cuatro, cinco, cinco, seis” to quote some song my kids used to sing. Watch it here. It’s by Offspring.


Thursday's Three Theological Things: Time

  1. I just told a friend that I don’t have all the time in the world. Immediately, I realized I was wrong. What, really, do I have except time? And, I do have all of it. Hmmm….maybe it’s time to drag out the quantum physics guys again. Where is the real cutting edge theology right now? In their labs and crazy squirrel infested minds. When my daughter was getting her degree in physics she would sometimes talk to me about quantum physics. And, whether she knew it or not, she was talking about God.
  2. Which brings me to “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. This was the first “science fiction” I read, as a child of nine, and I was enchanted. Like quantum physics, which it essentially is, this book was first understood on an intuitive level. Which is the only way I can understand quantum physics. Math, even the basics like checkbook balancing, escapes me. Good thing I’m a writer and not, say, an accountant. L’Engle’s book was also the first piece of theological writing I ever read (well, except for the Book of Common Prayer) although I didn’t realize it at the time. As an adult, I discovered that L’Engle was an Episcopalian and one of the great (IMHO) theological thinkers of the 20th century. Why do I say that? Because she not only thought deep thoughts, she could put them in language even a child of nine could understand. And that, friends, is truly a gift.
  3. My daughter, almost 30, and I, heading for 60, had a great conversation today about age. I don’t feel 60, and she says I don’t act 60. Oh, sometimes my fibro-infested body lets me know, but most of the time (there’s that word again) I act much younger. Some of you are thinking “immature.” Well, that may be the case. But what, exactly, is wrong with immature? To be immature means I’m still growing, learning, developing, and becoming the full expression of myself. Yes. I do have flashes of maturity. But I really think I’d rather be immature and a work in progress than mature and ready for picking. You?

Freaky Friday

At least here on the West Coast it is still Friday for another 56 minutes so I’m sliding right in under the wire. Besides, it’s not Lent yet so it really doesn’t count. Anyway, Fridays may be “Friday Surprise.” When I was a kid, the major local department store had special sales on Friday called, you know it’s coming, “Friday Surprise.” But today is gonna be Freaky Friday because of two things I learned from my oldest daughter. In fact, because I’m terribly lazy after a busy day cooking, cleaning, shopping, and getting my eyes tested, I’m just going to cut and paste from her “25 random things.”

My daughter is married to an Army officer and they currently live in Civil War-era base housing. From the get-go, weird things have happened in this house. When they first moved in, my grandson announced that there was a “Boogalooga” monster living in the basement. This entity was known to turn off the water heater during the night. Since my daughter moved there while her husband was deployed in Iraq, she had to learn to restart the gas water heater within just a few days of moving in. She did the dishes and there was hot water. The next morning, there was none for her shower. Boogalooga had hit.  As if that weren’t enough, there was another entity that didn’t like my daughter’s decorating sense.  Aubrey would place candles where she wanted them, go to bed, and wake to find the candles had been moved. Both of these things happened on more than one occasion. Which leads to number 5 in her random things list:

“5. My house is haunted, we call our ghosts boogalooga and his wife, but I’m told his name is John and her name is Abigail. John stays in the basement because he never came home from the war and Abigail spends a lot of time in “the baby’s room”, now my daughter’s room because she is worried about the baby. On two separate occasions I was locked out of my daughter’s room in the middle of the night. It freaked me out. The creepiest part is that I did some research after I was told all of this, and there was a 1st LT. John Adams who died in WWI leaving behind his wife Abigail and his daughter. They lived in my house.”

The second thing that amazed me was number 22 on her list:

“22. I recently learned that in the finial of the flag at every post there is a match and a bullet, at the base of the flag pole is a revolver. If the post is ever attacked. The last soldier is supposed to burn the flag and shoot himself. Kind of cool, and kind of disturbing.”

I agree with her assessment.

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