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?

G’morning, everyone. …

G'morning, everyone. I'm feeling a bit groggy today, for no good reason. Decided to take a little time to relax this morning before I start work; I'm reading Barbara Hambly's Dragonsbane, which is very good -- more for the characterization of Jenny Waynest, her protagonist, than for anything else. She's a wonderful character, and reminds me of me more than I'm quite comfortable with. It's odd, watching her struggle with some of the same things I struggle with; I wonder what she'll end up choosing, and whether her choice will give me any insight into my own decisions. I'd like to meet Barbara Hambly at some point...

After that, a whole passel of stuff to do. It tires me just thinking about it, so I'm not going to yet. :-) Will probably check in later...was just saying hi, really.

4:20. Well, I did eventually get moving on the day. I spent a while revising my intro to Wet and sent it off -- I'm still not entirely happy with it, but hopefully it's better, and the Melcher editors may be able to help me make it spiffy. Part of the problem is that I just don't have as much to say as I did last time; the last intro, I really had a point I wanted to convey. This time, not so much.

I also spent a while writing up a fund-raising letter for SH. We're going to have a little fund drive in December and try to raise $1000. So far, the primary burden for the magazine's funding has been on a few people. Not only would we like to spread that out more, but when we apply for arts grants, it'll look a lot better if we have donations from lots of different people, no matter how small they are -- it shows a broad base of public support for the magazine, which is one of the main things arts organizations are looking for. I've never really done fund-raising, but I've received enough of these letters (especially from my high school), that I have at least a rudimentary sense of what to say. The trick is going to be writing them periodically and keeping them fresh and hopefully at least a little interesting, so people don't just delete them out of hand. E-mail is even easier to throw away than print solicitations -- although I suppose eventually, it'll be easier to donate too, since you'll just have to click on a link or some such to signal your agreement.

After that, I decided I'd done enough real work for the day. :-) (Yesterday and Monday were pretty intense.) So I picked up a book I put down a while ago, Geoff Dyer's Out of Sheer Rage, and read some more. Honestly, I find it a little dull. But I'm more than halfway through, and it'll bug me if I don't finish the thing. When I couldn't stand that anymore, I decided to work on Xmas presents. There's one I'm working on that involves lots of messing with graphics and printing them out and cutting them up and glueing (sp?) them into the little red book I made last week. So I spent a couple of hours on that; oddly satisfying. I'm working with very small images (for complicated reasons), which I'm blowing up to double size (still pretty small), which gives a fairly grainy look. I wasn't sure it was going to work, but even though a lot of resolution and detail is lost, I actually like the way it's coming out. It feels somehow appropriate to the subject matter, which involves some stuff from long ago. Anyway -- so far, so good. I glued in a few pieces and am now pressing the book and waiting 24 hrs for it to dry, so I can make sure it's working okay before I put in the rest. Then I'm going to add a few poems, and possibly a few hand-written things (though I'm a bit dubious about that, as my handwriting is not so lovely). Fun.

I also started work on another book -- this one will probably be for sale at WisCon. It's a larger one, about 6 x 4.5 in. It'll be a different verson of the children's story I wrote, The Poet's Journey. (I can't remember if I mentioned this idea to you already...bear with me, if so.) I'm going to make it using some of the same techniques I used for the glass collages, using dried flowers and leaves as I go. I don't think they'll necessarily be particularly appropriate to the story, but that's okay; it'll be an attractive little book, which is really all I'm aiming for with this one. A nice one-of-a-kind piece that I won't mind selling. :-) I'm not at all sure what's a reasonable price for something like that -- when I finish it, I'll put up pictures, and y'all can help me decide.

I had an idea for another version of it -- rather than a bound book, this would be a series of large, loose-leaf pages, each one with a page of the story and with collage elements that actually suit what's going on on that page. So for example, the first page takes place on the beach, at the girl's house. So I would incorporate sand and feathers into that page. Another page might have dried flowers -- another might have bits of ribbon, or broken mirrors, or simply layers of words... I'd create a portfolio case for the entire thing, to protect it; I don't want it to be too fragile, but I think it'll need to be handled with some care. Each page would really be a separate piece of art. It's so cool in my imagining, but I'm not at all sure I have the skill to implement what I'm thinking of doing. I'm going to try...but I'm going to practice with some other pieces first. :-) It would be lovely to have this done in time for WisCon, though...

Zak said that I might actually be able to sell little erotic books, with my poems and stories. To be honest, that hadn't occurred to me at all. :-) What do you think? Would people buy them? I'm not sure what people would want to see in such items...and I'm not sure what adds value to such collectibles. For example -- it'll be a lot neater if I print out the text and glue it down. But I wonder if people would prefer if I hand-wrote it all; would that make it of more value? Suggestions/input welcome -- I'm a bit lost on the subject.

Paul and Marcia are coming for dinner, so I should go start cooking. I have salmon marinating in teriyaki sauce; I'll be grilling that and serving it with a sweet rolled omelette and sesame seed rice timbales. A nice gewurtztraminer to accompany the meal; I'm feeling elegant today. :-) Although it's difficult to be elegant while watching Star Trek...

I love icicles. …

I love icicles. When I was a kid, waiting for the school bus, I would break them off and suck on them. It didn't make a lot of sense -- I was already cold, and they just made me colder. And as my mom said, repeatedly, they were probably dirty, since they were composed at least in part of whatever had dripped off the roof. But they didn't look dirty -- they looked clean and shining and bright and more than a little magical. I loved sucking them, and those of you whose minds leapt to thoughts of where this type of pleasure may have led can just keep those thoughts to yourself, thank you kindly. Is nothing sacred?

So far this morning, I've drafted a letter to be sent to the conference participants regarding next year's conference. I'm not sure I mentioned that Paul and I are interim co-chairs? Handling the transition at least, and quite possibly chairing next year's conference. It's a big deal -- a fair bit of work, much more than I put in this year. It also means that I can't run away from Salt Lake next year, which I had considered doing (since I won't be taking classes). But really, it makes little sense to go away, since unless I'm lucky enough to win a fabulous fellowship, I'll really need to teach in order to pay my rent. If I went elsewhere, I'd just have to work a lot more hours in order to pay rent, which wouldn't be at all conducive to getting my reading done in preparation for my exams. So unless something shifts radically (always a possibility), I'll be in Salt Lake for at least one more year. And if I'm going to be here anyway, I might as well organize a large interdisciplinary conference, right? It's not like I have anything else to do with my time... :-)

Speaking of which, gotta go. I really *have* to finish revising the intro to Wet this morning and send it off, dangit. I've been putting it off for too long, and the rest of the book is at the copyeditor's now. Have a good Tuesday, munchkins...

10:10. Ugh. Once I showered and dresed, no time to finish intro. I've had to stick it in my UNIX account, with the hope of revising it after my afternoon class; I have a couple of hours between that and my evening class, and I think I'll just stay on campus and work. On the plus side, I look pretty today. :-) I'm wearing a thin clingy black shirt under a long deep purple dress, of a wonderful soft suede-ish material. Black tights and my stompy black boots make me feel fully prepared to face the snow. Winter chic. I rarely feel anywhere close to chic, so it's kind of a thrill when I manage it. Of course, no one else may agree with this assessment.

I have five minutes before I go catch my bus -- five minutes isn't long enough to do anything. If M'ris had updated her journal, I could read that while drinking my tea, but sadly, she is laggardly this morning. I shouldn't complain, though -- she actually updates every day, which, amazingly enough, I've managed to do this month, but it's not as if I manage it often. I've been tempted to join Jette's little Holidailies ring (promising an entry every day in December), but the odds are so slim that I'll actually manage it; I dunno. I'm not sure she's still accepting people in any case. Hmmm...

In other news, a change of plans. Did I mention that I was going to stop in Chicago on my way to the East Coast for Christmas? I decided that with all the Xmas presents I was making for my family this year, it really made more sense for me to stay here with all my supplies. So Kev's coming here instead; his semester finishes earlier than mine, and he'll actually be out here from the 11th to the 22nd. I leave for the East on the 23rd (at 7 a.m., oof. His flight is at 10 p.m. on the 22nd...a shame we couldn't coordinate airport travel better. Ah well). So he'll be here eleven days. Presumably, that'll be fine. We're still the best of friends, after all. Fingers crossed.

Ah -- *now* I've used up my five minutes. Until later, my dears.

Shards of Honor, the…

Shards of Honor, the first book in Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series, is now available for download. It's a great romp, and the beginning of a wonderful addiction. I've read it at least five times now, and I strongly recommend it.

Mostly this morning, I've been reading Hawthorne, The House of Seven Gables, for class. Just finished it -- good stuff, though I'm amazed at the pacing that he could get away with. Partly he manages it because he's actually really funny -- I'm pretty sure that's intentional. It's a quiet humor, and if you're not reading line-by-line, I think you could miss it entirely. The gothic feel is just that tiny bit over-the-top that makes it seem intentional. Good mystery, fun book. Now I get to go read some criticism of it, which will probably miss the point entirely. (Sorry to be so negative; I've just read some pretty bad criticism of Melville recently, so I'm feeling dubious about early Americanists in general :-).

I also spent a while talking with my SH publicists about how we can more actively solicit donations, in the way that a museum or National Public Television or NPR might. Various plans in the works, including a letter to be sent out in early December, a fund-raising drive in December, along with some possible free gifts to randomly-selected donors... If that goes well, we may repeat it every few months, with different prizes each time. We're also thinking about putting together a SH poster, featuring the work of our illustrators over the last year. Wouldn't that be cool? I'd love to have one to frame and hang in my apartment. We'll see if the illustrators are willing; if so, I see no reason not to do it...

Back to the reading, but I may check in again later. There's only so much criticism I can read before it feels like my head is going to explode. That's when I do dishes or come talk to y'all. :-)

2:45. Two essays down, three to go. But I is tired and the snow is falling, and I just want to curl up and go to sleep. Not the best state for reading dull stuff. Sigh.

But you don't have to read dull stuff. You can go read cool new Strange Horizons stuff instead. Lucky you! New story, with interesting gender politics. New (very short) poem. New review of Tad Williams's Shadowmarch project. New article on falconry. I wanna falcon, I do. But I want someone else to do all the work, which I gather just doesn't happen, unless you're a king. I wanna be a king...

(I love the bit in Patricia Wrede's Dealing with Dragons where Cimorene is asking the female dragon she's keeping house for if she really means to try out for the newly vacant position of King of the Dragons -- 'Don't you mean Queen of the Dragons'? And the dragon is bewildered at the question, eventually explaining that Queen of the Dragons is a completely different position, and a much duller one -- why, it's been vacant for years... Heh heh.)

Snowstorm! We…

Snowstorm! We have a local severe weather alert going; heavy snow last night, light snow right now, but with more snow to come. It's rather impressive, actually:

A good day for staying inside, drinking hot tea and cocoa and soup. It reminds me of growing up in New England; there were so many winter days like this. When I was little, I had a several-block walk to the nearest bus stop (along with other kids who lived in my apartment building), and it was impossible to keep myself dry and warm. I don't think my mom really understood the concept of snow pants; I don't remember ever owning any. You have to understand how much she hated the winter back then -- she had only been in the US a few years; she didn't know how to drive; she just retreated to the house for the winter and basically didn't come out. My dad picked up groceries and such. The only time she left was when we were going to a kids' birthday party at another Sri Lankan's house -- that happened about once a month, and was an opportunity for the adults to socialize. She must have been very lonely until her sisters moved here, years later. I can't really imagine.

In any case, I was always somewhat underdressed for trudging through the snow. Navy blue pants tucked into perhaps knee-high black boots? Often I'd be walking through snow that came up to my thighs, so first my pants would get wet, and then, worse, the snow would creep down my boots, to settle and melt into icy puddles at my toes. Usually when the bus arrived, we'd all jump on and then take off our boots, to try to dry off our toes and give them a chance to warm up. They'd be stinging with the cold; I'm a little surprised that no one ever seemed to get frosbite.

It's funny -- when I got to Chicago, it was much much colder -- but it was easier to keep relatively warm, because it was so much drier than New England. Little snow. As long as you got out of the killer wind, you were okay. Days like today were beautiful in Connecticut, but you couldn't quite enjoy it because you knew that soon you'd have to go to school in it -- or at the least, go shovel out the driveway. Luckily, my landlord shovels my path now. Not that I plan to go outside today. Not at all, not even a little bit.

I did open my window for a few minutes and stick my head out and let snow fall in my hair. :-)

It'll be nice to stay inside today; yesterday there was a fair bit of running around. I took some hardcovers I didn't want to Sam Weller and traded them in for a pile of paperbacks I did want. Satisfying, sort of like getting free books. I found an old Phyllis Ann Karr that I hadn't heard of before; that was probably the most exciting. Lots of other nice texts, though. Bradbury and Hobb and Duane and Hambly and Jacques and McKinley and Morrow and Russ. I should have no trouble avoiding my crit. reading for the next month.

Then I picked up some bookmaking supplies (first stopping at Borders for a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, yum!) and came home. In the evening, I made books while watching Ally; they were having a viewer's choice marathon. Mildly amusing. Sometimes that show really irritates me; sometimes I think it's funny.

I made a book with Japanese binding techniques; a little glue, but mostly held together with sewn silk embroidery thread. The binding was surprisingly easy, but I made a big mistake with the book -- I tried watercolor paper for the inside, and that's just way too stiff for this kind of binding. I can barely open the book to a 45 degree angle; no good for writing in, and not really much good for anything else. I sort of feel like I should take it apart and do something else with the paper, but I think I'll keep it with my orange book, as an object lesson in what not to do. In case I forget.

I had more success with the Western-style book I made; a red silk cover, black silk binding, and sketching paper pages (which feel nice, a little rough). Pretty much exactly as I wanted, though I wish I'd been more careful with the glue; some places where I had excess glue stained a tiny bit. I'd like to make a couple more books today; it's fun and very satisfying, since it feels like I'm making something so substantial -- a book! But instead, I'm going to do some work, really I am. At least for a while. Light some candles, read some theory. Not a bad plan, eh?

First thing I did this…

First thing I did this morning was vacuum, while my tea was steeping. I've been in a sort of putting-my-house-in-order mood...not 'cause I'm planning to die or anything; just because. Because I'll be decorating for the holidays soon, and I like to start with a clean base. Because when I get harried, I get messy, and it's nice to clean up when things are slower. I spent a while yesterday reorganizing the medicine cabinets. It was very satisfying. :-)

Mostly yesterday I just sort of wandered around, doing random things. Around seven, David called, and we ended up talking for close to three hours. We hadn't had a long talk in a while; it was nice. After that, I watched tv and crocheted -- only one more set of rows (maybe an hour?) to finish the body of this piece. I always have mixed feelings about crocheting; I'm still unskilled enough at it that I make lots of mistakes at first, some of which I catch soon enough to fix them, some of which I only notice much too late. (I guess not too late if I were sufficiently anal, but c'mon -- it's knots, right? Who's going to notice a couple funny knots in the midst of a bunch of knots? I'm so glad I'm not a perfectionist...my life is crazy enough as it is. I think they must issue a limit on the number of neuroses they offer you ("Here, Mary Anne. You get: control freak, megalomaniac, borderline hysteric and possessor of a mild anxiety disorder. Have fun!")). My low skill level means that towards the end of a piece of crocheting, when I've finally figured out what I'm doing, there's a nice satisfaction in humming along, not making mistakes. Which usually happens just before the piece finishes -- and you're not even really finished, because when you finish the body, you have to do the edging, which is really just an opportunity to make a lot more mistakes. Especially if you messed up the body badly, so that the count on the edging doesn't come out right. (Sometimes I think I use counting more than I use spelling/writing. I mean, not really...I think? I find myself counting all the damn time, though.) I suppose as I get more skilled, this will all ease.

Anyway. I refuse to get anxious about my afghan; that's just silly. Things that you do for fun shouldn't stress you unless you actually like being stressed.

Other random things to do today: write a recommendation for a student, go over my cousin's high school admission essay (as the only English major in the family, I've become the default consultant on all such essays. I have over 50 cousins. Eek. Interestingly, they became much more active about contacting me for this stuff recently. I don't know whether this means a) they're just getting to the right age for it, b) the family is trying to welcome me back into its bosom, or c) they trust me to be more of an expert now that I'm in a Ph.D. program. My family is goofy.), clean bathroom and kitchen, revise my damn Wet intro. The last of the contracts should be coming in soon, and the book won't be truly done until they're sent back to Melcher and the intro is revised. It'll be so nice to be actually done with it.

I may check in later; Jenn and I are going to the art store this afternoon, so I might have cool book-type stuff to tell you about later (I hope I'm not the only one who finds bookbinding fascinating :-).