Saturday, June 30, 2007


"I can stand what I know. It's what I don't know that frightens me." -- Frances Newton

Post-carpal tunnel surgery. Expect scriptorial scarcity.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

On The Road ...

I've traveled to New Jersey, Edinburgh, all along Scotland, Austin TX, Canada and other destinations, but this is the first time I've driven myself doing it. It was quite a trip, between the spate of torrential rain followed by ... lighter rain in bright sunshine ... (I am sitting in the car being weirded out by having my lights on my sunglasses on) ... and then getting lost not once but twice. When I finally hit SR 58, I discovered that they were re-paying the first strip ... but it was an adventure, and there was sunshine and ice cream bars and excessively loud singing.

I always find myself very soothed by rest areas. At least on the car side of the barrier, no one ever seems to be just making a daily grind; there are elderly folks on retirement vacation, neatly dressed families who will probably at the seams in another hour or two of driving ... compact trailer homes, vans, sporty vehicles. Today there were some non-transients; a couple workers carefully putting in another park bench. I got myself the aforementioned ice cream bar there to stay cool.

Passed a veterinary hospital in the wilds between nowhere and Wellington (aka Nowhere: The Sequel). Made me cry.

Off now to walk to Wendy's. It's only four blocks, broad daylight, and the idea of getting back in the car makes me cringe like nothing else. Cheerio!


Seriously, it's sad when the night before a trip, you dream about somehow missing the day you're supposed to depart.

The hour I can see - and I dreamed about that, too - but the day?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Alphabet Soup

A simpler game for putting together a driving music CD - by the letters, but only if the word that the song title begins with is important to that title. Of course, I had to drop some seeing as a CD fits twenty or so and there are twenty-six letters, but ...

1. Always Tomorrow (Gloria Estefan)
2. Book of Days (Enya)
3. Carrier of a Secret (Sissel)
4. Disappear (Sahlene)
5. Everywhere (Michelle Branch)
6. Free (Faith Hill)
7. Golden Heart (Kirsty MacColl)
8. Higher (Gloria Estefan)
9. Isobel (Dido)
First Skip --
10. King Kong (Kirsty MacColl)
11. Lucky Girl (Gloria Estefan)
12. Miss April (Chantal Kreviazuk)
Skip --
13. One By One (Enya)
14. Pot of Gold (Dian Diaz)
Skip --
15. Reach (Gloria Estefan)
16. Suddenly (LeAnn Rimes)
17. Treachery (Kirsty MacColl)
18. Unison (Celine Dion)
Skip --
19. Wearing White (Martina McBride)
Skip --
20. You (Gloria Estefan)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fashion Facets

Those of you who are fashion mavens, maybe you can answer me this.

What is it with high heels? Why is a few inches of height worth potential broken ankles, broken wrists, and other mishaps? And why is that the higher the heel, the dressier it is? Is there something about formal occasions that requires risk to life and limb?

Purses! Why is that one has to search forever for one that falls to the hip, where it doesn't encumber the natural drape of the arm? What is this conspiracy that thinks, "Oh, the bag should be tucked under the arm and thus thrusting it out to ridiculous dimensions," is a good idea?

Don't even get me started on earrings - oww oww! who would wear anything that heavy? - and pantyhose, the use of which completely stumps. I'm sure the inventor of them is looking down somewhere, giggling and protesting, "It was a joke! A joke!"

I enjoy being a girl, but come on. I demand to be able to wear whatever I want until men are required to wear kilts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I think someone has a bit of sunblindness.

Yes, that is my mother. Yes, she will probably kill me if she knows I posted a picture of her on the web.
This look used to mean, "Hey. Stop ignoring me and the ball and play with me." (PS: Those are not my mother's legs.)

Dog. Parents. Dessert.

This is definitely the "I got away with something!" look.

I don't know how I caught her in exactly this pose, I really don't.

For comparison purposes, a picture about two years ago when the floor was torn up for remodeling. She looks vexed.

The fierce white wolf dozes. (PS: Those are also not my mother's feet.)

Her highness reclines.

"I'm on the move
I'm gettin' on
I'm breakin' out
And it won't take long
Behind the wheel
Got a song
Pedal's down
And I'm gone ..." --- Cadillac Car (Dreamgirls)

Pockets Full of Memories ...

Monday, after she had gone through a year of increasing illness and much longer of not being quite right, we had to put my dog Nimi to sleep.

Nimi was a birthday present for my sixteenth – my parents decided they had to do something when they found me kissing the hamster. (I believe the hamster in question was Willow, who was remarkably dumb even for a hamster but quite amiable and so much as you can say this about hamsters, affectionate.) Most kids want their own set of wheels by sixteen; I was delighted with the promise of a puppy as soon as a new litter was born. My parents found the Bichon Frise breed because they don’t shed and are hypo-allergenic.

We went out to see the pups when they were three weeks old. One of them crawled into my lap and fell asleep. Instant love – the breeders agreed to put a dot of magic marker on her so they could tell her apart. Then a long period of debate where we tried to find a name that would fit. We finally settled on Nimue (Nim-ooh-AY), the Celtic name for the Arthurian Lady of the Lake. (Seeing as formal breed registration requires a name long enough for (some) uniqueness, Nimue, Lady of the Lake is her officially registered name.) Nimi for short.

About a month later, I brought her home. The fateful moment – all the puppies were playing in the yard. One decides to trundle off in another direction, exploring … and all the others followed. Instant thought: seriously alpha dog. My father, with some trepidation, “Which one is ours?” to which the breeder replied, pointing at the lead dog, “Oh, that one.”

She was small enough at that point that I could carry her in one hand. I quickly found she was both very smart and very stubborn. She was second in her obedience class – out of two dogs. Supposedly, Bichons don’t bark – Nimi loved to and almost up to the last would kill her food, play bark, demanded out of her crate during meals, let me know at the top of her lungs when she wanted something … she always had to have the last word. If you scolded her for barking, she’d tack one more tiny little bark on the end as if to say, “So there.” An attempt to teach her not to bark using the hose just ended up in her refusing to be outside if it was on.

When wound up, she dashed frantically around the house, a pellmell explosion of energy. We called this “mad dog” and it became quite a sight when we remodeled with wood floors and she went skidding … she chased rabbits and never came close to catching them. She never learned to distinguish squirrels, except for the fact they were harder to catch; they were both “bunnies” to her.

The baby of the family, she loved being cuddled and scritched and would twist her body back into it. Stop, and she’d paw at you for more. She licked faces as “kisses.” She invited herself wherever she wanted to be, clambering over people if they were in the way and then stretching out to make room. She adored people and when I started teaching harp, could tell when I was setting up for arrivals and patiently sat by the window on the lookout for them. We’d joke about her “Lively intelligence” when she was playing dumb – really, she chose to be smart only when it benefited her.

Some of her favorite past-times were walks and rides in the car. She had (far too many) toys and seemed to have the most fun with the ones far bigger than she because they “fought back” when she tried to throw them around.

She wasn’t too fond of other dogs most of the time; for some reason, multi-colored canines were a particular source of trauma. We ended up referring to them as, “Plaid dogs.” She made enemies of the lawn-mower and the inflatable exercise ball, barking at them and then valiantly running away, but for some reason was never bothered by the vacuum-cleaner and completely ignored my harp.

But she was never right physically, from a very young encounter with kidney stones that required surgery to continuous infections that eventually morphed into a trip to the emergency pet clinic on Memorial Day 2006. She was way too smart about her medications, dunking her food to wash them out or shuffling them to the side of her mouth even when placed in peanut butter, though after a while she generally stopped trying to get rid of them; she seemed to recognize they were meant to help.

She was back at the emergency clinic in the fall; by spring of 2007, her condition had worsened to the point where the vet finally prescribed subcutaneous fluids. I, terrified of needles, had to insert one under her skin in two places twice a day.

For a short while, it worked. She was as bright and cheerful as ever, and I breathed a sigh of relief – knowing she didn’t have long, but thinking on the order of six months to a year.

It was three weeks before she started to mope again, refusing about half her food every day. Last Tuesday, she ate nothing the entire day. When she turned her nose up at breakfast, I brought her into the vet and found out that her kidneys (the issue all along) had failed and she had almost no kidney function. There wasn’t anything left to do.

Making the decision was horrendously wrenching, but the vet was able to provide us with some shots to perk her up and give her some energy for the weekend. So she had walks, she had car-rides, she had the people food she was usually forbidden – and my family and I went through 54 exposures of film between Saturday and Monday. But we could tell that even these measures weren’t working: between shots, she was confused, wobbly, depressed and refusing food again, and for longer each time.

So Monday, the appointment. The vet and vet-tech were wonderfully compassionate and caring. It was so easy it seemed unreal. Got home, where one of my students – who is renting my smaller harp – very thoughtfully dropped it off so a young trial student could play something that wasn’t bigger than she was. Turned out she’d had to put her dog to sleep earlier that day. I felt terribly guilty that I’d asked her to drop it by.

I’m saving Nimi’s crate bear and her collar; the latter will have a locket and a few strands of her hair in it. I hope if there is a heaven she’s found my grandfather Papa Tony, who loved his “nutsie muttsie,” and his old dog Hutch. Maybe they’ll startle a few butterflies back to earth for us.

Addendum – my only real composition, The Butterfly Waltz, was written last year shortly before my friend Lauren’s wedding (hi, Lauren!). It came to me after I was grousing on a walk that I was really bothered I could write accompaniment, write lyrics, write *books*, but not music, when a butterfly flitted across my path. My mother believes butterflies are my grandfather saying hello.

I was playing the waltz and writing the section about “butterflies” above when my uncle Chris called. He said he had lost a few items, including his car keys, and asked Papa Tony to find them. Sure enough, they showed up. My aunt Jeanne said she’d spotted a butterfly at about the same time and never seen one so high.

Hi, Papa Tony. Don’t let her boss you around too much.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Testing ...

One ... two ... three ...

Wind And Water

Another CD collection of songs. Many of these were 4-5 mins long, so I nearly overloaded the disk. Yes, there is some greater news, but at present I'm trying to distract myself from it, so ...

Collection theme is Water and Wind. It's more the former than the latter. Hence the billing.

1. A New Day Has Come - Celine Dion
2. All Soul's Night - Loreena McKennitt
3. I'm Gonna Fly - Sydney Forest
4. The Second Element - Sarah Brightman
5. Roots And Wings - Anne Murray
6. Rain, Tax (It's Inevitable) - Celine Dion
7. Breathe - Michelle Branch
8. Dust In The Wind - Sarah Brightman
9. Before You - Chantal Kreviazuk
10. Sisters In The Wind - Laura Powers
11. Titanic Days - Kirsty MacColl
12. River Deep, Mountain High - Celine Dion
13. Seven Seas - Sarah Brightman
14. Last Day Of Summer - Kirsty MacColl
15. 8th World Wonder - Kimberley Locke
16. The River Cried - Sarah Brightman
17. The Old Ways - Loreena McKennitt

Monday, June 11, 2007


"I have never been able to accept the two great laws of humanity - that you're always being suppressed if you're inspired and always being pushed into a corner if you're exceptional. I won't be cornered and I won't stay suppressed." -- Margaret Anderson

(There's a reason for my scarcity this time. Expect a longer post as soon as I've had some film developed.)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Gratuitious Brag

Fantasy-writers is a smidge behind on their challenge results, so April just came through. I wasn't watching real carefully, because I'd assumed sheer length put me out of the running, but:

Go figure, I say. Just ... go figure. ;-)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Long Time No ...

Blink and time flies - I know it has been a while since I've posted. Been caught up in online gaming and the vagaries of rejection letters. (The writer's friend! Okay, not precisely.)

I keep having long, involved, story-like dreams. One is being adapted into a short story on a subject that has been bothering me for a while as one I simply have never been able to do. The other one appears to be blameable on Reign of Fire.

It's official: I *am* going to my cousin's wedding in July. Going to fly up early, more than likely, and spend a few days in Boston before trekking to Connecticut to see the relatives. Any especial recommendations?

Saving books for the trip as well. Currently reserving Something Rotten (Jasper Fforde) and Young Miles (Lois McMaster Bujold) - an omnibus of The Warrior's Apprentice, The Vor Game and The Mountains of Mourning, a novella/novelette that occurs between the two. For a third I'm going to want traditional fantasy, a mystery or an anthology, but haven't decided yet. Yeah, I doubt I'll read all of them. It's the packing that counts.

Have had *some* good news - Allegory is holding onto "Poetic License" as a maybe. I'll know by the end of the month.