Today, you blog for me

No, really. My brain is blank. I’m tired and foggy. You’re going to do the work for today’s entry (which is showing up when it’s practically tomorrow anyhow.)

Here’s the deal: ask me a question. If you’ve been reading here for a while and you’ve always wondered something, now is the time to ask.

I’m not initially placing any subjects off-limits. There are some things I will not answer (I will not name names for any of the bizarre encounters I’ve had en route to publication, for example) but if you want to know about my writing, about angels, about what it’s like to have four kids, about why I had a homebirth, about my cats, about what it’s like to lose a baby–have at it!Β 

If it’s too personal or I don’t want to answer, I’ll let you know.

Ask in the comments box. I’ll reply in the comments as well. I may even try turning on that “threading” feature WordPress recently added.

Have fun, and please pray for our family’s “health fail” to end soon.


  1. Pam

    So, whats it like to have 4 kids? Are they close in age? My mom had 5 of us all less than a year apart, and then one more 8 years later. Even as a kid, I knew that was kinda crazy. She was only 22, and had 5 of us.
    Do your kids like your cats?

    1. philangelus

      My kids like the cats, and it helps that the cats seem to like the kids. Stormy in particular loves them because they pet her and cuddle her.

      The bigger question… It’s noisy and busy. I feel pulled in different directions, and I’ve gotten used to thinking for multiple people, sometimes to the point where I don’t know what I’m thinking myself. It’s as if i’m mentally tracking everyone in the house. There are odd moments where I’m sure there’s someone in another room and yet we’re all together in the same room.

      The kids are 11, 7, 5 and 1, so it’s a very different experience than your mother’s. I think it’d be overwhelming to have them that close together. The older they get, the more time they seem to spend doing their own thing. The interactions between the kids are more uneven, though, because when the 5 year old tangles with the 11 year old, for example, it’s not a fair fight on many levels. But on the other hand, they do play well together when things go well, so in those moments it’s easier.

      I’ve found that with every new kid, it gets a bit easier to parent “one more child.” The first was hardest, the jump from one to two not as hard, two to three was easy, and three to four I barely noticed. πŸ™‚

      1. Pam

        Very cool -you sound like you got the parenting thing down pat!

        1. philangelus

          No, but I’m faking it okay for now.

      2. cricketB

        The person in another room is either an angel (or angel-trainee — I suspect one or more of yours volunteered as mentors), or one of your characters. So don’t worry about it.

        1. philangelus

          I’m not worried about it. I do have one time when my tracking system messed up in spectacular fashion, but I may blog that one someday because it’s funny and peculiar.

          The tracking does feel a lot like listening. It’s bizarre to me when the kids start realizing (at about 13 months or so) that if they very quietly leave the room, I won’t notice at first. Then I have to pay more attention and not do it subconsciously.

  2. Daniele Rossi

    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

    1. philangelus

      From raspberries! Pbbbbbth! πŸ˜‰

      If fire fighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?

  3. Jason Block

    Alright, I have to ask this one. You are an incredibly talented writer who has a very distinct way of describing and getting people. How is it then, that you have an abject fear of speaking with people?

    PS…if you love english so much, how iz it you luvz da Lolcats? I luvz it too!

    1. philangelus

      They hitz mai funnie bone.

      I’m in control of words I type. Words I speak are spoken and uneditable.

      The fear of the phones happened overnight when I was working as a summer temp with a government agency. One day it hit me: I could pick up the phone and the PRESIDENT could be on the line!

      After that, I never had any idea who might be calling or who I might end up speaking to. Thus, the phone-phobia was born. I now get nervous ordering a pizza.

      (Note that every single one of my jobs has involved heavy phone usage. I get over it, but it takes some doing. I usually wrote my greeting on an index card and read it. “Good morning, Disney. May I help you?” Then I’d flip it over after lunch: “Good afternoon, Disney. May I help you?”)

  4. knit_tgz

    I think I asked you this one day, but I do not remember if you answered: do you know/have a supposition about the gender of your family’s angels? How did you guess?

    (I have no idea if I have a male/female guardian, but I think my guardian angel is a math geek, or he/she learned to love math with me. πŸ™‚ )

    1. philangelus

      I guessed with all of them. Angels are bodiless beings anyhow so gender would be completely meaningless as an attribution anyhow, right?

  5. knit_tgz

    Interesting πŸ™‚

    So, you see male/female. I see geek. Fair enough πŸ™‚

    1. philangelus

      If you read Seven Archangels: Annihilation, you’ll see that Gabriel is plenty geeky. πŸ™‚ It’s a running joke. I think I did something like that over at the website too…

  6. Jason Block

    Ok…totally different question…why cats? Did you ever have a dog as a pet?

    1. philangelus

      I’ve never liked dogs. My extended family all owns cats, with the exception of Uncle Mayhem, who had a dog for many years. That dog, although it knew me, attacked me once when I was 11 years old. (My aunt was right there and pulled the dog out of mid-air while I ran.) Since then, I haven’t ever trusted dogs.

  7. Scott

    If you have phone phobia answering phones, how are you at leaving messages?

    1. Philangelus

      I have to brace myself and rehearse it in my head. But if Wendy pops in here, she can tell you about the first time I called her, I hyperventillated into her answering machine. I didn’t want her to hate me, and I unnerved myself.

      1. Ivy

        How do you deal with fighting with customer service over the phone if they aren’t giving you satisfaction? Or do you just have PH do that?

        1. Philangelus

          I’m okay with fighting with people over the phone! In fact, I’m the go-to person in this house to call people up in order to have a fight. I start with “just the facts” and move on up to “This is what you’re going to do to make this right.” But it seldom gets to an all-out actual fight. Today at the doctor’s office was the first time I’ve had to fight to be treated decently in a long time.

      2. Diinzumo

        You did? I think I was just happy you called.

        1. philangelus

          Yeah, that answering machine message where afterward you said, “I was wondering if you were all right.”

  8. Ivy

    You’re having a tea party and can invite up to ten guests, not counting family (they get automatic includes). Time and space are no obstacle. Reality is no obstacle. So you can have Khufu and Kirk if you want. Who do you invite, and how do you arrange the seating?

    1. Philangelus

      By family I’m going to assume you mean us, my parents, and the household angels, plus my deceased grandparents. Beyond that:

      John Milton
      Philip Neri
      Pope John Paul II
      Teresa of Avila
      Antonio Stradivari
      Jason from BotP
      Tabris from The Guardian
      the archangel Gabriel, either from my book or the real one, but not both.

      Meal is served buffet-style with lots of tables, and everyone from this weblog is also invited to come mingle. Antonio Stradivari is invited so he can share the secret of how he made such splendid violins, so bring a pad and paper and be prepared to take notes.

  9. Lane in PA

    Where do you find the time to write and raise a family? Do you follow a set routine, or is “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” a must read for people like me who can’t seem to get organized? What is your secret?

    Aside: I am sure now that there is divine wisdom behind why I do not have children. πŸ™‚

    1. knit_tgz

      Aside: I am sure now that there is divine wisdom behind why I do not have children. πŸ™‚

      No, don’t say that! I am disorganized and wish to be a mother some day! Please don’t say that only organized people should have children!

      (Should the geeky and disorganized never have children? Or must I find a future spouse who is very organized?)

    2. philangelus

      I’m totally disorganized and that’s why I *can* write. Because I steal time whenever I can. If I had to have everything perfect, I’d never get started.

      But because I’m disorganized-yet-motivated, I end up making five minutes here, ten minutes there, etc. Thinking about writing while I’m doing other things. Multitasking. And that’s where the writing ends up getting done.

      I’ve discovered I’m a lot happier and more spiritually fulfilled (no joke, it’s easier for me to relate to God) when I’m writing, so it’s become a priority.

      I don’t think God punishes disorganized people by not giving them kids. πŸ™‚ But maybe sometimes God makes us organize our disorganization because we have kids.

      1. Ivy

        He makes us what He needs us to be. There is a midrash that says when Pharaoh’s daughter say Moses’ basket, it was in the midst of the river. She couldn’t reach it. But she tried anyway, and somehow, her hand touched the basket.

        We go as far as we can, despite our human failings, and when we can reach no further, He takes it the rest of the way.

        1. karen ^.,.^

          oh ivy, thank you thank you for that last sentence. it was just what i needed to see today. πŸ™‚

      2. Lane in PA

        knit_tgz — I was just making fun of myself. In all truthfulness, I think if my parents had been “disorganized” (and what I mean by that is: spontaneous, playful, engaged, flexible, unexpected laughter/fun… etc., etc.) my situation and my relationship with them would have been different.

        Instead I grew up with “rigid”, “unyielding”, “controlled”, “systematic”, “everything in its place” and “What would Gladys Kravitz think” mentality.

        My home is totally disorganized. But after reading Jane’s response, I am not going to let that bother me anymore. I am going to let my “disorganization” motivate me, and I will grab the minutes, moments to jot down sentences to the stories I am trying to write, or paint in the blank areas of a watercolor I am trying to paint.

        I don’t have children because I have Lupus and a pregnancy is treated by my body as a “foreign entity”, like it’s an alien from outer space. I have come to accept this and have given my time and efforts to other needs.

        Especially finding homes for kitty cats. (I do volunteer work for the humane society.)

        Aside: I do want all of you to know that I think all of you here are exceptional and fine people, and I find much insightfulness and inspiration. I am somewhat an outsider, but I am grateful that I have found this blog. Thank you, Jane.

        1. cricketB

          Lane: What about the middle ground, between jellyfish and brick wall? Jellyfish families lose keys and serve instant suppers two hours late. Brick wall families are so rigid they break before they bend. Backbone families get the best of both worlds: They know where the keys are and supper is served on time; they also know when to stay up late. (Credit to Barbara Coloroso.)

          If you ever want less chaos in your home, try FlyLady for a few months. She’s my backbone when it comes to housework.

  10. Camilla

    You’ve described yourself as an introvert — needing time to recharge after being with people…do you feel somewhat exposed and/or drained by sharing online?

    1. philangelus

      Sometimes, yes, I feel exposed. But being online provides a degree of control and silence that lets me recharge afterward.

  11. Ivy

    You wake to find yourself back in time. It’s 754. You are in the body of Pope Sylvester I. The discussion around you is of forging what would come to be known as the Donation of Constantine. The question is posed to go ahead with the plan or not. What do you answer?

    1. philangelus

      I say to myself, “Why the heck is Ivy asking me these questions rather than easy ones, like ‘Describe your childhood in five ten-word sentences, cleverly rhymed, and every word beginning with the letter S’?”

      1. Ivy

        Nah-uh. I’d be mean and say do it in tanka, with proper split between parts, the correct number of syllables, a kigo and a kiregi. πŸ™‚

        1. philangelus

          Then you’re running the risk I’d just say no.

          In answer to your first question, though, the obvious response is that if I found myself back in time, I would DARE make any huge changes for fear of disrupting the time stream.

  12. Lane in PA

    P.S. Please get well. I miss your writings.

    1. philangelus

      I’m actually getting ideas for blogging again, and I’m on an antibiotic now. So maybe I’ll have something by tomorrow.

  13. Rainha

    I have an easy one! What does BotP stand for?

    “Jason from BotP”

    1. philangelus

      I’m sorry! Ack, you’d think I could get a clue.

      BotP is Battle of the Planets, the cartoon from 1978, re-released in 1982. It was made from footage of the Japanese cartoon Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman. Five teens in bird costumes save the world. I write fanfiction for both series. (You may know them as G-Force.)

      Jason was the second in command, the one in the dark blue and maroon suit.

      More about that here:

  14. Scott

    Which do you like better? G-force with 7 Zark 7 or Gatachaman where Keop was a sarcastic SOB and wasn’t censored?

    1. philangelus

      Oh, did you just open a can of worms.

      They’re different stories. It’s not just a matter of Keyop being edited or the names changed. The stories themselves between Gatchaman and BotP are different (that’s not the case with G-Force:Guardians of Space, though, which is pretty much a straight translation of Gatchaman.)

      Gatchaman and BotP have very different character development arcs, and the characters themselves become different and have their own different demons, their different values, and different roles. BotP’s Mark is the perfect, ultimate hero and rule-follower, whereas Gatchaman’s Ken is a bit of a maverick with a hero complex. BotP’s Jason is painted as impetuous and quick-tempered and sometimes ambitious, whereas Condor Joe is dark, focused, intense, and deeply wounded.

      I love both series. Sometimes I want one more than another, and sometimes a fanfic I want to write requires one universe more than the other.

      More answer than you intended, eh? I had no idea you ever even watched BotP! I’d have talked your ear off. Until I met the Bird Scramble people, I never knew other people who’d even seen the show. πŸ™‚

  15. Rainha

    And here I am, assuming it’s some deep religious reference that I just wasn’t getting! πŸ˜€

    1. philangelus

      Only inasmuch as the Gatchababes seem to have this Joe/Jason worship thing going on. πŸ™‚

  16. Scott

    I know I was a geek in HS. I didn’t want people to know how geeky I was πŸ˜‰

    1. philangelus

      I was the geek who, if I *raced* home after 8-straight days, and all the trains were waiting at the right times, could see the last 10 minutes of The Transformers. πŸ™‚ Being geeky is much more fun in some respects. But if you’d mentioned BotP back then, I’d have talked your ear off about Jason.

  17. Scott

    That’s putting a lot of faith on the L train. These days our kids would have said “Why didn’t you just TIVO it?”

    And what was the name of the show with the big space battleship that always had to fire the big cannon at the end? As you can see my grandmother used the TV as my babysitter. πŸ™‚

    Have a fun Mother’s day.

    1. philangelus

      A good mother’s day to J., too!

      I wouldn’t even bother with the TiVo. I own all the DVDs.

      The L train was good to me. If you read about the GATA in the story I’ve linked from the sidebar, you’ll see why. πŸ™‚

      You’re not talking about StarBlazers, are you?

  18. Scott

    Sounds right…the one where earth had 1 year before something bad happened. And the battleship had the travel the galaxy the get (if I remembered right) some kinda antidote?

    1. Wendy

      Yup, that would be Star Blazers, AKA Uchu Senkan Yamato in Japan.

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