It’s 1:30 am and I just got home from Christina’s housewarming party, which was the perfect way to end today. Besides hanging out with folks like Evan, Dave and David I also got to meet new folks like Garth and F.I. and Reuben. Good conversations, good food on seemingly every flat surface and beverages galore. Have I mentioned the homemade chocolate cake that Christina made?
I’ll tell you, after spending the day selling off our possessions, going to a housewarming in such a cute house was exactly what I needed to give me hope that our move will be over someday.
The only drawback that I can see is that I have stayed up too late again. But it was fun.
Today was full of ridiculous amounts of stress, some related to the move, some not. Ever have one of those days that just makes you want to eat your own brain? Yeah. It almost makes me forget that I got to do fun stuff today too.
Aimee came up so I could take her to the yarn store on Alberta today. Everytime I’m in a yarn store I want to knit something and then when I try knitting I get bored out of my mind. I know other people love it, but it just makes me restless.
Rob and I went out to dinner tonight at Bernie’s Southern Bistro. We got a gift certificate from my realtor for recommending him to Christina. I’d gone to Bernie’s once before and been underwhelmed. Alas, tonight my experience was repeated. Part of it, of course, is that I grew up with really good Southern food–allow me to introduce you to my mother and you will understand why I am hard to impress–but the rest of it was just that it wasn’t all that well balanced. Rob was not impressed either. It’s not bad, mind you, just not what the ambiance wants you to think it will be. Still it was nice to get out of the house.
And now, I return to packing and labeling things for the yard sale. I am looking forward to the road trip. It’ll be so peaceful with the open road, Rob, and two cats–wait.
We stopped pilling her today. Maggie’d gotten seven days of the pills, which the vet said was the minimum that she’d like to see. And, since she was getting double-doses… oy. Anyway, we decided to stop, because she’d stopped eating.
I spent the morning hanging out with Christina and in the evening, Rob and I went to the store to pick up some wet cat food to tempt Maggie. Lo! She ate. Thank heavens. Marlowe is, of course, wondering why he doesn’t get the same treats she does. Silly kitty. I offered to wrap him in a towel and shove butter down his throat, but he doesn’t seem interested.
After I dropped my computer off, I stopped by the vet’s today. I wanted to pick up a syringe to shoot water down Maggie’s throat, hoping that it would help with everything. The vet came out to talk to me, because I was a little distressed about the pilling the cat ritual. I explained that Maggie seemed to have stopped eating; her bowl was completely full when I went down to feed them this morning. Since the cats only get fed once a day, it was fairly suspicious.
The vet nodded, “If she’s not eating; then you may need to bring her back in.”
“I don’t think she’s getting sicker; I think she’s depressed.”
Across the waiting room a black cat yowled as if someone were killing him right there. His owner tried to reassure him, but the cat didn’t speak English. Neither does Maggie, so I can’t tell her what the vet said–that if she doesn’t finish the antibiotics, she could develop a super-resistant strain of stomach bug.
“I know.” I nodded. Years ago, I’d wanted to be a vet; I hated being the neurotic pet owner now. “It’s just that I feel like I’m making things worse.”
“Well, if the half-tablets are too large, try cutting them into quarters and see if she’ll take it with some soft food.”
I blinked. “Half-tablets? We’ve been giving her whole tablets.”
Looking down at her chart, the vet said, “Half tablet every twelve hours. Fortunately it’s a very mild medicine, so it’s not dangerous.”
It still made me feel ill. I mean, misreading medication like that could have been fatal. “So, instead of having three more days, I have six more days?”
“Right. But if we can get at least seven days of antibiotics and if the symptoms have stopped, then it’s probably safe to stop the pills. It’s better to finish the round, but if it’s making her miserable you can stop after seven days.”
I thanked her and biked home with my handy syringe. Rob was waiting for me, so we could do her morning pilling. I told him what the vet said and then I grabbed the bottle of pills.
The label said, “One pill every twelve hours.”
One. Not half. I called the vet’s office, related my story and learned that the label was wrong. So, on the one hand, there’s a measure of relief, because I didn’t misread the instructions. On the other hand, I’m ticked. I mean, hello? It’s lucky that it was a “mild” medication because I could have hurt my cat.
The half-pill is, surprise, easier to get down Maggie’s throat. The routine goes like this. I butter the pill and then we stick it in the freezer (thanks, Christina), which helps keep the coating from melting. I grab Maggie and swaddle her in a towel, sitting on the kitchen floor. Holding her on her back, I brace her while Rob pries her mouth open and shoves the pill back as far as he can. She cries. He squirts water down her throat, which forces her to swallow. It does seem to help.
Both pilling sessions went well today. But–but we have to do it for twice as long as we thought we did. Or…or we quit after seven days. And poor Maggie has no idea why we decided to start torturing her.
Well, actually, not so much in my house because it’s filled with boxes, but we did get to hang out a fair bit today before his reading. The reading was great fun; I’m pleased to say that Mr. Scalzi has a good sense of pacing and knows how to use a microphone to good affect.
I swung by Trader Joe’s on the way over to visit, because the man is clearly an amateur at touring and needed decent tour snack food. I also gave him a couple of packets of EmergenC to hopefully help him through the next week.
Afterward his reading a group of writers went to the Market St. McMenamins. I even enticed Rob down there and my neo-luddite husband got into a very interesting discussion about blogs with Scalzi, Jay Lake and David Goldman. David Levine and Kate ducked out early so they missed out on that fun. Rob doesn’t get the concept of blogging. He wanted to know what the difference between a blog and photocopying a page of his journal and sticking it to the wall of a bus terminal every day.
That might be an interesting experiment actually, an analog blog as it were. I said that in many ways blogs were like the op-ed columns in the newspaper, and Jay added that comments were sort of like letters to the editor. Scalzi pointed out that this sort of dialogue could really be seen all the way back to the pamphleteers running around in the 1700s century. Until he brought that up, I’d totally forgotten about what were essentially flame wars between authors who would trash each other’s work and then publish rebuttal after rebuttal. (I would give you sources, but I read it in paper and my books are in boxes.)
Rob and I biked down down to the coffee shop. Jay Lake was there for all of five minutes after we got there. Karen recounted a little of her Vegas adventures before I settled in to write. David Levine and Kate came in about half an hour before Rob and I headed for home. It was good to see both of them. I really like meeting other folks for writing; the accountability involved just in showing up with the intent to write feels good.
I got about 900 words done with lots and lots of brackets. What’s the name of the neighboring planet? I dunno, haven’t thought about it yet, so I called it [planet]. Now I’m going through and doing a find-replace to turn it into Dahaida.
A friend of mine, Mr. Fisher, turned me on to a program called the Everchanging Book of Names, which really rocks for alien cultures. You can set up your own parameters and rules for naming systems and then the machine will generate them for you. It’s really helped me with consistency of naming rules on this project.
Here is a snippet from this evening’s work. This is my first effort to write an alien story with no human as an entry lens for the reader.
Duurir clasped his hands together in childlike glee. He uncovered the bowl of kamjipp melon that had so teased her with its sweet scent. “I remember you said that you didn’t like to mix food, so I only brought fruit..”
Pimi accepted a piece of melon and wrinkled her nose at the memory. “True. We were all dreadfully ill after your mother’s party.”
The ground slammed up against her. Duurir shouted, dropping the bowl of melon. A low rumble echoed through the dormitory, which pitched and yawed like the deck of a Tep-Tep’s ship. Pimi clutched the edge of the nest, gathering breath to scream.
And then it was over.
Duurir, on his hands and knees, drew in a shuddering breath. The bowl of melon had shattered into crockery shards on the floor. Pimi put her feet over the edge of the nest, but Duurir looked up. “Wait! There will be–”
The room shook again. Furniture creaked. Toppled. Pimi held on. She kept the urge to scream trapped in her throat.
When the shaking stopped, tremors continued in her arms and knees. If she had held any food, she would have vomited it in her desperation to flee.
Why stop for research, when all I need is to throw in some brackets to remind myself to come back to the spot in the story? Here, I don’t actually need to understand astronomy, since my POV character doesn’t, but I do need some jargon for my young over-excited astronomy student to toss around as he’s leading his love interest on a tour of the observatory. The line I’ve got in there now gives me the giggles.
Within the vast stone walls of the observatory, the air stayed chill and dry. The touch of the cool breeze alleviated Pimi’s wooziness somewhat, but she still gripped the iron railing as if the room spun around them, rather than the stairs following the curve of the observatory’s wall. Above her, Duurir chattered happily about lenses and refractions.
She plucked at the ribbons binding her waist, wishing for one of the food stalls that stood on every corner in town. Her mother would not hear of her visiting Duurir’s observatory with an even slightly belled crop.
As if thinking his name had invoked his attention, Duurir spun on the steps, “[Here I say something about telescopes that Pimi doesn’t understand!]”
Pimi blinked, hoping that her dazed expression appeared to be awe and not the confusion she felt.
One of the chores to do before we move is to clean out the basement. This is my workshop, so I have ridiculous quantities of puppet making supplies down there. I haven’t had to be selective in years and now, suddenly, I do. I’m sorting things into the categories Take, Store, Give Away. My thought is that when I get the Take and Store stuff out of the basement, that I’ll send out an email to all my puppeteer and otherwise crafty friends inviting them to a party. Sure, we’ll have food, but everyone who comes will be expected to take something from the Give Away category. The rest of it will go on Free Cycle.
I’ve got to say, this is fairly overwhelming. I mean, I’ve got a giant Cyclops head in the basement. Do I keep that? Give it away? It’s huge! And what about the mailman’s uniform? Or the bag of plaster? Heck, what about the life-size mold of a Clydesdale’s head? Oh, and then there’s the box of spare parts for the Audrey II puppet that I’ll probably never see again. Choices, choices, choices…
My husband just brought me a tray with a cup of tomato soup, a grilled cheese sandwich and a plate of slice pears. I’m sitting in bed with the computer on my lap and a cat by my side. I’m still not well, but I am comforted.
IS THAT the way you go after a job? You may have a fine set of brains but you must have a voice to prove it.
If you are not as successful as you might have been, start out right by confessing to yourself that something is wrong. There is something which prevents you from appealing to those who have an influence on your income.
Perhaps Your Voice is to Blame!
Have you ever considered that the trouble may lie with your voice? Your contact with the world depends upon your five sensesâ€”sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Certainly you try to dress well and to be pleasing in the sight of others. Probably you have developed a fine firm handshake. When you entertain friends at dinner you serve food that will please their taste.
Butâ€”do you do one single thing to make your voice pleasing to others? Remember that your voice is the one thing which puts you in audible touch with the world. Your voice is to you what the telephone is to your community. Your voice can make your future or it can spoil it.
You get but one chance at any big job. Are you sure that your voice wonâ€™t kill that chance?
You should see the illustrations and read the rest of the copy.
I spent yesterday huddled under the covers and alternated between idle, mindless surfing, and typesetting. Rob picked up some hot and sour soup for me, which is my favorite comfort food for when I’m feeling ill.
Toward bedtime, I thought I was probably starting to turn the corner, because I had the urge to write, and the writing didn’t suck (I double-checked this morning). The fever broke during the night. Hurrah.
I’m left with a sore throat and a mild cough. It means that I can do some housework, but going to the studio is out of the question. Hopefully tomorrow. I still have six chapters to record.
Yesterday was a stunningly beautiful day; I did yardwork for the first time in ages and it felt great. There was this odd moment when I was working and realized that I was too warm. It took me a minute to make the next logical conclusion, that I could take my jacket off and be comfortable. It was just a lightweight thing, like you’d wear in Iceland on a warm day, except it was warmer here yesterday than I’d been in over a year.
-e- called and invited us down for porch food, though by the time we got down to her house the sun had set and the night had drifted toward cool. We elected to eat inside.
After dinner, we watched the 1935 Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Max Reinhardt, which serves as a backdrop for the audio book I’m working on now. Astonishingly, Puck is played by a 12 year old Mickey Rooney, who does an amazing job. I mean really. This is one of the best Pucks I’ve seen. I’m not going to try to match the truly freaky laugh he does, but you’ll have to trust me that this is a Puck that you would not want to meet in the woods at night.
After spending the day with Rob, who is sicker than I’ve seen him (not counting food poisoning) I decided to look into changing our flight. We are now going to Hawaii from March 19th – 26th, because there’s just no way that I’m putting a feverish man with severe sinus pressure on an airplane for five hours.
Hey. Hey! That means I can sleep in tomorrow. Whoa. I wonder if I’ll remember how.
Carol Pinchefsky is a writer that I know through various circles. She talented and nice. She also has an article in todays New York Times’s Modern Love column, called, â€˜La BohÃ¨meâ€™ Is Romantic, as Long as Iâ€™m Not the Star. This is a column that is regularly illustrated by our friend David Chelsea, you might have noticed his wife -e- hanging out here. I feel like these folks should know each other, but they don’t. It is only random coincidence that I’m sitting here as link between them.
I DIDNâ€™T marry my husband for his money, I swear. I married him because he is brilliant, funny, compassionate and handsome. He is also unlike any man I had ever dated. You see, he has a job.
A man with a job wasnâ€™t a situation I had much experience with. I was raised by a mostly single mother; my father, who lived with us intermittently, could not pay child support. We lived on welfare, food stamps and the charity of relatives. Our telephone connection was a fair-weather friend.
Except for the muscles rippling under his form-fitting dress shirt, Magnus Scheving at first glance bears little resemblance to Sportacus, the hyperactive, health-promoting hero he plays in the international hit childrenâ€™s television program â€œLazyTown.â€
Unlike Sportacus, Mr. Scheving does not have a thin black mustache that juts out as if he had recently been electrocuted. He does not reside in a dirigible in the sky. He does not have a ski hat-cum-nightcap permanently affixed to his head.
But both he and his alter ego are devoted to a single, impassioned cause: getting couch potato-prone children to exercise, eat good food and generally lead healthier lives. And somehow Mr. Scheving, the creator and chief executive of the vast entertainment and licensing company known as LazyTown Entertainment, has become one of Icelandâ€™s best-known figures and biggest exports, a sui generis hybrid of Jack LaLanne and Richard Branson.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]