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

Posts tagged ‘kids’

How I Spent My Sunday – Wonder Babe Edition

The Amazing Wonder Babe Waves at You

This is the Amazing Wonder Babe saying hi. Okay, maybe she’s just waving at her mother. This little girl is very attached to her mommy and, after a combined total of over 30 years in child welfare, I have to say her grandmas are thrilled. My partner is a child attachment expert and she is absolutely enchanted with the way this baby and both her parents are bonded. So am I.

Wonder Babe Meets Good Dog Gwyneth

This was Wonder Babe’s first visit to Oregon. She lives in Seattle and she and her mom came down for a couple days with  the grandparents.  Poppy Face, her grandpa, lives just across the river.

The last time we saw Wonder Babe, we introduced her to our friend Kay’s dog and WB was not impressed. In fact, she was a bit afraid. But today she met Good Dog Gwyneth. (Well, they sort of met once before but it was raining and Gwynnie was outside).  And, yes, Gwyn is on the back of the couch. Gwyn is our funny-looking kid, part Jack Russell, part Springer Spaniel. She looks like someone took a giant Jack Russell head and put it on a Springer body. Yes, she does jump like a maniac at times. Then we pretend she’s a yo-yo. The woman mediating this introduction is my partner of 20 years, Jenny.  Yes, we are old. We’re grandmothers. One of the grandkids, the GrandGirl, is almost a teenager. What did you expect? Spring chickens?

Wonder Babe Reads Her First E-book

Wonder Babe was more interested in my NOOKcolor than the actual book, and more interested in Jenny and the dog than she was in the e-reader. But she quickly figured out how to enlarge the pictures and chew on the NOOK. Clearly, her mother is enjoying the story of colors more than she is.

Puddletown is going to be publishing several children’s picture books in the months to come and I can’t wait to announce them. But not quite yet. WB was our trial run. We have decided she is too young and maybe a two-year-old would be a better target audience. Really, WB just wants a dog.

WB is cutting her first tooth so everything went in her mouth. Including my finger, numerous times, to feel the little tooth starting to poke through. I’d forgotten about their jagged little edges. And to think, our oldest daughter, The Entrepreneur, and her husband, Army Pilot, are giving us another little girl on April 8th. GrandGirl, age 12, and GrandBoy, age 10, are excited, too. What a year!

She’s five-and-a-half months old. We love her. Don’t you?

An Interview with Susan Landis-Steward

Q. When did you decide to become a writer?

A. When I was four. I wrote poems which my father translated from hieroglyphs and stored in my grandmother’s German Bible. One was about a star.

Q. Your grandmother was German?

A. Well, her Bible was. I assume she was. Her last name was Rugenstein. You do the math. My father also said she was Jewish. She was dead by the time I came along. But she married a Mennonite, and they raised their kids Lutheran. You figure it out. I gave up trying to understand my family a long time ago. That’s probably another reason I write.

Q. So you just started a publishing company. What do you know about publishing?

A. More than you might think. I’m a few credits away from a Masters in Publishing. And I’ve been working in the industry for several years as an indexer. Oh, and I’ve had some stuff published. Besides, I chose great business partners.

Q. You write lesbian mysteries?

A. Yes.

Q. ?

A. You asked the question. I just answered it.

Q. Why lesbian mysteries?

A. Write what you know. I’m mysterious and lesbian. I’m also neurotic so my characters are neurotic. My mysteries are fairly autobiographical in many ways, but only those who really know me know which parts are me.

Q. Do you have a dog?

A. What kind of lesbian would I be if I didn’t have a dog? My dog is a Jack Russell Terrier/English Springer Spaniel mix named Good Dog Gwyneth. She’s a pound puppy. She thinks my partner is God. I am merely a door and can opener. Unless I’m going somewhere in the car. Then I become a temporary demiurge.

Q. Why do you use words like demiurge?

A. I have a Masters in Spiritual Traditions and Ethics. I seldom get to use those words.

Q. Are you some sort of religious freak?

A. Why, yes, I am. But not in the way most people think of it. I’m a JuBuEpiscoPagaTarian Universalist who reads the Qur’an for edification and studied for the Episcopal priesthood.

Q. You wanted to be a priest?

A. Until I realized I couldn’t bear to spend another minute with my seminary  classmates, yes.  As a layperson, the Episcopal church had a hard time shutting me up. I liked that. Now I preach in the UU tradition sometimes.

Q. Do you talk about religion in your books?

A. Sometimes. In the second book in my Blind series, I introduce a  woman priest as a character. Write what you know again. I know a lot of women priests. Although I like nuns better.

Q. Nuns?

A. I fell in love with my partner because she wore nun shoes. I love nuns. When I found out she’d done time in a convent, I was hooked.

Q. So there are lesbian nuns?

A. Well, duh.

Q. One of your main characters is blind. Why?

A. As a person with a disability, I’m fascinated by the ways people with disabilities find ways to live normal lives, whatever that means. Since my disability is hidden, I figured a character with a visible disability would be easier to write.

Q. How long have you and your partner been together?

A. Depends who’s doing the math but somewhere around 20 years.

Q. Math?

A. Yeah. I have a hard time remembering how old I am so I get the math wrong. I have to figure out how old the oldest kid is, and then remember which year she was born, and work from there. I get it wrong a lot.

Q. Kids?

A. And grandkids. I’m lesbian, not unplumbed. I’ve got three daughters, and almost four grandkids.

Q. Back to the math…

A. I can’t figure out how my cell phone works either. It has a big red button that says “END CALL” but when I answer the phone my brain says “PUSH ME.” I hang up on people a lot.

Q. About your brain…

A. Traumatic brain injury, October 9, 2002, during simple throat surgery. The brain injury would have been okay except for the three concussions in the years before. Cumulative effect. My brain finally gave out.

Q.  Huh?

A. I died. I did not see Jesus. I did not go toward the light. I caught a jump start from a passing surgeon, and an ancient Asian nurse scared me back to life by yelling, “BREATHE”  every time some alarm went off. For awhile, I was out of alignment, pulled to the left, had a weird kind of aphasia, used a cane to stay upright, and set things (usually things full of liquids) down on invisible tables. I also closed my eyes while driving.  I’m mostly okay now, though. Although, I did get fibromyalgia as a lovely parting gift.

Q. I’m glad your brain is better. What changed?

A. Knitting and spinning. I did a lot of both since I couldn’t work. I made lots of yarn and lots of scarves, hats, and sweaters. Later I learned that using both hands at the same time knits new neural pathways. Since I needed some new ones, I just made them myself.

Q. Thanks. We’ll do this again sometime.

A. Please send someone else to do the interview. Your questions suck.

25 (truly) Random Things About Pat

Well, FINALLY someone won the contest. My birth date is readily available both on my blog and on my Facebook page but NOBODY (except for the ineligible) was able to figure it out. Until tonight. Pat probably looked up my records in the church files but so what, she wins. So, tonight, my random fact generator goes to work on Pat.

  1. Pat is the leader of Chrysalis, the women’s writing community in Clackamas County. So I know she is already getting out her blue pencil to find all the errors in my grammar and punctuation. Fortunately, I spell fairly well.
  2. Pat used to be a pirate. Really. Well, at least that’s what the arrest warrants say.
  3. She was actually with Greenpeace and chained herself to whaling vessels. Odd way to make a living but not the oddest I’ve heard. The oddest was probably beheading chickens.
  4. I found out about Pat’s pirate past when she offered me the name of a good criminal attorney in Peru. I was just going to go meet my daughter’s inlaws, I was not planning any major heists or even small sprees. I was just going to Peru to see ruins, speak bad Spanglish, and drink Pisco Sours with my daughter and her husband’s family. So I thought the offer of a good criminal attorney was a very odd thing.
  5. Pat has had three books published, all on weird factoids about the natural world of the Pacific Northwest. It took years, but she finally got a royalty check.
  6. Pat has probably, almost certainly, touched a slug on purpose.
  7. However, she did not know that slugs in the Oneonta Gorge have no predators so they don’t make your tongue numb if you lick them. No, I have not done this.
  8. Pat has a 14 year old daughter who is busy reminding the whole world that she will get her driver’s permit very, very soon. Pat is in denial about this. She needs to get over it. Car mitzvah is the only truly American rite of passage for young people.
  9. Pat has written a truly amazing book, sort of an environmental thriller, but she has yet to get it ready to make the rounds. Of course, I should not talk about this as I am even further behind than she is.
  10. Pat is an atheist, or maybe an agnostic. One of the those ‘A’ words. But she is a Unitarian Universalist evangelist and that is truly weird. Even oxymoronic.
  11. Pat is also the office administrator of the church. Go figure.
  12. She spends most of her day putting one person (usually me, I’m sure) on hold while other people call her. It’s a busy church.
  13. Pat is also a freelance editor. She and I both find many scholarly books just too precious for words.
  14. Letterboxing is one of Pat’s odder pursuits. If you don’t know what this is, I would consider Google.
  15. She has placed several letterboxes. I know where some of them are.
  16. Pat is tall and thin. I am short and fat. When she gave a sermon on her life as a pirate, we wore pirate garb. We looked quite strange and made the real minister, who was in the audience, quite worried. Until we took the pirate stuff off. We were dressed, appropriately I’ll have you know.
  17. Pat is a knitter or a crocheter or one of those handy yarn crafts. She comes to knitting group anyway.
  18. She likes to hike and carouse out of doors. Not that kind of carousing. She has a kid, after all. In fact, she carouses with the kid, out of doors.
  19. Pat HATES it when people use the same words over and over again. Since English has fewer than 1,000,000 words (1,177 words exactly), and since some of us talk and write a lot, it would seem that we would have to use words over again. However, she has been known to take notes AND take names.
  20. Pat probably just started making up new words just to decrease the likelihood that I will use the same word too often.
  21. I’m willing to bet that Pat knows what the word “flummoxed” means.
  22. Pat is very good at keeping a waddle of wordsmiths under control every Wednesday. I made that “waddle of wordsmiths” up just now. But I did not make up any of the words. Maybe I should have said a wordle of wordsmiths…..see, a new word. Beat to you it, Pat.
  23. Pat is not a lesbian although I have tried to convince her otherwise. As punishment, she has to read all my lesbian sex scenes out loud to the group. They make her blush. That’s the whole point in writing them.
  24. Pat retaliates. She is very creative about it. Yes, she retaliates for those sex scenes.
  25. Pat does not yet have a cell phone although her daughter has slowly been wearing her down. Like water on rock. Betcha once that kid has a driver’s license, there will be cell phones involved.
  26. Bonus random thing. Pat is a Girl Scout leader and extorts cookie money from everyone she knows during cookie season. Last I heard, her troop had something like  $900 coming from cookies this years. Maybe she needs a good criminal attorney here. I think extortion is still a crime in this country unless you are rich and powerful. Then it’s expected. But Pat is not rich, and her power is not the kind I’m talking about. But, I have to admit, for a straight woman, she is one powerful woman.

25 Random Things

  1. I have no idea how to put a Facebook link in a blog post and need Lisa to help me.
  2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the only dog allowed in the British Parliament by order of Cavalier King Charles who is dead but the rule lives on.
  3. My daughter is in Peru right now. So is her husband. He is Peruvian which sort of explains why they are in Peru.
  4. I am two degrees of separation from several presidents and three degrees away from Barack Obama. I am one degree of separation away from Sally Struthers which puts me two away from a whole bunch of movie stars. However, I am not impressed with myself. I just need to put 25 random things down and those came to mind.
  5. My uncle had mafia connections. As in the Rat Pack. Really. It’s true. Just ask my sisters. OH! That puts me two degrees away from Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.!
  6. I write mysteries. The current one has the mafia in it. Also theology, sex, politics, lesbians, and guns. Did I mention sex?
  7. St. Paul was a feminist in his day. I know. Hard to believe. But true. Live with it.
  8. So was Mohammed. Really. And virgins may actually be olives…..
  9. Paraguay is a country in South America. I almost forgot that.
  10. Maize.  In elementary school social studies, the answer was almost always maize.
  11. That was before 42 was the answer.
  12. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was rejected several dozen times over close to a decade.
  13. Then it won the Newberry Medal.
  14. It snowed in Portland today. I drove anyway because it was just pretend snow. The kind that happens when it’s 40 degrees out.
  15. I used to be a real live hippy. I’m still real and still alive. But I had kids and sort of grew up. Sort of.
  16. My daughter calls me her pothead mom because I smoked pot recently to see if it helped with the pain. It did. But I forgot how to smoke and choked. Not a nice experience.
  17. If I would agree to live in the car with her,  Good Dog Gwynth thinks that would be a very good thing. She loves the car almost as much as she loves Jenny.
  18. I have no idea how to spell my dog’s name. The Good Dog part I’m okay with. It’s the last part that baffles me. One n? Two n? Another y?
  19. When I was a kid I learned the vowels were a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y. They don’t teach w and y as vowels anymore. But I’m sure that the w and/or y in my dog’s name are vowels. At least I’m pretty sure. I may be missing something. No, they have to be. Because all the other things are definitely consonants. And there has to be a vowel. That’s another rule that lives on. Unless you are from another dimension or something. And actually, the dog’s name has two syllables which means there needs to be ANOTHER vowel and I don’t think wy counts as two vowels. Where does the other one go? This is going to keep me awake tonight.
  20. Cows can be tipped over and I’d like to try it. Despite what people think, I’m not particularly fond of cows. Just because I gave one talk on cow piety…….Strange the things you get standing ovations for…..
  21. This is the 21st random thing tonight. Four more to go.
  22. I learned a lot of new stuff today. I believe you should learn at least one new thing every day. I’m set until mid-May, 2010.
  23. My favorite podcast is Cast On. It’s about knitting. It’s funny. It’s in Wales. It’s by a lesbian. These are a few of my favorite things. (Although I still love all the straight women in my life, too!)
  24. It really is time to go to bed because a friend is coming over at 10 am to work on a service we’re doing this Sunday. It’s on Sabbath and about Sabbath. I’m preaching. Look out! Heresy alert!
  25. I just learned how to knit a moebius strip. Now I’ll have to learn how to quit knitting it. But there is no real stopping point so it may go on for awhile.

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