Zak, why is your journal…

Zak, why is your journal asking me for a password? Don't you love us anymore?

In other news...well, not much. I was busy last night working on a present for Kev; crashed fairly early. Slept a lot -- I was sick again, but now I'm feeling somewhat better. Hate being sick. Oh well. I think I forgot, living in California, how I used to just be sick all winter, the whole time I was in Chicago...

Woke up this morning and had absolutely no desire to do any work. None. Whatsoever. I read a short novel by Tanya Huff, washed my hair and dyed it purple, and then read another one, same author, while my hair dried.

Okay, so purple is maybe an exaggeration. The name of the color is Balinese Amethyst, and it claims to be 'true violet'. It's certainly a little more purple than the red color I last had in my hair. But given that my hair is still mostly black, and this just shows up as reddish-purple glints when I'm in sunlight or other bright light, it's probably a bit excessive to claim I've dyed my hair purple. But fun. :-)

Only at 1-ish did I start actually doing things. Cleaned up the bedroom, and plan to at least straighten the rest of the place (except perhaps the scary kitchen) once I finish this entry. Then I'm going to pack up my laptop and Hawthorne and head downtown. I need to buy a Xmas present at the mall, and then I think I'm going to settle in at Borders with my work and a cup of chai. Hopefully I'll actually do some work -- I'm already fighting a fierce temptation to read LeGuin's Tales from Earthsea instead. Maybe just one tale, hmmm?

The Hawthorne paper is due Thursday. Planning to write the bulk of it tomorrow, but it'd be nice to have my intro and outline/notes done today. We'll see how it goes. I have an appointment at 3 p.m. on Thursday, so I can't push the paper to the absolute last minute. This is undoubtedly a good thing...

It snowed again this morning. If I had nothing else to do, I'd be tempted to go for a nice long tromp through the snow. As it is, I'll settle for tromping to the bus stop. :-)

Ooh….weird night. …

Ooh....weird night. Went to sleep around midnight, I think -- woke up at 4. Staggered around, checked e-mail. Queasy stomach. Ended up lying on the couch with my afghan pulled around me and crashed again there; slept soundly until 8. Very strange. Normally I sleep like a baby...not so much this last week. Excited that Kevin's arriving tomorrow? Stressed about finishing grading and writing two papers from scratch in a week? Over-stimulated on tea or replacement thyroid hormone? Still sick? Just too warm? Hard to tell.

But grading is clicking along smoothly; I think I'll actually be finished by 1 or so. That's good because I have to go into campus and run a whole bunch of errands. Drop off grades, get cash, get stamps, mail packages to Australia and elsewhere, rent a piece of equipment (part of Xmas present, so can't discuss), get envelopes, and I'm sure there are more things that I'm forgetting. I'm forgetting them because my NotePad file got corrupted!! This is very very bad. Not only do I keep my todo list for the next year on this (including deadlines for next semester and next summer), but I also kept copies of all my various passwords, for Cafe Press and PayPal and Amazon and Yahoo and Pair and such. I *think* I know them all, but I'm not positive. Jed suggested some things that might let me retrieve some of the information; I'll probably try those tonight or tomorrow. If I can't retrieve it, I'll have to recreate it. Huge pain.

Anyway, back to my grading. The big problem is not giving them all A's, or at least A-'s. I'm not really supposed to do that, and it's not even so much that they deserve it in terms of their actual writing or writing improvement; it just feels weird giving lower grades in a creative writing class. It's funny, because I would have no compunction about rejecting almost all of their work if I were in editing mode. Somehow that engages a different part of my brain from the teacher part, which wants to encourage them all, every single one...

While I'm grading, *you* can amuse yourself with this week's Strange Horizons. I especially encourage you to check out M'ris's terrific article on a new kind of matter. I had no idea! I mean, I was raised with solids, liquids and gases, and I was sort of vaguely aware of the existence of plasma, though not so clear on what it was...and now there's this other stuff?? Very cool. And her article is comprehensible to someone like me who didn't ever in my life take a physics class, and flunked calculus. (I'm honestly not sure how I managed to not take a physics class...it's not like I meant to. It just sort of worked out that way; a little sad, in retrospect).

As well, we have the first part of a two-part Xmas story by Madeleine (who gave us the silly and charming "War of the Lights" last year, as you may recall). If you, like M'ris, hate serials, at least you only have to wait a week to read the whole thing. *And* she assumes you've read the first part, so there's no duplication of information between the two. (I have to admit, I read the first half and bounced straight to our secret galleys to read the second half. It's good -- trust me. :-) Also a new and lovely poem, and a review of Ken Wharton's Divine Intervention. I haven't read the book, but it sounds good, and I've met Ken at conventions -- he's remarkably nice. I mean, lots of people are nice, right? But when I describe Ken to people, the first thing I say is -- "He's just so nice!" Hopefully soon I'll read his book and get to change it to -- "He's just so nice -- *and* he writes great books!" :-) That would be a better reason to buy his book than just 'cause he's nice. Although his niceness might be enough in itself. If I were his publisher, I'd send him on book tour -- I think even on tv, his niceness would come across and sell lots of books.

And while you're enjoying our fabulous magazine, DONATE DONATE DONATE! :-) Current donations at $115 and climbing... (I hope)

12:15. Almost done. Took a break to do some clean-up art stuff. I finished Lisette's Xmas present, and I'll show it to you, since I don't think she reads this journal very often -- it's a book version of A Poet's Journey (several photos of different pages if you follow this link). I'm reasonably pleased with it, though I did make some measuring errors in the binding process. Hopefully she'll forgive me. I like the overall look of the thing, and it's rather nice to have a version of this story actually in book form. Though it was exceedingly time-consuming, and I'll be very glad when Zak finishes his illustrations so that we can run off a nice little limited-edition version instead. :-) (Not that there's any rush, Zak, since I can't afford to duplicate it anytime soon...)

It's just so pleasant having this stuff as a break from writing. It's pure fun (well, except maybe for cutting book boards and other finicky tasks of that nature), and if I didn't love reading books so, I'd be seriously tempted to take some art classes and really learn something about art. I have a much lower threshold for getting started on an art project than I do for getting started on a story -- I wonder why that is. Maybe because I'm so ignorant about art. :-) There also just isn't that same feeling that I get with stories, that if I do it wrong the first time, I may ruin the story forever. With art pieces, I feel like if I care to expend the energy, I can do them over and over again until I get them right. (Well, the energy and the money for supplies -- it's certainly a lot cheaper being a writer! I've sold a lot of art pieces in the last year, but I'm not sure I've even broken even on supplies yet. Ah well...)

I also re-framed "Beneath the Lemon Tree", and I am so much happier with this version. The rosewood frame that used to be on it was too heavy; it just weighed the whole piece down. This openwork metal frame is a much happier thing for me, and the poem. :-) Don't you agree?

I’ve been working…

I've been working steadily since 7 a.m. or so...and still, it seems like I've gotten very little done. SH checks and contracts pretty much complete, aside from a few little things that need to be finished off. The bulk of them will go out tomorrow. I always underestimate how long that process will take.

I'm tired now, but no rest. I'm going to go make some tea, and then start grading. I don't really have any sense of how long these portfolios will take. I read pretty fast, and I've read a lot of the material before. So half an hour each? 15 minutes? an hour? Really not sure. I promised them that I'd hand in grades tomorrow, so I have until...oh, about 4 p.m. tomorrow to finish these. Should be plenty of time, though I do have to take a couple of hours out this afternoon for a social conference committee thing, followed by dinner with Sunita's husband David, who is in town for business. But I'm planning on doing some more work after dinner. We'll see.

I finished my Hawthorne critical reading last night; once the grading's done, I'll just have to re-read (or skim) the novel, looking for material connected to my theme. I probably should have done that last night, but I got sad instead. Talked to Kev, then to David for a while. Went to sleep. Slept really badly, with dreams I don't want to remember.

I promise I'll be more exciting once the semester is over, really I will. I guess those photos from yesterday will have to hold you for a while.

I was taking a bath a…

I was taking a bath a week or so ago, looking at the bubbles, sort of wishing I had my camera so I could take cool photos of bubbles. So yesterday afternoon, when I came home all exhausted from my running around, I took a long, hot bath. Lots of satsuma (Japanese orange)-scented bubbles, a copy of Bujold's Civil Campaign and the Herbert book I'm reading for my paper, a few oranges in case I got hungry or thirsty, and my camera. It was fun. I didn't use the camera much, because I was afraid of getting it wet -- just a few photos and then I covered it with a dry washcloth and put it out of range of splashing water. Lots of Bujold. No Herbert. Plenty of bubbles, and my rubber ducks, of course.

Editing these photos, I think they're sort of sexy. And I wonder why -- I don't normally think of feet, or knees, as especially sexy. Particularly not knees. Part of it's the water, of course. Water makes anything sexier. (Well, maybe not chocolate cake. I don't know that dumping a lot of water over a slice would add to the erotic experience of eating double-fudge raspberry-garnished cake...mmmm...chocolate cake!) Partly it's the bubbles -- the idea, especially with the knees photo, that if you blew away the bubbles, you could see a lot more (probably not true, but the impression is there...)

Mostly, I think it's knowing that the naked knee or foot is connected to the rest of a naked person. That might work even better for a viewer than for me...'cause I know exactly what the rest of the body in the tub looks like, whereas you are free to imagine whatever suits you (well, those of you who haven't seen the rest of the body, at any rate :-). All it needs is to be consistent with what's shown...and what's shown isn't very much.

I'm sure I could connect all this to fiction if I tried, but my brain's not quite up for that yet. Y'all make the connections for me, okay? I'm sure M'ris could write quite a pretty little essay on the subject...

I was pretty exhausted after all the running around, so eating pizza and wings with Carol and watching Memento was just about right. What a fabulous movie! Jed says that it has flaws, despite its brilliance, but I refuse to think about those. This movie was just so very smart. Made my brain hurt a little while I was watching it -- I kept peppering poor Carol with my little theories about what was really going on while she was trying to just watch the movie and undoubtedly figuring out a lot more than I was. I remained attached to one of my pet theories for far too long, and it led me along totally the wrong track. Oh well. My version would have made a good movie too, but I think not as good as the one they made.

Lots of stuff planned for today; I'll spare you the details. Just picture me quietly working in my apartment, as the sun rises over the mountains. I'll probably check in again later.

11:00. This day is not going as planned. Oh, I did get up at 6:30 and work fairly diligently on Hawthorne stuff until 9:30 or so. But then I napped on my sunny bed for half an hour, and woke up with an idea for M'ris's aliens anthology. I hadn't planned on writing anything for that anthology. I didn't have time to write anything for that anthology. But I was too drowsy to get up yet, so I thought about it some more. And the dialogue started forming in my head. When that happens, I know I'm pretty much doomed -- unless I actively fight the story, it'll get written. And if I actively fight it, I'll be unhappy. And it did seem like it was going to be a pretty short story. So I said to hell with it, got up, reheated my tea, and wrote the story. "Before the Aliens Came" is now 1750 words, and the first draft is done. I've sent it out to the readers' list and while I currently really like it, I have no idea what I'll think of it in an hour, or what anyone else will think of it. Instead of thinking about it, I'm going to exercise a little, shower, and go get toner so I can print things (like SH contracts). Maybe after I've done all that I'll be better able to assess whether this is actually worth submitting to M'ris.

I wrote a story! Eep!

Guess what I…

Guess what I did last night? Don't they look purty and shiny and all? Especially against that cool twilight sky -- by now, having edited the picture and put it up and such, it's already much lighter and greyer. That strange blue doesn't last very long...

I didn't get much else done yesterday, despite my grand plans. Went to reading, which was very good -- Jacqueline and Paul read material I was familiar with already, but Jenn's David read some really stunning poetry I hadn't heard -- I can't wait for him to come out with a book. And Jeff did some fun prose poems and myths that just made me grin; he went last, and put me in such a good mood as I tottered home.

Unfortunately, I was just too tired to work when I got back, though I sort of wanted to write. Floated around the apartment for a bit and then collapsed. I'm going to have to rearrange my plans for today too -- Kinko's messed up my students' chapbook order, so I have to go pick them up this morning instead (very disappointing not to have them for the last day of class). I'm going to combine that with some other little errands; getting a new watch battery for my good watch, possibly getting the frames to my glasses straightened, 'cause I slept on them and now they're bent funny, getting the conference poster framed for my dad as a Xmas gift -- that's the sort of things dads like, y'know, to be able to brag about their kids and think that what said kids are doing is much more important and impressive than it really is. :-) Will probably pick up some more paper while I'm at it; I've got plans for various books that I'll need to do pretty soon.

Then this afternoon, either SH stuff or I start grading student portfolios, whichever I'm in the mood for. If I'm good, I finish both of those tomorrow. Sunday, read Hawthorne-related stuff, draft intro, e-mail to professor. Monday, hopefully meet with professor, hand in grades on students. Tuesday, work on paper, Kev arrives in evening. Wednesday, ignore Kevin, finish paper, hand it in. Thursday, start second paper. Friday - Sunday, ignore Kev some more, work on paper. Monday, finish second paper, hand it in, all done, relax!

Yah, it's gonna be one of those weeks.

Aren't you glad you're not in school anymore?

Though to be honest, I'm sort of looking forward to the Hawthorne paper, at least. I'm probably going to be talking about the way Hawthorne uses humor to clue the reader in to the fact that House of Seven Gables doesn't really say what it might at first appear to be saying, if you weren't looking closely. Which is basically an argument focused on narrative structure and technique, which is what fiction writers think about, y'know? Heck, it may even help me in my own writing someday, which is the kind of synergy that I can only hope for in this graduate program. Mostly, it seems like I'm working on stuff in my lit. classes that's pretty far from my own fictional concerns. But that's okay. It's making me smarter. I think.

8:40. Copy edits came back from Melcher; just spent half an hour dealing with those. Only one embarrassing missed word -- mostly it was just issues of clarity, and I told them to leave at least half of the things they queried on. That's sort of comforting; it means I did a semi-decent job when I did my own line edits. Most of the stories didn't need much in the way of line edits, but there were a few (including one of the semi-big names) that I did extensive work on. This makes me feel like the work was worthwhile.

Speaking of...well, not really speaking of much of anything, but I've been meaning to mention this for a while; Sunita, who used to be art editor at SH and who has been a long-time reader, is looking for a job; they're shutting down her building and letting everyone go. So if you know of any physics/engineering-type jobs, you might want to glance at her resume. Thanks!

It's probably late enough now that if I dress and go, the stores will be open. So I'd best run -- but will note (sorry, Jed) that I've been having a very pleasant morning listening to Buffy, the Musical on my computer. I downloaded the MP3's last night... :-)

1:00 p.m. Dangit dangit dangit. So I went and did some errands, though I didn't manage to fix my watch or glasses. Maybe tomorrow. Or this afternoon. Because, you see, I have to go back to that area, because I made a stupid mistake. One of the things I needed at the art store was a do-it-yourself frame, because reader-Meriko wants to buy "One of the Ways..." but requested a wall frame rather than a tabletop. No problem -- in theory. But in practice, I mis-measured -- I thought the piece was 6x9, and it's actualy 6.5x9. So I have the wrong frame. Which means I have to go back to the store, and they're going to laugh at me. I hope you feel properly sorry for me.

I'm actually restless enough, that it's not necessarily such a bad thing. I'm having trouble settling down to any of the work I was supposed to do this afternoon. Maybe I should just declare this an errand day and be done with them. I need more toner and paper for my printer too. I bet there's somewhere downtown where I can buy that...

3:30. Triumph! Silver frame, in five minutes (once I actually got down there). That was much less painful than I expected it to be. I felt like virtue (in my getting off my lazy butt and actually going down) had been rewarded. Of course, I only felt that way for a few minutes, because as I was walking down the street afterwards, two big guys (dressed in such a way that you'd expect them to be going to go do something mechanical involving lots of grease and gears) stopped me...and asked for directions to the new library. I can understand why they asked me -- me in blue jeans, sweatshirt, backpack over my shoulder. I looked like someone who should've known where the library was. But most sadly, I did not. When I admitted that I had no idea, and suggested they ask the guy in the store next door, they looked abashed and said, "Never mind -- we'll just walk 'til we find it..." Poor guys. All they wanted was a library...

Did I mention that Salt Lake is just weird? As I continued down the street and reached the intersection, starting across, I passed a man and a woman, very nicely dressed, who were shouting at a car that had started to turn (against the light) into the crosswalk -- and they were shouting, "Fucking Mormon!" Sometimes you can immerse yourself in academia and forget you're in a deeply-divided city...and sometimes you just can't. Weird. I've heard tons of racial/ethnic slurs on the street from angry drivers and pedestrians, but never before a religious one.

Anyway -- fixed my watch and glasses, and even read a little Hawthorne stuff on the bus. I'm gonna make some more tea and try to work my way through the rest of this essay, though I'm not sure it's really so relevant to what I'm doing. Do I really care whether House has something to do with Hawthorne's take on democracy in America? Maybe...but I kind of doubt it.

Carol's coming by tonight to watch Memento and eat pizza (or Chinese food) with me...Paul/Marcia may join us too. In either case, should be fun. I've been meaning to watch that movie for a while.

I’m so pleased to see…

I'm so pleased to see that the donations are...well, not quite 'flowing in' yet, but at least coming in. Yesterday we had three donations, for a total of $75. If that rate continues, then we'll meet our goal easily. Of course, it probably won't continue -- the letters went out yesterday, and plenty of people will forget about the fund drive shortly. But we'll put reminders in next week's newsletter. Really, I'm probably more concerned with getting lots of donations than with getting lots of money -- I'd much rather have 10 people donate $10 each than have one person donate $150. Because once that 501(c)3 finally comes in, grant committees are going to want to see that we have broad-based community support. The subscribers to the newsletter is one indicator of that, but a better indicator is how many outside donors we have, no matter how much or how little they donate. (Of course, the amount helps too -- if more than half of our operating funds come from people not at all affiliated with SH, that looks good too...) Anyway -- stuff to think about. I wish I knew if there were some way to pester the IRS about the 501(c)3 -- they've been sitting on that application for about a year now, I think. *grumblegrumble* I wonder if I should just send a letter...I'm a little afraid to poke my nose in and jinx it.

In other news, I'm almost done making cookies for my students; it's the last day of classes, and the traditional bribe must be proferred as they do course evaluations. :-) Of course, since everyone does it, it's not exactly a bribe...more of an ensuring that they're in a tolerably good mood as they're writing. I'm bringing my cranberry/white chocolate chip cookies and orange juice. Hopefully they'll like 'em. They came out a little funny-looking...I'll be happy when I'm cooking at normal altitudes again. Salt Lake is too high!

Also working through their monologues; I'll be done with those shortly. I'd hoped to have time to read and comment on their memoir pieces, but I only have an hour left before I need to get ready and go, so that seems less likely. Ah well. They'll include them in their final portfolios, so I should be able to comment then for anyone who wants comments...

I'm pretty sleepy; hope I can make it through the day. There's a grad student reading tonight -- the timing is not so hot, I have to say. But must go and show the flag, y'know? No drinking afterwards this time, though -- I'm going to come home and crash. I still have moderately great plans for getting Howard an intro of my paper tomorrow, really I do. The plan is to finish my preparatory reading this afternoon and evening, draft the intro and outline tomorrow, hand them in and meet with him around lunchtime, and then do SH checks and contracts in the afternoon. If there's time, I'll also try to finish reformatting the POD manuscript -- I did half of the basic reformat the other day, and I think finishing it will only take an hour or so. Of course, then I have to figure out how best to make sure all the italics and such are in there. 'Cause they're not now. Maybe Jed can advise?

Anyway, my second mug of tea is steeped, and I think the last batch of cookies are ready to come off the cookie sheet. Happy Thursday, y'all.

I should keep better…

I should keep better track of what's going on at Fictionwise. They're apparently no longer offering August 2001 (luckily, I have my copy already), and today's the last day to download September 2001. Go grab it while you can!

I can't actually complain about this -- obviously they need to limit the amount of free stuff they give away if they want to also sell stuff. And August had a very good run, with 2722 copies downloaded -- that's a nice chunk of extra readers for the magazine. Pleasing. :-)

Oh, before I forget my tidbit of other news, here's a fun way for the sf/word-geeks among you to spend your time -- working on the SF section of the OED. It sounds just like the process described in The Professor and the Madman....okay, well, severely updated and streamlined. But still. "This page is a pilot effort for the Oxford English Dictionary, in which the words associated with a special field of interest are collected so that knowledgable aficionados can help the OED find useful examples of these words. This, our first project, is science fiction literature." How can you resist that? It's worth visiting even if you don't plan to help, just to see their list of words with their notes on earliest known usage (for example, they're currently crediting LeGuin with 'ansible', in Rocannon's World -- that can't be the earliest, can it? Didn't Clarke use ansibles before that?? This is the sort of question that can drive a man mad...)

Gonna go make tea, and then alternate working on various and sundry projects, including (probably) my Hawthorne paper. More to come, my lovelies.

9:15. Still puttering, but puttering with a schedule now. Around 1ish I need to head into campus to pick up library books, meet with Paul re: conference, meet with the head of the department re: conference, possibly meet with Prof. Robin re: last piece (he missed workshop due to travel difficulties). Then I come home, read about Hawthorne, and hopefully draft at least the intro to my paper this evening. Sounds feasible, yes? And it frees me up to do some other stuff this morning -- both working on a book I'm making (by hand) and the SH POD book I'm editing (by computer). Plus laundry and dishes and such. It was nice having Kev around, but somehow laundry and dishes didn't get done while he was here. Will have to do better when he arrives again next week, since he'll be here for a fair bit longer then.

I spent a little while this morning on glass collage stuff. Someone expressed an interest in purchasing Rice. Yay! I ended up knocking $5 off the price for her because in all the convention travelling, the back of the frame was damaged. I just now used some glass-glue to attach the two pieces of glass together, and attach them both to the inside frame; hopefully that'll help keep the entire assemblage secure. She was also interested in commissioning a collage of One of the ways... -- funnily enough, I had one already done, that I just hadn't gotten around to adding to my pages. I'm not sure if it's a style she'll like -- if not, I'll hang onto it and do her another in a different style. I like it, though. :-) And it's a cool frame, though it does limit you to tabletop use; you can't hang it.

Okay -- call Kinko's and e-mail them my students' chapbook, with an order for 15 copies. I need to come up with a title for it; they rather flailed on that aspect. But the pieces are cool. :-) E-mail Robin and see if he wants to meet. Maybe putter a bit on the book. Check in later...

11:20. I finished one of my Xmas presents! Yay! Photos of it will appear after the holidays...

In other news, my cable modem is back! Oh frabjous day! Calloo, callay! Please imagine me chortling in my joy...

And in the last tidbit of news for a while (because I have just had lunch and must shortly dress and toddle off to campus), Strange Horizons is having a fabulous December Fundraiser. With cool prizes and everything. If you stop by the main site, you'll see a little graphic on the left, with our goal and a tiny red line at the bottom. Help us move the red line up? It looks so sad and pathetic down at the bottom like that...it wants to grow, and grow, and grow...

1:45. Gotta run, but first -- Jed made me take the Art Test -- I tried to resist, I did, truly...

If I were a work of art, I would be Pablo Picasso's Three Musicians.

I am colourful and provoking, always looking to break out of the mould and to pioneer new ways of doing things. I have a jaunty outlook and although I am a bit weird, most people have some idea what I'm about.

Which work of art would you be? The Art Test

I can live with that. Apparently, if I'd been a little more of an idealist and less of a pragmatist (in my own estimation), I'd be Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights...

Sick again. :-( Woke up…

Sick again. :-( Woke up two hours before the alarm, and spent those two hours pretty miserable. I'm feeling a little better now, which is good, because I really can't afford to stay home today. But oh, I want to. Kev's gone, and snow is falling heavily, and my hair is still wet, and my stomach is still acting a little funny, and I didn't finish all the marking up I had hoped to...yes, I'm feeling very sorry for myself. I want to stay home with a cup of peppermint tea and a warm blanket and the next Robin Hobb book, and ideally, a Kevin too, dangit. He'll be back in a week, but I'll probably be all better by then.

Still, we'll put on a cheerful face and go out into the cold, cruel world. Hopefully I can keep my head down and finish up my grading during my Amer. lit. class; I hate doing that, but I hate disappointing my students more. At least I'm prepped for the classes I'm taking. I love teaching, but it'll be nice to not teach for a while next semester. Just focusing on one academic class and my writing sounds really good right now.

Finished getting all the SH pieces into a manuscript yesterday; tomorrow I'm hoping to spend some time getting it into clean form. Big pain, but must be done. I also need to draft a paper tomorrow. Not a fun day. Sigh.

I'm sure there's some stuff to look forward to, but I'm having a hard time seeing it right now. I'd probably best stop whinging at you and come back when I'm in a better mood.

3:50 p.m. I am too old for martyrdom. I started feeling really ill again in my first class. Stuck it out 'til the end of that, but then went to the class I taught, told the students I was sick, took 20 min. to do all the random stuff they actually needed me for, and then left them to workshop and went home. Liz promised to get me a copy of her notes from lit. theory.

I came home, ate half a sandwich to get something into my stomach and then decided that was maybe a bad idea. I wandered around the apartment for a while, feeling really cold. Turned up the heat. Put a load of laundry in. Sat down on the floor on a heating vent to try to get warm. Still cold fifteen minutes later. Grabbed my comforter off my bed, lay back down on the heating vent, and crashed hard. Woke up two hours later, feeling much more capable of dealing with the day, though still not actually well.

I need to cook some food to take to our last workshop tonight; thought about skipping that too, but I'd really like to make it if I can. I do feel mostly okay now. Before I stagger into the kitchen, though, I'm going to read me some M'ris, at her new and permanent home. Yay! Though I can't seem to figure out how to link directly to her journal, which makes me feel kind of dense...

4:05 -- Okay, Jed showed me how to link directly to Morphism. If I had half a brain today, I could've figured out it was just in a frameset.

The sun just came out, for the first time in a very snowy day. The sky is a clear blue, and the snow on the houses and trees is shining. I feel better.

Phone conversation,…

Phone conversation, Friday night:

Kev: So, you know how we were comparing Expedia and Yahoo prices for airfares? I found another one, Orbitz, that has better prices.
Me: Good to know, though I don't think I'll be buying tickets again for a while...
K: Chicago to Salt Lake round-trip is only $120, even if I leave tomorrow morning.
M: Funny, considering you'll be out here in two weeks.
K: Actually, I don't really have any plans for this weekend...

I went to sleep Friday night, and he showed up Saturday morning. He's staying until Tuesday morning, and it's been lovely having him around. The line between friend and boyfriend is a little blurry at the moment, but I've been pretty happy and calm, so I'm not going to worry about it right now. That's one reason I haven't posted in a few days. The other reasons are:

  • my AT&T cable modem went down, as warned, and it took me a bit to figure out the Univ. of Utah dial-in system (which also limits me to 7 hrs weekly!!!), and

  • I did have tons of work to do this weekend, so when I wasn't chatting with Kev or watching movies (Wonder Boys, silly and charming, Nurse Betty, surreal and charming), I was feeling guilty and working hard, first on Amer. lit. (Ruth Hall is actually much better than it seems to be for the first half of the book) and then on theory, and

  • I got horribly sick Saturday night. Woke up at 3:30 a.m. feeling very queasy, spent the next hour with vomiting and cold sweats and chills and dizziness and assorted other unpleasantnesses in my tiny bathroom. I eventually fell asleep again around 5-ish, to doze fitfully until 9 or so. Felt queasy most of yesterday, and was afraid that I had some kind of flu. But I slept like a log last night, so I think I can conclude that it was probably food poisoning; I blame the half-bowl of clam chowder I had from Cucina Saturday afternoon. Bad Cucina!
Now it's snowing, and Kev is still fast asleep; I woke up at 4:30 or so to go to the bathroom, and found him still reading on the couch (and reading the book *I* was reading, Robin Hobb's Ship of Magic -- hmph!) -- this is not going to be conducive to his getting back to normal teaching hours. Though I suppose he doesn't actually have any more teaching to do this semester -- just an exam to give on Thursday, so it's not so bad. I still have two more classes to teach this week before the semester's done here.

I've been working steadily this morning, mostly on our lovely new Frank Wu store! Isn't it cool? T-shirts and mugs and tote bags and tank tops, all with Frank's fabulous "Slugball" image -- chick with a big gun! :-) We've put a $3 markup on each item, so for every one you buy, $1.50 goes to Frank, and $1.50 goes to Strange Horizons. There's even a Xmas ornament, only available until the end of the year, so don't miss your chance. :-)

When I have time, I'll add more illustrators; I think I'll ask Wolf Read to work on these next. His Japanese-style pen and ink piece will be a nice contrast to Frank's full-color extravaganza.

This afternoon, I need to do some marking up of student monologues, and then I think I'll work on the POD book. That was all supposed to be done by the end of yesterday; I lost a day to illness. I had hoped to spend today working on my next paper for class, but I think that'll have to wait until Wednesday. So it goes...

4:20. Almost forgot -- today's the last day of the SH Survey! If you've been putting it off, please do stop by and fill it out today -- the info we're collecting will be very valuable to us. Thanks! And while you're there, check out the new interview with the amazing James Morrow (I loved his Only Begotten Daughter), the new story, "Fiddler", by Harry LeBlanc (with an incredibly gorgeous illustration by Shelton Bryant), a new poem, and a new review, and a new art gallery -- yes, it's another terrific week at the best little spec fic magazine in town. :-)

Now I need to go steal my book back from Kevin; I've been steadily working on putting together the SH Best of, but it's repetitive cutting and pasting work, and it's strained my hand and arm, so I think I'd best take a break for a while. Until later, munchkins.

Dinner came out…

Dinner came out fabulous last night -- tasty and elegant and it only took an hour to put together. First, I marinated the salmon in teriyaki sauce. While that was marinating, I cooked long-grain rice with a little peanut oil; when the rice was cooked, I added toasted sesame seeds, black poppy seeds (for color -- the recipe called for black sesame seeds, which I didn't have) and chopped chives. Then I peanut-oiled six 4 oz timbales and packed the rice into them. When I was ready to serve, they very easily and neatly unmolded onto the plates, as you can see. Then I made rolled sweet omelettes -- basically egg, sugar, salt, soy sauce and water (dashi would have been better, but I didn't have any), mixed together. Pour about half onto a frying pan, thinly -- if you have a square or rectangular one, that'll make the next step easier. When eggs are set, roll them up to one end. Grease the pan again, pour the rest of the eggs in, and roll up the first roll inside the second. (Theoretically, you're supposed to do this three times for really thin rolls, but I decided twice was sufficient for me. :-) When it's all cooked, pull it off, press the roll tight, and slice it in little rounds. Very pretty. I garnished the plates with sliced pickled ginger left over from my last sushi extravaganza. At this point, Paul and Marcia had arrived, bearing snap peas -- perfect! While I grilled the salmon, Marcia first boiled the peas, then tossed them with toasted almonds and garlic sauteed in butter (plus salt and pepper, of course). So tasty! It all finished at about the same time, and we sat down to a nice meal with candles, napkins, and wine. The Hogue gewurtztraminer went beautifully with the meal; cold and clear and slightly fruity. I haven't had even a semi-elegant dinner in so long; it was lovely. I should do this more often -- it makes me feel more sane and civilized. I forget that sometimes.

We got a little tipsy and enjoyed watching Star Trek; afterwards, they lingered for some more silly tv. I showed them the books I was working on and convinced Marcia to take the mistakes off my hands -- she's very good at finding uses for seemingly useless things. Eventually, they headed out, and soon after that Karina called; I talked to her until I fell asleep.

This morning, I spent putting together a chapbook for my students. They're going to include their favorite pieces of what they've written this semester -- so far 12 have sent me material, but I'm hoping that I can coax a few more into adding stuff today. It was fun putting it together, and some of the pieces are really quite good -- or at least, quite promising. It's been so much fun teaching creative writing -- to be honest, I'm not sure they'd actually have to pay me to teach this class. :-) But don't tell them that, please...

Off to campus now, to discuss The House of Seven Gables, which I thought was really funny; sadly, only a few people in the class agreed with me on Tuesday. Hopefully more will agree with me today. I'm going to try to be quiet in classes today -- I talked too much Tuesday; I was in a sort of hectic mood. It's snowing again today, so I'm going to try to be quiet and mellow, like the snow. Drifting down peacefully and gently...well, actually, it's quite blustery and frenzied at the moment. But I can be a different kind of snow than what's actually falling, right?