mrissa: (thinking)
I currently have a writing to-do list for which the numbers are 2, 5, 6, 7, spread out over the next not-quite-fortnight. On the good side, this means that 1, 3, and 4 got done. I am feeling a bit weird about renumbering. I'm not sure why. Still and all.

2. Finish "The Radioactive Etiquette Book."
5. The True Tale of Carter Hall edits to send to beta readers.
6. Pick new novel to write.
7. Finish "Knockoff."

This is a pretty good list, all things considered.

It would be even better if there were not quite so many non-writing items on a non-numbered list. But we get what we get, and anyway today's must-do list, just for the day, is:

1. Bike workout.
2. Cut hair.
3. Finish cooking dinner.
4. Synch Kindle with wifi for new books.

And I think I can do that. And if I get through the end of the day with no one having trimmed my hair and the Kindle unsynched, I think we're okay. Actually. (Edit: This is why I put ridiculously simple things on my list: so that I actually manage to take the ten seconds to do them.)


Feb. 13th, 2011 05:52 pm
mrissa: (ohhh.)
I have a new computer. I was supposed to get a new computer after [ profile] alecaustin went home. That was But he's not back yet since the last time he went home! (Which was not in September.) So this officially qualifies as After [ profile] alecaustin Went Home, and I am totally virtuous for getting myself the new computer I needed. Except that I broke down and asked [ profile] markgritter to do it for me, because I hate spending money. But other than that, totally virtuous.

The old computer was not playing nicely with the new monitor, and as a result I've spent the last several months with the aspect ratio slightly off. This means everybody looked shorter and thicker than they actually were. Now you all look normal, and if I had a habit of looking at supermodels...well, I don't have a habit of looking at supermodels. So you all look normal in your lj icons. Even those of you who are birds, or play birds on the internet.

My mother made us chocolate-dipped apricots and cashews (consecutive, not concurrent, to get all Tom Stoppard on you) for Valentine's Day. Then [ profile] timprov and I ran to Pumphouse and got lo these many ice creams, and next door at Turtle Bread they were selling pulla. Pulla! I am excited about my pulla. (Braided cardamom almond bread.) Unfortunately, the freezer is now overflowing, and some things I really ought to keep where I will remember we have them have been moved to the chest freezer downstairs. And I know what's for dinner the next two nights (mango quesadillas tonight, lasagna cupcake experiment tomorrow night), and it in no way empties the freezer any further than it is currently emptied. I am Concerned.

I also foraged for titles this week when [ profile] markgritter and I went to the Kurt Elling concert at the Dakota Jazz Club. I like the Dakota Jazz Club, and I have been busy enough doing other things that I haven't yet put the titles anywhere useful. Do you know what the Dakota Jazz Club has? It has the nicest tisane I've had out anywhere that wasn't a tea shop. I looked at the teabag. The brand of this lovely tisane is Leaves. Leaves! What a horrible name for a tea company in the internet age! In the pre-internet age, it would speak of elegant simplicity. In the internet age, it speaks of never being able to find the stuff again. So if you know where to find Leaves brand tea, by all means speak up; I will be immensely grateful. (Because, y'know. What we need is more tea.)
mrissa: (Default)
The last week and a half, I was up for county jury duty. "Can't you get a medical exemption?" half the people I've told this have asked me. People. I am not undergoing chemo, or major surgery. I am dealing with an ongoing thing. I can't drive yet, and I'm wrestling with side effects, but medical exemptions are not for every last thing that might go wrong with a body, and all sorts of people can't drive and are not exempt from their civic duty.

Happily, I didn't actually have to go down to Hastings to get told I couldn't serve on a jury. (Because I really, really didn't think they were going to put me on a jury.) I just had to keep calling each night, and once in the middle of the afternoon, to see. The woman who recorded the messages started sounding really apologetic in the last few days. Finally this evening she said we were done. There was apparently only one trial in that time that wanted jury selection. At least twenty-five groups of potential jurors for that. The ratio of registered voters to felons in Dakota County, MN, is pretty phenomenal.

Anyway. As I said, wrestling with side effects. Some of you know. Nobody is actually standing over me going, "You haven't finished that yet?" Except for, um, me. I just finished my birthday thank-you notes today. I realize that for many of you the response to this is, "You write actual thank-you notes?" rather than, "How dilatory!" But yes, I am a gently-reared young person and a credit to my upbringing. Sort of. Mostly. Some of you will be able to tell that you received the last one I wrote, because I was a little punchy by then, and the salutation is...fond but eccentric.

We are getting ready to scatter to the corners of the earth. [ profile] markgritter and [ profile] timprov leave Monday. I don't leave until Thursday. I already have my Canadian money in a comforting little bank envelope, heavy with coin. Chocolate, crispy spinach, book discussion, and more. So excited. I am doing bizarre half-organized things like telling [ profile] markgritter, "All right, I've washed darks and jeans, so only wear light-colored clothes until the weekend." But we'll get it all handled one way or another, I feel sure.
mrissa: (winter)
Sweep sun porch
Work out
Wrap Lin birthday presents
Finish zeroth draft of The True Tale of Carter Hall
mrissa: (tiredy)
Some days the chores sort of cascade down into a chore avalanche. Today, for example, I was going to get the bathmats washed, only to find out that after a mere ten and a half years of daily use, the little green one had fallen apart. Fallen rather comprehensively apart at that: so now we have another thing on the "to buy" list and a very, very clean washer and dryer, because the sensible thing seemed to be to throw the other bathmats in the dryer after I'd cleaned them up as best I could, and let the dryer tumble the crudlets out, which it did, but then there was cleaning the dryer. Whee.

Also, if you like Goldfish crackers but were thinking, "It's too bad they don't taste like manchego and red pepper flakes instead of general supposed cheesiness, and also they are inconveniently fish-shaped," do I ever have the recipe for you. But if you suspect that there are better uses for your time than grating and grating and grating a very firm cheese in order that it might eventually remind you of Goldfish crackers, you may have a point there.

I deviled some eggs on the theory that it's SuperBowl Sunday, and plenty of atheists eat gingerbread at Christmas without feeling the least need to go to church. Actually I deviled quite a few eggs. And then we got two fewer potential deviled egg eaters than expected, and...yah. So the menu for the week appears to be manchego cheese straws and deviled eggs. I am not even interested in SuperBowl commercials, frankly. I know a lot of people find them entertaining, and I'm happy for them, but: meh. I think part of the problem--aside from the fundamental "look, people attempting to sell me things using a value system to which I do not subscribe" thing, which is a bit of an issue--is that they are supposed to be the cleverest and best commercials by such a long margin that I end up depressed that this is as clever as it allegedly gets. Best to just dodge the whole thing.

Maybe it's just that we don't get any commercials featuring Theresa Mauer or Al Newman during the SuperBowl. Silly marketing people.

In other depressing news, our governor thinks domestic violence metaphors--in favor of the violent party--are the way to elevate the tone of political debate. Way to stay classy, T-Paw. The Strib gives the quote as, "It's just like Tiger Woods' wife. We should take a nine-iron to the back windshield of big government spending and smash it out." Hahaha. Oh, the hilarity. When spouses get really angry with each other and do violent things, that's awesome, and should be the subject of both jokes and serious emulation on a state and national scale. I tried to figure out what the alleged Big Government Liberals should try to do in this metaphor, but I was offended by all the ways that could go. All of them. Ye gods.

And anyway, seriously, seriously, don't politicians know to stay away from pop culture by now? "My party, um, like, the M. C. Hammer of American political life: u can't touch this. Unless u can. Because u have moved on in the many years since then. Um. We are the Prince of the American political landscape: you might have made jokes about our symbolism for awhile because you were ignorant of business practices that caused our seemingly bizarre behavior, but we have reverted to a much more familiar labeling now. And also making up really stupid football fight songs, we have reverted to that, too. You can't vote us off the island! Well, you can. But you shouldn't. Because then it would be a one-party state. Unless you counted the Greens or maybe the Libertarians, and the what's-their-names, Independence Party? Something like that." Really, really: pop culture: leave it alone. You are not shooting for, "what a hip and with-it person that politician is." You are shooting for, "That guy knows his ass from first base." That is enough to set you above the pack. Try to nail it. Do not get fancy. Fancy is not your friend.
mrissa: (tiredy)
The last of our house guests departed about three hours ago, and we've been washing linens and trying to reassemble the place a bit. Dinner guets are still due in a couple of hours (and I need to shower still...), but they'll be gone again long before bedtime. Or not so long, depending on how fast we fall over. It's been good to have everybody here we've had in the last fortnight--we had a good time with all of them--but I could really use a return to quiet routine for a bit.

...which, of course, is not going to happen, since [ profile] markgritter's California trip will be unusually long this time, and also there are people who are going to do more basement work starting tomorrow.

Ah well. Never a dull moment, and at least I finished off one of the two never-ending novelettes. Here, have a brunch menu:

[I should have had pears here but forgot to put them on the table, so I will be eating pears this week]
cold blueberry soup with mango and cardamom
chocolate bread
choice of butter, apple butter, or strawberry preserves (the latter two made by [ profile] porphyrin)
roasted yams with sea salt and rosemary
scrambled eggs with tomatoes, basil, and sharp cheddar.

And a dinner menu:

ice cream.

Sometimes ordering in is the better part of valor. You heard it was discretion, didn't you? Just goes to show you can't believe everything you hear.
mrissa: (Wait -- what?)
I am looking at my to-do list for the rest of the week. It looks...oh, what's the word...tip of my tongue, you know, thingy...



I mean, there's the line item that's there just in case: the list of people I would like to arrange to hang out with if we have a spare moment, and, if relevant, what we would be arranging to do. That's a long enough line item that I'm not going to get it done this week, even if we do figure out Dad's birthday plans and even though we do have the bits of arrival/departure for 4th St. that we have committed to handling. (I think. I'm almost sure. We have committed to very little in the way of airport runs at this point.) So anyway: social line item not likely to be fully accomplished by Saturday midnight.

But the rest of it: this looks reasonable. It looks workable. It looks like it will allow me to finish this week and move on to next week.

And I have the automatic reaction, No, that can't be right.

But I have to remember why I have my to-do lists on a weekly scale: in part so I don't forget to do stuff that needs doing, sure, but in part so that I understand that I do not have to do everything at once. Every once in awhile the list sort of metastasizes and I have a list for one week that's about three weeks' worth of stuff. That doesn't work. I don't magically get handed two more weeks' worth of time when that happens. Some of the stuff on a list that long will get moved to the next week's list, and the next; that's how it works. So the goal is to keep from forgetting stuff that needs remembering, but also to keep from piling on the expectation that I will find 72 hours in every day.

I think I've done that this week.



May. 27th, 2009 01:11 pm
mrissa: (nowreally)
I have a really bad case of the donwannas today. So far I have cleaned and chopped strawberries, bell peppers, and cauliflower, cooked dog food, and done laundry in an attempt to avoid the things I don't want to do. Soon I will wrap my dad's birthday present. My dad's birthday is June 14. My brain suggested brightly that we could clean out the sock drawer. Or organize the pajama drawer (because having folded T-shirts in two neat piles is clearly not organized enough).

It's not that my house is otherwise so optimal that I have to resort to organizing the pajama drawer for cat-waxing. No. Nonono. It's that I am dealing with large amounts of brain rebellion for the things that actually need doing in whatever category. It's a PT day, and I'm fighting a headache, but really, things still need doing. Really really.

Still: it's one of those days when I feel like I'm dragging my brain behind me on a string, bump bump bump down the stairs.

For heaven's sake don't tell me something motivational. Tell me about your own cat-waxing.
mrissa: (Default)
Hours slept: 8

Meals et: 3

Hours working out: 1.5

Items removed from revision to-do list: 10

Number of uncles Rudy I had when I ate breakfast: 1

Number of uncles Rudy I have at bedtime: 1

We score this a win.
mrissa: (food)
There is nothing like a few months full of rye buns and lussekatter to make rosemary bun dough feel like the dreamiest, easiest knead in the world.

I am, as usual, trying to do a few too many things at once. But at least I'm aware of it, right? That ought to count for something.
mrissa: (thinking)
It's amazing how hard it is to tell the difference between, "One more thing? Ah well, put it on the list," and, "One more damn thing? I have no idea how we are going to deal with this," from the outside.
mrissa: (out with friends)
This weekend features one expected out-of-town guest (not staying with us, but still) and four unexpected ones. It includes awesome (and fully vegan, for those who care) rye buns, figs with proscuitto-gorgonzola-walnut topping/wrapping, lo these many caramelized brussels sprouts, and today two meals I have no hand in planning or making but will merely sit down and eat and thank the cooks. Yesterday it featured five dogs and an outstandingly nice baby who is not inclined to repeat herself so I was never sure which words she'd actually meant and which she'd just attempted, and also who is bilingual but not trilingual.* Today it will involve the rare and coveted godchild hat trick, which, I feel compelled to explain, does not mean shooting each of my three godchildren across ice into a net.

It also features vertigo and the dregs of a cold.

Anyone wondering why I'm not posting more to lj?

*Really. When I explained that the puppies did not say, "Miaow," but rather, "Woof woof woof!", she looked at me like I had lost my mind. "Miaow" was totally comprehensible. "Woof woof woof," was crazy talk.
mrissa: (Default)
So. We are back to the ordinary number of monkeys around here, the last of our out-of-town visitors having gone last night after supper. I am startled to notice that it's only been a week. We fit in fun family time (and some fun friend time) with a wedge and a mallet, and as a result we are all kind of tired and quiet around here. I have a minor headache and a low-grade fever that mostly translates into not being able to keep warm. I'm in the mood to slop around the house in my new cargo socks* and crack nuts and drink tea. So I think I'm going to do that, actually. We have the nuts. We have the tea. We have things to read in the process.

I always get this way this time of year. I am in awe of those of you who can manage to make New Year's an actual holiday, because by the time New Year's Eve rolls around, I am done with holiday and shambling around wondering if braaaaains count as an idea for what to make for dinner.

Also I have no interest whatever in taking stock of this year. I have had plenty of time to think about this #$^#@* year while it is happening. Now I want to think about a better year. Ideally 2009, but really any better year will do; I'm willing to take nominations. So that line from Grosse Pointe Blank keeps popping into my head, and from there into the title field.

I am going to do a radio silence day tomorrow. No reading lj, no posting to lj, no e-mail out except in case of emergencies. I want the quiet in the metaphorical as well as the literal sense.

*They have little pointless** pockets on the sides. Hence, "cargo socks." They are blue and look sort of like the boots from the Cookie Monster Slayer being linked to here, there, and everywhere some months ago.

**[ profile] timprov says that the pockets are for a Bowie knife. I do not have a Bowie knife that small, and anyway I don't think these socks' structural integrity is quite that high.

Clean nibs

Aug. 24th, 2008 08:54 pm
mrissa: (Default)
The thing about having a major, life-affecting ongoing health problem like vertigo is that it's very hard to predict all the ways in which you will fall behind on Things What Need Doing. It's been easy enough to spot that most of the cooking duties are not things I can do, although I'd like to ease into more of them. It's certainly been easy to spot that if we wanted the house to be kept to my previous standards or some approximation thereof, I would need to pay for (and, in some of the interstices, ask for) some outside help.

There was no particular reason I couldn't clean my pen nibs. But it sort of got pushed off to the side: other things have been important and difficult, and I could use Rollerballs easily enough, and then I looked up and my nibs had not been cleaned in ages. So I did that today. They're drying on paper toweling in the kitchen, demonstrating capillary action beautifully with the one that had a dark greeny blue ink in it: blue in the center, green for a tiny ring, and a shocking yellow halo around the whole.

What small satisfying things have you gotten done lately?
mrissa: (intense)
The driveway service came around at 2:30 a.m. (I know because Ista woke me up so we could watch), and so all I had left to shovel this morning was the front walk and the end of the driveway where the city plow had come after the driveway service. The driveway service had cleared the road in front of our house all the way up to the neighbors' driveway, just to reduce the results of the city plow, but it doesn't really quite work that way, so there was a fair lump of snow to handle at the bottom of the driveway. Plus the top bit right by the garage where their blade can't reach without damaging the house, and I wouldn't want them to try. So call it 45 minutes of shoveling. I could have made it more if I'd done a better job with the side of the driveway we don't use, but I had gotten shaky-ish and will go back and do it later if need be. And anyway it's supposed to snow in "plowable" amounts again tomorrow, so handling the touch-up work then should be fine, if it's even needed.

On Sunday at dinner I said, "I need this stuff. We're really going to miss you guys if global warming forces us to move to Churchill." And Mike said, "We'll come too." So that's tidy enough.

I hope those of you who are observing Hanukkah got off to a good start last night.

I'm having ones of those days where I'm adding more things to the to-do list than I'm removing from it. All good things, of course, sensible things, reasonable things, things I really should do. But they are, in fact, additional things. It turns out -- you will be quite surprised to hear -- that I was not actually short on things to begin with. Sigh.

I am drawing myself a map today, and figuring out some logistical details so that you lovely people don't read this book and go, "Wait, what? How do they feed that many people?" or, "That didn't make any sense when the Habsburgs did it; it sure doesn't make any sense now!" I have seen enough people bog down in these processes that I am a little leery of them, but I console myself that mostly that's when people use them for excuses not to write the book, and mine is written. Drafted. Getting improved. Really.

One of the bits of silliness that goes with this book being What We Did to Save the Kingdom is the attendant file names for related stuff: What We Did to Sum It Up, What We Did to Keep Track of the Details, What We Did to Annoy the Readers, and (of course) What We Did to Write the Sequel. (Also known as "The Evil Regent Visits the Evil Empire." But that's a long ways away; I may not have to figure out which book to write next, but unless there is a contract in my hand, it won't be that one.) And now I will go add to the actual book. I think this part will be fun. I don't much care for this stage of revisions, but today in specific looks just fine.
mrissa: (andshe'soff)
Since Friday I've been having the kind of week where the things I'm doing are numerous enough to preclude writing about any of them at length. This includes:

--reading a short story, "The Snow Queen and Milady de Winter," at the Fantasy Matters conference
--going to a Blues Traveler concert
--going to two different birthday parties in twelve hours, one of them with a rocketship cake and the other with sushi (4 and 30 are very different!)
--making a soup-and-monkey run
--lunches and dinners with various friends and family members around the Cities
--some of the work on a Very Clever Christmas Present (but don't tell [ profile] ksumnersmith, because it's a seeeeekrit)
--a trip down to St. Pete to have lunch with my old advisor and see the rest of my old department
--getting my back fixed
--arranging for some household repairs
--and all the stuff catching up from being sick and/or vertiginous, and all the normal household stuff and work on book revisions and short stories and so on and so on

And now I will go make Swedish meatballs and potatoes and asparagus. Tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner is not here, so most of the work is not mine. It'll feature close family and close friends and lefse, reminders of things to be thankful for all around!
mrissa: (don't mess with me today)
Byerly's has the eggnog and the chop-drop-and-burn cookies with reindeer designs today.

No. Just: no. Not even a little bit. No, no, and also no. With a side order of no.

Aside from that I am not particularly cranky. I've run the errands that need running and am going to have lunch, work on my book, pack, make dinner, hand out candy to marauding munchkins, and hang out with my folks, and maybe even just do not much in particular for a minute or two before I leave for World Fantasy at the dawn of crack tomorrow.

But -- reindeer cookie-like substances. No, no, no.
mrissa: (I'm listening....)
In my head all cons are one con. So if I've ever seen you at a con, my brain expects to see you at World Fantasy Con this weekend. This is one of the many ways in which cons are like comic stores. Or like libraries if you subscribe to the Terry Pratchett view thereof. (I find it faintly heretical, like asserting that all grandmothers are really connected through another dimension as one grandmother, to which my brain protests, "Not mine!" And it's not like my grandmother is all that non-traditional as grandmothers go. Unless you think about it for more than two seconds. Um. So perhaps I have a skewed notion of tradition, is what I'm saying here. Matriarchies are traditional! By which I mean what people always mean by "traditional": we've always had them, and I'm not responsible for what the rest of you do.)

So the thing about yesterday's post about thinking the book I'm revising is going to be pretty good:

It feels much safer to think things are crap. If it's all crap and the book gets a hundred and one rejections, well, of course it did. It's crap. The world is a logical place, and the bits all fit together sensibly: crappy books get rejected, and the world keeps turning. But if it's not crap, and it gets a hundred and one rejections, that's a lot harder to fit together. (You can, by the way. There are all sorts of logical reasons for a good book to get rejected. Not viewing the world as a series of total orderings helps immensely with this. But it's emotionally harder to get there.)

Also, the minute you assert that something is good, you have brought up the topic and opened yourself to passing ruffians arguing the point. Even if they don't argue the point actively, but merely with their left eyebrow. It's like asserting that a book or a person is funny. If someone goes on and on about how hilarious you are when introducing you to their friends, odds are extremely fine that you will have nothing funny to say for the entire time you're talking to them. That you will say things like, "That reminds me of the time I was doing my taxes and found an error in the fortieth line," or, "That's a very interesting point. Not many people know about the history of my toaster oven...." It's like being pretty: you wait for someone else to say it, because if someone squeals, "You look awesome in that dress!" and someone else says, "Well, from the front, at least," the second person is the jackass. Whereas if you greet a group of people by saying, "Hello, I look awesome in this dress!", you may have sewn up the role of jackass for the evening.

This does not preclude me telling people -- for example yesterday -- that I look awesome in hats, or that I look really good in dark green, or whatever. But it took me awhile, and mostly I attempt to do it in tones that let them laugh kindly.

So on the one hand, you don't want to be known for sending editors books that are really no good, and even you know it. But on the other hand, asserting potential goodness of books is tricky. Puts your judgment in question.

(Still and all.)

My list of things to do before I leave for World Fantasy on Thursday morning is quite sensible and reasonable, and I expect all the items to be crossed off the list before I go, probably before dinner Wednesday night. And this is extremely alarming. I crossed all of last week's items off the list, too, and it turns out I'm a little spooked by this. I'm perfectly fine ignoring the list and doing things that aren't on it because I feel like doing them. But not having things on the list in the first place? Very weird. Very weird indeed. I think I will try to avoid this becoming too common in the future. I think a Mris's list must exceed her grasp, is what. It's good to know these things.
mrissa: (helpful nudge)
I need to remember not to go down to the basement without a watch on. It's not that I enjoy it down there in its current state (at all), but there's enough to do that it can keep me busy not enjoying it for far longer than I intended given the other things on my list today. Sigh.

I have pulled the dough for the sea salt chocolate cookies out of the fridge to warm enough that it can be handled. I pulled the cover off of it and opened the sea salt simultaneously, and...this is promising, people. This is maybe not going to be a waste of my time. And anyway I'll also make an apple crisp, so if the cookies don't bake up as good as they smell, we will all console ourselves with apple crisp, reliably good.

I am trying not to take the attitude that everything must happen nownownow. Because, really? It mustn't. There's no reason why it must, and in all likelihood it won't, so taking that attitude will simply freak me out for no reason.

When I started freelancing, I kept a chart of projects that were on some burner -- front, back, in the fridge sealed in tupperware -- whatever violence you want to perform on that metaphor, really. And I would mark what I'd worked on each day, because I had known or heard of too many people who quit their day job to write and promptly got no writing done. I was determined not to be one of those. And it worked: I quit my day job to write, I actually did write, I have continued to write, so yay. But for various reasons, I stopped keeping the chart, and this week I'm sort of missing it. Not the boxes to mark off that I did work, because I know what I did. I'm just missing having my current projects listed somewhere convenient. It never stifled new projects, because I would just scribble at the bottom of the list and move on. It was just there. I feel like I've got enough balls in the air with queries and submissions and things half-revised and things half-drafted that I'm in danger of losing track of what's going on here, and just the submission log is only enough for the ones that involve other people already. So I think one of these next days, I need to sit down and get my head together on the subject of half-finished short stories: what might I do soon, what should I refile in the place where short story fragments I don't intend to finish go, what should I really think harder about. I'm not entirely sure where that'll take me. But if I was sure, I wouldn't need to do it.

Novels are big rocks in my head. Boulders. Mountains, sometimes, or icebergs. (The latest one seems to be a rapidly calving glacier.) But short stories are fairly easy to lose between the cracks of the bigger things, and some short stories are cool enough that it's worth not losing them. So.
mrissa: (writing everywhere)
Also, I seem to have sold a story in my absence! Abyss and Apex wants "Väinämöinen and the Singing Fish." This is -- surprise! -- another Finnish fantasy. I am pleased.

The to-do list is daunting me at the moment. I know looming ominously is a cliché, but sometimes clichés come about for a reason. In this case, that reason is my to-do list.

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