Lunch With a Prince

He’s a tramp, but they love him…

Reading The Tale of Genji, all I can hear is Peggy Lee crooning about breaking a new heart every day. I mean, I know Genji is the shining one and a paragon, but he’s more a Beowulf paragon than a knight parfait y gentil, if you know what I mean.

All the same, it’s nice to have lunch with him. It’s also nice to lie in bed, rain tapping the roof, and tell Boxnoggin all about what that sonofagun Genji’s doing now. (Lord van der Sploot has no idea what I’m talking about, but he likes being included.) I have zero idea where this book is taking me and the cultural divide means I’m probably missing most of the landmarks, but I wouldn’t miss this journey. Not for anything, no sir and ma’am.

It feels like this week has seen a sea change, doesn’t it? Still…I’m not relaxing yet. Here’s hoping the weekend is tranquil or exciting, in whatever measure you personally prefer. (And don’t forget, tonight is Friday Night Writes.)

See you around, my beloveds.

Civic Duty, Done

Sunday we had snow, though it didn’t stick, and the temperature plunged after dark. Which meant yesterday I was driving before dawn, on black ice and through freezing fog, downtown to the courthouse.

Yes, my friends, jury duty again.

This makes the fourth time, though only the third in this county. I know there are thousands of eligible people who haven’t even been called once, but they keep interrupting my working time with this nonsense. Not that I mind doing my civic duty–I went in the first two times with good grace, somewhat proud to participate even though I’m the last person prosecution or defense wants on a jury.

It’s not that I can’t be impartial. It’s just that my family history (law enforcement kin), added to my viewing/reading habits (I do read and watch a lot of true crime) and career (writer with a distinct interest in gruesome forensic pathology, not to mention I once thought I’d study to be a paralegal) makes me a bad bet for either side’s purposes. I never get past voir dire, and probably never will–they want the quiet folk who can be swayed by various courtroom strategies.

Anyway, yesterday was no exception and I was sent home after the jury was finally empaneled. A whole working day lost, momentum frittered away because I’d had to plan for perhaps a week’s worth of disruption. I couldn’t even get back to revisions because all my bandwidth had been eaten up, so I was reduced to staring at a documentary until I could heave my poor corpse to bed. And there were very few masks to be seen–less than ten percent of all the people called for duty, and one lone mask among the courtroom staff) which means if I get sick, I know exactly where it happened. Plus, the trial itself was a criminal one, and just plain heartbreaking to hear even the basic dimension of.

Hyperempathy is great for my work, but a distinct drawback otherwise. Hearing the charges made me wince.

On the other hand, it was great material. Watching how people reacted, how they sorted themselves according to social expectations, watching the attorneys perform, and practicing my powers of observation are all wonderful for the work. For example, the prosecutor was left-handed, wearing a tailored three-piece and glossy wingtips–and also a pair of blue-and-green striped socks that had to be “lucky”. The defense attorney was married, loved their spouse very much, and did not like their client but was giving their all. The cross-section of the jury was fascinating, and watching from a corner of the room while people grouped themselves and cooperated was alternately comforting and terrifying.

I suppose I’ve watched too many history documentaries to be entirely comfortable when I see people patiently trooping along in a line while an “authority” exhorts them. And locating the impulse in myself to be polite, play along, follow the crowd was sobering indeed. The writer in me was furiously taking notes; it’s a machine that never turns off. Everything goes into the hopper to be churned by the writing brain.

You’d think they would want me far away from court for that reason alone.

I am thinking about going back to paralegal studies, though. Growing up I was “supposed” to be a doctor to fulfill one of my childhood abuser’s frustrated desires, but was always magnanimously told being a lawyer was “acceptable” too. I have no desire to argue in a courtroom or deal with people all day long, which is why I hole up in my office and deal with imaginary people for the bulk of my time. Still, the studying is interesting, the architecture of the law is fascinating, the skills needed are right up my alley, and it might be a day job if I ever get too tired of publishing. It would mean going back to an office, which as an introvert I’d absolutely hate…but still, it’s always nice to have plans and options.

The urge will most likely pass by the time I get my morning run out of the way. Boxnoggin was unhappy at the break in routine and very upset that someone else had to take him for walkies yesterday. He calmed down once it was clear dinner was going to arrive on time, and today is displaying only a lingering uncertainty, which will fade once he’s in his harness and it’s clear the world is continuing upon its accepted course.

I’d best get moving towards the toaster now. Losing a day and momentum is bad enough, I’m going to have to restart revisions and shift my week’s schedule around again. Small price to pay, but my nose is suspiciously stuffy and my entire body aches. It could just be the stress, and a run will purge those chemicals, fill me with endorphins, and set me right in a trice. That’s the hope, at least.

Time to get to it.

Gingham Deck

Unexpected order.

I was too tired to bring everything back up the stairs yesterday after the roofers left, but it meant I was greeted with this beautiful pattern when taking Boxnoggin out for his morning potty break. Sudden order and regularity make me happy in a deep, very specific way; the precise angle of sun needed to make this is temporary, and had I come out a little earlier or later, I’d’ve missed it.

Sure, I need to clean and refinish the deck…but for the moment, I can take a deep breath and enjoy what’s already been accomplished. The roof is finished, the sprinklers are working again, my nerves are shot, but we’re crawling back up out of the abyss. Or so I hope–ever since 2016, getting to the lip of the hole has meant being kicked in the teeth and falling back in.

I keep climbing. Keep struggling, hand over hand. Clinging to the side to catch a breath, looking up to figure out the next hold. Dum spiro, spero, and all that.

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope it’ll be a good one…

Office Garden

How doth the office garden grow…

I got a grow light for my office. This is the culmination of a long while (months, the kids would say, though pandemic time is exceeding fluid) spent going back and forth, wishy-washing about. But some plants just needed extra lumens, and I finally decided I might as well even if it was going to make me move furniture.

The jade plant is especially in need of rehabilitation; the angel trumpet was unhappy too. The small hen-and-chick hiding almost behind the jade plant was rescued from where it had been dropped on burning pavement during the heat dome last summer, probably by a passing kid or animal, so I brought it home and now it’s rooting nicely in a cocoanut-fibre pot. When it outgrows that I’ll sink it in a proper container.

I’m also attempting to sprout something relatively big, so there’s a gap for the moment. The lucky little cat might be buried once it starts growing, but we’ll see. Currently said little cat is waving cheerfully, encouraging the rehabilitation. It’s nice to glance over and see growing things, and also nice to take a break from the word-mines every once in a while and whisper “you can do it” to the jade plant.

There’s a box of things to be taken downstairs, and the rest of my office is in a state probably best left undescribed. Said box will probably solidify in place if I don’t deal with it forthwith. I can’t look at the news if I want to have enough energy to work, so rearranging–and contemplating green growing things–is a good substitute.

I hope you have something nice to contemplate this weekend, beloveds. Be gentle with yourselves, and each other. It’s not you–everything is messed up right now and we all need whatever small joy and safety we can find.

See you around.

Boostered, and Well-Filling

The Princess, being a frontline worker, had her booster appointment on Tuesday; the Prince and I went along to ask if they were doing walk-ins as well. Fortunately, it was one of the few pharmacies in the area offering them, there was nobody else in the store, so all three of us got our booster and flu shot at once.

The relief is immense. So immense, in fact, I’m not sure how much of being absolutely wiped out yesterday (and frankly, almost totally wiped out today) is psychological, and how much is my immune system pitching a gigantic fit. Either way, it’s far, far better than suffering the plague or influenza, so here we are.

The kids both had mild arm soreness and a wee bit of fatigue. So far their side effects are very small, which I am unendingly grateful for. I am logy, still a bit feverish, and brain-fogged, but the fatigue has gone down a bit. I will say, whether it was the relief or the fever, I had hypersaturated, very odd dreams.

None of them were worthy to turn into a short story, let alone a book, so that’s a bit disappointing. But I shall persevere. Gods know I have enough material to keep me busy, even after shoving three books out the door and into the wild, wild world.

All my engines can turn to Hell’s Acre for a short time now, then I can give Ghost Squad #2 a bit of a shake and a towel-down before sending it off to beta readers. At the very least I have to get all of the brackets out.

Song that never ends, no rest for the weary or the wicked in our benighted world, and all that.

Before I forget, a huge shout-out to everyone who told me what movies, books, songs, and the like they’re using to refill their wells right now. You guys are a very eclectic bunch! (Feel free to add what you’re reading/watching/loving right now! I always love hearing about it.) I’m reading Burkert’s Homo Necans (because that is my idea of fun) and have been talked into watching the Wheel of Time series on Amazon.

I knew a few WoT fans in high school, and their behavior over the book(s) convinced me I wanted nothing to do with the entire thing. Later, I shelved them during my many stints as a bookstore worker, and the behavior of the male fans there just deepened my conviction. But, as one of my friends pointed out, misogynistic neckbeards are up in arms over the Amazon Prime adaptation being “diverse” and “woke”, so it’s probably worth a try.

I like the costuming (I am Team Suspenders, and some of the sweaters delight my inner knitter) and the CGI is great, not to mention Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney. (The latter sparked one of my favorite characters in the Livi Talbot series.) So, all in all, it seems pretty awesome and I might give the books a try, though that Rand guy irritates the living DAYLIGHTS out of me already and I can’t wait for him to get stabbed by a giant trolloc or eyeless thing already. I’m only a couple episodes in, so we’ll see. I might even give the books a whirl, who knows?

So today is for gently getting back to work–only for a few hours, there’s no use in courting burnout–and getting subscription stuff out the door. Not to mention walking the dogs and prodding my poor bewildered corpse through something approaching a run. I haven’t had a run in days and it’s beginning to wear on my nerves.

I never, ever can get the hang of Thursdays, but one must suffer them all the same. Time to strap some shoes on, grab some toast, and get the dogs walked.

See you around, beloveds.