So, quick summary of the…

So, quick summary of the weekend:
I cleaned my apartment.

No, really, that's about all I did. And finished Nancy Kress's Beggars and Choosers (pretty good) and a Zelazny short story anthology (hard to believe he's really gone), especially enjoying "A Rose for Ecclesiastes", which I had read years and years ago and forgotten. Oh, and I reread the Fionavar Tapestry (a fantasy trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay, perhaps my favorite fantasy series of all time (though in many ways his subsequent novel Tigana is a better book) and one which continues to move me to tears on the 15th or 20th! re-reading.

Basically a very mellow weekend, with interludes of long overdue conversations with distant friends and occasional visits from local friends. A nice break. Found a yummy recipe (if you like asparagus). Remember those crepes I mentioned many entries ago? Boil asparagus for about a minute, break off tips and wrap stalks with a delicate melting cheese in the crepes. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees, serve with tips as garnish and an herb bechamel sauce (which you can skip if you're being vaguely health-conscious like I am). Very good even without the sauce, though could have used fresher asparagus than what I had available.

Dance class tonight, assuming I don't wimp out. Beginner jazz at Koresh Dance Center, 6:00. I used to be somewhat more competent, but since I've been out of practice all winter, I figure I'd best restart with beginner and then work my way up (hopefully quickly). Considering starting ballet as well, or street funk. :-)

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Shapes of grief. The…

Shapes of grief. The small fluttering
Of a heart worn thin with worry and the
Raising of three small children. The
Race of sweating doctors, failing in an
Old, cold silence. Her husband huddles,
Weeping. Her mother cooks and cleans and
Fears to pause a moment, lest the
Ugly truth should slap her, and the poor
Little children are still laughing, unknowing.

One of my co-workers, Martha, lost her daughter today. 'lost.' What an impossible, utterly inadequate euphemism. It conveys some things while ignoring others. The lost can generally be found. But Martha's daughter died, five months pregnant, of a weak heart that just gave out. And what makes it terribly worse, is that she signed herself out of the hospital and went home, ignoring every warning from the doctors that her heart was racing dangerously. Nobody knows why she left. Maybe if she had stayed they could have saved her -- maybe not. But at least we/they could have said -- we did all we could. Everyone here is angry and frustrated and on the verge of tears. Most of us didn't even know her. But doctors don't seem to deal with death very well -- they take it too personally, and when you work with them, you tend to pick that attitude up, even when you know, rationally, that there was absolutely nothing you could have done.

Hell.

Other than that, life is just grand. And I did go to the gym yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed both my Cardio Street Funk dance class and my introduction to Tai Chi. My calf muscles protest loudly, but I'll be back. Score one for life, I suppose.

Hmm...just called to try to sign up for the gym so I can keep going. Turns out that in addition to the $20/month fee, there's a $90 joining fee. Pretty standard, I know, but I hadn't realized it. So now I'm waffling between the gym and the dance studio, which costs $90 for two months, and I'd like the classes better (though I'd miss the Tai Chi). Ugh. Guess I'll just try to figure out which one fits into my schedule better and then flip a coin.

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Heya. Spent the morning…

Heya. Spent the morning catching up on old mail (love these office jobs) and wandering through the web. Found some fun stuff at Walter's Page, including a very cool alternative CV and some erotica. Also was a good girl and had my annual physical. Except for the thyroid stuff, I'm healthy as a horse. :-)

The thyroid stuff itself is getting more interesting. Some thyroid antibodies came back from the lab, and it looks like I may have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. That sounds worse than it is -- very few thyroid diseases are at all serious (thyroid cancer is an exception), and most are fairly easily treatable, including mine. I'll probably be starting Synthroid (artificial thyroid replacement) next week.

Was also good and deposited my paycheck (I'm finally getting to the point where I may actually be able to save some money, rather than living on the brink of bankruptcy) and picked up a FAFSA (financial aid form) for grad schools. Spent a while downloading the net version only to discover that it requires a modem (I connect from work over a LAN network, so no good) and Windows (home is Kevin's Mac), so I'm reduced to the paper version. Ah well. Can't fill it out till I do my taxes, though, and can't do taxes until I pick up a 1040C (I used to fill out the EZ, but now that I'm selling stories, I get to deduct expenses -- what fun :-) and file my 1995 taxes. Here's hoping they owe me money (not bloody likely) rather than the other way around. This coming year will be even worse -- I'll have to start filing quarterly estimated taxes. Ick. I don't want to think about it.

The other exciting thing today is that I'm trying out a new gym. Put on a few pounds this winter (I usually seem to), and it's now spring and time to get back into shape (my endurance especially is hideous right now). The 12th Street Gym in Philly is certainly pretty enough, and their Tai Chi classes, Cardio Street Funk and swimming pool (only 1/2 lap) all appeal to me, and I'll be trying them on a guest pass today. On the down side, it's highly embarrassing going to a gym in skimpy workout clothing when you know you're totally out of shape and there are all these gorgeous bods around, especially a chic downtown gym like this one. I'd almost rather go to a YWCA, despite the moldy air that tends to hang around them, but my job gets me a discount here that's really too good to waste. So I'm nerving myself up and going, and if I don't post something here tomorrow saying that I went, you have full permission (and are encouraged) to laugh at me. Healthy diet should also start soon -- I eat too much cheese and oily stuff, I think. How does one give up cheese, though???

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Well, opened the morning…

Well, opened the morning with a bit of a shock -- e-mail from my editor at Puritan asking me to please take down the copy of "Caught Between Two Women" since the magazine wasn't even on the streets yet. Totally reasonable request on his part, and I really don't know quite what I was thinking putting it up. So if you caught it, good for you -- if not, it'll be back up in May sometime (after the *next* issue is safely out). And the erotica writers interview will be up in June-July, assuming this page is still going then. I messed up once, but hopefully not again.

Other than that, things are good. He's interested in another novella, and I have some ideas that might fly, and he could also use some letters... those are always fun to write. :-)

Sorry about the hiatus, but not only have I been sick, but the system has been doing really weird things, making it a real pain to try to type anything. Seems all fixed now, and I feel fine! :-)

On the plus side, I got a lot of reading done -- the latest issue of Fantasy and SF, most of Nancy Kress's new novel, Beggars and Choosers (fabulous near future exploration of nanotech and sociology and politics), Sayers Hangman's Holiday (I'd read all the Lord Peter stories in the anthology, but the Montague Egg (travelling wine and spirits salesman) stories were new and delightful), and probably a couple more that I'm not remembering right now. Oh, and Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away, a surprisingly good (considering its minimal length and plenitude of illustrations) little fantasy novel. Apparently a best- seller in its time. Weird to think of Niven writing fantasy.

Also managed to drag myself to the folk sing Saturday night, which was fabulous as always. Learned some new songs, managed to talk Amy into loaning me some music, etc... Stan Rogers' from Freshwater is a delight, with some obscure but lovely songs.

My concentration this week will probably be on grad schools for fall -- I'm going to be applying to a bunch, some with deadlines of March 1, so I'm planning to be rather frantic. Anyone with any information on the following schools (especially on writing programs *at* the schools) -- I'd be very interested, and happy to post such information somewhere on these pages. If you're wondering why I picked these schools -- basically by region (where I'm likely to be come fall) and which deadlines I hadn't already missed.

Boston University, Emerson, CSU Sacramento, Mills College (Oakland), New College (San Fran), St. Mary's, University of San Fran, Beaver (Philly), Columbia College (Chicago), De Paul University, Northeastern, Purdue (Indiana), and University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Nothing much to say…

Nothing much to say today...had a good lunch with Kevin at Baricci's (if you like roasted red peppers and soppresata and broccoli rabe and Italian ices, this is a good place to have lunch, if a bit pricey). Sent a letter withdrawing "A Dream of Wolves" from CRANK!, since I accidentally submitted it to Black October (hard to keep electronic and print submissions straight). Hope they forgive me. Going over to David's for dinner...plans this weekend include folksing at Ann and Robert's tomorrow night and tea at three at Sarah's on Sunday. :-)

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Heya. So I survived…

Heya. So I survived Valentine's Day relatively unscarred (though I did have the first argument I've had with Kevin in two months yesterday :-/, over dishes of all things...all fixed now, but that holiday makes me tense). We had potluck for dinner, partly because I've spent too many V-Day's alone in the past, and I hate to think of friends of ours sitting at home and moping. We made crepes with sweet and savory stuffings (feta and spinach and garlic with a little salt and pepper chopped up in the a blender is a good one, as is a ratatouille cooked down (I replaced the eggplant with zucchini though, 'cause I hate mushy eggplant)), and John brought two pots of really yummy pasta with a cilantro pesto (he bought it at Reading Terminal Market, and if you're ever in Philly, that's a great place to go food shopping). We also overloaded on dessert, 'cause Kathryn brought cappucino ice cream and Larry brought 2 (!) cheesecakes. We froze one of them, though. :-)

Party of Five had a great Valentine's Day episode, with lots of stress and arguments, a little mushiness, and several bitter(sweet) moments. And Julia (16) is pregnant. Terrific way to end an episode, huh? I love the realism of this show.

If you've been reading this diary, you might remember my asking about birds on the plains? Well, this morning one of my readers (an ornithologist!) contacted me with the necessary info -- thanks, Gene!

All's well with me today -- the mildish weather is holding, which makes me happy. The plan is to go to Border's after work, meet with a fan (I hope he remembers what I look like, 'cause I accidentally deleted my description of him), and do some research on grad schools. The vague plan for next fall is to apply to grad schools for an MFA in creative writing and also apply to teaching positions at good prep schools. The nuisance is that I'm not quite sure where I'll be, so I have to do this in a couple of areas. Oh well...Chicago or Philly or San Francisco. Any of them would be good places to be next year.

And since it's no longer Valentine's Day, I'm posting a love poem. :-)

Dropping Dishes

Never say 'I love you' again
and I promise the same.

After all these centuries, words of love are weary.

Say instead, smiling,
I'm glad you did the dishes.

And I will answer,
When you allow yourself to smile,
the wrinkles at the edges of your eyes
make we want to drop dishes
and drag you into bed.

We need never say I love you
again.

*****
May 31, 1994

-- You might get the impression that dishes are a recurring theme with me. You might be right.

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Morning, everyone….

Morning, everyone. Slightly warmer again and snowing gently after a couple of days of real cold. I am so very tired of winter.

Got my blood test results back -- looks like I may in fact be hypothyroid, though subclinical and only mildly symptomatic. They're probably going to start me on Synthroid anyway to head off unpleasant symptoms (exhaustion, cold intolerance, weight gain). Sounds fine to me -- it's just a hormone replacement, so no side effects.

Had a talk with Jordan this morning about one of his stories. Seems a reader had suggested some rewrites (which neither of us particularly minds (though neither do we often rewrite the story quite the way they want)) which among other things removed the condoms from the story. He thought it would be much more exciting to have 'gouts of semen spurting into her unprotected womb'...

We spent a while talking about that, and how strange it seems to both of us that some people write stories in which going without protection is exciting. I think most young women (except perhaps the lesbians :-) have known those weeks of alternating terror and gut-churning nausea as they wait to see if their period arrives after some stupid, risky (and I grant you, exciting, or they wouldn't have done it in the first place) unprotected sex. And even leaving aside the pregnancy issue, most people are (obviously) quite aware of the disease risks with new partners (especially the strangers that so often seem to wander into fantasies). While it's occasionally a relief to just ignore the whole issue in a story (which is, of course, fantasy rather than reality), making terror a known turn-on just seems highly unbelievable to me in that specific case, and the worst erotica is generally the unrealistic stuff.

All's well otherwise -- David made hummus yesterday, which was easier than I expected (boil chick peas until softened, then blend with lemon juice, tahini and garlic -- the only difficult bit is making the tahini if you choose to do that -- sesame seeds are somewhat expensive and hardish to find), and yummy with toasted pita bread. Came home after dinner and watched some tv and started a story, a fairy tale/parable type thing. Not sure where it's going, and it's a somewhat odd piece, set in a kind of Native American plains environment (anyone know what kind of birds can be found in the plains?).

Sent "Send in the Clown" to Aboriginal SF. Not sure if they're accepting stories again, but I think so.

My editor called from Puritan to say that he'd like an intro to the article -- just a paragraph or two. Will try, but not sure what to say!

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Still tired. Ick. On the…

Still tired. Ick. On the bright side, just sent off two stories -- "The Gopi's Tale" to CRANK! and "The Devouring Night" to Science Fiction Age.

Went to Border's yesterday and decided that rather than buy expensive copies of the Peterson's Guides, I'd just copy down the phone numbers I needed. But then I was too tired to do it right then, so I just bought some novels (Cherryh's Invader, sequel to Foreigner -- IMHO the best representation of truly alien aliens since Octavia Butler, and something else with impressive cover quotes by an author I don't remember) and a copy of Fantasy and SF Magazine and Science Fiction Age.

Kevin made dinner (broccoli (the word I spelled wrong in the National Catholic Spelling Bee!) and red bell pepper and plum tomato and crushed red peppers and garlic with olive oil over capellini pasta (he maintains, and I think he's right, that it would have worked better with a more robust pasta, such as ziti -- it was a little mushy)), thank the goddess, and had strawberries with sugar for dessert. (Had also indulged with stuffed grape leaves as appetizers -- truly yummy.) Then proceeded to veg out in front of the television for the rest of the evening. Hmmm...it's embarassing admitting that to y'all -- maybe if I'm brutally honest here, I'll start giving up my bad habits 'cause it's too embarassing to admit them. :-)

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Tiring weekend. Sorry no…

Tiring weekend. Sorry no entry yesterday, but I got about 3 hours of sleep on Sat. night (very late party and early meeting with friends of parents who took me out to a very nice lunch at New Delhi restaurant but which left me exhausted) and yesterday was a somewhat emotionally draining day.

I'm still really tired, and feel like I'm about to fall over. Finished the article on Friday, and Fed Ex'd it off to Puritan. This week I'm supposed to spend dedicated to applying for jobs and grad schools for the fall, so I'm going to Border's Bookstore after work to pick up a copy of the Peterson's guide (the online version has no addresses or telephone versions. Sneaky.) Hope I don't wimp out too much on this -- I hate applying for jobs and schools. Bad for the soul.

I can tell I'm in a whiny mood, so I'd best stop here. I did want to let you know that I decided to edit out some earlier stuff in my diary. So if you haven't seen it by now, you won't. Sorry.

I found this poem while reading news this morning. Somewhat mushy, but I rather like it anyway, so I thought I'd share it.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken
in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I did not die.

Anonymous

--later....just sold a story to Black October Magazine. .3/word, which doesn't sound like much (and isn't, for a 1000 word story) but are still professional rates. Yippee!

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