I have been trying to figure out how to post about this without slaying my mother with mortification. She would no doubt beg me not to, but I think it is hillarious and sorta cries out for sharing.
That said, I’m about to offer you Too Much Information. To make this somewhat more palatable, I will use euphemisms from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue as well of placing the rest of the post behind a cut. Be warned, I shall talk about trouble with my “fruitful vine.”
Last night, Rob told me that the milk carton had sprung a leak and that he’d had to transfer the milk into other containers. So this morning, I got up and poured a milk out of a cocktail shaker. Mmm… milktini’s anyone?
Normally I’m all etiquette books and puppets, but there are days when what I really want to see is a movie with things that explode, you know? Today was one of those — don’t ask — and so Rob went out to find something for me. He came back with The Bourne Supremacy, which I saw in Iceland and Charlie’s Angels. Good fluffy explosions and fight sequences. I love wire work and there was plenty of it in this.
The urge to watch this kind of film doesn’t come up that often so I don’t keep up with the good action films out there. I’m looking for suggestions for the next time I need an exploding film nights.
To start you off, here are movies that fit the bill:
Almost anything by Jackie Chan The Blues Brothers
The Bourne Identity
Some Bond, such as Goldfinger Serenity Robocop
There’s a tendency for comic book escapism here, you might note. It’s not that they need to be light-hearted it’s just that I don’t handle monsters well.
Rob is in the other room writing a synopsis of Shades of Milk and Honey. I hate writing them but gotta have one and he is excellent.
He just called out, “Hey! There’s light careening in your novel.”
I wandered in to kiss him on top of his head. “That’s there for you.”
See, when we were first dating, Rob turned to me once and in a fit of amorous passion said, “I love the way light careens across your face.”
He attempted to fix it by saying, “Well, your face is very architectural.”
Oh, my poor, sweet boy. So well intentioned… But I knew what he really meant was that he thought I was beautiful, and that’s all a girl really needs to know sometimes. In everything I write, there’s a moment where I reference Rob. Sometimes it is the way a character looks at the man she loves, sometimes it is a character’s actions.
When Rob and I woke up this morning, our health had taken a swing for the worse. Yes, indeed. My niece gave us the gift that keeps on giving.
So I called the friends that were supposed to come over and regretfully asked them to stay away. We’ve been huddled under the covers with a Veronica Mars marathon pretty much all day. I still made black-eyed peas and collards though because I’m just not willing to chance going into the New Year without them.
It’s funny, even in Portland, at the grocery store the black-eye peas and the collards were always prominently displayed and you could tell that there’d been a run on them. Here in NYC, not so much. People looked at me like I’m a crazy person for saying that you have to have them on New Year’s day.
So how about you? Do you have a New Year’s day tradition?
Rob and I have a tradition of making sushi New Year’s Eve and staying in. Tonight, on my way home, our neighbor was standing in the lobby and ready to hop on the elevator. I rode up with him, chatting about New Year’s plans and, quite spontaneously, I invited him and his wife to join us for sushi.
I’m so glad I did. We just had a great conversation ranging across theater, philosophy and cinema. They’re coming over tomorrow for the traditional New Year’s Day meal. We’ve got a small group coming for black-eye peas, collards and cornbread. I don’t know about you, but where I come from, you must have those New Year’s Day to ensure health and prosperity.
It’s a fine way to send the old year out and bring the New Year in.
And with a belated gift from my little niece! Yes, the delightful germ-monger has presented Rob and myself with colds. His struck yesterday and mine began kicking in this morning. We’re fortifying ourselves with Chinese food and heading for bed early.
Yesterday we went over to Grandma’s as the rest of the extended family descended on her house. It was good to catch up with my many cousins to find out just a little about what was going on in their lives. There’s never enough time, of course, especially as the family keeps growing. I met, let’s see…my new first cousin twice-removed. That wouldn’t be as impressive if she weren’t my grandmother’s great-great grandchild. Can you even imagine having great-great-grandchildren? Grandma’s 102 and still going strong.
On my dad’s side the extended family is broader, with third and fourth cousins abounding. I like having family and coming home to see them.
At the moment, I’m sitting in front of the fireplace with my dad. Normally, I say that I write daily so my folks don’t think I’m dead and this post started as an easy way to leave a toy for my dad to play with when we leave tomorrow (The Music Text Composition Generator ( A free online music utility)) but I gotta tell you, sitting here all I can think about is how glad I am to be home and how much I’ll miss everyone when I go back to New York.
Meanwhile, before I get to maudlin, really do go play with the Music Text Composition Generator. Try composing something that is interesting to read which doesn’t sound awful when you listen to the midi file it creates. This post? Ouch.
I spent the day hanging out with my nieces and nephew. Most of the time involved playing in Emily’s “house” in the magnolia tree out front. There was a weird discomfort for me about that. See, though I acknowledge that it is a superior space for a pretend house, as a child I never, ever played in that tree.
Not after the incident with the turtle.
I’m not sure how old I was, but probably between five and eight simply because I was doing what Emily was doing today. I was “exploring” or playing house. This magnolia tree is great for that because it’s actually a single large tree surrounded by a crowd of magnolia saplings. They grow so slowly that it doesn’t look much different from when I was little.
I remember pushing through the tightly bunched trunks and the waxy feel of the leaves. The slender branches feel like cinnamon sticks. It is dark and quiet in the center of the grove, even at noon. I step over a branch and my bare foot comes down on a dead turtle.
This is my first scream of abject terror.
The turtle’s shell had collapsed so that the inside is visible. I remember trying to run out of the grove, but the branches were so tight that I couldn’t push through. Robby, my grandmother, came running out of the house and made everything safe somehow. Later she said that she’d known that I was really frightened and not just pretending to be upset because of the way I’d screamed.
This is a very sharp memory for me and this is the place that my niece wanted to play with me today. I’m a good thirty years older than I was, but I had so much dread going in there today, even though I know, I know that the turtle skeleton is long gone. I kept trying to find reasons for the Scientist Fairy and I to go play someplace else, but after the expeditions to discover dinosaurs and to throw parties, we kept coming “home” to that blasted magnolia grove.
She’s got no idea how much affection I was demonstrating by playing with her there .And you know, it probably wouldn’t have been as weird and uncomfortable if I weren’t trying to remember what it was like to be her age so that I could play with her.
Such a Halloween story, eh? It was like a nightmare before Christmas in real life. Other than that, today was lovely. We baked and did other Christmas prep. Rob has made eggnog.
Today was largely relaxing, except for our outing to buy Christmas presents. We borrowed Dad’s car and drove to the mall to pick up some things. Now, you have to bear in mind that this is really the first time either of us has driven since moving to NYC six months ago. We’re really used to being pedestrians at this point in our life, so rather than driving from the strip mall to the main mall across the street, we decided to walk. Traffic was icky and it was less than three blocks away.
Except that Chattanooga apparently has a thing against sidewalks. There were none.
Strangely, one of the lights had a pedestrian crossing button, to get the traffic light to change color, but no crosswalk, no crossing signal, no sidewalk on either side. Just who were they expecting to hit the button? Drivers just didn’t know what to do with us. I felt far less safe walking than I did driving. I’d forgotten just how intense the car culture is after living in NYC and Portland.
Meanwhile, I’m probably not going to be online much the next couple of days, so may I offer you some old-time Christmas Radio. This includes such gems as the original cast recording of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Hmm…. which to tell you about. Tempest Build, Day Four or that I actually had a social life?
We’ll go with social, because that is rarer in these parts.
Friday night, our friend Jonathan invited us out with him to see Aimee Mann’s Christmas show. Now, I sort of vaguely knew who Aimee Mann was, but not really. I was exhausted and left to my own devices would have stayed home, but I like Jonathan and this was a really nice thing that he did for us. So I leave the studio with all its tentacles and head to midtown.
The show was in the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center, which is a gorgeous space. Turns out that Aimee Mann does a variety show, with guest musicians, comedians and a little mini-mockumentary. It was so much fun. I had a blast and was really glad that Jonathan had invited us.
Yesterday was all Tempest, all the time.
Today, we went to Jonathan’s tree-trimming party. He does this fun thing where he hangs Polaroids of his guests on the tree. Lots of good food and interesting conversations. It felt really, really good to take the day off.
Last night, Rob and I headed down to Brooklyn to see Dean and Eric play (Kill Henry Sugar). It was an intimate little venue with seating for maybe thirty and standing room for another twenty or so. We stood in the back.
About three songs into the set, this reasonably attractive man in a suit crossed the room to join two girls standing in front of us. I thought he knew them, but he leaned down to one of the girls and said, “What’s your name?”
She looked at him, looked at the giant beer glass in his hand, laughed and kind of edged away. He asked again. Her friend said, “She’s trying to listen to the music.”
He turned to her and asked the same question. It was clear that glass did not hold his first beer of the night. The girl gave him the shoulder and focused on the band.
He touched the first girl’s long curly hair. “I like you.”
She shuffled away.
At this point, I’m no longer listening to the band, much as I enjoy them.
I leaned forward to her friend and said, “I’m standing here with my husband. If you need a man to intervene, come stand by us.” Then I turned to Rob and whispered, “This guy is hitting on these two girls in a totally inappropriate way. I told them they could pretend to be with us.”
His jaw clenched and I could feel him straighten.
The thing is, that I pretty sure the girls would have been a lot more forceful in telling Mr. A-hole to leave them alone, if they weren’t at a concert in a small room. Socially, they were trapped between him and the need to be quiet because there was live music. It’s not like Kill Henry Sugar is a loud band where everyone shouts at each other while dancing. This was two guys, a banjo and drums, playing for forty people who were there to listen.
Meanwhile, Mr. A-hole began tapping another woman on the shoulder and crooking his little finger to her to get her to come to him. She wrinkled her nose, looked at him like he’s insane and shook her head.
He turned back to the first girl. “Dance with me?”
He needed to stop.
I walked out of the room to get a bouncer. In the front of the bar, I realized that they probably didn’t have a bouncer since it is a small, quiet neighborhood place, but this guy was being a complete jerk. I caught the bartender’s eye.
He wiped the bar down and smiled, “What can I do for you?
“Do you have a bouncer?”
The shift to alert mode was astonishing. “Why? Is someone giving you trouble?”
“There’s a guy in the back hitting on every woman in the room in really inappropriate ways.”
“Show me.” He dropped the towel and strode to the end of the bar. He wasn’t a tall man, but every line of his body was ready to take someone down.
I pulled the curtain aside. Mr. A-hole had moved on to another woman and had his face buried in her ear, whispering. She leaned away, clearly trying not to make a scene while the band was playing. I pointed at him. “The guy in the tie.”
The bartender nodded once. He ducked back out of the curtain and for a moment I thought that he wasn’t going to do anything, that this was a regular and they were used to him. But he headed to the front, with the fast, smooth waiter’s walk, and spoke briefly to another male employee. All I could see of the new guy at first was his white hat as his head snapped up.
These two guys moved through the crowd with the walk that I’ve seen hundreds of service industry people use; it’s graceful and designed to get you someplace fast without looking like you are hurrying. I’ve never seen it look dangerous before.
They ducked into the room, walked over to Mr. A-hole, and told him to come with them. He didn’t put up a fuss. The band kept playing, with no idea that this little drama was playing out in the back.
I came back in and the girls turned to me, mouthing “thank you!” We didn’t say anything else because we were there to listen to the music.
We just returned from a lovely dinner with Rob’s parents at Cafe Frida. They were on a whirlwind tour of the mainland and stopped by NYC for the weekend. Sadly, I missed them last night and only saw them this evening when I came home from working on the moth. I thought that they were here longer or I would have tried to schedule the moth work differently. They head back to Hawaii tomorrow.
Short though the visit was, it was good to see them.
(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, […]