Ok, it's 7500 words, which is half again as long as it was supposed to be, and it needs a ton of revision before I can even think about a beta-reader, but still! VICTORY!
That means I get to go to ChessieCon this weekend, too. Sometimes self-bribery works.
(Hopefully the other near-finished one will get done, and then in December I take a month for Yuletide, and I can worry about revisions in January...)
Also dinner yesterday was quite pleasant, and we discussed the fact that my cousin's mom really wants her to read Anne of Green Gables, but my cousin will only read books with dragons in them, so therefore someone needs to write a version of Anne of Green Gables were Anne is actually a dragon. (This seems entirely workable, given what I remember of Anne of Green Gables. And it's public domain...)
Kat Tanaka Okopnik, social justice activist of the first water, is considering offering an online workshop on cultural appropriation. If you know Kat at all (and if you don't, here's a link to a guest blog she wrote on Jim Hines' website -
If you are interested, please contact Kat for more information. You can find her on Facebook or at http://shadesbetween.com
Staying home has been great so far. Drinking Cocoa and her family transported me to morning and lunch with a college friend and her houseful, including the Adorable Tots - I got to meet the college friend's brother for the first time! Very exciting! - and then headed a few blocks over with the Cocoas and Ms. 7 to the home of tgoh, who also fed us (I ate less). Then, together with her visiting friend from middle school, tgoh was worn into exhaustion by Ms. 7, who was full of energy all day. Me, I petted the cats belonging to her traveling roommates, which was lovely but resulted in me having to take two Benadryl when I got home, so I could stop coughing from nonstop post-nasal drip.
Today, Ms. 7 and I are going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Saturday will be a Jessica Jones extravaganza with C. and maybe some other folks, interspersed with more food. Sunday is Second Thanksgiving with the Cocoas and college friend and her family.
This will all be a nice break before the final choir push of the season - I have rehearsal Monday night, dress rehearsal Tuesday night, and our concert featuring commission pieces on Wednesday.
Pecan or pumpkin?
The stuff from the can is fine
Freshly made please
Change "whipped" to "ice" and I'll think about it
No thank you
I reject the false binary imposed upon me by the first question.
I have eaten too much pie
I would like some pie
- SPACE JUNK WILL KILL US ALL!!1!! Because I haven't had an opportunity to type that for ages: supervillain Elon Musk bombs British Isles with GIANT space rocket... but misses, luckily for us, or maybe he was aiming for his secret undersea lair in the Atlantic?
- Units of measurement: in Britain we have the "football pitch" and the "size of Wales" as standardised units of size but what is the measure of (scrap) paper? The Ikea catalogue, or the Argos catalogue, or something else? It used to be the BT phonebook when I was younger but they haven't exist in popular consciousness for a whole generation now. Anyway, I just recycled an epic amount of useless paperwork and I want to know how best to boast about it!!1!!
- Reading, books 2015, 149.
143. City of Spies, by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, and Pascal Dizin. From reading this book I learned that it is possible to make a boring children's (?) graphic novel about a Jewish American girl hunting Nazi spies in 1942. It's also surprisingly, erm, inclusive at the beginning with Our Heroine imagining herself saving an airship full of Nazis from disaster. Then there's a sexual harrassment "joke" on pg11. And all the adults are pathologically narcissistic, even the secondary heroine and hero. Oh, and the adult secondary heroine falls in love with the adult secondary hero immediately after he repeatedly negs her and reinforces her low self-esteem. Maybe Kim and Klavan were aiming this book at adults who were ten, like the protags, in 1942 and this is actually a story for 68 year olds in their second childhood? P.S. I blame none of these faults on the artist Pascal Dizin who appears to have done as well as could be expected with the substandard script. (2/5 one point for having a very basic grasp of storytelling and a second point for using the phrase, "Plant you now, dig you later!")
145. Dorothy Wordsworth's Christmas Birthday, by Carol Ann Duffy, poem in a chapbook with lovely wood/lino cut style illustrations by Tom Duxbury. Reread. (4/5)
146. Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke. Reread. Children's fantasy graphic novel. Second book in a series of three (so far) and probably best read in order as part of that series. Good storytelling in both the script and the art. Also cute. (4/5)
That very afternoon I set off to pay a call on Lady W-, tho’ I do not know whether she be receiving visitors. However I confide that I may at least have some chance of a word or two with my dearest if she is about the house.
The footman at the door looks a little dubious when I place my card upon his salver and ask whether Lady W- be at home. He says he will go ask: this seems a little strange to me, for surely he has orders either one way or 'tother, but I am still quite the novice at making calls.
I wait in the hall, looking around, for indeed I have never been here before.
The footman emerges from the parlour door, but is almost trampled over by my darling that rushes out to greet me, her dear loved face quite lighting up to see me (as I am sure mine does to see her).
She makes me a most elegant curtesy. Lady B-, how very delightfull to see you. Do come in, I am sure Lady W- will be most pleas’d to see you. (The footman, I note, does not look as tho’ he quite believes this.)
My dear love takes and quickly squeezes my hand as we go into the parlour. Lady W- is reclining in a chair looking exceeding pale (sure she has never been of a high colour, but this is quite extreme) with her eyes clos’d. Dear Lady W-, says Mrs F-, look who has come to call!
Lady W- slowly opens her eyes, and looks as tho’ she struggles to mind what she should do now. She rises, curtesies to me with a vague smile, and sits down again. Her lorgnette dangles unnotic’d at her side.
A footman comes in with tea.
Mrs F- pours and hands round cups. Lady W- looks at hers with the same wondering look, but eventually sips at it. Mrs F- goes about to ask me about my travels and I do my best to provide a sprightly narration of some of the matters of interest in the hopes that it may rouse Lady W- to some animation.
Mrs F- looks across at me and mouths, opium. O dear, thinks I, I daresay this is on some physician’s advice but I cannot like what it does to my friend, that would in her usual state be asking many fine questions and finding much of interest in my tales.
The door opens and comes in Sir B- W-. Oh, they did not say we had callers - why, Lady B-, how very well you are looking. While he does the polite I can see his eyes go towards his wife and he looks sadly at her, that scarce marks him or indeed any that are in the room.
I am sorry, say I, not to see Lady W- in her usual spirits.
He shakes his head. The doctors say she should pull round in time, he says somewhat hopeless.
And, I say, you now have a fine daughter?
Indeed, he says, our dear little Suzy, a healthy pretty creature. I go about to visit her in the nursery now, by your leave?
After he has gone Mrs F- and I look at one another. We look at Lady W-, whose eyes have closed once more and who appears to sleep.
Mrs Black? I say. I daresay she has seen a good many more that have recent become mothers than any doctors and may have some notion.
That is a very fine thought: I had much excellent converse with her when… My darling minds that perchance we should not speak of that time and is silent once more, then goes on, she is sure a woman that has great experience in the matter. I will go about to persuade Sir B- W-, who has a masculine preference for those that can boast they are of the College of Physicians.
We both sigh.
Mrs F- says more loudly that she will see me to the door, it was really most agreeable of dear Lady B- to visit: Lady W- stirs a little, rises, curtesies, and sinks back down again.
O, I say, as we leave the room, and lower my voice: tomorrow morning, my darling?
Mrs F- nods, as the footman comes forward with my muff and tippet.
I am most extreme distresst at the sight of Lady W- in such a state.
I go about and tell the household that we are expecting Mrs F-, so that they do not admit any other visitors unexpect’d.
Comes my darling by the usual backdoor route, and kisses me most hearty. We are all propriety for some moments while Euphemia brings in a good breakfast.
Then we are to kissing again altho’ my dearest love seems strangely reserv’d: mayhap 'tis her worry over Lady W-?
She buries her face in the side of my neck and I discover that she is weeping.
O, my love, o, tell me what’s ado, what is the matter? Is Flora ill? Is one of the other children? O my darling, do not keep me in suspense.
Mrs F- looks up, wipes her eyes and blows her nose and says that their belov’d third will surely laugh, but they have been getting into such a fuss about her, and whether she will be about marrying some Neapolitan nobleman, or decide to go live in the late Marquess’s villa, they have been quite in the frets that they might lose their dearest –
My darling, how exceeding foolish my wild girl and Grand Turk can be. Sure the dear Admiral had a notion towards marriage but we quite agreed 'twould by no means answer and he thought better of it. Indeed, I did indulge in a little amuzement but only because my darlings were so very distant from me.
Sure, says Mrs F- with a little laugh tho’ still sounds somewhat worry’d, there has been a certain amount of meek wifely submission to my husband’s masculine lusts, which we find entirely agreeable tho’ not as agreeable as when our dear third is there: we cannot demand that our darling goes about like a nun. But we could not help thinking that our dear love is now out of mourning and very much accept’d in Society and sure she must have numerous suitors -
O, I say, kissing my darling very much, am I not suppos’d to be the silly creature? I expect my dearest loves to be the sensible ones. I could go about to be quite injur’d in my feelings that you think me so fickle and flighty. Come, my love, I daresay your spirits are lower’d with staying at the W-s, for they are sure in very sad case.
Oh, indeed, says my love, sitting down upon the sopha. Let us restore our spirits a little with this fine breakfast that Euphemia has provided, and then consider what may be done.
I should also, I say with a little pout, hope that my dearest will find a little time to be towsell-mowsell in my company.
My darling offers something extreme saucy: I smack her hand and tell her that we should take a little nourishment to fortify ourselves first. I am most glad that she is more herself again.
Over breakfast, after she has told me all about how my lovely Flora does, she tells me that Lady W- has been melancholick and low-spirit’d since her lying-in with little Suzy: seems constantly tir’d and does not take an interest in anything, is sometimes fretfull about the baby but mostly apathetick. 'Tis most worrying, and Sir B- W- will just sit and stare at her with sad eyes. The doctors have gone about to bleed her and have prescrib’d opium: but I do not think those remedies answer: they make her weaker and positively daz’d in her manner. They make some mention of taking the waters but I think that is because they know not what else to suggest.
I confide Mrs Black would be most scathing about the doctors, I say. I am sure, my dearest, did you go to Sir B- W- resting on your well-known understanding of matters of maternity and said a midwife should be summon’d and you know just the one, that was at the fine lying-in hospital that is now named for the Queen and has many years of experience, he will see the sense.
I hope so, says my love rather doubtfull. May he not object that she is indeed black?
O, I say, I have a notion! Did not Mrs S- consult Mrs Black about her failure to increase? She was most extreme prepossesst, and Sir B- W- has quite the highest opinion of the S-s’ judgement.
My darling leans over to kiss me and says sure, no-one knows how to contrive like their dearest C-, she is quite sure that matters in Town have been going quite awry while she no doubt sets matters to rights all over the Two Sicilies.
I laugh, and kiss her back, and we fall to being greatly affectionate to one another.
As Mrs F- puts herself to rights, she says that our dear Grand Turk greatly desir’d her to invite me to go for a good long visit over Christmas and the New Year.
O, says I, I should like that of all things, but you must keep me from the wassail bowl lest I become quite riotous beneath the kissing-bunch, now that I am out of mourning.
My darling sighs and says that it is hard to have to be so carefull about concealment. We kiss a little more and then she gives herself a shake and says she must be off back to the W-s.
My foot, framed by my flowy black dress, as I walk through the sand.
( Walking around Costa Adeje )
And some photos from my phone. I ran every morning I was in Adeje. It was such a pleasure. There's wide stone promenade that winds for several kilometres along the waterfront with lots of places where you can dip down and run on the sand for a spell if you like.
Having time to myself is a rare and precious luxury. I reveled in being able to roll out of bed, put on my running gear and just go.
Came the dawn.
( Early morning running around Costa Adeje )
( A bit of R&R )
Me in my Rosetta mission t-shirt on my last morning in Tenerife, soaking up the sun.
Two different kinds of uncomfortable political conversations: the first exemplified by the fact that I have sworn to walk out of family dinner the minute someone endorses Donald Trump. (I don't *think* they will - we have enough different views that we're pretty skilled at being apolitical - but I'm not sitting through it or fighting them if it starts, so. If they just put on the football instead I'm going to be sitting in the corner reading Check Please! slash on my phone.)
The second exemplified by the fact that I put up a Books by Native American Authors display at the library for the end of this month. (It's getting way less checkouts than the "How To Bake Pies" one the other librarian put up, but thus is the way of things. It also contains literally every book by a Native American author
Anyway, in the spirit of the second, have some podcast recs:
I got onto otipêyimisiw-iskwêwak kihci-kîsikohk (Métis In Space) via a rec from sara, and it is now one of my favorite podcasts. Every other week two Métis women, Molly and Chelsea, plus the occasional special guest, tipsily dismember a SFnal movie, TV show, or video that features Indigenous people in it. Also they occasionally get confusing dispatches from their future selves who live in a spaceship above a decolonized North America. It's the kind of podcast I like best - the kind that feels like a couple of fans have just invited you into their living room to chat - and is really smart and really compassionate and really fun. Also if you like Canadian things it is possibly the most beautifully Canadian thing I have ever encountered.
I have made very few decisions regarding my Hugo nominations yet, but otipêyimisiw-iskwêwak kihci-kîsikohk is definitely going on there for fancast, and you all should try it so you can decide whether to nominate it too. To start I suggest the recent episode The Manitou, where they watch a terrible 70s horror movie that they end up being unexpectedly fond of. Or the slightly older episode Knights of Cydonia, which is a music video that easy to watch in advance if you want to know what they're talking about, and was also taped while one of them was literally in labor - they have to stop for contractions a few times - which makes it possibly the most hardcore podcast ever.
Another podcast I have recently started listening to is Archeological Fantasies, which I don't know that I wholeheartedly recommend: I listen to it because I will listen to well-informed people make fun of the Bimini Road and the Newark Holy Stones and their ilk for as long as you can let me, but the hosts do sometimes get on my nerves, often with that sort of unconsciously arrogant PhD-knows-best kind of elitism that makes you understand why people cling to their antiscience beliefs. But that said it's mostly good and they are trying to be fair spokespeople for science (I just have high standards for public skepticism) and if you, too, will happily listen to hours of intelligent people calling out Ancient Aliens as idiotic, it's fun.
But there was a recent episode that stepped away from their usual format, and that one I do recommend heartily. It's Dr. Fader telling the story of The Legend of the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse isn't an actual lighthouse; it's an oddly-named historical site where he's been working for decades. I won't go into detail about it because he tells the story really well and it was better unspoiled, but it was a lost town that had attached a beautiful legend about a mixed-race community in the early 19th century that turns out to almost entirely verifiably true, and the true story comes out better than the legend, and made me cry, and that kind of history needs to be better known. So you should listen to that episode.