Tomatoes. Tomatoes are…

Tomatoes. Tomatoes are my dilemma today. Do any of you know anything about growing tomatoes? See, our house came with four tomato plants (actually, seven, 'cause three have grown together). Way more than we can use, actually. And so they've been rotting on the vine. I decided to makee a big batch of tomato sauce today and jar it, so they are't entirely wasted. But I couldn't content myself with just picking the healthy tomatoes, oh, no. I'm compulsive enough that I started pruning the plant I was picking from, just cutting away the deadwood. Well, by the time I was finished, I had pruned it back fiercely, and it's looking rather bare -- and I have no idea if that's a good thing for tomato plants or not. The only plant-type thing I've spent any time with before is a rosebush -- and that you were definitely supposed to prune back sharply. I'm afraid I may have killed this poor thing....well, guess I'll just ask my roommates and wait for one of you to tell me if I done wrong. If not, then I get to attack the others -- I'm itching to get my hands on them. :-)

It's amazing how much household work gets done when I have writing I'm supposed to do. :-) Seriously, I did want to clean some, 'cause it looks like Clive can definitely make it to dinner (not that he'll care how clean the place is, but as we noted before, I'm compulsive). It's also a nice break 'cause it's cold in my house, and my fingers get really cold typing. Washing dishes in hot water or pruning out in the sun is a nice break. I think I may need to get a pair of fingerless gloves -- perhaps they'll help.

Big crunch on work these next two weeks, I think. I've been neglecting my classes a bit.

I had some promising thoughts on the subway this morning about the novel. The task for today is to try to gel those into a coherent outline. That and get through a bunch of mail. :-) Y'know, I don't get nearly as much mail in response to this journal as I used to -- am I boring you? Are you still there? (I know Brian and Kristen and Dale are :-) Maybe I'll put a counter on the November pages and check to see what the numbers are. Maybe not, though. Just knowing someone's listening is helpful -- both to keep me writing and to help me feel not so alone during down times.

I miss Kevin already. Two months to Christmas.

Lazy Sunday, though it…

Lazy Sunday, though it didn't start out that way. Last night, Kevin and I went to the wedding reception of a friend of his (part of the reason his trip was scheduled for now). It was much more fun than I expected, but we ended up staying up rather late, and his dad and I took Kev to the airport at 7 this morning. Ick. 4 hours of sleep and still recovering from being sick and saying goodbye again (god, I hate long distance relationships) -- not a fun way to start the morning. It rapidly improved, though...

Took the train into S.F., crashed at a friend's place for a couple hours until I felt human again, had yummy Ethiopian food for lunch, then played 5 hours of Warcraft, an evil, addicting strategy game. Me against the evil orcs. :-) When I finish the game, I get to start over -- playing the orcs. :-)

Just made some minor revisions to the favorite poems page, including a new poem that someone sent me by a poet named Cavafy, whom I hadn't heard of before. Pretty good. I'm really very behind in updating my web pages, and everything else (combination of sickness and Kevin :-), but plan to work work work this next week and see if I can catch up. I have to at least bring my backlogged e-mail down from 100 flagged messages to 50. Not to mention writing another novella for Puritan (the erotic horror one) by next weekend so I have money to pay my rent....oh, and of course, there's always schoolword. :-) Actually, the schoolwork does take priorty, though that might be a little hard to infer from reading this -- probably 'cause I don't generally stress about it as much, although perhaps I should. Oh well...

I read the next chapter in that HTML book, by the way -- audio and video. I understand how to include the files, but it was a little unclear on how one would convert a regular audio tape or video tape to something viewable on-line -- maybe one wouldn't. I'm really not sure. :( It's too bad -- I was thinking it might be fun to do a journal entry or a poem or story on tape and stick it up here, so those of you who are insanely curious can hear my voice (I actually hate the way my voice sounds recorded -- it's all high and tinny, which is probably the way it sounds in RL, but I promise you that it sounds much deeper and more pleasant to me. :-) Something to do with echoes inside your skull or some such, I imagine -- I know a lot of people who complain about this phenomenon). Well, I'll ask around and maybe I can figure it out. Mills has a lot of graphic arts stuff -- maybe they'll have the tools I need to do this.

Turns out that an old friend of mine, Clive (a.k.a. Tanais) is in town and with any luck we'll be having dinner tomorrow -- that should be lots of fun. He's a friend of a friend I met in England a few years ago -- if I'm lucky, he'll still have his accent. I have a terrible weakness for accents...even if he had nothing to say (which he of course won't :-) I'd be happy just listinening to his voice. Did you see the movie "Far and Away"? Gorgeous Irish accents in that one. Absolutely gorgeous.

Well, I think I may go play just a little more Warcraft -- my brain is still pretty mushy from lack of sleep. Good luck with the week, everyone -- don't work too hard. :-)

Sorry it’s been a while,…

Sorry it's been a while, but I've been having some family problems which knocked me out for a few days. Then Kevin arrived for a visit, so I spent the weekend down in the South Bay with him, with no real net access. But I'm back! :-)

Hmmm...not much exciting to report, really. Finalizing book cover design; going over final proofs. Book should be at the printer within days, and I think will be out by early November (though don't quote me on that :-).

Sunday was a lovely day out at the park watching the Blue Angels -- airshows aren't usually my thing, but these formation pilots were really impressive --- and the stealth that was up before them was simply beautiful.

Entering the second round of revisions on "Interruptions" -- this may well be my best story yet. :-) I'm very pleased with it, though it's a lot of work. I'm also working on a series of children's poems (along the lines of "The Tummy" from '95) that may well turn into a book. I'm starting to look for an illustrator to work with.

Generally in a good mood today. Was way down for a while following upset with the folks, but must soldier on, yes? People have been most encouraging and supporting, which is helpful.

All right -- off to attempt some more work. Going to take a stab at starting the Skiffy web pages today. Going to collaborate with Sherman -- that way I get to make him do a lot of the grunt work and he gets credit for HTML design. :-)

4:20 -- gosh, had great fun today. Along with starting up the Skiffy (temporarily at this address, comments welcome) pages, spent some time studying HTML. Now know how to do transparent GIFs (none on my pages yet, as I didn't really have any images suitable, but we'll be putting some on the Skiffy pages) and interlaced GIFs (see the flower on my home page. :-) Very very exciting. Also learned tables, which are tedious, but not too difficult. I don't plan to use a lot of fancy stuff in these pages, but I may occasionally supplement my income with web designing, and thus must learna few more things. Frames, sounds, video, CGI scripts. Not a high priority, but is fun, so I may learn 'em soon anyway. I can highly recommend Lemay's book on HTML; quite clear, and good design principles.

Oh, also took a break and watched The Tall Guy, a very cute film with Emma Thompson (goddess incarnate). Laughed lots. Do not watch if you are overly fond of musicals and do not liked to be poked fun at. :-)

May be a bit out of access the next couple days, as I'll be down at Kevin's parents again. Will try to check in, but may be somewhat erratic till Th/Fri. Have a good week, if I don't talk to you!

Sorry for the delay –…

Sorry for the delay -- it's just too irritating trying to type much at home, and I didn't come into campus this weekend.

Am late for class, so a quick poem or two from this weekend. I may try to write more later -- depends on how much work I get done. :-)

NO SOLACE, EVEN IN WORDS

When first I wrote of you, my rage,
seething and suffocating
strangled my throat. My voice emerged
a thin whisper, a drowning reed.

Back to the beginning.

Concrete the images --
thin face, cold and stern;
the long line of your back,
twisted as you turned away;
fey and strange, with no
human gentleness left for me.

There you were, and my ink
flowed easier, chronicling each
disappearing mark of love long gone
till you lay complete
and beautiful
upon the white sheets.

It seems the pen has betrayed my heart.

*****
October 8, 1996

TENTATIVE CONCLUSION:
LOVE IS MORE POWERFUL THAN POETRY

I scatter images and
metaphors across my page;
ships loaded high with
weighty cargo.

Poets agree that this common language
may be shaded and revealed
with close analysis.

You confound my every explanation
and attempt. For single example:

broken leaves should emphasize
dying; each sere and yellowed leaf
a whispered promise that age is
inescapable, even forboding;

yet I cannot help
remembering -- you loved the autumn.

*****
October 8, 1996

--ugh. It's so hot, it's hard to think, much less work. gonna go get some lunch then try finding a cooler computer lab. wish me luck.

Well, a productive…

Well, a productive morning -- major revisions on "Interruptions" which I think actually improved the piece (while putting tons more of my RL into it; I think this is one of those 'can't publish till your parents are dead' pieces). We'll see what class and Fiction online workshop say.

Theoretically I'm supposed to be revising Dreams from scratch right now, but am feeling unmotivated. I'll tell you about what I'm reading and watching instead, okay? :-) I finally saw the new version of Little Women yesterday -- they did a superlative job, I thought. I actually cried in spots (okay, that's not so hard to get me to do, but I thought this would be schlocky and it totally wasn't). God, Winona Ryder is gorgeous. Paul claims that she's the current incarnation of the dark-haired goddess, and I don't think I can contradict him (Tori Amos is apparently the red-haired goddesss....he isn't sure there is a current blonde incarnation).

I've been rereading the Earthsea trilogy by Le Guin -- I find children's books relaxing when the rest of my life is stressed, and Le Guin's style can only be a good influence on me. I'm partway through The Farthest Shore right now and have just hit one of my favorite lines: "And though I came to forget or regret all I have ever done, yet would I remember that once I saw the dragons aloft on the wind at sunset above the western isles; and I would be content."

Last night Cliff and Thida came over for a late dinner. Made chicken cacciatore from the Fannie Farmer cookbook (convenient because almost all the ingredients are stuff I have around -- we have tomatoes in the backyard, and the rest is onion, garlic, tomato paste, herbs, chicken) with angelhair pasta and breaded portobello mushrooms with a garlic sauce. Ellison, one of my housemates, is a wizard in the kitchen -- I asked him what I should do with the mushrooms and he just rattled off the following:

Dip them in egg white and dredge in seasoned bread crumbs. Set aside until two minutes before serving. Mince a fair bit of garlic, saute in olive oil, cool somewhat, stir in mayonnaise on very low heat. Fry mushrooms briefly in olive oil and serve with garlic mayonnaise. (He even minced the garlic for me)

It was absolutely delicious, even though the mayonnaise separated somewhat, turning it more into a garlicky-oil thing. FF cookbook says one should whisk in a drop of boiling water, over and over, to correct a separated (broken) mayonnaise, which I tried until I got tired, and it worked partway. :-)

Okay, enough procrastinating. I will now ignore the fact that it's a beautiful fall day and get back to work. Really. Maybe if I keep telling myself I love my work, really I do....:-)

--3:10. No, I didn't do any work. Not writing work, anyway. I decided this would be a good time to start throwing together that recipes file I've been meaning to do....definitely still under construction. Did I miss any?

Gosh, it seems like it…

Gosh, it seems like it takes longer a longer each day to just do the minimum of net.stuff to keep on top of my life. Two hours so far today, and I'm just finishing with the journal entry. Ah well -- I mostly enjoy it. Would be nice to have a personal assistant to sort through my junk e-mail though....:-) Keep dreaming, huh?

I was feeling a bit tired and discouraged last night, but am better now. Firstly, because really I'm a very very lucky person -- I am so much closer to doing exactly what I want to do with my life (and with exactly the people I want to do it with) than most people....the last several years have really been wonderful. *grin* If I'm not the happiest girl in the world, I'm probably pretty close. Secondly, talked to Kevin for hours last night, and it turns out he can visit after all (got something of a deal on a ticket from Philly)! Calloo, callay, as Jabberwocky says! I really have been going around all morning feeling like 'chortling with joy'. :-) He can also time it to coincide with a teaching break, which means he gets to come for ten whole days...

Funny thing happened yesterday. I got out of the Renaissance Poetry class sometime around noon, right? Went to the computer room, worked for a while, started feeling tired, checked my watch. 1:15. Felt really tired, so I decided to go home, eat some lunch, try to work from home. Walked home, ate something, looked at my watch again. 1:15. Looked at the kitchen clock, startled. Turned out it was actually after 6. I've heard of getting lost in your work, but this is ridiculous. No wonder I was tired and hungry...

You know, I've been moaning a bit about how busy and tired I am -- well, that's true, but I don't want y'all to get the wrong idea. So much of the time I'm just enjoying the peace, the calm in which to work, the lovely campus and the lack of a really rigid schedule. I HATE the 9-to-5 thing -- I hope I never have to do it again.

Well, I need to finish up here and run to class -- today they hack apart my newest story, "Interruptions". Let's hope they like it. :-) Have a good day, everyone.

Well, a fairly…

Well, a fairly productive day today. Finished a new story for my Fiction class, a somewhat disturbing one. It deals a lot more with ethnicity than anything I've worked on before -- we'll see how they like it. I have a feeling it's too currently too personal -- the effectiveness of the story has gotten a little lost in the recounting of factual details...argh, a little hard to explain what I mean. Except that lies are sometimes truer than facts....

Did some formatting work on my stories page, and cleaned up some of the stories as well. Pretty good, but a ways to go. Ah well.

Spent some time looking for appropriate quotes on censorship/pornography/etc. for my book. Found some fun ones -- if Dave Barry lets me use that one of his, I'll be happy. :-)

As it's now October, it seems appropriate to look at that list of stuff from last month and see how I've progresesd. Deep breath. Here goes:

Done

• Revise "Was It Good For You" for the book -- should probably revise the essays too.

• Find out what the status of the magazine is from my lovely editors. Solicit more contributions. (well, sort of done. The mag is on hiatus)

• Call the phone company and have another line put in so I can log in from home. (This one actually shouldn't be too hard to do).

Not Done - Urgent

• Translate at least one, preferably three of my stories to screenplays because several people have shown interest, one with funding, and that's not the sort of thing a wise writer who wants to make money ignores

• Get going on the erotic horror novella for Puritan -- not due for a couple of months, but those things take me a while

Not Done - Not Urgent

• Get the majordomo software up and running to the erotica mailing list.

• Design their web pages.

• Figure out some way to get my computer fixed. The disk drive is broken, which makes it seriously difficult to bring work home (sure, I can cut and paste it to the net, but what a pain. I don't have a car, so I'm not sure how I can get it to a shop -- I don't even know what kind of shop I need. :( And my friends with cars all work during the day, which is presumably when shops are open. Argh.

• Oh, and for some reason I volunteered to design the web pages from Skiffy, my college science fiction club. Not only that, but I want them to be interesting, so it'll probably be a fairly complex design. I'll let y'all poke at it and give me comments once I get going on them.

• Not to mention all the unfinished revisions lying around, the quest I haven't finished on Holomuck, etc. and so on...

Ick. That doesn't look good at all, even though I *have* done a bunch of other stuff....sigh. Well, back to the grindstone.

Okay, so I went back and…

Okay, so I went back and finished the recipe on Sunday's entry -- I'll continue the rest of the entry here...

Saturday -- Well, it took a while cleaning up from the party (still not *quite* finished), and then Cat and I just hung out and talked for several hours. Most pleasant. That evening I went into the city to meet Sherman -- his parents very kindly had invited us to dinner (there's a really good Indian place at Haight and Fillmore -- don't remember the name, but it was the best restaurant Indian I've had in a while) and Gilbert & Sullivan. :-) I haven't seen much G&S (I love Pirates :-), and while this one wasn't supposed to be a very good one (the Sorceror), I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The set design was amazing (I did a bunch of that in college) and the costumes were also spectacular. Well worth seeing, IMHO.

Sunday -- Slow morning then we went into the city (that means S.F., as opposed to Oakland, btw :-) and attended the Folsom Stret Leather Fair. GREAT fun -- I was amazed at what they allowed on the public streets. It started fairly tame, with lots of booths selling queer stuff and such, then a bunch of bdsm gear, then we got into the demos....people were doing some fairly serious stuff on a rack (advertising for Bondage a Go Go, a local club), with cane and cat and even a little knife-play, though they seemed to be trying pretty hard not to break the skin, for which I admit to being grateful (I'm not easily squicked, but blood....oof. Not my thing.) It was really interesting, though. Another group was raising money for an AIDS charity with public spankings -- they managed to raise $100 for one Boy Scout(tm) (adult :-) alone...

Afterwards, got Ethiopian food (Axum Cafe has amazingly good cheap Ethiopian food on Haight) and retired to Sherman's for ice cream and television. John Woo is this apparently famous director (I know nothing about film), a favorite of Sherman's, and he had just remade for American tv a movie of his, "Once a Thief", I think the title was. It was on last night -- Sherman says it was really different from the original, but it was incredibly good. Really a joy to watch -- we were doubled over with laughter at points and silent with awed admiration at others. I *think* it's the pilot for a show -- if so, the show should be well worth watching. And there's a neat love triangle with definite homoerotic tension between the two males (who are nominally contending for the female). All three are sexy as hell.

Monday -- Well, so far today, haven't done much. Saw Cat off to the bus to the airport, and dragged myself in to campus to churn through my mail and do the diary and update some bitsand pieces on the web pages. Got some neat mail from Lynn Flewelling -- she's a new author who sent me a copy of her Luck in the Shadows for inclusion in the Alternative Sexualities in SF/F booklist. I read it on the plane to CA, and in all the chaos then forgot to recommend it to you all -- I really enjoyed it!

3:15 --Just spent 2 hours sending mail to people about dead links to my pages. God, there are so many of them. I did a search on Alta Vista for 'mohanraj', and got something like 700 links. Then I tried 'mud.bsd.uchicago.edu/~maryanne', my old address, and got about the same. Then I tried 'www.iam.com/maryanne/' and got precisely one listing, I presume the one my editor updated. I have no idea how to get them to change all those other listings other than going through one by one-- I got through page 5 of their list. :( I get such pitiful mail from people who have been trying really hard to find my pages (and Yahoo *still* hasn't updated the links, though I sent them mail), and there must be tons who never noted down my e-mail anywhere...is sad.

Good morning…lazy…

Good morning...lazy Sunday here. It's been a pleasantly busy couple of days, though -- let's see...where did I leave off?

Okay, so Friday. Friday was a little insane running around getting things for the party and picking up a friend at the airport (Cat, visiting from the weekend from Texas). All went smoothly, and I cooked too much, as usual (potluck party; I made sushi, deviled eggs, rainbow pasta, and chocolate chip cookies (an odd assortmnet, but all stuff I like to cook :-)). Party was fun, though a bit too delineated (people in their separate small groups), but that's perhaps to be expected at first. At later parties of mine, they WILL mingle, or something drastic will have to be done. :-)

Rainbow Pasta

1/2 c. olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts, diced
a little flour, salt and pepper
1-2 pounds hot sausage, diced
1 small onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large yellow pepper, chopped
1 c. chopped mushrooms
4-6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c. white wine
1 t. basil
1 t. sage
2 c. heavy cream

3 c. cooked rainbow rotini

NOTE: This is not a healthy recipe. The original version called for 4 c. of heavy cream.

1. Dredge chicen in flour, salt and pepper
2. Heat olive oil and brown chicken.
Slow connection and bad keyboard driving me nuts. will try to finish later. Sorry.
(cont. on Monday....)
3. Add sausage and veggies. Cook 5 minutes on medium high.
4. Add white wine and spices. Add cream. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cream is reduced by half and thickened.
5. Toss with pasta and serve.

Okay, now go to Monday's entry, where I'll pick up where I left off.