Kevin gets back from…

Kevin gets back from France tomorrow. Knowing that makes it a little hard to concentrate on anything else. We haven't really been able to talk since he left; he's terrible with e-mail. Some brief notes back and forth. I haven't come up with any miraculous fixes while he was gone, so it doesn't make so much sense to hope that he managed it, but...

Anyway. I don't remember much of Sunday -- I think I played Might and Magic much of the day. Hours disappeared. Somewhere in there I finished the Eager books -- it turned out there was one I hadn't read, which startled me mightily. They were delightful. Oh, now I remember -- in the evening I went into the city and met up with Alex and Yuko and their David. (I would use his last name, or last initial, but I don't know it anymore...) Yuko took us to a great Chinese place, that I think I could find again, but I don't remember its name. Hot and sour soup, salt and papper crab, garlic shrimp, Chinese mushrooms, Peking duck. It was all delicious. Afterwards, we walked to the Italian neighborhood, stopping at City Lights bookstore on the way (where the beatniks hung out -- a great bookstore), and had coffees and steamed milk at Cafe Trieste. Very pleasant.

Yesterday, more computer games. At some point, Susan arrived and dragged me away from the computer. We hung out and chatted and made spring rolls and somewhere in there Lydia and the girls stopped by (Kiera is almost as tall as me now! She's only twelve!) and then Heather came by, and there was much chatting and spring roll eating and tea drinking. When everyone left, I played computer games again. I'm going to swear off for a couple of days, though -- it makes my life disappear in a somewhat alarming way.

Today, I need to run to the bank to close an old safe deposit box, and then M'ris is coming by for lunch, and then she and I are planning to go for a walk, and then this evening at some point Jed will come by and scoop me up and take me back to Mountainview with him. That's the plan.

I'm feeling very scattered. I'm not going to worry about transitions.

What I found funny about Todd's long examination of what he dislikes about photos of him, is how much it doesn't apply to me. When I see photos of myself (including the two that are in that essay), pretty much all that I care about is whether I look fat. That's what will make me like or not like a photo. Of the ones there, the one in the blue dress is okay, not great, and the one in the brown dress I actually think is pretty cute now -- but I'm pretty sure I thought I looked fat when I first saw the picture. It's clearly sort of a random perception thing -- when I look at pics of myself from high school, almost all of them look fine, and yet I remember back then thinking I looked awful in all of them. I do seem to take more bad pictures these days than I used to; an indication that I ought to either work out more or be photographed less, I suppose. :-) But mostly, I rely on the kindness of strangers and friends -- if they take awful pictures of me, hopefully they'll check with me before putting them on the web!

That's my default these days, actually -- if a photo is really fabulous and I think the person looks really good in it (like the one of M'ris on our birthday, at the baseball park), then I'll just put it up. Especially if it feels time-sensitive. But if I can, I'll put photos up on a private page first and let people tell me which ones they can live with having on the web. Because even if it looks fine to me, I know that they'll probably have their own little neuroses about weirdo things like their smile, or their profile, or the left side of their face, or stubble. :-) My mom used to tell me that my forehead was too big.

In the end, I try to relax and tell myself that when I'm 80, I'll think all these terrible photos of me look fabulous.

One more quick note -- the recipe for curry buns that Tim likes so much can be found in Charmain Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook, which I know I've recommended to you before. It's truly a fabulous Asian cookbook. I love it muchly. You can find them in the Sri Lankan section, under snacks, also known as 'mas paan'.

Oh, and the Disch author focus issue of Strange Horizons is up! Stop by, read it, and tell David how much you liked it...he was coordinating this time around. Good stuff! Very entertaining interview.

Oh (yes, another oh) -- one more exciting note: Tangent is now reviewing stories from Strange Horizons on their site. Their annual subscription is $2 (goes up to $5 annually tomorrow, actually), so if you want SH reviews, hot off the presses, now would be a good time to go sign up. You can read them for free on the site, but you have to wait three weeks for them if you're not a subscriber.

That's all for now, I think.

5:20. Well, mopiness off and on today, but I did get some work done despite that, and then had a nice lunch and afternoon chatting with M'ris and David. Include photo-taking, of course. It's a good thing my friends are so tolerant. David's given permission for this one of him -- I haven't asked M'ris about the one below of her, but both David and I think she looks pretty in it, so hopefully she won't object. :-)

I did get mopey again later, but David managed to cheer me up. It's been so lovely being around him these last few weeks -- I can't really tell you.

Zak has too vivid an…

Zak has too vivid an imagination. I mean, I suppose M'ris and Susan may have ended up in a great pile of lubricity. It's possible -- I had to leave for my reading a little early, and I don't *know* what happened afterwards. But somehow, I doubt it...

The party was lovely. Pretty much perfect, in fact. There was enough food, and it was all tasty, and it was sunny and beautiful all day. I saw many people I haven't seen in quite a while, and some whom I've seen recently but am always happy to see more. I met some of Susan and M'ris's friends -- and was pleased to see that they got along swell with my friends. There was eating and chatting and lying on blankets and being fed peeled grapes and juggling and laughing and opening presents and just being surrounded by warm friendly peoples. There was a little photo-taking, but not much, because I mostly just wanted to enjoy talking to people. Time slid away so fast. There was sailing; I took Yuko and Alex and their friend David out on the water for an hour, and despite the wind being a bit low, we had a pleasant sunny time. I was told that I make a good captain. :-)

To be honest, I think the best part for me was all the connections between people. If we'd sat down with paper and made a chart of who was dating (or had dated) whom, it would have taken many colored markers and scotch tape and more paper and dotted lines and solid lines and double lines and...I love that. There were several people there who had once been my lovers (I couldn't figure out how to say that -- 'old lovers' sounds like they're old, and only some of them are :-), and 'ex-lovers' isn't nearly a pleasant enough sort of concept for what I actually mean), and most of them were friends with each other, and the ones that weren't yet seemed like they could become so, if given enough time...that's such a good feeling.

I know there are people who marry their high school sweetheart and that's their one and only, and they're happy with it -- I can understand there being something valuable to that kind of relationship. Something almost like the pleasure of a secret, perhaps -- that what there is has been shared with just one, or very few. Like discovering a fabulous little restaurant that no one else knows about, perhaps -- someplace where the cook knows you, and they always make your favorite food. I can understand treasuring that. But me -- I'd rather drag all my friends to the restaurant -- 'look, look at this fabulous place I found! You must all love it just as much as I do!' :-) Heh. It doesn't always work that way, but it can be lots of fun trying. And even if you don't all end up in a great big 'pile of lubricity', as Zak so elegantly put it, maybe you'll all end up friends. The kind of friends who like each other because they like the same sorts of things...or people.

Sitting on the grass, watching Alex and Jed juggling together -- that did good warm fuzzy things to my heart.

The reading went very well -- I ended up reading "Johnny's Story", in part because it was shorter, and in part because it fit my mood better. Most of the stories were way over the top, 'how outrageous can we be?', and I think it was good that I balanced it with a sweeter, mellower piece. People seemed to like it. It was good seeing the Bay Area pervs again, and Carol Queen promised to put me in contact with some Salt Lake pervs...maybe that'll make the next year a little easier to take.

I came back all excited, and it took a little while to calm down. Readings do that to me (not just smut readings :-). But David was still up, so we talked over the party, and the day drew to a calm and peaceful close. It felt like a birthday.

This morning, I played with presents (backed up my Visor with its spiffy new backup module! put more memory in my camera! read The Time Garden!) and edited some photos. I did want to quickly show you what I made Susan, just because they came out better than I'd anticipated. Candle holders from Pier 1, painted with layers of green and copper edging, stems wrapped in copper wire and finished with a ring of little gold and green beads. Very satisfying -- hopefully she'll like them as much as I do :-)

Oh, I’m so much happier…

Oh, I'm so much happier today. Last night I made egg salad and then finished up presents while watching Next Gen on tape -- David has enough of those to keep me amused for months. I fell asleep in front of the tv around 10:30, I think, and then slept until 6:30, at which I point I woke up and decided to go back to sleep, not getting up until 8. That was such the right decision -- I feel well-rested, and it had been long enough since I'd felt that way that I'd forgotten what well-rested felt like; I was taking tired as a baseline. Not good. Hopefully this good sleeping will continue.

I really want to show you pictures of what I made yesterday, but it's just possible that the people I made them for would read the journal and thus have their surprises spoiled...if only by an hour or two. :-) I'll show you soon, I promise.

When I finish here, I'll assemble the egg salad sandwiches, and then take a shower. After that -- a new dish! I'm going to try making Vietnamese summer rolls -- these are so nummy and are just about the freshest-tasting dish I can think of. I figured I needed something light to balance the deep-fried fish. :-) By that point, people should be arriving at David's; a few of them are collecting here to minimize cars. Then we all tromp off to the lake for picnicking and sailing and juggling and happiness. :-) It's sunny already too -- the forecast said mostly cloudy a few days ago, so I was worried. It now claims partly cloudy; please cross your fingers that the sun stays out!

Well, it’s the morning…

Well, it's the morning after, and I'm feeling a bit blue. But I do want to take a second and thank all of you again who sent birthday e-mail, and silly poems, and sweet poems, and virtual flowers and balloons and cards and even the teddy bears. Thank you. They were lovely.

M'ris does a better job than I ever could of describing the baseball game. It was fun; I had a good time. I don't see myself becoming a rabid baseball fan, but I could go to a game again, and enjoy it. I think what I liked best was rooting for the underdog. Minnesota got an early lead, and so the Oakland fans were on the edge of their seats periodically, watching for the hit that could turn the tide of the game. Never happened, but was fun hoping for it.

David made me his signature pasta for dinner, which was lovely; I also did a little cooking prep for Saturday's picnic party. More of that today, which is good. Cooking is soothing. There were many happy birthday phone calls throughout the day -- one was from Alex, who is going to be out here visiting his girlfriend Yuko, and thus can make the party; that was great news. It'l be so good to see him. I had nice conversations with my folks (which is still rare, so to be valued) and my sisters. Karina called, which was delightful (I should have stayed on the phone with you longer, chica.) Kevin called in the morning from France, but I missed the call -- had somehow turned off my phone the previous day. I was simultaneously glad he called and sad to hear his voice. I got pretty mopey in the evening, due to a combination of things that I don't think I want to go into right now. So the end of the day wasn't as good as one could hope for in a birthday. But then, given the circumstances, that was probably to be expected...I'm glad so much of the day was pleasant, at any rate, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

4:20. Finished making curry buns, and am most of the way through fish cutlets. This is the sort of food that we always made for birthday parties when I was growing up -- tons of appetizer/snack things, so that everyone filled up and then groaned when dinner arrived, because they really were too full to have much of the delicious curries. Every year, my aunts and mom swore that they would make fewer appetizers...but they never did, because the appetizers (known as 'short eats', which I thought was 'shorties' when I was a kid) were everyone's favorites. So making this food makes me feel like tomorrow is actually my birthday. :-)

Okay...gotta go fry some cutlets, and then last bits of present-finishing-and-wrapping...

Tomorrow’s my birthday!…

Tomorrow's my birthday! :-) I've started opening presents already; Karina said it was okay, and so I've been opening hers one at a time -- I'm leaving one of them for tomorrow. There's a book, and some candles (scented with smells from the Australian bushlands), and a heart-shaped hot water bottle (long story)...it's so nice having birthdays.

I felt the need to open them because I haven't been sleeping well. A combination of still being a little sick, and breakup stress, I think. I'm becoming more and more convinced that this is the right decision; it's starting to feel right. I only occasionally have the impulse to send Kev e-mail saying I've changed my mind... But my brain is still pretty unhappy about breaking up with him, and persists in sending me nightmares. I woke up around 3 a.m. from one in which Kev was telling me about the new woman in his life, the one who was requiring that he never talk to me ever again (actually, it was your friend Ellie from Seattle, Jed). Woke up completely panicked. Took a while to get back to sleep. That scenario actually happening is so unlikely that I would bet a year's pay against it -- but part of my brain still worries. It did happen, with someone I dated casually -- when he got married, his wife made him cut off all ties with everyone he'd ever dated. This made me furious for months -- after all, he and I had been friends for years -- we'd only dated for three months. It was a lot of friendship to give up. Though I was angry at him, not at her. Guess I still am, in a quieter way.

Eh. Not worth the energy. There's too many good things in this world for me to waste my time on that kind of nonsense. Monday I went up to Berkeley for the afternoon; did a little birthday present shopping, and then hung out with Karen at Au Coquelet, drinking cider and catching up. I do like cities that have cafes with hard cider! That evening, Susan came over and had curry with me and David (and more cider, which left me a little hung over -- ah well). Nice evening. Tuesday, I went up to Berkeley early, supposedly to work. Instead, I read Kathleen Goonan's Queen City Jazz, one of the most fun hard sf novels I've read in a while. I also ran into Debbie Notkin and her friend Guy -- apparently, Debbie has also adopted Cafe Elodie in Berkeley as a good hangout. I recommend it -- right next to the BART station, decent food, chai (a bit sweet), tons of outlets, comfy couches.

Came back home, leftovers with David, then we went over to Susan's for a little birthday cake and coffee with Heather, Karen and Jed. That was just delightful. Surrounded by people I love, and having the kind of relaxed fun discussion that you can only have with people you're really comfortable with. We actually ended up talking about sex a fair bit; stripping and strip clubs and such were a big part of the conversation. Also sex post-baby. :-) I really miss this kind of conversation -- I had them some when I was in Oakland before, and lots in college. In Salt Lake, I have friends that I could theoretically have this kind of conversation with -- except that they're colleagues too, and there's a level of frankness that just doesn't seem to happen. Kind of a bummer. It's hard to drop the awareness of our professional relationship...and I'm not even sure I ought to. So even though I like some of them very much, the friendships feel limited. Maybe that'll change as time goes on, or once we graduate. Dunno.

Today, I work some in the morning, and then take David computer shopping. He desperately needs one. I'm going to try to talk him into a titanium powerbook -- if I can't afford one, then *someone* I know should get one. :-) We're also planning to swing by Lake Merritt and make sure there's no problems with sailing on Saturday -- also find out if it'll be okay to have helium balloons at the lake. We'd be very careful not to let any of them fly off and hurt the birds.... Then tonight, he's going to go over to Heather's, so theoretically, I'll be getting more work done. Heh. We'll see...

It's my birthday tomorrow! (in case you forgot...)

Four days ’til my…

Four days 'til my birthday! :-)

The morning's started pretty productively, although I again slept badly. Made tea, had a little curry on toast, and finished rereading the Star Trek book. That put me in a good mood, and when I sat down at the computer, I put the soundtrack to Shrek on. Good thing I have headphones! I wouldn't inflict this kind of bouncy music on David early in the morning. But it was perfect for energizing me, and I did a bunch of revisions on "How it Started" (still not sure that's the best title for this one -- it works well for the story, but isn't memorable by itself). I sent this more polished draft off to the EROS list just now; we'll see what they do with it. I think I may show "Wild Roses" to the Melcher editors too -- it's not so sexy, but a little, and there is a rainstorm in the story. I'm still planning on trying to write another one today, which makes me sound like Tim Pratt or something, but it just feels right. I'm sort of at a pausing place on the BW stuff until Monday, because I need to make a bunch of phone calls to New York people. I do have some SH things to take care of, and I may try to do a bit of that today. I need to do lots of new calls for staff; we're having a little turnover, and a bunch of new positions will be starting September. Well, a few, anyway. So we need job descriptions for them. Oh, and I have to do the much-belated newsletter, 'cause Jeremy's computer got fried this week. And I have to do some stuff with the t-shirts and mugs, but that's another thing that has to wait 'til business hours. Anyway, I'm babbling. I guess I'm not as coherently awake as I thought I was, which maybe means I shouldn't have trusted myself to do edits, but too late now. :-)

10:20. Almost bedtime; just thought I'd check in. I didn't end up writing another story today -- nothing came quickly to mind, and I was feeling sufficiently virtuous for writing one yesterday. I did a fair number of revisions on "How it Started" this morning (especially appreciating Karen's helpful comments on how to swear effectively and believably), which was satisfying. I then alternated working on SH stuff (jobs descriptions, newsletter, organizational matters, etc.) with skimming through Diane Duane Star Trek novels. Comfort reading. In the evening, I chatted with Jed for a bit and did some revisions on "Still" -- big revision day. At this point, I'm reasonably happy with both of those stories and with "Wild Roses". In that sense, it's been a very productive couple of weeks. Sometimes I go months without producing a new story. (Tim and Marissa have permission to be appalled at my slothful indulgence).

The next week looks moderately busy. Tentative plan:

  • Monday - Get caught up completely(!) on BW stuff. Figure out what's going on with the SH t-shirts and mugs. Have dinner with David and Susan. Feed Susan gobs of curry.
  • Tuesday - Go up to Berkeley (hey, Wendy -- I have some books to return to you...) and work in a cafe. Try to write another story. If that fails, draft Asian sf book proposal.
  • Wednesday - Do any BW stuff that has come up, and then do whatever I didn't do Tuesday.
  • Thursday - birthday! I'm spending the day with David; apparently we're going to some strange American ritual known as a "baseball game". This should be an interesting opportunity to study the natives. No work unless I really want to.
  • Friday - Work on something. Dunno what.
  • Saturday - big birthday party with M'ris and Susan, followed by reading at Perverts Put Out in San Francisco. Hey, did I mention that yet? If you're in the area, you should come to the reading. I'm thinking I might read "How it Started", if it's not too long.

Perverts Put Out Reading

8 p.m., San Francisco, $12-20 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds, reserversations strongly recommended, details here!

And that's all, folks...sleep well.

It is so dreary, to wake…

It is so dreary, to wake up after nightmares to a morning with no new journal entries. Sadness. Sorrow. Melancholy.

But the morning is improved by David putting on the tea for me and being generally cheerful (it's funny how different it is depending on which of us gets up first -- that's the one who gets to be cranky for half an hour at the other one :-). And there was some good e-mail in my box. And I had leftover curry for breakfast. So right now, I'm feeling fine.

Theoretically, I'm writing a story today. The one they have for BW, "Monsoon Day", really isn't very sexy. It's just a little sexy; it's mostly literary. So they've asked me to pretty please try to write something else, and I will attempt to oblige. I don't have an idea yet. Must force idea into head. Will go sit in Jasmine's chair (yes, David's cat has the comfiest chair in the house) and stare at the ceiling until an idea appears. And if I'm very lucky and an idea appears and I manage to write it today, then I'll try doing the same thing tomorrow, because two is better than one, no? Monday I'll go back to doing other work. Unless I give up in disgust first.

I'm finally getting some old projects cleared off my plate -- Jed may find this dubious, given that he's seen my to-do list, but it's actually getting much shorter. Next week, Cecilia Tan and I are hoping to put together a book proposal for Betsy Mitchell at Warner; we have all the raw information we need, and now just need to write it up. I'm going to do the first draft of it, and ask Cecilia to go over it with a sharp eye. It would be much fun to be working on a sf anthology next spring or summer; a nice change from watery erotica. :-)

10:15. Nonono. M'ris does not get to blame me for the lack of literary orgasms on her page, though I do admit to nagging her to update soon soon soon. It is her fault that her journal entry each morning invariably makes me smile, just as it is her responsibility to provide us with as many literary orgasms as possible. Don't you agree?

I'll have to think about my own literary orgasms in the meantime. In various sense of the words.

9:15. Finished a story, "How it Started", around 4-ish today. About five hours start to finish, 3200 words. It's a little rougher than "Wild Roses", and a lot smuttier. It may work for BW -- if it doesn't, it'll probably work for a lesbian collection. Hmm...I don't think I've submitted anything to Best Lesbian Erotica yet; cool -- new market. Anyway, that was satisfying; after that, I read a little of Tim Powers's Declare, which to be honest, isn't grabbing me yet. I'm going to give it a few more chapters before I give up. I may just be too groggy today to fight through all the spy and WWII lingo. Made a nice Singapore chicken curry for dinner, to go with various leftovers. We're eating a lot of curry these days. I'm not complaining. :-) Then....hmm...I guess I reread some of a Star Trek novel, for comfort (My Enemy, My Ally), and chatted with David, and posted some to the Tangent newsgroup (Tangent reviews short fiction in sf/f), and updated my journal. That's all for tonight, my dears. Three updates in one day -- I wouldn't normally inflict that on you, but I did want to tell you about finishing a story. Woohoo!

Hey, it’s less than a…

Hey, it's less than a week to my birthday! Time is just rushing by. I keep seeing M'ris's notes about her birthday, but somehow, I didn't quite connect it to mine, even though it's the same one. I'll be thirty! I know it's weird, but I'm actually kind of relieved to be done with my twenties. There was a lot of confusion and insecurity in there; while I'm not completely free of all that now, there's much less of it. I sometimes wish there were a way to speed up the maturation process. Something other than having awful things happen to you, that is. Anyway, gifts and e-mail and such are certainly welcome. It's been a rough month; some good thoughts would be lovely. The best address for cards is probably the post office box:

Mary Anne Mohanraj
P.O. Box 11453
Salt Lake City, UT 84147

I won't pick them up until mid-August, but they should be safe there. It's a smallish box, so don't send presents there, please -- I'm not sure what they do if your box gets too full, but it might not be good. Hmm...presents sent to my home address will be forwarded to David's place for the next two weeks -- that should work fine, I think. Ditto for stuff off the Amazon wishlist. If you need an address for me, just ask.

Quick note to Kalyani -- your e-mail is bouncing; your mailbox is too full. Please empty it. I've added you to the readers' list. As for making the stained glass thingies, any decent craft store will have a whole section on the stuff, complete with glass blanks, paints, kits and instructions. They're really very straightforward.

I'll probably check back in later; right now, I need to go do a phone conference with the NY editors. Lots of working on BW these days; lots of Star Trek in the evenings. David has most of Deep Space 9 taped; we've been watching the last season, most of which I missed the first time around. About six more episodes to go until the end. Very satisfying to watch, and distracting. Star Trek is oddly comforting. I think it has something to do with its idealistic vision of the future -- even when you have scheming politics and occasional nastiness, the Federation is still *supposed* to stand for truth, goodness, IDIC, etc. It's a fundamental assumption that most of the characters take for granted. I like it.

At heart, I still want the universe to make sense.

12:30 p.m. Gods, lots of work still to do on BW. I'm going to dive back into it in a moment, but I should first 1) note that David only has a little of DS9 (he corrected me -- he has most of Next Gen), and 2) warn M'ris that I have in fact been known to be gauche on occasion, so she should not necessarily rely on me for etiquette guidance. Though at least we can be gauche together, and if enough people follow along, then I don't think it counts as gauche anymore. Isn't that how it works?

I am also not subtle. I love birthday e-mail and cards and presents! My presents from Karina arrived today and the tissue paper is torn on one of them and I am being *so* good not peeking until she tells me it's okay to open them before my birthday. At least the one that's partly opened. That's not unreasonable, right? Right?

Hey, munchkins. I’m…

Hey, munchkins. I'm writing this in a Borders cafe in downtown Seattle, but it'll be a while before I can upload it. In a few hours, Kirstie will run me to the airport, and then David will meet me in San Jose and take me back to Oakland.

The last couple of days have been fairly full. Sunday, we went shopping for garden stuff and craft supplies. I failed to convince Kirsten that she really wanted some morning glory in her yard; apparently, they tend to consider it a weed around here. Which is just tragic. We spent much of the afternoon on that, and then came home to putter about with craft stuff. The first thing I started was a sunny flower, to hang in her window. She likes yellows and oranges. I'm not thrilled with the result, but it could have been worse. And I learned some things; for example, that if you use paint outliner under stained glass paint, you get a nicely muted effect, much more subtle than what I had been doing. That was pleasing to learn.

While the paint was drying, I spent some time futzing with other bits and bobs that she had around. I made myself a little bracelet, though I'll need to pick up a clasp before it'll actually work properly. What was really fun, though, was working with wire and ribbon and stones.

The photo is a bit askew, but the ribbon hangs straight, like a river of shimmery light, broken by occasional translucent stones. It's the only piece that ended up with a title -- "A Circular Library of Stones". Those of you reading Strange Horizons should catch the reference. And the little wire globe -- that's just pretty. I find it very pleasing to my eye. I may make more of them. It's much more fun making crafts with someone, especially when you share supplies, and find yourself using things that it would have never occurred to you to buy. Plus, she had needle-nose pliers and wire clippers, two tools I am lacking. Calm pleasures.

I spent Monday at home, working on BW stuff some, mostly resting. I finished Michelle West's Hunter's Death, the sequel to a book Kirsten talked me into reading some time back. She was right -- it got better. I took a nap in the afternoon, still feeling rather beleagured by my cold. When she came home, I was in a grumpy, mopey, listless mood. She did her best to cheer me up. We made dinner; grilled salmon with mango plum salsa, oven-roasted potatoes. The activity helped rouse me from my sluggishness; afterwards, we read quietly for a while. I went to bed around 11, but had some trouble sleeping; eventually I called Jed and talked to him until sleepiness came back to me.

Tuesday morning I got up with Kirsten and came downtown with her. She went to work, and I went to Borders. Actually, it was early enough that they weren't open yet, so I wandered through downtown for a while, eventually ending up on a park bench opposite the bookstore, plotting a story in my head. A little shivery, but nice too -- it's almost impossible for me to be really bored anymore; there's too many stories wandering about in my head. By the time I got my chai and settled down with laptop in bookstore cafe, I was ready to write, and in the next few hours, managed to finish a draft of a story I'm pretty happy with, "Wild Roses". Sent it out to the readers' list last night. Exorcised a few demons along the way, I suspect. Misery is productive of writing, at least. Whether it's *good* writing, I'll leave for y'all to judge.

I met Kirsten for lunch; we ate leftovers in her cafeteria, which has a lovely view of the city. Then she walked me partway up Pike; when she turned around to go back to work, I continued up, until I reached a gay/lesbian bookstore (whose name I am forgetting). It turned out that they hadn't heard of Aqua Erotica -- I fixed that! Across the street was Toys in Babeland; they were delighted to see me and have me sign books; apparently, AE is their top fiction seller at the moment. :-) Not bad for a book that's almost a year old. I spent a while looking at toys too...

Mostly puttered about in the afternoon, reading this and that. In the evening, we made curry, because Kirsten wanted to have a good stock after I left; she also wanted to watch me cook it. I've talked her into buying the Charmaine Solomon Complete Asian Cookbook; I've just picked a copy up for her, and have spent some time going through and annotating it in pencil. Mostly just saying "this is a great recipe!" We drank some champagne, we talked until bedtime. She gave me comments on my story. We talked about men we knew. We laughed, we cried. Well, I did, anyway. :-) It's been so nice spending time with her again. I feel very lucky that I've had the chance to wander around this summer. She thinks I need to buy a car, so I can wander more freely and frequently. She may be right.

A little work before I go to the airport. I'm somewhat behind on BW stuff; I don't like reading stories when I'm sick and cranky, because I can't give them a fair read. But I'm feeling somewhat better, if a little tired, and by the end of the week, I hope to be thoroughly caught up. That's the plan, at any rate.

About one month left…

About one month left before I go back to Salt Lake. The summer seemed to stretch out endlessly, not so long ago. Now, it's slipping away much too quickly.

I've gotten sick -- just a cold, but it's left me with an annoying sore throat, an occasional cough, and the desire to lie down and close my eyes frequently. It means I wasn't up to very strenuous hiking on Saturday, but we nonetheless had a good time meandering through northern Washington, seeing some lovely sights.

Lots of tall straight trees, low ferns, bright sun. I am unused enough to foxglove that I kept being startled by how lovely they were. Foxglove, digitalis, heart medicine, poison.

Mossy stumps, the line between sun and shade so sharply divided. Bright blue bugs.

It was after the signs ended that I found the trees I fell in love with...

Forest primeval.

We came home through the islands, pausing at Deception Pass, buffeted by wind.

A good day.