rolanni: (Default)

...that I did work today, which is notable, and now it is noted.

The work consisted of digging three holes, which isn't as easy as you might think, those of you who unaccountably do not live on two acres of glacial moraine, or at the very least two acres of shale thinly covered with what we'll call soil.

Why, you ask, was I moved to do work on a fine Maine morning when I ought to have been, um, writing?

Well, I'm glad you asked that question. Alert readers will recall that several days ago I acquired, in defiance of both the Lawn Guy's Assistant, and the neighbor's road-crossing, if not actually free-ranging chickens, plants for the Cat Garden, which has, through the direct intervention of said Forces of Nature more or less become a Weed Garden.

It had been hot and humid the last few days, not at all the sort of weather to encourage a sedentary and overweight author of more than middle years to go outside and dig holes in the garden.   So, I left the plants, in their pots, in approximately the locations I had chosen for their eventual homes.  I watered them each day, but they were looking sort of droopy and sad by this morning, so it was just very fortunate that today was gorgeously blue, and breezy, and dry, and of a temperature that someone who lives in Maine would find reasonable for July.

So! Three holes.  Not exactly in the locations previously chosen -- did I mention we live on shale?  Also there are trees, and trees have roots.  Lots of roots.  No, really; look it up.

In between the rocks and roots, then -- three holes.

One hole for the Cherry Pops Bee Balm which replaces the Murdered Bee Balm of yesteryear.  Bee balm attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and, well, bees.  This particular sort claims to be deer and mildew resistant.

One hole for the Wishing Well Plantain Lily, aka Hosta Wishing Well.  This plant attracts hummingbirds and has a mounding habit, so I envision a Mountain of Hosta in my future.

The third and final hole -- actually the first dug -- was for the White Frost Hemerocallis -- aka a day lily with a curly yellow trumpet not only bigger than my head, but damn' near bigger than Trooper.  It is two feet high.  Who can say no to a two-foot-high day lily that has flowers the size of a coon cat?  It's big enough to be sentient.  Indeed, I have some hope that it will be writing next year's book.

I will also mention here that I have received and have been testing various bug repellents.  It is in my mind to go with the least application that is still effective.  To that end, I began today with the bug repellent bracelet, fully expecting that I would need to come inside and upgrade.

In this, I was disappointed.  I did hear one rather insistent buzz, but closer inspection revealed the author to be a hummingbird, who was apparently under the impression that he was paying me for these plantings, and I could pick the pace up a bit, if I didn't mind.  Or, given hummingbirds, even if I did mind.

So, having now made the record complete, I believe I'll. . .

. . .do some work.


rolanni: (Default)

So, it's been an odd couple of days, with all the simple things going awry, but, thank goodness, none of the big things.

This morning, we got to Charlie's Subaru before the crew did -- 15 minutes early for a 7:30 am appointment. Skylark, which has 4,600 miles on it, got his 6,000 miles/6 month oil change, tire rotation and systems checks.  All good, which was a relief, if not particularly a surprise, and we're on for driving to Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls, Binghamton, and points wherever else in a couple weeks' time.

After Charlie's got done with us, we went crosstown for breakfast at Lisa's, and then, reasoning that the coast was going to be a Total Zoo, set off up-country (which would be north, to you) on the Big Road, so as to (1) get me some practice driving the Big Roads (my default is the mid-road, if there is one), and (2) not go home immediately.  We stopped at the overlook and tried to say hello to Mount Katahdin, but it was being shy today, hiding under a mantle of clouds.

We continued north and got off at Benedicta (town motto, To Work is to Pray; population 314), drove through town to Sherman, where we found the ramp to the expressway going south, and took advantage of it.

A stop for lunch and home again, to wage war on the ants, and also to dust and vacuum the inside of the car.  Car wash is on the list, and we need more bug juice for the windshield cleaner.

While we were on the road the blue striped Russian sailor shirt arrived from Peterman, and it's gorgeous.  I'm torn between being sorry I waited so very long to buy it, and being delighted that, when I did buy it, it did prove to be splendid.

Speaking of clothes, I found my red hat, which was covered in cat fur (strange).  I have brushed it off, and it, too, is ready for a road trip.

I was going to work this evening, but that kind of got kicked sideways, so tomorrow is a no-internet, all work, all day, sorta day.

And I think that catches us up. Everybody have a terrific weekend.

Today's blog post brought to you by Bruce Springsteen, "4th of July, Asbury Park".  Here's your link.



Friday, March 11th, 2016 02:52 pm
rolanni: (Saving world)

For those who may have missed it (like, err, me, *blush*), yesterday was launch day for C.E. Murphy's Magic and Manners.  Links and info may be found here.  I had a chance to read an ARC of this novel, and had a very good time with it.  If you're a fan of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, C.E. Murphy, Regency-Magic crossovers -- or all of them! -- you want to read this book.

Here at the Confusion Factory, things are, well. . .confused.  This isn't particularly unusual, obviously, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the current state of the to-do list, which includes such low-pressure items as:  Finish final draft of The Gathering Edge (due April 15), which would be somewhat easier to accomplish if it wasn't currently sporting one of those notes that writers leave for their future selves, which pretty often lead those same future selves to have Serious Doubts about our past and present sanity. In this case the note is the ever-popular, And here a miracle occurs.

The to-do list also includes completing my WorldCon questionnaire (deadline March 31); finishing up an interview; writing a rant/soapbox speech on characterization for RavenCon (for those who are coming to RavenCon, this is Something Rare.  I never do individual presentations at cons; they simply require too many spoons, and play to none of my supposed strengths.  On this topic, however, I am Just. That. Cranky.  Consider yourselves warned.  Also be aware that soapbox sessions  at RavenCon are scheduled for an hour.  There is no way I can talk for  an hour, no matter how cranky I am.  With questions, we're probably looking at half-an-hour, tops.)

Where was I?

Oh; the to-do list.

Also on the list -- short story, due May 15; novel, due August 15.

In addition, we're traveling this year -- RavenCon, BaltiCon, WorldCon, and a Mini Book Tour in support of Alliance of Equals.

. . .and, back at the to-do list, we have a soupçon of house, medical, private life stuff to cope with, none of which is really intense, but it still needs to be dealt with.

So, yeah, the to-do list feels a little larger-than-life at the moment (I am aware that the to-do lists of Other People are many times more Terrible than my paltry to-do list.  I salute those people; they are mighty)  If I retire the interview and the worldcon survey, I expect I'll feel a little more sanguine about the Whole Rest of It.  If we figure out what Miracle That Is, Exactly, Which Occurs, Precisely Here?  The to-do list will be as nothing.

And that's about where things are at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  Hope y'all are having a good and productive Friday.

Here, have a picture of today's loaf:  Pullman bread, 2 cups of red whole wheat, 3 cups of all-purpose.  I usually use 5 cups of white whole wheat, which rises much more lightly than the red, but I ran out of white whole wheat and cleverly did not replace it the last time I was at the store.

Pullman Bread Mar 11 2016

Mail call!

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 02:44 pm
rolanni: (Pilot Theo)

Hey, look what came in today's mail!

Warrior Women in the Mail Dec 1 2015

Cover art by Julie Dillon

The table of contents includes:

Tanith Lee
Mary Gentle
Carrie Vaughn
Ken Liu
Theodora Goss
Yoon Ha Lee
Tanya Huff
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Elizabeth Moon
Aliette de Bodard

. . .and others too numerous to list; 24 stories in all!

Now on sale (she mentions) at a bookseller near you.

rolanni: (The Dragon in Exile)

This is in the nature of a catch-up post.

For those who have been following along with the numbers game at home, the latest information garnered from the latest blood test is that the 1 mg dose of thyroid medicine is a winner.  The poor pituitary has stopped with overtime manufacturing of kick-me hormones for the thyroid, and the thyroid is producing numbers in the normal range without being kicked, and -- this being the important part -- I am fully awake and at optimum crankiness and sarcasm levels for the first time in. . .years.

Come to think of it, that should serve as a Public Service Announcement.


Also -- this repeats news shared on Facebook yesterday evening -- I have successfully concluded a project years in the making -- a ceiling fan in my office.  I'm so happy -- I can't tell you.  Here's a picture:


. . .isn't it BEAUtiful?


I have been reminded to remind y'all that!  Registration for BaltiCon 50, held over Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30, 2016, at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, is now open.  Here's the direct link.

In addition to Guests of Honor George RR Martin, John Picacio, Bill and Gretchen Roper, and Martin Deutsch and Shirley Avery, BaltiCon 50 aims to welcome back as many of the con's previous Guests of Honors as are interested and able to come.  So far, 21 Alumni GoHs have agreed to return for BaltiCon's 50th anniversary, including Steve and me (Writer GoHs, BaltiCon 37, 2003).

This is a big, big project, and BaltiCon is asking for your help in funding the travel for the returning GoHs.  There's a donation page here, where you may donate to your favorite GoHs.  (Yes, I know that Steve and I are listed separately; I don't know what's up with that, but at the bottom line, I don't think it actually matters.)

BaltiCon 50 is also selling a limited edition promotional tshirt in order to raise funds.  You can view and/or purchase a tshirt here.

Finally, for all the latest news about BaltiCon 50, you can sign up for the Twitter feed:  @balticon50


This is a Hard Writing Weekend, which means I'll be somewhat scarce on the web.  The beginning of next week includes an interview, and a visit from the generator guy, as well as Yet Another Phone Call to the health insurance company, which seems stuck in an Endless Loop of sending me a form I've now filled out and returned three times, while at the same time being unable to generate a monthly invoice.  Sigh.  Also, the Colby Art Museum is hosting an Open House on Thursday evening.  I always like to go to the Art Open House.  So, not an insanely busy week, but busy enough with mundane things -- and writing, too.


Extra credit paragraph:  From the Department of Anthropomorphism, Cats Are Not Social Committee, we have the following Observer Report.

This morning, I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing the wonderful tuna melt Steve had made for breakfast.  I have a direct line of sight into the living room from my place at the kitchen table, and was able to see Trooper in the cat hammock, Belle stretched out on the rug close to the kitchen, near, but not on, the cat scratchers.  Sprite walked into the living room, fell on Belle, cleaned her up, cleaned herself, up, cleaned Belle up and in due time, as frequently happens, the grooming morphed into a wrasslin' match.

This morning's match was. . .vigorous.  Sprite broke twice, but came back, and Belle, seeming slightly put-upon, finally threw her Whole Being into the thing, grabbing Sprite around the waist and kicking her in the stomach.  There were no growls, but Belle, at least, was clearly intent on teaching Sprite a lesson, rather than savoring the Joy of the Wrassle.

Sprite tried to break a third time -- Belle wouldn't let her.  Sprite renewed her efforts to get free, Belle held her closer.  I was on the edge of producing a loud, "Ahem!" when. . .

Trooper jumped down from the hammock and approached the melee.

Belle let go of Sprite and twisted to her feet to face him; Sprite escaped to the hall, where she sat down and began to groom her shoulder.  Trooper walked directly up to Belle, tail slightly higher than straight behind, but not a full upward sweep, and put his nose against hers.  She allowed this -- then swatted him in the head.

Trooper went back a couple steps and walked carefully around her, as if he was going to go check on Sprite.  In fact, he paused by the television stand, where he could see her in the hall, cleaning up, stroked his cheek against the wood a couple times, turned, and went back to the cat hammock.

Belle began to bathe.

I stood up and got myself another cup of coffee.


Everybody have a nice weekend.

rolanni: (flittermouse)

I am pleased to report that I continue to be a sad trial to the staff at the local jewelry store's repair counter.  Despite which, I now have a temporary magnetic clasp* on the full-moon necklace Steve gave me for my birthday and can therefore put it on and take it off my own self.

Today, I've made one needed phone call; have thus far successfully avoided making the second; printed out a contract, signed it and sealed it into its envelope, and taken a pair of jeans to the local seamstress to have them hemmed (I can't remember the last time I had to have a pair of pants taken up.  It may actually have been Never.)

Still to do:  that vexed phone call, and a few fixes to "The Gift of Music," so that it can be sent along to the editor.  Also, Steve and I worked out a short story over breakfast.  Mind you, we very much need to NOT be writing a short story at this particular moment in time, take your fun when it comes, I guess.

For those who indulge, I took the challenge and answered The Usual Questions at Festivale.

A reminder for folks local to Waterville, Maine: Steve and I will be giving a talk tomorrow (Saturday, September 14) at 9:30 a.m. at the Waterville Public Library as part of the festivities attending Cirque du Geek.

And now, I guess I'd better make that blasted phone call.


*Temporary because the goldsmith is on vacation and there is no one else in the store qualified to handle a soldering iron.  So the magnets are attached by rings, but the rings are only pinched shut, not soldered shut.  I'm directed to come back "in a week or two" to have the soldering done.

rolanni: (Illusionist)

...antique store.


I was out early (for values of early that include "before noon") today in the garden, doing what I could for the roses and the hosta and the day lilies.  The bugs finally drove me inside.  I hate me some bugs, I do.

Yesterday was mostly about the writing and today will be, too.  The Plan had been to turn this book in before August 15, if at all possible, so I could get some down-time between Archers Beach Thought and Liaden Universe® Thought.

I just realized, though, that we'll be traveling at the end of May/beginning of June (by which I mean, I knew that, but I didn't KNOW it) so, argh. In theory, if I write just 2,000 words every day (which we know is more than possible, if Things will just stop Happening.  *glares at Things and dares them to Happen*) I have available to me before we leave for BEA, then I'll have a complete draft done.  It can then sit and percolate for a week while we glam around New York, and I can come home ready to slash and burn edit and revise.  Get the book outta here by the end of June.  Have July to lie on the couch sipping wine and reading trashy novels move on the various tasks necessary to get the house ready for sale...


It hangs together as a plan, anyhow.  Let's see how it implements.  *Pulls on typing gloves and settles her glasses*


From The Internet Is Endlessly Fascinating folder, we have the following:

How our brains process language

What the statues of ancient Greece looked like with their paint on

Harper Lee alleges former agent tricked her into assigning her copyright to him

And, a daughter's tribute to her deceased mother, a photo-tour of Wonderland


Progress on Carousel Seas

53,006/100,000  OR 53% complete

"Not a glamor-user, yourself?" Felsic inquired.

"What you see is what you get," I answered, just as the light snapped out in the back room.

rolanni: (what it's like)

So, the day thus far has included the annual mammogram (have you had yours?  Have you scheduled it?), a trip to the post office, Which. Was. A. Zoo, because -- Tax Day, right?  Maine residents have traditionally caught a break, and got one more day to mail their taxes, because (in Maine and Massachusetts only) April 15  is also -- anyone?

You in the red sweater. . .I'm sorry?  Yes!  Patriot's Day*!  A splendid New England holiday on which banks and schools close, but not the Post Office.

Someone this year decided to take advantage of the Post Office being open for business on New England's Own Holiday and decreed that taxes have to mailed on the fifteenth in Maine and Massachusetts.  Thus the Pandemonium at the Post Office.

Where was I?

Oh -- the errands upon the morning.

Mammogram, Post Office, bank (but it was closed! caught me.), grocery store and so to home.

I'm now thinking I need to do something supperish and get with Carousel Seas.  Regular readers here will recall that I was going to try to beat the plot out of Character C persuade Character C to tell me what they have in their mind.  They naturally -- and, yanno, predictably -- refused.

It is, of course, possible that I'm over-thinking the whole thing, that I already have the information I need, and that all will become Obvious in the Fullness of Time.

It's equally possible that the backbrain hasn't finished noodling that bit out yet.

Having no other choice, I recruit myself to patience, and recall that Character C is a competent sneak who's been doing This Kind of Thing for far longer than I have.  Therefore, I shall continue on with writing the bits I do know.

I used to think that I'd be a Real Writer once I learned how a book went together.

*cue laugh track*


*In Maryland, where I grew up, Patriot's Day is September 11, so when I worked for the State, which I did for many years, I got my birthday off.  Everybody should have their birthday off!  I So Decree.

* * *

Progress on Carousel Seas

32,638/100,000 OR 32.64% complete

Note: There had been a snippet here, but it was, I am told, grammatically incorrect.  I have, therefore, removed the snippet before it offended someone else.

rolanni: (the kids)
For those interested, there is a long and informative post detailing the Liaden Universe Silver Anniversary, 2013 publication dates, future delivery dates, and contract news, right here

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