Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pajama girl

I have to change the name of my blog—or at least the subtitle. I had a dream last night that I finally wrote a new post & then I was trying to look at it. In order to do that I was scrolling through other blogs to get to mine & I hit an X instead of an up key & BAM, my whole blog, every post I ever did, was gone. (Josh Brolin's wife's blog was the one right below mine, for anyone who wants to analyze my dream. Grin.) Anyway, in the dream I was very distressed, so I don't think I can really post under "written under duress" any more. Perhaps for the new year I will come up with a new subtitle…

I'm in Nye, Montana, where I grew up. My parents & I have played innumerable games of pitch. (It's such a good 3-person game.) Mom & I played (mostly lost) a bunch of pinochle against Dad & my baby brother Christmas night. Then Dad & I played (mostly lost) a different flavor of pinochle with our good friend Jo & Mom. (I'm really not a bad pinochle player, in case you were noticing the "I" in both of the mostly-lost teams. It was in the cards.)

Christmas eve & day were filled to bursting with friends &/or family & food & (to quote my friend Cathy) "all that sugar cookie, candy cane, smeared with the glitter of the holidays stuff." We know how to have fun up here in the mountains, & I'm pretty sure there's not a more loving family on the planet. My goal was to spend Christmas day in my nightgown & (Vietnamese silk) robe & I far exceeded that. I almost made it 3 full days, but on the 27th my dad had the wood & coal stove stoked up real good. The silk robe was much too hot! So I slipped a sleeveless dress on over my nightgown. Does that count? A girl has to have goals, after all.

I could go on & on about everything—feeding deer off the back deck, my folks & I meeting my ex-inlaws & my nieces from Australia for lunch, drawing with my sister's "grandchildren" (her ex-boyfriend's daughter's children) on Christmas morning, using expired Sponge Bob Deep Sea Bubble toothpaste (I think I'll throw it away when I leave—it's effectively childproof because you have to squeeze so hard to get it out, but I like it better than the tiny tube of crappy-tasting toothpaste I brought), dial-up e-mail, etcetera—but I won't.

Speaking of dial-up, I am writing this in my word processor & then (I hope) importing it into Blogger. With a picture even, of my shadow & the deer I was feeding. If there's no picture, you'll know dial-up was too wimpy to handle it.

My folks are out at a funeral. I went to one with them yesterday. There's a wedding this afternoon. I decided I could take one of each, but that was my limit. I have a big pan of very favorite beans simmering on the wood & coal stove, made with smoked turkey. Mom & I boiled up the carcass yesterday for stock & I picked the meat off the bones this morning. Should be delish. I hope all of you had fab holidays, too, & that the new year will bring more of the same.

Blog alternative:
110. Spend a day in your pajamas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Earl Grey vs. sky-diving into a hurricane

This is what mountain laurel looks like. It starts out as little stars & turns into bells. It's so beautiful--I can't imagine a better flower to be named after.

In a few days I'm heading north for the winter--or for a couple weeks of it anyway. Weatherwise, it could be a mistake, but I'm sure the warm company will make up for the temperature. White Christmases are nice anyway, as long as they're not too white for flying & driving.

I will not linger long here at this coffee shop. Perhaps I should call it a tea shop today, as that is what I am drinking. I took a big risk & ordered Earl Grey. On the risk scale, where 1 is getting out of bed & 100 is sky-diving into a hurricane, Earl Grey sounds like about a 4. But it was scary.

See, I used to love Earl Grey above all other teas. I drank it morning, noon & night. Cup after cup. (You can see where this is going, can't you, fellow O.D.ers....) Then came the day when bergamot--the flavoring that makes it Earl Grey rather than just another black tea--tasted like shampoo. Bleah. It's been years since I've had Earl Grey. But today, today I musta been feeling brave. I ordered; I let it steep; I added cream; I brought the cup to my lips


well, on a risk scale of 1 to 100, the Earl Grey was about a 4. I like it, I really like it. (Earl Grey is a distant cousin of Sally Fields.) But I'm not going to buy a box or give it an Oscar. Yet. I'll flirt with it occasionally at coffee--err, tea shops. Lapsang Souchong will retain its favored flavor status in the harem of teas. But Earl Grey is dusting off its ascot & derby, thinking of the day--cheerio!--when it actually lives in my kitchen & can compete cuppa a cuppa with the upstart.

I'm about done lingering over the Earl Grey. Things to do before I fly north for (a bit of) the winter. Gotta pack. Gotta look through the compost heap I call "outgoing" to see which things are oops-get-done-yesterday! & which have graduated to wonder-what-that-moldy-thing-was? (For those of you who are wondering what ever happened to the girl who Got Things Done, she confesses that it is a system spottily applied in her immediate universe. She's still getting lots more done than she used to, but she didn't turn into David Allen overnight. (For those of you who like her as Laurel Winter, you may be glad to hear that.))

Blog alternative:
109. Think of something you used to like until you overdid or overdosed. Then--be brave, grasshopper!--take a sip or a nibble or at least a whiff. (That's presuming it's a food or beverage. If it's an activity, do the sip/nibble/whiff equivalent.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A little bird told me--no, really!

We shall begin with the belated photo. (See previous post for details.)

We shall continue beginning with a weather report: Asheville, which has been droughting, had misty fog last night. Today, there was freak--& highly localized--rain of capers. It appeared to be centered around my table at the coffee shop & may have had something to do with the lox & cream cheese bagel, which comes with lettuce & tomato & (hold the) onions & (?) capers. The National Weather Service & my barista are arguing about the cause. In the meantime, I have humbly picked up all straying capers & deposited them in the trash.

I would have written before--through mist & drizzle & shower of capers--but the skittish herd of organic free-range wi-fi which has been scampering sporadically through my apartment appears to have been corralled & fitted with those bright orange radio tracking collars that the forest service puts on elk & bighorn sheep. Either that or someone has put invisible fence or an oil pipeline between me the wi-fis, disrupting their normal migration pattern. So, unless I traipse on out to a coffee shop, no wi-fi for me.

Therefore & thus, my numbers for December are not looking good. T'is the thirteenth & I've posted but thrice before this. (A surfeit of "th"s you think? I thought that's what you thought.) Anyway, this is your warning. If I get close enough to twelve to poke it with a long stick, I'll count myself lucky.

I'm still thinking about real estating. I considered making a re-offer on the place I already offered on, as it's still on the market. When I made my offer before, Labor Day weekend, it had been listed for a mere 3 weeks & the owners weren't nearly hungry enough. Now--perhaps. So I thought about it, but then I saw another house that was a possibility & thought about that &--well, I guess it's not a "Hell, yes," if you have to talk yourself into it or you can talk yourself out of it. Plus, taking off for the holidays is not conducive to real estating.

Besides, a little bird told me to wait. Actually, a little bird told me to go for a walk, which then led me to a gallery, where I looked at cool paintings & talked to the gallery owner a bit. Then I left & thought, well, maybe the little bird (An actual little bird, btw, which hopped near me when I was going to get in my car & seemed to convey--silently, with its little bird eyes--that I should walk NOW. So walk I did, to the post office & there it was again, or perhaps its cousin.) wanted me to do more than look at art there, so I went back in & said to the owner, "This might sound a little strange, but I'm thinking about acquiring a house & I wondered if you knew of any." She gave me the funniest look & said, "How did you know I'm a house guru? If I wasn't an art dealer, I'd be a real estate agent." So she gave me some advice about the market getting even better for buyers next year & said she'd keep her eyes open for me. I even told her about the little bird, which really made her laugh.

Blog alternative:
108. Pay extra close attention to your hunches today. Actively seek out a hunch on a subject. ("Where should I go for lunch?" perhaps.) Look for & listen to the little birds.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Oh, go ahead--blame the duck

I am making a duck, I think, & thinking about acquiring a new computer.

I am not actually making a duck--only other ducks can do that--so much as cooking a duck. The I think part stems from the fact that the duck has been in the oven (my first use of the oven here!) for far longer than the internet says a duck must be in the oven, & yet it seems not done to me. Perhaps my oven is not calibrated correctly. Perhaps my duck is a mutant, made not by other ducks, but by some strange process that renders it heat-resistant. (Okay, so the spellcheck just flagged the word renders--& the word okay--& the word spellcheck. I must be living in an alternate universe where spellcheck & ducks do not operate as the planet I was on earlier.)

I am thinking about acquiring a new computer because this one is making me a little crazy. Now I don't mind being a little crazy, so much, but this one keeps turning my wireless radio off & saying windows can't configure the internet connection & popping up annoying little earthlink dial-up windows--all of which prevents me from sending you pictures of my thumb with fast moving heart-shaped lavosh cracker & daisy, & mutant duck updates. (The photo was taken at Aroma's, in Zumbrota, Minnesota, before a Michael Monroe concert at the Crossings Gallery.) (Okay, so I must admit it was a fast-moving camera rather than a fast-moving cracker & daisy.)

Anyway, I am not getting a new computer tonight, so if you don't get this message, or if the picture is missing, you can blame the old computer. Or me. Or anyone you want to blame. Except the duck. Do not blame the duck.

You know what this is? this is part of the space that the picture was supposed to be in. I give up. The computer keeps resetting & doing stupid stuff while it's supposed to be looking for the picture. So, no picture. & man, it was really cool, too. I hope the post posts.

Ooh! I almost forgot: I bought a world map today at a little map store in Black Mountain, which was supposed to have closed 15 minutes before I arrived but did not in fact do so. It's a Buckminster Fuller projection--also known as the Dymaxion projection--& is way cool. I've been wanting one. It doesn't distort the shapes or sizes of the continents.

Blog alternative:
107. Look at a map of the world--Dymaxion, if you can get it--& pick a spot to shower some extra-special attention on.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Unlawful conduct subject

I was all set to write my blog & then I couldn't think of anything to blog about & then I thought I'd do a photo instead & then I started looking at my photos &--well, this is just to tell you I'm not really blogging today.


& I couldn't really decide which picture to put in, so ignore this one, from July 2006 in Racine, Wisconsin.

That might be about it.

If I was going to put a quote from The Art Spirit, it would be Real students go out of the beaten paths, whether beaten by themselves or by others, and have adventures with the unknown. However, since I'm not really blogging I won't do that.

& Blog alternative 106. would be
106. Pick something not to do & don't do it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Techno-damsel posts photograph--no one is injured

Hello from December!

It's officially winter now, according to Laurel. December, January & February are winter. March, April & May are spring. June, July, August--summer. I'll let you guess what the fall months are. Anyway, happy winter from Winter.

The weather is beautiful, crisp & sunny with some clouds in the forecast. I hope it rains. The mountains would enjoy sipping some precip.

My friend Bill has informed me that it is time to start adding photos to the blog. (You remember Bill--he's the one who informed me I was about to start blogging.) He told me it was easy as pie & he'd tell me how. I have decided not to techno-damsel. I'm about to try doing it myself.

Oh! It worked. (Don't sound so surprised, goddess previously known as techno-damsel.) That is a self-portrait reflection from a boat on Lake Titicaca in 2004, early February.

I was thinking of Peru today, because I am sponsoring a Peruvian boy's education--I met him in the jungle there in 2004; he was 5, & already working at a 2nd grade level--& I just got a little update from Dolly, who led our tour down there & set up the sponsorship program. So here's to dear, brilliant Jefferson.

Now a quote from The Art Spirit:

The best art the world has ever had is but the impress left by men who have thought less of making great art than of living full and completely with all their faculties in the enjoyment of full play. From these the result is inevitable.

Blog alternative:
105. Look at some photographs you took--or some that were taken of you.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Revenge of the imaginary executive assistant

Cool. 11 posts in the 11th month. Maybe I'll do 12 in December. January's looking grim though. Grin.

I write you from the semi-satiated space between 2 cream cheese bagel halves. (As in, I have eaten the first half.) Here in this space there is some relief from hunger, but it is not good for ones clothing to stand too close to the event horizon of the second half, which is sucking me inexorably into the cream-cheesy goodness. Aaaah, my new plum organic cotton hooded wrap jacket, noooooo!

I must eat my way out of this chasm before I can finish this post. One moment. Talk amongst yourcyberselves.

Much better. You ever have one of those days when you realize the only thing you've eaten is a piece of toast with butter & pear preserves & a couple clementines? I don't know how much of the day I spent on the phone, but it was a fair percentage. The good news is that it was all fun & pleasant & I now have travel plans for the holidays & numerous persons who would be interested in said plans notified. Montana, via Minnesota. I thought I had everything set up to just fly to Billings with my Capital One miles, because I have more than enough. Except there's also a $ restriction, as in up to $500, which doesn't even come close to covering Asheville to Billings, Montana, during the holiday season. So I'll fly to Minneapolis instead, rent or borrow a car, drive to Montana, hang out with the friends & fam, drive back to Minnesota, hang out with the friends & fam (the latter being my son & his fiancee) & then fly back. Heck, it's only a 12 or 13 hour drive. One way. Grin.

You will be so proud of me. (I'm talking to you, Cathy.) I just mailed a bunch of stuff at the post office, including 3 short-short stories for a contest. The deadline is not until Monday the 3rd of December & I--she said, patting herself on the shoulder--have mine sent out while it is still November. Yay me. Okay, so it's the very lastest of November, but still.

I have to admit that part of the reason I sent the stories out (ahead of deadline) is that my executive assistant is coming over tomorrow & I didn't want her to think I had accomplished nothing since she was last over...

& now it is time to finish my coffee & walk home & do a couple more things to prepare for her arrival.

But first, your quote from The Art Spirit by Robert Henri.

Today must not be the souvenir of yesterday, and so the struggle is everlasting. Who am I today? What shall I see today? How shall I
use what I know, and how shall I avoid being victim of what I know? Life is not repetition.

Blog alternative:
104. Conjure up an imaginary executive assistant--French perhaps, & very fussy--& get ready for his--her?--survey of your domain. (I think this is perhaps a semi-repeat of a previous blog alternative, but really, it is never too often to have the imaginary executive assistant over. Besides, last time I don't think she--he?--was French.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Peggy Fleming's fashion twin

I'll start you off with a quote from the book I just (re)read. (re meaning, after I'd read it & underlined or otherwise marked many passages, I went back & read the parts I'd marked. Halfway through that process I started writing some of the marked passages on lime-green sticky notes. So then I went back to the beginning & re-reread so I could write some of those down as well. Now I've typed a few of them into my computer. Do you think I liked this book?)

The question of the development of the art spirit in all walks of life interests me. I mean by this, the development of individual judgment and taste, the love of work for the sake of doing things well, tendency toward simplicity and order. If anything can be done to bring the public to a greater consciousness of the relation between art and life, of the part each person plays by exercising and developing his own personal taste and judgment and not depending on "outside authority," it would be well. Robert Henri, The Art Spirit, published in 1923

I'm at a coffee shop, sitting on a couch next to a cardboard box. I would walk to pick up my mail on a parcel day...

This parcel was fortuitous, because I walked out a tiny bit underdressed for the day, considering sundown & all, for it contains a plum organic cotton wrap jacket with a hood. It ties around the waist & has a little flare skirt. (I think I was a figure skater in a past life; I just love their costumes. Or, considering my figure skating ability, perhaps I was a figure skating costume designer. Grin.) So now I will have 2 layers for my return walk. I may be able to get the other items in my canvas bag & be able to go boxless for the mile walk home. That would be nice.

Time to do something other than blogging before I begin the trek back.

Blog alternative:
103. Think about your own individual judgment & taste. Are you expressing it?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Do you think Picasso started with fingerpaints?



You may not be excited, but I am--this post gets me back up to June & July production levels. & I would say there is an excellent chance it will not be the last for lovely November.

It is beginning to feel on the verge of winter-ish here. But, winter-ish here & winter-ish in all the other wheres I have lived is a vastly different thing. Plus, it is still just on the verge. It was cool on Saturday, but this week the highs are supposed to be around 60. It flits in & out. Last year it was 70 on New Years Day.

Went to the co-op for supper & shopping. Almost walked out without the oats, so I actually went through check-out twice. I made oatmeal in my new double boiler & it was so perfect. A friend came over for breakfast a couple days ago & he said it was the best oatmeal he'd had in 10 years! I didn't have enough oats left to make a decent batch--the first purchase was trial-sized. I actually got the little bag of oats a few days before I could make them, because I didn't have a proper pan. Little tiny saucepans & one great soup pot, which still had leftover very favorite beans in it.

So, a double boiler. A wise acquisition. Also recently acquired is a 5-foot folding table, which is currently set up in my studio space. Much nicer for doing projects than the kitchen table, which can now be more easily used for its intended purposes: eating & playing cards. Something I bought a while ago & haven't used yet: fingerpaints. I'll keep you posted.

Blog alternative:
102. Get some fingerpaints. Pretend you're 5--& try to paint as if you don't know you're the one who has to do the clean-up.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Kipper snacks & clementines--& a couple bowls of Crispix

Happy thanks giving.

The above has no errors in date recognition, spacing or capitalization. I know that today is Friday, the 23rd day of November--which is why I am NOT out shopping. I know that there was a big holiday yesterday, that is compound-worded & capitalized. I'm just capitalizing on the everyday opportunity of ecstatic gratitude.

Yesterday I ate

a can of kipper snacks
2 or 3 clementines
cold cereal (Crispix, to be specific)
left-over very favorite beans
chocolat pot du creme

It was all so lovely, & with lovely people. Today I finished off the very favorite beans. I'll roast up a small turkey one of these days--with an eye to soup!--but it's quite nice to be less stuffed than a traditional Thanksgiving turkey.

I established the kipper snacks & clementines tradition last Thanksgiving. The cold cereal was new for this year. It cracks me up to specifically plan on cold cereal--I did get 2 kinds of milk, so I'd have a choice. What a feast!--for one of the biggest eatin' days of the year.

Blog alternative:
101. Pick something you don't typically feel gratitude for--say, having fewer dollars than you'd prefer having--& come up with a list of reasons to feel a bit of gratitude. (Wow, I really know how to want things. I'm good at waiting. When I do acquire dollars I'm more grateful for them. That sort of thing.) (I know, the queen of the silver lining. That's me!)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Goddess of Victory sues shoe company & missile; claims emotional distress

This is it, the big moment. Blog alternative is about to turn 100. But, I suppose, first there must be that little matter of the post.

& indeed I have something to post about!

I sold a story to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Just got the check today. It's a little story called--okay, so I can't really give you the title, because most of the letters are crossed out (overstrike is the technical term) but if you can imagine that the word in is the only word in the title that is NOT crossed out, the story is called


It's all quantum fizzixy &, I think--& apparently Gordon Van Gelder thought as well--a lot of fun. Champagne is sprayed, ecstatically, that sort of thing. (I mean in the story, not here in my apartment, but that's just cuz I don't happen to have any stray champagne lurking about.)

Okay, that was the post. Now for the real important part, the Blog alternative. For those newer readers, who haven't been in for the long haul, I'll fill you in--or simply refer you back to Wednesday, April 18th, 2007, when my entire post consisted of 27 things to do rather than reading blogs. Since then, with more or less consistency, I've put a similar suggestion (sometimes 2!) at the end of each post.

I will admit to a bit of performance anxiety. 100. Ooh, gotta be a good one. Hmmm, I wonder what I'll suggest. What if it's not worthy? Oh come on, it's just an idea, silly girl. How many people are doing any of these anyway. Heck, you don't even do most of them. (Hey, I do some, sometimes.) Still, though, whatever.

So, I got over myself. (Yeah, right. She still thinks she's totally awesome, especially with that new short short story sale sparkling on the kitchen table!) (Hey, that's inconsistent--before when you were talking about me/yourself you referred directly to me as you & now you're going all she.) (Chill, babe.)

As I was saying--I got over myself (more or less) & decided to just do it. (Hope Nike doesn't sue me.) (The shoe company, not the goddess or the solid fuel propelled surface to air missile.)

Blog alternative:
100. Write a list of 100 somethings.
(I'll give you considerably less than 100 suggestions.)
100 things you like best about yourself.
100 places you have visited or would like to visit. (Reykjavik, the coffee shop down the street, Tasmania, Taos, The Jersey Lily in Ingomar, Montana, the moon--that sort of thing.)
100 words that start with W. (Winter is a nice one.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dear Imaginary Student. Two words: Be plastic.

I just got an email from one of my high school classmates, whose friend's daughter is going to attend Montana State University in Bozeman, come fall 2008. She wanted the scoop & so queried some of us who had attended there. I thought I'd share my response with you. I will dedicate this post to my college roommate, Peggy, who died of cancer shortly before the 30-year class reunion.

Well, my information is mostly 30 years old. Grin. I loved the campus. Piece-of-pie-shaped dorm rooms in Roskie. Yay. Cheesesteak sandwiches at the Pickle Barrel. Karl Marx Pizza (of course, I don't know if K.M. still exists...) Bozeman Hot Springs. Museum of the Rockies. The historic Ellen Theater downtown.

Make sure you play lots of frisbee football & get up in middle of the night to make popcorn for a desperate architecture student (r.i.p. dear Peggy) & go see strange foreign films. Take classes that have nothing to do with your major. Submit something to the college literary magazine (is it still called Jabberwocky?) or at least read it. Listen to KGLT (the campus radio station, if I'm recalling the letters correctly).

Love yourself. Smile every time you see yourself in a mirror, as if you'd suddenly seen your best friend. (Because, of course, you have!) Remember that your purpose in life is to be happy. Write to me if you need a sudden squirt of positivity from a total stranger.

I checked out some property on Sunday: low-cost rental property that's being converted into really affordable condos. I'll cogitate on that for a while. Definitely still a buyer's market here. I might even get a chunk of land & put up a duplex for starters. So many options!

Blog alternative:
98. Compose a letter to a (perhaps imaginary) student who will be attending your alma mater. Give advice on the specific institution (When navigating the halls at J.F.K. Kindergarten, make sure you don't bump your head on the drinking fountain near the library...) & on school & life in general. (At least once an hour, remember to consciously breathe.)
Blog alternative alternative:
99. Look up the word plastic in the dictionary & be plastic for a day, with whichever definition suits your fancy.

Oooh! Get ready. Next post, Blog alternative turns 100!

Friday, November 9, 2007

"My great-uncle was eaten by cannibals."

Honey, I'm home!

As lovely as the trip was, I am happy to be back. On Thursday Nick & I had Cheerios for breakfast--they get giant boxes of cereal to be thrifty--since neither of us was feeling ambitious. (Besides, Cheerios sounded good.) Wednesday night I took him & his roomies out for Mexican food. That's what parents do when they visit, if they're following the parental protocol handbook. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. Anyway, after breakfast Nick backed up my files on some stray space on one of his hard drives so I have up-to-date off-site archiving. & then I was off into the wild blue (actually more wild yellow & orange & red, given the leaf state) yonder. I drove through some little towns & such rather than getting on the interstate right away. Best business name, Furbank, a pet-grooming salon in a town called Burbank.

That reminds me of something I forgot to tell you. Best quote from the convention: "My great-uncle was eaten by cannibals."

Meanwhile, back at the car. It's a longish drive. I stopped in Atkins, Virgina, to fill up with gas & get something to eat. Checked the trip set & I had gone exactly 1800.0 miles for the trip. (Oh, & earlier I'd called & left a message for my dad as the car was turning over 110,000 miles. One of those special father-daughter bonding moments. We're both odometer geeks.)

The whole trip (made just a bit longer by my lost-ed-ness near the Cleveland Browns stadium) was 1945.9 miles. I haven't cleaned out the car yet, which it desperately needs, especially after I picked up the Pringles can--& not the Pringles. It was upside down & the lid came off. I got most of them back in & devoured them later, but there are still crumbs.

A friend brought over some fried rice, which was welcomed. My suppersnack in Atkins was a can of Vienna sausages, cherry licorice nips, a Starbucks frappucino drink & orange blossom white tea. Probably not a common combination...

My fortune was fun. See the blog alternative, as I am planning to share it with you. You lucky people get a fortune without the nasty little cookie!

Blog alternative:
97. Tomorrow, focus on the color yellow for luck. (I don't know if it got me good luck today, but it is a very pleasant color to focus on.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pancake purist bogged down in Buffalo

Coffeeshopping in Oberlin Oh! I decided to purchase rather than windowshop. One latte & potato chips, lightly salted.

Much fun with Nick & his roomies. They are interesting individuals. I come away inspired every time I see them. Getting here was a trip, though. Left Syracuse after 2 pm, thinking to be in Oberlin in about 6 hours. Not.

Snow slowed things down between Syracuse & Buffalo. There wasn't a lot of it, but it's early in the season & people aren't used to it yet--& some people never get used to it. I think I was driving behind a couple of them for a while. It's one of those cases where it's hard to decide: do I pass, which involves moving through the slushy ruts with great care or follow someone who's going 20 miles an hour slower than I need to go & isn't confident anyway? I passed. Then Buffalo was stop & go & stop again all the way past. Then there was road construction. Then I got lost in Cleveland.
(So far, on the list of places that make my heart sing, Buffalo & Cleveland aren't it.) Fortunately Bruce got home & got my message & google-mapped me through it. What a nice exhusband!

I didn't adopt a pet truck. One followed me for a while, as if auditioning for the job, but no. Then there was one that I was kinda sorta following, but its aesthetics weren't good & it wasn't a proper truck, but rather a rental truck pulling a car & it didn't have the steady & sure characteristics that I like in a pet truck. I might get one on the way home.

But, I finally arrived at Nick's abode. We sat up & visited & I drank tea & then slept well. He made us pancakes for breakfast: he can flip 2 at a time. Mostly. When he made little teeny ones with the last of the batter, he did not successfully flip 5 at a time. But the floor was clean. Grin.

He populates his pancakes with chocolate chips. I'm more of a pancake purist myself. Sometimes blueberries. I did put peanut butter on mine though.

Want to go somewhere cool? I know I'm anti-blogging girl, the new superhero, but check out

I promise you won't regret it.

Did you go yet? (If so, don't you really want to write messages on your appliances?) (If not, why not?)

Blog alternative:
96. Draw & describe your ideal workspace/creativespace/livingspace. (They may indeed be the same space.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Have a nice poop & other messages from the universe

So now I'm sitting in a coffee shop called Recess kinda near Bruce & Helen's, working on a novel. I went into the restroom & they have this cross-stitched sampler that says Have a Nice Poop. So I couldn't resist. Two posts in one day. Ah well, you might survive the shock.

Blog alternative:
95. Have a nice poop.

My little pet truck, on its own in the big wide world

I'm sitting on a rocking chair, next to the big Russian bear on the floor in the corner. (Don't worry, he looks well-fed.) Bruce & Helen are IBMing & studying for boards, respectively. We had a lovely supper last night after I arrived from Saratoga Springs. (Or Sartog, as my friend Cathy, the Seattlite, ex-New Yorker puts it.) (Actually, I'm not sure people actually become EX New Yorkers.) Visited. Walked to a coffee shop in a little rain.

This morning we had crepes & steel cut oatmeal. Delish.

Okay, so I want this to be more than a food report, so I will talk about trucks. I had a pet truck for a while last Thursday. Shiny & swift & unswervable, the kind of truck you can pass without worrying that it's going to creep into--or even toward--your lane. We leapfrogged a little. Sometimes I would lead the truck & sometimes I would let it forge on ahead, as long as it stayed within sight. Then there was traffic congestion & I was afraid I was going to lose my little truck (little is a term of endearment, rather than a descriptor) but I did not. With a bit of judicious passing, I was able to reconnect & we traveled happily together for some miles.

Yet, I know the way of pet trucks. One must not hold too tightly. One must allow them to find their own paths, or, better yet, their own highways. (Trucks are hell on paths.) I don't remember when it actually split off from my route, but I remember the little catch in my throat as it signaled--it always signaled!--& smoothly merged onto another road. Goodbye, my friend, I murmured. Safe travels. & then it was gone.

All that day I drove alone. Oh, there were other cars & trucks on the highway, but none of them were with me, if you know what I mean. It's not just any truck that can be a pet truck. Perhaps I will have another on this trip, perhaps not. But at least I have the memories....

Bruce & Helen & I are going to do our morning tasks & then go look around Syracuse a little. Helen works at the hospital here (she's an epileptologist). They've got a lovely apartment, filled with light. Nice hardwood floors. A couple sometimes barky chi-hooah-hooahs (that's how they're pronouncing it for fun) downstairs. Later today or tomorrow I'm going to go see Nick.

Blog alternative:
94. The next time you're driving, keep your eyes open for a pet truck. Hang with it for a while. Even name it if you want. Then, let it go on its way.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The eighth state of mind

On Thursday, I was in 4 different states in my first hour of travel: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland & Pennsylvania. By the end of the day, I'd added New Jersey & New York. For a Montana girl, that just seems crazy--Montana alone is a good day's drive & all the states around it are pretty decent-sized, unless you cross over that bit of Idaho. So, 6 states in a day--& if I'd started earlier & wanted to drive longer I could have done the whole trip in a day, which would have added North Carolina & Tennessee to the mix--is pretty amazing. You have to be doing a heck of a lot of driving to get 6 or 8 states, where I come from. Or, where I came from. Right now I'm very happy coming from North Carolina!

I stopped in Bethel for car snacks--to my leftovers I added green apple white tea Snapple & a Reeses peanut butter cup. I'm noticing a trend on this trip: white tea & junk food.

Saratoga Springs is a great town. Vibrant downtown with lots of shops (one said "office supplies & hats" which certainly attracted me. I bought a little suede beret.) & tons of restaurants. I just got back from a crepe restaurant with my roomies & a couple other friends.

WFC is a great con, although this one has an inadequate bar. That's really the best place for the editors & agents & writers & artists to do business. I did talk to Jane Yolen & she steered me to a new agent, so that may be in the works. Also, one novel is confirmedly in the hands of another editor & another editor is expected to be heard from in a couple of weeks (alas, work avalanched her & she couldn't tell me by this weekend, but that's okay) & Suzuki England has indeed flown over the airwaves into yet a third editor's camp. Plus a friend of mine who's a great book doctor gave me great insight on another novel, The Song of Lizzie Whispers, which makes me excited to take another crack at that. It shall be interesting.

So many great people here--& I got a call from an uncle from Billings, Montana, who is going to be in Charlotte of a week while I'm in New York & Ohio. I might be back in time to catch him. Hope so!

So now I've swummed in the pool & been locked in the vault at a crazily-configured (it just goes on & on--you could set 3 fantasies & a mystery or 2 in it & still have room for a romance) bookstore. The wi-fi is driving me a little batty, flipping in & out, so I'll deblog for now. Besides, I have to get ready to do my reading. I'm going to tell people to go next door to hear Catherynne Valente if they haven't yet! (She's one of the people we gave the Tiptree Award to.)

Blog alternative:
93. Wrap something in something & eat it. I'm thinking lefsa or crepes or tortillas, although you could use a lettuce or cabbage leaf.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gwyneth Paltrow's eyeliner & other excesses

Okay, this is it! I have successfully (& joyfully, more to the point) surpassed last month's blogging ppm. Yay me. Happy Halloween to you.

I'm sitting in a Travelodge in Winchester, Virginia, on my way to the World Fantasy convention. Why Winchester? Blame the dj in my head. On the early part of the drive, the song "Winchester Cathedral" was seriously stuck in my mind's jukebox. I can think of worse songs to be stuck with. It was rather pleasant, but curious. Why that?

I had initially planned on driving further today, since Mapquest estimates the trip from Asheville to Saratoga Springs at 13 hours, 40 minutes--& I'm sure that's not taking into account the road construction that is rumored near my destination. (Note to self: check WFC website for an update after posting blog...) But, I got going a little later than intended, so I was just tooling along in the beautiful sunny fall day, with all the mountains & the autumnummy trees, occasionally singing bits of "Winchester Cathedral." I ate half a can of Pringles & drank two bottles of Fuze orange blossom white tea & ate some Mentos. Ahh, car food.

Then, when I started thinking about stopping, it occurred to me that the name Winchester had begun to show up on the roadsigns. Coincidence? I almost went past, but by the time I reached exit 313 (13 & a palindrome!) it was dark & the traffic had picked up & golly gee there was a Cracker Barrel right there & that was a good enough sign for me. So here I am, back at the hotel, having eaten beans & greens, & one pancake. I drove 407.7 miles so far. (Okay, so I didn't zero the trip-set until I had just hit the highway, so it won't be door-to-door miles, but that's okay.)

So, time for a bath & some meditation & sleep, glorious sleep. I hope treats galore are in store for you all. Happy All Hallows.

P.S. I almost have Suzuki sent out. Couldn't find the card with the editor's email as I was dashing about, so I'll get it from him at the convention. I think I have to add bits about where people get on & off Amtrak trains (some of them invisibly) (actually, only one of them invisibly) & it's good to go. So I feel close enough on my self-imposed deadline.

Blog alternative:
93. Decorate yourself for Halloween. I think I'll go as Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tennenbaums. I actually hated that movie & thought her eyeliner was the best part. (On second thought, I don't want to use up all my eyeliner in fell swoop, when I'm not actually going to be seen by anyone, so I may just imagine doing it...)

Monday, October 29, 2007

my feet, parentheses, the force of gravity, etc.

I washed the dishes & put Linda's sheets in the hamper & turned the couch back into a couch. It was lovely to have a houseguest & lovely to now be back to my own spacetime continuum.

What would be the first thing you'd buy if you had a million dollars in your piggy bank? A house? A car? A banjo? I don't know what my first thing would be, but I am thinking about a house & a new bathrobe & maybe a banjo & a Caribbean cruise & some other stuff I can't think of right now.

A more useful exercise perhaps is thinking about all the things you're appreciating right now. For me it's a long list. I'll share an extremely abbreviated version
--which doesn't include the lovely people I appreciate,
lest any of them (you) feel left out
(instead, I would like you all to feel IN)

color (especially blue. & pink & orange together. & brown. & bright yellow. &--well, you get the picture), the moon, opposable thumbs, my slippers (both pairs), massages, candles, kipper snacks, my flat screen tv, the force of gravity, my pencil post bed, fall, cats, blank paper, my laptop, the claw foot bathtub in my apartment, my feet, meditation, electricity, spoons, tea, sex, butterflies, cellos, sunlight, acrylic paints, telephones, Peru, rain, my car, dreams, cheese, parentheses, stars, Legos, fireflies, palindromes, ceiling fans, office supply stores, the planet Mars, thunder & lightning, chocolate, round tables, the Quantum Zeno effect, card games, mountain laurel, sticky notes, brain plasticity, email, differing opinions, pancakes with maple syrup, petrified wood, the Mediterranean, coffee shops, air, the butterfly effect, poetry, fried chicken thighs, intuition, fireplaces, etcetera.

Blog alternative:
92. Write down an eclectic list of things you appreciate.

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Come visit me & be poked full of holes & get your head put on straight.." "Okay!"

My friend Linda has gotten into all sorts of things she's never done before. Yesterday was her first acupuncture treatment & today she is getting her atlas correctly installed & tomorrow we're going to an Art of Allowing workshop. We've done a little dining out & some walking at the Arboretum & I took her to look at this house I might buy. It was supposed to be all rainy & cool while she was here, but today was sunny & 70, so that made her even happier than usual. I think I'll take her to the Grove Park Inn tonight or tomorrow, if she wants to see the fancy dancy side of things.

She & I have been having the best time talking about everything--we've known each other since 1982 or 83. (I'm sure I could figure out approximately the day we met, because it was in a community college writing class, but I'm feeling lazy right now & am not going to track down my report cards...) (I do know I got an A.) I got on the internet & looked up the other Linda that we met in that class--the 3 of us formed a writer's group--& left her a phone message. She moved away from Rochester 20 years ago or something like that, so it would be fun to talk to her. (Of course, the person I found could be some other Linda with the same last name & same husband's name who will have no idea who I am...)

I'm going to "hang up" now.

Blog alternative:
91. Look up someone (or some 2) from your past (I like the site, but there are probably others) & see if you can find them. You don't have to actually contact them--especially if there are a bunch of listings in various states that could be them--but at least think of them fondly. Who knows, you might even want to call or write....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quick, send some sushi on the train or I fear I may go into shock! (The yellow jackets are closing in.)

What do yellow jackets, anaphylactic shock, "As You Like it," sushi, Chicago Pile-1 (the site of the world's first nuclear reactor) & Amtrak schedules have in common?

They are all things I'm doing a bit of research on in preparation for sending The Secret Life of Suzuki England off before the end of the month. Woo-hoo! So far I have done the yellow jacket & anaphylactic shock part & am closing in on sushi. (I may have already done "As You Like It" as well; I'll see when I get to that part of the book.)

I might have to (oh, so sad) take a train trip from Chicago to Portland at some point to refine details, but for sending it out I just need a little more info.

My friend Linda is coming to visit me for a few days. I pick her up at the airport tomorrow! She & our friend Carol & I co-edited & self-published an anthology of Minnesota authors called Blossoms & Blizzards. It came out in September of 1986, a month before my twins turned a year old.

That was a project. We got a grant & solicited submissions, including some reprints from biggies like Garrison Keillor & Jon Hassler, & input every bit of type ourselves (remember that these were 1986 computers, when 64k was nothing shabby!) & promoted the heck out of it. We had 1000 hardcover & 1000 softcover published, & we had to reprint the paperbacks before Christmas! Yee-haw. We made a profit, even if you subtracted the grant, which is not exactly common with anthologies & with self-published work. Work is not a bad term for it, because it was a lot of work, including filing separate tax returns for Pegasus Prose. (I, she said modestly, designed & drew the cute little logo.)

It was a perfect experience that expanded all of our horizons, because not a one of us was comfortable driving up in the Twin Cities, where we went to bookstores & a book distributor & such. (When we'd ask people for directions to the next place, they'd say, "Just hop on 35W &--" at which point we'd blanch & gulp & interrupt with, "Can you tell us how to get there on streets?")

Okay, so I'm back to tracking the wild sushi & corralling it into the novel. Hope it cooperates. Post again, post again, bloggety-blog.

But first--

Blog alternative:
90. Go out for sushi, if you're so inclined. (If not, at least have some rice!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dead Sea Mudpuppy

I'm getting just a teeny bit more blog-savvy: I just figured out how to change the date on a mis-dated post. (Just a teeny bit, though, because I'm not entirely sure why it was wrong in the first place.)

I have had the most amazing few days in terms of essential well-being. (Okay, so the raspberry cream cheese Danish might not make nutritionists everywhere applaud, but it made my mouth very happy.)

On Saturday I had my atlas (the C1 cervical vertebra) correctly installed. According to the folks that do such work, in most people it is out of place. I seem to have left the details in my car (it involves a procedure developed in Switzerland & there are 7 people in the U.S. who are certified to do it) & am too lazy & comfortable to go find them for you right now, having my feet up on this great lounge-y section of a couch at a coffee shop, but I'll let you know later the url of the website that talks about it & shows a video. I felt different right away & presumably will continue to improve. I'll keep you posted. My muscles tend to be very tight, so the guy really dug into the shoulder massage at the end & promised I'd be sore the next day. (He wasn't lying.)

On Sunday I saw a Mexican psychic who does aura reading & healing. (I saw her in March & it is a very powerful experience.)

On Tuesday, after I posted the blog entry for the day, I stopped at a spa in Weaverville (The Secret Garden) just to get info about possible future treats & ended up booking the Ancient Clay session, which involves hot Dead Sea mud & a bath with salt & rosemary & a massage. Ohmygosh was it splendid. Just what my (as-promised) sore muscles needed.

Today was acupuncture with Eli. (At Mystic Journeys, in case you're within a 50-mile radius of Asheville, or in case you're coming to visit.)

I feel so good!

Plus, the therapist at the Secret Garden inspired me to start a novel, based on her name. I jotted down a few words yesterday & as we e-speak (or as I e-write & before I e-post) I have 1532 words! I haven't been excited about writing a novel for a couple years now, so this feels great.

The battery is slowly sinking into the west & the coffee is ingested & the guy who always talks too loud has been talking too loud about baseball statistics & various other topics for some time now. So, time to post & go.

Blog alternative:
89. Imagine some health care treat (sitting down & putting your feet up for a minute, or drinking a glass of water, or a getting a massage) & think about making an appointment with someone who can make it happen--your couch or your faucet or a massage therapist. It's okay if thinking about it as far as you go at first, but then think about making it happen. (& then maybe do it...)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

17th wash--tea bag seems to be dying...

Sitting at a coffee shop in Weaverville, drinking tea. Actually, having drunk tea, as the cup is empty after a teabag was woefully over-steeped. Some bags you can get 3 washes & others would have been a lot better off with 2.... (One sad example of this has been discarded already.) I have also already eaten one mini cheese biscuit & a bowl of lentil soup. Possibly some dessert-y/pastry-y purchase coming up.

Visited with a couple gentlemen I met here a few months ago. I recommended Son of the Morning Star by Evan S. Connell to one, who is a retired history professor from UNCA & he recommended that I watch Pam's Labyringth & Bridge to Terabithia. (B to T I read many years ago.)

We may have rain today, which Cathy & Nick would celebrate with me, but which causes many persons to glum about. We three, however, are the thunderstorm triumphirate, the puddle jumpers, the if it's raining let's have a parade! types. I remember fondly one walk I took with Nick when I was picking him up from a chess club or some sort of thing like that: We were about to get into my car & it began to sprinkle so we immediately changed our minds & took a walk instead. The heavens opened up for us. By the time we'd gone a block we were as drenched as we could be. The gutters turned into rivers & we splashed in them enthusiastically & energetically. I think we walked a couple of miles in the warm dark wet night. It was awesome. To prolong the festivities, we even walked up to this nursing home near Assisi Heights because we thought my friend Karla worked there. (Turned out she worked at another one with the same name near downtown.) Ah, rain!

I'm working on a short story & rereading a book (Ask and It Is Given) & designing even more furniture (one woke me up at one a.m. & insisted that I sketch it) & an organizy-thing for my journal & oh, life is good.

Hope the same is true for you.

Blog alternative:
88. (Gotta love that number!) Over a cup of (properly-steeped) tea (or its equivalent, if you're not a tea fan), contemplate your favorite numbers. Also think about rain, in Spain or elsewhere. Think about why you like it or why you hate it or why you're indifferent to it. Then decide if you want to change your opinion.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Patented leather shoes

Yeah, I know--

It's not looking good for the good guys. The 14th of October & this is only my second post. What can I say, other than I've been having fun not blogging. Designing furniture & luggage & weird things with LEDs. Visiting with friends, old & new. Walking, as mundanely as downtown & as elevatedly as Black Balsam, which has 360 degree views of mountains as far you can see. (It just occurred to me that every view, even in a closet, is as far as you can see. But this was farther than most.) Lots of lovely meditating.

Can't tell you about my designing, of course, having just read Protecting Your #1 Asset, by Michael A. Lechter, Esq. Not a real page-turner, if you know what I mean, but probably books about patent, trademark & copyright law are not supposed to be. I'm coming to the conclusion that I'd better get rich on my writing so I can afford a patent lawyer to handle all the details of getting my brilliant creations out to the waiting public. (Oh, you're just going to love them!)

Speaking of getting rich on writing:

By the end of this month I will have heard from 2--count 'em--different editors on 2 different novels. I have another one about ready to send out. Okay, you heard it here: by the end of this month (I mean October 2007) I will have sent out The Secret Life of Suzuki England. Yikes. The 3 of you who haven't given up in the 10 days since I last posted will now hold me accountable. Good thing I don't know who you are. Oh, rats--Cathy. I know you'll keep checking. Sigh. So I am accountable. (She knows where I live...)

Shortly & sweetly, I salute you. I could pretend that I'm off to work on that novel, but no. I think I'll eat supper, as yet undefined. I did just start a new short story, which was fun.

Blog alternative:
87. Find a high place & see as far as you can see. Then, close your eyes in a quiet (or noisy) place & see as far as you can see. Compare & contrast. From which can you see farther?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

John Denver & purple potatoes

Today, October 4th, is
tres especial
for it is the--
ta da!
of my children.
22 years ago, 2 days before my due date, I had twins without an epidural
(Breathing exercises rock!)
& now, 2 fabulous beings are gracing the planet with their lives.
Yee haw!
I am fortunate. Not every mother is quite so fond of her children.

I just got back from a concert featuring the music of John Denver. In my living room--& this was before I knew about the concert--is a music stand with the John Denver Songbook open on it. No lie. (Just don't ask me the last time I tuned up my guitar & played any of those songs. Grin. I did cut the fingernails on my left hand the other day because I was considering picking up the guitar. At least it's a step.)

I made soup today. Boiled most of a rotisserie chicken to make stock (white meat is boring, so I usually just eat the legs & thighs & make soup out of the rest) & chopped up a bunch of veggies--including purple potatoes & an orange beet--from the co-op that's near my apartment. It turned out totally delish. Needs a bit more salt, but that's what salt shakers are for. I did save some of the white meat to make chicken salad sandwiches. I'll put in some pine nuts & celery & red grapes...I think it will be the first time I've made chicken salad in my life. Live boldly, I say! Step off the cliff. Make--gasp!--chicken salad.

It's almost 11, so I'm going to--please dear wi-fi--post this before today becomes tomorrow. (Except it will still be today & somehow today will have become yesterday. How does that work?)

Blog alternative:
86. Think of some ordinary food--like chicken salad--that you've never made & make it. Or put purple potatoes in your soup.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

"In Defense of Selfishness" & other 2nd-place speeches

Last week, when I bought the toaster, I also bought a little coffeemaker, the four-cup size. Not only that, but also this truly nifty ground coffee dispenser. You squeeze a button on the handle & it dispenses exactly a tablespoon--kachung--in the basket of your coffeemaker. It isn't picky though, & would dispense coffee on your floor or in your bathtub or wherever else you decided to squeeze the handle. So far I have opted for the basket of my coffeemaker.

I just walked back from Malaprop's. Yet another reading/signing. This was Bud Harris, a Jungian analyst who has several books published. The newest is The Fire and the Rose, about spirituality & sexuality. I bought that & another called Sacred Selfishness. I gave a speech at a Toastmaster's speech contest once called "In Defense of Selfishness." It was perfect; I got second place, which meant a nice little plaque (I use it for a coaster now) & no need to practice the speech again & go on the next contest.

I told my friend Cathy this, when she was about to participate in her first speech contest. Unlike me, she joined Toastmasters because she was already good at public speaking & enjoyed it & wanted to further develop her talents. I joined because my voice shook in front of the best audience in the world: 3rd graders. Anyway, I improved enough to get at least second place in a speech contest. The morning after Cathy's contest she called to tell me her results. "Did you get a coaster?" I asked. She replied that it's hard to set a cup of coffee on a trophy. She won! Yay Cathy.

She & I both spent more time Getting Things Done today. I threw out some old index cards from 1987 & such that showed where various (mostly not-so-very-good) stories & poems had been rejected. I did keep the ones (a nice stack, if I do say so myself) that showed acceptances.

Okay, so more Things to Get Done.

Remember, I'm only blogging to get my numbers up. Grin. Tomorrow I can start with the sheer joy of blogging again.

Blog Alternative:
85. Be selfish. Think of something that you want to do. You. Not someone else. Want. Not ought to or should. Want. Then do it!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'll have baloney toast--hold the marshmallow creme

okay, I confess.

I am writing this blog tonight for other than the sheer love of blogging.

I want to reverse the slow, steady decline of posts-per-month, or ppm, as we fondly call them.

April ppm 18
May ppm 15
June & July ppm 9
August ppm 7

Currently the September ppm stands at 5, & only by posting today & tomorrow (30 days hath September, after all) will I be able to tie with August. October is my big chance to get my numbers back up. You hear--all you who have been predicting the demise of Winter in Asheville! (umm, you out there, you naysayers?)

Anyway, you don't have to read this, since it's strictly an exercise in getting one more post out there.

I worked on Getting Things Done today. Wrote a letter to my friend Maxine. I know, Bill, you're screaming, if only silently, Maxine? Who have you been owing a letter to for, oh, eons? My name's not Maxine. I know, Bill. But you are not 92, as is Maxine, so she got her letter first. Is it any consolation to know that I then put pen to paper on your behalf & your letter almost exists. Perhaps I should say partially exists instead. Anyway, it has been begun. (Now there's some messed up time sense in that last sentence...) You'll have to forgive me for writing a boringly normal letter, but I still have all that sand from Nags Head, so you could be in peril yet.

I ate supper at the Grove Park Inn, at one of the more moderately priced restaurants, the Blue Ridge Dining Room. The Grove Park Inn is a VERY swanky hotel, so more moderately priced does not mean moderately priced. I had an appetizer & iced tea & it was over $20. It was super delish--shrimp & grits with gravy. Ummm. Watched the sun set behind the mountains. Or, to be more astronomically correct: watched the mountains rise to obscure the sun. Grin.

To continue with a food report: For breakfast I had toast & peanut butter. For lunch I had toast & cheese. Did I mention I bought a toaster this week? Toasters toast so much better than combination microwave/broiler/ovens do. I guess that's why they call them toasters.

Okay, I think this counts as a post.

See you tomorrow.

Blog alternative:
I mean
84. Toast something. Bread or a waffle or a bagel or an English muffin. Then put something on it. Butter or peanut butter or cheese or cream cheese or jelly or marshmallow creme or some combination of the above. Or something entirely different. Baloney is good. That really thin deli ham. (For the record, I am NOT recommending baloney & marshmallow creme as a combo...)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Capricious free range wi-fi & a preschooler from Milwaukee

Yesterday I had a painting partner at a coffee shop in Hendersonville. I was going to go for a walk but it was a little warm (meaning upper 80s!) so I decided to coffee shop it instead. Had to put on long sleeves to survive the airconditioning. Go figure.

So I was there, trying out my new cute watercolor set. A young family from Milwaukee was hanging out & I invited the biggest little girl--3 years old--to join me, telling her parents that yes, I knew she might mess the paints up a little & no, it didn't matter if she mushed the brush down on the paper, because I'd bought those brushes to share. Her name was Ciara (pronounced keara) which I thought was interesting because a thousand years ago on the school bus to & from Absarokee High in Montana (30 miles one way)
my friend Kathy & I had an elaborate fantasy where she was Diana Elizabeth Carringon Courtland & I was Ciara (pronounced sierra) Marie Saint-James. We spent a lot of time talking about our time on the French Riviera. Anyway, Ciara (no matter how you pronounce it) & I had fun painting, even after the owner turned the lights off over our table. He wasn't trying to get rid of us--it was just that they were playing a skateboarding movie on the TV. So I soaked up a little teen culture as well, while I painted in the semi-dark...

Now it's bed time. Goodnight everyone. Or good morning or afternoon if that's when you're reading this. Happy insomnia? Merry coffee break? Grin.

(Okay, so I'm writing this at bedtime, but the free range organic wi-fi that has been blithely dancing through my apartment has decided to high-tail it to other airspace, so I'll have to post the blog tomorrow sometime, further lending confusion to time specific good wishes. Plus it could capriciously decide to return before I "hang up" & I might post it tonight after all....)

Blog alternative:
83. Read random paragraphs in 3 different books & see what--if any--connections you can make. (If a resulting idea makes you a million dollars, think fondly of me. Grin again.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Is your refrigerator running? by Prince Albert

I don't have a calendar.

I toyed with the idea of getting one when I started Getting Things Done, but decided no. After all, I have a refrigerator. Why would I need a calendar? I write what I need to do, along with day & date & time, on a pink, heart-shaped sticky note & put it on the front of the fridge. My cell phone & my computer tell me what day it is, if I choose to notice. Most of what I do is not very time specific, so I don't have to notice all that often. But if I have an appointment for acupuncture (& if you live in or near Asheville, North Carolina, & want to try it out, I cannot recommend Eli at Mystic Journeys highly enough!) or a haircut (ditto with Casey at Dang Salon) there's my little heartfelt (& shaped) reminder.

It's a good system, fairly recently adopted. I was reminded of this yesterday, when I had my replacement haircut. I lost the little card that told me when my haircut was scheduled, & missed it & had to reschedule. With the new system in place, I was there at Dang, with the dashing cape around my shoulders, ready to be shampooed, when another woman came in, thinking she had Thursday at 11. She'd miswritten her appointment & had actually just missed her 10 o'clock. Casey asked if she could come back at 7 & she regretfully said no, she couldn't. So I offered to give her my time & come back later myself. (Ah, the benefits of a flexible schedule, that you can offer this largesse occasionally.) She was extremely grateful.

I'll see her again before the end of the weekend, because she goes to Florida & buys clothing at the thrift stores that the rich folk utilize & sells it from her home here in Asheville. Everything $10. Except one item for $5, for me, for gifting her with my haircut time....

So I went back to Casey at 7 & got my haircut. Scheduled the next one & wrote it down in a notebook. As soon as I'm done posting this, I'll transpose it to a pink sticky-heart & put it on the fridge. I told Casey about my calendarless-system & she said she used a planner that she never had with her when she needed it. I told her I always knew where my refrigerator was, & if somehow I misplaced it I'd have bigger problems than missing out on a few scheduled items. She said, yeah, she did know where her fridge was.

I've just started a new fun--& exceedingly valuable--thing: cutting pictures & words out of magazines & such & gluing them in my new journal. I'm pasting things in from the back & writing things in from the front & I've marked the middle with (I know, I'm predictable) pink heart-shaped sticky notes. The visual collage of things I like--home-wise, nature, arts&creativity, stuff (new digital camera, for example)--has already stirred up my heart. (Again with the heart, you say!)

Recently finished book: The Mind & the Brain (Schwartz & Begley) (Go, Nerd Book Club, Go!)
Really interesting & well-written, even though they go into pretty excruciating detail on lots of psychology experiments. Neurophysiology & psychology & philosophy & Buddhism & quantum physics--all the good stuff. Now I have at least some understanding of quantum superposition & the physics behind why thoughts become things & the power of deliberate intention.

Blog alternative:
82: Thumb through a magazine or catalog & cut out a couple things that attract you. Glue them into a notebook or on a poster or at least stick them on the fridge with a magnet. (One man's calendar is another man's dream journal.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hidden messages & Very Favorite Beans

In my dream, there were all these neighborhood dogs coming into my house, which I then had to let out so they could go home. It turned out there was an underground passage that I couldn't close off. Weird. No, I am NOT thinking of getting a dog.

Still thinking about getting a house. Stuff percolating that has required some sleuthing. Something may or may not come out of it in terms of physical real estate, but my mental & spiritual real estate has already expanded just in the learning process, so I consider all the steps part of a WIN WIN WIN (& on & on) process.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop. (What a surprise, I know.) This morning I was really tired & slept in--hence the dog dream--& after I got up was trying to figure out what to do. Started a pot of Very Favorite Beans (navy bean & ham soup, for those not in the know) & then tried to figure out what got me excited in the way of projects. I'm still emptying the In box in the Getting Things Done process, but I didn't want to just jump into that. So I started a painting: spread some gesso over an old painting. In the wet gesso I wrote--one big letter at a time--I used to believe in lack & limitation, but no more. Now I know affluence & joy & love. Then I signed my name, again a letter at a time, & sorta smoothed over it with a palette knife. So, to those not in the know, it looks like a textured white background, but you know that there's a powerful message on that canvas already, before any line or shape or color has been applied!

Then, because gesso must dry, I got to work on the organizing a bit. I put old notebooks in these boxes I bought at Staples. Read a few pages in one that was open, which turned out to be my very first notebook from college, 30 years ago, almost to the week. Fascinating to see what was going on in my little 18-yr-old head & heart. One thing I mentioned was that I missed my little brother Mikol (almost 11 years younger than I am) so I took the opportunity to call him & visit for a few minutes. I told him he & the family would have to come see me some time & he agreed, in a general sort of way. Then I told him I was making Very Favorite Beans & he said, "I'm hopping on the next plane. They should be done when I get there!" He's too busy to mean that, but there's a big power in those old shared comfort foods. If I could have wafted the smell to him as well, he might well be here by now...

Time to meditate & drink my coffee & walk home. The gesso should be dry now. Who knows what the painting will be.

Blog Alternative:
81. Cook (or assemble, if it's something like celery with peanut butter) an old favorite comfort food.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I see a red couch, & a trip to a bookstore

been too busy
Getting Things Done
to blog.

you should see my living room,
which has been transformed into a giant "inbox"
(no you shouldn't, on second thought)

but, I have been going through things
relatively expeditiously
& it's been fun!

just went back to Staples for my second box of manila folders.

also heard Diana Gabaldon & went to an opening at the Haen Gallery, where I got to meet the fabulous G. C. Myers. I owned 2 of his paintings. Took them in to get them personalized & the little painting began shopping for a brother. So now I own 3....

Went to a party at a friend's house & decided not to have a bad memory for names. I pretty much easily & quickly learned & retained the names of Caroline, Bridget, Caleo, Lynn, Cathy, Barrie, Rainbow, Avtar, Leah, Laurie, Anna, Barrie, Ingrid & John. Surprised myself as much as the others when I rattled them off. (I'm probably mis-spelling some of them.)

After working on the inbox (aka, the living room) on Saturday, I went to a pizza/movie with a new friend for her birthday (there were 3 of us & we had a blast) She's psychic--she held onto my glasses & told me a number of things, including that I have a red couch & a massage table (neither of which she had any way of knowing).

tonight is a literary event at Malaprop's:
my friends Charles deLint & Charles Vess will be there, as well as the fabulous Karen Schaffer, who is (thank you thank you thank you) responsible for my Ashevillean existence.

gotta go
more later
just wanted to say hi
& I haven't forgotten you

oh yeah

Blog alternative:
80. Think of a country you've always wanted to travel to. Learn something about it via Wikipedia, or the encyclopedia, or an atlas. (I have another friend who's thinking of taking a trip--to Turkey!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Catch-&-release fishing in the river of light

Whilst the blog languished, the Laurel did not. Since Friday August the 24th, I have had many wonderful happenings, some of which (those that I remember) I will share with you now.

The biggie:

I started looking at houses. Saw a listing for one that had two houses and another building on the lot, which would have gotten me started right away on my plans to become a land baron(ess). After talking to the guy on the phone, I got the idea that this one wouldn't be quite my house, but I also felt a twinge of intuition that by going to see it I would find my house.

The first property was okay, in a kinda sorta way. Started driving around the neighborhood, writing down for-sale numbers & addresses. Then--ta da--another for sale sign, leading down a driveway behind a fence...

Turned out to be a really cool property, with potential to build. So I got info from the realtor & made an appointment to see it, with a savvy friend who knows about building. He gave it the thumbs-up & I got myself pre-approved for a loan at my bank on my way home. That meant another visit to the realtor to put an offer in, which required lots of signaturing & initialling of pages. Then it was in their court.

Curious as to how it came out?

I made an offer.
They countered.
I counter countered.
They counter counter countered.
I counter counter counter countered.
They held firm.
I counter counter counter counter countered.
They soulsearched & respectfully said that the previous was their rockbottom price.
I respectfully declined to pay it.

It hadn't been on the (sucky) real estate market long, so they weren't desperate to sell yet. If it hangs out for a while, I asked the realtor to let me know. It could still happen. Or something better...

In the meantime, I live in a gorgeous (cheap!) apartment that I love & am not desperate to move. I can keep looking, at my leisure.

I've read several great books since last I posted.

The Path of the Dreamhealer
, by Adam, which has so much great information for everyone interested in healing themselves or others--or just being happy.

The Master Key System, by Charles Haanel. This is a FASCINATING book. It was published in book form in 1912, after being a correspondence course. You would not be able to tell by the language or the concepts that it originated at that time. For example, if you get the book--Barnes & Noble re-issued it--look at page 136, section 10. If you get the .pdf from somewhere--it's in public domain, after all--search for "cellular telephones." Remember, this is from the very early 1900s... I think you don't have to work quite as hard as he suggests to get what you want, but it's amazing work, & very clear.

Getting Things Done, by David Allen. My son Nick recommended this to me. I think he just read the Wikipedia article, but his mama went out & bought the book. Even though it's very corporate-culture business-y, I think the concepts & practices will be very useful to me. I've scheduled Thursday & Friday this week to get everything in my "inbox" & getting "in" to "empty." I'll let you know how that goes. Nick is way ahead of me--not 22 yet & already getting things done. Grin.

Tonight I get to see Diana Gabaldon at Malaprop's. A thousand years ago, when email addresses were just numbers, we were on the Litforum on Compuserve together, when she sold Outlander.

I guess this is enough of a catch-up. Maybe I'll tell you about some dvds I've seen recently in the next blog or two.

Blog alternative:
79. Sit down in a quiet (or noisy, if it doesn't make any difference to you) room & pretend/imagine/remember/know that you are part of the infinite river of light, love, perfect abundance, perfect knowing, etcetera. Feel it flow through you. Let it bring things in & wash things away. Repeat as desired.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pretty please, with raindrops on top

A Friday, with rain. Happily I watch the drops hit the coffee shop window. We got a little last night as well, but I'm always glad to see rain. ('Course, I'm glad even if I'm not seeing rain.)

I thinned out my collection a bit & got $26.25 from a local used book store. There are still books I am willing to release into the world, so that will be nice.

I am back from the beach, obviously, but have yet to completely put away everything I took there. I also have yet to write a to-be-creatively-delivered letter to Bill, although I did come up with a concept that involves lots of sand. Maybe I should just write a regular old stuff-it-in-an-envelope letter, as the to-be-creatively-delivered part is slowing me up even more than my less-than-fabulous history of corresponding warrants. (I guess today is my overuse-of-hyphens day.) (Plus parentheses.) (As per usual.)

I've been writing more, walking less, painting less and meditating more than usual. Reading more. Talking on the phone a little bit more. Watching dvds more. Blogging less. Seems like a good balance. I'm guessing the blogging will pick up again. And the walking!

Have a couple of top-secret projects going on. I'd post them here, but then I'd have to track all of you down and ask you pretty please not to tell anyone and I am definitely NOT computer savvy enough to do that. (Track you down, I mean. I've got pretty please completely mastered.)

I wonder what the thunder is applauding so enthusiastically.

Blog alternative:
78. Go through your books & take a few (or a flurry) to a used book store.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I am a [fill-in-the-blank] & other myths

I am at the beach. Nag's Head, North Carolina. Last night I walked in the ocean with Cathy & this morning I walked in the ocean by myself, Cathy not being a morning girl. I should say Cathy's not being morning girls rather, as I think of my 2 roommates, both sound asleep at 9:57 a.m. This is a big house on the beach, because there are many families & all ages. (The youngest is a year old.) I was going to be on one of the couches downstairs, but Cathy & Cathy took a look at their bed & we decided I could just stay with them. So it was a Laurie sandwich. Plenty of room for the 3 of us.

I was tired, having popped up 3 or 4 times in the middle of the night before last to write. Words & phrases were buzzing in my mind, & they were too good to let go. So I got up & wrote & then went back to bed & the words kept at it so I got up again. A couple times. It was great. However, add that to a 7-hour drive to the beach &, well, I was tired.

But the beach this morning called me. Not being much of a sunbunny, I wore a long skirt over my bikini bottoms, & a shirt rather than my bikini top. Plus another shirt over that, with sleeves. Also a floppy hat once worn on a trip to Australia. When I was walking in the edge of the waves however, I did tuck my skirt all the way up so it wouldn't get wet.

I picked up some shells & stones. It wasn't until I was looking for pockets that I noticed I had my outside shirt on inside out. (Say that phrase fast 3 times!) It made think about how we sometimes live, which is outside out & never mind the inside, because no one can see that. Increasingly I'm trying to live by my innards rather than my outards. (Outards? What do you mean, outards is not a word. It is now. Grin.)

Before I went out, one of the women was commenting on the heat, as she headed out into the screened porch to smoke. "I don't like the heat," she said, clearly preferring to stay in where it was airconditioned, "but I'm a smoker."

That made me think about how we define ourselves. There's a difference between saying I am a smoker & I smoke sometimes. I don't care how many packs a day you smoke--there are times when you aren't. I believe--I don't know for sure, but I bet I'm right--that saying I smoke sometimes gives the cigarettes less power than saying I'm a smoker or even than saying I smoke. If you add that sometimes, it can't help but remind you of all the times you don't smoke during the day.

I was thinking about all the other things we say we are, too. What's my litany? I am a writer. I am an artist. I am a healer. I am a mom. Aside from I am a mom, none of things are what I am all the time. They are things I do sometimes. I think I'm going to experiment with just being whoever it is I am, & not defining myself with the things I do sometimes. It will be interesting to see how it feels to not introduce myself without saying "I am a writer."

Oh, the sand & the shells & the little fishes & the hopeful surfers lurking & waves retreating & advancing, flirting with my feet. Crab exoskeletons. Abandoned sand castles. Sun & wind & the geometry of piers. Shore birds skittering. Laptop battery power down to 21 percent--oops, time to post & visit with the Cathy's, who are now arisen. Also going to try sudoku with one of the little boys, who is a math whiz.

Blog alternative:
77. Live inside-out for a day. To remind you, put on some item of clothing the wrong way. (Today I'm saying it's the right way.)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

And joyfully, we danced on the roof of the truck!

On Tuesday
my executive assistant & I came to the coffee shop to do email & such on our way to see her new apartment, which isn't far from mine. She's looking for a car, so I called my car-boy Zach & he told us to check & while she was doing that & I was re-reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, we got sucked into watching 2 back-to-back episodes of Law & Order. (I'm SO glad my tv isn't hooked up to anything but the dvd player...) It was really fun, like a movie night out, & we were happy to have done it & happy we don't choose to do it more often. But, the big benefit is that it kept us at the coffee shop until 8 p.m.
on our way to her apartment, Elizabeth noticed the sun, so we turned right around & parked her truck in a parking lot & leapt out to appreciate it, so round & orange. We danced & shouted our love out & just had a fab time. We got back in the truck & then this little dark nibblet of cloud began to pass just over the bottom of the sun, like a slow wave, so we got back out to appreciate it some more
& then the show began in earnest!
These well-defined shapes began their dance across the sun's face. Another wave. Then a figure bending down & rising up & a hand reaching out from the other side. Then the clouds conspired to make an orange-gold question mark. Then a bird--a dove!--& more beautiful shapes.
The best part of all this, though, was as the trees rose--for we will be astronomically accurate & recognize that we are in fact turning, rather than the sun sinking--we needed to be higher up. Elizabeth whipped the tailgate down & we got up in the truck bed to admire the show from there. The earth continued to turn, as it will, so we climbed up on the roof of the truck--Elizabeth with long legs & alacrity & I with short legs & a short dress & help from Elizabeth--& watched until the trees & clouds covered it completely.
So beautiful.
So unusual.
As if it were appreciating our appreciating & speaking to us personally.

Wifi has been a little weird this week, hence the lag between posts. I went to Best Buy again & stood in their toxic air-conditioning & got some help & got some stuff that turned out to be all wrong when I got it home & had extricated it from its little plastic outerwear & I was hot & dismayed about the stuff & I stuck it in a bag & got in the car to go back & realized I was not in a positive state of mind, so I went around the block & went right back home to meditate & find true inner peace (not so hard, when you're really looking for it & expecting to find it) & watched a dvd (The Secret Behind the Secret) & got all bright & glowy again. Yay me.

Blog alternative:
76. Find a moment when you're not so very positive & get out of it. (email me if you want tips on how to do so)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Never trust a pickled genie & other bottled stories

Suddenly, without warning, I find myself transported to a desert island, my only companion an empty whiskey bottle. No, not empty. Inside are curled pages with a familiar script. Damn you, Bill, I think. Not again!

This time, it began at the post office. I had returned from my trip to Virginia, having seen the delightful premiere of Stardust, having reconnected with old friends Charles & Karen, & made new friends of their other old friends. (None of us being particularly old, I might add, except Charles' mother, who was one day shy of 80-something.) On my way back to my habitation, I thought I should perhaps check my box at the P.O., for I was expecting a package from the Amazons, a magical program to turn mere words into moving pictures. I was therefore not surprised to see a small key inside my box, along with several envelopes. I inserted the key into box #27 & found not one but TWO packages.

The first, smaller package, was indeed the magical program from the Amazons. The second--I should have been suspicious, for it was exactly the size to hold a whiskey bottle ensconced in bubble wrap, with several sheets of crumpled heavy paper to further keep it from breaking. But did I suspect? No. I was lulled by my pleasant drive through the mountains & I began at that moment to open the box.

When my fingers met the cold glass, I was transported in a whirling vortex to this accursed desert island, & thus you find me.

Herein lies the dilemma: I cannot extract the letter without breaking the bottle. What to do, for in the wholeness of that bottle lies my only hope of rescue. If I can write a letter detailing my situation, using a pen from my pocket protector & the pad of paper in my back pocket, kept there for itemizing expenditures & jotting down the odd idea, I can launch my S.O.S. However, I dare not place such a missive in the bottle without first removing Bill's words, which may instruct the reader to disregard whatever is written because this is all a joke, ha ha.

I pace the perimeter of the island, which does not take long, it being approximately the size of a California King mattress, thinking madly, which is the only way I can think. Seven trips around the island cool my thoughts. Aha, I think, the cocktail fork in my left pocket. (I always carry one, in case I come into the possession of a can of kipper snacks or some such delicacy)

I try to twist the delicate tines of the cocktail fork in the edge of the pages as if they were spaghetti, but the smooth metal has no purchase. Again & again I try, until, frustrated, I jam my right hand into my right pocket. My fingers come into contact with a small lump of--eeww, what is it? Almost afraid to look, I extract my hand & began doing the joy dance, for in my hand is my salvation, a lump of Handi-Tak, The Reusable Ahesive Replacing Tape, Pushpins, and Tacks. Great for Posters & Memos. Non-Toxic. Acid-Free. Lignin-Free. (As always on encountering the stuff, I wonder what lignins are, but push that thought to the back of my mind.) When last I wore these shorts, I was posting memos throughout my abode. (And never you mind what they said!)

I affix the little yellow lump to the tines of the cocktail fork & commence twisting. Yes! I am able to finesse the first page out of the neck of the bottle. I repeat for pages two & three.

The letter is not what I expected. Bill had indeed been planning to send me a bottle of whiskey, but when the postal clerk asked if there was anything hazardous, liquid, fragile or perishable within, he had to slink out of line, hide behind the bushes, drink the entire bottle of whiskey & write me a letter. Never have I seen such increasingly egregious handwriting. (But done with a fine Namiki retractable fountain pen, I will give him that.)

So, I send this out to you, whoever you are. Please, please post the contents at My password is &^(%#)(*

Bill, if you are the recipient, I beg of you, send help. Or another empty whiskey bottle, that I might post my reply to your letter, for I still have several blank pages left to respond more specifically to what I think you were saying, although some of the words were confusing. (But then they say only Nixon could go to China. What? Also that thing about the bees smoking?--& the caterpillar ranch?) On second thought, leave me a few swallows of whiskey, because I believe the bottle would still float adequately. Oh, & if you can manage, could you also send a raft full of kipper snacks.

Until then, I will remain fit. By using my stride as a measure, I shall determine how many laps around a California King is a mile; I pledge at least two miles a day. I shall keep the cocktail fork polished & ready for the kipper snacks, or, should it be necessary, use it defend myself from pirates or the odd shark.


Blog alternative:
75. Send someone a letter in unconventional form. (Be afraid, Bill, be very afraid. Bwaa haaa haaa haaa.)