C Is For…

…when I surface from a post-dinner writing jag, blinking and disoriented, and the Princess hands me a freshly baked cookie and says, “I wanted dessert. Here.”

Yes. Like that.

It’s good to be loved, and to be given tasty things. May you know both this weekend, concurrently or consecutively, as it pleases you.

Chilly Days

I prefer the cold. Summer means sweat, sweat means rashes no matter how careful one is, and who needs that? Winter is my time, despite dry-cracking skin and the persistent shivers.

Even so, it was a bit ridiculous this morning. I had to leave the warm nest of the bed and engage on another shivery day, and I would have loved to roll out of the covers and into some proper layers, but Sir Boxnoggin decided he would be Helpful and Aid Me in My Dressing. The way he chose to do this, of course, was by…sitting on everything I reached for.

I love this dog. His idea of help, though, often treads the edge of “no help at all, thanks.”

The small birds have found the finch feeder; it seems to be the only type of seed the squirrels won’t steal, probably because they have the sunflower-seed holder to pillage pretty much at will. They’re stocking up for the snow supposedly coming down the pike. There is much singing, twittering, hopping, and expressions both of delight and of menace. (“STAY AWAY FROM MY SEEDS, PHIL, OR I SWEAR I WILL END YOU.”)

Miss B, of course, as an Elderly Gentlecanine, prefers to spend very chilly days sprawled on her Fancy Dog Bed in my office, conveniently located near the heater. Some days she will even nudge me with her snout and sigh until I get the idea and turn said heater on. Boxnoggin is on the loveseat in the living room, snuggling into several knitted lap robes and watching the street with much interest. The next time a car (or, God forbid, a person walking dogs) appears, he will ALERT THE WHOLE HOUSE AT HIGH VOLUME BORK BORK BORK.

In all of this I have to work, and also have to get French toast shopping (milk, bread, eggs, in case we’re snowed in) done today before the forecasted precipitation breaks and you can’t pay me to step outside. Plus there’s copyedits to turn around by the fifteenth.

Seven. Hundred. Fifty. Pages. Of copyedits. 8.5”X11” pages, too, not book pages. Gods have mercy upon me, for publishing has none.

…and there goes Boxnoggin, screaming that someone is upon his street and I am required to come witness whatever has his dog-knickers in a twist, not to mention tuck him back into all the lap robes when he is soothed. See you around, folks.

A Dusting to Halt

This is the amount of snow it takes to close down school for the day. Mostly because the buses have to get out before dawn and the roads were ice-coated; who needs parents breathing down their nape because a bus went a little wonky? Of course, there are lots of transplants screaming “this ain’t snow, why, back home we have to dig our way out of the garage on the regular,” as if the Pacific Northwest is somehow the same as Minnesota. *eyeroll*

It’s supposed to be subzero tonight, which means the road will be another icy hellscape early tomorrow. But for today, we have a lot of hot cocoa, a lot of reading, and a lot of chunky sweaters and lap-blankets, not to mention dogs who have suddenly rediscovered humans have body heat too.

Poor Boxnoggin; this appears to be the first time he’s seen this White Coat of Death on everything, and he keeps giving me looks like Mum, make this stop, why are you doing this? He picks up each paw EXTRA high and gives it a shake when he’s forced to walk outside, and outright refuses to get near the gate because that means walkies and walkies mean OMG COLD ON MY WIDDLE FEETSIES.

Miss B, of course, is built for all weathers, but she’s old now, and quite content to stay inside where it’s warm and soft. Just because she can doesn’t mean she will wander outside more than the bare necessary. Currently she has moved from behind my chair to the Big Spacious Fancy Dogge Bedde near the heater, and is likely to remain there for as long as possible.

I wish you warmth and relaxation today, my friends. Sadly, I cannot take a day off, for my office is just down the hall from my bedroom, and going into work does not require anything more dangerous than tripping over a few dog toys and my own pre-caffeinated feet. There’s a short story to revise and the initial go-through on CEs for The Maiden’s Blade to cross off my list today. No rest for the weary or the wicked, but if I get those things done I might settle on the couch with tea and both dogs, and just watch the hill freeze solid.

Over and out.

Weekend Fyre Viewing

They’re saying snow, but so far there’s nothing but a restless, half-frozen rain going on. I’m hopeful we’ll avoid a layer of ice on everything; since we live near the mouth of the Columbia Gorge the wind often gives us a final fillip of freezing that makes tires refuse to grip and shoes refuse to stick.

This weekend I watched both the Netflix and Hulu documentaries about the Fyre Festival. The Netflix one was structured like a morality play and had access to footage shot for what was going to be an adulatory documentary (if the thing came off); the Hulu one was structured like a true-crime documentary and had an interview with McFarland, the grifter who put the whole show on (and, incidentally, spent the money). I do recommend seeing both, for different reasons. McFarland, in the Hulu documentary, has pupils the size of saucers and a complete lack of remorse; if you want to see what a con man looks like when he’s high off his gourd and visibly remembering what his lawyers have told him not to comment on, there it is.

All during both shows, I just kept hearing my grandfather’s voice inside my head, saying “y’all can’t cheat an honest man.” My ex-husband used to say something similar–that grifts work because of people who want something for nothing or something too good to be true. I won’t deny a bit of schadenfreude watching “influencers” with more money than sense end up in a waterless, Lord of the Flies-esque FEMA-tent village, but the locals who weren’t paid–and the people working hard on the Fyre app whose paychecks stopped coming regularly but who were seduced into keeping on through a sick system using their best qualities against them–didn’t deserve this bullshit, and the Netflix app goes in much more detail about the effects McFarland’s con had on them.

For those who did watch the documentaries, there’s a “where are they now” article.

One of the things that struck me watching both documentaries was how images of scantily clad women were used to sell “the dream.” More than once, a man on either documentary says “on a drug island surrounded by beautiful women? Who wouldn’t want that?” The models used for the now-famous promotional video had no idea they were part of a con and were presumably paid for their work; after the reality set in, plenty of people got shirty with the models and the “influencers” instead of with McFarland, who stayed out of prison much longer than anyone non-white or non-male could ever believe possible.

Another strange thing: at least once during each documentary, someone who was being interviewed got a call from McFarland, and answered it on screen. There are still people who pick up the phone when that fellow calls.

Just…wow. Being a rich white boy–or even looking like one–is a helluva drug.

I’m also surprised that, with our “justice” system the way it is, Ja Rule didn’t get into more trouble. He must have clearly and unequivocally been innocent of wrongdoing and had super high-powered lawyers, since the usual thing in these cases is to harass the bit players (especially if they’re people of color) endlessly and let the head of the pyramid scheme go with a slap on the wrist.

Anyway, I spent the weekend watching that while a houseful of teenage boys pillaged my kitchen, since the Little Prince wanted a Smash Bros. sleepover. I put on a Burrito Night to end all Burrito Nights and, once they were full to the gills with beans, rice, chicken, and tortilla, promptly banished them downstairs with mountains of crisps and sodas. A few odd smells and bursts of deep, loud laughter drifted up the stairs, but other than that, it was a reasonably quiet event, and I remember feeling quite grateful. After all, I’d been watching event planning go horribly, terribly wrong all weekend.

That was my weekend. I hope yours was peaceful, dear Reader, and remember: never trust a blinking con artist, especially one who calls you “bro” all the time.

Too good to be true inevitably is.

Some Days

Earlier this week I was feeling low, and down, and just generally meh. So I took myself out to a nice lunch. I couldn’t drink more than half a glass of wine before I started to itch all over (getting older sucks) but I enjoyed that half-glass to the hilt, let me tell you.

I made sure I wasn’t taking up prime table real estate during lunch. My server made sure I was in an out of the way corner, and we negotiated (wordlessly, of course) that I’d make eye contact when he passed if I wanted something. May all the gods bless servers who allow such things.

The day after I started hearing rumbles of a stomach bug at the Princess’s place of work, and wouldn’t you know it, today I’m feeling ooky. Still, I don’t regret a single sip, bite, or moment spent buried in a book at a restaurant table.

Every once in a while, it’s nice to be taken care of instead of the other way ’round. When the budget allows, doing something good for oneself is the best use of cash and time I can think of.

Planning Indispensable

This morning was a mad scramble to get everything done, since the Princess has come down with a stomach bug. I got a run in, thank goodness, and so far I’m holding steady. Traditionally I’m the last to get the heaves; sometimes I simply refuse to get ill until everyone else is over the sickness.

I just…I need to be left alone while I vomit, really. I hate throwing up, and if I have to do it, it’s best to just give me some damn space.

I wanted to get some serious writing in The Poison Prince done today, but there’s also HOOD to think of, and last night I got the setup for the lightsaber duel all settled–it involved Tuckerizing a couple people. I am a little in awe of how many folks want to die messily in one of my books. Maybe it’s a rite of passage? There’s subscription stuff to get out the door, yakisoba to prepare for tonight assuming nobody is violently emptying their digestive tract in different directions, a pair of headphones to charge (I think I need another way of shutting out the world while I write) and and and…

…I’m going to have to make a list, or nothing will get done. I mean, I have a list, but it’s one I made last night and events are moving somewhat quickly. No plan survives contact with the enemy, but planning is indispensable, and all that. I suppose another day of letting the duel scene gestate won’t be so bad. Generally the longer something like that cooks the easier it is to get a reasonable zero draft, but I want to be done with this little love-fest between Robb and Giz1 so I can write the landspeeder race.

So it’s another jolt of coffee, praying my stomach doesn’t decide to reject the offering, and list-making. Then it’s going down the list, bit by bit and one by one, and remembering not to kick myself if I somehow don’t get everything done while juggling a nauseous child and another child who may end up that way at the drop of a hat. I’m also chilled today; I haven’t been warm since the dogs nosed me out of bed–giving me an almost-split lip in the process, I might add.

Boxnoggin is VERY EXCITED when he hears me beginning to stir in the morning, and that excitement requires FLYING LEAPS onto the bed, back off again, then onto the bed once more, rinse and repeat.

At least Robin Hood only had crapping in the woods and a wicked sheriff to deal with. He got off easy, the jerk. Maybe I can make my Robin lose a hand…

*wanders away muttering nasty things about her characters*

Safety, Sudden Ice

The cherry tree down the street is still attempting to bloom, in dribs and drabs. I’ve noticed some volunteer nasturtiums, too. Plenty of crocuses have poked their heads up, their hoods swelling with color that will eventually be flowers.

I want to grab all of them and say, softly but with great force, “Don’t. You don’t know what could happen, it’s only January, please, keep yourself safe.”

They don’t listen to me, of course, their knowledge is deeper than my fear.

My children are sixteen and twenty now. They are beautiful, caring, empathetic human beings–and I worry about predators and sick systems who prey upon such. I hope I’ve given them enough tools to spot the douchewads and jerks, I hope I have loved them so deeply and flagrantly that they know, no matter what, that they are worthy of such love and the predators who would convince them otherwise won’t find a purchase.

I know I can’t protect them from everything, much less sudden frosts. Yet the desire to keep them safe turns my hands into fists and my eyes into lamps, searching the dark waves past the safe harbor I’ve painfully assembled during the course of living.

I don’t understand those who see the vulnerable, the beautiful, and only wish to mar. I don’t understand people who see an expanse of unbroken snow and can’t rest until there are footprints or stains. I know they exist–I saw them, even as children, stripping leaves from branches not even hanging in their way, kicking the helpless and breaking ice on puddles just to hear the shattering, growing up to maim all those in their orbit one way or another.

There is no understanding to be reached, I suppose, only defense.

I know the cherry tree will survive and the crocuses will rise triumphant even if the ice comes. My Princess and Little Prince will meet terrible things in their lifetimes despite all my best efforts to protect and insulate. I have to trust that the tree, the flower, the young ones I carried in my own body have at least a fighting chance.

Spring is coming. One year it will pass me by…but not this year. I’m still here, searching the waters, calling out when the storm edges close. I am still longing to wrap the cherry tree in enough love to keep the frost at bay, to whisper to the crocuses you’re doing so well, to hug my almost-grown-up children and repeat the truth under all truths.

I love you so much. Please be careful, please be safe.

Safety may be an illusion in a cold, uncaring universe. Still I maintain the harbor for my beloveds, as long as I endure.

If the cold comes, it will find me ready.