We’re having a thaw today. Which means it will probably freeze tonight and tomorrow morning there’ll be ice all over. Such is life in winter.
Yesterday I left Nerys in the den, sleeping on the desk chair, while I went to watch a show on TV. About 45 minutes later I came back. Nerys was in the chair, but there were little white baking-soda paw prints all over the desk and windowsill, and little kitty-prints in the dollhouse yard. Maybe she figured if she wiped all the baking soda off her feet, I wouldn’t figure out that she’d gone onto the table. Now I have to put down some more baking soda to cover up the paw prints.
The new crew arrived about twenty minutes after Michael got home from work yesterday. I was quite surprised to see Tim’s friend David coming first through the back door. “Hello,” he greeted me. “Did you miss me?”
“Desperately,” I said. “How did you guess?”
After that everybody pretty much came in all at once, and between them getting their coats and other gear off, the cats going crazy and Michael trying to make supper, it was a few minutes before I figured out exactly who had come. Dennis came over to give me a big hug first, and then Lenny emerged from behind a scarf. Next thing I knew, I was shaking hands with a guy I didn’t know, someone with short brown hair and brown eyes. “Hi, I’m David,” he told me. “I’m a friend of Ty’s; he told me I should drop by some time.”
I resisted the urge to comment on the latter part of that sentence. “Another David? How am I going to keep the two of you sorted out?”
“Oh, I’m the good-looking one,” he said with a smile.
I knew who that was without turning around. “Hey, ‘Toph. Comment ca va?”
“A good writer should know as near everything as possible. Naturally he will not. A great enough writer seems to be born with knowledge. But he really is not; he has only been born with the ability to learn in a quicker ratio to the passage of time than other men and without conscious application, and with an intelligence to accept or reject what is already presented as knowledge.”—Ernest Hemingway
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.”—Albert Einstein
“I know of no disease of the soul, but ignorance; not of the arts and sciences, but itself; yet relating to these, it is a pernicious evil: the darkener of man’s life, the disturber of his reason, and common confounder of the truth; with which a man goes groping in the dark, no otherwise than if he were blind … Think then what an evil it is; and what good the contrary.”—Ben Jonson
Reading: The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe; Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift; The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Last TV watched: “The Michael J. Fox Show”
Last movie watched: Ghostbusters II
So I spent some time reinstalling my Sims game. Then I spent hours downloading all my custom content from my Carbonite backup because I forgot to make a copy of it before uninstalling the game. Then I started the game and, lo and behold, the black rectangles are still following my Sims. Barry Flexor-Sharpe lost his for a few game hours last night, and there was a brief hope, but then it came back. So boo.
On Sunday I picked tomatoes, green beans, a cucumber and some of the cauliflower. The latter turned out to be a bit green yet. I’m hoping after it’s cooked that won’t make a big difference. I haven’t really looked at the garden since Sunday because it started raining yesterday afternoon and kept up for about 24 hours straight. And yes, my bedroom ceiling started leaking again. It woke me up at five this morning. The outside world is still looking rather grim right now.
I went to T2’s conferences last night. Somehow the only teachers I got to see were the ones who are giving her A’s and had only good things to say about her. I wanted to see her math teacher, but since I neglected to schedule a time with her (she was the only one of the teachers with scheduled conference times), I didn’t have a chance. I guess I should just be glad T2 got her math grade up from an F to a B.
Now the kids have Thursday and Friday off this week. The school calendar says it’s for conferences. But since there aren’t actually any conferences held on those days, I think they’re fibbing. What can you do to discipline a fibbing school district?
I started back to work on Prophet today. For now it’s just the reading/edit thing. I’m still finding awkward sentences here and there. I know, this isn’t the time to be fussy about editing, right? That’s what so many writers say: Finish it first, then edit. I’ve just never been able to do that. And I can’t see changing my work habits at my age.
I’m trying to decide if I should also go back to working on TDR. I kind of feel like I should, but I don’t know how that would affect the time I need for Prophet. Maybe I should just stick with one for now.
I came up with a new bracelet design last week, something I’ve never tried before. I had some red, black, turquoise and silver-lined seed beads and tube beads that I wanted to put together. I don’t really like working with seed beads, just because they’re so small that they’re really only useful for earrings. But I came up with the idea of stringing them on short wire-wrap links, then bundling the links in groups of three attached to a chain link, and finally stringing the bundles together to make the bracelet. It worked out great; the bundling gave the links more heft. I made a similar bracelet yesterday. Normally I don’t repeat designs, of course, but this one was just too good. Extremely time-consuming, though.
Also I sold some more beads last week, I forgot to mention. Only one small package, but better than nothing. I wonder if I should set up a separate Etsy shop for my beads? I wonder if I’m allowed to set up another one.
“People are quite willing to use objects without looking for any symbolic intention in them, but when they look at paintings, they can’t find any use for them. So they hunt around for a meaning to get themselves out of the quandary, and because they don’t understand what they are supposed to think when they confront the painting … They want something to lean on, so they can be comfortable. They want something secure to hang on to, so they can save themselves from the void. People who look for symbolic meanings fail to grasp the inherent poetry and mystery of the image … By asking “what does this mean?” they express a wish that everything be understandable. But if one does not reject the mystery, one has quite a different response. One asks other things.”—Rene Magritte
So, to continue the saga of the weekend (since my other writing doesn’t seem to be working out). Lenny and I went up to the movie room to find Erika, and we decided to order a pizza instead. We did that, watched the end of The Empire Strikes Back and an episode of “Red Dwarf” (my tape, thank you).
After that, more wandering until the Con banquet was over. The “Bad Girls Contest” came after that. It was pretty funny; Greg hammed it up big time in his “master of ceremonies” role. After that came the dance. That would have been more fun if my foot hadn’t been bothering me – probably from all the wandering – but it was pretty fun. I danced a couple of times; had to do the macarena of course. And I sort of learned how to do the Time Warp. And I lost one of my new demo earrings, which I was wearing, but thankfully somebody found it and I got it back from Carla the next morning. Some guy asked me to dance twice, but Will had warned me about this person earlier so I waved him off. And there were a group of very serious vampire-role-players swanning around not appearing to have any fun at all. What’s the point of going if you’re just going to sit around sending black looks everywhere all night?
I was also quite surprised to spot Mr. W. B. at the dance, as well as several times afterward and Sunday morning. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, on reflection. After all, he’s a friend of Debi’s so I might have expected they would have some shared interests. Needless to say, I barely took my eyes off him every time he came within sight. Hopefully he didn’t notice and think I was some crazed stalker! I have no clue what my fascination is with this fellow. He’s not particularly good-looking, and I haven’t even actually met him, for Pete’s sake. But especially when he’s on stage, there’s something magnetic about him. I know I’m totally wasting my time there, although that doesn’t stop the automatic reaction (gawk, gape, stare – take your pick).
Well anyway. Greg took me home around 1:30 Sunday morning, so I was able to get in a solid six hours of sleep before getting up again. The art auction was scheduled to start at eleven, so I had to get in for that. I didn’t know at the time, of course, that I wouldn’t have to bid for the picture I wanted. I probably would have lost it if it had come to a bid, since my total capital at that time was $10.75. When I found that the picture wasn’t in the auction, I was quite pleased, but not so pleased to discover that I had to wait around until the end of the auction to pick it up. I did more wandering, more spotting (ha!), more chatting.
Around twelve-thirty I finally got to go and pick up my lovely piece of art. I also had my formerly lost earring in my pocket, and my “Red Dwarf” tapes, so I was feeling not bad at all. The woman standing in the (long) line ahead of me noticed the tapes and we started talking. Then a pleasant surprise, when W. B. walked in and took his place in line, directly behind me. Well, the Fates dumped this right in my lap, so to speak, and as usual, I in my infinite stupidity and shyness dumped it out again. I couldn’t so much as turn around; I was just so aware that he was right there. I did manage to carry on my conversation (people are quite willing to talk to total strangers at these affairs, I discovered), and was at one point peripherally aware of him looking over my shoulder when I showed my purchase off to my new acquaintance. By the time I finally got up to the table to pay, I was aware that I was quite flushed, so of course there was no question of turning around then. I shudder to think what might have come out of my mouth at that point. No, I paid, I departed (Mark had come to pick me up), and now, I daydream. sigh. Anyway, I’ll probably go back next year!
Well, the weather’s been warmer the past few days, but naturally I’ve come down with a cold (perhaps a vampire virus?) and can’t enjoy it. Joy.
Of course I’m farther behind than ever after this past weekend. I had to bake bread on Sunday and spend most of the afternoon catching up with taped TV again. But the weekend was a nice change of pace anyway. Yesterday I mowed the lawn, probably (hopefully) for the last time this year. Next it will be time for taking care of leaves.
Now that I’ve gone and gotten sick (ugh, ugh), the birthdays party is going to be next weekend rather than this coming weekend. I doubt I’ll be in the mood for partying or much else this weekend. There are five birthday boys to look after this month.
So. The old crew left Thursday after supper; the new crew arrived around lunch time on Friday. The mind goes blank for a moment. Oh yes. Well, there’s Mark K., Jerry (“what, again?”), Fisher (“finally!”) and Michael F., plus two newcomers: Ron, who’s a friend of George and Noah; and Kyle, who’s a friend of Fisher’s. Those last two are quite opposite: Ron is very outgoing, kind of goofy at times; Kyle, while not really shy, is quieter and more serious. Could be interesting, anyway.
So. Debi came and picked me up a little after seven on Friday evening, and we went to the Doublewood Inn, which was where ValleyCon was held. I got my information packet and badge, then spent some time wandering. I saw Greg and Carla, and Erika, looked around the dealers’ room, but basically just went around seeing what and who there was to be seen. And I also sat in on the opening ceremonies. Will took me home around quarter to ten.
Ron chauffeured me over on Saturday morning so that I could sit in on a panel on “British Telefantasy.” That was kind of boring; there weren’t enough people there to really get a good discussion going. After that, I wandered some more, and went to check out the art show. I decided that if there was any piece I really liked and could afford, I’d put a bid on it. And I found one: a small print by Lawrence Williams called Aegis of the Meek. It’s a man, apparently elven, leaning on a sword. He has his eyes closed and there’s a narrow bolt of lightning leading from the sword hilt off the edge of the picture. There was just something about it; it reminded me of the final story sequence in Heavy Metal. The minimum bid was $5; I put down $8. And to end that story, I was able to buy it on Sunday without having to bid against anyone else for it. I imagine eventually this figure will become a character for me.
So. Mark picked me up at 1:30 that afternoon, and we went to Quizno’s for lunch. I liked it a lot better than Subway. Then I spent some time at home, enough to wash the dishes and just sit for a while. Back to the Doublewood by four, for another panel. It was advertised as a discussion on themes in fantasy art & literature, with Steven Brust (the writer guest-of-honor) and Mark Poole (the artist guest-of-honor) leading it. Well, it wasn’t quite that, but it did turn out to be more interesting than the panel I’d attended in the morning.
After that I wandered some more (one does a lot more of that than anything else at ValleyCon, apparently). I had arranged to meet Erika and Greg’s friend Lenny (whom I hadn’t seen for years), and go out to supper. Well, Lenny showed up at the arranged time and place, but not Erika. Then Neil (one of the convention committee members whom I was introduced to no less than three times on Saturday) came and told us that Erika was in the “movie room,” too tired to go out.
“The reader, you should premise, will always dislike you and your book. He thinks it an insult that you should dare to claim his attention, and if lunch be announced or there is a ring at the bell, he will welcome the digression. So you will provide him with what he thinks are digressions – with occasions on which he thinks he may let his attention relax … But really not one single thread must ever escape your purpose.”—Ford Madox Ford
Not much been happening. All the usual stuff. The weather’s supposed to get warm this weekend; our Indian Summer, I guess. Certainly not much sign of warmth this morning when Sabrina and I helped out with Food Bank.
I’ve found out I’m due for another change of faces already. It’s the busy season, I guess. Dean will be staying on anyway. (“Yeah, who cares about anyone else?” as my two female cohorts here might say!) It’s only been two weeks, though! Oh well; as I said before, the faster turnover rate lets me see more people.
Speaking of seeing people (I think), I’m going to take in ValleyCon for the first time this weekend. Well, Greg and Carla are the heads of the coordinating committee this year, so I kind of got wheedled into it. (I like that word, wheedle. I should use it more often.) Greg gave me a “get in free” ticket, which helped make up my mind. I don’t know for sure when I’ll be going; I’ve got business to take care of the next two afternoons. But I’m going to hitch a ride with Will and Debi (it was either that or Erika – GAK!). Could be fun; could be dead boring. I guess I’ll find out.
On Wednesday morning the weather was nice enough for me to sit in the park and attempt some writing. I say “attempt” because that’s all it was. A few sentences, nothing more. Maybe a paragraph of my play story; that one’s always been easier for me. Probably because I don’t really care about making it good. And it’s not good, I freely admit that, but I wish I could do so well with my other projects.
Anyway, the upshot of that little trip was that I decided to at least temporarily abandon the two non-fantasy projects. I want to work on finishing Dreams, and then go on and see what I can do with the trackers story. I’m going to submit the beginning of the trackers story to the group next week too, and see what anyone has to say about it. Greg said he’d be willing to give me some suggestions on Dreams, but first I have to get my act together and send him the part that I’m working on.
That probably won’t be any time soon either. I’m way behind in my group work; I haven’t read the last story or any of the critiques yet. Plus I’m a couple of weeks behind in Tiny Talk, and Greg just sent me another story. I just don’t know where my time is going lately, but I’m getting further behind every day instead of getting closer to catching up.
On Saturday night the other ladies and I camped down on my bed for a session. The guys always refer to these as slumber parties and pretend they don’t care what’s going on, but what man can resist trying to eavesdrop when he thinks women might be talking about him? Of course when we did start dishing at all, we talked more about friends who weren’t in the house. Like, “I don’t think you’d like Jerry, Evie. He’s kind of young.”
“So are we, still, aren’t we?”
“Aw, she’s just trying to keep him for herself,” Sabrina said with a grin.
“Who else wants him?” Big bowl of popcorn in the middle of the bed, cans of ginger ale, Squirt and Pepsi on the shelves. Cats dropping by from time to time, seeking some attention. The sheers drawn around the bed to give us a little privacy, since the door is cracked open for the cats. The later it gets, the sillier we get.
A knock on the door. “Uh-oh,” Sabrina says, “the cops are busting us for the loud party.”
“Open up, it’s the pigs!”
“Frederico! Wass ist?” I open the curtain a little to peek out at him, and Yvonne does the same from her end of the bed. “No, that should be, wie geht’s,” I correct myself.
“Que pasa, baby,” Sabrina puts in with a giggle. Guess who’s had the most caffeine.
Fred waits through all this, then asks, “Have you seen my pajama top?”
“The one that matches these pants, hon.”
“Oh. Uh, no, not lately. Check the laundry room.”
“Okay. Good night, ladies.”
“Good night!” we all chorus.
He’s barely out of the room when Yvonne says, “Now that I could take for a while.”
“Get in line, girl.”
“First the younger ones, then the older ones,” Sabrina says, shaking her head in mock concern.
“No.” Yvonne grins; she’s come up with something good. “You have to have the older ones first.”
“Because why?” My obvious line.
“You have to learn it from the older ones – ”
“So you can teach it to the younger ones.” More giggling fits, even though it probably wouldn’t be as funny considered soberly.
“Okay, then what about the ones who aren’t younger or older?” Sabrina says at last. “Like Harry, or Dean – ”
“Or Hugh, or David, while you’re at it,” I put in.
“Are we making a list?” Yvonne asks. “Who’s first after Fred?”
“Harry, definitely,” Sabrina says.
“Oooh, we know who you like!”
“Yeah, so? Better him than those two stuck-ups.”
“They are not stuck up! Well, at least David isn’t.”
“Thank you very much.”
We all jump, and I peek out through the curtains again. “Hi, David.” I think my face is red, but not as red as Sabrina’s.
“Hello.” He’s wearing that little teasing smile of his. “I just came to say good night.”