mrissa: (andshe'soff)

The light has changed. The temperatures are not really any cooler yet than they have been on average this cool summer–the highs were in the 80s today–but the light has shifted, this last week or so, and my hindbrain says, yes, fall. Here we are. Fall. We are home.

One of the strange consequences of this is a complete hindbrain unwillingness to wear things without sleeves. This is fine–I have many shirts and dresses with short sleeves that are fine for this weather. I just haven’t noticed it in previous late summers or early falls. It’s…a bit quirky. I reach for a sleeveless dress and it is clearly the wrong thing. Oh, brains. What I really have the urge to wear is my real clothes, tights and sweaters and clogs, but I am willing to wear your summer person drag a bit longer so I don’t roast. Well, sort of. I’m wearing tights* right now, actually, and I wore clogs outside with them. But the sweaters would be a bit much. I do admit that. This part is not new, it’s only the sleeves that are new. The urge to start wearing sweaters early and often is one of those traits that may be either genetic or environmental–hard to tell, because it wears a big ol’ sign reading “MOM.”

*The tights are bright blue and black plaid. You should be impressed with me that I held off wearing them this long, and by this long I mean a full three weeks of August non-tights weather since I bought them. You should be impressed with me that I did not sit down on the floor of Target and put them on right then and there. These tights called my name, people. They said, “Helllooooo, femme person!” And I said, “Present.” And they said, “You will wear us every time we are clean until it is cold enough that you only want to wear SmartWool. SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS YOU KNOW IT TO BE TRUE.” And I said, “Why do you not have siblings in maroon-and-black and hunter-green-and-black and purple-and-grey also?” And they said, “You are an only child, too, so stop quibbling and give the person a surprisingly reasonable number of your American cash dollars.” So I did, and here we are.

Another strange consequence of the change of the light is that the farmer’s market has plenty of parking again. It’s like the minute it’s not Officially Summer, people think there are no more vegetables? Or something? Half the food trucks packed up and left, too, so it was actually mostly the vegetables. It was the people selling things you cook, instead of things they’ve already cooked. I bought the king of daikons. This daikon will not fit in our fridge straight-on. I have to tilt it diagonally to get it in our fridge. You should not try a home invasion here (in general because it is very rude and also illegal but particularly now) because we have this daikon and we haven’t cut it up yet. It’s still an entirely feasible bludgeoning weapon. It cost $1 and had a luxuriant crown of leaves I had to cut off so it wouldn’t take up even more of the fridge. This daikon, people. I got tomatoes and corn and peppers and two kinds of long beans and all manner of goodness, but this daikon: it is a prodigy. For $1.

Yes, I am frivolous today.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

mrissa: (viking princess necklace)
It's Santa Lucia Day, and my parents' lussekatter are waiting in the freezer for them to get back from work and a funeral and visiting sick family members. And there was enough with the funeral and sick family members that I had myself braced. "You know how this goes," I told myself. "It is a hard knead. Sometimes it doesn't rise when you want it to. Leave plenty of time. Do it in advance. This is important. It's okay if it takes time and energy to get it right." So I did it on the day of Nana's funeral, which was Tuesday. Well in advance.

People. You guys. The lussekatter rose like a dream this year. They barely needed kneading. They twirled and danced into whatever shapes I wanted with barely a touch.

I have no idea what happened.

When things go wrong, you poke at them and you think: was it too cold? Was the yeast too old? Did I put the yeast into the warm milk and butter when it was too warm? And on. And on. When things come out perfect--well, there's a certain urge to interrogate that too. But the only thing different was that the saffron didn't grind well, and I can't think that's it. It was a longer rise time than the 45-minute minimum but a much shorter rise time than I have sometimes had before. The house was the house, and I was me. And my lussekatter, oh, my lussekatter gave me a break this year. They put up only token resistance.

I am so far behind on everything, and I am such a big worrywart, but this. This went right when I was prepared to have it be a fight. And now I have some fight left over for other things that need it.

I was going to hesitate to use this word, but it turns out we have a long tradition of using it with bread products: this was grace.

Happy Santa Lucia Day.

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 Part 1 2007 Part 2 2006
mrissa: (winter)
There is this thing that my brain does, where if I glance outside, my subconscious interprets things as snow when at all possible. "SNOW!" says my subconscious, and my heart leaps, and then no, it's just a funny reflection from the windows, or cottonwood drift, or something. My brain does this in July. I have been known to have this reaction on my birthday. That is how eager my subconscious is for snow. Some people look for the good in everyone. I look for the snow.

This morning there's a tiny thin scattering of snow on the ground. And I am so trained in telling it to stop leaping* that it took me a minute to realize. And then I filled with ridiculous joy all over again, even though the grass is almost all visible, even though the snow will be gone by lunch. (Edit: or maybe not, it's now snowing more!)

I need this. I need it today, I need it this year. We don't always get what we need. But this time, in a tiny way at the very least. Yes. It's a start.

*Yes, happy nerd points for those who get the ongoing reference. I mean, really, when it is not appropriate? Okay, I can think of times. But not many.
mrissa: (winter)
Dear Snow:

Remember the time we spent Halloween together? That was awesome! Let's do it again!

[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (winter)
I really like both what [ profile] timprov says in his blog post here and the song and video he's talking about in it. I can't watch the vid again, though; we didn't have enough snowy winter for me this year, and I miss the Minneapolis winter it shows too much. Next year. I'll get through to next year. In the meantime, go read about things that have nothing to do with snow, winter, or Minneapolis.
mrissa: (winter)
Our driveway guy has come to clear our driveway for the second time in the last two days.

He appears to have gotten himself stuck and is spinning his wheels to move sideways.

I am simultaneously amused and horrified.
mrissa: (winter)
The library has found my book lists and reattached them to my account. Sound horns, bang drums. The Dakota County Library: the best library in Dakota County. (Seriously, they're a really good library.)

Tonight [ profile] markgritter and I are going to see the Minnesota Orchestra and Heart of the Beast and presumably some singy people doing "The Magic Flute." I am wearing jeans to the Orchestra for the first time in my life, because it is distinctly non-warm here, and because I have a real Norwegian ski sweater, which says very clearly, "I am happy to be here and recognize the occasion, but damn, people, not at all warm out there." Seriously, this thing could stop bullets.

And now I shall have a Fazermint, which is not local goodness exactly, as Finland is not really local, but you can get them very readily locally, so that is a goodness. Undermine the tsar with chocolate minty loveliness!
mrissa: (intense)
1. My godfather is well and truly married, and I alone have returned to tell the tale. Where by "I alone" I mean "everybody who went." Also there's not much tale to tell, since it went smoothly. And it turns out that there are e.e. cummings poems that are clean and yet related to people coming together romantically! Who knew? Apparently my new cousin Hsin-Yi knew! So she is your go-to person for clean and yet romantically involved e.e. cummings. We never had one in the family before. Now we do. When the officiant said that her sister was going to read e.e. cummings, I thought, "Oh, uff da, here we go!" because I knew it wasn't going to be maggy and milly and molly and may, and all the adult e.e. cummings I know is really adult. But apparently Hsin-Yi is refineder in her literary sensibilities than I. (Also, "refineder" is now a word.)

2. The tomatillos are harvested, and there was frost, so we are done harvesting for the year. My fingers are almost recovered from doing so in the wind. Are we done processing them? Oh, cue the hollow laughter. Like fun we are.

3. [ profile] timprov and I went out for breakfast, and on the drive home, I saw the first snowflakes of the season. They didn't last long enough to hit the ground. But I saw them. I saw.

4. I have word of my latest Analog story, from someone living in Montreal who liked it and liked the Montreal bits in particular. So that's good. I would like my arthur copies now, but arthur copies are sometimes slow. (My first set of work-for-hire textbooks came with a packing slip that actually said, "arthur copies." And I could not resist quoting the Arthur-shaped snot-monster from The Tick and saying, "I Arthur! I Arthur!" Most of you already know this.)

5. We have decided that if I ever do an elaborate Halloween costume again, I will go as the Stanley Cup and make other people go as hockey players and lift me over their heads. Possibly I should get an 8-year-old to let me do this, as they are more broadly feasible to lift and yet about the size of a Stanley Cup, but Rob has already decided on his costume for this year. Still, I am not in much danger of doing an elaborate Halloween costume any time soon, so that's all right; getting all the names down would take awhile. This is Minnesota, so you can't just write, "Gordie Howe blah blah Gretzky blah blah something about Crosby."
mrissa: (reading)
I don't talk about stuff I read in manuscript, and I don't talk about stuff I quit before I finish reading it, and I've already talked about a few of these, so this is looking like a lighter fortnight than usual.

Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker. Vivid YA SF. Worldbuilding and characters both very easy for me to get swept along with, and I don't recall anything quite like this future Louisiana reaching me before. It's not a nice future, not by any stretch, and we don't get any time in this book with the posh end of the future. This is not by any means a flaw.

Gretel Ehrlich, In the Empire of Ice: Encounters in a Changing Landscape. I never consciously try to read Gretel Ehrlich in July and August, but according to my booklog I gravitate towards her this time of year subconsciously, for relief I suppose. Ice, ice, and more ice. Greenland, northern Canada, northern Russia. Lifestyles of nomadic peoples on the ice. Narwhals. Walruses. Mmmm, ice.

Elizabeth Ann Hull, ed. Gateways. Discussed elsewhere.

Ursula LeGuin, The Word for World is Forest. Discussed elsewhere.

David Liss, The Whiskey Rebels. I really, really hope David Liss has smartass friends like mine. Because structurally it is as though one of his smartass friends shouted, "Do a flip!" in the middle of this book. And he then did. And while it is pretty good when, like, thousands of readers or the New York Times or whoever go, "that was wicked awesome!!!", it's even better when the person saying it is the person to whom you said, "Hold my hat/coat/drink and watch this." So I hope he has smartass friends like mine. Oh, the book? I loved the book. It's about the Whiskey Rebellion and the early US and early banking therein and a whole bunch of other stuff I was not at all sure I cared about. Loved it. Going to go get more of his stuff when I can.

David MacAuley, The New Way Things Work, a.k.a. "the Mammoth Book." This is the book wherein mammoths are used to explain it all to you. It all = cam shafts, nuclear power, hot air balloons, whatever. This is a very useful book. We have already gotten it for several small persons of our acquaintance and will get it for more as they grow into it. It is not a "sit down and read cover to cover" book, mostly, but one to dip into for amusing thumbnail sketches here and there.

John Elder Robison, Look Me in the Eye. This was described as a memoir of Asperger's, but I found other aspects of his life just as interesting. For example, I am not at all interested in very stagey hair bands of the 1970s and 1980s. But the people who design their stage effects are a great deal more interesting, having to have certain aspects of the geek nature and yet interact with rock at some of its most excessive. And Robison was apparently one of those people. Interesting stuff, not easily categorizable--I can see how it got put into being "an Aspie thing" simply because that is both true and the most obvious way they can label it.

Jack Weatherford, The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire. I had been looking forward to this, and it didn't disappoint. I didn't realize how much "daughters" was going to be metaphorical, as in "female descendants and their heirs," but it worked much better than trying to focus on a single generation of Mongol women for the amount of documentation and information we seem to have. I think, though I can't swear to it, that Central Asian history buffs will still find things of interest in this volume; certainly the majority of us who don't know very much about Central Asian history will.
mrissa: (Default)
1. I don't have my singing voice back, but I have most of my speaking voice mostly back. So that's a good thing. I have this stupid cold on the run enough that I can, y'know, do stuff. I like stuff and the doing of it. I'm crazy that way.

2. In other news, the electricity is back to all parts of the house, and the mistakes of the last electrician have apparently been rectified, hurrah. This basement-finishing job: it looks to me as though the bits we will see take far less time than the bits we won't see. I hope I'm not wrong on that, or we will be another twelve million years in getting the drywall up.

3. It's been snowing here since before I woke up. A few hours ago, the plow and the mail delivery came through at the same time, attempting to pass each other multiple times within our small cul-de-sac. They looked like a mechanized Three Stooges routine. I do not mean this as a compliment. Our driveway guy has not been here yet. That is such a hopeful "yet," sitting right there. I don't really know how to articulate how I want him to do his job differently. Perhaps he'll come along and clear just around the time the snow is stopping, and I won't want him to do his job differently at all this time. One can hope.

4. When I went to let the dog out, she looked out in the snow, and then she looked up at me like, "Okay, monkey, there's a difference between funny once and funny all the time."

5. We are now owners of a startling share of the world's supply of chocolate, hot (or, more to the point, potentially hot) and otherwise. Eeeeexcellent. Now with only four hundred and six more steps, my plan for word domination will be complete.

Oh, there's supposed to be an l in that? Hmm. This may require substantial alterations to the said plans.
mrissa: (winter)
We are getting a lovely snow here, finally. As soon as everybody's home from their evening commute, it will be even better. In the meantime I'm still enjoying it from my safe, warm house. Hot chocolate helps. Having finished one of my tins of known good hot chocolate, I've moved on to a new kind, which is pretty nice also. I have discovered that for me, fiddliness in hot chocolate is not any kind of flaw, but rather a virtue: I like messing with the whisk and more than one measure and having multiple steps. It's not as important as the flavor, but part of what I'm doing at teatime is taking time out from whatever else I was doing, and fiddling with my tea or hot chocolate helps with that.

Another of my break-taking habits this time of year is to grab a large-ish object from the pile of presents and cut off a piece of wrapping paper to wrap it. Then I proceed with using the scraps to wrap other, smaller things until I run out of paper from the large piece I cut. Then I go back to whatever else I was doing. It's very much more satisfying, somehow, than sitting down and having a marathon wrapping session all at once, although I still might have to do some of that, depending on where the occasional round of wrapping gets me.

I did not intend to finish writing "Carter Hall Wears the C" this week, but time makes fools of us all, and anyway a finished story is not a bad thing by any stretch. One of the interesting meta sorts of things about this one--and by "interesting" I mean "interesting to me and probably boring to you"--is that it is not the chronologically next story in the series of stories. I have talked a lot about writing things out of sequence within a story or novel, but up until this point, the Carter Hall short stories have docilely consented to be finished in the order in which they happen. And I saw no reason to push that, until "Wears the C" made itself known: "Carter Hall Goes to the Boards" is going to be a fine thing, I think--it's the one for [ profile] careswen--but I have a fear that it's a novelette, and I've just finished a damn novelette and have another half-done that should probably get some attention. And sometimes what my life needs is a straightforward short story with a 4/4 beat, you can dance to it, also it's got Tommy Heikkanen's witchy little Finnish granny showing up in her Buick (above whose steering wheel she can barely see) to wreak havoc, and Carter has to try to direct the havoc away from himself and the rest of the team. Isn't that nice? I think it's nice. I always like a little grandmotherly havoc with my tea. (I think the moral of these stories may be, "Grandmothers: seriously, do not mess with them." One of the morals. If you only have one moral, it'd better be an awfully short story.)

But anyway, here we are, not just skipping over "Goes to the Boards" but also "Completes the Pass," "Crosses the Blue Line," "Carter Hall's Hat Trick," "Covers the Goal," "Throws Down the Gloves," and "Pandora's Penalty Box." And possibly even "Plays It Ahead," I don't know that one yet, just the title. ("Pandora's Penalty Box" is one of the ones where Carter is babysitting Jess Lin-Laird. The other babysitting one I know about at the moment is "The Plural of Golem is Goalie," where Jess is really old enough to demonstrate the hazards of in utero exposure to the Queen of Air and Darkness. Jess is going to get her own book someday. We are all about the consequences, here at Spoonduckcirclebill Ranch, and Jessica Lin-Laird is consequences times ten, on two skates.)

(Oh. Spoonduckcirclebill Ranch is what [ profile] porphyrin calls our house. All the streets in our neighborhood are named after waterfowl, you see. Poor [ profile] dlandon: I sent a lasagna over when her mom died, and I put "SPOONDUCK" on it on a piece of tape so she'd know whose dish it was when it was empty and clean and ready to send back. Only apparently [ profile] porphyrin hadn't called us that to Dena, so she thought I had made some exotic spoonbread dish with duck meat, when in fact it was plain old lasagna with Italian sausage.)

So the question I have about finishing this story is: should damnfool be one word, two words, or a hyphenated word, when used as an adjective? That is, "You didn't make a damnfool wish like that," not, "You're a damn fool, Carter Hall." I have already decided that shit-stupid is hyphenated, because shitstupid just looks wrong, and shit stupid is a less clear idiom, I think. But I am on the fence regarding damnfool/damn-fool/damn fool. Hmmmm. Help.

In other news, I have decided that since I am feeling pretty low-energy at the moment, now is perhaps not the time to push myself to read books that are informative and will add to my knowledge base but are not perhaps what we would call good. So I'm letting myself read the last of the Reginald Hills we have on hand, which is what I want, and then after that we'll see. The library has bunches more of them, and I know it, but I'd really prefer not to juggle library return dates along with everything else in December, so I may have a Dalziel-free period from now until after Christmas. Oh wailie wailie.


Dec. 3rd, 2009 12:45 pm
mrissa: (winter)
+ Tiny dusting of snow!!! I will take it. It's better than no snow.

+ Concert last night: good good good. Antje Duvekot opened, and WPA was the main act. Definitely worth my time and energy and money to see. Also it was a grown-up concert at the Cedar, which means chairs to sit in and a concert that starts on time. Hurrah. Duvekot said it was her worst set ever. If this is the case, she is a candidate for best worst set ever.

+ Pepparkakor dough in a minute. Cookie Day tomorrow. Yay! First Cookie Day with Grandma in town to share it! Yay!

- People. Nobody is tone death. Some people are tone deaf. Tone death would be some kind of superpower; I'm pretty sure you only wish that the person in your office who cannot sing but does so anyway would die a tone death. One problem with teaching children to spell phonetically is that some of them do not enunciate for sour owl crap, and spend their time around other people who do not enunciate for sour owl crap.

- Online clothing retailers, seriously: size first, color second. When does anybody ever say, "Well, I totally want the purple one, but I don't care which of the six sizes is available?" This is an instance where size very much matters. You do not buy your 2XL aunt or your XS aunt an M sweater because M is what the retailer has and you like that sweater. If you do, you are being stupid and should stop.

- DVD manufacturers: stop putting an infinite repeat sound loop on the menu screen. It makes perfect sense to put the DVD in and go somewhere else to do laundry, put something in the oven, etc. while the warnings and disclaimers are playing. Nobody who is up to their elbows in clean, dry towels finds the experience enhanced by the same thirty seconds of your theme song over and over again. Just stop.
mrissa: (scold with Lilly)
1. The tea rule: when [ profile] markgritter is out of town, you must remember to make your own afternoon tea. This is a good rule.

2. The miso rule: in months when you would by default wear socks, you must have something warm with at least one and preferably two meals a day. This, too, is a good rule.

3. The salad rule: no more than one meal a day can be solely composed of cold raw vegetables, or you will wake up in the middle of the night cold and hungry. (Clarification: adding cold nuts to the cold raw vegetables is only enough for ONE meal a day. NOT TWO.) This is a very, very good rule. See how much better tonight is for these rules than yesterday was without them? Yah. Good. Remember that.

4. You can doubt yourself when you're away from the computer. Doubt yourself in the shower, doubt yourself propped up next to the stove, doubt yourself riding in the car, whatever you need to do. Not required but permitted from time to time. But at the computer you write.

5. It turns out that being funny in a book does not make it easier, as a writer, to deal with the incredibly emotionally difficult plot points you have written into it, YOU BLITHERING MORON. But it turns out not to be physically possible just yet to go back in time and shake yourself by the shoulders for plotting it that way before you knew how this year would be. And it will be better this way. It really will. But--gee, huh, why might you be avoiding writing that chapter, self? What an incomprehensible behavior! Wholly inexplicable by any means except LOGIC AND DEDUCTIVE REASONING.

Sheesh, some monkeys.
mrissa: (Default)
I am unduly relieved to find that I scheduled my doctor's appointment for a time that just flat-out would not work and had to reschedule it for the first week of November. It's not that there was anything particularly off-putting about this trip to the doctor, it's just that it was one more thing at a time when I really need no more things. (Of course, putting it off does increase the likelihood that it will be one more thing then. But it looks more cope-able at that time, from where I sit now. No impending foreign visitors. No likelihood that my suitcase will still be only half unpacked. Etc.)

The gutter cleaners also called to reschedule, as for some reason they did not want to be cleaning our gutters in the middle of Wintry Mix. Go figure. I don't even like Wintry Mix, and I love cold fall rain and I love snow. But not Wintry Mix. Anyway their rescheduling was a neutral in terms of Stuff, and there will still be clean gutters when Johan gets here, which I'm sure is a priority for him to report back to the rest of the family in Sweden. ("Wall," he will say, "the soup was lovely, and she has family things around the house and the linen runner we sent on her piano, but the biggest relief is that the gutters were clean." Isn't that what you say after a visit? I thought so.)

Also yesterday the basement fella rescheduled because his kid was sick, but she's better today, so he's back making that patch of basement into a Real Live Bathroom. Which is good, because that's why we've given him sums of money and will give him more in a bit.

It's not a woe is me time. It's a whoa is me time, though. Whoa. Stuff. And other stuff.

Soon I will be excited about everything else I figured out needs to go in The True Tale of Carter Hall, and it will be fun to put it there, but right now it is making me eep in quiet little overwhelmed eeps. (Eep.)

mrissa: (Default)
This week my steady time came on Tuesday, and I used part of it to go out to the garden to harvest tomatillos, since I'd heard we were due for a frost Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I don't think we got one here in Eagan, so there may be more tomatillos when [ profile] markgritter goes to pull the plants out. It was still trying to grow more. Still, I got hundreds of the little suckers.

For those of you who have never dealt with fresh tomatillos: the part you eat looks very much like a little green tomato, but it comes in a papery sort of wrapping. Either this makes them less prone to being bug-gnawed and worm-bitten and squirrel-stolen than tomatoes, or else the local fauna isn't as familiar or as fond, because I've had far fewer problems that way with tomatillos than with tomatoes. Anyway, once you pull off the papery wrapping, the tomatillo is sticky and often has black specks on it from where the original blossom withered against the fruit. This washes off the surface of the fruit in warm water, but it takes more effort than most vegetable washing, and it leaves the hands terribly sticky. The soaps we have took several washings to get rid of tomatillo stickiness until I made the happy discovery that tomatillo juice cuts the stickiness beautifully.

So. Peel off the papery husk, scrub the surface, set on the cutting board, repeat until cutting board is full. Then halve all the tomatillos and put the halves flat side down on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Add cloves of garlic still in their paper. Stick under the broiler until the tomatillo skins start to blacken (for my broiler, about 9 minutes). Wait for everything to cool enough to be handled. Peel the roasted garlic and put the cloves in the blender. Scoop up the roasted tomatillos and put those in the blender, too. Blend.

At this point, what you have is the base for a chili verde, and everybody in my house really likes chili verde. In theory I should have nearly five chili verde base batches in the freezer, but what I have is four, plus a little container in the fridge. That little container will be reheated and dubbed "lunch," because the main hazard to this whole process is not the amount of time it will take or how sticky your hands will get but how incredibly good roasted tomatillos pureed with roasted garlic will smell. Oh man. I have just barely managed to keep myself from licking the blender lid clean with my tongue. (I used a spoon. And then I thought of the time Grandpa reached the limits of what his spoon could accomplish at Rice Paper with their peanut sauce and stuck his finger straight in the bowl, mortifying Grandma and delighting me. So then I used my finger, too.) I know it's not really soup--it doesn't have any broth or water, no oil, anything, really. Just tomatillos and garlic. Except that is apparently all I need.

At any moment, contractors should be showing up to do some more drywall and/or insulation-related things to the impending bathroom in the basement. I will be glad when all this is over and I don't have to think about letting people into my house and can schedule workouts and writing time and various other life things without worrying about whether I will be in actual pajamas when strangers want into my home. (I mostly sleep and work out in very large T-shirts, under which I can put a pair of soccer shorts or jeans and call it good, but I have some actual nightshirts, which strike me as not really okay under the circumstances.)

And there's the doorbell. So there's progress there, too.
mrissa: (mrischief)
It's autumn here: the light has shifted. The temperature has not, really: August was unseasonably cool, so we're getting a September that's within parameters but not particularly different from August. However, the light has shifted enough that I want to grab a coat every time I go somewhere. That's not yet necessary.

A lot of people think winter is my favorite season, but actually it's fall. I always love it here in Minnesota, but fall is when I most want to be here. This year I'm only missing one weekend of Minnesota fall, and for that I'm going to Michigan, which is at least climatically similar. I will be spending Convivial weekend sleeping in a hotel, eating meals away from home, and hanging out having low key conversations about fiction and life with geeky people, possibly while other geeky people play games in a nearby room. But this year I'm doing it as a Gritter family gathering rather than a convention: our new niece Lily Jane will be baptized that weekend, which in this family's religious tradition is only likely to happen once, or at least a very small number of times. So that's our priority this year, and I will hope there's a fallcon again next year. Other people in my immediate vicinity are making a bunch of other trips out of my immediate vicinity in October, and we're getting a visit from Our Favorite Swede (no offense, [ profile] akirlu). Johan wanted to come for Grandpa's memorial service, but it was too soon for him to be able to get humane airfares, so he has settled for coming to spend a week with us now, not to play tourist, just to spend time and tell stories about Grandpa and be together. This will be good.

We often see and do things and notice how much Grandpa would like them. Grandma said he would have loved our new car, for example, because it is a nice car but mostly because it is blue. (How Grandpa Was Like [ profile] papersky is a longer list than you might think, actually.) Sometimes we also provide What Grandpa Would Have Said To The Baseball Game or other Grandpa Soundtracks. Then we laugh together, or just smile, depending. We still miss him dreadfully. Of course we do. Always will.

In sort of celebration of the season, I'm making rye buns and beef stew for dinner. I didn't completely stop baking bread for the summer, but I did less of it, like ya do, and now it's not summer any more and everybody likes rye buns. I always think I could halve the batch, but then there would be fewer rye buns, so I never do. This time I called Grandma to see if she wants me to save some for Saturday's dinner (if I pop them in the freezer that long, they won't freezer burn but will be fresher). She does. There's a surprise, Scandosotans accepting an offer of rye bread.

I'm still in that mode where a lot of what I do socially is either with family (which by no means implies that I'm seeing enough of my family) or in the very small number of things I do that repeat pretty regularly. The other category that gets some play is "events that will happen with or without me": it's a lot easier for me to say, "We will sure try to make it to that if I'm feeling good enough," for a party where we're not the only invited guests than for a dinner plan where if we don't make it, there is no plan. And I'm still having great difficulty contacting people and saying, "Can we get together? How about you do all the work?", not because I think you lot wouldn't do it, just because it's hard. (Also because tacking on, "Oh, and I'm only potentially free two days in the next N, where N is a large number, and that had better be a fine time for you to do all the work, or else forget it," does not seem all that appealing.)

I'm not having any really thoroughly physically good days yet, but I'm getting a few good hours in a chunk once a week. I have been being careful about saying this because it is really, really frustrating when I'm trying to be happy with a few hours a week and people come crashing in and, out of caring for me and wanting me to do better, either assume that I'm doing far better than I am, or else commiserate with me about something I'm feeling pretty good about. But it's persisted for long enough that I feel like I can say it here: four hours of feeling decent, once every six days, for almost a month now. Tentative cheers encouraged.

My brain is doing bits and pieces of short fiction and gathering itself for the final push through The True Tale of Carter Hall. The puck drops on the Wild season October 3. I have hopes that it will do so in my brain as well, because I feel almost ready to work on something large again. We'll see.
mrissa: (winter)
I have the weirdest feeling that I can't finish a draft of The True Tale of Carter Hall until the hockey season starts. I have no rational basis for this. It's just this feeling I have.

What I'm wondering is: with all the other stuff that's gone on in my life this year, should I push on that and try to disprove it? Should I work on another novel until the season starts? Should I just write a metric buttload of short stories? Should I work on what I feel like working on, as I feel like working on it, and see what happens?

This thing where all the goals and deadlines are internal: it sometimes gets kind of weird. I am a great deal more comfortable when I'm working on a novel and therefore have a place where my work goes by default unless something else comes up. But I'm not sure if I should just go with that or try to keep my brain from falling into ruts. So I am thinking thinky thoughts about it.

(Note for non-hockey fans reading this: the Wild's season opener is September 15. So we're talking about what I am doing for less than a month, not for, like, six months or something.)

Maybe I should watch Whale Rider again and see if that helps. (My initial charmed reaction to that movie was, "They're like us! But the water's liquid!")
mrissa: (winter)
Every morning when I wake up and go downstairs to get breakfast, I look out the front window to the circle of light cast by the one small streetlamp. In the summer, there's often daylight, not just lamplight, but that's what I do anyway. I always look.

And every fall there's a day when I look and it's there, a dusting of snow stuck to the grass, with more falling through the lamplight. I love that day. I feel it ought to be a special little holiday, with muffins and rejoicing.

It's today, and I was too hungry to make muffins and wait for them to be baked and cooled enough to pull the papers off, so I didn't. But I keep looking over my shoulder out the window at the trees coated with snow, the porch roof coated with snow, the snow snow snow.

It sounds like it'll melt off before anyone has to shovel it, but while it's here I enjoy it so much. And there will be chili and cornbread for dinner, and we will mostly stay inside where it is warm and smells nice, where we can read and play cribbage and practice the piano and watch movies and light candles because it is that day, and sometimes we will open the door and smell snow.


Sep. 11th, 2008 11:40 am
mrissa: (Default)
On the birch tree outside my window, one half of one leaf has turned yellow.
mrissa: (out with friends)
It is the most beautiful day here today. Seriously, you would not believe it's August. It's like a much nicer month than August. (Which are the much nicer months than August? All of them. Except maybe July some years.) And we had plans to loiter on a terrace with desserts and fruity drinks this evening anyway, so the weather just decided to hand us today on a shiny, sparkly, not-very-August platter.

But before we get to the loitering on terraces part, we're doing the bit where we introduce my parents to Maria's, which is its very own kind of shiny.

Last night I sent a few people What We Did to Save the Kingdom to alpha-read. If you had said you wanted to read and crit it for me but didn't get a copy, it means I'd rather have you read a later draft; I will be asking people to beta-read once the alpha-readers have told me what they think and I've worked with that. I'm at the point where it's like repeating a word over and over until it makes no sense: I cannot judge it at all without external input. So I'm getting that.

I'm going more or less directly into work on The True Tale of Carter Hall next. I don't know how much preparations for Montreal will eat my next few days (less than a week! eee!), but I've had about enough of revisions; it's time to write something new. So I'm excited about that, too. And that's where I am this morning.

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