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.