Heat Damage


The browned bits at the fir’s fingertips were soft bright green in spring. The heat dome crispy-crittered them, and the damage has spread a bit despite the better weather. Even on our morning walk the signs of terrible heat stress are everywhere. Even the ragweed had a hard go of it.

Global warming is real. I have no patience for anyone who willfully refuses to accept the fact, just as I have no ruth left for the selfish who choose to remain maskless and unvaccinated. (Yes, I am aware that vaccine access isn’t universal, so keep that objection to yourself because that’s not what I’m talking about and my temper is best not tried this morning.)

I’m head-down and buried to my knees in Sons of Ymre revisions. The last third of the book should go relatively swiftly, and that will consume my Friday in honorable fashion. I’ll feel a lot better once it’s done, and might even attempt a day off–for whatever value of “off” I can tolerate, which will probably just mean writing erotica.

We all have our coping mechanisms.

Have a lovely weekend, my beloveds. Stay cool out there.

Mileage and Cheese

A lovely cool grey morning, though without a single spatter of rain, has me feeling almost myself again. Almost, just not exactly quite. I managed to get out the door for the morning dog walkies a few minutes early, which meant less traffic on the sidewalks; the day’s run was accomplished at a slightly lower speed than usual since I’m bulking mileage. Come Friday or so I’ll do some intervals, then after a few days’ worth of rest my speed should start to creep up while my distance remains steady.

Or at least, that’s the plan.

I did not get a heroine involved in a stabbing yesterday, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. I think the stabbing has to come today, in the hero’s POV. Serves him right if he gets a puncture; he’s been getting a bit arrogant lately and needs someone to take him down a peg or two. This being Hell’s Acre, of course, he’ll get it in the most mannerly way possible from our dear heroine.

I mean, she’ll stab, but she won’t be rude.

Other than that, the day is set aside for revisions on Sons of Ymre. There’s a lot more horror than romance in that book, and the Lovecraft and King in Yellow references fall fast and thick. My poor editor. *evil chuckle*

I’ve queued up a lot of Miles Davis for the afternoon’s work, and am attempting to use another jolt of coffee to clear the mud out of my head. I’d forgotten how absentminded upping my running mileage makes me for the first couple days. On the plus side, I’ll sleep well tonight, which is a blessing all its own.

The minus is that my usual work pace has dropped to what feels like a snail-crawl. I know it’s not, I know I’m in a good spot and can afford a few days’ worth of not-quite-top-speed, but still. It irks me to be operating at less than full capacity.

Some of my slowness could be the absence of lunch, a problem easily rectified even if the dogs are going to be underfoot as soon as I twitch to rise from my office chair. Since I’m contemplating midday bruschetta, their cheese-sense is no doubt tingling. I swear, the instant any human in the house even thinks about thickened milk product, both dogs perk up and scuttle forth to beg for treats with single-minded intensity.

…I just glanced at the office door. Miss B is sitting, ears up and eyes bright, waiting. Every inch of her is expectant.

I suppose I can’t disappoint the poor elderly dog–and Boxnoggin is coming down the hall, his nails clicking on hardwood. Time to wade through canine excitement in the direction of the kitchen and hope the kids left me some fresh mozzarella.

Garden Amelioration, and Glitter

It’s a quiet, cool Monday morning–a lot nicer than the last Monday I suffered, and that right out the gate as well. Even the coffee tastes better today for some reason.

It could be the long run I took on Saturday, a sign that I can carefully start upping my mileage. I was quite pleased to find that out, except for the fact that it means I’m going to have to do interval training as well. If there’s anything I hate, it’s the bloody intervals, but they help with a lot of things and cut down on injuries so I suppose I must.

Today is for retrenchment, scheduling, and decision-making. I might even get the kitchen mopped if I’m extraordinarily ambitious. But mostly it’ll be revisions on Sons of Ymre, as well as a rooftop battle in Hell’s Acre. The latter’s gone about as long as it can without someone getting knifed atop a crumbling alt-Victorian tenement.

My joys are tiny and petty, but they are entirely mine own.

The sprinklers are finally working again. (I will say the solution was hysterically simple, and made me laugh like a hyena for HOURS.) Which means that some of the garden damage will be ameliorated soon. The ferns are already luxuriating in the change, and the honeysuckle’s very glad indeed. It’s a good thing plenty of bushes were already well-established or that heat dome would have put paid to them all. As it is, I think we’ve lost at least two rhododendrons. The poor things just couldn’t take it.

Plenty of the evergreens in the neighborhood are showing crispy needle-ends. Even some of the lavender is looking scraggly, and once established that plant likes a great deal of benign neglect. At least I saved the tomatoes and most of the peppers.

I suppose I should quit nattering about the garden and get the dogs walked. I’m going to need to lace my shoes loosely today, but not so loose they slip free when I hit warp speed. It’s all a balance.

The big event of the weekend (so to speak) was walking up to the craft store to get round magnets. One session with a glue gun later, and I have more fridge magnets made out of bottle caps. The cackling of joy when I realized yes, I am capable of wielding a glue gun was probably disconcerting as all get-out, too. You know they have glitter sticks for those things?

The mind boggles.

In any case, I’d best take advantage of the quiet while it’s still here. As soon as I shift to tie my shoes I’ll have Canine Halp, and that doesn’t even cover the entire brushing-my-teeth situation. I suppose I should be thankful the dogs are seeking to be helpful, because it they set out to be actively obstructionist I’m afraid the house might be reduced to splinters ere long.

I’m cautiously hopeful Monday’s going to cooperate. It would be a nice change.

Exuberant Violet


The African violets are doing rather well. I did have an LED growlight for them, but apparently it was Too Bright, so they’re back on the coffee table in their old spot. There’s another rack of seedlings and small starts under the growlight, though, so it isn’t going to waste.

The violets have expressed their relief by bursting into exuberant flower, egged on by the blood lily, which has returned from its dormancy with panache. Having one of those is an exercise in patience and trust–each time it dies back I’m certain it will never recover, though I know perfectly well it’s just doing its usual thing and will poke its green head back up after a rest.

Friday is ambling on its merry way, thankfully much less weird than Thursday. Even the sprinklers are back to their regular selves. Of course, at least three squirrels have taken headers out of the cedars today, each time after a scrabbling fury that brings me out of my office chair to look out the open window. I’m pretty sure it’s not just the same squirrel each time…

…but one can rarely tell, with these little arboreal menaces. They keep getting up and staggering away, so at least I don’t have to go out with a shovel and attempt some kind of rescue or burial.

Small mercies on a Friday, but I’ll take them. Have a wonderful weekend, my beloveds.

Solved By Machete

I’m in a positively dreadful mood this morning–indeed, I’ve been tetchy all week, for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s the heat, though it breaks at night to allow for sleep; maybe it’s work, though I’m always happiest with a surfeit of that; maybe it’s the state of the world. The Princess concurs, for she’s been in somewhat of a mood too; she thinks perhaps it’s processing a bit of last year’s (and ongoing) trauma.

The body remembers, no matter what the rest of one would like.

Consequently I’m trying very hard to be kind, especially in small invisible ways. There is nothing better than performing a few acts of kindness to lift one’s mood. Of course it’s selfish–one should be decent simply because it’s the right thing to do–but it’s at least enlightened selfishness, and it will do. Or so I tell myself, and hope like hell it’s true.

The damage from the heat dome is still rippling through plants in the neighborhood, and I’m sure through the animals as well. Some of the laurel volunteers I put along the back fence have crispy-crittered, and since the sprinklers are Having A Moment (someone will hopefully come by to diagnose them today) much of the yard is too. The tomatoes and other seedlings, watered by hand, are holding on; the pennyroyal that wasn’t grubbed up by squirrels (WHY, for godsake?) is actually thriving. So there’s a win or two lurking in the greenery.

Including the Zombie Rhubarb, which used to be near the lilac volunteers but was moved to a sunnier spot because it frankly refused to die even after the late, lamented Odd Trundles did his best to nest in it. I don’t know what that dog had against rhubarb–maybe he simply knew it’s not my favorite?

Still, I admire the plant’s absolute refusal to lie down and die. That kind of stubbornness is near and dear to my heart, so I’m even watering the damn thing. It’s flourishing like the hellebores now. I’ve told it flat out, “We don’t have to like each other for me to do my best by you. Uh, sorry about the dog…”

I think it’s forgiven me, despite Boxnoggin’s desperate desire to water it on his own. What is it with dogs and rhubarb? I have no clue.

Anyway, the day is jam-packed. There’s subscription stuff to get out the door, groceries to grab, dog walkies and a run to squeeze in, and damn it but I want these revisions done. Time to make a list on an index card, or I’ll get absolutely nothing accomplished. It’s a shame none of these problems can be solved by a machete, for I’m in just the mood to take a few swings. (Related: I really do need to get a wooden baseball bat…)

I suppose I should also get some breakfast, too. But before all that, it’s coffee to soothe my nerves somewhat, and Josh Groban on the play queue to do likewise. Something about the vibrato is entirely calming.

I’m hoping Thursday will decide not to be overly difficult. But if it is, I’ll get out the machete.

Marshmallow, Sun Storm, Tuesday

It’s a grey Tuesday morning and there is not enough coffee in the world. A solar storm is expected to hit the earth today, and frankly I’m not bloody surprised, the way things have been going.

At least the cicadas are quiet, since the temperature drops overnight. They’re probably waking up the same as I am, lethargic and blinking, staggering towards their version of coffee, preparing for an entire afternoon of screaming in the treetops.

Lucky bastards.

Even the dogs are a bit beside themselves this morning. They won’t eat their breakfast and Boxnoggin is in a fractious-toddler mood. I’d say “you need a nap, dog,” but we literally just rolled out of bed. It could be he’s sensing my crankiness.

There are bright prospects, though. The other day I made an offhand comment about using Cocoa Pebbles and Rice Krispies to make treats–you know, butter, marshmallow creme, all that. The Princess got That Look, and when she came home yesterday she was loaded with Cocoa Krispies, tiny chocolate chips, marshmallows, and a plan.

I pointed out there were Cocoa Krispies but no Cocoa Pebbles (her very favorite cereal) in her supplies and my eldest child fixed me with an arch look of amusement. “The recipe I found was for Krispies, so I’m doing it that way first before I alter it.”

I could only nod sagely and mumble, “That means more marshmallow treats for us all, so I can’t complain.”

To which my child replied, just as her mother would, “Damn right.”

She even divided the pan into quarters. One was plain, one was studded with sea salt flakes, the third had tiny chocolate chips, and the last was drenched with homemade salted caramel sauce. Needless to say, that last bit was my favorite, though everyone else in the house is split between the plain and salted quarters.

So, there’s a crispy-crunchy experiment at some time in my future, possibly with caramel. That’s not a bad prospect; it’ll get me through a day of internal wires sparking through worn-off insulation, a both-hands deathgrip on my temper, and my fingertips aching from keeping my claws sheathed.

In any case, I should probably get some breakfast to balance out the caffeine once my stomach settles, the it’ll be time to walk the furry brats. I’m sure there will be hijinks; Carl the Crow has taken to accompanying us on walks around the block. She flits from tree to tree, eyeing me sideways and occasionally letting out raucous yells. I’m not sure if she’s adopted us or is waiting for me to look away so she can torment Boxnoggin–I believe she has not forgiven him for the Jerry Incident.

Speaking of Jerry the Crow, his tail feathers appear to be healing, and he’s having a lot more luck with flying. He’s still apparently only capable of short hops, and he tends to hang around our yard all day because I’m leaving sunflower seeds and the like in easy-to-reach places for him. Sandra and Carl are okay with this too; they keep bringing peanuts and cracking them in the birdbath, filling the damn thing with peanut shells. I think someone in the neighborhood thinks they’re feeding squirrels, though why anyone would do such a thing is beyond me.

We also have a ring-tailed squirrel (christened Einstein) who is up to No Good and seems positively bent on tormenting my daughter. Maybe it’s a family inheritance thing.

I do have a Backyard Tale to tell you concerning Norbert (long-time Readers will remember Norbert the Shattered Gargoyle) but I need more time and energy to write it than I possess today, so it’ll have to wait.

And with that, my beloveds, I shall bid you a fond adieu. Getting out the door before the marine layer breaks and the temperature rises is the name of the game, and since I’ve finished my coffee, breakfast is next. I can only dread what sort of hijinks will occur once I strap the dogs into their harnesses and leave the house.

Wish me luck…

A Peevish Start

Well, it’s a Monday again. A brand-new week. Yes, I know weeks are imaginary constructs, but so is money and we need that to survive too.

I did a deep-dive Twitch stream on the Valentine series on Saturday; the hour-and-a-half of me talking about imaginary people (it turned into a Japhrimel discussion, since I get so many questions about him) will stay up for a few days.

I like knitting and talking, though I only got a few rows on that scarf done, being occupied gesturing with steel knitting needles instead of actually knitting for most of the stream. Normally I use bamboo, because it catches the yarn just as I prefer and makes the entire process easier, but I didn’t have a set of size-3s and the very thin, fine cashmere needed a much smaller needle than I usually work in.

At least it’s cooling off at night, so we can sleep in some comfort. Small mercies–the only kind we ever get, right?

It’s not that I’m in a pessimistic mood, I think? For one thing, I have coffee. Sweet, blessed caffeine is about to sink into my tissues and provide the strength to get through the day.

I can’t wait.

Today is for some administrivia, a chapter in Hell’s Acre (remember, you can read the first bit of the serial for free here), and getting seriously underway on Sons of Ymre revisions. The latter needs the majority of my attention for the foreseeable future, though what I’d really like to be doing is writing the second book of Cold North. The pressure on that book will mount the longer I stay away, though, so I can afford to let it boil a bit. I know exactly how the rest of the trilogy goes, which is both curse and blessing.

I also have Moon’s Knight–the portal fantasy I wrote at white heat last year–working its way through the publishing process with a placeholder cover while some other moving bits fall into place. One more proof pass and the actual-factual cover, and we’ll be good to go. Preorder links are slowly populating, so there’s that.

It’s nice to have a surfeit of work, though I’m disappointed about a few recent developments on the publishing front. That’s fine, it’s all part of the career, and it won’t kill me. I’ll just be peeved about it for a wee bit.

It’s a peevish kind of morning, and my choice of office jam (thrash metal) isn’t helping. I can already tell I’ll be harnessing the power of irritation to get through the day. It’s not a bad thing–any fuel will do on a Monday–but I will have to make very, very certain I don’t bite or claw without cause.

And the dogs are eager for walkies, so I must attempt some breakfast once the coffee has settled my stomach, then take them rambling. The marine layer providing nice, reasonably-cool mornings is a gift and a blessing; the damage from the latest heat dome is everywhere. It hurts a little to see crisped vegetation and dead leaves, knowing what’s responsible and that the train won’t halt anytime soon.

…maybe I am slightly pessimistic, but I can blame it on Monday and curl up in my dark cave of an office to treat ill temper with a dose of work. Time to switch out the music–I think some Massive Attack will soothe my savagery somewhat–and wander towards the fancy-dancy new toaster.

May your Monday go smoothly, beloveds. Stay cool out there.