Patience

When I bought a couple grapevines, I didn’t think the second one would survive. It was a spindly, ill-tempered little thing, and did nothing the first year. It only sent out a few anemic leaves the second, and I thought it was done for. Still, I fed and watered and sang to it, hoping. The kids, used to me giving plants a long time to bounce back, shook their heads and left me to it.

This year, the spindly little bastard has exploded, and there are at least six bunches of grape-buds buried in its depths. The other vine, the luxuriously healthy one, still isn’t producing.

Sometimes it just takes a while for the fight to show any results. Keep singing, keep watering, keep hoping, keep fighting.

Eventually, there will be wine.

Chalk Tangle

Since it’s summer, I can use one of the running routes that goes through an elementary school. I vary my routes constantly, on the principle that my body will respond to exercise better if it doesn’t get bored and (more importantly) anyone watching me won’t be able to tell which route I’m going to choose when–elementary safety for a woman in this society, even one with a faithful canine guard literally attached to her hip.

Anyway, since school let out, I’ve been watching this wall gather more and more chalk. It seems a gentle way to give a message to the world: “Unicorns!”, “Confidence is Power”, “Love is Wealth”, “Valerie was here”.

It makes me happy, so the last time I went by, I had to stop in the middle of the run and take a snap. Miss B, confused, kept pulling at the leash around my waist, so if it’s a bit blurry, my apologies. But you get the idea.

Unicorns, indeed.

Storm, Season

I spent the weekend getting Jozzie & Sugar Belle–that infamous “nutless kangaroo shifter novella”–up for preorder. I didn’t mean to, mind you, I thought I’d bring it out in October, but it was so fun once I started the prep I decided a July release would be fine. I’m pretty sure nobody will buy it, but it made me laugh until my belly hurt, so I’m going to release it into the wild and see what happens.

There were also plenty of housecleaning chores, and the Little Prince is out of school for the summer. He attended a friend’s birthday party, and came home exhausted. I gather there were at least six teen males stuffed into one house, and the gaming was particularly fierce. (Those parents must be saints. Good heavens.)

So…it was a busy weekend, and finished off with thunderstorms Sunday evening. Miss B came slightly unhinged–she does not like thunder–and had to have half an anti-anxiety tab. Of course Odd Trundles was oblivious, until a strike less than three miles away gave forth a peal of thunder that came in my office window and startled him a bit. I closed my window, but he was already locked on BORK BORK BORK, so it took a little while to get him calmed down. By the time he did, the tab was working for B, and they both slept peacefully while the sky-gods battled.

I love storms; we don’t often get them here. Yesterday was strange because the thunder didn’t stop after one or two halfhearted rumbles. It was a proper, honest-to-goodness summer storm front, and the flashes and rumbling were almost constant whenever a cell moved overhead. It was glorious, but I’m kind of glad it’s over. This morning’s run, as a result, was somewhat steamy and sticky. I don’t mind the bees catching a ride in my hair, or the metallic-looking ones who want to drink my sweat–I mean, I’m producing it, they might as well get it while it’s there–but my eyes were watering, which happens on some runs, and the sweat bees decided that was MANNA FROM HEAVEN. Crawl on my arms, hang out in my hair, that’s fine, but they were going for the eyes and that was not fine by any stretch of the imagination.

In any case, I returned home sopping wet, and there were (miraculously) no casualties. B, glad to work off her fidgets, was a right little snot all the way through, busily trying to herd me in every direction except the one I wanted to go. She keeps thinking she has a vote in our route.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Anyway, she’s sacked out in the hall, napping the nap of the fully justified, and in a little while I’ll roust both her and Trundles for his afternoon constitutional. He also gets an epsom-salt paw soak and I am kicking around the idea of bandaging said paw with a clean white sock and tons of antibiotic cream.

I’m sure that will go over well.

In any case, now that preorders are well underway, I can turn my attention back to HOOD and Harmony. And oh look–are those edits in my inbox? No rest for the weary or the wicked, and the birds are storm-flittering outside as if the weather’s going to give us another round. Plus, a couple squirrels seem to have taken up residence in the apple tree outside the dining room window.

I’m sure that will end well…

Engagement, Choice

Caesar continues to delight me.1 This time it’s a wonderfully brief sentence, still in the battle near Bibrax.

Acriter in eo loco pugnatum est. The Gallic War, Loeb Classical, p. 102

Edwards translates it as “Fierce was the engagement fought there.” Acriter, which is of course has descended to acrimony from its root which means “pungent,” but in adverb form is “fiercely, strongly.” Then the one-two-three punch of in eo loco2 and the hinge of the sentence, pugnatum, from whence we get pugnacious. To sum it all up, the lovely est, bringing a consonant and the Latin habit of making you wait for the very last breath of the sentence for emphasis.

Part of the joy is the translation, too, keeping some of the rhythm but sadly losing that punch at the end. Fierce was the battle fought there is how I’d have done it, but I think Edwards chose “engagement” because this is just one small part of the ongoing battle at Bibrax, which Caesar has been telling as a whole. I can’t argue with the translation, but I did stop and think “battle would be more poetic, wouldn’t it?”

Of such choices are translation made.

Butterfly, Snow

I love butterfly bushes, especially the ones with deep-purple, almost black flowers. I had to move this one to a slope where it would get more sun, and I’m glad I did. I had a bad turn when the temperature plummeted, until I looked them up and realized they are, in fact, evergreens.

When the snow came, it decked the leaves in melting glitter, now mostly gone. It’s beautiful just the same. And spring is coming.

Love in Baking

When you’ve had a rough week, and your no-longer-a-teenager-this-year child knows it and uses her day off to clean the kitchen and make a pesto braid, because she wanted to try the recipe and she knows you love pesto…

…yeah, like that. Every bite was love.

I love my kids.

Good Wallow

So. We survived 2017. Idiots in the neighborhood busted out (now-illegal-within-city-limits) fireworks, so Miss B was huddled near me until we went to bed, where she promptly passed out and only twitched at the booms and bangs. I guess once she’s on The Hoomin’s Bed, nothing can harm her. I do wish she wouldn’t have needed her snout thrust firmly in my hair before she did the said passing-out, though.

’17 was awful. The world is on fire, there seems no way to stop the flames, and I’m tired. I took a good wallow in the last week, playing video games, letting myself eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, only producing 200 words or so a day–just enough to scratch the itch–and just generally rolling around in a pile of “waaaaaaaaaaah”.

I know time is subjective, I know today is technically just the same as yesterday and the change in year only has power because we all agree on it. The Witch’s Year started on Samhain, and one of the things I enjoy is the lying-fallow period from the winter solstice to the other New Year. Often I try to scramble, to get work done during that time, but I’m forced to accept that I need, well, not to.

It doesn’t help that salaried publishing people tend to clear their desks right before major holidays, which means work lands on freelancers–including the writers producing the content the salaried people are selling. Just one more way the industry is kind of benighted; eventually our culture will appreciate the creatives it’s built on and needs so desperately.

And while I’m dreaming, I’d also love a war unicorn to gore my enemies.

ANYWAY. We made it. I’m here, you’re here too, and there’s exciting stuff coming down the pike. Check out my new Subscriptions page–if you’re in the mood for a monthly or weekly hit of fiction, or access to the ongoing Roadtrip Z serial, or if you just want to throw a little in the tip jar, there are plenty of options.

After my run, while the laundry is chugging away and Miss B is exhausted into happiness again, I’ll be cleaning off my desk a bit at a time and redoing my master to-do list. It’s nice to see what I crossed off over the past month. The lying-fallow period has one great advantage: when it ends, I am more than ready to get back to work.

*puts on helmet, and goggles* Let us go forth together, my dear Readers, and kick some ass.