Rose very well and not weary, and with Sir W. Batten to St. James’s; there did our business. I saw Sir J. Lawson since his return from sea first this morning, and hear that my Lord Sandwich is come from Portsmouth to town. Thence I to him, and finding him at my Lord Crew’s, I went with him home to his house and much kind discourse. Thence my Lord to Court, and I with Creed to the ‘Change, and thence with Sir W. Warren to a cook’s shop and dined, discoursing and advising him about his great contract he is to make tomorrow, and do every day receive great satisfaction in his company, and a prospect of a just advantage by his friendship. Thence to my office doing some business, but it being very cold, I, for fear of getting cold, went early home to bed, my wife not being come home from my Lady Jemimah, with whom she hath been at a play and at Court to-day.
He stayed at a hotel four blocks from the White House, which is also not the part that's making me scream.
No: his hotel was ONE BLOCK away from a fountain pen store (Fahrney's) AND HE DIDN'T BUY ME ANYTHING AND BRING IT HOME AS A YOON-OFFERING.
I wasn't expecting him to buy me a fountain pen! (Among other things, Joe has not the faintest clue about fountain pens, let alone what I like.) But he could have bought me a bottle of ink! They would have had ink. And ink is relatively affordable.
Next time he goes to D.C. I'M COMING WITH.
I have informed him that my favorite colors are red and blue. I mean, I like a lot of colors, but this is Joe. He is confused by stationery supplies, so I want to keep it simple for him. He's only an astrophysics Ph.D, not expected to understand things like ink colors. ;)
I MAY BE BITTER.
(He read this over my shoulder then laughed at me. *shakes tiny fist* CURSE YOU, MY BELOVED JOE. CURSE YOU VERY MUCH. Imagine this said in the tone of Batman in the LEGO Batman Movie when he says, "I...hate you.")
In the meantime, I backed the Marigold Tarot (hat tip to pengwern) so I shouldn't complain. :p
The story is “The Tavern at the Ford,” which appeared in the anthology Sword and Sorceress 28.
If you enjoyed the audio version of his collection Raiding the Hoard of Enchantment, you will want to take advantage of this offering.
A little warier than last year. I am doing 3 things, first of all having a pond ‘turnover’ device, a little heated pump that will keep circulating a stream of water up to outgas CO2 buildup and then to return to the depths…and a regulation hole-creating pond heater that simply floats at the surface and makes sure an area stays open.
I’ve positioned both of these where wind cannot carry them out of sight under the bridge, so I will KNOW visually if the power is off to that line.
And I’ve put the black 6′ circle of fabric on a floating ring in place atop the fishes’ sleeping hole. So they can start to rest and calm down. If they don’t settle in a safe spot, they can keep swimming in confusion as the cold puts their conscious brain to sleep, and the end of that is freezing to death close to the surface.
Because the freeze-depth in this area barely reaches 6″ down, that means the dirt deeper than that stays warmer than 32 degrees F, and that means it keeps the water down there above 32 F, too. So the fish may be sleeping (it’s called torpor, not hibernation, a technicality of how the body survives) but they will not freeze. They apparently carry on some metabolic activity, and may even carry on ‘eating’ or rather drinking, just because there are algae spores in the water. I swear they come out of winter as fat or fatter than they went in, but won’t wake up and actually eat until around St. Paddy’s day. As they come out of sleep, you can feed them Cheerios or other grain-based food, but they won’t have any appetite until their stomachs ‘wake up’ and inform them they can eat now. This happens when the water (or their bodies, from the sun) reaches about 58 degrees. At that point, bio-activity starts to climb.
So probably they have had their last kibble until March. No Halloween treats for them.
Tomorrow morning, we go to hospital for a surgical procedure, to fit Karen with a port below her clavicle, a direct line into a blood vessel for both input and output. Thursday they tap her precious bodily fluids for a few hours, to filter out 117 million stem cells; then they immediately turn the tap the other way and pump in more chemo. And more yet on Friday. Saturday is Day Zero, when her stem cells are returned to her to start restoring an immune system, hopefully one with better discipline, that won't be trying to eat her hereafter.
These few days are going to be the hardest, by the doctors' own admission. After that it's a couple of weeks of recovery in more or less isolation. If you're curious, look up "neutropenia". Karen gets to eat astronaut food and/or very well-cooked meat & fish. No salads, no fresh veg, no fruits. We wear masks, and she probably doesn't leave the apartment. She probably won't want to.
And then we're done, or at least they're finished with us. We come home (and trust me, you have no idea how attractive those words sound), and spend the next year rebuilding Karen's health. Lots of home-cooked food (hah!), lots of rest. A degree of care in social contact [get your flu shots, people! Herd immunity is going to be our friend, for the foreseeable future]. An ongoing drug regime for a while, but nothing onerous. Oh, and making friends with the cats again, because we will smell of the vet.
In previous posts in this series, I’ve written about emotional sobriety, feeling overwhelmed, and finding a personal sanctuary. Now I’d like to talk more about the concrete things we can do to keep our emotional and spiritual balance during the difficult, terrifying, and outrage-evoking recent months.
For me the first step is always admitting that what I have been doing isn’t working. I can get absorbed in one dreadful news story after the other, and with each round I lose more perspective and calm. My adrenaline levels get progressively higher. Sometimes – often! – it seems as if nothing else is happening in my life except reacting to yet another threat to the people, organizations, and principle that are important to me. Old wounds re-open; the ghosts of family tragedies (like the pogroms my father survived as a boy) re-awaken. I fear for my Jewish family and my queer daughters and sister and my trans daughter-in-law, for my black, Muslim, and Hispanic friends. I despair for the future of the entire planet. In other words, I need help.
Sometimes all that’s necessary is for me to admit that matters have gotten out of hand. Then I can scale back on my news consumption enough to think clearly what actions I would like to take. And especially what would be enough for the moment so that I can leave the topic and focus on other aspects of my life – my family, my writing, my local community, the beautiful redwood forest that cloaks the hills outside my windows. Playing classical music on my mother’s piano. Knitting hats for charities in poor areas of the country and world. Cuddling with the cats.
Recently I have noticed how those times of relative sanity come to a screeching halt. There are always new reasons – excuse me, Reasons. Like a hurricane or three. I’ve seen references to “outrage fatigue” but I suspect what is happening is outrage overlap. There isn’t sufficient time in between to return to balance and stay there, catching our breath, before something new and dreadful reels us in.
A recent article on the American Friends Service Committee blog suggests ways to stay strong “when the news is exhausting.” The folks at AFSC know a thing or two about coming from a place of compassion and peace during difficult times. A Quaker-founded organization, they’ve been around since 1917. After WW I, they set up kitchens to feed hungry children in Germany and Austria. During the 1930s and through World War II, AFSC helped refugees escape from Nazi Germany, provided relief for children on both sides of the Spanish Civil War, and provided relief to refugees in Vichy France. (I had friends who worked in Austria after WW II through AFSC.) They received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947. So I’m apt to listen to their suggestions:
- Cut back on news. Eliminate or restrict the number of times per day you check social media. This in itself isn’t new, and I’ve done these things successfully, but not the strategy of using printed news instead of internet. Print is slower and often more thoughtful, especially long-form journalism. Someone has had a chance to think what all this means before publishing it. Plus, the delay means an extra buffer between events and reaction. I think of it as an ongoing exercise in faith that if I need to know about what’s going on in the world, I’ll find out.
- Focus on the issues that matter most to you. I notice I do this, too, although the reminder is always welcome. I can’t sustain being outraged about every single horrible thing. I do better when I prioritize, picking the top few issues and following them more closely. And it’s not essential that my friends and I have the same top issues. For example, our neighbor is Native American, and the crisis at Standing Rock was very important to him; he knew people who were directly involved. I acted as an ally, while he was less concerned with queer and trans rights, one of my primary issues.
- Read something else! I love this suggestion. I would add, Listen to something besides news and talk shows when you’re driving. During the election, I loaded all 6 CDs of the Howard Shore music for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies into the player in my car and listened to them over and over. Although there are dramatic passages, the flowing, narrative quality of the music transported me to, well, Middle Earth. I was a much nicer driver as a result. My current refuge is audio books of Jane Austen novels. I highly recommend a mini-vacation at Pemberley or Mansfield Park. When I return, I am a saner person, too.
What strategies help you get through these days? Books, music, refreshments of the spirit?
[howling wind and dog together]
[plus a sprinkling of light rattling chains]
Darkness falls across the land...
The fowl-est stench is in the air...
The FUNK of forty thousand years!
Give or take an eon.
And Grizzly ghouls from EVERY tomb...
Are closing in...to seal your DOOM.
And though you fight to stay alive...
"Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. I'm missin'myarm, and whereismyface?"
Your body starts to SHIVER.
(Or maybe that's Orlando Bloom. Hm? LADIES?)
For no MERE MORTAL can resist...
... David Caruso riding a unicorn under a double rainbow!
(Oh. Or that)
Is that supposed to be steak?
Thanks to Melinda M., Sarah C., Natasha, Nell H., John M., Rebecca J., Carrie, Robin L., Wolfie, and P. Humperdink for saving us from having to find a cake for "y'alls neighborhood."
However, quite often people who have made me sad, angry, and/or disgusted with their behavior write books that are too dreadfully written to bother to read, and this is not the case with Vallista. This is another entry in the Vlad Taltos series, and like the others it is not doing exactly the same things as its predecessors. It is expanding the universe of the series, it is messing with everything that has gone before and recasting it. It is definitely not an episodic "like this one, but more of it" entry in its series, and the trap-building nature of the vallista comes satisfyingly into play.
What was less satisfying for me this time around, and this may well come into reviewing the author rather than the book as I am trying not to do: everyone has tolerance limits on the First Person Asshole voice. It's no surprise that a substantial portion of a Vlad Taltos novel is written in First Person Asshole. Some people's tolerance is about a page and a half, some infinite; mine is, at this point fifteen books into the series, fraying. (I would also like it a lot if someone would write a study of how FPA voice shifts in a long series so that it always feels contemporary and therefore includes very mild contemporary phrasing that's almost but not quite invisible and ends up being the prose tic version of a long mystery series looking like it only spans two years and yet starting with the protagonist using pay phones and ending in them using smart phones. Someone who is not me should do that using several authors as reference. Thanks.) But Vallista also has, for very good plot-related spoilerific reasons, forays into other prose voices than that, which made it a lot easier to read just when some of the "look at me I'm clever" bits of narrative voice were not feeling quite as clever as hoped and had repeated the not-clever multiple times just to make sure you had a chance to not-laugh at it again. I liked...hard to describe for spoiler reasons...pieces of other prose voice, and the reasons why they were there.
There is quite a lot of Devera in this book. If you're here for serious forward momentum on ongoing plot arc and for Devera: here you go, this is the one you're looking for. Relationships among other characters in the series, a great deal less so, but there's a great deal of "can't have everything" going around in the world, inevitable that some of it would end up here.
. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.
The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.
It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.
Here's as far as I got before I stopped:
( picture )
(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)
I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.
So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )
Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)
Is anyone willing to listen to the song and transcribe the lyrics in comments? I would be happy to write you a flashfic to a prompt of your choosing. :]
(Based on the snippets of lyrics I do understand, I consider this to be the unofficial theme song of Revenant Gun, LOL.)
ETA: ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Playing ping pong while the cat is lounging on the ping pong table. This lasted until a stray ping pong ball, uh, caught her in the snoot, at which point she scurried under the table...
(Lord’s day). It raining, we set out, and about nine o’clock got to Hatfield in church-time; and I ‘light and saw my simple Lord Salsbury sit there in his gallery. Staid not in the Church, but thence mounted again and to Barnett by the end of sermon, and there dined at the Red Lyon very weary again, but all my weariness yesterday night and to-day in my thighs only, the rest of my weariness in my shoulders and arms being quite gone. Thence home, parting company at my cozen Anth. Joyce’s, by four o’clock, weary, but very well, to bed at home, where I find all well. Anon my wife came to bed, but for my ease rose again and lay with her woman.
But if going off to find birds didn't work out, the birds of camp sometimes found me. There were a couple wrentits "purring" in the mass of sprouts and other vegetation around the base of a redwood just beside the dining hall, so close to people but not in fact with much traffic. I was awakened Sunday morning by a hermit thrush chupping outside our window, and I saw several others along the edges of the footpaths. I heard a great horned owl once, and acorn woodpeckers many times. But the best thing there is Pacific wren. They're right there in camp, skulking in the many clumps of redwood sprouts, double-chipping wildly at passers by and occasionally popping up to look. Pacific wrens are tiny brown birds that generally keep to the underbrush, and seeing a couple, or one several times, was a great treat. ( An extremely short list: )
A longer list than I expected. There were deer wandering the edges of camp, in varying sizes, horned and otherwise, and unfamiliar-sounding squirrels in the trees. The first year I birded there I spent ages trying to discover what bird made that weird sound; at least now I know better.
here at probono
dc comics  ➝ super sons, misc n52 (damian, dick, bruce)*
here at probono
dc comics  ➝ preboot and n52 bruce, rebirth batfam (bruce, duke, gordon, barbara, dick, damian)*
here at probono
* These two are reposts on account of Photobucket Heat Death!!!