And By Golly

diningmonster It’s hard to sleep in an overly-warm room, especially if you still can’t hang your foot off the edge because you know the things that live under beds can squeeze beneath even a futon frame. Then, when there’s a huge furry animal who loves to cuddle and shed heat on you, and it’s too warm for the bulldog to sleep, you end up getting up around 1am to cool things down a bit. Then you find out it’s nice and cool outside because a cold-ish front has moved in, and by golly, there’s thunder going on. Which means the bulldog will sleep right through everything once the room’s a livable temperature again, but every fresh rattle and peal means the Aussie will try to hide under the covers and under her beloved human…

It’s a wonder I got back to sleep at all.

Today I run, since I wasn’t able to yesterday. The damn ankle is my weak point, and it rolled on me while I was planting foxglove in the semi-dark on Sunday. (Don’t ask. There were hijinks, a bookstore, two glasses of wine, and much plot-downloading that evening, too.) Then there’s visiting yon doctor, and I should really get more milk. The kids are going through one of those phases where it’s like they bathe in the stuff.

Oh, and copyedits on Agent Gemini, too. That needs to happen.

I’ll just be over here, running in circles, barking. As is usual on a Monday.

Common Fellows

Pine needles make good food.

Pine needles make good food.

Someone’s writing a book with mushroom hunters (not me, not me) and so I am taking pictures of whichever ones I come across. Spring’s the best time, with the rains coming in, but you can find them in damp spots all summer long–if you know where to look. Anyway, these fellows are pretty common, they crop up in yards with a bunch of pine needles. Not fir, pine. This particular spot is a couple inches thick with said needles, and it looks very congenial–the shroom-tops are about the size of my spread hand.

B doesn’t get why I stop and examine these. They don’t run away, so they can’t be heeeeeerded, and they don’t smell good enough to roll in. She’s consistently trying to nose me along while I pause to make sure the pic is in focus. If mushrooms ever evolve to be ambulatory, she’ll have a fine time rounding them up…

Hurry Up, Wait

fall to heaven Now that we’ve successfully painted two rooms, I can’t wait to get my bedroom done. And the hall, which will probably be next. And the living room, which will require a ton of prep–moving bookshelves away from the walls and stuff. The big headache will be the dining room/kitchen–I’ve been looking at the wall spaces in there and what we’ll have to move off the counters, and groaning in anticipation.

I almost want to paint rather than write. In painting, you get to see immediate results. Publishing moves at a glacial pace, when it’s not suddenly the whiplash of “hurry, hurry, Production needs this back because they’re late.” Hurry up and wait, that’s the reality of writing for a living.

The other thing that happens today is the regular six-month dentist’s visit for every biped in the house. This is going to be fun. *eyeroll* Thankfully, that’s the last Thing To Do Outside The House this week. I just finished the copyedit pass on Blood Call, and next up is CEs for the upcoming Agent Zero. Which I have a cover for, now…but I’ll show you that later this week. Got to have something to anticipate.

In between all that, though, I have a werewolf cop to write, in a slightly futuristic world. This is going to be fun…

photo by: Beshef

We painted. Nobody died.

So, yeah. Remember that huge hole in my bathroom wall? The one that was a result of extensive water damage, the one we found all about when it was leaking down to the basement?

Ohai

Yeah. That. Well, we finally got actual greenboard in there–the Chez’s former owners had tiled directly over drywall. Just…regular drywall, and tiles. This is, I understand, not how things should be. So much so, in fact, that both the plumbers and the general contractor were left shaking their heads. I’d talk about the contractor, but that would require several posts, since he made several visits, and tracking him down to do so was a monumental effort each time. The plumbers, on the other hand, were from Clark County Plumbing, always a delight. (Tell them I sent you.) Seriously, I would call these guys for EVERYTHING if they widened their remit.

So. The shower surround was put in, finally. The trim was installed, hallelujah. (I was running out of goat cheese to give the senior plumber, who is a bit of a gourmand.) Which left just one thing.

Painting.

Now, I had never painted a room before–a life spent in rentals precludes such things. I’m glad I waited until I had the internet to embark upon this odyssey. Because I researched that motherfucker to a fare-thee-well. There were lists. Tools to acquire. Wide-eyed watching of home improvement videos.

I chose a sage green, did samples, all sorts of prep work. Four trips to the hardware store later, we had everything I thought we’d need. The saga…began. With mold-killing primer.

Primed and Ready

Primed and Ready

It actually wasn’t that bad. Now I know all three of us can fit in an enclosed, sweaty space for hours and not kill each other. Valuable information, that. I marinated in the same sweatshirt for three days, which was the worst part.

Green

The walls used to match the tub. Can you imagine?

Hide it

Now, the masking on the ceiling left a little to be desired, but that’s fixable. And the ugly space heater is still there, but we can cover the tub with the shower curtain. It’s lovely, light and fresh and beautiful. Soon enough I’ll get the space heater taken out (and the one in the master loo for good measure) and the wall patched, and I’ll have enough paint left over to make it all match. The thing that excited me most, though, was the new wall plates for switches and outlets.

So pretty.

Of course, I didn’t replace the actual switches or outlets yet, I’m not brave enough for that. But the plates are green glass, and quite lovely. We even painted the master bath too, which went a lot more smoothly–for one thing, the space isn’t as awkward, and the kids knew what I was talking about when I muttered “cut in, cut in…”

I even put up a new shower rod, and didn’t get a concussion. The dogs weren’t even painted. It was amazing.

And that is how I spent my weekend. Now I need a couple days off to recover, but a set of copyedits is due. So it’s time to make some tea and go right to it.

Rabbit Run

Rabbit Run

Rabbit Run

When I can’t run, B and I walk. This park is one of her favorites, full of interesting smells. The fence runs along a majestic bank of blackberry tangle, parallel to a highway. The traffic drone is soothing, I imagine, to the rabbits who have made the tangle their home.

I have not seen a coyote here, and there is plenty of food, which means the rabbit population is somewhat ferocious. Sometimes they taunt B from the other side of the wire, but never over-loudly, since once she almost shimmied under the fence and THAT was definitely uncool both in my book and the book of said rabbits.

I imagine they hand down the story of that day from one generation to the next, and B has probably grown in the telling to the size of a house. The magical fence is all that can keep her at bay…but it’s a rite of passage for a young cocky Monsieur Lapin to bolt across the field and outrun her.

She hasn’t caught one yet…but she is hopeful.

No Perspective

dream landscape 2 Spent the last half of last week feeling progressively more physically run-down, culminating in actually succumbing to the Princess’s post-AP-exam cold. She got better just in time for me to get walloped. Saturday afternoon was the worst of it, and I couldn’t take my long run yesterday, which means I’m twitchy as fuck right now as well as feeling dried out and weird from waking up several times to unload a cargo of nose-mucus.

Isn’t that a glorious mental image? You’re welcome.

To add to that, the Little Prince is subject to hormonal storms the likes of which I haven’t seen since the Princess was his age. I’m left shaking my head and trying to keep a straight face. EVERYTHING is an important, LIFE OR DEATH battle for him. No perspective means everything is a mountainously big deal. And, of course, I alternate between being BEST MUM EVER and WORST HARRIDAN IN HISTORY. It’s enough to give one whiplash, but really, it’s much worse inside his skin with the chemicals raging. Poor kid. My outright laughing at some of his drama probably makes it worse, but I can’t help myself.

Miss B and I are both longing to run, but it’s best if I give it another day. She’ll have to settle for herding me about and playing fetch. That is, if I can get her to bring the flung toy back to me, instead of just prancing around the yard shaking it once she’s caught it. Once it stops moving, she loses interest, just like a cat.

They’re saying thunderstorms this afternoon, which will no doubt be massively entertaining. And the contractor is to finish caulking everything in the upstairs loo, so I can call the plumbers back to put the trim on, then the children can take showers upstairs again. I should look into prep for painting. I’m tired of the nasty goldenrod color of the walls in there, and as a first painting project, a small bathroom isn’t that bad. I’ll just need drop cloths. Lots and lots of drop cloths.

But that’s a consideration for another day. Right now I need breakfast, and I’ll steal an hour of writing on a trunk novel before I get down to real work for the day. A salutary throat-clearing, as it were.

photo by:

Await Developments

happy Eighty degrees and sunny one day, fifty-eight and raining the next. If you don’t like the weather here, just wait a day or so and something new will come along. (It’s more often fifteen minutes than a whole day, but the principle is the same.)

Today the plumbers come to move everything back a bit so the shower surround can go in. I just want this to be DONE, my God. I’m told this is a common feeling for homeowners. It’s much better than waiting for a landlord to eventually fix something–ten-plus years I spent in the old place, and was still waiting for some things to be fixed when we moved out. It’s a little different when it’s one’s own. Still, I would love to be able to give Odd Trundles his bath upstairs.

I turned in a seven mile run yesterday. That is, 11.3km, at 7:21 per km. Which is right where I should be according to this training plan. I’m slightly sore this morning, but overall not bad. Sadly, though, that’s way too many kilometers at once for Miss B, who is getting older. Anything 8 or above, I’ve taken to leaving her at home for. She dislikes this mightily, but such is life. I won’t risk her hips or paws; she is beginning to gray around the muzzle and is a little slower than she used to be during certain events.

However, she still bilocates while chasing squirrels. It will take more than a few years of doggy aging before that goes away.

Yeah, about that…the new Siamese next door (long story) has discovered her hunting instincts. She’s smaller than most of the arboreal rodentia at this point, and they have so far managed to elude her–but kittens grow up, and she is already too quick for their comfort. We saw one of her attempts last night during dinner, and the Princess turned to me with her eyes shining. (She cat-sits in the neighborhood, and loves this particular kitten.)

“Maybe there’ll be more SquirrelTerror!” she said. “But next door!”

“Yeah, that would be great,” I muttered. “As long as I’m wearing shoes.”

Maybe I should warn the neighbors. Or, you know, I could just await developments…

photo by: huntz

Rubik’s

Right out of the package.

Right out of the package.

The Little Prince has grown addicted to Rubik’s Cube. His greatest wish was for a 4×4 one to match his 3×3, so I made a special trip–and when he took it out of the package, we found out it was already broken. Luckily, a local toy shop had one 4×4 left, and I snagged it while he was at school the next day. There was much rejoicing, and the Princess asked, “So are you going to take the broken one back?”

Well, there was a no-returns-on-open-toys policy, which I understand, so I did the next best thing. “Take it apart,” I said. “See how it works.”

And they did.

No Avengers For Me

growupThat’s it. That is absolutely, positively it.

This blows. Instead of wading into the “red ledger” of a complicated person who did seriously heinous acts and is trying desperately to buy redemption with good deeds, we get the character who feels ruined by her barren womb. And even worse, the movie tries to fix it by infantilizing another character into her big baby. (i09)

I’m done. This sucks, because I loved the X-Men with the fierce love of a thousand suns when I discovered them lo those two-decades-plus ago. It also sucks because some parts of Marvel movies are fun, and it’s possible for film directors and Marvel to do these things right.

Instead, we get nineteen overwhelmingly sausage-fest movies, no movie starring a female superhero in sight, the old double standard (Stark or Star Lord can be playboys and it’s fun and funny, but any woman who MIGHT sleep with someone is a whore!) married to rape jokes both onscreen and off, and women reduced to receptacles once again.

And, cherry on this shit pie, people label Whedon a feminist.

Fuck this noise. I’m done.

On Tone

An argument... Mary Robinette Kowal has an excellent piece up on manners, manner, and tone policing.

The thing is… the reason that I can be “polite” and “reasonable” is because other people are expressing the anger for me. I have the privilege of being quiet only because other people are bearing the burden of our shared fury. Without the people willing to shout, the concerns would be dismissed. Look at the suffragette movement. Women had been talking about equality for hundreds of years before that, and it wasn’t until the early 1900s when women began breaking windows and chaining themselves to buildings in protest that the cause was taken seriously. Then the “reasonable” women were able to negotiate, because their sisters had borne the burden of shouting to create a space in which their words could be heard. (Mary Robinette Kowal)

It made me think. (Always a dangerous proposition, that.) I grew up with rageaholics, the sonic assault leading to or accompanied by physical abuse. I have the distaste for such displays one would expect, and I almost never use the word “anger” to describe what I’m feeling. Irritation, certainly. Vexation in some cases, pique in others. I have only been outright angry three times in my life so far, and each time my response has been to get very exceedingly quiet and start steadily moving to escape whatever situation has provoked the response. Sometimes I fall prey to hyperbole and use the word “furious,” when I’m only vexed.

Certainly I get frustrated–the kids know that when I skin my knuckles on Ikea furniture and snap, “Why can’t ANYTHING ever be EASY?” that it’s probably best to leave me alone with the offending article until I begin to feel ridiculous and start to laugh at myself. Willful stupidity and bad behaviour frustrates me as well. But anger, true anger, is reserved for other situations. Above all, I do not want to rage, because I associate rage with being the target.

There’s a certain strategic component, too. I prefer politeness and quiet requests as a matter of course. If I make the decision to escalate from there, it has far more impact if I’ve been mannerly beforehand, and I’m generally able to use much less energy/escalation to get what I need.

All that being said, I agree with Ms Kowal. I have the luxury of being icily quiet when I get truly angry; I have the luxury of using politeness as a base to start from. My own campaigns to right social ills are more of the listening-and-connective sort, since I inhabit a relatively privileged position. All the same, when one’s polite requests for an oppressive group or society to cease systematic brutality are brushed aside, naturally one’s patience will be eroded. I have the space to be quiet and polite and to be seen as fairly moderate because other people do not have that luxury and have been forced to yelling to make themselves heard. I should think, if I were in a different position, I’d yell too.

Motherhood has taught me that when you hear a scream of pain you need to ascertain what the hell’s going on very quickly, and take measures not just to relieve the immediate distress but also understand the deeper causes. I can distinguish fairly easily between a screaming tantrum (sports riots) and an explosion of justifiable anger when all other avenues for a group of people have been blocked (Ferguson and Baltimore protests). Adults throwing tantrums I have little patience for–my kids grew out of that shit years ago, and if you didn’t, now’s the time to start. Explosions of justifiable anger call for a different response.

I have a responsibility, as a reasonable (and reasonably privileged) human being, to look at deeper causes and understand them, so I can be at least a small part of the solution, not part of the whole stupid-ass problem in the first place. Saying, “Well, they shouldn’t YELL” is not helpful. Understanding why the yelling is taking place is.

Enough said.