March 29, 2002
It's been an absolutely idyllic week for me. I can't remember if I've mentioned that my workplace moved (and am too lazy to look up). Same company, but my department moved to a new office because we outgrew the old one. My first day in the new office was Monday. I adore it. Not only is my desk bigger (at least, I think it is), but I have a window. Not nearby, but right at my desk. I look up from my computer and I have a vast expanse of glass to look through so I can admire the three pine trees standing in front of tons of earthmoving equipment -- there's construction next door. And thanks to the wondrous variety of Michigan weather, in this past week I've seen it rain, I've seen it snow, and I've seen sunlight. Not only that, it's been blessedly quiet at work. I was able to unpack in relative peace.
Beyond that, I've been able to devote a substantial amount of time to writing, both at work and away from work. In preparation for Julie's brainchild, which grew into The April Hour-A-Day Dare, I've been getting up a little bit earlier in the mornings and going to Starbucks as early as 7am to write before work. I love it. I mean, I really love it. It's been a fantastic way to start my mornings. I never would have believed it. By the time I get to work I feel mentally alert and refreshed, ready to work because I've already spent my time for me. This week I've finished up one story, jumped back into another one, and sent a rejected story back into circulation to another magazine. I'm feeling very much like a virtuous writer.
Life has been quiet all around this week. It's been a good thing, a thing that makes me feel content, and happy. Now if I can just get my house cleaned up this weekend, I'm sure I'll be the most blissful person in the county.
March 27, 2002
August Release for "Lord" of
All I want to know is, when can I preorder? ;)
March 26, 2002
Oh my god. Ralph Fiennes
Oh my god. Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Juliette Binoche as Cathy. Why did no one tell me about this version?! It's apparently from before either of them were big stars, and so far it's marvelous. I have a weakness for Wuthering Heights. Always have. It's a story that infuriates and enthralls me. I always want it to end other than it does. So far, it hasn't. :) But still. Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff. Good god.
March 25, 2002
For On Display this month, we were asked to describe someone we love. I confess, I've been putting it off. I didn't know who to describe. I mean, I could describe myself, and be all self-esteemish and proud, but I think I spend quite a lot of time here trying to do that. I could describe my cat Pooka, since she's a relatively new addition to both my life and the journal. I thought about describing my grandma, since I've been thinking about her a lot lately, but I think I've already done that about as well as I'm going to.
I thought about my mom. We've developed such a great relationship over the past couple years. Not that we ever had a terrible relationship, mind you, but just lately it's been wonderful. I think we've finally reached a normal, healthy, adult child and parent sort of relationship. Since I moved out, we've managed to see each other about twice a month, and we talk more often than that.
She's proud of me, I'm proud of her... I dunno. It just makes me happy. But describing her? I don't know how to do that. I think the hardest part about loving anyone, be it family or SO or pet, is trying to describe that loved one to someone else without sounding sappy or boring. The people I love are neither, so I think I'll leave it at that for now.
Be very afraid. I have
Be very afraid. I have a new goal and a new project for April! We're calling it the Hour-A-Day Dare, and it's threatening to grow out of control. :)
March 22, 2002
I saw the perfect man last night.
I'm serious. He was absolutely my type. I got to Borders a few minutes ahead of Julie last night, and while I was setting up my laptop, I noticed a guy two tables over, sitting alone and reading. Although he was sitting down, he looked tall. He was a big guy -- he'd probably call himself fat and be unhappy about it, but I'm a sucker for a guy who looks cuddly, and he looked cuddly. It was the hair that really caught my attention. His hair was dark brown, and just long enough to fall into his eyes while he read, and to spill over the back of his neck. It was glossy under the fluorescent lights, and looked baby fine and soft -- another weakness of mine. He wore glasses, and whatever he was reading (I'm betting it was something sci-fi, but I couldn't get a look at the cover), he was making him smile to himself.
I studied him surreptitiously while I busied myself opening Word documents on my computer. He had the hands of a musician or an artist: long fingers, very pale skin, almost delicate looking. He had an air of gentleness, but in my mind I gave him a wicked sense of humor, and a sharp mind. In those few moments, I created an entire persona for him, and developed a mountain-sized crush on that persona. Then he stood up, confirming the height I'd suspected at first. I tried to will him to look my way so I could smile at him. For a few wild blue-sky moments I actually considered getting up and walking over to his table.
Then my wimpy self-esteem started muttering and whining in my head, so I didn't do anything but watch him read. When Julie arrived, I almost pointed him out to her, but I didn't even have the nerve to do that. I tried to keep an eye on him, but once I looked over and he was gone. I felt oddly bereft. I spent the rest of the evening peeking around the bookstore to see if maybe he would come back.
He never did.
March 21, 2002
In case no one noticed
In case no one noticed (and in case anyone cares), there are links down below from what I'm reading and writing to a reading list and my writing blog. :)
March 20, 2002
I'm Ashamed of My People
The greatest thing about keeping a regular site is that sometimes people stumble across it while doing a web search, and send me email. This week I have gotten more email on this site than I have probably in the past six months combined. The most intriguing, however, came from a woman who found me while doing a search on Otho Bentley, a relative I mentioned back in August, when I first started getting interested in family history. Otho was my great grandmother's brother (great great uncle?), who apparently led a very interesting life.
Now, this nice lady who emailed me said she had a mysterious sticker in her possession from the O&C Coal Company of Millstone, Kentucky -- which is where my family is from. She said the sticker was made in 1984, and read: "In Memory Of Otho Bentley", and "I'm Ashamed Of My People", with "1884-1984" on the bottom. Did I know what any of that meant?
Well friends, I'll be honest. I had no idea what it meant. But I was intrigued. I poked around in my information on the family, and found that my uncle Otho was born in 1884 and wound up in Millstone, so it clearly had to be referring to him. But what was the O&C Coal Company and why was someone ashamed of someone else? Out of curiosity, I asked if she could send me a picture of the sticker. To my delight, a few minutes later I received it (click on it to see a larger version):
Here's what we knew: The O&C Coal Company went out of business long before 1984 -- apparently my correspondent knows a little bit about coal mining history, because my web searches didn't turn up a thing about any such company. Both of us were envisioning some sort of family scandal that made Otho say he was ashamed of all of us. Out of curiosity, I forwarded her email along to my distant cousin Janet, who I discovered online when I found her version of our family tree. I think she's my third cousin, as she and I have the same great-great grandparents. Otho is her great-grandfather.
Here's what she told me: "I heard someone say those words out loud [at a family reunion this past summer]. They were telling a story about Otho and said that he would say those words, 'I'm ashamed of my people'. He was referring to his family. It was explained that this was his way of saying that he was proud of them."
I think I'm even more fascinated now than I was at the beginning, even more fascinated than when I thought it was part of a family scandal. Otho had twenty-one children, and somewhere in that vast group of descendants, someone decided to remember him and his odd expression of family love. Now I'm wondering who it was, and why -- and how the heck does this coal company fit in? I may find out soon, Janet was going straight to the source, or close to it: her grandmother, one of Otho's kids.
I feel like we're not only solving a mystery, but that I'm finding a piece of who I am, a part of me that I never knew was there before. It's like this woman told me something about myself by telling me about this little bit of paper and plastic she owns.
March 18, 2002
May you all get as
May you all get as stuck as I did: Theseus and the Minotaur
I seem to have recovered from the death plague that had me in its vice-like talons all of last week. All that's left is a little bit of congestion and a froggy voice. Honestly, I've never been one to get sick often -- mostly just an annual sinus infection that usually segues into bronchitis, but this was the sickest I can remember being since I was a kid. Normally when I have the sinus thing, I'm just congested, boohoo. Last week I was feverish and weak and tired and just... sick. It wasn't pretty. I was an enormous baby about the whole thing. You know, it sucks to be sick and to live alone. That's the one thing I don't like about living alone. When you're sick, there's no one around to do stuff for you. But I survived, and I even had a cat to curl up on the couch with.
Yes, it's true. Pooka is out and about in the house. She spent most of the weekend in whatever room I was in -- usually the living room or the dining room/office. When I curled up on the couch, she was usually curled up with me, down near my feet. (I think I will bear the scars of her fascination with my feet for a very long time -- but I think she's getting used to me clipping her claws every time she scratches me.) She's still skittish, but she's starting to act like a normal cat, including pouncing on invisible objects and running through the house on a wild tear for no apparent reason at all.
I didn't have much time to think last week, but a lot of things happened, really. I resigned from my latest T8 book. From the reaction I got from the bigwigs at Dream Pod 9, I don't think the game is long for the publication world. In fact, if I had finished the book, I don't know that it would have seen publication. So, I'm free to work on other things. Now I just need to WORK on them.
I had a great lunch with my mom, the weekend before I got sick. We talked about a lot of things, and she admitted that she wasn't as worried about me living alone as she was at the beginning. That's when I realized something. The reason I moved in with my parents last year was (I thought) because I wanted to go back to school and couldn't see a way to do it alone. In truth, I moved back in with them because I felt helpless. I couldn't take care of my house, I couldn't take care of my cat, I couldn't take care of my bills, I couldn't do ANYTHING. Then I spent a year living with them, and gradually convincing myself that I was capable. And I was. I am. I feel so much more in control of my existence. Sounds pretty sad, really. It is. I feel very sad when I think about the last couple months in my last apartment. I don't think I was depressed, just... in a rut, I guess. Now I'm not, and I feel remarkably capable. Not quite sure where I want to go, but capable of getting there, when I decide.
Then, finally, I had a bit of a bombshell dropped on me. Last Sunday I went to dinner with Dawn and Jason (sans Justin, mom needed a break!) and Mike and Tracy, all of whom I already knew, and Matt, a member of our guild on EverQuest. (Shut up. Yes, I play EQ, and I have a guild, and I met one of them. Trust me, the game isn't known as EverCrack for nothing. It's addictive.) A good time was had by all, except those around us, who were no doubt frightened by our talk of killing monsters and retrieving corpses and looting and so on.
After dinner Dawn and Jason and I stood in the evil, brutal wind and chatted about things for a bit. As we started to separate, Jason looked at Dawn and said, "Did you want to ask her now?" Dawn said no, that she thought they'd wait. In the meantime, I'm going, "What? Ask me what?" Dawn said they had something to talk to me about, but they wanted to wait until we were somewhere more appropriate. Well by now, I was dying of curiosity, trying to figure out what on earth they could be talking about. We ended up sitting in their car, where they gave me the shock of my life.
"If something happens to both of us," they said, "we wanted to ask if you would consider taking Justin." I was floored. I'm still floored. Although I don't get to see him very often, I love that little boy more than I can express. He not only is part of two of the dearest people in the world to me, but I feel, in a way, that he's part of me as well, because I was there when he was born. That his parents trust me enough, believe in me enough, to consider me as a guardian... I'm awed. We talked about it for a while, about their reasons for choosing me over either set of grandparents, about how things have changed since they became parents. I told them I'd think about it. I have, and I am. I talked about it with my mom and with Brand. To both of them I said at one point, "Dawn and Jason are the absolute right people raise him. But if they can't, I can't bear the thought of anyone other than me raising him." Both my mom and Brand had the exact same response to that: "Then I think you have your answer right there." I think they're right, but I'm still thinking about it.
March 15, 2002
I am among the living,
I am among the living, just barely. I got hit this week with the death plague that seems to be going around. I can't remember the last time I was this sick for this long. At first I thought I had strep throat, now it seems to be shaping into a sinus infection. It must be viral though, cause I don't think my antibiotics are helping. (This is why I haven't posted, so I wouldn't whine at everybody!)
In Pooka news, she's doing VERY well. She's out of the closet and almost out of the bedroom. This morning, in fact, she followed me into the kitchen when it was feeding time. :) She sleeps on my bed at night now, which works well, except when she constantly attacks my feet.
March 08, 2002
Me: Okay, let's go back
Me: Okay, let's go back into the [program name here] program...
User: I don't understand.
Me: We need to open the program again.
User: You need to not be so technical with me. I'm not a computer person. You need to be very explicit.
Well finally, here's Pooka:
Ain't she cute? I know she looks cranky in that picture. Let's try this one instead:
Better. She's really doing quite well. The first night she was here (Monday), things were fairly rough. She was terrified in my room. She was a stray before the cat clinic took her in, so she went from frightening wide open places to a safe, but highly enclosed place. No wonder she's a little agoraphobic.
So after the first night (which included some crying, some mess on the carpet, and Pooka winding up hiding under my bed all morning), I called the clinic, and they recommended putting her somewhere smaller until she got used to being in my house. My choices were the bathroom or my bedroom closet.
So Pooka is living in my closet right now. I don't think she minds a whole lot though.
Since she moved into the closet (which is furnished complete with litter box, bed, toys and food), she's really settled down. When I go to visit, she's extremely affectionate. If I'm there, I better be petting her, or else she pats at my hands until I start scritching. She plays with the toys while I'm not there, but when I'm there, it's all love all the time.
I don't exactly mind that. Eventually -- soon, I hope -- I'll start reintroducing Pooka to the world beyond the closet, starting with my bedroom. It might be as soon as this weekend, judging from the way she's adapting so far. It is absolutely wonderful to have a cat in the house again. Even if she is in the closet.
March 05, 2002
Can always count on Satire
Can always count on Satire Wire for a giggle on a grumpy day...
If you can find the spare, set it aside, and get ready to remove the old, defective government. To do this, you must first remove the nuts. This can get tricky, as some nuts have been attached to the government for so long that they have fused with the chassis. If they cannot be loosened up easily, you may try to beat on them with a lug wrench or, in Ted Kennedy's case, offer him a drink.
Next, you will need to jack up the United States. We suggest putting out American flags. This seems to get everyone jacked.
March 04, 2002
This is the funny stuff:
This is the funny stuff:
Kittens Are Taking Over My Brain
Well, I ended up finding, not a kitten, but an adult cat to adopt. I should be hearing today if I was approved to adopt -- which I'm sure I will be. The clinic named her Ovaltine (this clinic names ALL their cats after food, ask Julie, who has a cat from them named Grapefruit), but I think I'm going to be calling her Pooka. She's a young adult calico with bright green eyes, and she's a sweetheart. One of the clinic workers found her and brought her in. She's been at the clinic for about a month. I don't know how old she is, but I think she's fairly young. She's a little timid, but once she warmed up to me she was a doll. I'm hoping to be able to take her home tonight or tomorrow.
So naturally, this morning I see an ad in the paper for 7 week old kittens. I have to admit, for a few moments, I was torn. My plan all along was to adopt two kittens. Then when I realized that there would be no kittens for months, most likely, I decided to adopt an adult, and maybe get a kitten later. Now all of a sudden someone has kittens. I'm debating. I'm wondering if it would be best to get Pooka now, and wait to get a kitten, or to go ahead and get the kitten now too, so they can adjust to each other.
...And actually it's a moot point. I ended up calling about the kittens only to discover that they're all gone. Man, you gotta be fast in this town! So yeah, back to original plan. Pooka first, kitten in a couple months.
Why yes, yes I am obsessed, thanks for asking.