In Shadow, Green

Finding a way, again.

A jumble of boulders on one of our usual morning-walkies routes is always good for a thought or two. Boxnoggin agrees, although his “thoughts” are mostly of the let’s pee on it variety. He’d climb the entire damn pile if I let him.

Anyway, if you peer back into the shadows, you’ll see green on the left side. Yes, even in that deep crevice, things are living–not just lichen, but actual plants. As late as October they were dead straw, hiding from the heat; now, after a few good rains, they’re happily growing in semi-darkness.

Makes all my own problems seem smaller, I must confess. It feels like I’m jammed in a dark crack, reaching vainly for any scrap I can grab; thankfully, I have opposable thumbs and can move into sunlight. (Always assuming I don’t hiss and melt under its touch. Heh.) Life is still forcing its way into the crevices, taking advantage of every inch. Hope is not some evanescent, helpless waif–she is a Valkyrie with blood in her mouth, scraped knuckles, double black eyes, and bruises all over, spitting a tooth as she rises once more from the floor.

We’ve reached another Friday. It promises to be a good one, but either way it’ll be the weekend soon. I hope you have a fine one, beloveds.

Survival, Temerity

Life…uh, finds a way.

The only green things (that aren’t dusty trees or watered lawns) are weeds at this point in the year. These broad-leaved fellows are everywhere, along with dandelions and thistles. I also enjoy a good thistle–there’s one I am carefully not mowing down in the front yard–but this year, these guys are out in force and I wonder about them. The nice red heart to their broad fanlike leaves, the fresh green when so much else is dust and yellow-dry…

I’ll probably find out it’s some sort of hideously poisonous, invasive plant. Which will just make me love it more, I’m sure. Gotta find the beauty wherever one can.

Life is short. Be a weed, flourish in the cracks. It’s okay to have the temerity to survive.

Go forth and enjoy a lovely weekend, my dears.

A Nice Thought

I’m not sure if it’s the time change or something else kicking my ass. I could not seem to drag myself out of bed this morning, and only the fact that the dogs needed to unload their bladders managed to move me. It feels a little bit like the massive burnout I had last year, when I physically couldn’t force myself upright and spent a good eighteen hours or so per day asleep and the remaining ones wishing I were unconscious.

The thing about the kind of stress we’re all living under is that it’s cumulative and there’s never enough time to undo the damage. We just keep taking DoT while the raid boss laughs and our healers are all out of mana, not to mention on global cooldown.

…gods, I miss playing WoW. If only Blizzard hadn’t been so rancid. *sigh*

I know precisely what would fix me. The only trouble is the world won’t cooperate. Or, more precisely, a selfish minority won’t mask up, won’t get vaxxed, won’t stop bullying, won’t stop being hideous violent bigots. If people would just fucking get along there would be no bloody problem, but that minority of bullying, racist abusers simply won’t. The powerful will not give up what they believe they’re entitled to. So I’m forced to other methods of preserving my stability and sanity–the only trouble is, individual solutions don’t do much about systemic problems, nor should they be called upon to.

Still, I’ve got to do something to re-wrap my nerves. I’ve been making bespoke chocolate edibles (the current batches are cardamom and pumpkin spice, respectively) and building my running mileage base again. I’m experimenting with the recipe for the first (there’s a slight graininess from using cocoa that I have yet to overcome) and making the second a priority though it cuts into time I would much rather be doing other things with. I also have plans for Hell’s Acre–I was just going to do it as one massive book but I think I can get away with a season break after one of the recent chapters.

I also got the grow light for my office, and the plants seem to be rehabbing under it quite nicely except for the castor, which is unhappy with everything. It might be a failed experiment, but I keep talking to it, encouraging it to tell me what it needs or to just take all the light and do something. The jade plant is super happy and the angel trumpet has visibly grown, so at least there’s that. I might have to repot the hen-and-chick succulent soon too.

I also moved a hop vine volunteer to the northern fence. If it takes off it’ll provide a privacy screen there during the summer. Since the kiwi there gave up the ghost during last summer’s heat dome, I’ve been thinking about a vine there. Hops will do.

The biggest trouble with circling burnout this way is the hit my productivity takes. I need to be engaged on multiple projects or we don’t eat. Our margin is very, very slim here at the Chez and I don’t want it to get any thinner. I would desperately like for the world to calm down a bit so I can just bloody well work.

This is me, heaving a deep sigh. But as my sister pointed out last year, the influenza epidemic that started in 1918 took about three years to be addressed, for people to finally stop being dunderheads and take the steps necessary to actually put it to bed. Maybe this is the year the anti-maskers and ridiculous anti-vax asshats will finally be shouted down by reasonable people sick of their nastiness. Maybe.

Silver linings, I guess. I can’t even talk about the other current events. I am brimful of the world’s pain and it feels like one more drop will split me open like an overripe fruit. My guts will go everywhere and the wasps will feast. And isn’t that a cheerful thought.

There’s work planned for today. I don’t know if I’ll get there. Even walking the dogs seems an impossible task, let alone running my own heavy corpse. I’ll probably feel better after both, so I suppose I’d best get started. There’s brekkie to handle too, except the last thing I want to do is eat.

Meh. That’s the theme of today, I suppose: A resounding meh.

I hope your Tuesday is starting better than mine, beloveds. I keep telling myself things like courage and chin up and could be worse, and even I’m getting tired of hearing it. Maybe I should just dive into the edibles and curl up in bed after I wash off the day’s run, and play a mobile game or something. I probably will not do so, since I feel even worse when I don’t work, but it’s a nice thought.

See you around.

Half-Price Candy Eve

I hear there was some sort of sportsball yesterday; my daughter tells me the grocer’s was swamped with angry, excitable people pushing carts of soda and snack food. I often feel like an alien anthropologist–unlike apparently everyone else on earth, I am no great fan of violent male sports. All I can think of is what happens when everyone goes home from the stadium, or when the television is shut off and a man who has no doubt been drinking starts in on the nearest victim.

There was also some kind of halftime show? And today is a Hallmark-induced “holiday” hijacking an ancient fertility festival, where one grand gesture is supposed to outweigh three-hundred-sixty-four other days per year of acting like an asshole. Amazing how many people claim to think a single gesture is better than quietly doing the damn work to be a better person.

I partly jest, for today is really a blessed day: Half-Price Candy Eve, when we make preparations for braving the outside world on February 15th to harvest a largesse of marked-down chocolate and corn syrup. I love the idea of getting a large sampler just for me, eating only the candies I like, and tossing the rest. My own particular celebration of self-affection, let’s call it. The kids have their own preferences; tonight I’ll get a list from them both.

The weekend was sunny and dry, though blessed rain moved in late last night. In other words, perfect for gardening, and I did a bit of cleanup as well as getting some seeds in the ground. It’s February, so I’m really playing roulette, but plenty of the scattered little orbs of potential were cold-weather happy things. They’ll bolt if we get a warm April, but before then they’ll provide groundcover. I am thinking the two south garden beds should just be given over to dahlias; we just don’t get enough sun for tomatoes what with the firs and all. Alack and alas, because I do love homegrown tomatoes, but one must go with what the earth will bear, not with what one wishes it would. And–limericks aside–I like dahlias.

I’m also possessed of enough energy to work at something like my usual pace again, albeit with more days “off” per week than I’ve ever granted myself. I normally like to work on three projects at a time six days a week; now I am forced to do so only four or five days per, though on days “off” I usually do some outlining (gasp!) solely to scratch the hypergraphic itch enough to grant me some peace. It’s basically throwaway work. I’ve never truly outlined before, except in sort-of-halfass fashion about a third of the way through a project which seems to need it. Any form of planning is always merrily thrown out the window slightly after halfway through a book since the Muse and the work’s own organic shape is well underway by then and nothing I do will halt or alter it one jot or tittle.

I say “trust the work” over and over again. Sometimes it’s a warning, other times a comfort–and yet other times, it’s a cri de coeur. Every time it ends up all right, but dear gods the wear and tear on the nerves is uncomfortable. You’d think I’d learn.

Some things never get easier in and of themselves. Only dealing with them gets easier; the distinction is slight but critical and crucial. If you’re expecting the path to get less rocky, it’s not gonna happen. The rocks are what the rocks are, to paraphrase my grandfather. But dealing with sharp scattered stones–learning where they’re likely located, learning how to conserve one’s energy for dealing with the worst of them, learning when to go around rather than over–does get incrementally less difficult with each run.

The coffee is almost done and Miss B is positively beside herself. She wants me to get my damn toast so she and Boxnoggin can have a crust (she honestly would like both crusts but I insist on parity) before walkies. Unlike Boxnoggin, the rain bothers her not a whit. She has a bloody schedule to maintain, and I am not cooperating as fully as she would like.

She is a very managing canine, and I suppose she’s earned the right to be. After all, she is an elderly statesdog and has turned in many years of supervisory and herding service. If she wants to prod me towards brekkie I will not complain. (Much.) And I will also move at my own pace no matter how irate she gets.

Happy Half-Price Candy Eve, my beloveds. I hope your weekend was everything you wanted, and that this Monday will behave itself. If not, well, tomorrow there’s candy on sale, which should help soothe the sting.

Weeds At Home


I don’t know who these sunshine-y fellows are, but they’re all through the shadier upper garden beds. The roses and violets don’t seem to mind and they’re not near any vegetables, so I’m leaving them alone. I don’t do a terrible amount of weeding anyway–I pretty much figure dandelions need a home just like anyone else.

I do get rid of blackberry sprouts, though. Those bastards are wicked, and they’re everywhere. They have a home in the park up the hill, massive banks of green thornvines providing great quantities of berries and flowers for the fauna. I’m sure a few humans live in that stretch of “waste” land as well.

I’ve achieved very little of what I set out to do this week, but plenty in other areas. Some weeks are like that–the victories are not in the direction one would wish, but are joyous nonetheless.

Next week I’ll tell you about a new body for a gargoyle, and maybe about Einstein the Ring-Tailed Squirrel. But right now it’s time for a little coffee, perhaps a little brekkie, and looking over what’s been accomplished as well as planning the weekend.

I don’t think I’ll vacation anymore for a while. My heart can’t stand it.

Happy Friday, my beloveds. May it be full of things you like, and empty of things you do not.

Rest Aggressively

There’s so much to do, and yet the power to do any of it seems beyond me today.

This particular fatigue is definitely not from the vaccine, but it’s still deep and wide. The relief is so huge I think I need another twenty-four hours or so for things to settle. I’ll be doing as much work as I can today, but…that’s not going to be much at all.

I’ve been reduced to Barba Streisand’s Broadway album. That’s how ragged my nerves are, unreeling in sheer relief. I’m trying to aggressively rest, if there is such a thing–there are seedlings to start, and laurel volunteers to put along the back fence in case the fellow living over it gets another wild hare and tries to take out the rest of the cedars.

The dogs need walking, though Boxnoggin’s tummy is a little unsettled this fine morn. I suspect the weather change, as well as humans leaving the house not once but twice on Saturday, has made him briefly nervous. I thought he was excited to get out the door and see a squirrel or two this morning, but he was on a beeline to a particular place near the fence to vomit.

Get your excitement where you can, I guess. He’s absolutely fine, sometimes he just has a day where his tummy decides not to go with the program. By dinner he’ll be right as rain.

We were supposed to get rain, as a matter of fact, but everything is suspiciously dry. It may be time to turn the sprinklers on, but I know as soon as I do there will be a deluge. Fool me twice, and all that.

I’ll be starting mugwort and comfrey and moonflower datura seedlings, and probably a few other things. There’s a whole tray of nasturtiums, just waiting for the seeds to crack their tiny brown heads and release broad peppery green fans. The eensy grow light I bought is going to do so much work this summer; I might even get a second one for the violets proper.

I’m also looking at the next few years’ worth of work and feeling vaguely hopeful. Having to face the fact of my own survival is…odd. There’s been a few times in my life I’ve been genuinely surprised to find myself alive, and this year seems to be one of them. I was absolutely convinced the last administration’s malignant, aggressive incompetence was going to somehow snatch away the vaccine at the last minute. Now, home and safe, I’m looking at the damage and groaning slightly.

Cleanup is the worst part of any disaster. At least, for survivors.

It bothers me that we–the whole country, natch–haven’t had a reckoning, and probably won’t for a long while since *waves hands* all this is ongoing. The grief is going to be a real lulu, and that’s only the first step.

There are seeds to plant, dogs to walk (gently, at more of an amble than our usual brisk pace) and books to schedule. I’m hopeful to hear about Moon’s Knight soon, and if the answer is good, great! If the answer is not so good, well, I’ll need to pull together a cover from somewhere.

That won’t be bad. I’m surprisingly sanguine about the whole thing.

We’ve gone from bright sunshine to dark clouds while I’ve typed this; volatile spring weather, except it’s not dropping any real rain. Maybe I’ll just think really hard about the sprinklers, and that will fool the meteorological gods.

It’s worth a shot. Let’s see if it works…