Tomorrow morning I leave…

Tomorrow morning I leave early for MLA, and I imagine it'll be even harder for me to get online for a few days. I come back on the 30th, to Jed's cable modem, so you'll hear from me soon after.

I have no interviews, which is more than a little sad. I had a minor meltdown earlier this evening, feeling particularly stupid and rather useless, but Kev was very comforting and sane, reminding me that I've only recently started really pushing for literary publications, and it's not at all surprising that the schools aren't interested yet, but that they probably will be if I get back to working hard on the thesis, revising and sending out those stories. He thinks I just need to focus more on academics -- he's undoubtedly right. I get so scattered with projects. All interesting, but not all urgent! Handing off Strange Horizons should help. At least my lack of interviews will hopefully at least mean that the next few days will be much less stressful than they might otherwise have been. I'll go, I'll look around, I'll take photos, I'll try to get a sense of what the conference is like so that next year, I'm in a better position. Hopefully the job market will have improved and I'll actually get at least an interview or two then.

At least it's been a good holiday. Oh, the usual nervousness around Kevin's family, wanting them to like me -- it's been a while since I've been here for Christmas. I honestly think they probably do like me, and one of these days I'll probably believe it deep down and relax. :-) I like them, at any rate, and I have a good time hanging out with them. They're very sane and sensible people, with a sharp, slightly sarcastic sense of humor. Straightforward, unpretentious, intelligent, fun to be around. The last few days have been preparing food (that's mostly Ann, but we helped), eating food, wrapping presents, opening presents, and talking. Some reading -- Uncle Rick gave me a book from my wishlist, All the Weyrs of Pern, which I had somehow missed when it came out. I devoured that yesterday, in one huge gulp. Very satisfying. I like having all the gaps in her chronology filled in -- and Menolly is still one of my favorite fiction characters ever, so I'm happy even to get a few extra lines from her.

Some other nice presents, of course -- sweaters and tea and a lovely cast-iron Japanese teapot from Kevin's folks, a pretty jewel-tone ornament and an Amazon gift certificate from his sister and her boyfriend. My parents sent us a large Le Creuset dutch oven, which we wanted, but which will be something of a trick to lug home. Sadly, Kevin's present for me was shipped to our home address by mistake, but I'll get it when I get back. It'll be a nice coming-home present. He gave me some hints -- it's on DVD's, and it's for my computer, and it doesn't have any hobbitses in it. Most confusing.

More satisfying I think were the presents I gave -- the best was probably the one for Kevin's folks, an album with some photos of their notoriously camera-shy son, who has been most indulgent of my picture-taking lately. Plus a promise for more photos, when I can manage it. Though various people who received my cookbook do seem pleased with it too, which is very nice indeed.

I do love the holidays, and I'm glad they're not over quite yet. Kev and I had lunch with old friends, Kris and Don, today, and then took Jed to Kate and Becca's for Boxing Day celebrations (and insanely good food). (There was a minor adventure with our borrowed car having transmission problems and then just stopping on the highway, but all was sorted out satisfactorily with the help of AAA and a ride from Kris and Don and a later ride from Jedediah). When I get back from MLA, I'll have a mellow New Year's Eve with Kam and Jed and various other local friends, and possibly stop by some places on New Year's Day too. I'll have to start working then (if not sooner), but there'll be a few more days of visiting before I go back on the 6th. All around, it's been a very satisfying little visit/vacation, and if it weren't for Kevin who'll be waiting for me in Chicago, I'd be very reluctant to leave the Bay Area.

As it is, of course, I'll be eager to get home again.

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