Posts Tagged ‘friends’

New Year’s Day 2011

The first day of 2011 was a very pleasant one.  Yesterday Rob and I stayed in and did a thorough cleaning of the apartment. This included moving furniture away from the walls and attacking the dust bunny colonies that were in hiding.

In the evening, we opened a split of a champagne from 1989. For a bottle that’s 22 years old, it showed quite well.  Very little bead left, and had oxidized but was still nicely balanced.

Today, I wrote a little, and did some more tidying. We had some friends over for low-key dinner of black-eyed peas, collards, pear relish, and cornbread. And champagne. Sue brought ginger butter to go with the cornbread, which was amazing.  Kelley had a nifty … bother I’ve forgotten what’s it’s called.  It’s got a nitrogen cartridge and makes foams.  She made a chocolate brandy foam that was like the world’s lightest mousse.  Very tasty.

I hope your New Year’s Day was as pleasant.

My weekend was lovely. How was yours?

The weather has finally turned to summer here and it feel so good. I assembled our teak table and set it out in the courtyard yesterday. I had lunch outside and it was really lovely. All of our neighbors went by while I was out there and stopped to chat. Funny how just putting a table and chairs out there makes it feel much more like a yard and a community.

In the evening, I took one of the manual typewriters out and wrote a little. The glare was too strong for the laptop and somehow the typewriter felt more indulgent. I have to finish the story tomorrow since I won’t be lugging a typewriter to NYC and switching to computer will change the voice some.

Today I had lunch out there again. Then in the evening biked up to the Kennedy School to have dinner with Beth Wodzinski and Felicity Shoulders. It felt so good to be outside and have it be something other than cold and rainy.

This evening was my last gym session before heading off to NYC tomorrow. Things are much easier than they were when I went in last week. It always amazes me how quickly things come back. When I return from NYC I’ll keep going but at a somewhat saner pace.

Anyway, that was my weekend. How was yours?

An Exchange of Words: David B. Coe’s Weblog – Win a Signed Book!

With less than a week from the release of my pal David B. Coe’s newest book, The Dark-Eyes’ War, the third and final installment in his Blood of the Southlands trilogy, he’s having a contest.  If you like The Dark-Eyes' War, by David B. Coe (book III of Blood of the Southlands, jacket art by Romas Kukalis)swash-buckling fantasy with hair-pin plot turns, you’ll like David’s work.  The Dark-Eyes’ War will be released by Tor Books as a hardcover original next Tuesday, February 16th.

I have a contest up on my website right now, and the winner gets a free signed hardcover copy of the new book. All you have to do is go to my site, follow the link to the sample chapters of the book, and, after reading them, answer the contest question. That’s all there is to it. So give it a try. And next week I’ll be posting more about the new release.

via An Exchange of Words: David B. Coe’s Weblog – Win a Signed Book!.

Truck is unloaded

This entry is part 16 of 16 in the series Moving from NYC to PDX

Because our friends rock, we were able to unload everything from the truck and get it into the apartment today.  A hearty thank you to David, Kate, Aimee, Michael, Dave, Don, Yan, Eve, David, Ben, Rebecca, Taylor, Whitney, Bob, and Evan.

After everyone had gone, Rob carried me across the threshold.  In a fireman’s carry, to be sure, but romantic in his own way. We never did that when we got married since I already owned the house when we met.

I managed to get most of the kitchen unpacked, which makes me feel a little better. It also gives me a clearer sense of what we’ll need in order to make it a workable space.  Actually, the layout, compact as it is, will probably be the most efficient kitchen I’ve worked in. It’s just going to be a matter of deciding where things go.

Salt Lake City: Day 6 of the move

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the series Moving from NYC to PDX

Really? We’ve been on the road for six days?

Today was largely uneventful as we left Colorado and headed up through Wyoming. I cranked out story and got about 5000 words written.  Things were fine until we got to Utah.

Ah, Utah.

There’s this dinging noise that our truck makes when the temperature spikes. How do I know this, you might ask? Because it happened when we hit the hills leading into Salt Lake City.  Thrice, in fact. Rob had checked the fluids before heading into the hills, but that didn’t stop every light on the dashboard from lighting up.  The third time we called the truck rental company and talked to roadside assistance. They are going to get us in with a mechanic tomorrow, but won’t know what appointments are available until seven am.

Needless to say, Rob and I did the only logical thing. We coasted into SLC, to Beth Wodzinski’s house, where she and Sean Markey had arranged for us to meet up with some fellow writers at a local pub.  We got to see Eric James Stone, Sandra Taylor and Chris Hansen.

And now, I’m going to turn into a pumpkin so that I can get up in the morning and talk about the truck. We’d just better not have to reload the thing.

Burying Maggie + Racoons!

Yesterday, Rob and I picked Maggie’s body up from the vet, where they’d been holding her in the freezer. Yep, Maggie the Catsicle.  You can tell we are feeling better because the gallow’s humor has emerged.

We got on the motorcycle and went to upstate NY where some friends of ours had generously offered a corner of their backyard. We were both braced for this to be a really hard trip, but it wasn’t. I think the whole burial ritual, or funeral ritual in whatever context, evolved because you really need that sort of closure to get on with things. Even if the creature you are mourning is a small fuzzy gray cat.

While we were back there, Mrs. L– beckoned us and said “Look! Racoons!”

RacoonsRob kept digging, but I went over to look, and sure enough there was a family of mama and two baby racoons coming out of their garage. Mama and one of the babies hightailed it across the lawn.

The other one wandered over to check out what Rob was doing.  It stood up on its hind legs, about two feet in front of him as if to say, “Hi there! What are you doing?”

This amused all of us, while at the same time, being glad that Rob had a shovel just in case Mama decided to feel protective. Rob waved at the little guy, who dropped back down to his haunches.

wee racoonThen stood up again. “Whatcha working on? Huh?”

Sadly, attempts to establish a true cross-species dialog didn’t proceed past that and the little fellow trundled off to his mother, who probably said, “How many times have I told you not to talk to strangers?”

Sorry that the photo is as fuzzy as the racoon.  It was awfully cute and a nice place to leave Maggie.

We spent the night and then had a leisurely morning up there.   Rode back today, taking the scenic route.

Wiscon Day 2

Yesterday I woke spontaneously at 9:00 a.m., which I did not approve of. I’d had so little sleep the night before, that it just seemed unfair and yet I was wide, wide awake. So fine. I got up, took a shower and eventually wandered out to the farmer’s market with my roomie Heather Lindsley. We acquired breakfast and discussed the relative merits of a theater career track versus a literary one as well as wondering why everyone in Madison ambles instead of actually walking.

The rest of the day seemed to consist of meeting very cool people for food or drinks, interspersed with a nap. I didn’t manage to make it to any panels at all which is a shame because Wiscon has really good ones. I’m going to try to remedy that today. Speaking of which, I should head out and hit the con.

Busier social calendar than I realized

This week is just astonishingly packed.  In a nutshell, I had a meeting about crows and entrails on Monday. Tuesday was my writer’s group, plus dinner with a friend from out of town, plus the arrival of Alma Alexander whose staying with us for a couple days. Wednesday was work then KGB Fantastic Reading. Tomorrow I’m having a writing date with N.K. Jemison and then my wonder-agent Jenn Jackson is stopping by for dinner and a sleepover. Friday I go to Lunacon and an entirely different friend comes to stay with us for about a week, while a pair of friends is also in town and raring for some social time.

Don’t be surprised if the blogging is a little light for the next week.

Happy Release Day, Ken Scholes!

lamentationMy literary dad, Ken Scholes, introduced me to my wonder-agent, Jennifer Jackson. Today is the release of his debut novel, Lamentation from Tor.

Ken is one of my dearest friends and he’s also one of my favorite authors, which is a handy combination.  If you’re in the Seattle area, you can head over the the U-bookstore for his signing.   But if that’s too far away and you want a sampling of Scholes, has one of his short stories up.

A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon by Ken Scholes.

Frederico leaned close to smell the poison on his thirteenth wife’s cold, dead lips. It tickled his nose and he resisted the strong desire to kiss her that suddenly overcame him.

That you might lose yourself from sadness by my lips, my husband and Czar, her open, glassy eyes promised him. He looked away, uncomfortable with her empty, inviting stare.

Behind him, the Minister of the Interior cleared his voice and spoke. “The cabinet feels it would be more stabilizing to consider this an assassination. Jazrel was a most popular wife.”

As a bonus, they have an audio version available as well, read by me.

Last day of the writing birthday retreat

Well, my guests have all gone to bed and I’m mostly packed. I decided to catch an early flight back to New York because there are some things going on with the show that need attention and it’ll be less stressful to just fly back and deal with it myself.

I have to tell you that this week has been wonderful. Having time to hang out with family and friends, write and cook has been just great. I don’t want it to be over.

On the other hand, I am looking forward to getting home to Rob. The only time my poor boy could schedule for his physical was on Thursday, so he wasn’t able to be here for the weekend. He also came down with a nasty, nasty cold. Hopefully I’ll be able to tend to him some when I get home and not spend all my time at the theater.

But if I do, at least I’ll have some very happy memories to boost my spirits. I haven’t even told you half of the cool things from this week. For now, know that I am an extremely happy forty year old girl.

40 years old today + Iron Chef

The birthday celebrations have been going on all week of course, but yesterday was pretty spectacular. In the morning Steven Gould — whose birthday it actually was — had released the theme ingredient for the Iron Chef Battle we had planned. [1. Originally we were going to do it today, but decided to move it to yesterday because a couple of the guests had flights out today.] Welcome to Iron Chef Pear!

We all trouped over to Grandma’s church for her 104th birthday party and then went straight from there to shop for Iron Chef. At first we were going to shop separately, but then thought, what? We’ll see each other in the store and be shocked that, “OMG! You’re buying pears!”

Back home the two teams — headed by Alethea Kontis and me — began cooking. There are two kitchens at Mom and Dad’s which is part of why I wanted to try an Iron Chef battle in real time. You know, because we could. I took the kitchen in the other house so we’d both be in unfamiliar kitchens and we gave ourselves two hours to compensate for not having Kitchen Stadium.

Here are the results in video form.

Here are writeup’s from Alethea Kontis, David D. Levine and Steve‘s flickr lineup plus combined photos in my Picasa album

Edited to add:
The recipes our dishes were based on.
Warm peppered pears with dolce gorgonzola and fried sage on watercress
Smoked Pear and Parsnip Bisque with frizzled ginger
Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Pears and Pear-Brandy Cream Sauce served with Gorgonzola and Red Pear Risotto
I just made up the zinfandel poached pear with dark chocolate and pistachio icecream.

So tonight we are dressing formally for my birthday dinner, but I don’t know how I will top last night’s meal.

Birthday Writing Retreat Day 2

The last of our guests arrived today bringing us to ten plus my folks to make an even dozen. I have to say that this was a brilliant idea to throw this house party/writing retreat. While I’m a little distracted because I’m working on the show remotely, mostly I’m hunkering down and getting writing done, which feels great.

I’m also getting to cook, which I very much enjoy. The routine goes like this: Breakfast consists of cereal, toast, fruit and yogurt. Folks are on their own for that. Then writing happens.

Sometime around noon, we all get hungry so there are sandwich fixings and leftovers from the night before. (Mushroom Quinoa Risotto, Vegetable Soup and Broccoli) Today I also cooked some bacon for BLTs.

More writing happens.

Around six I started cooking dinner. Tonight’s menu:
North Carolina Red Trout with garlic, oregano and lemon zest.
Steamed Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese
Green salad with Balsamic Vinegrette
Dessert: Mom’s Blueberry Cobbler

Then more writing happens.

You see why I think this was a good idea.

The first day of 2009

I used to think that cutting onions had no effect on me, but later I realized there was another reason I never cried. My contacts acted as a shield. No, seriously, I asked my eye doctor about it once. I always forget about it until I’m chopping onions with my glasses on and the burning begins.

As you might guess, I was chopping onions today. I had to make pear relish — Grandma’s recipe — to go with the black-eyed peas and collards we were having for dinner. Now, besides the standard Southern tradition of beans and greens on New Year’s Day, I tend to hold with the belief that the way you conduct yourself on the first day of the year will influence how the rest of the year goes.

So we invited friends over for dinner and I set the table with crisply ironed linens, the china, the crystal, the silver and…. beans and greens.

We also have Ozuni, which is the traditional New Year’s Day soup in Japan and something Rob is very fond of. Then, to further blend cuisine traditions, we also have champagne and caviar. It all works together better than it has any right to.

It was a really, truly lovely evening and the perfect way to start the New Year. I hope the first day of 2009 was as nice for you.

St. John’s and hamentash

I had coffee and a hamentash at the Hungarian Pastry Shop with Fabulous Girl. It was nice to catch up with her and feel like a grownup with a social life, you know? Afterwards, we went into the cathedral of St. John the Divine, which I’d somehow not managed to go into yet, despite living so close to it. I knew it was large, but the sheer size of it doesn’t hit you until you go in.

The building inspires awe. Pure, simple awe. Though I’m not much of one for organized religion, I do think that this is one of the things that it ought to do. I mean seriously, if you’re going to put up an edifice in the glory of God, it ought to darn well inspire awe. I can worship on my own, but a cathedral is a physical manifestation of the idea that individuals are small and that there are things that are much, much greater than we are. You know?

It helped, of course, that they were tuning the pipe organ for tomorrow’s rededication. It was haunting although at times a little unpleasant when a reed was particularly out of tune. I’ve never heard a pipe organ bend notes before. Pretty darn cool.

As I’m writing this, it strikes me as amusing that I started the day with a hamentash — a pastry from the Jewish holiday of Purim — and then went to a massive cathedral. I have to say, as impressive as the cathedral is, the idea of making cookies seems more practical. Or at least tastier.

Twitters for 11-21-08

  • 10:41 The downside to giving a dinner party with “correct” place-settings is dealing with the ridiculous amount of silver afterwards. #
  • 11:53 The upside to giving a dinner party with “correct” place-settings is that I love my china and silver. I just clearly need staff for cleanup. #
  • 12:26 Whoops.Got our phone bill.All of my Obama calls while in the Calgary airport in were roaming charges. A good cause, but tax deductible? #
  • 12:30 Good timing. My phone just died. As in broken. Is the universe telling me something? #
  • 12:50 If you were getting a smart phone & a t-mobile customer, what would you get? #
  • 14:05 Curses. If I buy the phone at a store, they can’t let me upgrade unless I switch to an NYC number. How stupid is that? Not doing it. #
  • 16:52 Finally leaving for Philcon with my new phone. Played with the blackberry and the G1 in the store, settled on the G1. (Hush, Michael.) #
  • 19:51 I’m on the River Line heading into Camden. So far, its been painless transit. #
  • 21:14 I’m at Philcon and heading for the meet the pros reception. #
  • 21:57 OMG I left the Campbell tiara at home. Anyone coming out to Philly from NYC tomorrow? Daft, I am. #
  • 22:40 I’m on a panel on websites for writers and explaining twitter. Got anything pithy to say? #
  • 23:23 Thanks all for the pithy thoughts, we were trying to demonstrate what twitter is and what it’s good for. #
  • 23:24 So, Philcon? Free wifi, which automatically makes this the best con, evar. And well organized thus far. #