hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
So it was Three Weeks of Cellulitis, in the end, but I'm better now. Hurray for finding the right antibiotic! My primary care doctor was making noises about MRSA, but I just don't see how I have any of the risk factors, so I'm going with "nobody ever cultured it, so we will never know."

I also did get through (as of yesterday) all of the Amelia Peabody books, some of which I actually hadn't read before. I think perhaps I gave up initially somewhere around He Shall Thunder in the Sky and the emotional storm leading up to it, and didn't in fact get back to the series even though I thought I had. Glad to have come back and finished. Say what you will about Elizabeth Peters (and I could say a little about the editing in some of the later books) but she really knew how to write, and how to laugh at the right parts of what she was writing and take the right parts seriously, and I will always love her for that.

Also, it occurred to me partway through that this series is kind of the major key version of the Vorkosigan books, at least in the sense of a central family who pulls in many and varied characters to become part of their circle, viewed over a generation of time. Clearly this is something I like. And, because I enjoy exploring the intersection of writing and reading, I will admit to noticing how the Charles/Beatrice/Wilfrid triangle has similarities to Emerson/Amelia/Sethos, though at least I went a different direction with the unexpected familial relationships.

Aside from that my life is mostly tomatoes and Swiss chard at the moment.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
This will be known in future days as the Week of Cellulitis. (Probably to be expanded to Two Weeks of Cellulitis by the end, but I hope not more than that.) I woke up last Monday to a sizable red area on my left calf, which might with imagination have been described as bull's-eye-ish, so my first thought was tick bite-Lyme disease. But it seemed unlikely that I'd had a tick attached for long enough to transmit disease in such a public spot - it's been too hot to wear long pants - and further developments made that more unlikely.

I went to the doctor, got a vague "too soon to tell" and an antibiotic prescription (because it did seem infected), saw no improvement (and a fever) the next day, went back Wednesday with a spreading lesion (but no fever, and I've had none since), was firmly diagnosed and switched to another antibiotic and told to draw a line around the red area to monitor development. It kept slowly increasing (and the dark part in the middle got bigger as well) so I called the doctor again this morning and he said "Go to the ER." So I did (hurray shiny new hospital five minutes from my house) and they did some tests and put me on intravenous antibiotics and sent me home with a 3-pills-every-6-hours prescription, and here I am, hoping that I can get on with all the stuff I have to do this week (we have a major garden event on Saturday, for one thing). I am fine aside from the ugly thing on my calf, which basically is my calf at this point, it's become so large. I have been tired (according to medical personnel I have a staggeringly good immune system, because I should have been much sicker, but fighting crime infection does take it out of you) and have been doing a lot of sitting without the energy to do much work, so I launched into a reread of all the Amelia Peabody mysteries, which has been great fun.

Cellulitis information and photos, if you're interested. (Mine is not nearly as disgusting as some of those. Just kind of frighteningly large. I did run out to buy some lightweight long pants, and I also have long skirts.) So far I have not had to explain to anyone that it's not the same thing as cellulite, though admittedly I haven't talked to that many people about it.

*fingers crossed*
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Just a quick update before I run off to Annapolis for ferns class. Yes, this is my life.

- Grand jury duty started yesterday, and yes, I am on the panel (despite being #44 out of 23; apparently the "nearly impossible to get out of grand jury duty" thing is not enormously accurate). Won't be talking much about it here because it is Secret, but I'm... kind of looking forward to it? Aside from the driving to Greenbelt every Wednesday and spending the day in a windowless room with criminals and law enforcement personnel part.

- Tangentially, I have discovered yet again about myself that what really makes me grumpy is not knowing what's going to happen (in specific instances, I mean, not in the general sense of an unpredictable existence). I was in a horrible mood Tuesday because of the uncertainty - will I have to go at all? Will I be chosen if I do? - and as soon as I realized on Wednesday morning (when I got named early in the roll call) that I'd certainly be empaneled, I was fine.

- I've had a chance to read a lot of books recently, which is great! I go through periods of not reading much, and then have little reading orgies, and realize how much I miss it. The latest list I guess began with a reread of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (in anticipation of the TV series, which we are much enjoying), and then I dived into a mix of new and finally-getting-to-it: Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell), Among Others (Jo Walton), The Accidental Apprentice (Vikas Swarup), Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword (Ann Leckie), Penric's Demon (Lois Bujold), and Uprooted (Naomi Novik). All of which I enjoyed, to varying degrees. I'm currently nearly done with Mary Doria Russell's Children of God and have started Octavia Butler's Kindred (an interesting pairing of books, especially considering my current research interests).

- Not much TV lately aside from "Jonathan Strange" and "Leverage," though I did plunge through a rewatch of "Slings and Arrows" after finding out via Tumblr that the first two seasons are available on Hulu. (We own the DVDs, but the first one has been out on loan for several years to one of P's friends, and all my nudgings have not resulted in a request for return. Of course I'm just as bad, since one of my friends has Curse of Chalion in a pile somewhere (since about 2009) and I keep forgetting to ask for it back - she being one of those people who Does Not Read SFF. (She has bought at least the first of my books, which is nice, but I bet she hasn't cracked it.)) Anyway, S&A is just as delightful as always, possibly my favorite TV show ever - and hey, all of you who have not seen it, get thee to Hulu.

Okay, need to get ready to get on the road. More sooner, I hope.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
(Earworm mondegreens are the worst. Although sometimes of narrative interest.)

Things that have happened:

1) Got to have lunch yesterday (as in, fairly hurried consumption of packaged hummus platters, with conversation, with only four other people) with a famous-in-my-world person I've admired for a long time. Who turns out to be simultaneously just as cool as I thought and a bit of a self-centered obsessive, but this is the way things go (perhaps someone will say that about me someday) and I will be floating on the experience for several days, I'm sure.

2) My sister has been posting online a scanned, translated-to-digital-text version of what's known in our family as the Bulletin, WWII letters that were compiled, edited, and sent out as a collection to the far-flung family by my great-grandmother. I read it all as a teenager, but it's much more interesting to revisit now, with a better sense of what it must have been like. The parents back on the farm in central Massachusetts, my great-grandfather commuting to Washington (wartime job as Executive Secretary of the National Apple Institute!), the three sons and son-in-law going off into the Navy (they all survived, despite my grandfather's ship being sunk), the daughter and daughters-in-law having babies and growing vegetables and generally coping. It's all very ordinary and yet has that "can't believe this shit is happening to us" aura fighting with relentless chin-up positivity. It's also fascinating to read with the writer brain in full gear, because it has that epistolary narrative feel and yet it is so very much not a novel: the arcs are not constructed, the foreshadowing is not intentional, the little cultural and historical notes are not placed for illumination, the characters aren't introduced, even the letter snippets are not arranged within the larger newsletter for any kind of effect, and of course often the news arrives out of sync. I could do so much better, you know? And yet it's real, and it has great resonance for me because I remember the players, but also because I get to know them better as their individual voices sing out from their letters. (I have to admit, too, that fanfic-brain occasionally steps in to comment on what offstage action someone might invent for these characters. Not that I think it would be likely to become a favorite source (did I mention the lack of narrative arc?) but I did laugh when one of the great-uncles mentioned a visit from a friend called "Bucky.") It's also fun to have it emerge a bit at a time as my sister gets around to the editing - very much the serial WIP! And of course a work-in-progress was exactly what it was, since none of them knew what the ending would be. Stiff-upper-lip New Englanders, but the tension must have been incredible.

3) It has been chilly and rainy all week, which has slowed our deck construction significantly, along with any other outdoor activities (I shivered for three and a half hours out in the demo garden on Tuesday). I've been busy in other ways and haven't made as much writing progress as I should, but at least I feel like I'm getting in gear again, even if I stop to research things much more than I actually put words down. (Next fact to ascertain: would escaped South Carolina slaves joining the British Navy during the Revolution have been given surnames, chosen their own, or left with a single name? Stuff like that there.) I can't work at home with the banging and sawing going on, so I may end up a lonely Starbucks lover myself. When it's sunny and dry I can work in parks (no wifi, but fewer calories).

4) I've been called for federal grand jury service starting mid-July. If I'm empaneled, this could mean driving to the courthouse an hour away every Wednesday for eighteen months. In practice, probably somewhat less, and I have a high enough number that I may escape. If not, at least it will be interesting, I hope (please no police shootings). It does seem rather unfair considering that long day of trial jury service last July, but it's a different random selection, and I guess my number was up. Still: argh.

5) I should probably just do a massive media consumption catch-up post (I think I have been saying that for months now, though, so perhaps I'm less than truly interested). Of note in the TV world, aside from various season finales, we've watched (unusually for us) a couple of comedies: season one of "Silicon Valley," which I found more interesting than I thought I would, because it has a real business-oriented story to ground it, but I do feel the significant lack of female characters (I know this is a self-aware comment on the industry, but surely they could have remedied the problem somehow); and "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which is delightful on many levels, as long as I keep saying "comedy, comedy" to myself and don't expect deep psychological analysis. Speaking of earworms, though, OMG. They alive, dammit. (Also in cultural penetration news: the "fascinatin' transition" bit quoted in two speeches at the college graduation of son's girlfriend a couple of weeks ago.)

Onwards. Stuff.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Reasons I have been somewhat dispirited of late:

a) Toothache that developed last week turned out to be an infection requiring a root canal. While waiting for that appointment, I took antibiotics that dealt with a lot of the pain once they kicked in (before that I needed to take a few of the leftover oxycodone from P's wisdom tooth extraction last summer) though of course necessitated also taking antidiarrheals, because that's how my insides roll. After a lot of mystery novels and "Lost," I got back on my feet Sunday, and even went to Jazzercise on Monday (though my ambitions of keeping up regular classes and adding in some of the weights-focused classes have been postponed). The surgery was yesterday (I really have to look up root canals to see what was going on - so much drilling for a tooth that's still mostly there) and I have to go back in two weeks to have it all done over again, because my dentist couldn't locate one of the canals, suspects it's blocked, and is trying to decalcify it with some substance working away deep in my jaw. It doesn't hurt much at the moment, unless I mistakenly bite on it, but the whole process is so boring, I am not getting stuff done, and the worst thing is that I haven't been able to tolerate hot liquids (I need to test this again, but it still feels likely) so no coffee, no tea, except the iced varieties. Chewing has not been especially wonderful either. I have been eating a lot of yogurt.

b) Spent over two hours Tuesday morning freezing my ass off at the demo garden, trying to orient the new MG interns; finally gave up and went home without planting cabbages (at least they got to go for a ride). It was not too cold for the cabbages, but it was too cold to kneel down and stick my hands in the soil. We continue to have regular little spurts of freezing rain and snow; today will be much warmer (so I'm planning to get those cabbages in) but tomorrow temperatures plunge again (there is talk of nights in the teens). Realistically this can't last much longer, and I would love another cooler than normal late spring and summer (while feeling guilty that the rest of the globe is suffering record highs), but at the moment it feels like winter won't let go. We do have crocuses finally though.

c) Person of Interest kind of sucked this week. Willing to discuss in comments, but right now I only have energy to say spoilers )

d) Still no writing progress - toothache is not conducive to plot-hatching. I am hoping to push myself to get some words down this coming week, in between lots of other stuff that needs doing. Green plants in the ground will help my mood. Also caffeine in a heated form, if that becomes possible.


Nov. 26th, 2014 10:20 am
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Can anyone interpret this error message from the EPUB validator?

"could not parse tmp_9f528c285543e76fb2aa6c86a5253ee3_KqSZ1G.ch.fixed.fc.tidied.stylehacked.xfixed_split_036.html: duplicate id: Frame1"

It's from the EPUB version of Time Goes By (derived from a Word file), and will prevent it from being sold at iTunes and other retailers. There's nothing apparently wrong with the readability of the file (either EPUB or Word), navigation from the hyperlinked TOC works perfectly in both, and there are no frames (by Word's definition, anyway) in the document. I thought I'd found the problem - Word having inserted some additional brackets similar to those that mark bookmarks when it put portions on the clipboard as I uploaded them to my website - but when I took them out and re-uploaded to Smashwords, I got the same error.

Any help would be appreciated greatly. I may repost after the holiday if I don't get any answers, because some of the American portion of my flist is probably out fighting weather on roads and in airports today. It's snowing here, but we aren't leaving until very early tomorrow morning, so I hope all will go well.

Also, in short, oh hell Ferguson, ow wrenched my back but hope it'll be better soon, and wow, what is POI trying to do to us? That was a painful episode.

And happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] penwiper26!
hedda62: James Hathaway on the phone while reading Titus Andronicus (titus andronicus)
I finally did the ten books meme, and it is here. With eleven books, because oops. One of the things I found amusing (and forgot to note in the post) was how many of the authors I identified by initials while I was scribbling them down.

In other news, I have been going to physical therapy for the pinched nerve since before my trip, and it is making some difference; the funny thing is that my knee has been a much more painful and present problem, but I know how to deal with that (strengthen the muscles, wear a brace when necessary, try not to twist it or overextend it, take naproxen) and I made it through Jazzercise yesterday without making it worse, so I think it can handle whatever life and travel throw at it. The somewhat-numb fingers feel like less of an immediate issue, but they should be dealt with, and I'm finding out just how much of my upper body is out of alignment as my therapist tries to yank it back where it should be (she didn't actually leave bruises yesterday, but definitely some tender spots). I need to figure out how to work standing up, because that stops me from slouching and keeps me moving and burning calories. This will entail more library tidying, but that's a thing we need to do anyway.

When we get back from Italy, where I am having difficulty believing we will be a week from Tuesday, mostly because I've only been peripherally involved in the planning (having had another trip to plan in the interim). General itinerary is Venice, Rome, Sorrento, Florence, over two weeks, with some stops along the way. I'll read a guidebook on the plane, and learn some useful phrases. Duolingo has been fun, but my ability to say "The shark eats your white cats" or "You are mine until I die" is not going to help me find the bathroom. Though the emphasis on buying shoes and declaring vegetarianism might be useful if I needed to do either of those things.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
This afternoon I get to stroll into the physical therapist's office with a knee brace on, and say "I'm here about my shoulder." Which will be entertaining if only to me. I'm hoping the knee thing is temporary and the usual treatment routine will deal with it. I did manage a hike of a few miles yesterday (with the brace on) and it never got beyond "well, ow" into "make it stop now" so probably I will survive walking around gardens and anything I plan to do on the upcoming trip. And it's the left knee, so no driving issues.

I'm leaving very early Saturday, and the itinerary goes: to Charlottesville VA for the Monticello Harvest Festival, then to Staunton VA, have dinner and see Marlowe's Edward II; Sunday to Hershey PA, walk around Hershey Gardens, on to Allentown to stay the night (because it's familiar territory); Monday to Haverstraw NY to look at historical markers, then on to Saratoga Springs (doing something along the way that is open on Mondays); Tuesday, see Yaddo Gardens, then drive on via whatever route makes sense given timing to St. Johnsbury VT; Wednesday make my way down to Small Point ME, stay at my uncle's house two nights, sort books, walk on the beach, etc.; Friday and Saturday nights at my dad's in Wellesley MA; Sunday night at my sister's in New Haven CT; leave Monday afternoon and stay somewhere along the way and then decide whether I'll get home Tuesday or Wednesday depending on desire to stop at some other garden or such.

That takes me to the 23rd or 24th of this month; then we leave Oct. 6 for Italy. We are still planning that, but it'll be Venice, Rome, Sorrento, Florence, with stops along the way: a bit over two weeks. Plane tickets were bought yesterday, and I found boarding for the cats today; everything else is of slightly lesser importance.

It's more fun to think about all that than this week, but I'm sure doing two talks seventeen hours apart was not a stupid decision at all (given the increasingly faint hope that the uncommunicative contact person for the second talk, who needs to let both of us and not just me into the secure government facility, and also pick up the powerpoint I shared with her since we can't upload from a thumb drive, see secure government facility, will actually read her email and get back to me that it's all taken care of sometime before we get there Wednesday morning). This is followed the next day by helping to host a statewide meeting and potluck lunch that at the moment seems rather underpopulated going by the RSVPs, but I'm sure plenty of people will turn up. With food. And I have time on Friday to pack.

You'll hear from me on the road, I'm sure.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Shoulder problem turns out to be a pinched nerve, which was made pretty obvious on Friday when I woke up with most of the fingers on my left hand numb (they still are) but confirmed by the PA at the GP's office today. Have a bottle of muscle relaxants to go with the naproxen I'm already taking; at the very least, I'll sleep well. Pain has been bearable (I am too used to pain, really) but tingly fingers are annoying and a bit scary and make me feel asleep all over somehow, so I'm hoping something works; I have a PT prescription too if I need that. For this week at least, no Jazzercise, no walks (arm by my side, especially swinging, is the worst); I feel like a slug, but I've gone through all of Time Goes By again for final edits, and have some book reviews to do and other stuff like that. And ten pages of shoulder therapy exercises.

Bummed beyond measure about losing Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall in the same week (also waiting for the third one; they come in threes). She had a long life, and could make jokes about how much Bogie there'd be in her obituary; his wasn't nearly long enough, and I keep thinking that his illness would have prevented him from realizing what an outpouring of love and regret there'd be when he was gone. It sucks tremendously.

Currently reading a murder mystery with San Francisco character studies by Isabel Allende (Ripper), which I'm enjoying but in a way that I suspect will tug me back in the direction of formulaic genre when I'm done. Unless everything ties up neatly by the end, but I doubt it will. Also read Dominion by C.J. Sansom, which is a brick of a book in the Britain-capitulates-WWII-alternate-history category; the history (it's set in 1952) is very well thought out but the plot left a bit to be desired (someone who'd checked it out before me had written "WHY" in the margins in a few places, and I tend to agree). Also it was a large thing to hold up with tingly fingers. Next I probably need to read the African-American section in A People's History of the American Revolution (for Reasons).

There seems to be no other news my muzzy brain can think of, except that I must go drown many nasty beetles tomorrow before they can further devour my beans. Which are not in a hill.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Miscellany: writing, cats, TV, etc.

1) I wrote the first sentence in Book Five last night:

The muffled oars whispered secrets to the river as the boat slipped downstream, returning Major John André to the safety of the Vulture.

Which should alert those familiar with the incident that something weird is going on, but never fear, I will explain what and why and how very quickly. I haven't written any more yet, but perhaps I'll get time to do that today; I do know how it goes on. For a little while, at least. And am very glad to get started, and impressed that I've written something considering my mental state a couple of weeks ago.

Also got a laugh when I reviewed the history and saw what the name of the sloop was. Birds, I tell you: following me around.

(The next line in the "How to Suppress Women's Writing" litany goes: She wrote it, and then she wouldn't shut up about it. Sorry not sorry.)

2) Cats! I said I'd write about cats, and I haven't done an update in ages. We still have Lancelot and Hotspurr, and they are well. Hotspurr is now an indoor-outdoor cat - I swore this wasn't going to happen, after losing the last cat (plus others, previously) to outdoor threats, but he had other ideas, and as soon as spring arrived he began scratching and whining constantly (I mean, for hours at a time) and shooting out the door whenever we opened it, and we eventually gave in. (Tried the leash thing first - nope, not going for it.) He's five years old, so he had fully-developed habits before we adopted him, and clearly no one ever denied him anything, including access to the outdoors. He's also refused to wear a collar (he lost six of them outdoors before we stopped putting them on) but he does have a chip at least. And he's smart about what's out there, though I'm reconciled to the possibility that some of it will eventually kill him. He'd just be miserable inside all the time; some cats just are The Cat Who Walks By Himself, and that's how it is. He's done two all-nighters out so far, and been caught out in several thunderstorms, though he tends to curl up on a chair and sleep the whole next day.

Lancelot is still an indoor kitty, because I don't trust him to avoid danger outside, and because the only reason he seems to want to go out is because Hotspurr's there. They bonded nicely in the winter, but while Hotspurr is fond of Lancelot, Lancelot loves Hotspurr, and now he spends days waiting by doors and windows for his friend to come back. We are seriously thinking of getting a third cat, if we can find one guaranteed to prefer the indoors.

3) I'm kind of liking the break from TV in the summer (though the POI preview clip from ComicCon looked awesome), which we are filling desultorily with episodes of "Borgen" - it's a Danish political drama about a female prime minister in a coalition government, and it's intriguing and fun and poignant in a way that's more "West Wing" than "House of Cards" (or "Yes, Minister"), and blends the political and the personal in a balanced way. We're about halfway through the second season. In Danish with subtitles - which means I can't watch it if I'm sleepy, because my eyes will close and I'll have no idea what's going on, but it's been interesting. Neither of us speaks Danish, but I know a little German and J. used to be fluent, so some of the roots are familiar and occasionally we'll pick up a word here and there. We concluded pretty quickly that a lot of sounds get seriously elided, because when there's something you know they should be saying (because it's in the subtitle and not likely to be a mistranslation) you still don't hear it. And then occasionally there will be phrases in English - there are whole scenes in English, I mean, when they're talking to people from other countries, but also just little bits of jargon or idiom that apparently have been adopted into Danish parlance, which is kind of weirdly endearing and startling. Only available here on DVD - which, wow, when was the last time we watched one of those?

4) Subject line is one of my favorite bits of Vienna Teng, from "In Another Life":

In another life
I was married at thirteen
You were killed at twenty-one
On a minor battlefield

which I just think is genius in the "adding insult to injury" way. Minor battlefield, ha. It's the sort of thing Rinaldo would like, and since that's his POV up there in the first line of Book Five (which still has no title) I am particularly inclined to attach to it. (Last book used all female POVs; this one will be all male, which makes it the first book without Olivia's interior perspective, though possibly I'll give her the epilogue.)

5) I've been having shoulder panics. When you've had two frozen shoulders, any lasting pain or stiffness in those joints leads to worry (which probably doesn't help in terms of loosening up) about the possibility of losing most of your range of motion, plus any ability to exercise (because of extreme pain on jarring), for a year or so. I am just back in the swing of things where exercise is concerned, after the frustration of the knee problem, and having that go away again would be devastating. But I'm hoping it's just the temporary result of doing too-speedy hand-weight lifts in Jazzercise. Lots of stretching is in order.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
As the jury filed back for the second time, they showed signs of wear and tear. The harassed woman had been crying and was still choking into her handkerchief. The man with the bad cold looked nearly dead. The artist's hair was rumpled into an untidy bush. The company director and the foreman looked as though they would have liked to strangle somebody, and the elderly spinster had her eyes shut and her lips moving as though she were praying.

"Members of the jury, are you agreed upon your verdict?"

"No; we are quite sure that it is impossible for us ever to agree."

"You are quite sure?" said the judge. "I do not wish to hurry you in any way. I am quite prepared to wait here as long as ever you like."

The snarl of the company director was audible even in the gallery. The foreman controlled himself, and replied in a voice ragged with temper and exhaustion.

"We shall never agree, my lord--not if we were to stay here till Doomsday."

--Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

That was my evening, people! Although they did give us pizza, and it was not a murder trial but a DWI with poorly-prepared attorneys and an insufficiency of evidence. I was the foreperson, simply because I had the lowest number - knew all day that would happen if they gave us a trial, unless someone randomly didn't want a white middle-aged woman with no objectionable associations, and I suppose it's nobody's fault that we didn't get called into the courtroom for selection until nearly 3 pm. We didn't go into deliberations till after 7, and I didn't get home until 10:30, after a 7:30 am start - god, what a tiring day.

To be honest, I could have gone either way with my verdict, but there were those among us on either side who would not have shifted till Doomsday, or at least midnight, and I grew to respect our Miss Climpson (the lone holdout on the absolutely-guilty side). (The demographics were fascinatingly predictable, but that's another legal-sociological study.)

So, that was interesting, but I'm glad I won't be called again for at least three years (and probably fifteen).
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Have deleted last entry since it's not really fair to the Apple employees, although I am still mad at the system. I took my hardware in, and it turned out that the data was there, just that the folder was hidden behind the warranty PDF file. I should have seen it, but I didn't, and I feel stupid, and I'm sure I'll get joked about in the store's back room.

However, if I had been able to talk to someone on the phone this morning, instead of being shunted into making an appointment and a trip I didn't need, I'm sure I could have described what I was seeing, or fergodsakes sent them a screenshot of it, and the problem could have been solved in five seconds. It's half an hour for me to the store - how about people who have to drive further? Though there is online help available - just, if you've already been to the store, the automatic assumption is that you should go back and deal with the same people, right?

Well, at least I got a lot of angry weeding done. :)
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
I had a horrible bout of insomnia last night, and after tossing and turning for a long while ended up rereading The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope, which is the kind of long-familiar book I turn to in that sort of situation, until 3 a.m. (and then getting up at 6:30). I'd been thinking about TSR recently, since I'm revisiting the Benedict Arnold-John Andre tale as part of researching Book Five, and TSR is set in the same time and place and mentions both of them - anyway, it has to end up on any list of "books that have influenced me," because I'm sure it fueled much of my early interest in the Revolutionary War period (that I'm now following up on) and also provides some rummaging material for my box of character traits. I had a huge crush on Peaceable Sherwood as a teenager, though it's telling that his attributes (especially the "leaning on things and making dry remarks" sort) show up in Richard Halsey more than any of my other characters. But the whole crew of them are tremendous fun, and I think the research is pretty good, though I haven't checked its accuracy. And it has that nice balance of romance/historical fiction where things actually happen, if all fairly simplistic (but it's a young adult novel written in the 1950s, so what do you expect).

I do hope I can sleep tonight. Right now I am pretty much at the "words what are they I cannot word" stage, so I don't think much else is getting done today, but I have done my lead-gardener-thing and also voted, so can probably crash for a bit (in the "rewatching Sleepy Hollow" sense, speaking of less credible but equally fun Revolutionary War-related entertainment). I expect a person more awake than I am currently could manage a TSR/SH crossover. Among the many other things that person could accomplish.

ETA: Speaking of young adult novels, this, LOL.


Apr. 17th, 2014 09:33 am
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
I have a stinking cold, and I have to drive to Allentown and back later today, and I've seen the digital proof for Time and Fevers and yes, I am going to have to work on the cover more. (I don't think it's entirely my fault that it's misaligned, but one must meet CreateSpace where they are.) Despite my "must do this NOW" urges, I know it's much better to wait until I'm feeling better and no longer in the "oh fuck it, this'll do, let me go bury myself in Elementary season two" state of mind. But I'm looking at my calendar for the next couple of weeks and weeping. Why did I think bringing out a book in the height of spring was a good plan? Oh, because the MacGuffin is tulips and it was so cute to have people reading it when the tulips were blooming. Well no, not if I have no time for marketing until summer, and most of the people I can guarantee will read it are equally busy right now.


On the other hand, it didn't snow two days ago, so that's good. (It did sleet, and drop below freezing, but I think all the flowering things and the seedling plants survived.)

I will be much happier when my head is not a mass of snot. Really.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
I am shortly going to spend a little time sitting outside and reading the first chapter of [personal profile] yunitsa's original fiction novella, and then find something else enjoyable to do, because I have so far spent most of my day:

1) Creating the cover for the print edition of Time and Fevers;

2) Cleaning scale insect off my potted lime tree.

The grossness and tedium of the second will be familiar to anyone who's been unfortunate enough to have this problem. The first is probably equally self-induced misery, but really before I tackle cover #3 I must do one of the following:

a) Figure out how to make LiveQuartz (inexpensive image software for Mac that I got because I am too cheap to pay for Photoshop) actually exercise all the capabilities I suspect it has. Like, for example, saving a draft, instead of flattening all the layers into a final image whenever I quit, including when I am forced to quit because of spinning color wheel of doom (I was just trying to make a piece of text smaller again, and it got enormous instead, with the giant word "unanticipated" plastered across my cover image, and then everything froze. And saved that way, flattened, though I was able to rescue an earlier and less problematic draft. Still flattened but with less to repair).

b) Give up on LiveQuartz and get something that works more smoothly.

Or c) Pay someone else to create the cover. I already have an idea for what I want and I know I can't do it with the skills and software I now possess. But there's a part of me that balks at spending money when I'm not making a whole lot off these books.

I'm not going to share the print cover here, because if any changes are suggested I'd have to start all over again from the beginning, and I'm not doing that. I'll post the ebook cover when it's done (that's simple by comparison since there's only the front and I can pretty much just crop it out of the other image) - but still, no changes. What's done is done, and I am cranky about it. I'm even waiting until tomorrow to upload at CreateSpace to generate the proof, because if that goes wrong I'll cry. Sooo cranky. Though at least it's all cleaner than scale removal.

In better news, it's a beautiful day again, and many things are blooming, and though I still have approximately one million items on the to-do list, at least some of them got done this week.

P.S. if anyone does know how to save a layered draft in LiveQuartz, please let me know. And on a similar Mac note, if you've upgraded to Mavericks, how did it go? I am not planning to do this until at least June, for fear of losing MS PowerPoint creations that I really need, but I'd love to be reassured that this and other disasters won't happen.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
So, yesterday is over and I got through three hours of standing in front of the new Master Gardener class telling them what they need to know about vegetable gardening just to be going on with, and now I get to move on to the next thing, or the next several things. Which include: speaking to teachers about container gardening (done that before, collaborative effort, no biggie); doing a whiz-bang little half-hour talk on root vegetables at the spring conference, timing being critical because my talk partner has to fit in a cooking demo and we need to end on time; in March speaking, again with a partner (though we have yet to work out who does what), on keeping animals out of food gardens (moving ahead on this powerpoint is a major priority of the coming week); in April doing a talk on edible landscaping to a garden club and/or a basic vegetable gardening talk to interested members of the general public, I wish we could get it settled which; and, looking ahead to the end of May, creating from scratch and presenting a talk I've wanted to do for a while, at the statewide MG annual training day (my most potentially critical and certainly best-informed audience). (It's called "Purple Carrot People" and here is the summary: Ever thought you might want to grow that strange-looking squash in the seed catalog, or try purple carrots even though orange ones taste perfectly fine? Let's talk about the how and why of new-to-you crops, the benefits of novelty-vegetable-seeking behavior in a changing world, and why we should banish the word "exotic" from our vegetable vocabulary.)

None of those is three hours, so should not be so completely enervating, but still I know exactly how I'll feel afterwards. I'm thinking of it as the introvert response. I'm quite used to public speaking now, and really rather like it as long as I'm talking about something I feel confident about and interested in. I also like the events where I'm standing in the garden talking to individuals as they ask questions. And I know people regard me as energetic and enthusiastic and approachable and comfortable with an audience, which is weird because I am none of those things, though apparently really good at faking it. (I can honestly respond with gratitude and acceptance to "That was really clear and well-organized." Though occasionally that's faked as well.) But I get home from an event and need to not talk to people for hours afterwards (yesterday I had food and tea and watched about five episodes of Angel, which is pretty funny in context, Mr. Tall Dark and Introverted) and yet keep having little bits of conversation and/or lecture pop up in my head to haunt me and inform me what I've done wrong (even though I know on the whole I did it right).

Ah well; I am stuck with it now. Other things on the list for the coming week include pulling together the complete draft file for Time and Fevers and starting the formatting, which this time comes before final editing. I still plan to have that out by the end of April (in the middle of Oh My God Everything but what else is new). I need to get the author blog moving again and send out reminders to the mailing list of people I know personally who have read the first book to please find it in their hearts to write a review (by the way, I am on Goodreads, and let me remind you of my website). Today, along with shopping and laundry, I really need to start microgreens and write something about squash for the Grow It Eat It blog. And I had an ominous Return of the Migraine this week, so personal fitness needs to up its priority as well.

This is all to say you're not likely to see me on Tumblr in the near future, or contributing anything substantial to POI discussion (I drifted off a little during this week's ep, but hope to watch it again at some point), and fic is a very iffy proposition, though certainly the urge may come upon me at some point. But I'll be around.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) The sort of cold that turns the brain into molasses-coated turtle.

2) Wi-fi going down.

On the other hand, I read the entirety of Doomsday Book yesterday, and I might get around to baking some cookies today. Have a happy next few days, whatever you call them!
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
I had a dream early this morning about my dog Hal who died in 2007. I was sitting in bed, hugging him, and… tactile memory is an amazing thing, because it was the exact sensation of feeling that furry barrel chest under my arms and fingers. (I was in a bad car accident in a dream earlier in the night, but that was entirely made of intense visuals derived from TV.) Since I knew Hal was a dream, I rolled off the bed to wake myself up, and was still holding him, and asked P, who'd just come in, if he could see the dog (this is derived from Lost, no doubt), and he said yeah, sure, but then I realized it was 12-year-old him with an elementary-school sweatshirt on and long hair, so definitely a dream. And then I woke myself up and was in bed hugging my husband, but that was a dream too. It took two more tries to actually come awake.

In other news, I did about five sessions yesterday with the "personal steamer" I'd forgotten we had, and am feeling much better around the sinuses. I feel utterly ridiculous sticking my face in the thing, but it works. A few more times today and I might clear the nagging little obstruction that's left.

Still enormous amounts of space left in the posting meme, if you have any interest in watching me natter on about things.

ETA: Did a post yesterday at my author blog about categories and genres and how they relate to Time for Tea. I have no idea if anyone will read these posts, but it's nice to have a space to write about my own writing in. Also soon I will likely post Bernard's art gallery and stuff about tea.


Dec. 5th, 2013 05:41 pm
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Why yes, a sinus infection is exactly what I need at the moment, however did you know? (Still hoping I can steam it away, but I may need to go for antibiotics.)
hedda62: cover of Time for Tea (time for tea)
I am beginning to suspect that announcing oneself as a novelist to a hundred or so of one's closest friends and relatives is a bit like coming out as gay. Only a little, I hasten to add - I don't need the entire internet jumping on me for straight privilege - but I think in the next few weeks I'm going to have lots of encounters that go: "I had no idea! That's so wonderful! Good for you!" ...you aren't going to write about me, are you?

In other news, spent the afternoon washing and cooking greens, and then the internet went out just as I was going to answer all the emails and comments, but we found out what was wrong and it came back. And soon I am off to see a high school production of "Sweeney Todd." (I still go to the shows at my kids' high school. This may be the last, though; the ones I knew are graduating.)

Out tomorrow night too, having dinner with people who will say "I had no idea! Good for you!" I should not resent missing "The Good Wife" or a chance to watch more "Breaking Bad." Really I shouldn't.

Need to eat the greens now.

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