So, yesterday, being our first day back home in Quite A While, We had Stuff to do, including laundry, which Steve took on while I settled accounts and various whatnot. My back had ached a bit when I got up, but since that's more or less the nature of the beast, I ignored it, which works 99 percent of the time.
. . .only not yesterday.
The pain got worse during the day (I say this, who has a very high tolerance for the stuff), and by about 7 o'clock I called Uncle, who directed me to the Emergency Room. There, I received an exam and a diagnosis -- muscle spasms and! you're not 25 anymore, Woman -- a shot of what turns out to be high-strength, liquid ibuprofen, a prescription for muscle relaxants in addition to one to see me through last night, and Strong Advice to acquire and use a standing desk.
Today, I am bouncing back and forth between heating pad and desk, and trying to settle the correct dose of ibuprofen. Normal service may resume tomorrow, but I'm thinking Thursday is more likely.
Everybody stay well.
Got up early to make the trek to Skowhegan and Steve's eye doctor. Matters have stabilized, on that front, so -- yay! stabilization!
Came home via the post office -- whereby hangs a tale, which I will now tell to you.
My Formal White Tiger pen was listed as Out for Delivery by the USPS on Saturday, but did not arrive. It is not, I will note here, Completely Unusual for the Saturday delivery-person to fail deliver packages. She simply leaves them for the regular weekday guy, because -- I have no idea. Packages hard, I guess.
So, this morning, I looked back to the site to see if indeed my pen was listed as "out for delivery" with the guy who actually does his job, but found instead a note that delivery had been attempted on Saturday, late afternoon, but nobody was home, so a note was left.
Which was...pure, unadulterated mud. First, we were home all day Saturday. Second, we got our mail 'way early, as we tend to do on Saturday. Three, nobody from the post office came by the house during the late afternoon. Four, no note was left. Five, it wouldn't have mattered if there was anyone at home anyway, because the package didn't require a signature.
I called the post office and explained the situation. As it happened, the allegation that a note had been left meant that the package was not out for delivery, but was waiting at the post office, until I called with instructions. Which I would have never known -- because no note -- if I hadn't looked at the website and discovered this, um, deceit.
So, anyway, Deirdre, who was on the desk when I called, was as helpful as one woman could possibly be. She listened to the problem, said she would go find the package now, if I would let her put me on hold. It took her twelve minutes to find it, but find it she did, and, at my instruction put it at the front desk so when I came to pick it up, it would be easy for whoever was then on to find.
That part went according to plan.
So! Eye doctor, post office, grocery store, and so to home, eagerly anticipating the meal Steve had started in the slow cooker before we left home, except!
There had been a minor power outage while we were gone. Too short for the generator to take note of and kick in, but more than long enough to reboot the slow cooker, which started a count-down-to-cooking, which meant that?
Yes -- you in the back? Yes; thank you. Exactly that.
Dinner wasn't ready when we got home, starving.
Today's dinner plans were therefore amended to hot dogs on French onion rolls, and leftover macaroni/veggie salad. We'll have today's dinner tomorrow.
Speaking of the weather...today at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory it is 64F and raining. The plants I put in yesterday are significantly perkier than they were at planting, so I'd say that timing was just about right.
As I mentioned in another venue, yesterday's writing session produced! a True Epiphany (or as a friend says, with a bow in the direction of his spellchecker -- an Apostrophe). Epiphanies often require a lot of frogging, rearranging of scenes, re-assessing motivations, and just what seems to be a whole lot of backward motion when all instincts are screaming, "I have to make words, dammit!"
Experience teaches us that True Epiphanies almost always deliver a stronger, better story, if the writer is willing to bite her tongue and do the work. Also, if the writer decides not to do the work? The Epiphany has a way of forcing its point, later, when the amount of necessary frogging leaps from a few pages to a hundred, and sleepless nights and alcohol abuse enter the equation.
So, I've got some unwriting to do today -- not much, happily, because we caught this in plenty too much time. I may even get a start on rewriting.
And the roads, they roll.
Oh, and the new pen is gorgeous. I'm really going to enjoy having it with me at Confluence.
Here, have a picture of both fountain pens, all snug in their traveling wallet:
People have been behaving badly on the internet. What a surprise.
I'm reminded of a story I read once, true or not, who knows, which was to the effect that, when switchboards first became a Thing, the newly-organized phone company had initially hired boys as operators, because -- cheap labor. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that something about having all that access acted on boys like catnip on cats; they began pranking callers, and just in general behaving badly. Couldn't seem to help themselves, really, poor things. So the phone companies fired the boy operators and hired women, because -- cheap labor. And that worked out much better for all concerned.
Personally, I think there's a genetic disposition, a kind of allergy to electrons, so that when people with this allergy are exposed to this allergen, they behave as badly as possible. Remove the electrons, and they revert to being perfectly innocuous and civilized members of society.
In other news, I've taken up meditation, as part of my project to avoid a Major Depressive Incident, such as I experienced last year. As we all know, depression makes us stupid, and I'm still finding errors that I made during the last (really bad, by my standards; maybe one of the Biggest since records started to be kept, some 40 years ago) -- some serious, but none, thank ghod, fatal, though one was particularly scary. So, anyway, despite a lifetime of crash-burn-rise-up-eventually-slighty-
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, expect to see me less. I'll try to pick back up posting more regularly here (this blog is mirrored at Eagles Over the Kennebec). I love you all, but -- survival is important to the appearance of more stories.
Yesterday, Steve and I took a mental health day. We went down to Old Orchard Beach, where it was foggy and windy(!) and too chilly to sit on the beach and read, which had been my Plan A. We did a short beach walk, then went down to Wells, where it was also foggy and windy(!), and stood around on the public landing, watching the kites, and Steve took pictures with his new camera.
After, we crossed over to Sanford, and stopped for lunch at the Cockpit Cafe at the airport. And there we saw George W. Bush arrive, and board the (Embraer Legacy twin-jet) plane that had been waiting for him.
On the way home from Sanford, we made one more ocean stop -- at Pine Point -- and then came home, where I continued the electron-free theme (not totally true, since I'm reading an ebook), until it was time for the evening meal, a glass of wine and a chapter read outloud from The Cat Who Saw Red (yeah, it's a re-read; we decided to do the Cat Who's in order to follow Qwilleran's arc).
This morning, I baked peasant olive bread while Steve went to cardio-gym, and also figured out the penultimate scene in the cheater story.
I may not have reported here that I bought myself a chair side table (a so-called C-table) for the reading corner.
Here are some pictures:
This first was taken when the table came home. At the time the photo was snapped, it had been in the house for less than five minutes:
This is what the table looks like, unadorned:
And here is Sprite, reasserting her claim:
We've had something of a busy few days here at the Confusion Factory.
Last week, Steve graduated from cardio-gym and is now on the Third Phase, which is going to the cardio-gym early on Monday and Wednesdays and doing what he's been doing, with the same personnel on-staff, but without the various measurements at the beginning, middle, and end of the session. This means a change of schedule, including rising Much Earlier in the Day than I, personally, care to do, but that's life. I'll be going to gym around Steve's schedule -- Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early hours, with refinement of the afternoon and evening hours as we go forward. Since I have for all of my life been an evening/night writer, this may entail afternoon naps, which ought to please the cats.
In writing news, the page proofs for the Alliance of Equals mass market edition landed late last week, and have been added to the mix of Tasks to Be Done. Also! The first in a series of Lee-and-Miller Read Lee-and-Miller podcasts has been moved from Patreon to Splinter Universe LIVE. You can listen to Steve read "A Night at the Opera" at this link.
We'll be posting more of these to SULIVE, as they age off of our Patreon page, so remember to check back.
We are also, in light of the. . .substantial number of emails we've gotten from people who either want paper chapbooks, or the Excitement of the Annual Yule Chapbook, or want a return to Olden Times. . .
We cannot any of us return to Olden Times, so that's right out.
But we can, perhaps, accommodate the wish for paper chapbooks, and even, maybe, for the Annual Yule Chapbook.
So, we're running an experiment. Amazon has a. . .program where those who have published ebooks with them may convert those ebooks into paper books. This is an expensive process, as Amazon takes 40% off the top of cover price, and then charges printing costs from the author/publisher's 60% royalty. It's also somewhat time-consuming, as is working with any template program that is based on Assumptions. However! With determination and enough wine, it can be done, as I proved this weekend by converting both Barnburner and Gunshy to paper books and putting them on sale. The reason we chose these titles to experiment on first is that they convert into 5X8 paperbacks, which is an easy convert (part of the test was to see how "easy" easy was). Based on my time and effort expended this weekend, we anticipate that converting to chapbook will be somewhat more time-consuming, though still doable.
We will, eventually, convert an actual Liaden chapbook, but that experiment has to wait in line behind work with a deadline attached.
For those interested, here's the link to Barnburner. (Which Amazon has decided to discount, so it will be interesting to see how that affects our royalty rates from them.)
Here's the link to Gunshy.
The downside to this, besides the expense, is that these books would only be available through Amazon, which is whimsical at the best of times and downright malicious at the worst.
So, there's that.
For those who have been asking anxiously about progress on Fifth of Five. . .progress progresses, more slowly than I had anticipated, but picking steam up as the new meds kick in.
. . .and I think that catches us all up.
Everybody do your best to enjoy Monday, OK?
Let the coon cats lead the way.
So, last week, I was introduced to the notion of "caption glasses," as an assistive technology to help deaf and hard-of-hearing folk to enjoy movies for their dialogue and not just for the pretty pictures. And I called the Flagship Cinemas in Waterville to ask if they had "caption glasses," and the reply came back in the negative.
Now, I currently have Book Brain (manuscript due in oh, right close to 30 days), so I don't have a lot of Think Power left over to consider Real Life, but it did occur to me sometime yesterday that, doggone it, hasn't the ADA* had some kind of input here? I mean, considering the sheer number of people who are deaf or heard-of-hearing?**
I shelved that thought for Life After Book, but Irene Harrison was busy doing the legwork on a parallel track. She provided the information that the ADA required theaters with more than 50 seats to have assistive technology available, and that the government would give those theaters that installed this technology support in the form of a tax break.
Steve followed up on this for me, and came up with the Hearing Loss Association of America website (here's the link), on which we find the following (note the date):
On June 10, 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations – Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description.” Six-and-a-half-years later, the DOJ has issued a Final Rule on the ANPRM.
In their Final Rule, the DOJ requires movie theaters to:
- have and maintain the equipment necessary to provide closed movie captioning and audio description at a movie patron’s seat whenever showing a digital movie produced, distributed, or otherwise made available
- provide notice to the public about the availability of these features, including on communications and advertisements at the box office, and other ticketing locations, on websites, mobile apps newspapers and via telephone. Third party websites are not required to provide that information.
- ensure that theater staff is available to assist patrons with the equipment before, during, and after the showing of a movie with these features.
Full article here.
So, what it looks like is that, for 6.5 years, the assistive technology rule has more or less been a guideline, and now, it is law.
In the meantime, just for fun, I have written to Flagship Cinema Corporate (owner-operators of theaters in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Florida), inquiring into the existence of assistive hearing devices in their Waterville location, and seeking guidance on how to ask for this device at the ticket counter.
Back to work.
*ADA = Americans with Disabilities Act
**Actually, there is a Societal Thing where we pretend that being deaf or hard-of-hearing isn't really a disability. Insurance companies routinely pretend that hearing aids are some sort of luxury item, which you may buy out of your funds, or do without; and my insurance carrier, at least, has stopped covering hearing tests. Of course, my insurance carrier has stopped covering treatment for depression, but only for women. Because, my ghod! If we covered all the depressed women or hearing impaired people in the world, the stockholders wouldn't get their profit. But I digress.
We have a winner for the Monday night drawing for a free MP3 edition of Dragon in Exile, the 18th novel-length Adventure in the Liaden Universe® created by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and!
The winner is Number 55!
Congratulations Number 55, well done, indeed!
We will be releasing the winner's name on Welcome to Liad, as soon as we have verification and permission to do so.
And you! Have you entered today's drawing? What drawing you ask? Here's the rules
We ask people to please read the rules and follow the directions. "Entries" made at venues other than the venue stipulated will not be counted, plus you will make me cranky. You don't want to make me cranky. Also! We ask that people enter from the email address that they check at least daily, and not to enter twice from two different email addresses. This will also make me cranky, and worse -- I will mock you.
In other news, Steve had the first of an arranged two doctor appointments yesterday, in which most questions were deferred to the second doctor, who's up on Wednesday. I guess that's a Watch the Skies.
Also, it snowed yesterday, and on the overnight, so first order of bidness this morning was sweeping snow, and have now moved on to coffee and answering my mail. This will shortly be followed by more coffee, breakfast, and working on the Novel That Will Not End.
Everybody have a good day.
Here's a photo of Twig to help you get that going.
Steve and I thank everyone for your concern, your prayers, and your well-wishes. Rather than answer all the various messages individually, I'm doing One Big Update for everyone.
What Has Gone Before: On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Steve had a "heart event" at the local grocery store. An ambulance was called, he was transported to the local hospital emergency room, and from there, at the advice of the on-call cardio doctor in Bangor, to Eastern Maine Medical Central, where he was hospitalized briefly so that his ICD* could be interrogated, and other tests as seemed good to the heart experts could be performed. The interrogation discovered that the device had fired twice, once at 40 jules, again at 50, when the first didn't get his heart beating again. Tests also confirmed the presence of old scarring on his heart, which everyone guesses means that he had a heart attack at some point in the past that somehow escaped notice. Steve was released from the hospital on Thanksgiving, told to see his doctors within the week, and is, on the EMMC cardio doc's orders, banned from driving for six months.
Where We Are Now: Steve is still somewhat tired, and is trying to do some of that "rest" thing that we're both so proficient at, not. Next week is the Week of Appointed Doctors, after which he and we will know more about Where-and-How We Should Proceed. In the meanwhile, we have deadlines, and cats, and life goes on.
Going Forward: The biggest challenge facing us is the ban on Steve being able to drive. We do still live hellengone out in the country** -- 9-ish miles/20-ish minutes to the nearest grocery store, in good weather, which means a 40 minute round-trip before you even get shopping -- and we're suddenly aware of minor risk situations that have always been present in our lives, such as, "If Sharon breaks her glasses. . ." and which have now acquired ". . .we're screwed," in the place of ". . .Steve drives her to town." Also, I'm night blind, which means that all and any errands must be accomplished between 7am and 3 pm in the winter.
And, really, these are first world problems, considering how things might have gone.
And that's the up-to-the-minute news. Once again, thanks to everyone for your concern and support.
*Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
**Frequent readers will recall that we had made, for exactly this reason, an effort to move into town, even into a town where there was grocery delivery service and other artifacts of civilization, only to be defeated by Circumstances.
Tuesday, we split up the act. Steve went to town in pursuit of an appointment with follow-up grocery shopping, and I stayed home to work.
. . .and I was working when I got a phone call from Steve, who was sitting on the floor in the Hannaford deli department, as a result of having slid down the front of the cold cut case, his ICD firing twice on the way down.
John, Bernadette, and others of the Hannaford crew leapt into action, someone called an ambulance while John helpfully put the full shopping cart into the deli's cooler to await retrieval when all was sorted out.
Fast forward about 45 minutes. I arrive in the Emergency Room at Inland Hospital, where Steve is answering intake questions. He looks fine, if a little sheepish. We figure to wait for the results of several tests, and so to home.
In the meantime, the ER doctor calls the cardio folks in Bangor, Inland not having the means to interrogate the ICD to find out WTF actually happened. The cardio doctor on-call says, Five years and this is the first time the ICD kicked? Put him in an ambulance and bring him to Bangor. Now.
So! Off Steve went in style and luxury, while I went to Hannaford, retrieved the basket from the cooler, and the other groceries that were already in Steve's car, told the night manager to alert him to the fact that the car would be in their lot overnight, drove carefully home, put the cold stuff away, informed the cats of Events, and made sure dishes were full, and the cat fountain, too, packed a bag, and headed for Bangor.
It is now dark. Very dark, in fact, being upwards of ten o'clock at night. I. . .let's just say that driving in the dark is not my best trick ever.
Arrived at the hospital shortly after eleven o'clock, found Steve eating a late-night roast beef sandwich, looking tired but mostly fine. I stayed the night in a recliner helpfully provided by the night nurse, and drove home early Wednesday morning.
Wednesday for Steve was tests of all sorts, including the interrogation of the ICD, wherein we learned that the ICD had fired twice at increasing jules. Since nothing invasive was scheduled. It was decided that I would stay home, which I did, and Thursday morning the word came from the Hospitalist that I could fetch Steve home.
. . .which is where he is now.
His regular doctors need to see him within the next week -- naturally no one is on today. The biggest change that has come home from the hospital is that Steve is banned from driving for at least six months.
This. . .will make life Very Interesting, and may affect upcoming convention schedules. More on this as we sort things out.
Today, I need to go into town to complete the errands that were left hanging on Tuesday (including finishing the grocery shopping), and meeting the kind friends who will be helping move Steve's car out of the Hannaford lot and out to our driveway.
To Sum Up: Steve had a heart event; the ICD operated as it should; he is home and receiving quality feline care.
. . .I think that catches us all up. Everybody -- be well.
Friday, I had planned to go to the movies with Steve to see "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," after which we would go to dinner, or dunch, or whatever.
Instead, on Friday, since I had a fever, and a deep cough, and couldn't speak -- Steve drove me to the doctor, where I was assured that the stoopid illness I brought home from RICC was not pneumonia, but "only" a sinus infection. Antibiotics were prescribed, and that other thing -- rest.
Since I was "resting," I decided to bang my head against Overdrive, and have succeeded in downloading, and consuming, three books from the library.
. . .and that's been about my greatest accomplishment over the weekend. I took Number Ten Ox the laptop to the couch with me this morning, thinking that writing from the couch can still be argued to be "resting," but I fell asleep over the keyboard, and woke up to a long line of kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkks across the page.
Tomorrow is the day that I am supposed to see a radical improvement in health matters. If I do not arise, light as a leaf, and carefree as a chipmunk, I get to call the doctor for another antibiotic.
In other news, I turned off my desktop on Friday, because the fan kept revving and revving and revving, and Windows Host Services (according to the resource meter), was running the CPU at 103% of maximum efficiency for reasons best known to itself. I turned it back on this morning, and the nonsense started up again, and has continued, now, straight through for 13 hours. I aborted Windows Host Services when I came back to my office to do this blog entry, so I could hear myself think.
I was waffling on getting the Linux machine, but, yanno? Now may indeed be the hour.
Snow showers in the forecast tonight, but nothing at all serious here in Central Maine until maybe the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Oh, ghod. Thursday's Thanksgiving.
I'll be better tomorrow.
Here, have a picture from a park/ice rink in downtown Providence, RI. Photo by Sharon Lee.
Quick auctorial update.
- I've been ill, and have lost, all told, four days of work. I am not happy about this, but I'd be less happy if I'd pretended I wasn't sick, continued to work, broke the story, and had to go back and fix things. It's just not true, that there's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over. Doing it over is a GINORMOUS pain in the hat. And not just because you have the Ghosts of Error floating about the new words and scenes, wailing for their lost glory.
- I am, today, less ill, and more importantly in possession of a functioning brain. I am therefore making a run at the corrections/clarifications/expansions/
whatnot in the manuscript as it now stands.
- Steve and I will be at the Rhode Island Comic Con, November 11 – 13, Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI.
- And that's all the news I can think of at the moment. Buy our books, review our books, recommend our books, and! Thank you for all you do.
So we had a nice day. Steve had an appointment with the eye specialist down Portland in the afternoon, so we took off after the mail arrived (the check is, as of this writing, still in the mail), and went down to Old Orchard Beach. The sea was turquoise, the tide was high, it was windy on the beach and warm in the town.
Really, it was a Perfect Day. The air was clear, the sun was bright, the sky was blue with only a very few wispy white clouds, for effect. There were a hundred people on the beach, and more buying pizza and French fries. I dunno how many were in the arcade, which was open. It was like being at Archers Beach during the Early Season, except for the fact that the amusement park wasn't open.
We drove down to Pine Point, as is our habit, and! you might ask how clear the air was today. And I might answer, we could see Mount Washington from Pine Point. I have pictures, but I'm not digging them out of the camera tonight.
In good time, we motored on up to Portland, where we paused in the parking lot to absorb the news of Prince's death.
Considerably shaken, we went into the gigormous eye clinic, where Steve did business with the eye specialist.
We then drove to South Portland, the doctor's appointment having been set at an awkward hour, in search of the midday (now late afternoon) meal. We decided to try 5 Guys, since we were both 5 Guys virgins. I had the grilled veggies with cheese; Steve had the small cheeseburger. We both declared ourselves satisfied with the meal, but dissatisfied with the level of the music. It was like being in a club. Good music, but it could've stood going down a couple of decibels.
Our business finished in the South, we headed north via the back roads, and so saw the very enormous full moon rise over the hills.
We're home now, the windows are open; I have reversed the polarity on the ceiling fan in my office and turned it on.
And now it's time to have a glass of wine and a light meal. And so, to bed.
Everybody be good.
Things I learned today.
Having your tits smashed in a vise hurts. Oh, wait. I knew that.
There is a thing called "pink silver." Pink silver is (to my eye anyway) brown. A lot like Joyita's rings, in fact. *pout* And here I thought we'd made that up.
That there are things called "worry rings," and I bought one. No, I don't need another ring. But I like it.
Dorothy Sayers actually breaks the fourth wall a number of times in Strong Poison, which I'm kind of accidentally re-reading. I had never noticed this before.
Toast Express *is* open on Mondays, even though the sign wasn't lit. Also, Steve and I will apparently be in an "internet commercial", whatever that means, for Toast Express.
At Day's Jewelers it costs as much for a clasp to replace the clasp that was broken than the entire necklace cost -- OK, Some Years Back.
This week needs more hours in it. Just sayin'.
We got our schedules for RavenCon. I'll post that realsoonow.
Today's blog title comes to you from Jame McMurtry, "Chocktaw Bingo."
So, yesterday was a dead loss, which I mostly spent huddled on the couch, regretting my birth. Man, these are some fun meds. The Crack Coon Cat Nursing Team sprang into action and, around about suppertime, I was feeling closer enough to the thing to actually finish my WorldCon survey, and edit the interview.
Lest you think they're slackers, the CCCNT also took the night shift; at one point, I woke up to find Sprite draped across my stomach, Belle curled on my shoulder, and Trooper stretched out along the length of me. It must have been cozy, because I went right back to sleep.
This morning, we appear to have reached an accord, whole-body-wise, and! the swelling and redness have definitely diminished. We're not out of the woods yet (and still six days to go with the meds), but apparently we've found the path.
Obviously, there will be no pickleball for me, today. I had held out some idea that I would go to the gym and putz about (gently) with the strength machines, but...I will err on the side of conservatism, stay home, catch up the work I should have done yesterday, and get on with today's business, most of which can be done from the Comfy Chair.
I do need to call my boss at the hospital, explain the situation, and figure out how we want to handle my Wednesday shift.
. . .and I think that's all the news from the Cat Farm for the near past. Hope y'all have a good start to your week.
So, today started with a visit to the clinic, which was the compromise position, over last night's: "Go to ER now."
My pickleball injury is infected, and I am the lucky winner of a seven-day course of antibiotics, with bonus instructions to go to the ER immediately, should scary red lines begin ascending my leg toward my heart.
Stoopid, stoopid immune system.
After we picked up my medicine, Steve took us for a ride, through Belgrade to Augusta. Augusta is where our local Lowes keeps residence, and I purchased an under-counter LED light bar that plugs in, to be installed under the kitchen cabinet over the counter where I make bread. Yay! I'll be able to see my ingredients!
Note to those who were following the Saga of the Missing Bag of Stick-Up Lights on Facebook yesterday -- no, I did not find the bag immediately upon arriving at home today, but that might be because I took a nap.
Spent the evening in the comfy chair, writing, took my second dose of antibiotic, and now I'm ready for another nap.
Trooper, mind you, is ready for a rousing game of flying mouse. He's already wrassled Belle and Sprite to standstill, and sent them scattering out of a deep nap, by plunging into the cat tunnel and making the Biggest Rustle Ever, and then capturing the rag tiger and eviscerating it all over the living room, as it put up quite a fight. I guess even rag tigers have guts.
Oh! This came in today's mail. Cover flats for the mass market edition of Dragon in Exile, coming (in June!) to a retailer near you.
So, I screwed up my back at the end of last week, which meant Saturday was spent in the Comfy Chair, heating pad unleashed, and aspirin bottle to hand.
Sadly, this therapy was found to be insufficient, so on Sunday, I hit the hard stuff.
Which mostly worked. We're at about two-thirds efficiency at the moment, where bending over to pick things up from the bottom shelf of the fridge is Right Out, stretching to get something off the top shelf is OK, and running with a constant low ache, that's both distracting and infuriating.
Having spent so many hours in it lately, I report with sadness that the Comfy Chair is noticeably Less Comfy than previously, which, considering that we purchased the Comfy Chair (formerly "Archie's Chair") when we moved to Skowhegan, in 1988, oughtn't be a surprise. Need to get our acts in gear and come up with a new sofa and a new Comfy Chair.
Yesterday, Steve and I went forth into the day, to shop for groceries, and a new heating pad. In the early evening, after putting the groceries away, and lunch at home, and realizing that we had actually failed to buy a new heating pad, we wound up in Augusta, at Barnes and Noble, where I snagged a copy of Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, and we signed stock. The store was insanely crowded, what with hosting both a signing by Travis Mills *and* an elementary school book fair. I also nailed a new lapdesk (see Comfy Chair, above), so, in all, it was a pretty successful outing, even with the crowds.
And -- bonus! -- we remembered the heating pad, on the second outing.
Let's see, what else?
The Yule cards are all addressed and stamped and ready to go out into the world.
Oh! I got a phone call today from the Volunteer Coordinator at the local hospital, about my application to volunteer. Interview set for Friday morning. I do believe that this is the first time I will go to a job interview with purple hair. It will, perhaps, be Interesting.
In other news, this morning I printed out All the Threads of The Gathering Edge, so that we may refer to them during the upcoming Planning Sessions. The manuscript currently stands at 56,103 words, which we're calling half-a-book.
On Monday evening, we turned in our story, presently titled, "Shame the Devil," to the Alien Artifact anthology. For those keeping score, "Devil" is the 70th Lee-and-Miller collaboration.
. . .I think that's all the news that's fit to print at the moment. I do have one short scene to write, and then I'm going to retire once more to the Comfy Chair and the heating pad, and read a chapter or two of Midnight Riot.
Hope y'all are having a good week.
And, for the FB peeps: Princess Sprite is bored.
First, we'll take a look at the past.
In the recent past -- yesterday, in fact -- Steve celebrated the 65th anniversary of his natal day. Here's a picture of him with a couple of party guests:
In keeping with the Cat Farm's well-earned reputation for housing party animals, we partied hearty. Some of us, heartier than others:
Going a little further into the past, here's a fascinating slide show of the Baltimore that was. I don't remember all of the places shown, but I do remember an astonishing number of them. There's even a picture of the General Motors Assembly Plant on Broening Highway, in Canton, where my father worked for many, many years, as a spot-welder. This may be of interest to those who ask where Surebleak "came from." It came from Baltimore, folks.
Putting our gaze now firmly on the present and near future, I have today received a notification from the people who review our health insurance provider's "formulary" that they will no longer be covering my thyroid medicine -- levothyroxine. They will be requiring me to accept an alternate -- synthroid. I think this is the first time in my life I've ever received such a notification from a health insurance company. On the other hand, I'm fortunate in that I don't take very many medicines, so maybe this is A Thing.
Here's what's funny, though. When I first started with the underachieving thyroid, my doctor prescribed synthroid, which I liked as much as anyone can like a drug they have to take for a chronic medical condition. Such relationships are, at best, complicated. But! The insurance company at the time did the thing that I'm Very Familiar with, that being the notification that they weren't paying for any fancy-schmancy name brand medicines. The generic would do me -- and all the rest of the people in the network who took thyroid medicine -- just fine. If I wanted to, I could continue with the name brand medicine, but I would pay full price for it, which I couldn't afford, so it was levothyroxine for me.
. . .which, at the time -- we're talking years ago, here -- I thought didn't work as well. Pooh-pooh, said the insurance company, generics work just as well -- in some cases, they work better! -- than name brand medicines; stop making a fuss.
(Honestly, I was required by the day-job to attend two presentations about medications given by our then-insurance-company, and the Utter Contempt displayed for name brand medicines was really off-putting. You'd think name brand medicines were one step below Mrs. Pinkham's Medicinal Compound. What's with that?)
In addition, this change comes at an. . .interesting time, when we're trying to work out exactly the right dose of thyroid meds I need to function correctly, using levothyroxine, which will no longer be available to me, starting, um, today. The letter from the formulary counsels me to get with my health care provider and have her write me a prescription for the new drug. Which. . .OK, though that does raise the issue of cost. It'll be hard to beat the price I paid for my last refill of levothyroxine, which was $0.
So, all of that. Time for me to get to work, since I've already done the vacuuming.
On deck today, Author Commentary for the final chapter of Shan and Priscilla Ride Again, and more work on Droi, which will eventually be part of The Gathering Edge.
Why, yes, even in the midst of All This Excitement, we're writing a book. Because we're just that awesome.
In order to reward the two people who managed to read all the way down to here -- I offer two songs.
The first, which brings you the title of today's blog post, Excellent Birds, Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel. Here's your link.
The second comes from the Irish Rovers, Lily the Pink. Here's that link.
So, yesterday. . .
Though it was better, it was obvious that the knee I'd fallen on last week was not progressing in the best way possible, so I bit the bullet and made an appointment with my doctor. First appointment was late afternoon, so I downloaded Patty Briggs' Dead Heat as insurance that I would stay in the comfy chair until it was time to go, and so it came to pass.
The doctor agreed that matters might be moved along a bit more spritely, and prescribed a Brother to Penicillin. I managed two pills (out of a possible four) yesterday, and this morning, the swelling is gone, the redness is gone, and much of the lingering pain is gone. So -- yay! Now, of course, I need to finish the course of the antibiotic, to Be Sure, but it was ever thus, with antibiotics.
On the positive side of medical news, the business with the Radiology Department last week, returns a negative, so I don't at this point in time appear to have cancer. Also, yay!
Today's to-do list is a little busy -- this is what happens when you take An Entire Day in the comfy chair.
Brush three cats
Untangle banking glitch
3. Make correx to ebook
4. Try one more cover design for ebook
Buy ISBNs (which I've been putting off; for some reason, cost of ISBNs is really bugging me)
Call the health insurance company and fuss about the incorrect invoice
7. There's probably something else, but this'll do to get me started
I hope everybody has a pleasant and fulfilling day.Today's blog title brought to you by Mr. Glenn Frey, "The Heat is On." Here's your link.
Asking favors first:
1. If you're one of those speed-readin' ebook-buyin' folks, who have already purchased and devoured A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume III, please consider writing a reader review at Goodreads, BN, Amazon, Baen, or the site of your choice. Early reader reviews help potential readers/buyers of the paper edition, and those who may be on the fence about purchasing the e-edition to make up their minds. Thank you for your help.
2. In case, you missed yesterday's post, the deadline for order Tree-and-Dragon shirts is fast approaching. Off-World Designs will be screenprinting and embroidering the order they have in hand by the end of next week, at which time, they'll start "saving up" orders until they have enough to make up a new batch. Here's your link to the Korval items at Offworld Design. NOTE: This link takes you to a search page. In order to learn more about each shirt, and/or to order, you have to click on the shirt of your dreams; this action will take you to a detail page.
3. I recently did an interview on behalf of A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume III, for the Baen Free Radio Hour. (In case you missed it, here's the link.) This, oh, I don't know -- the dozenth? -- podcast we/me/he have done, and we're always pleased to be asked. But! We're soliciting listener feedback. Are these presentations useful/entertaining for you? What do you listen for? What background information would you like to hear more about/less about? And the ever-popular etcetera.
So endeth the appeals.
* * *
Updatery. . .
Let's see: Steve got home late enough on Thursday that by the time the pizza was gone, and the bottle empty, it was Friday. The cats are re-sorting themselves in order to provide coverage for two humans, and I'm feeling a little less under pressure to be All Things to All Coon Cats. Scrabble, of course, has long held the belief that I can take care of myself, with a little gentle poking from time to time; her primary mission is Steve, and she's now back on the job full-time.
The preordered Constellations destined to be signed by us and then sent on to Uncle Hugo's to be mailed, which were supposed to have arrived earlier in the week. . .have not yet arrived. There seems to be some confusion about Just When they will arrive; more news, perhaps, on Monday.
The result of my last visit to the vampyres has been read, and my thyroid medicine has thereby been adjusted upward another smidge, with a third blood test to scrutinize the serum levels in six weeks. Here's the thing, though: the thyroid numbers themselves were normal, which they have been, since forever; but the numbers indicating how much hormone the pituitary gland is having to push out in order to make the thyroid do its thing is still elevated; the increase in meds is to try to take some of the pressure off of the pituitary.
My ribs still hurt, sigh, though the knee hardly hurts at all; and! it's rainy and cool here in beautiful Central Maine, with thunderstorms due to start rolling in around 1:00. Tomorrow, the weatherbeans say the temperatures will leap back into the mid-to-high 80s(F/29C), so I'll just revel in 69F/21C today, thanks.
In other news, I have a whole stack of dance videos here, and I'm thinking maybe I'll just lay on the couch and watch other people exercise while I listen to the rain. That's a good use of a rainy Saturday, ain't it?
Everybody have a good weekend.
Oh! Steve brought me flowers yesterday. Aren't they pretty?
Red vase with flowers. Photo by Sharon Lee
Let it be known that today is Princess Jasmine Sprite's third birthday. She decreed naps for all and retired to The Royal Rolling Duffle Bag in the cool, dim basement, and so present an Example worthy of a princess.
I arose early, expressed my felicitations to Her Warrior Princessness, and left for a date with the Vampyres, who withdrew their tithe, and freed me to breakfast with Steve at Governor's. It's a hot, sunny day, and we briefly toyed with taking the new car on a run to the ocean, but Responsibility won out, as it so seldom does, and instead we did the grocery shopping and came home to a half-day of work, since we had promised ourselves -- Tomorrow! We will go back onto The Schedule.
Yesterday, I read the first half of Alliance of Equals, today's plan is to finish the second half.
Yeah, it's tough, but someone has to do it.
I also hope, today, to return my Asus netbook, aka The Leewit, to Factory Settings and offer it for sale, since I no longer use it.
. . and that's probably enough for a sultry Monday in July. Wouldn't want to work up a sweat, after all.