lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
I haven't checked in since the anniversary, so here's a full report of my weekend, starting with Friday, the big anniversary.  

Mason, as I think I've mentioned, is in debate this year.  The debate team has the craziest tournament schedule. This last Friday? They were in Eagan until sometime after ten. I didn't get him home until almost 11:30 pm, and then they get up to be on the bus again, Saturday morning, at 6:45 am.  

The only upside of that, for Shawn and I, was that we had the whole night together.  Va-va-voom, wink-wink-nudge-nudge. That's right. We got take-away from Vina (a Vietnamese/Thai restaurant in Highland Park) and binge watched "Longmire." I don't expect my nerd friends to be terribly familiar with "Longmire" as it's the type of show that I tend to associate with the "wine mom" set.  It's a Western/Police procedural that takes place in a make-believe county in northern Wyoming. The hero is a manly-man of few words and (supposedly) sterling character. There's nothing about what I've just describe to you that would normally make me say "OOoooHHHH! SIGN. ME. UP."  Except, the story telling is very compelling, and I'm fascinated by the intersections between the county Sherif's Department and the various tribal police (Cherokee and Crow nations). I have no idea how accurate it is or what the American Indian community thinks of the show, except I do know that the actors are all Native. 

It was, however, a grand way to spend the evening with Shawn.

Saturday, while Mason was away debating again, we made a lot of Solstice cookies.

a table full of Christmas/Solstice cookies.

I love making these because I love mixing the color into the frosting.  (I'm still very much a little kid in this regard.) Not shown are the date cookies... with are also favorites because I have a strange weakness for warm fruit.

Sunday, we intended to keep baking but, after I made an amazing yeast-based plate of cinnamon rolls, we kind of topped out.

gooey plate of cinnamon rolls, fresh from the oven.

This is a new recipe that Shawn found for "easy" cinnamon rolls. They were, actually, fairly easy for me, though that's said by someone, like myself, who makes a LOT of yeast breads and has done for decades.  So, if you're not super-confident with yeast, I wouldn't necessarily call this recipe "easy."

I can post it in the comments, if anyone asks for it.

Then Sunday night, Mason and I hopped on the light rail and headed into downtown Minneapolis to see "Brain Candy" with Adam Savage and Micheal Stevens at the Orpheum.  That was a good show.  It was basically LIVE science, but Adam Savage is very much the same sort on stage that he is on MythBusters (impish, vaguely dangerous, funny...).  We watched Adam build (and explode) things and Michael (a science You Tuber that Mason loves) explain things.  Even though it meant another LATE night for Mason, it was well worth the price of admission.  

We actually had really nice seats, too. We sprang for the middle-range price tickets, and so got first balcony, front row. We had ZERO leg room, but we had no one sitting in front of us.  The house was packed, too.  We were cramped knee to cramped knee with a full row, but the show was entertaining enough that I didn't actually mind at all.  Mason had never been to the Orpheum and said, "Wow. I feel under dressed," because it's the kind of theater that has a giant chandelier and fancy architecture (being historic, and all.)  

I hope we can keep doing things like this. That was a lot of fun.  A friend of mine at the coffee shop this morning said that the University of Minnesota puts on some kind of science show in January that's worth seeing. I'm going to see what Google coughs up about that, and see if Mason is interested.  These things get expensive, but, with luck, we can do them now-and-again.

That's the weekend.  Onward.  I'm planning on doing even more cookie-making today, because holidays. We're not even having guests, but Shawn and I love to celebrate Solstice with lots and lots of treats.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
My birthday was Saturday. What I wanted to do most of all was go out to brunch. I’d been thinking about trying somewhere new, but, instead, we ended up at Grandview Cafe, which is just down the road from our house. It’s mostly known for its Cajun-style breakfasts and I had a big plate of biscuits and gravy, which was perfect. Very greasy, but just what I wanted.

We ended up having a bit of a “dinner and a show” thanks to two college-age boys in the booth across from us. They were either really hungover or….maybe… giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they’d just come off a long gaming session. Whatever their deal was, neither of them could keep their eyes open for more than five seconds. They were nearly literally face-planting into their breakfast plates. It was one of those things that was kind of hilarious for the first ten minutes and then it was like, “Dudes. Get it together.” You know?

But, they kept us entertained.

My family bought me a whole bunch of letter-writing supplies (Pens! Stationary! Return address labels!) Shawn also made me my favorite cranberry upside-down cake.

The rest of the day was low key, however. I’d been feeling under-the-weather the day before and it kind of hung on… so I spent a lot of my 50th birthday napping like a boss.

On the other hand, this meant I was primed for the trip out to see what remained of the Leonids. Mason and I stayed up watching old episodes of “Whose Line is It, Anyway?” until midnight and then we headed south towards the Cherry Grove Observatory that [personal profile] jiawen  turned us on to. We never go all the way to the observatory site, since I’d feel bad using it without being a member of the Minnesota Astronomers Society. But, we drove a few miles down Goodhue County Highway 1 and pulled over into someone’s corn field.

The first hilarious part was me, at fifty, trying to pull my fat butt onto the hood of our car. Let’s just say it took a few tries. We’d brought along several blankets and a thermos full of hot chai, but it was 20 degrees F (-6 degrees C). Even so, we weren’t going to last more than ten or fifteen minutes tops. In that short span, however, we saw three meteors. One of them had a long trail, which was fairly spectacular.

I had on a full parka, hat, mittens, and scarf, and so I was actually fairly warm. But, I could feel Mason’s shivers beside me. We’d also woken up the farm dog and its barks woke the cows. There we were in pitch darkness that was punctuated by deep lowing…. I don’t want to say it was creepy, because it was just COWS, but yeah, it was kind of creepy.

Also, the cold made me have to pee. Mason and I ended up stopping at one of those 24-hour trucker “travel” centers so I could use the bathroom and he could buy some beef jerky (which is his traditional road trip food.) We’d TRIED to stop at a McDonald’s in Cannon Falls earlier, but turns out that small town McDonald’s are NOT 24 hours. This was a bummer because Mason really had a craving for salty French fries and the beef jerky was a poor substitute, indeed.

A good adventure for the big 5-Oh, however.

Sunday was a lot of return to the usual. Shawn and I did a big grocery run to Hyvee… which, predictably, was fine for the first hour, but then, as the shop started to fill up with other Sunday grocery shoppers, became annoying. As we always do, we determined to maybe do the whole shopping for staples more than once a month. (We won’t.)

Otherwise, we’re spending a lot of time cleaning house in preparation for our Thanksgiving guests, who should be arriving on Wednesday. Today, in fact? I freaking WASHED the FRIDGE. (Who does that?) I mean, it needed it, but I’m fairly certain no one but Shawn is going to appreciate the work I did. On the other hand, I watched one and a half more episodes of Elegant Yokai Apartment Living, which I enjoyed.

Okay, well, I need to run pick up Mason. See y'all on the flip side.

lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 Mason's friend Rosemary had never been to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival before, so, despite the 90 F / 32.2 C degree temperatures, we decided to take her on Sunday.  Likely filed under "things you didn't know about Lyda" is the fact that, back in the late 1980s, I used to work as a performer out at the Ren Fest. I wore a big, red, curly wig, a costume sewn by my mother, and went by the stage name "Nut Meg."  (You can't actually see my face very well in this photo. I may have to find another one. But this is me, in either 1987 or 1988--I believe those are the only two years I worked as a performer out there.)

old photo from 1987 of Lyda in costume out at the MN Ren Fest

But, at any rate, because I used to work out there, I made two teenagers get up early so that we could arrive in time for 'opening gate.'  One of the things Rosemary, who is a HUGE fan of the Minnesota State Fair, wanted to know is, why did Mason and I like Ren Fest better?  Her point, which is a valid one, is that they're a lot the same: crowded, expensive, food oriented, and full of stuff you don't really need to buy, but that is fun to look at.  For me, the answer is the entertainers.  The shows--but particularly things like opening gate--are these dorky, improv experiences.  Opening gate is a free show and, technically, so are all the others (though the performers pass hats because at lot of them do make their living doing the Ren Fest circuit.)  There isn't anything quite like that at the State Fair. 

Plus, my people are there.

In fact, Mason summed up the difference pretty succinctly:  "It's nerdier."  

And, that's really it.  I would probably like the State Fair, if it was the nerd fest Ren Fair is.  Don't believe me? While we were waiting for the opening gate show to start (I always miscalculate how long it will take me to get from St. Paul to Shakopee.) I noticed this guy:

Ren Fair Deadpool

Ren Fair Deadpool is exactly the kind of person who would never cosplay at the State Fair. What does State Fair Deadpool even look like?  (Okay, probably now that I've asked, someone has done this and knows EXACTLY what Minnesota State Fair Deadpool would look like.) But, the point is, Ren Fest is like a science fiction/fantasy  convention with a middle ages theme, outdoors, that lasts for several weekends, plus great food.  I literally don't know why anyone would go to the State Fair, when you can have the State Fair x Nerds = Ren Fest.

Plus, what was the thing that Mason and Rosemary loved the most?  "Zilch." Zilch is this performer who tells fractured fairy tales in Spoonerisms.  This is such a nerd thing, I can't even.  There's so much to see, too.  We also watched Fandazzi do their fire dancing:

A woman in Renaissance costuming dancing with a fire rope--or a rope on fire, however you'd like to imagine it.

It's kind of hard not to have a good time out at Festival, IMHO.  I mean, it was so hot I was SWELTERING, but I really wanted to stay until 4:30 pm so the kids could see Zilch do his version of Romeo & Juliet, since they're both studying that in English this year. But, I just couldn't make it. How I used to pull full day performances out there, I have no idea. This may be why I only lasted a few years. (Actually, I know it's why.  Working Fest was the only time in my life that I had a doctor hand me a prescription with one word on it: "Sleep.")

Also, for the first time since the 1980s, I actually sat through the entire jousting show. That's actually a kind of amazing thing.... they really do run at each other in full gallop and break their lances. It's very clear that some of it is staged, but, even knowing that, doesn't diminish the excitement of it.  

Alas, I only got a still shot:

the jousting show, wth one of the "knights" on the ground spoiling for a fight.

Anyway, that was my weekend. How are you?
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Here's another list for me:

Broken Monsters, Lauren Beukes (Mulholland)
The Lesser Dead, Christopher Buehlman (Berkley)
The Unquiet House, Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher)
Bird Box, Josh Malerman (Ecco)
Confessions, Kanae Minato (Mulholland)
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals)

These are the Shirley Jackson Award nominees. As Locus Magazine explains, this award is for "... outstanding achievement in horror, psychological suspense, and dark fantasy fiction. "

I think, too, this will help me decide what to review today. I usually have my reviews in to Bitter Empire by Sunday morning, but this weekend was surprisingly busy. I had my usual three hour shift at North St. Paul library and Mason attended the Teen Lit Con. My Mother's Day gift to Shawn was to take her fabric shopping and NOT COMPLAIN, which I managed on Saturday morning, as well. It was nice weather on Saturday, too, so I did a little light gardening, too--finally getting some things in the ground that we'd ordered. On Sunday, what Shawn said she wanted was food. So, I made her blueberry bread pudding for breakfast and then we spent most of the afternoon and evening making fleischkuechle - an ethnic food of Shawn's family (Germans from Russia.) We thought to only make two batches, which would have been a couple of hours work, but ended up with over a hundred some how and so we prepared and fried from 1 pm to 7 pm.

A little longer than either of us really wanted.

BUT the results are tasty, and now we have a stockpile for the freezer.

So, at any rate, I need to settle in and write up a review of Annihilation, I think. I'm not sure how much I should talk about this in that, but Annihilation is the only book up for the Nebula this year that I made it all the way through.

I got well over 100 pages into both Three-Body Problem and Ancillary Sword, but I gave up on both of them because I found myself caring less for the main characters. Both of those novels are very idea-driven, which is fine, but I just had no emotional investment whatsoever and when you start looking at how much of the book you have left with trepidation, I thought: nope, I'm done. Plus, no spoilers, but when I finally found a character that I liked in Ancillary Sword, they didn't last.

I tried Coming Home, (and Shawn shakes her head at me about this because Jack McDevitt is one of her all time favorite SF authors and I've had diner with the guy and he's AWESOME), but I just bounce out of almost every one of his books for some reason -- maybe because it's a long-running series? I'm not sure, because Shawn has them all and has tried, repeatedly, to get me to read them. I guess it's just one of those things.

The other Nebula nominee, Trial by Fire, I have upstairs and I started it.... and it's okay. It's just very hardcore military SF which I wasn't entirely in the mood for when I started it. I haven't sent it back yet, so I may still get through that one. I often really enjoy military SF, so I don't think that's necessarily the reason. Do you have this problem? Where you have to be in the right mood for a certain TYPE of book?

At any rate, I ripped through Annihilation like it was cotton candy. That surprised me because it is very psychological and atmospheric (not always my normal fave) and, in places, difficult. I have, in the past, not gotten very far into VanderMeer's works before. *whispers*He's one of those 'it' kids that I have to confess being predisposed AGAINST because of straight-up envy*/whispers* But I really ended up enjoying this book.

I'll see where I end up going with this review. The other thing I may end up talking about is the fact that I've heard rumors that the next target the Sad Puppies might have is the Nebula, which I think will be a far harder nut for them to crack because membership is actually fairly difficult to obtain. (And the Nebula, if you didn't know, is nominated and voted on SOLEY by the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America.)

So, lots of directions.

Right, I should go do that then.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Shawn, Mason and I had a nice weekend. We spent a good part of Saturday morning estate sale/rummage shopping, which was a blast. There were a couple of church basement rummage sales, including a really awesome book sale at St. Olivet's, which is this beautiful Congregational church close to the Merrim Park Library. In fact, Mason and I were done early and we just sat an admired their gorgeous 'gymnasium.' Shawn and I joked that we were tempted to join the church just for the building.

St. Olivet's was a stark contrast to the house we stopped at that was just down the road from Stepping Stone Theatre (behind the law school). It was... straight out of a Stephen King novel, not only had it suffered HARDCORE neglect (on a squalor level), but, you know how most of the time you can feel the good strong bones of a house underneath all the grime and disrepair? Yeah, no. This house had been born with a mutated, malformed skeleton. Because, even though people had 'remuddled' it over the years, there were pieces that were clearly original that were just... odd. Like the second story... prayer alcove? It looked like people had been using it last as a closet, but it had been built with a stained glass window and a little buildt-in kneeler. The rooms were also all off at odd angles, which were perhaps originally meant to be 'charming' or even 'eccentric' but came off as cramped and wrong after time had worn the beauty away.

Mason, who has a very low threshold for bad vibes, walked in and instantly said, "Oh, no. Let's just go." Shawn and I pushed through with sheer curiosity and, much to Mason's chagrin, we both brought something home from that house. (Shawn got a roll of rope and I found a leather wallet.)

That house was one of the ones that all the sale-rs had to stop and chat with strangers about (which, if you aren't from around here, you might not realize what a BIG DEAL that is in Minnesota.) I would say something to Mason like, "My god, look at this, the original builders didn't even finish off these floor boards..." and the person passing by on the way up the stairs would feel compelled to stop, look, and then comment about some other odd feature they'd seen in the garage or elsewhere. The estate sale workers kept trying to sort of reassure people by saying, "This house is old. It was built in 1913." To which, I replied, "Our house was built in 1911. It doesn't look like this. Something more than time happened to this house." To which, they had no other response than, "The workers are coming back on Monday."

The other thing that pissed off all the estate sale-rs that came through was that, possibly to fund the remodeling, the prices were jacked up. There were things there that should have been marked ten bucks (generous) that were set at SEVENTY.

Mason shadowed me through the whole house saying, "This place is like a HOG (Hidden Object Game)." Because on top of all the weird angles and decrepit-ness the estate sale workers had just piled all the goods in boxes and in tables in a way that just made it all seem that much more chaotic. Even the back yard garden was a mess.

It was kind of amazing, really. It was the sort of place that sticks in your head, and it may have to work its way into a novel, because it's too good to waste, you know?

Sunday we spent doing some housework, baking cookies (for real! I made chocolate chip!) and playing some board games. It was that kind of day because we woke up to a rain that beat down steadily all day long.

During some of my housework, I started a new anime series. I'm now watching Witch Craft Works. I'm not entirely sure I can recommend it. It's weirdly compelling, though. The story is about "an average high school boy" who, it turns out, has a witch guardian who considers him her "princess." A lot of the humor in the story has to do with a shounen reversal. She gets all the power-ups, is popular and aloof, and he's just kind of a pretty/handsome load she constantly has to rescue. Weirdly, that kind of works for me. All the villains and side-characters are female, too, so it's very much a conscious 'see, this is what you look like!' in terms of reversing all the gender stuff.

I'm watching it on Crunchyroll, so it's a new anime, only just having aired this year in January in Japan. There are 12 episodes, and I'm just about to start #4 with today's load of dishes. I suspect that if this anime follows the flow of most 'new-ish' anime, the real action will start now that they've set up the characters and the situation. I feel like it was right about episode 3 or 4 that Rei was introduced in Free! Iwatobi Swim Club and that's when things really started rolling.

At any rate, I'm enjoying that.

Today my plans are to get a good start on my new Tate installment. I have to say that given time, the serial thing on WattPad is starting to work better for me. I've decided that I'm not allowed to look at my statistics, which helps, and only concentrate on the comments. I have one really faithful reader (who is not actually someone I know outside of this context), so I'm kind of writing this for her. She leaves comments at the end of each chapter and is even starting to try to guess at the plot, WHICH I TOTALLY ADORE AND HAD BEEN HOPING FOR. So, that's working.

More importantly, having the publishing deadline of once a week on a Tuesday afternoon, means I'm writing forward every week. This is a very, very good thing.

Plus, even though I hate it, it seems like my social media blast about the updates are getting re-blogged (at least a friend saw it happen once), so that's kind of all I can hope for.

I really do think this is the sort of thing that might become a THING given enough time. For now, I'm along for the ride... and it's keeping me writing on a Tate project.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
This was a surprisingly busy weekend for me. On Friday, I was pretty much in radio silence because Mason had a school concert on Friday morning.

mason concert 052

mason concert 059

Shawn and I spent the day doing all the "Parent Involvement Day" -- things like drink the caffeteria's horrible coffee and eating frigthening pastries. After the class concert, we were invited to hang out with Mason's class while they went to the library to listen to (seriously) a guest lecturer talk about her job in HR (human resources.) Then, we went back to the classroom where kids read the stories that they'd been working on. Mason's story was amazing. I may have to post some of it here, but the funny part was his "teacher" demeanor before he began. He sat in his chair and admonished fellow students that they'd have to sit still and be quiet before he started. Ah, my little controlling nerd! So adorably anal!!

mason concert 064

Saturday, Mason had his swimming lessons. We always arrive early and Mason sits and reads before class starts with his goggles and glasses on. (Note: you can also clearly see a page of my Shonen Jump.)

mason concert 014

Sunday, we ended up having an impromptu sleepover because Intersession has begun at Crossroads. Mason is going to be home with me now for about a month. But, this also means all his friends are off school now as well (or at least those who chose not to do Intersession classes--plus most of the Mondays are off this Intersession for everyone for some reason, too.) At any rate, Mason's friend Donte wanted to come over again, so we had him come.

I thought that the snow and sleet and rain might keep them away, but they braved the weatther. As a bonus, thanks to Donte, I got to watch most of the new Spider-Man movie. Shawn declared this to be her new head canon, but I was less convinced. I did like scientist-Peter Parker, because that's one thing about him that I'm glad Bendis and crew always remember in the New Avengers. Maybe they got Peter too right, because I'm not a humongous Peter fan typically. I really, really liked JMS's Amazing Spider-Man run, but partly because he built on the history of all that had come before. But I also tend to like grow-up Spider-Man over angsty teenage Spider-Man so that may have been part of it. I shall think thinky-thoughts.

Mason, my little ambassador of geekiness, desperately tried to convince Donte that he wanted to become a Bleach fan. He showed Donte the first episode, but it... (gasp!)... failed. (This is truly amazing to me because even Eleanor Arnason found the first episode compelling while trying to watch it in a busy coffee shop at Mason's insistance.)

I think, perhaps, the subtitles threw Donte more than he was willing to admit. Donte isn't a huge reader, and it can be daunting to have to try to read while watching TV. Mason, my baby-otaku, would rather DIE than watch Bleach dubbed into English, so there was massive fail.

I note this because usually where there is this...

mason concert 068

...zanpakutou names get shouted out at high volume (in Japanese) around my house. It was almost eerie to hear Mason not call shikai on any of his favorites. But, he did use ice powers at some point, which I'm fairly sure are NOT standard Force Powers in the Star Wars universe (which is the common fandom that Donte and Mason share).

It was incredibly darling to listen to Donte and Mason chat all night (well past midnight) and FINALLY we had a taker for the top bunk. Mason has a bunk bed specifically for this reason--to have a bed for a sleepover friend. However, in the past, sleeping bags have gotten piled on the floor and no one has wanted to try the top or the bottom bunk. This time Donte decided it was THE COOLEST THING EVER. And they sat together up there for several hours telling each other jokes.

But now everyone is cranky and tired. Donte left at 8:00 am this morning because we had to get Shawn off to work. Mason and I have already had a squabble over the TV (though we did manage to watch 3 more episodes of Bleach.) And in about fifteen minutes we're going to have to pack up to head off to Mason's dental appointement.

My life is truly glamorous, no?

Oh, yeah, and later I have to FINALLY get to the revisions of Samurai High.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
My fifth day of NaNoWriMo hasn't been terribly awesome. I did actually write a tiny bit on my project, but I spent most of the day fretting and chasing after things involving our furnace broiler.

Last night we had a little scare. The pressure rose up to 35, almost 40. That's outside of the safe zone by quite a bit. Normally, the pressure hovers between 10 and 20. I did the only thing I knew to do: bleed the radiators. That seemed to work. Only later, it happened again. This went on all night, and I ended up calling Xcel Energy at 11:00 pm. We have a HomeSmart plan with them that covers our furnace. So, they called in the people they work with, KB Furances, and I talked to a very helpful guy on the phone to tried to talk me through the possible problems. BEFORE ALL YOU SUPER-HANDY PEOPLE START OFFERING ADVICE, YOU'RE WRONG! Seriously, you, the Internet and several furance guys all told me the same thing: you need to drain your overflow tank. Yeah, well, no.... Turns out our overflow tank hasn't worked properly in years, nay, probably decades, (I found this out, of course, long after spending several hours and scrapping several knuckles attaching a garden hose while standing on a ladder.) At any rate, after spending the day fussing and worrying and dealing with furnace guys and reading everything about radiators on the Internet, I finally reconfigured the McGyver that had been working for the last several millineum (er, at least since Mongomery Ward sold boilers), and, as Scotty so often says, "She's holdin' steady, captain!"

So my day was kind of shot.

I did, however, commit a bit of fan art, which I'll share at a later date. I'd post it now, but I'd like to be able to link to the completed story that it belongs to--but my friend [ profile] empty_mirrorsand I are still writing that.

Saturday was a busy, yet fun day. We had a family wedding, which, quite frankly, I'd been dreading. It was for Shawn's neice who is technically a step-neice, and I only mention that because it sort of MATTERS to them in a you're-not-one-of-us way, or at least, we always got the impression that it did. We did want to go, however, because we had the opportunity to hang out with the groom one time when the family gathered for its semi-annual fleischkuekle deep fry, and discovered he was an amazingly nice young man from Argentina named Matyas with a soft-spoken (sometimes deadpan) sense of humor, and we thought, well, we should go for him if nothing else.

Turns out the wedding was kind of awesome. At one point I was pretty sure I was in hell, but that was only because I got cornered by a particular relative with whom I ALWAYS exchange words (and not the pleasant ones.) The ceremony itself was officiated by the very same Unitarian minister who took care not only of our nephew Adam's funeral, but our daughter Ella's as well. She's an amazingly good minister and made the wedding feel spontaneous, genuine and full of laughter.

At the reception we were stuck at the table wedged into the far back corner, which we promptly labeled the Misfits Table. Luckily, when we were joined by another couple, I decided to channel my inner (okay, always outer and always on) best extroverted hostess. I asked all sorts of interesting questions and managed to hand out one of my writing business cards.... because... well, because I ALWAYS DO THAT. (My "stage mom" father should be proud.)

But being that "on" always wears me out, so I slept like a rock, even with the time change.

Sunday, I had an event where I was meant to be the star of a koffeeklatch discussion with MinnSpec (the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers group.) I felt sort of babbly and over-shary, but whatever. No one ran from the room screaming and I was able to give away the last of my contributor copies of PRECINCT 13 as freebies. So I call it a win. I also met up with one of my NaNoWriMo local writing buddies, and we chatted a long time afterwards about writing in general and NaNo in specific.

I got home a bit later than expected and discovered Mason's playdate already in progress. Mason's across-the-street buddies invited him and his friend out to play swords and capture the flag and whatever "spud" is. That was lovely, actually, because it meant us grow-ups (which included [ profile] naomikritzer got to talk without child-filters on, and I always love hanging out with Naomi, regardless.

A good weekend until the whole furnace debacle, actually. As I said on Facebook, I love owning an old home, but I don't always love old plumbing (and other old fixtures.) Also, occassional I miss having a landlord on speed dial to whom I could simply say, "Fix this!" Even if they ignored the problem, it wouldn't be _mine_, you know?

Okay, back to the writing grindstone. I still have Loft proposals to write as well as NaNo projects. *sigh*
lydamorehouse: (Default)
This last weekend was Gaylaxicon, which I was quite honored to be one of the GoHs of this year.  When I arrived and checked-in/registered, I thought that the con was likely off to a VERY BAD START when I discovered that there were NO condoms (or lube!) in the swag bag.  I spent the next several hours complaining about this, btw.  Loudly.  Luckily, most people ignored me.  Because, really, it turns out (as I actually knew from last time Gaylaxicon was in town) this was not THAT KIND of con.  Gaylaxicon is all about content... or at least mostly... granted I probably said "penis" more at this con than I do at most, but when I did, believe you me, it was in the pursuit of higher knowledge/intellectualism.

There was a lot about the con I enjoyed tremendously. I got to be a squeeing fan grrl all over J. Michael Tatum, who is not only the voice actor who portrays Sebastian in the Anime "Black Butler" (among other roles--you may also know him from "Ouran Host Club",) but also ridiculously cute and funny all on his own and, it turned out, on the one panel I was on with him, he's REALLY SMART AND THOUGHTFUL, too.  I know, right?  How unfair!   That's really all I remember of Friday night, ie embarrassing myself by babbling, "ohmygodohmygodohmygod, you're so coooooooooooooooool" to a complete stranger, and also saying something about as articulate in my Guest of Honor welcoming speech.  I should also say that I had a previous interaction with Gary Russell on the Thursday night GoH dinner, in which I became convinced that he was constantly sneering at me (though particularly when I talked about Marvel Comics).  Turns out, he was only British.

Saturday I had a really phenomenal panel about women writing M/M slash, which was something I came to the con wanting to talk about.  I'm not sure we concluded anything about why queer women like to write boy on boy porn, but we did figure out that it's more complicated than you'd initally think.  I also encouraged everyone to attend the midnight slash panel, and lured them all there by a promise that one of the other GoHs, Kyell Gold, would be reading his Wiley E. Coyote/Road Runner.  I think I did a bunch of other awesome things and talked to a lot of other amazing people, but really that midnight reading will be forever seared into my head as probably one of the most awkward-embarrassing-fantastic nights of my life. 

The midnight slash reading was really well attended.  Which meant that getting started reading porn was REALLY DIFFICULT for me.  I have been known, in fact, in the past, to employ a stunt reader.  This time, since Kyell was telling me to be brave, I finally (probably after a half hour of dithering embarrassment) did.  It worked out really well as what I read was kind of sweet/sexy foreplay ("Other Duties as Assigned") , his was a fairly explicit pay off, and then my second piece was kind of funny/sexy afterglow ("Too Many Captains Spoil the Plan").  So, hopefully the audience felt they got a full experience.  I suspect folks must have because we were only scheduled to go for an hour, but we didn't leave the room until 2:00 am.  It was incredible.  Kyell's husband recorded his portion of the slash reading and if/when they post it anywhere, I will post a link here, too.  Apparently, my facial expressions during some of it were kind of precious.  (I was very nervous/excited and TOTALLY INVESTED in the story.) 

Sunday was my busiest day and also kind of a blur, but I remember some more panels and more hanging out with all sorts of wonderful people.

Oh, and for the record, after this con, if anyone disses a furry in front of me, they're in for an earful.  As my friend [ profile] naomikritzer said to me, "F*ck the Geek Heirarchy," the furries I met this weekend were AWESOME.  Also, they wear tails sometimes.  GET OVER IT.  In fact, I have agreed to attempt some Komamura slash for the folks at the slash reading who liked my Bleach fic.  (Bleach has a furry character, a captain who is a wolf/fox demon.)

Then suddenly it was all over and I was back home and being asked to cook dinner and do the dishes.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
So, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, they have this thing called Oktoberfest.  It's kind of a big deal.  This last Saturday was the kick-off, which is a THREE HOUR parade, which includes every highschool band in the area as well as the UW-L alumni band, floats, politicians, and... giant semi trucks.  You know, the usual, except with more leiderhosen. 

My family went down to visit my folks and to participate in the insanity.  Though, I'm happy to say that the North Side, where I'm from and where I have always celebrated Oktoberfest (sorry, South Side, folks, the big fair grounds is NOT my scene,) was dry this year.  They still had all the usual carnival rides and midway games, just minus the drunken stupidity. Mason fell instantly in love, and also blew through a ton of our cash.  But, I got to relive the experience of the Tilt-a-Whirl, which... honestly, is still pretty awesome.  Mason also got his face painted on Sunday:

lacrosse 046

He's also holding the giant inflatable swords that he won doing the Thor hammer slam thing, where you have to ring the bell.  The folks at kuk sool should be proud because in order to mentally prepare himself, Mason did a ki-yop in the proscibed way (as though about to break a board.)  It was very impressive.

For myself, I had an excellent visit with the folks, chatting about life, the universe and everything.

Monday, however, has been tough.  I believe, later tonight, we will be having a discussion about Maslow's hierarchy of needs with Mason in terms of what money gets spent on fist.  This, I'm afraid is the natural consequence of having a weekend of, "okay, sure, honey" on the fairgrounds.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Mason decided that what he REALLY wanted to do this weekend was have two days electronic free.  OMFG.  How, as a responsible parent, was I supposed to say "no" to THAT?  So, we agreed through gritted teeth.  And, I have to say both Shawn and I decided the only way we could possibly survive this hell was if we were allowed a short time in the morning and again at night just to CHECK TO SEE IF THE INTERNET POSTED ANY NEW LOL CATS.

Because, seriously, a whole weekend away from Facebook?  AO3? LJ?  BOING-BOING?   Was that even physically possible or would my head explode from lack of LOL CAT intervention.

Turns out, I survived.  It was hard.  I was forced to write fanfic BY HAND as well as draw in order get out some of my frustration.  On the flip side, we actually got a surprising amount of work done around the house (I know, weird, right?)  Luckily, Mason abandoned this insanity half-way through Sunday and he watched a streaming episode of his favorite show "MythBusters."  I was allowed to surf.  Shawn had to work, so I'm sure she frantically checked the New York Times, Gizmo and io9 during her breaks.  Then, in a crazy continuation of this whole no electronics thing, Mason and I went for a walk in downtown St. Paul, and he read by the river.

outdoor reading day 043
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Alas, it seems that in order to make room for my new Renji art, I've gotten rid of the little image of the jumping shark to let you all know that I am writing about my fish obsession.  Imagine it there, and skip if you are bored by stories of fish.

This last weekend my family and I were invited to a friend's cabin.  We had an excellent time, though this is a bumper crop year for TICKS.  Mason must have pulled a half dozen off himself nearly every day. (I must not smell right or be too cold.  I didn't even find one.)  However, it was so thick with them that we even saw a wood tick crawling on the side of the cabin.  They were EVERYWHERE.  It was also pretty rainy Saturday and Sunday, and the lake was still too cold for Mason to do any real swimming.  However, we did kayak a lot, which was a great deal of fun... Mason particularly enjoyed the day when the wind was really strong and I was rowing and rowing and rowing and we were going nowhere fast.

Now the fish stuff--

When we came home, we discovered that our shubunkin, Bob, passed away.  I know that a lot of people think that fish are boring pets, but Bob was personality plus.  He might have had a past liffe as a dog or something, because he was really very playful and always met me at a specific corner of his tank whenever I came over for feeding time.  He would wiggle frantically, almost like he was wagging his tail.  Whenever I cleaned the tank and added water, he would swim joyfully in the bubbles created by the new water.  In fact, I knew something had happened to him yesterday because, after feeding the fish in the big tank, I turned and he wasn't "wagging" in his corner. 

Bob has been with us so long that he was far too large for the traditional "burial at sea."  But, I dug another hole in the backyard, next to where we buried Busy Bee (the gerbil), so we placed Bob there, in Mason's garden.  Mason said some lovely words over him.  We had done a rather elaborate ritual for BB, and Mason particularly liked all the gifts we asked for from the Triple Goddess, so for Bob he asked that the Crone take Bob to the summerland, the Mother clean his tank responsibly, and that the Maiden provide him lots of minnows to eat.  The funny part of the last one is that Bob, for some unknown reason got a little canabalistic in his old age (sometimes I called him Dexter fish) and started eating his tank mates, the white mountain minnows.  All well, even sociopaths need their own kind of heaven.  :-)

Gucci, gucci. Bob.  You were a good fish.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
... for I have sinned. It's been fourteen days since my last confession... er, post.

I can't really say I've done anything terribly interesting with my time, either -- which I suppose is a fairly big sin.  My folks came to town over the weekend.  On Friday night we were supposed to drive out to their hotel to hang out, have Red Savoy's pizza, and go swimming.  We were already running late because I'd mis-timed getting Mason to the library and back again to Shawn's work in time to take her to the clinic for her B12 shot.  We stopped at home long enough to change, but when we got back in the car and drove about a half block, the engine light came on. 

I'm usually the sort to say, "Aw, whatever," and keep driving, but several years ago (okay, probably more like several decades ago at this point,) when I was driving up to visit Shawn in Grand Rapids, MN where her folks were living at the time, I ran over an ice chunk in the road. It made a god awful sound, but when I pulled over I couldn't see any damage, so I got back on the road.  I drove until my engine light came on, but thought, "ah, whatever," and then.... in the middle of nowhere the car sputtered to a halt and died.  It was minus twenty degrees outside. On Christmas eve.  Luckily, a family stopped and gave me a ride to the next town's diner, where I was able to call (this was before cell phones) and have Shawn's dad come and pick me up.  Turns out I'd totalled the car.  The ice block had smashed the oil pan and as I'd driven the car, it had less and less oil, until suddenly the engine seized.

Ever since then, I don't disregard engine lights, even though I know they're often just one of those lights that come on randomly.

But I did risk the half a block back to the house so that I could wait for the AAA guys in the comfort of my own heated house.  I had them tow the car to our favorite mechanics, Sinclair Grand (on Wheeler).  I called my folks and told them we'd just have to see them on Saturday, and after a few bitter tears of disappointment, we all settled on our brand new chairs.  (As part of Christmas sprucing up, we bought three matching chairs from LL Bean to replace our ratty old couch.)

The evening was made much better by the discovery of a free app for the iPad called "Moxie."  It's a very fun word game, and so we were able to play that and forget about the car for a while.  When the AAA guy came I decided to let him take the car without me since the problem was pretty self-explainatory, and I went back in and made flautas for dinner.  I had accidentally bought the fixings for flautas when I went to Whole Foods earlier in the day, because I spaced on the fact that we'd be having diner with the folks.  (I guess it was actually some kind of psychic impluse, however.)

Saturday morning, we got up early to start bread and cook a squash for squash muffins. My folks came around nine and we all hung out chatting on our fancy new chairs.  (Have I mentioned the chairs?)  I'd wanted to show off kuk sool wan to them, but no one but me was feeling up to it.  So I got out voted.  Shawn made her wild rice soup with turkey leftoves, and we all had a nice lunch before my parents took off to try to race the snow storm on the way back to LaCrosse.

I had them drop me off at the car mechanics on their way out of town, and I found out that the engine light was indeed a fluke, but they wanted to see if they could get the engine to stutter.  (I had noted that it had been doing that just as the light came on.)  So, I left the car there and picked up cat food and some other necessities at the nearby store and walked home.  It's probably a mile, but it's an easy mile, even in the cold and a walk I've made a dozen times.  On the way I listened to an audio book that I got for review called CINDER.   (It's a retelling of Cinderella in a dystopian future China, where Cinder is a cyborg.  It's really fairly awesome [so far] and I'm looking forward to giving it thumbs up.)

The rest of the weekend was low key, even the walk back to get the car.  The mechanic never did find anything wrong with it, so I got to take it home free of charge.  (This is why I love this garage.)  The only other excitment of the weekend was on Saturday evening when Shawn and I watched the third episode of "Case Histories."  I'd been only watching it half-heartedly because the storylines tend to be darker than I usually like, but this particularly one was very good.  (I usually end up not watching with any kind of seriousness, but get caught up by the end.)  Afterwards, Shawn and I were talking about how awesome it was and she decided to look up information about it.  Turns out the main character Jackson Brody is played by none-other-than Jason Isaacs, known to most of us as Lucius Malfoy.  The two could, in many ways, not be more different.  Dude is an awesome actor.

I spent much of the rest of the weekend trying to wrap my head around this discovery.  I think some part of my brain may have exploded. 

Also in the attempt to discover if the Scottish accent Jason Isaacs affects in "Case Histories" was real or not, I discovered that he was born in Liverpool in a very insular Jewish community. 

All of this information just made Lucius Malfoy/Jackson Brody/Jason Isaacs all that more hot.

*sssss boom!*
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: (Default)
It was a low-key weekend for us, mostly because, after the big sleep-over on Friday (Mason's best frenemy, Donte,) Mason seems to have caught the flu. He was low energy Saturday and completley crashed out on Sunday. I took him to the doctor instead of school this morning, and he was pronounced strep free (for now, it could still culture out in the next day or so.) But, after the one barfing incident on Sunday, I figured what he had was probably the flu. His throat is ultra-sore and he's had a fever and headache. Pretty classic signs, actually.

I managed to get out to Pride for a little bit on Sunday. I was asked to help staff the MNSTF/Geek Partnership booth, and we had an awesome time. We were coaxing people over to the booth with the shiny disco ball beads we were handing out. I would wave them in the sunlight and say, "Pretty. Shiny. Free!" It was interesting to see which of these words attracted people to the booth. Most often it was "shiny." Though some people needed to get all the way to "free." We were supposed to be giving the beads out to people who were noticably our tribe, but instead I insisted that people tell others that "a geek" gave them the beads. [ profile] jiawen and I made a pretty good team. I'd lure people in with the shiny and she'd give them the MNSTF pitch. A lot of people walked off with literature thanks to her. Unfortunately, I ended up leaving pretty early because I thought Mason and Shawn needed me at home, but wouldn't you know? They were both completely crashed out when I got back. I could have probably stayed until noon. Ah well.

I realized while I was there that y'all are going to be seeing a LOT of me in the upcoming convention season. I'll be at Diversicon 19 in August as a guest this year, at CONvergence AND Gaylaxicon as a guest in 2012. That's a surprising amount of _me_. I hope you won't get sick of me by the time Gaylaxicon roles around....

So now it's Monday and Mason is home sick from school. He's watching Rocky & Bullwinkle episodes in the TV room, and I'm trying to get organized to get some writing done.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Having just emerged from deadline mania, I'm in that post-book stage where I look around the house and wonder what I've forgotten to do in the meantime.

Shawn is a great list-maker. I swear she has lists that keep track of her lists. I, meanwhile, wing it. Only on very rare ocassion have I actually ever forgotten something entirely, but I also have days like to day where I have to take active stock of everything I need to do.

For instance, a lot of people have sent me books to read for review or a blurb. As cold as today is, this would be an excellent day to sit down with one of them. But, I also need to get a stronger start on ideas/synopses for Ana books #4, #5 and #6 in case my publisher/editor is interested in seeing them. This weekend's wind also knocked a chunk of plastic out of our screen door, and I need to grab a screwdriver from the basement and remove that pane and get it replaced at the hardware store (probably with glass, who even knew that was plastic before it broke? Not me.) Tomorrow, it's supposed to snow (possibly as much as several inches), and I'm, once again, chaperoning Mason's class on a field trip to the Minnesota Zoo. Brrrrr.

At least I don't have to get ready for Passover or Easter, since Ostara bunny came and went months ago. I'll probably have that experience I often do around Easter where I wonder why the heck all the stores are closed, and then suddenly remember that it's some kind of holiday. :-)

Speaking of Easter, I won't be at Minicon this year. (I've been getting things for Convergence, but I won't be there THIS year, though I will next.) I will, however, be one of the GoHs at Diversicon (July 29 - 31), don't forget. Please come.

In other news, it was a fairly eventful weekend, although with some false starts. I was, of course, sick as a dog on Thursday (which, btw, does NOT impress the cats.) I felt well enough on Friday that, when we dropped Mason off for his sleepover, Shawn and I bravely attempted a dinner out at Fasika, the local Ethiopian restaurant. It was brave not only for my stomach, but also due to its proximity to University Avenue, which is completely under "destruction" (as Midway Books puts it) for the light rail.

brief rant/
Despite being a general fan of progress, I'm not terribly pleased about the light rail. It's going to significantly change my neighborhood, and I'm not entirely sure for the better. It is NOT intended to serve the local community. It's designed to shuffle business people from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul, with very limited stops in between. Currently, we're hemorrhaging businesses. Porky's is gone for good. My martial arts studio is leaving (luckily, they're not moving too far away for us). As we walk to the remaining classes there, I've been watching businesses packing up and buildings empty. University Avenue is going to be a ghost town. So, okay, maybe they'll tear it all down and build condos with Starbucks and Subways in their lower levels. Better than Porky's and Ax Man? I'm not sure.
/brief rant

Anyway, Shawn and I had a nice night out, even though I couldn't eat very much. We came home and snuggled up for a movie, which was nice, but I wish I'd felt better generally. On Saturday, Mason had a playdate with [ profile] naomikritzer's daughter for Pokemon trade/talk. Shawn and I had planned to make it a fun tea for grown-ups (and kids), so I baked scones and Shawn made her famous cranberry upside-down cake. We had Devonshire clotted cream and marmalade and jam and all that sort of lovely "tea" sort of stuff. I even pulled out the fancy tea cups and our cheery yellow tea pot, in which I brewed jasmine tea in my tea ball, no less.

I'd been planning on taking Eleanor to Kelly McCullough's annual Red Current party, but the weather had turned nasty and Eleanor no longer felt up to it. So, once again, my family snuggled under blankets and watched a movie. On Saturday night it was HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. I know this is probaby sacrilege, but I'm a bit disappointed in part 1. It's a LONG movie and yet, for someone like Shawn who has NOT read the books, it fails to explain some critical bits of information. For instance it's never explained how the Death Eaters keep finding Harry and crew. Yet, by the time they're camping out, he's calling Voldemort "He Who Must Not Be Named," which is utterly out of character unless you know that they'd had a magical trace on anyone who boldly used Voldemort's name. Also, although they show Voldemort hunting for the Elder Wand and all the various wands exchanging hands, the critical information about wand possession is completely unexplained (ie, that it's not truly yours to command unless you take it by force.)

There were other things, too, but I was surprised by how often either Mason and I had to lean over and explain things to Shawn. I understand that people like Shawn are rare these days, but there are really long stretches of silence in the movie. It would have been nice to fill some of that with information, you know? Especially since the movie ends on such a downer note. (If I were the director, I would have ended on a bit more triumphant moment, ie the Gringotts heist. Also, if I'd directed, I would have had Harry rescue more people at the Ministry, as he does in the book. However, I approve of letting Hedwig go the way she does in the movie, rather than the book, which is so AWFUL. Mason is having us re-read this book, and I have to say I also like the way we get to see Dudley say good-bye too, though I can see why they skimmed over that.)

However, I'm looking forward to Part 2, though as a huge fan of Neville Longbottom, I'm a little worried that they haven't give him the build up he needs for that last awesome moment of his. Also Fred and George's "Freedom Radio" would have been nice to hear from, too, if only to give the audience like Shawn a better sense of what's going on out in the larger world. They could have used that for all sorts of information filler -- like what the Snatchers are doing, who they are, etc. The Snatchers completely BAFFLED Shawn.

Anyway, back to my weekend... on Sunday, Mason and I dropped Shawn off at Goodwill and he and I went in search of some new fishes. Tragedy struck in the small tank. I lost two of the white cloud mountain minnows over the weekend, I think to old age. One of them, Sunshine, had made a bit of a recovery, but... uh, he'd slowed down enough that the giant goldfish, Bob, who shares his tank, took a bite out of him. He went to the summerland headless, alas. Gucci, gucci Sunshine and Chicory, you were good fish!

We went to the Fish and Reptile store on University (which seems to he hanging on, at least,) and picked up three new fish (which now makes a total of four white clouds). The new ones are: Savannah, Stanley, and Finbird. Named, repectively, by Shawn, me, and Mason. Savannah and Stanley might actually be a slightly different fish, as they're quite a bit more golden in color. The woman who helped me did not actually know what fish I was looking for, which surprised me, because usually the staff is so incredibly knowledgable, you know? (I just looked up white cloud mountain minnow + golden and apparently there is a version called "golden white cloud," which may be a mutation brought on by inbreeding... but they are rather pretty.) But the good news is that everyone schooled up and are zippy enough that Bob could not take a bite of any of them (though he did try at first.)

Whoa, so that was my weekend, with a couple of breaks for rants about lightrail construction and Harry Potter.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Saturday was super busy. Mason and I had missed kuk sool wan all week because he was sick (and I was lazy), so we felt compelled to go to the Saturday class. It was actually kind of amazing. We'd had a rough start to the day -- some yelling and tears and serious discussions about behavior and attitude -- and, magically, afterwards both our moods had improved dramatically.

Which was good, because after a fast lunch and an aborted attempt to make chocolate chip cookies (actually Shawn finished them for me), I had to rush off to my signing at Uncles. I never know how I'm doing sales-wise at these things because my brain isn't wired that way. I never think to actually count the number of books people are taking off the pile, but I did notice that some of my friends (and ex-lovers) SHOWED UP. That was amazing. I saw my friend Holly --- actually, two of my friends named Holly showed up, though one in question I had not seen in probably thirty years. She used to live in my neighborhood and was probably one of my first EVER friends. We used to go play Star Trek in the "marsh" (really, a dump) and Barbie dolls in the back yard (well, I had superheroes. Aquaman was probably the luckiest he's ever been in his life, because he must have married Barbie a dozen times.) At any rate, it was awesome Holly showed up and bought a book. She said the nicest thing too. She said she thought I was the only person she knew who actually went into the profession that suited their personality the most. I grew up to be what I was supposed to be.

Of couse, when I was 12, I probably wanted to be a lawyer or a poltician or a college professor/teacher. Well, I *most* wanted to be a Jedi or a knight in shiny armor, but, I would *settle* for lawyer, etc.

I guess in the end I refused to settle.

That's worked out so far (knocking on wood.) :-)

Okay, back to the signing -- I did notice that the books I'd brought (Archangel Protocol, Fallen Host and Messiah Node) were gone at the end. So I told Don at Uncles that I'd come back on Sunday with a few more copies for him to have on the shelves. Oh and since Andrew and Joe came, I can now OFFICIALLY announce that I will be a guest of honor at Gaylaxicon 2012!


I hung out as usual for an extra half hour or more, and I would have tarried even longer except that I'd forgotten that I'd signed up for a jool bong (nunchucks/u) seminar back at kuk sool wan. Hopping in the car, I raced back to St. Paul and made it in time to change at the dojo and spent the next two hours whacking myself in the head with a stick.

Weridly, I don't seem to have any visible bruises despite the extremely hard knock I gave myself upside the jaw. (And, yes, these are the FOAM padded jool bong. Believe me, they're still plenty hard.)

Sunday was a much more relaxed day. We did make it back to Uncles with more books, and Mason and I managed to find a few books of our own. I'm currently reading one I picked up last time. It's a YA fantasy called THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner. I'm probably going to end up blogging about this one, as it's kind of a strange read. It starts out very slowly, but becomes more and more compelling the longer you hang on. Of course, today when I need to focus on writing the last three big scenes in Ana #3, all I really want to do is finish reading this story.

I also started painting an old bookcase that has been languishing in the basement. It's going into Mason's room because he's in desperate need of more book shelves. He gave me instructions on the color he wanted -- bright orange -- and I stopped by Sherman Williams on the way home from a quick Kowalski's run to pick up a quart of it. I got one coat on, and then concentrated the rest of my efforts on making a roast whole chicken and some trimmings for dinner.

A good weekend, really. I didn't get a ton of writing done, except on Friday night. Oh, that's right, we went to a wedding reception Friday night for Shawn's brother's stepdaughter. The food was pretty bad, except for the cake, but they had an awesome dejay who played a ton of gay anthems, such as "We are Family" and "YMCA." My Facebook friends tell me this is typical fare for a straight wedding, but I found it strange (yet refreshing!) Mason and I cut a serious rug. And, as I posted on Facebook, I would happily marry Shawn in some sort of traditional way if we could have a dance. I LOVE dancing. L-O-V-E it.

Pumped from shaking my groove thang, I pumped out a thousand words in less than an hour. The rest has been slow going, though I really think I only have two or three more scense left until this book is drafted in the first. Of course, it will need at least one, though likely two goings through before I turn it on April 15. I seem to be right on target for that, fingers crossed VERY tightly.

All right no more stalling! I'm off to write!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Mason caught a cold over the weekend. He's home sick today.

So far, knocking on wood, I'm staying pretty healthy, though I did have a sneezing fit this morning (allergies?) followed by a lot of coughing (asthma?) Shawn goes to a neurolgoist this afternoon to hopefully begin to unravel the mystery of her random numbness.

The weekend was busy for me. A long time ago, I agreed to run an hour long workshop at the Bloomington Art Center's "Writers' Festival." Truthfully, I wasn't looking forward to it. I'd planned to do my usual song and dance routine, as I like to call it -- a workshop I've entitled "Mars Needs Writers." It's loosely based on all the zillions of classes I used to teach at the Loft, and I can do it with minimal prep.

There were only about a dozen people signed up and I didn't really think it was going to be my target audience.

Yet, I had an *awesome* class.

I don't know if you've had ocassion to visit the Bloomington Art Center, but it's surprisingly MASSIVE. I was following the directions the coordinator had sent and I was looking around for a building I thought might be the Center. I see this huge building -- like three blocks big, with a big public sculpture -- all glass and brick and I thought, "must be the civic center or city hall." I glanced down at my directions and saw "turn left and into the parking lot." I was like, "Wow, these people are big on the arts!"

Inside it was equally as impressive. The organizers had all sorts of venders lined up hawking their various publishing and book-related wares. After getting my instructor packet, I wandered around a little. I'd heard that some folks from the Midwest Fiction Writers (our local RWA chapter) were going to be there, but I never did find them if they were. Sisters in Crime had a nice display, complete with "do not cross" police tape.

The room I was meant to be in was called Auditorium 1 or something daunting, but the interior was less auditorium than basic meeting room (thank God). They had gotten me the white board I requested, which is good because I can't lecture if I can't jot down notes.

Anyway, when everyone settled in, they seemed pretty receptive. And, sure enough, we were all laughing and discussing by the end. It was a surprising success. A couple of people came up to me afterwards to express regret that the class wasn't longer and that I wasn't currently teaching at the Loft. They would have signed up for more on the spot.

That makes a girl feel pretty loved.

Sunday was Ostara, so I got up super-early (okay, only 7:00 am, but it was DARK out) to start the hot cross buns. I used the same reicipe that I used last year, and they turned out awesome. I helped the Ostara bunny hide a few colored eggs around the house and set out Mason's Ostara basket. Mason always really enjoys the egg hunt. (I was the same at Easter when I was a kid.) Then, just as we put the buns in the oven about 9:00 or so, the family trooped outside to do our usual Ostara ritual.

It's nice and simple and, frankly, one of my favorites. We go out to the back yard and find a spot in the herb garden to stick a couple of candles. Some years we actually put them in mud, but this year, we dug a small hole in the snow. There are melty parts all over our yard where you can actually see grass and bits of green beginning to push through, but thanks to the record snowfall the back yard is still one big pile of snow. So I shoveled out a spot and we lit the candles and said a little poem to gently wake Mother Earth. We breathe into our hands to warm them and place them as close to the earth as we can. Then we leave the candles going (as long as they're some place safe.) This year, I watched a curious squirrel run off with one after it had burned out (the candle, not the squirrel).

Then we feast on sticky buns. It's a really nice tradition.

Sunday night we had nephew Jonathan over for lasagna, which Shawn made. We ended up having to buy a brand-new noodle pot because I'd *cough* left ours outside next to the compost pile for almost a year *cough*. I don't want to talk about it, but suffice to say that no amount of scrubbing could convince Shawn that it was safe to use. Luckily, Target is only a few blocks down University from us.

Jon stayed and chatted well after midnight, so I'm a bit fried this morning. Still it was really great to get to hang out with him.

All and all a good weekend (except for the Mason getting sick part.) You?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
RESURRECTION CODE comes out tomorrow! Gah!

I spent a good portion of yesterday writing my "Big Idea" blog for Scalzi's WHATEVER. As I posted on FB, I'm not entirely sure how "Satan's quest for justice from an unfair God, and the transgendered identity of the universe" is going to play in Peoria. (The above was the phrase I used when describing it to Scalzi in my query e-mail.) On the flip side, I also decided that I have nothing to loose by being out there and bold. Sometimes making a few waves can be good publicity.

We'll see what he has to say about it. I handed it in a week early because I wanted Scalzi to have a chance to comment on it and have me revise it, if I'm too scattered (totally possible) or he doesn't really want me to hang all the way out in public, as it were (less likely).

So... fingers crossed.

I think I managed to be provocative, yet funny as well as "big idea"-y, yet personal. I looked back at some of the recent "big idea" essays and didn't find them quite as, shall we say, controversial as what I planned to talk about. But I think I got the general TONE of their peices into mine, which is to say, kind of chatty and informal without blathering. I managed to keep it relatively short -- about 700 words -- almost right in between the required 500 - 1,000 word length.

Can you tell I'm deeply nervous about this???

And, btw, thanks to all of you who pushed me to query "Big Idea." Even if this is a complete bust, it's been a challenging experience, and, as my Dark Side Sith Master always told me, "If you're not just a little scared, you're not really living up to your potential."

And, my other freak out about tomorrow's date is that it also means I have EXACTLY one month to finish Tate's #3 vampire princess book. Technically, I'm somewhere in the late middle, but I find I write the majority of the book in this crunch time.

Fingers crossed. Again.

Otherwise, the weekend was a lot of fun. Mason had his last swim class. He did not pass up to level 3, but, as this is a Red Cross certified deal, I'm not terribly surprised. He's a good swimmer with a lot of strokes, but not entirely confident with others. But now we're going to have all spring and summer to practice. We could sign him up for the next session, but we've discovered that his big swimming break-throughs tend to be when he's on his own (not literally, of course, but as in outside of class.)

I also attended a St. Patrick's day party on Sunday. That was fun, though I didn't stay terribly long because I'd left Mason and Shawn at home this time. I got to see some people whose company I really enjoy and met/re-met some people I don't see on a regular basis. There was corned beef and fixins' (nom. nom.) and probably some excellent beer and such, but I'm such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol that I stuck to pop.

Well, I should go have a little lunch, as we say here in Minnesota, and get head down over my keyboard.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I've been watching everything that's been happening in Egypt for many reasons, not the least of which is that I have a friend there and, since basing RESURRECTION CODE in Cairo, I've come to know and love Cairenes and Egypt. But, while I heard about Google's attempt to work around the internet shut down, I missed this awesome article. [ profile] naomikritzer found this in Newsweek, in which the Egyptians invent kind of.

This weekend was good/bad. We had a really, REALLY crappy Saturday, which required an actual re-boot. We were all so snarly and grumpy after swim class that we decided to literally go back to bed and call a "do over." It worked... eventually. Saturday was one of those days, actually that I wish the universe could refund so we could get that time and energy back and use it more constructively.

Ah well.

Sunday, however, was fairly awesome. We had a birthday party at 11:00 am for a younger friend of Mason's. It was dance themed, and we had a blast boogying underneath their disco glitter ball. Plus, once again I found my tribesfolk and I got to talk nerd/geek among my own kind. Always awesome. I was only a little disappointed that Mason pooped out early and we ended up leaving before anyone else. But, I've learned from experience that if he starts askng when we can go, it's time to just pack up.

It was so nice outside yesterday that we built a snow fort in the back yard. I wanted to take a picture of my handiwork, but it melted and collapsed almost as soon as we got inside. Still, we had a lot of fun staging a brief snowball war. My jeans and gloves were soaked (but warm) by the time we came in.

It really feels like spring today too. Unfortunately, this means that the garbage is starting to resurface. When Mason and I go out today (he's on another intersession vacation), I'm going to bring a bag and pick up some of the grosser stuff. Garbage is a huge pet-peeve of mine. I hate seeing is so much that I'm willing to put on gloves and pick it up myself.

I'm hoping to get writing done today while Mason plays video games, but we have to take advantage of the winter too. Last night I stayed up to 11 pm (super late for me) finishing some revisions from Wyrdsmiths, though as a bonus I added 666 new words (seriously. And stranger? This is the second time I made that particular word count.) Today... forward! Though at some point I need to write a couple more of the promotional vingnettes for the prequel, as I have only one more saved up for tomorrow. Gah!

Anyway, I hope you're having a great Monday (and Valentines day.)
lydamorehouse: (cap kneeling)
So I guess that I missed seeing the trailer for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER because I had a dinner date with my nephew who was boycotting the big game. (First of all, *I* am extremely pleased that the Packers won. I'm a Wisconsin native and it's just kind of cool to see a team owned by the people of Greenbay do so well.) Jon and I watched the Cap trailer on his iPhone, but I thought maybe I missed something because the screen was so small, but, uh... not really.

Here's the link to the Official site, from which you can follow to the official Superbowl trailer.

I don't know. It's not that Cap doesn't look cool, because he does. But I was really hoping for an iconic shot, you know, a sheild toss or something... like they gave us with IRONMAN (the classic shot of him landing and then the repulsor ray image. Honestly, it's little bits like that which make me go: "cooooooooooool!")

I should write to the folks over at the Marvel movie studios and explain something quite simple to them. Comic book fans (or, at least THIS comic book fan,) is actually not as nitpicky as you think or worry. I'm used to reboots. I'll follow almost any storyline for a couple of hours. What I want from a superhero movie is a chance to see my hero do that cool stuff s/he does in the still frames LIVE. Like, seeing Nightcrawler's "bamf" in action totally made up (for me, at least,) for the fact that Kurt apparently did not recognize his own MOTHER, the only other blue skinned person in town.... But, you know, seriously, I even enjoyed seeing Gambit do his card trick, even though I wasn't at ALL sold on the guy they had playing him in WOLVERINE.

So I'd like to see:

or that moment right before he yells "Avengers Assemble" when he raises the sheild, like this:

That's kind of all I need.

At any rate, we had a fine weekend, despite missing the Superbowl ads. Saturday Mason had swimming class and then we went directly to the Sprawl where we met up with some friends who had unlimited wristbands to the amusment park formerly known as Camp Snoopy (now Nikolodean). Alas, I forgot to pack my computer, so I ended up having to make an emergency purchase at Barnes & Noble of a notbook and some paper, since Mason had two teenage girls to chaperone him. I got to sit with the other adult and chat at the Caribou Coffee which is nestled just inside the amusement park next to the LEGOs store. I was awfully distracted from writing, though, anyway. The Mall is the GREATEST people watching place, probably just shy of the State Fair. I discovered, for instance, that Goths still exist. I was really grateful to see that, since I just sort of assumed they did when I wrote Garnet and Ana.

I was also distracted all weekend by the most bizarrely overwhelming desire to write STAR WARS fan fic. I'm going to have to get that out of my system at some point, but it seriously has to stop descending on me whenever I realize I have a deadline swiftly approaching.


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