Broken Hook

Broken, yes. Still good?

We have a set of large red cappuccino cups the kids have used as cereal bowls for decades. They’re huge, chipped, and incredibly useful. They’re also showing their age, like any beloved long-term item.

The handle broke off one of them while the kids were doing dishes. The Prince made an amazing catch, trapping the bowl between his hip and the counter with enough force to arrest its fall, but not enough to dent or chip it.

Bowl’s still in use, and I think I’m going to hot-glue magnets to either end of the handle. I can use it to hang things on the fridge, or it might go on the space above the cupboards where I daubed magnetic primer and then chalkboard paint. We’ll see.

I keep making new things out of broken bits. Some of them work, some…well, at least I gave it a try.

Have a good weekend, beloveds.

Vivid, Chilly Fire

Crap drifting from the sky? Must be elves.

A particular maple on the daily dog-walkies route turns into flame every year. This time around she’s incredibly vivid, almost incandescent. Standing underneath on a crisp autumn day, I almost forget the leashes wrapped around my waist and the dogs sniffing or finished with their business and eager to keep going.

The maple lays a red carpet along the sidewalk, too, but lately I’ve been peering through the branches. I’ve spent a long while looking down, careful of my footing; I figure it’s time for a change.

The kids and I joke whenever there’s a windy day–especially during autumn–and tree-bits are floating far and wide, “The elves are about again.” You know how every time there’s elves in movies, the air’s full of feathers or falling leaves or sparkles or something? Maybe it’s all the Tolkien I’ve read and my kids have watched. Neither of them can get through the books, but the films are something else.

I think that’s great; the more, the merrier.

Of course soon the branches will be bare, making patterns against the sky. Still, each time we pause under that maple, whether in summer’s green, autumn’s chilly fire, or winter’s nakedness, I try to look up.

Even if only for a moment.

Our Assistant, Doge

Identity theft is not funny, Jim.

So my daughter is a big Office fan, and got me to watch several seasons. My favorite scene is Dwight finding Pam crying in the stairwell and immediately puffing up to shank whoever hurt her; my feelings on any fictional character have rarely taken such a complete 180 as they did in those few moments of screen time.

Before, Dwight irritated the crap out of me. After, I was ready to pick up a baseball bat and follow him into battle.

Anyway, the Princess brought home some hilarious themed pillows during lockdown, and this was one of them. We can’t decide if it’s more or less funny that the “to the” is hidden. Doesn’t Boxnoggin look proud of his new title?

Actually, he’s a little put out, because he knows he’s not supposed to eat pillows and this one was deliberately set near him for a whole thirty seconds. It was whisked away once she got the shot; Boxnoggin was petted and made much of, told he was a good boy for refraining to savage the poor pillow.

Progress, right?

It’s a Friday that still feels like a Monday. I’m going to ask the local Assistant (to the) Regional Manager if we can just knock off early today.

I mean, look at him. Do you think he’ll disagree?

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…

Picking Battles, No Not Those Ones

Coming back after a long, long weekend, looking at a particular thread in email, and deciding, “Welp, I can be done with this issue, it can be dead to me,” is particularly liberating. I’m not sure I would have arrived there without the past few days spent consciously and resentfully Not Working.

Maybe that’s why everyone likes vacation so much; it repeatedly massages one’s sense of the possible and acceptable with a giant stick.

It’s not a bad thing. I already have as much work as I can handle. I just wanted things arranged a particular way and if that’s not going to happen, fine. Moving on.

Today will be all about retrenchment and planning. Fortunately it’s a lovely cool morning and the marine layer is doing good things. This weather is far more to our liking–and by “our” I mean not only the humans and dogs, but the trees and shrubbery, not to mention smaller green things. If I could just suss out the problem with the sprinklers, we might be sitting easy–but as it is, I’m still watering by hand.

Not a bad price to pay for some tomatoes; the seedlings are past the most critical stage. Still not sure why the squirrels seem intent on grubbing up a few things, but I guess that’s arboreal rodents for you.

Speaking of squirrels, the Princess saw one with a ring-striped tail the other day. (Are you sure it wasn’t a baby raccoon, I asked, and she whipped out her phone with a long-suffering sigh. It was, indeed, a squirrel, and she had proof.) “It sashayed right across the deck. It stopped to LOOK at me when it was near the door, Mum. I had to check that I had shoes on even though I was inside.”

Which is, as we all know, the most reasonable thing to do when faced with one of those hyperactive little barstids.

I do have a Tale of the Backyard to tell you, but it has to wait. Today is for other things, like rearranging the ol’ publication schedule and divvying up the day between revisions on Sons of Ymre, an audio proofing (listening as the book is read), revising a combat scene to get it to acceptable zero-draft status, a run, and as much coffee as I can stuff down my word-pipe.

Coffee goes in, gory little stories come out. It’s the circle of life. It’s gonna take a much longer time to finish Cold North‘s trilogy now…but that’s okay. We can wait for good things, and besides, this means it can be told the way it wants to be, without well-meaning interference. So on the bright side, there’s that.

Anyway, as soon as I can, I’ll take a few pictures and tell you all about the Gargoyle’s Body. But that’s (say it with me) another blog post.

Today’s full-up, no more can fit, that’s too many battles, put some battles back.

Over and out.

Rosy Victory


I moved the roses out of the side yard in very early spring. There just wasn’t enough sun, and besides, well, the graves.1

On the bright side, since a certain neighbor was silly and took out half the cedars along the back fence, what used to be a shade garden now gets much more light, which made it perfect for said roses though it’s doing bad things to the patio put in with so much labor. Win some, lose some.

The ketchup-and-mustard showed its appreciation of the new quarters by blooming first this year. Its presence in our garden is in honor of the Princess’s best friend–they met in middle school, and these are her favorite type of roses. So each time it raises a vibrant flag, a flurry of pictures gets texted. I’m rather proud of this one.

I thought some of the roses would give up the ghost during the move, but amazingly, all of them survived. Either they’re far hardier than I thought or my sotto voce pleading “please, please don’t die, you’ll be happier here, I promise,” was effective. Either way, I’m counting it as an unqualified victory.

Happy Friday, dear Readers. I hope your weekend is everything you need it to be, whether quiet or busy, solo or (masked, vaccinated, and) gregarious.

Febrile Hibernation

Yesterday was just plain awful. The heat crested at 115F–all official according to the weather app, and I think it might have been a little warmer–and all we could do was huddle in the house with the AC and every fan on. Even with that it was uncomfortable and lethargic. I went out several times to fill the birdbath and put some ice water in pans for the backyard fauna, and each time I felt worse after retreating into our air-conditioned haven.

But the birdbath and other water pans were fully utilized by pretty much every backyard denizen, from the crows who used it to bathe and wash ripe cherries to the squirrels who barely even bothered to scamper away when I approached. I was wearing shoes and not yelling, so I guess they figured it was safe enough–and it was too goddamn hot to chase them. I think they understood that much.

It irks me to have lost a whole day’s worth of work, but such is life when enduring climate emergency and pandemic. Not to mention ongoing attempted fascist coup–they’re attempting to do it legally now, repeating history as violent authoritarians always do. *sigh*

We finally watched the marine push come through on the weather app, temperatures dropping swiftly as regular weather reasserted itself. Of course we still kept the house closed and the AC on all night, since it would still be almost-80F at midnight; our power bill will not thank us this month but honestly, nobody in the house cares.

I’m a little shaky today. Ever since that one incident of heatstroke in San Diego (I was there for Comic-Con one year) I’ve been peculiarly sensitive to hot weather. After I finished watering yesterday evening (my poor seedlings, and someone’s been grubbing them up too, probably a squirrel, GODDAMMIT) I was nauseous and apparently looked like death warmed over, so I took a cool shower and went to bed.

Both the kids are still sacked out, recovering. The Princess worked through the worst of the heat, and though her workplace has plenty of AC it was still not very comfortable. The Prince, on his summer of freedom after high school (he’s not allowed to work or do ANYTHING until September except goof off) holed up in his dark room and slept through most of the worst. Febrile hibernation, I call it, and wish I’d’ve been able to do the same.

We’re back to “normal” weather, albeit a bit warmer than usual. 90F+ days used to be exceedingly rare. Now, well…thanks, corporate-fueled climate change. That’s just great, thank you.

Sigh. Today is for lots of ice water, a very short run–because I will bloody well strangle something if I don’t get at least a few kilometers in–and whatever work I can manage. There’s administrivia to perform, and wordcount on the serial (not to mention two romances) to get sorted. That one combat scene in Hell’s Acre has been hanging fire for a while now, and needs to be finished.

It’s like jumping rope on the playground–you watch, gauging the rhythm, before you hop in. Hopefully I won’t trip over my own rope and fall flat on my face.

But, you know…given how this week’s started, I can’t rule it out. The coffee’s soaking in, so it’s time to go.

Stay cool, my beloveds. In every way.