Oct. 24th, 2018 11:17 am
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 I don't know if you've heard, but there's an upcoming election here in the U.S.

Much like this time last year, I find myself feeling very... anxious. After I finish my second bowl of breakfast chili (don't judge!), I'm going to go outside and do a f*ck-ton of yard work. I feel like I'm having a bit of deja vu and also, why, given how horrible politics has been this last year, isn't my yard more AMAZING?  I guess the real answer is that I don't consistently do yard work as stress relief. Like a lot of Americans I think I spend far too much time staring at the wall wondering what I should be _doing_ to save democracy as we know it.

Anyway, please vote.

It really matters. 

lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
Or something like that.  

I just spent two hours on my yard. Can you tell that I just spent two hours on my yard? Probably not.  Though, you might be able to tell that I mowed the boulevard, if only because the grass had gotten long enough to start to sprout seed heads. But, really, now our boulevard basically looks like everyone else's boulevard, so maybe not?

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in the world that struggles with basic yard work. 

Though, last night, Shawn and I took a walk around the neighborhood and I noticed that my immediate neighbors seemed to have as many bare patches and rough sections as I do. I do wonder that, given the shift in how my generation feels about going organic and chemical free, if we're going to see a lot more crappy lawns in general.  We're certainly not the only people in our immediate neighborhood to plant front yard gardens.  Several folks a block or so east have entirely shade/natural flower gardens for "lawns."

But, back to my original point, I also have to wonder if some of my frustration with yard work is that I'm kind a clumsy nerd at heart.  Just pulling out the lawn mower was a huge hassle of untangling the electric cord and hauling it around to the boulevard and THE WHOLE THING WAS JUST SO HARD.  Probably other people don't trip over the cords they're carrying. Gods, I do. And, then, like Pig Pen from "Peanuts" I end up tangled in the cords and completely immobilized. (At least that's how I feel.)

On the other hand, it's done now and the yard looks fairly passable. 

At least where most people can see it.

lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I honestly do not know where the time goes.  

Well, yesterday I worked at the library.  I discovered some time ago that the Dementors, who had been banished from Shoreview (due to the sunlight and remodel,) have shifted to New Brighton. I ended up working New Brighton for two Tuesdays in a row and I'm thinking that I need to put New Brighton on my 'only if there are no other hours available' list. The Dementors at New Brighton are much more mild than they used to be at the old Shoreview--no one, for instance, has called administration to harass me for enjoying my job too much (yes, this actually happened at Shoreview in the past.)  BUT, it's kind of a death by a thousand cuts thing, you know?  I've talked about this before, but I think in addition to the silent "you just did the thing, but I'll redo it in front of you" there's also the general SLOWNESS of New Brighton. I probably wouldn't notice the first bit, if I were generally busier.  But, it's just not. The library is tiny and on days like yesterday, when it rained for much of the morning and afternoon, it's DEAD.  

People have time to get on each other's nerves when there isn't much else to do.

So, there's that. But, I mean almost any work environment is survivable for short, four hour shifts.  Add to that that money is a strong motivating force in my life and it's, ultimately, not much to complain about, really.

Yet I love to complain, so there's that as well.

Anyway, since it's Wednesday, I should probably at least mention some things I've read. I just finished reading a wonderful manga series called SATURN APARTMENTS.  It's science fiction, and, despite the title, it actually takes place on a ringed "apartment complex" in the Earth's stratosphere.  Our heroes are window washers.  I kind of feel like that should be enough to sell you on this manga, because WINDOW WASHERS IN SPAAAAAAAACE!  But, what else can I say about it?  It's charming. The hero is very plucky and outgoing and relentlessly cheerful and optimistic. There is a secret about Earth's surface, and class warfare. 

This is not the kind of manga that inspires fan fic. There aren't a lot of ships to sail and the art style is very atypical.  If you're normally turned off by the big eyes, etc., SATURN APARTMENTS might be a good first foray into the world of manga.  Outside of the fact that it reads "backwards," the story is much more like a typical Western graphic novel. 

I still haven't been able to consume many traditional novels. I have one, the Taiwanese mystery that I mentioned before, on my bedside table, but I keep finding other things to do with my time. I continue blame Trump for this problem.  I get awfully depressed when I think about what's happening in my country, and then all my brain wants to do is curl up on the bed and play mindless video games (like not even GOOD video games, stuff that's the mental equivalent of 'Solitaire.') 

The rain was lovely last night and I hope my grass seeds and flower seeds take root and grow.  I have a couple more gardens to try to clear out and figure out, but, as always happens this time of year, it all ends up seeming so daunting.... I mean, my problem has always been this love/hate relationship I have with gardens. I LOVE gardens and the idea of gardening, but I HATE weeding and the actual physical labor that goes into creating and maintaining a good garden.

Speaking of physical labor, I ought to go do the dishes.
lydamorehouse: (aizen's return)
 Yesterday I managed to sprain... my instep? the arch of my foot?... doing nothing more than bending down, while gardening.  I'm doing R.I.C.E.(Rest. Ice. Compress. Elevate.)  It hurt like CRAZY yesterday, but after a good night's sleep and a bunch of ibuprofen, I can put a decent amount of pressure on it now without feeling like I want to scream.

I have no idea what I did. Twist wrong? Step down funny? Stretch?

It makes me feel old. But, I'm going to keep resting it, and if I can feel the same amount better that I did between yesterday and today, I should be back to new (or old, as the case may be) in no time.

This is what I get for attempting to sweep and clear out the front gardens a little.  Lesson, children?  Don't do any more housework than absolutely necessary. You could hurt yourself.
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I don't remember the last time I called my congress critters.  I've been thinking it's probably time again. I don't want them thinking that we've lost faith, but I think I finally had that 'OMG I can't cope/too much' moment a couple of weeks ago. I need to pull myself back together and get back on the letters and postcards and phone calls.

The world isn't going to save itself.

The other thing I've slowed down on is my Japanese.  I didn't listen to my CDs at all while I was away in LaCrosse and, even though I've been back a couple of days already, I've not picked them up again.  I will have to throw the "Japanese: A Short Course" CDs I got from the library into the car's CD player so I can at least have something for the times when the radio sucks (which is kind always these days, I've noticed.)  

I have to head off to work in about 45 minutes.  Probably, since it's White Bear Lake, I should head off a little earlier than that, because the construction on Snelling has been a bear.  I worked last night at Roseville, which was busy (as usual) but fairly stress free.  They were still behind from Memorial Day weekend and so I spent the last two hours on the desk dashing back and forth between answering patron questions and helping the volunteers shelve the requests.  SO MANY requests.  On the flip side, I FINALLY got a copy of A Closed and Common Orbit, which I started reading last night.  I think I was #47 on the list... and I'm sure there's someone waiting for it after me.  

I watered the front and the new transplants a little bit this morning because I somehow, miraculously, have grass under the maple tree and I'd like to keep it alive.  Plus the little fuckers squirrels dug up one of the violet plants I carefully transplanted all the way from LaCrosse. So I had to replant yesterday, so I thought it could use a little boost of wet today.  It's actually supposed to be kind of HOT this weekend, so I think I'll finally be able to move my bonsai tree outside.  (*whispers* I can't believe I've managed to keep this tree alive this long. Normally, I suck at keeping anything resembling a houseplant alive....)

I'll close with a funny story from yesterday.  I have cash again because Mason bought a game using my PayPal account (he always pays me back in cash from his allowance).  As I do the moment I have "folding money" I stopped by my regular coffee shop, Claddagh, to get my morning infusion of caffeine.  The barista there said that she was thinking of me over the weekend because the coffeeshop team had a working retreat over Memorial Day.  One of the games they played was "try to name as many customers, their drinks, and one fact about them as fast as you can in five minutes."  Apparently, EVERYONE, every single barista there, named me.  They all remembered my drink and most of them remembered that I was a writer.  But, this cracks me up on a deep and profound level, because... yes, I'm THAT customer. Yet another sign that I am definitely not "from around here" was that Tim, one of the guys who is even MORE regular than me, was remembered only by half of them and most of them had trouble naming a fact about his life.  Tim is much more typically Minnesotan.  Personally, I could tell you several things about him: he plays Fall Out 4 on his phone, his son is the exact same age as Mason, loves to hunt, and has a dog named Chester.  But, see, that's because I'm THAT GIRL the one who talks to everyone about EVERYTHING.


I did joke though that I think I would have failed this quiz of theirs on their retreat because I am pretty sure I can only name about four of my barista.  I know the owner and Becky... but the woman who talked to me?  Maybe Molly?  There's a Lydia there and I know this because we talked about how I'm often called by her name and she is tattooed so I had to sing her the "Lydia, oh Lydia, Lydia the tattooed lady!" song.  But, the rest of them, even the ones who know me so well?  I would be hard pressed.

Now I have a new goal.  I need to learn all my barista's names.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
We went to LaCrosse, as we do, over Memorial Day Weekend.  My mother gave me some violets and hosta, which I quick put in the ground as soon as we got home.  I think a lot of my empty spaces are finally filled out.  Hopefully, my next problem (and I can already see a little bit of it in my established sections of the faux Japanese Garden) will be overcrowding.  As far as I'm concerned, that's a good problem to have.  I'm pleased and amazed that I managed all this without spending a penny.  Everything came as gifts from friends and family!  The only thing I'm going to have to buy is compost and mulch.

Our trip was relaxing.  Not much to report there.  We had a lot of "porch time" with my folks. The only excursion we did was to a nearby prairie park.  My mom had wanted to see prairie smoke in the wild and we happened to catch a bunch of it in bloom. 

prairie smoke
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 We dropped Mason off at the airport just a little over an hour ago.  He's on his way to compete in the KidWind National Competition.  ( with his team.  A lot of my friends contributed to the team's fundraiser, so A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE. YOU MADE THIS POSSIBLE!! 

If you want to read more about what is actually happening at the National competition:

mason leaving for Anaheim

Mason will be back on Friday, and, until then, Shawn and I have the place to ourselves.  I suspect we'll get up to all sorts of mischief, including maybe going hog wild and cleaning the house. Books will be read with abandon!  We might even have DORITOS AND CHEESE FOR DINNER.


Yesterday, it was sunny, so I spent much of the day outside. I'm really proud of how my faux Japanese garden is looking this year, and I'm working very slowly on getting other parts of the yard in decent shape. (I should really take some pictures before the ENORMOUS bleeding heart stops blooming).  I don't think we'll ever be a showcase garden, but it would be nice if I could look out and feel happy instead of thinking, "OMG what a mess." I definitely think we're well on our way to that.  Especially since several bulbs showed up for stuff I don't remember ordering. I planted them in a couple of different places--a few near the little free library (which is my one remaining "problem" area) and a bunch in the front of the Japanese garden.  I think they're going to be irises...?  We'll have to see what blooms next year, if the squirrels don't eat them all and/or replant them for me.

I got a couple of letters from my international pen friends yesterday.  I love all my pen friends, but I have a couple that I adore. My friend in Canada is AWESOME. Of course, I didn't get her from IPF.  She's actually someone I know from Bleach fandom who volunteered last time I put out a request for pen pals. Her letters always make me happy.

The other letter came from an IPF friend from the Netherlands. I like this particular woman because in her very first letter back to me she talked about her daughter and her daughter's partner (female.) This meant that I felt free to be my honest/authentic self, which is something that I've been sloooooowly revealing to my other IPFers.  I mean I had that one German lady quit me because I told her I wasn't Christian.  Can you imagine if I'd said that I was a big ol' lesbian?  Probably we could have heard her head exploding from across the ocean, eh? But, my Netherlander is great. She got me following the recent election there--another country that held tight against the rise of fascism.  She always closes her letters with "Ah! That Trump of yours!" in various iterations.    

A sign of our times. 
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I kept up on my tiny bit of gardening every day goal today, at least.  My neighbors at the end of the block were giving away edging rocks. I hauled all of those over to set up a title border at the top of my hill.  As I think I mentioned before, the plan is to give up on trying to grow grass there and plant a deep/dappled shade garden. If I could afford it, it would be neat to do a woodland shade garden with native plants, but that might be asking too much (both of my skill set and my pocketbook).  I can totally do ferns and such, though.

Next step will be buying some dirt from Menards.  Part of the idea of the little rock border at the top of the hill is to hopefully stop all the dirt from eroding down the hill.  

Otherwise, sent in an application to write for Twin Cities Geek.  It's not a paying gig, but they were specifically looking for women to review comic books and since that's something I'm reading, anyway, I thought it might be fun to do it for them.


lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 I suspect I had other resolutions earlier this year, but I've forgotten them.  I'm certainly not doing them, unless one of them was to try to do a little bit of gardening every decent-weather day.  Yeah, so that's the thing I'm trying to do this year. I'm really hoping it will stop my gardens from becoming their usual weed-infested, overgrown disaster areas.  It would be one thing if, when I let my gardens grow wild, they would become a haven for woodland creatures.  Somehow that doesn't happen. Somehow I just end up with a mess.

To that end, so far this year, I have spent probably a total of four hours on a couple of problem areas.  One, hardly anyone will see, but we have this pathway that leads from our backyard to the front.  It's usually completely ignored by me and becomes the place the weeds with the sticky burrs live. Then every time I take the garbage out and come back again, I have to pick those little sticky bastards off my sleeves.  WELL. A couple of days ago, I dug that whole area out and transplanted some hostas and day lilies and now my fingers are crossed that the predicted snow does not kill them.   

Today I spent an hour or so on the front hill. The front hill... when we first moved into this house we had lush, green grass growing down the hillside.  It was a really big pain to mow, but it was GRASS (something, it turns out, I have no skill in growing or maintaining.)  Now... now there's a lot of dirt and weeds.  Underneath the weeds are some hosta, so pulled out a lot of the weeds today and uncovered several hosta. A few were big enough to split and a couple were in places where they were going to get smothered out--so I moved some stuff around.  I'm hoping this will help things look intentional.

The second resolution is that I'm going to try to learn more conversational Japanese.  I did NOT start this year out well in that regard as I have had to drop out of my community education class, however, I did find a REALLY GREAT set of language CDs at the library which I'm listening to while I do the dishes/make dinner/other housework.  I love these CDs because they're actually teaching me some useful phrases ("I don't understand Japanese being the FIRST THING THEY TAUGHT ME) and they keep bringing up the things you learned in earlier lessons on heavy repeat.  I actually, for once, feel like I'm retaining some of this information I'm learning.  That's a HUGE step forward in the language department for me. Because I can't otherwise seem to retain information. I told Shawn that I'm going to have to buy this particular brand of language CD.  

I should probably resolve to write fiction, too, but sometimes I feel like I should give up.  :-(
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 ...but it probably won't.

The last few days have been very dreary. There's been cloud cover and cold, moist winds that smell like rain.  Yesterday, it actually sprinkled for all of ten minutes (it even thundered), but when all was said and done, it was a very lackluster show of moisture.  I think my plants would really like some wet.  If it's going to be dark and stormy-looking, I wish it would just commit to the idea.

Weather people are saying it might actually snow. Of course, it'll do THAT, now that every Minneapolitan/Saint Paulie spent the weekend uncovering their various gardens. My luck, the snow will kill the few things that have managed to sprout in my otherwise dead yard.

I think this is the year I give up on grass.  I've been trying to re-grass the top of our hill, under our maple tree for the last couple of years.  I usually have pretty decent luck getting grass to sprout, but it never manages to really take hold and survive the winter.  I think it's time to look at a shade garden for the top of the hill.  Ferns and hostas and stuff like that.  

Usually, my biggest hold up for projects like this is money.  Hostas are surprisingly expensive.  Plants, in general.  So, if you're local to me and you hear about plant sales/giveaways please let me know.  I think this week I might go to Menards some dirt and start prepping the area.  Somewhere in this house we still have a gift certificate someone gave us to Gerten's. I might have to make a trip out there soon to see what they have that might work under the tree.

In other, possibly more exciting news, I'm doing a reading tonight at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis from 7 pm to 8 pm.  I'm going to be part of a group that's reading from the anthology we were all published in: BOUNDARIES WITHOUT: The Calument Editions 2017 Anthology of Speculative Fiction (link is to the Kindle edition, but it's also available in paperback).  It's sometimes tough to find parking in Uptown, but I usually park in the ramp there behind the square or whatever it's called. Should be a good night. I hope to see some of you there.

For some reason Magers & Quinn could not get copies of PRECINCT 13 to sell, so if you go, you might want to ask them to order a few copies and/or bring your own for me to sign. This has been happening to me a lot--where I agree to be at various venues, and the book purchasers say that they can't get my most recent publication.  The first time this happened, I discovered it was because SONG OF SECRETS was showing up as my latest release.  That book has been completely pulled by the publisher for various and sundry reasons. But, even when I underscore to bookstore people that, no, please get my most recent Penguin release, they can't seem to manage it.  I don't really understand why not. From what I can tell, all my romance books are still available.  It's concerning.  I suppose I should see if I can order some from Penguin for myself to sell (because that's what Magers & Quinn wanted me to do--bring my own for them to sell on commission, but I don't normally keep my own books around, since they SHOULD be easy to order.)

On the other hand, maybe my lack of other books will inspire more listeners to buy a copy of the anthology.  I'll look at it that way.  Besides, I suspect that a lot of people who know me have already bought their copies of Precinct 13 some time ago.  :-)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Yesterday, I spent the entire day shopping for plants and planting plants.

Once a year, my family and I take the trip out to Shady Acres to buy herbs and some annual vegetables. You'd think that once I planned a perennial, I'd have it again next year.

Uh... no.

The only thing I seem to be able to do that with is our parsley, which is actually a biannual. But, the parsley comes back consistently AT LEAST ONE MORE TIME. Things that should live forever, die. I think partly because I'm a crap-a$$ gardener, but also because the light of our yard is constantly changing. Things that were sunny one year, are partially-shaded the next because we have so many trees.

Plus my gardening skills can be summed up thusly: dig a hole, jam the plant in, water it, and hope for the best.

I realize that this often works for other gardeners (with occasional weeding, which I do, too,) but for whatever reason, my plant magic is nil. It doesn't help that kids tear through both yard and garden with no regard for anything. We tell the neighbor kids to stay out of the clearly marked gardens, but that's like shouting into the wind. Though it might be better now that one of next-door-neighbor boys managed to jam his foot nearly all the way THROUGH the sundial in the back. (The dial was not that sharp, the force he landed on it was JUST THAT GREAT, a launch off the picnic table might have been involved, but I didn't ask. I just drove him and his moms to the hospital.)

So, when I was at FleetFarm yesterday, I talked Shawn and Mason into some garden whimsey. We now have Angry Birds in the garden:


Complete with hiding piggie:


The next purchase should be this, I think:


The Plants vs. Zombies lawn ornament.

It would actually be kind of a blast to fill Mason's garden with lawn ornaments related to iPad games. Because: screw pumpkins, what I really need is plastic crap!

Okay, no.

But, so beyond the silly stuff, we bought: parsley (for more edging, though lots came back), basil, thyme (which had died, and is now in a sunnier spot), oregano (again, same), marjoram (that Shawn is going to try growing on our kitchen/pantry windowsill), eggplants, bell peppers, pumpkins and cucumbers (for the container gardens). And... I'm sure I've forgotten the other herbs we got, but we managed not to (for once) go too far overboard, I think.

We also bought some paint at Menards. One of the other projects Shawn wants to tackle over Memorial day is to paint the second bookcase we bought for Mason, put it in the TV room, and then switch out the bookshelves from there to his room... because right now, he's got books on the floor in boxes---many, many boxes. I told her that what she really needs is for me to pilfer a couple of the book trucks from work, but this is a more legal solution (though she actually did look up purchasing book trucks, because: wheels!)

Happy Memorial Day, btw! We intend to actually grill out steak tonight, so wish me luck (I mostly do chicken on the grill and the occasional hamburger.)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Tate's newest installment is up!

In this episode, Valentine reveals more about his past and Alex finds herself deeply jealous of someone who died over a hundred years ago...

Go get it!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. I'm actually writing to you from the Blackbird Café in ValParasio, Indiana. If you go to the Wikipedia page I linked to, you'll actually see the block that the Blackbird is on. I also took a few pictures of this place to be uploaded when we get back. Particularly for my friend [ profile] empty_mirrors, I also took a shot of the vastness of Illinois. She didn't ask to see it, but we were talking about the distances in the US (because it *is* rather unfathomable that we drive for ten hours and don't even really go more than a couple of states in distance.) And, so when we stopped at a rest stop, we happened to be across from a giant wind farm and there's nothing but a whole lot of empty space and the giant turbines spinning in the breeze. It was rainy and overcast, so I hope the picture really shows how desolate and empty that part of the country really feels.

At any rate, we're here visiting my mother-in-law/Shawn's stepmom/Mason's grandma. Mason has this month off, so it's a good time to do our traveling.

One of my favorite things about visiting grandma is that there really isn't a lot to do. I finished reading Ben Aaronovitch's RIVERS OF LONDON/MIDNIGHT RIOT and I'm looking forward to starting MOON OVER SOHO. I also brought along Bleach 60 (which our library finally had and I'm looking forward to re-reading) as well as a couple of volumes of FMA.

My single LEAST favorite thing about visiting grandma is that she has no wifi. So, I have this tiny window to do ALL THE THINGS, when we sneak off to the coffee shop at 7:00 am. I feel bad about it, but it really kills two birds with one stone. Grandma is a Norwegian originally from the Iron Range of Minnesota, so her coffee is... typical of that sort of person. I won't say it's 'bad,' but I'd have to drink three hundred gallons of it to feel SEMI-human. So it's better for all of us, if we get up at the crack of dawn and hang for a couple of hours at the café.

On the Saturday before we left, I had a Loft gig that I knew was going to be... "interesting" to use another Minnesotan phrase from the moment I walked in and they did the classic, "And you are...?" The library had no idea I was coming or where my event was supposed to be held, despite the fact that it was the sort of thing people had to have REGISTERED for (I was expecting three, which was never sterling, but often, with proper signage and walk-ins, you can gather a larger crowd.) But, while the Teen library blushed in deep embarrassment, I found a spot to settle and made sure that the Circulation staff (what I usually am) knew where to direct people. I got two out of the three I was expecting, but it actually turned out all right. They were two boys, a little older than Mason, who really liked the READ part of the "Reading to Write" program. So, we talked books and exchanged recommendations (most of which I passed on to Mason.) We were having such a good conversation, actually, that we ended up going over by fifteen minutes.

But that whole day was crazy, actually, because we were packing to leave, Mason had swimming, D&D, AND it was the day that Shawn and I needed to pick up the wisteria we ordered from the friends of the parks. Alas, the friends neglected to inform us that the plants we'd be picking up were BARE ROOT, so, in the middle of all this chaos, I had to take time to plant FIVE WISTERIA. Of course, it was more than digging holes and plunking things in, because we're actually trying to replace the hops that we foolishly let cover our fence. Hops are... yeah. They grow fast. They spread. So, I spent most of my "planting" time actually tearing out giant, ropy rhizomes. It was fairly insane, so showing up to the "And you are...?" just seemed like a continuation on a theme....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I almost feel like that's all I need to say:  "OMG. The Garden."  But, I suppose it needs a little explanation. 

Shawn took the day off Friday and we took our semi-annual trip out to Shady Acre's Herb Farm.  You wouldn't think we'd need to go so often, but I'll tell you the truth.  I'm a terrible gardener.  Also, the spot we originally chose to be our herb garden has gone from partly sunny to ENTIRELY shaded.  So, over the next several years, Shawn and I are hoping to transform that garden into a contemplative, Japanese-style shade-garden.  Given my skill level, wish us luck.  Probably I'll be able to put a bench out there and grow a few attractive weeds.  But, then again, that might be all we need.

Anyway, after making a ginormous purchase on Friday, we spent Saturday and Sunday PLANTING ALL THE THINGS.

I am sore, but content.  There's only a little more to do before all the weeding and matenience starts. 

Sheesh.  Is it any wonder I finally confessed to hating gardening? (I love gardens, mind you, just not the work.)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I just want to say a quick "hello" before going back to being head down over the keyboard. I'm trying to finish a fist draft of PRECINCT 13 this week so I can get it to beta readers and off to the publisher before we get into the "omg, so OVERDUE" part of the deadline missage.

I'm at a coffee shop this morning, however, because I have to head back up the hill to collect Shawn. She's got a doctor's appointment to get a vitamin B12 shot. This is suppose to be part of the cure for theright-side numbness that she had that sent us to the hospital all those months ago. Our big plan is, if the medicine doesn't make her sick, to have a lunch date afterwards.

We had a busy/not-busy weekend. We didn't have a lot on officially, but we did a lot of yardwork and we got the boxes of Halloween decorations out of the attic and STARTED putting those out/up. Halloween is one of our favorites, and I like to get creative. We built a garbage bag, leaf-stuffed spider for the front yard, and we started a scarecrow "victim" for her web. We're waiting to put up all the cobwebs until we get a new front door.

We've had a broken screen door for years. Part of the reason we haven't replaced it until now is that part of the issue is the when the spring broke, it took out part of the frame. I'm only SO handy and re-building door frames is out of my pay grade. But, we're going to see if Shawn's brother has the skill set. If nothing else, we're going to purchase the new door. We have a handyman on-call if we end up needing to pay someone.

Mason is taking swimming lessons again. He loves swimming, so it's a pleasant way to spend an hour or so on Saturday morning. I've been usuing the time to plot the novel and/or write to my pen pals (though I forgot to address the envelope this morning!)

That's about all the news fit to print. I had a great time on Friday going to the Occupy Minnesota demonstration at the "people's plaza" (formerly the government plaza) with Eleanor. We mostly did what Minnesotans do best -- stood around drinking coffee and chatting amiably. There was a little reading of declarations, but, generally, it was nice to be part of the movement in whatever small way I could. Because a nice woman gave me a sign that her daughter had made (the organize little fish eating the big one), a lot of people took pictures of my sign and I got interviewed by someone doing a "project" who wanted to know why I was there and what I hoped to get out of it. I said that what I'd like to see is more attention given to the middle class's' struggle by the media and politicians, and later Eleanor told me she was glad I answered that because she would have said, "REVOLUTION!"

I've also been enjoying the picture that's been going around Facebook of "Octopi Wall Street" because the day that Eleanor and I were there it was Cephlapod Appreciation Day.
lydamorehouse: (me)

Today is the official launch date of the second book in my vampire princess of St. Paul series, ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN.

The back cover copy says:

Craving the spotlight is in her blood.

Ever since high school student Anastasija Parker discovered she was vampire royalty, her life has been sort of crazy. The half-vampire- half-witch just wants some normalcy, and trying out for the spring musical seems like the perfect fix.

But when the ancient talisman that stands between vampire freedom and slavery to witches is stolen, Ana has to skip rehearsal and track down the dangerous artifact before someone uses it to make this year's curtain call her last...

And, you can read the first chapter here:



In other news, Shawn and I had fun yesterday shopping for crafty (Crafty?) things at Michael's. We've been putting together a new family altar in the sunroom (which the cats have instantly adopted as a new favorite perch, so it already has good energy.) I've been having fun doing a little fabric painting on various colors of altar cloths. Plus, we bought some "modge podge" just because it's fun to say, and I was pretty sure I could find projects to do with it. When we get it all together I'll post a picture or two.

The sun is finally out, so I may try to plant a few containers or expand Mason's garden EVEN MORE. We kind of went "hog wild" at Menards, so we're going to need a lot of room for all the veggies he picked out. Luckily, I'm terrible at growing grass (probably my reluctance to fertilize,) so I don't feel badly tearing up sod to make room for something more useful -- like spinach.

Whole Foods actually has some blueberry plants for sale that they claim don't need acidic soil or other of the usual requirements (like male and female plants.) I'm going to look up the scientific name of what they have on offer and see how much of that is true, and if they're right that these are relatively low-maintance, I'm thinking of building a raised bed for a couple of blueberry plants. It would be COOL to have home-grown blueberries.

Otherwise, I got jack done on the new novel. I hope to do better today, but, man, that sun is calling my name....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I am such a weirdo.

I think that pretty sums up everything you might need to know about me, but I was thinking specifically of the fact that, unlike almost every other writer I know, I ADORE the revision process. I think it's the sense of accomplishment I get while I'm going through each page. In front of me today is a big pile of paper. It's a completed (if somewhat flawed) story. I don't have to figure out how it's going to end any more. It's written. I may, in point of fact, need to utterly CHANGE the ending for the novel to actually be any good, but I have a spare, you know?

I like that feeling. A lot.

Even though I know that when I get through this round of revisions another one is on its heels (or waiting in the wings and other such metaphors) -- around and around until publication.

But, you know, I've taken my first stab at it. I hit something. Now I just have to make sure my aim is true and I hit home.

Which is kind of a disturbing image since last night I had a really awful nightmare about discovering a serial killer had been to my house while I was away. And then I became a strange sort of magical-yet-evil house spirit myself who continued the killing spree. It was particularly disturbing because it's one of the first dreams that I remember taking place in THIS house, exactly as it's laid out. Usually, I have a stock stand-in metaphor for my house. It's partly my parent's house combined with this one with bits of other houses or apartments I've lived in or known, and a hotel (or a museum). But it's always generally the same place that my subconscious has dubbed "my house" even though it looks nothing like the place in which I currently reside. So besides being creepily violent, it was also very specific.

Banish, banish, banish!

Luckily, it's incredibly beautiful outside today and I have something I'm looking forward to doing in front of me. I'm sitting on the porch with the windows cracked open. There's coffee in the pot and a cat perched on the head of my chair behind me. The thing that's going to be hard is to stay indoors, when what I really want to do is start mucking about in the garden (even though there's still patches of stubborn snow in our back yard.) We're going to expand Mason's veggie garden this year. I really want to try growing lettuce. The seed catalogues all have these cute little individual serving size minature lettuce varieties and I just adore them. I want to see them growing in neat little rows in Mason's garden.

Ah, hurry up summer!!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
A lot has happened in the last few days. I chaperoned an all-day field trip to the “big” Minnesota Zoo, got Mason’s veggie garden ready for planting, and attended another Kids and Kin event at Sacred Paths.

Moving backwards through time, yesterday, was the zoo trip. It was fairly stressful. The way the teacher decided to handle the field trip was to assign each parent/chaperone a small group of four kids and told us to run free. I can’t imagine a better way, but this meant that all the responsibility for what we did, when, and where was down to me. Luckily, I know the zoo very well, having spent a lot of time there with Mason in the past. I asked my group (three boys and one girl) what they wanted to see on the bus ride out: Sharks! Wolverines! Monkeys!

I’d also decided on the way out that since there were only five of us total, I’d treat my group to a ride on the monorail. I figured that by the end of the day what I’d really want was a chance to sit down and not have to keep an eye on all four of them (since once the tram doors closed, they were stuck in one place.) Man, was I right! Plus, that way they got to see the animals without having to walk any further.

So, besides the monorail, we also saw the sharks (we went there first), Russia’s Grizzly coast (the leopard was the most cooperative, pacing back and forth right in front of the viewing glass), played in the new play ground “Woodland Wonderland”, had lunch with the rest of the class, and then did the Minnesota trail (where I gave each kid a punch sheet and told them it was a scavenger hunt to see if they could collect all the stamps,) and then, after the train ride, I thought we might have time to get out to the farm to see the farm babies – but they got distracted by the playground and I figured I’d just let them play until it was time to go to the bus.

I’m glad I gave us extra time, because I almost lost the girl – who, for reasons all her own, decided to run ahead and find the bus herself. She turned a corner and we completely lost sight of her. Worse, it was at an intersection of the "Woodland Wonderland" play area, the Grizzly Coast, AND the way back toward the aquarium. I thought, "This is it. I've officially lost a child. Parent FAIL!"

Luckily, we were close to a playground and I saw her heading back to it. We managed to even make it back to the bus on time and without further incident. All I can say is I was very, very lucky. Next time, I'm chaining those kids to me with adamanium!!

So I did nothing the rest of the day. What little energy I had left had been sucked out of me by the adrenalin rush of nearly losing track of one of my charges, and the squealy-ness of the bus ride home. We ordered a pizza and I played a few video games with Mason, tried to read a chapter or two (but my eyes kept crossing), and collapsed into a heap.

On Monday, I decided that I'd skip working out to work in the garden. There's a LOT to do in our yard. While I can't grow grass to save my soul, every seed that falls from the neighboring trees sprout and grow in inappropriate places like under the fence, next to the house, in the garden... you name it. If I don't want a tree there, it grows. HUGE. So I spent a lot of the morning ripping out junk trees with the new clippers I bought over the weekend at Menards. And, then, because that's a never ending job, I took a break to write. The sun called to me after an hour of writing, and so out I went to tackle the area that's become Mason's garden.

Mason, as I've mentioned before, somehow inherited my maternal grandmother's ability to throw seeds on the ground and have them sprout. Genetic osmosis, perhaps, but whatever it is, last year we dug up this little square of yard -- he stepped on a few seeds and we suddenly had a garden bursting with carrots, peas, corn and sunflowers. If I had planted it, we would have gotten nothing, as the birds would have eaten the seeds or some other disaster or blight would have killed anything that struggled up through the weeds.

Anyway, this year I decided it needed more definition. I had bought some bricks to edge the garden last year, but I wasn't happy with the way I had them arranged. So I did a bit of landscaping with the bricks and two of the pots we have for herbs -- rosemary and lavendar and set them in an artful arrangement. Now it looks great and is just waiting for Mason to work his magic.

Speaking of magic, we went to another Kids and Kin on Sunday. This one was even less formal than the last. It was an Earth Day celebration, which involved a walk over to a nearby park with the intention of picking up trash. We did that, although mostly Mason picked dandilions, violets, and pinecones. There wasn't a lot of trash, actually. I did find an abandoned fisbee. The "ritual" half consisted of play on the playground, which Mason opted out of. Not the most organized of the events, so far, but it's still a place where Mason can talk about the goddess and not have to explain what he means. That's something for now. Plus, next time is going to be Beltane/May Day, and we even have an extra meeting because Kids and Kin are in charge of making centerpieces for Sacred Path's Beltane pancake breakfast or something (I'm so not a part of this community, I have no idea. But, hey, I'm getting more involved!)

I feel like a lot more happened, but that's basically everything I can remember. I'm going to try to be more regular, but with the sun calling to me and gardening to do.....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today started out okay, but it's quickly becoming swear worthy. I hate dial-up. I wish we could afford decent internet connection. In one way, I keep the crappy connection because, well, it's better than nothing (mostly, although I'm not sure it's doing anything good for my blood presure,) BUT it keeps me from being distracted by the shiney that is the interwebs.

Still. Grrrr.

Not much excitement here. This weekend was pretty low key. On Saturday, Mason and I went to the downtown public library to check out their collection of Goosebumps. It wasn't much to write home about, but by chance I noticed they had BIONICLE chapter books and he started reading those. I put the last two HIKARU NO GO issues on hold... though it looks like one of them has been checked out since June. Hmmm.

I've been writing steadily on Tate's young adult novel. I expect to have it done on time barring act of God/dess. Having the cover art already is surprisingly good motivation. I feel like I'd better get it done since they've already got a "package" ready.

At Wyrdsmiths last Thursday, [ profile] naomikritzer told me she hung out with someone at the Yeti birthday party gathering who ALSO looks nothing like me and who is often mistaken for me at cons and whatnot. This would be person number 2. The first being local author Rob Callahan, which is probably pretty embarrassing for him, as I think he's much better looking than I am... plus, well, you know, he's like a GUY. I don't mind being mistaken for a dude. In fact, some secret part of me relishes it, but no one has ever come up to me and said, "Rob, I really loved your panel! Dude, your books are awesome!!" Meanwhile, poor Rob has people call him "Lyda," which is just WRONG. Rob has always been decent about the mistaken identity when it happens, but I still feel for him. Now I find out someone ELSE is being mistaken for me? What the hey?!

My friend Kelly McCullough has been mistaken for China Mieville, mostly, I think because they're both bald and have a very tough-guy look to them and there's not a lot of that going on in SF/F. So you see a muscular guy with a shaved head and a badge at a con, and your brain says, "Ah! It's China/Kelly!" I get how it happens. And we're all pretty myopic in SF/F, so, you know, I cut everyone a bit of slack....

At least this new person being mistaken for me is female. When I asked Naomi if there were any similarities, she shrugged and said, "Well, she's a butch lesbian." Okay people, time for a newsflash: not all butch lesbians are Lyda Morehouse, and, really, take a better gander at me next time you're sure it's me you're looking at. I'm not all that _butch_. In fact, I used to wear a pin that said "butchy femme!" because that's closer to where I fall on the spectrum. I giggle way too much to be mistaken for butch, and, you know, even though I've been working out to try to be Captain America by 45, I'm still quite soft in the middle.

Not so butch.

Anyway, in other news, Mason's garden has a watermelon. Unbelievable. Have I told you about Mason's planting magic? Well, he's got it. All he seems to have to do is toss some seeds on the ground and step on them and they sprout like weeds (something my grandmother Spangler proportedly could also do.) Meanwhile, when I plant and fertilize and fret, all I get is WEEDS.

How's your Monday shakin' out?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I don't know if you noticed, but it's Monday. I woke up in a foul mood today, and was very snippy with my family. I'd blame the weather, but I actually like cold, rainy, dark days and God/dess knows we need the moisture. Though the weather might have a little to do with it because for the first time in a long, long time the sound of thunder woke me up last night. At first I didn't know what it was, then it rolled again and I was like, "Oh, okay, nothing fell. It's just a boom of thunder." I slept rather fitfully, and Mason called for "snugoooos" (snuggles) not long after.

Despite the dreariness, I went outside this morning and dug up the spot for Mason's garden. I know it's late in the season, but Mason really wants to try a Victory garden this year. He's got a number of veggie seeds: corn, peas, beans, carrots and tomatoes (which I doubt we'll plant, because no one in this entire house LIKES tomatoes and it's FAR too late to expect them to grow.) And some flowers: zinnias and sunflowers. Anyway, the ground can wait for him and the weather now, as I put some garden fabric over the top to keep the weeds mostly out.

My big plans for the day is to make some tea and strain the soup stock I made from the left over chicken bits from last night's impromptu feast. We'd planned to make a whole chicken, but to it I added brussel sprouts with almonds, mashed potatoes, homemade french bread, and lots of gravy. I also made a fresh cherry pie, although I have to say that apparently Betty Crocker really likes cherry pie to taste like merischino (sp?) cherries. Not my favorite, but not too bad hot from the oven with enough cool whip.

Oh, and I'll be writing, too. I got the first chapter of Tate's young adult novel done, though I think it's lacking one scene, which I'm going to put in today. Then it's on to chapter two and hopefully some Mouse later today. Fingers crossed. I think some tea will help get me in the mood on this dark day.

Also, Mason is off on a field trip without me (gasp!). They're going to the planetarium today. Should be fun. I can't wait to hear all about it.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
It's been a long time since my last post, so I have a few things to report. First of all, y'all were absolutely right: the "Star Trek" re-boot rules. There was so much awesome and everyone's already seen it so, yeah. What you guys said. Only one very, very small moment of fangeekitude regret for me. Okay, I know that this is an alternate universe (which was deeply clever and totally worked for me), BUT the Kobashi Maru, didn't live up to its hype. I wanted the Old Universe Kirk to, yes, cheat in terms of re-programming the simulation, but also do one of those "I totally pulled this con act out of my ass and you were punked" kinds of things ala "The Corbornite Maneuver." I wanted a hint of the part of Captain James T. Kirk that is all about the hunches that we know and love. I found the whole "whatever. I'm just munching on an apple" attitude really annoying, and the only part of the young Kirk's characterization that seemed a bit off (and off-putting, for me.)

Another thing I've learned about myself the older I get is that the characters I used to find square and uninteresting totally turn me on now. Spock was hot. It blows my mind to think that I feel that way now, but put Spock up there with Captain America and Daredevil as a character I used to be vaguely uninteresting that now rocks my world. I'm so glad he got to say "fascinating" at least once too.

I wonder.... is Spock/Kirk getting its own relaunch? (Weirdly, I might actually read that.)

In gardening news, I put a lot of plants in over the weekend, including some herbs from Shady Acres. It was a lot of work, but the yard is very slowly starting to appear more "intentional" which is my constant goal given my tendency towards overgrown, weed-friendliness.

As we were coming back with some gardening supplies from Menards on Saturday, I saw a live baby bunny hopping through our underbrush. Seeing that made the whole sad day much less so.

Okay, got to go work. See you all soon.

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