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.