hedda62: (time travel)
Things that are good about traveling alone:

1. I can stop at every rest stop. (I can pee at every rest stop. I can stretch at every rest stop.)

2. No disagreements over what to listen to, except perhaps with my own conscience. (I didn't do Spanish lessons yet again.) Mostly for me it's music, because it keeps me awake and works out easiest with the intersection of the phone and the brand spankin' new car audio system that I'm still figuring out, though it did keep wanting to switch me to playing all the songs on my phone alphabetically. Finally I let it, since it's amusing to discover (for instance) how many songs that begin with "Don't" are on there. I sing them all out loud.

3. There is actually no requirement to eat three real meals a day. Though I must remember that chocolate-covered coffee beans melt if left in a hot car, even if they provide caffeine with less need to stop at rest stops.

4. Hotel rooms all to myself! Even at the conference, it turned out, since my roommate canceled at the last minute.

5. No need to feel weird about commenting out loud on the scenery or the road signs or other drivers' behavior. I mean, I do this with people in the car too, but perhaps they are silently judging the habit of exclaiming "Cows!" or "Yay, river!"

6. My choice of recreation, sights, and time to get up in the morning.

I'd say there are a few negatives, such as not having someone to look things up on a map while I am driving (like where the hell are the hotels off Illinois toll roads), but I didn't lose myself badly anywhere, had no car trouble, and didn't get sick, so it was all a great success. I was very happy to get home Monday after driving over 2800 miles and being feet-on-the-ground in 13 states (counting my own), 7 of which I'd never been to before. (I only count touching the ground with preference for buying or eating something, or making a bathroom deposit, or otherwise making an impact. I don't count airports or going through on the train - I'd done that through some of these states before - or driving through without stopping. Kansas was only brunch; and Wisconsin was only a convenience store and a rest stop, but I bought beer and snacks at the former and peed at both, so.)

I'm enough of an introvert to really enjoy the time alone, but I couldn't do two weeks of it without significant human interaction - so first I stopped in Kansas City to stay with [livejournal.com profile] penwiper26, which was wonderful (we went to the symphony! we had tacos and local beer and shopped for used books and watched hummingbirds and talked lots, including very usefully about Not Time's Fool, oh it is so good to hang out with beta readers in real space), and then there was the conference (on the Iowa/Nebraska border) and lots of chatting with people like-minded in the sense of loving plants, if not perhaps in all senses. (It is the Midwest; I don't bring up politics.) And I missed my family and my cats, but it was time to be away for a little too.

I have seen All the Corn Ever, which was unexpectedly beautiful, and I am home now. Bracing for floods, since after a couple of months of drought we are having a summer's rain all in one October week. Looks like the hurricane may go out to sea, though - fingers crossed.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
We did have an interval of really lovely weather last week, timed for my birthday, so I went for a 7-mile hike on our local little mountain - the second of that length and type in a week, since we'd done Maryland Heights at Harper's Ferry five days before. (These are seriously little mountains, so to make it 7 miles one has to go back the long way after climbing to the summit, or in the Harper's Ferry case, walk into town for ice cream afterwards.) In between we had a weekend in Staunton, VA, saw two plays (Antony and Cleopatra and The Winter's Tale) at the American Shakespeare Center, ate some good food, and visited Polyface Farm for a tour by Joel Salatin himself. So that was nice. Today I went out early to water at the community garden (just trying to keep my fall greens alive now - it hasn't rained in about a month) and am not intending to spend much time outside otherwise. We may possibly get a thunderstorm and some cooler weather on Friday. (By cooler I mean lower than the 90s.) Summer can be done anytime.

My birthday was last Wednesday, and happily grand jury was canceled, hence the hike. It's also canceled today, and I am already excused for the next three weeks, so who knows when I'll get back there. Probably it will become more regular as summer vacations (of lawyers, not criminals) fade into the background.

I am excused because I'm traveling! (Well, next week because I have a meeting, but then travel.) I will be going on a Big Midwest Adventure, ending up at a conference on the Iowa/Nebraska border, and on the way visiting [livejournal.com profile] penwiper26 - can't believe we will finally meet in person after being friends for so many years!! My intent is to tweet the Adventure, which hopefully I'll live up to. I am @ericahsmith if you want to follow me (normally I do not post much, but really I will try).

Perhaps some writing will get done on the trek, but for the moment I have accepted that it's just not happening for me, and I'm doing final edits on Not Time's Fool instead. I need to write some blog posts, too - have one sort of planned on hurting one's characters, which I started thinking about during the whole cellulitis thing.

Still reading a fair amount. I've had a whiplash-y experience with Morag Joss, who wrote a nice three-book mystery series in the oughts and then dropped it for Rendell-ish psychological thrillers, which (I have read two) are very good but also thoroughly depressing. And I am having a hard time forgiving her for leaving her cellist-detective Sara Selkirk hanging in a difficult personal position - I mean, I'm usually all for authors writing what they want to write and not pandering to my personal taste (as if they should know it), but I really hope she goes back someday to tell us what happens.

The series/trilogy/exercise-in-frustration was reminding me (not because of the left-hanging bit, but because of the character relationships) of Julia Spencer-Fleming's mysteries - cellist instead of Episcopalian priest, Bath instead of upstate New York, but both of them fall for a married police detective, and both have that tendency to leap without looking into danger and detection. It's made me think about what some of you out there call a "competence kink" - I don't think I have that, exactly, but I do like characters who are good at what they do. The question becomes, though, do they have to be good at other things? and what are those things? - does a world-class cellist fail at competence because she sometimes has to be rescued from her ill-thought attempts at cornering criminals, or a caring priest who also pilots helicopters because she doesn't meditate first before driving into danger? For me, it seems to come down to psychological plausibility and consistency, so if someone is established as having impulsive reactions in certain areas or on certain triggers, it doesn't bother me if they act on those reactions even if the actions are a bit stupid. That said, stupid characters will get on my nerves after a while, and so will Mary Sue-like levels of competence. Sara Selkirk does flirt with both those things, so perhaps one more book to resolve the personal crisis would do me, really.

Having a total TV vacation aside from occasional dips into Leverage. The question is, will I keep watching Sleepy Hollow this fall or not? Haven't decided. Should also note for those who have been considering watching that Person of Interest seasons 1-3 is now available on Netflix.

Best wishes to all!
hedda62: Harold Finch, half in shadow, text: Oh, Mr. Finch (finch)
1) Got Younger Son delivered to Allentown and his stuff into the off-campus house he'll be in this semester. A whirlwind of Target and Thai food and frigid temperatures and hotel with paper-thin walls and music all the way up and back.

2) Writing is occurring! I have more than a page of Book Five done and am settling into a new character's head (Rinaldo, if you're interested. So not a new character, I mean, but a new headspace). Making notes and having thoughts about where I'm going with the book. (Cryptic words about rivers and traitors, ha ha.)

3) And doing research. Finally finished reading the section of A People's History of the American Revolution on African Americans, made note of a bunch of sources I can find at U.Md., got a JSTOR account (I had been under the impression that you needed an academic affiliation for this, but no) and shelved a journal article on enslaved people in Virginia being recruited by the British and so forth. I think this will figure in the book; not sure yet, but it's a place to start. (Well, André on the Hudson is a place to start, but it's all going to be thematically tied together, I swear.)

4) Got a couple of really nice bits of fan mail. :)

5) Kind of but not looking forward to POI tonight. Well yeah I am, but glutton for punishment, oh ow show. Have spent too much time on Tumblr this week wallowing in it all. Just reblogged a gifset of various character-killing explosions over the course of the show (tagged it "an inherent cultural passion for things that go boom") just because it was SO PERFECTLY TYPICAL. They do tend to repeat themselves thematically (and explosively) when it comes to killing people off, but it still manages to be freshly painful each time. Still need to write that essay.

6) Also, as counterpoint, still enjoying Miss Fisher a lot; nearly done with the second season I think, well past the Phryne/Jack temporary estrangement and up to the adorable Dot/Hugh stuff. A show with just enough pleasant tension but no real trauma is really just fine with me thanks.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) Post up on visiting places you write about (the why and the maybe why not) at the author blog. With reference to Venice, because.

(Incidentally, I am gathering that as with Twitter, so with Wordpress there is a method whereby bloggers like, follow, and/or post empty comments with the intent of getting you to follow them back; see comment about my interesting post on travel writing which is not what I wrote about but is what the commenter does. Sorry, I have you all sussed out now and I'm not going there. So to speak.)

2) Things I need to do in the next few days: upload teaser chapters for Time Goes By; decide on a not-stupid About the Author blurb for that book, and also whether I should have a dedication; start formatting the print version; do a temporary price cut for TFT and TAF ebooks (month of November, buy 'em now); send out email announcements as well as posting on the blog; get ready to agonize over cover design. Plus other things in other spheres of my life.

ETA: Also have to come up with a blurb for TGB a little more extensive than the placeholder ("Adventures extending over five centuries, three separate continents, and one world-convulsing war"). OMG how.

3) Am attempting to catch up on TV missed while away. Caught up on Person of Interest, which continues to be fantastic this season (all of you who gave up last season, you should come back!); on Castle, which is still entertaining if stretching it a bit with the amnesia plot oh please; on Sleepy Hollow, which is just absurd but completely lovable and doing interesting things with interpersonal relationships; on Doctor Who, which… I just don't know, really. Others to follow.

4) I read, over the course of the trip, several books but two in particular that I'd really like to review together if that were possible anywhere, just because they resonated as if unrelated objects struck and vibrating in close harmony. One is Jo Walton's My Real Children, which I loved as a transformation of the mundane extraordinariness of life into the fantastical (old woman with dementia in nursing home reflects on two entirely separate lives she remembers having lived in two versions of the 20th and early 21st centuries (neither of them ours)), and the other is a memoir by my second cousin Ann Hedreen about her life and that of her mother who died in her 70s of early-onset Alzheimer's, called Her Beautiful Brain. The resonance is close in the description of confusion and forgetting and disintegration, the life choices faced by women, the poignancy of loss and ordinary living, the portrait of a period of time; the format is different, of course, but I think Walton's book has a lot of elements of memoir (there's a lot more of "and then this thing happened, and then the other thing" than I thought I could put up with in what has to be categorized as speculative fiction) and it certainly reads as a real person's story, or stories. (But it's a different sort of person who chooses to write about their own life rather than those of invented characters. I didn't know Ann very well before reading her book; now I almost feel I know her too well. Memoir is not a choice I'd make for myself, even if my life was interesting enough to merit one.) Also, I had no idea before I started Walton's book that it had so much to do with Italy, so that was fun.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Here's the first Italy post, and I may comment more later, plus there will be stuff at my other blogs when I get the photos sorted out. I'll put the quick where-we-went-when under a cut in a moment. But first - we had this discussion on our last evening, as we do at some point on nearly every trip we take, about conflicting theories of vacation/holiday-taking, and how to hit a happy medium between rushing around to see everything that will possibly fit and just sitting around with a good book in a pretty place. J's idea of a proper vacation leans more toward the former, so when he plans trips we move around a lot and pack the days pretty full. I am sympathetic toward the see-everything! viewpoint, and I certainly don't regret much if anything of what we did, but I am exhausted and have much to do coming up, so there's that.

There is so much to see in the world, and so little time to do it in, so when you have an opportunity such as this one it's probably best to not miss out - but we always end up saying that "when we come back" (which we never do, because there are other places to see) we will just rent a house or apartment for a week so that we can get to know a place. But even then it would be considered a base camp from which to explore in all directions, and I would keep arguing for one day of just holding still, and not getting it (or getting it alone while the others saw something I'd regret missing). Doing too much, especially over a longer vacation, makes the end part of the trip rather blurry, and the first part vanishingly distant, and all the churches and views tend to blend together after a while - I have a theory that you need to see something at least three times before you come anywhere close to understanding it, which makes the usual tourist itinerary pretty useless - but again, who has time to go back over and over? I don't know what the solution to this is, except for larger travel budgets and more free time, and yeah, it screams First World Problem, so onwards.

This is off the top of my insufficient memory and summarizes much:

Two weeks of scurrying about )

I should do later posts on things like food and drink, which do tend to be important to us, and perhaps on how it feels to be a tourist in a country not one's own, or the combination of the two (I hope that if fellow diners occasionally regarded us as the loud Americans drinking too much, at least we were the loud Americans drinking too much and discussing etymology, but really we don't tend to be loud, and we say grazie a lot). And I think sorting out the photos will help me isolate moments that were particularly meaningful (though they will not necessarily coincide with the moments during which I took photos). I do know that any vision I possessed of Italy as monolithic (figuratively, and literally as well) has now been erased, not that I ever really thought it was all one place. I would like to see more places within it, and to return to places we touched on; we'll see if that happens.

If I had to pick one return trip, I'd probably be practical and say Florence, since we visited there so briefly, and maybe more time in the Tuscan countryside as well, especially if I had a thematic itinerary (like, you know, wine. Or agriculture in general). The visuals there are astonishing, particularly since they are so iconic and familiar from painting and photography, but the first time you pull over on a hilltop and look out at the sinking sun glinting across the green curves and the terracotta roofs and the geometric patterns of vineyard and olive plantation, it's nearly impossible to recognize what you're seeing as real. So I'd like to shake it a bit and force it to say something (I'd have to know Italian better, of course).

But of everywhere we went, my heart belongs to Venice. In part because it was the first place we went, but also because I loved so much the maze of tiny streets and the lack of any wheeled traffic beyond barrows; the watery orientation must call up something in my maritime roots, and every use of the canals and lagoons was charming to me, from public transport to tourist gondolas to construction deliveries. I wouldn't want to live there (not enough space for gardens, plus expensive and crumbling) but I'd love to go back and spend time absorbing atmosphere and water metaphors, and to write something about it.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Buongiorno, back from Italy, will post at length later, but soon must go fetch my CATS (missed them!). Body still on European time despite long sleepless day yesterday and 10 pm bedtime. Thanks to Lufthansa striking pilots we got a better-timed flight with the chance for non-rushed breakfast in Florence (a bit tired of continental-style, though; today's chez nous was good German bread (from Frankfurt airport) with jam and PEANUT BUTTER. Also bacon. MMM. Tomorrow I will have granola and all will be right with the world).

In short: amazing and fantastic, though ow my knee, OW MY FEET, also mini-ow the mysterious little bruises that occurred in random places throughout the trip probably due to awkward clutching of luggage on crowded public transportation. Boat, train, bus bus bus bus, tram, subway, chair lift; only four taxis (because even not-taxi people get tired and inconvenienced). And miles of walking on narrow streets and stairs and cobblestoned piazzas. Did I mention my feet?

It's raining here, but it was raining in Florence too, which makes the world oddly small and wet. More soon!
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)
I'm back. You can read about my garden visits here; otherwise, here's the continuation of the previous post.

Last Wednesday I was in St. Johnsbury VT, and did see the Athenaeum before I left (splendid!), then drove a long way by back roads across New Hampshire and Maine and wiggled my way down to the coast, where I stayed a couple of days with my uncle and aunt, sorting out books and walking on the beach and watching "The Roosevelts." Then (see garden blog) I popped up to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (lovely!) and then down to my dad's in MA for another couple of days, then (see garden blog) to Tower Hill Botanic Garden (I am forever intrigued by which gardens decide to be botanic and which botanical, and which pluralize themselves, but never mind) and then to New Haven CT to spend the night with my sister and brother-in-law and their cats. Then Monday I drove down to PA and spent the night close to Chanticleer Garden which I was going to visit again the next day until I checked the website and discovered it was closed on Tuesdays. Oops. So I drove home, stopping to outfit myself at an Eddie Bauer outlet store on the way. The end.

I was cautiously pleased by last night's POI season four premiere - if they keep that up, it'll be a good season. Spoilers )

I need to catch up on the openers of "Sleepy Hollow" and "The Good Wife." And I'm watching "Doctor Who" despite misgivings; speaking of betrayal and difficult transitions, I got pissed off at everyone being disappointed in Clara for reacting badly to the regeneration. After all, it's a shocking event if you're not expecting it, and she's the only one of the New Who companions to witness one of his* except Rose, who at least got David Tennant out of it. Not that Capaldi is without his attractions, but I'm getting a vibe of back-to-the-sexless for this season. Back to it being a rather creepy kids' show, perhaps. Anyway, I've caught up on that and am enjoying it, without huge amounts of enthusiasm, but without wanting to throw things at the screen either. (It's on my lap; there wouldn't be much windup room.) I love the new opening graphics, the new TARDIS, and the eyebrows. And Danny Pink, whose surname must be significant.

*Amy and Rory saw one, but it wasn't the Doctor's.

ETA: I did watch the Sleepy Hollow ep, and ha, still love this crazy show, although Franklin did his kite and key experiment in 1752, but the SH timeline has never made the slightest sense anyway.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
First, I did survive the craziness of last week, though practically nothing went as planned (we did get into the secure government facility, and gave a talk for five people, which didn't quite seem worth it, but then we had fifty for the meeting the next day). I left at the crack of dawn on Saturday, and this is what I have done:

- Attended a somewhat rainy Monticello Heritage Harvest Festival, at which I tasted artisan cheese and heirloom apples and listened to knowledgeable people talk about them, went to a talk about growing upland rice (why? BECAUSE) which was interesting but felt like I'd been dropped into an ongoing conversation among food historians who all knew the same people and facts that I did not, ate lumpias and Australian pies and drank local beer, walked through the lovely vegetable garden as I must do every year, and didn't sit down much, because all the benches were wet.

- Drove over to Staunton VA, ate Indian food, and attended a performance of Marlowe's "Edward II," which has a shocking (for the era) amount of homosexual not-subtext and a lot of unlikeable characters. Well-performed, though, and my nodding off in the second act was just because I'd risen at 5:30 and not really much because Edward was feeling sorry for himself yet again, and I always shook myself awake because at the American Shakespeare Center, they do it with the lights on (meaning that, as in Shakespeare's time, the audience is fully lit and they can see if you're napping). Also they sell refreshments onstage before the show and during intermission, and have jolly musicians, and interact with audience members, especially those sitting onstage which thank goodness I was not.

- Next day drove up through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and into Pennsylvania, stopping at the rather boring Hershey Gardens, and on to Allentown, where I managed to eat at Panera twice and Wegman's twice; one of the latter was taking my son's girlfriend out for tea and cookies, which was fun. Nothing else to be said about this stop, though.

- Three states the next day (PA, NJ, NY), as I highwayed it up to Saratoga Springs. I stopped on the way in Haverstraw NY to see the Andre-Arnold treason marker, which you can read about on my blog here. Walked around SS in the evening and ate fairly good pasta. Managed a paragraph of Book Five before I gave up and watched Doctor Who.

- Today, had Thai/sushi lunch with [personal profile] ailis_fictive (yay meeting online people!) and then drove on into Vermont on endless highways with lovely views, stopping at the King Arthur Flour store as [personal profile] kivrin suggested; bought a few things and had yummy hot chocolate in the cafe, and then headed further north. I'm in (or just south of) St. Johnsbury now, in which I will hopefully see this place tomorrow morning before I leave, but once I got into the hotel I couldn't stand the thought of getting in the car again, and unlike the other places I've stayed this one is not within walking distance of food, so dinner (which I didn't need much of, after the nice lunch) was Dinty Moore beef stew out of the hotel mini-mart. I don't even think I've seen Dinty Moore beef stew in many years. But it has sustained me, and I have King Arthur crackers as well, and all of the internet.

I think I probably should have planned this trip with a little less driving and/or more days, because the doing-lots-of-yoga and writing-first-chapter things are not terribly likely to happen, and packing up again every morning is getting a bit tired. Next five nights are with relatives and a bit slower-paced, though.

I'll post again when I get home!
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)
1. Just finished a post called "Writing the Future" over on the author blog. I think I could have polished it up with more examples and the like, but I was getting that OMG-long feeling (along with the OMG-going-away-tomorrow one, see below). This will be followed eventually by the others I mention therein, the one on historical fiction, and the one on race. Eventually.

2. We are going to Cape May tomorrow for a few days, a typical vacation for us, meaning the sort you decide on and plan a week in advance. Then I am going on a road trip in the middle of September, me by myself, looping down to Charlottesville VA first for the Monticello Harvest Festival, and then proceeding northwards as far as Maine, taking in on the way some theatre and lots of gardens and a couple of historical markers (the John Andre-Benedict Arnold ones), and hopefully some undisturbed writing time. And picking up a bunch of nostalgically important books, the ostensible purpose of it all. I am foolishly more excited about this than about the October trip to Italy and possibly Croatia, visiting P. on his fall break (which, though we have more time to plan, still falls under the typical-for-us category. We were going to go in December, but this makes more sense in the end. Better weather, too).

In any case, it's a lot of being away from home. And a lot of logistics.

3. Should probably pop to the library so I have something to read at the beach. I was going to save Hild, but I finished it over the weekend. Loved it, and hope to articulate why at some point (when I catch up on Goodreads, if that ever happens).

4. This post about white privilege worked for me as an analogy, not perfect in some directions but extendable in others, and thoughtful, which is the most important thing.

5. Fingers still numb. Should call PT.

6. Many tomatoes! Speaking of which, lunch now...
hedda62: Waterfall, with the words "water metaphors" (water metaphors)
Random things:

In my continuing quest to convince others (and myself, if I could reacquire the fic-writing urge) that Rivers of London and Bryant & May are meant for crossovers, I note that not only does the latter involve a specialist London police unit that solves a mystery having to do with underground rivers, but (since I've now progressed from rereading the early series at random to reading the later books that didn't exist when I was doing the first read) also a crime apparently committed by Mr. Punch. I may manage, at some point, a conversation between Nightingale and Arthur Bryant on Waterloo Bridge; it's always tricky to reconcile magical and non-magical worlds, but Bryant is at least spectacularly open to the existence of supernatural forces. And he may not be aging backwards, but he doesn't appear to be doing it forwards either.

I wrote a short blog post on themes and moral imperatives in Time and Fevers (non-spoilery, unless you count George growing the fuck up as a spoiler) - and thanks to those who have written about and to me on enjoying Time for Tea! Slowly but surely getting somewhere…

Where I am just now is King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (yes that is a place), and I am apparently going to enjoy Chanticleer Pleasure Gardens in the rain later this morning (it's supposed to clear up for afternoon) before picking up Younger Son and friends at the Philly airport.

Much more weed-pulling in store this weekend, and buying of soft foods in preparation for Younger Son having his wisdom teeth out. Hopefully his having acquired strep throat (and amoxicillin) in Ghana will not interfere with the timing of the surgery, because he has to start work later in the week. (He was well into Time and Fevers last I heard, but his girlfriend (also on the trip) was just at the point in Time for Tea where George comes down with SPOILER EXCEPT FOR OBVIOUS IMPLICATION when he began running a fever. We made jokes, because you can't not. He missed the canopy walk and the Cape Coast Castle, but thank goodness for antibiotics.)

I managed not to blow up at fellow gardeners on Tuesday, but oh dear, it's nice to be admired and depended upon, but sometimes being in charge drives me nuts, especially when you have no office door to close but are just trying to get a few minutes to yourself to decide what needs to be done next, and are continually interrupted by people asking what you want them to do next. And then when I'd finally persuaded them to leave me alone a little, there was the one who came up and said, "Just go ahead, but say it out loud; I want to hear your thought process." NO NO NO. (I love them all dearly, but NO.) I guess I need to start trying to get there half an hour before everyone else (which is 7:30 a.m., which means leaving home at 7, while not forgetting half my stuff).

Don't think I've mentioned here how much I'm enjoying Orphan Black season 2, but I am. Having rewatched the first season recently, I can also echo others in saying there's a moment in each episode where I convince myself that each of the clones is actually played by a different actress, and my favorite moments are those in which one clone is pretending to be another one. It's also amusing that Alison is much better at being Sarah than Sarah is at being Alison. (Suburban soccer moms, whether they are in community theatre or not, are naturals at protective coloration.) The balance of humor and pathos continues to be perfect and delightful.

I have been listening to five albums of Vienna Teng on shuffle, pretty much constantly (well, no, but when it's the right time to listen to things). <3 <3 <3
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Things:

1) Wow, Hannibal finale, way to earn your content warnings. Also… what? What?!!! (I suspect the Hamlet-like bloodbath is by way of saying "hey, network, this is what you get for not renewing us till after we'd written it" but holy shit.)

2) I am, alas, not nearly so intrigued by Castle's Downton-Abbey-esque season finish. Because come on now.

3) Hoping to catch up on other things besides obsessive weed-pulling and powerpoint-polishing after I give the Big Talk this Thursday. It seems likely I'll be defaulting on Trope Bingo, though, because despite wanting to write something (probably the POI hiatus fic that all of us must write) I don't see it happening this week.

4) I've been listening to lots of Vienna Teng and picking out Waters of Time-related songs; have decided that "Antebellum" is totally Sam and Olivia's song, and "Nothing Without You" is Wilfrid and Beatrice's (despite their fervent arguments against the title). Or alternatively "Augustine." (And "Harbor" is - ideally at least - George and Olivia's, and I could go on, but I'll spare you. Funny that on the whole I tend to find the non-romantic-pairing songs first, though.)

5) Oh, and the POI hiatus fic may borrow a title from "Goodnight, New York."

6) The trip to Texas went well, and we got Younger Son packed off to Ghana via Albuquerque, and he's sending happy-sounding texts about fufu and power cuts. I pick him up in Philadelphia a week from Thursday.

I suppose I should do more weeding now. Or organize my resource list.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
My head is a bit scattered today (see below) but I must at least register the WOW at the Person of Interest finale. Talk about game-changers! I'll need to watch it again (next Tuesday will be the first opportunity, I think) but really: this is the show that hangs "procedural" out in the wind and lets the birds shit on it. When it's good it's very good, and even where things don't quite make sense the aura of drama carries it through. I'm hoping they don't give us a quick resolution back to routine next season; I'm not sure they could, really.

a few quick spoilery thoughts )

I also saw the finale of "Once Upon a Time," and there were lots of clever (and viciously painful) things happening, though I am still stuck with that impression of game-changers and near-immediate take-backs (though at least some of the deaths this season seem to have been permanent). I do like that the journey from "ethically challenged" (yes I am rereading the Rivers of London books) to purely good is a rocky one, with lots of temptations to power and revenge to trip over.

Off tomorrow for the long weekend and graduation in Houston, which should be easy enough to pack for and is for me and J, but P's itinerary is slightly more complicated (Houston-Albuquerque-(Denver)-Philadelphia-(London)-Accra, Ghana, over the next week) and he hasn't exactly been home much to organize for it, so I suspect today will be a hair-pulling festival of last-minute searching and shopping. Whee.
hedda62: my cat asleep (lewis & hathaway)
[personal profile] brewsternorth wanted me to talk about travel, and name a place I'd like to go someday. Well, ha, fancy asking me to pick a place. Lemme just go on about travel in general for a while and we'll see what happens.

Travel and I have a complicated relationship. If it were up to me alone, I'd spend my life never going anywhere and then regretting it, so it's good that I'm married to someone who loves to travel and that I have family and friends all over the place. I do actually enjoy being in new places, once I'm there, but I hate deciding where to go (on the small scale. My husband is worse on the large scale; we have all these conversations where he says "and while we're in Paris we might as well go to Prague" and then I chime in with "and then it's not far to Delhi and we should take in Cape Town while we're at it" just to emphasize the absurdity of the see-everything-in-five-days optimism. It's the only time I get to be the pessimist, really). And there's making finicky arrangements, and worrying about not speaking the language, and then there are the horrors of air travel and the near-inevitable migraine that swallows the first day after arrival (though that's been better of late). And there's the guilt over the idea that foreign travel is Broadening, but then again there's still much of the U.S. I haven't seen (though I've seen a fair amount), and it's certainly easier to go places where English is spoken and the hotels are predictable, but oh I am a terrible person for thinking that. And I really should speak five languages and I don't.

I've also had too many conversations with people who live in the U.K. (or in continental Europe) who don't quite understand how very much farther and more expensive it is for Americans to travel to Europe, so why haven't we insular savages been there or to the other parts of the world adjacent to it, and I had a running discussion with my English neighbor who'd boast over regularly taking his kids abroad while they were growing up, while we were just going places in the States, and I'd think "you're taking them to visit their relatives, and so are we" (except we also went to many places we didn't have relatives, and their kids have had to wait till adulthood to see their own country). (And speaking of kids, when you have a family of four it's a lot more costly to go places than it is just to take yourself. We're lucky to have the money, but we don't have that much money. And there's the tyranny of the school schedule. Ah, what a revelation it is to be an empty-nester and be able to go places in May and September!)

Then there is the weird writer's guilt over not having visited all the places I've written about (though at least there's the loophole of not actually being able to travel to, say, 17th-century Amsterdam). Probably those I've missed should have been first on my list. Though, you know, I didn't get a research budget.

So, as I said, complicated. That said, hey, I'd like to travel everywhere. You could probably not name a place I wouldn't be interested in going to, as long as it's not currently being bombed. I hope I will get to go to a few of those many places before I die. I'm hoping for Italy next fall, if P. gets to do his semester abroad there. (He's going to Ghana in May, but I don't get to piggyback on that.) On the other hand, it seems we're always going somewhere and saying how much we love it and that we'll definitely come back someday, and we never do, so… I'd like to go back to some places I've already been, too. I'd especially like to go back to that little hotel-of-cabins on Caye Caulker in Belize, and hang out by the shore and eat great food while barefoot and go kayaking. I want to go to Yellowstone again, and stay at Chico Hot Springs, and hike in Zion for more than a couple of hours (short version: we didn't care to spend Easter Sunday in Las Vegas. I do not want to go back to Las Vegas). I want to see much more of Peru than I've already seen (do I want to go to Machu Picchu again, or is one transcendent experience enough? This is a question worth debate). I want to go to Charlottesville and Charleston enough times to feel really familiar with their geography, and ditto San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area even though I've started to map that pretty well in my head. And last year's trip up the northern California coast was lovely (and the Oregon coast! also wonderful! and the Olympic Peninsula!). I need to go back to Maine, because it's part of my DNA. I want to climb Snowdon again, and trudge back up to Surprise Lake in the Tetons (and not permanently injure my knee this time). And so forth. I've been so lucky to get to see what I've seen, but sometimes once is not enough to have really been there.

On the other hand, Tahiti…
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
… after about 8 hours on the road yesterday, I'm still not sure why so long since we only hit pockets of bad traffic around Parsnippany and Danbury and there was no snow, just constant rain. We got to our destination at about quarter to 10 and did not watch POI, so I'll try catching up sometime this week and join in the discussion then.

I hope all the US-ians here who are traveling today get where you're going: still raining hard on the East Coast, snow a bit westward, and snarled airports. Thanksgiving, eh?

Also, a belated happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] penwiper26!

quick hello

Sep. 8th, 2013 04:43 pm
hedda62: Ben Linus, well-bruised (bruised ben)
Well, ha, seems today is Martin Freeman's birthday - which means my two biggest celebrity crushes have birthdays one day apart. And both Virgos like me, which totally figures. I am glad and not surprised to see Tumblr turned up the noise for Michael Emerson yesterday.

I had a fine time wandering around the grounds of Monticello yesterday, geeking out about gardening. I've got plenty of notes on Tomatoes for the Southeast and Innovative Home Composting, and a vague pleasant impression of how awesome the Svalbard Seed Vault is, though I was getting fairly sleepy by that point. Nothing like sun and nice scenery and tomato tasting and folk music and healthy green juices to make you sleep well. I bought garlic (for planting) and fig-ginger and plum-lime jams and hickory syrup (did you know that was a thing? I really did not) and a veggie muffaletta and a lemon-ginger popsicle, and then had bacon-wrapped figs and salmon in pastry and a Dark and Stormy for dinner downtown. Charlottesville is always so great to visit.

Tomorrow I need to make lists.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Home, after the red-eye from Oakland; I spent five hours in a stupor but never actually slept, so today is coffee, coffee, coffee, laundry, shopping, placating the cat, mowing the lawn, possibly making it to a friend's retirement party but I don't know if that's gonna happen. I think I need a shower, actually. And then more coffee.

We had a lovely time exploring the parts of northern California we hadn't seen before, and briefly into southern Oregon (I hadn't seen Ashland since *gulp* 1978), and I managed to do a little writing on the Ben story almost every day (first morning: in a closet) so hopefully I can finish and post that later in the week. At which time I have things to say about present tense. And perhaps California. At the moment it's kind of "words, what are those" and I'm still wearing yesterday's underwear and am actually not quite sure what yesterday or today means, which is probably quite relevant to the writing but nevertheless other things must come first.

madness

May. 23rd, 2013 06:50 am
hedda62: Harold Finch in his HAT (hat baby)
hedda62: in other news, you do need to shoot me now
I'm writing Lost fanfic
I watched the finale again last night, and couldn't help myself

penwiper26: what

hedda62: but it will just be the one
she said firmly
and I'll have no time to finish it until getting back from the trip

and of course I can't tell you anything about it
even the character list would be spoilery

penwiper26: heh
I suppose one person it won't have in it is Ben Linus /facetious

hedda62: lol
I could perhaps reveal that much
*

She finds my obsessions amusing. :) And really, talk about foolish, but I'm about a page in and I think it'll be reasonably good, not that anyone's likely to read it.

Today is a silly day in which I rush around getting last-minute stuff done (there is always this "I can't believe I'm getting on a plane tomorrow at oh-god-thirty holy shit" aspect to vacations, somehow), like for example planting tomatoes in two different gardens neither of which is at home. Possibly in the rain.

I may check in but otherwise see you in June.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
A week from today we'll be waking up in Oakland, CA, in a hotel we haven't booked yet, any more than we've booked any other places we're staying in a week-and-a-half's journeys. This is sadly entirely typical (we are somewhat more organized when traveling out of the country, but only somewhat). J and I have a date to figure this out over tea this afternoon. If we're not elsewhere doing something else. I have a ridiculous list full of obscure items like "soak the bitter gourd seeds, do it NOW you idiot."

I did get the tickets to see "King Lear" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival a week from Wednesday. Close to the last four tickets in the theatre, but still. (No one ever tells you some things are harder when your kids are adults, but scheduling family vacations is definitely one of those things.)

What we have been spending our evenings on, mostly, is mainlining "The Good Wife" - we're now more than halfway through season 3, and it only gets better. I did poke around on AO3 a bit (can't read much fic until we're caught up) and was both stoked and amused to note that Alicia/Kalinda is the most popular pairing. A fandom with femslash, wow. (Though I think Root/Shaw is going to be a big thing, if not up there with Finch/Reese. So happy about Shaw as a series regular.) (Also, the TGW/PoI actor overlap continues: since the last time I reported, Ken Leung and Michael Kelly have made appearances (and Carrie Preston is back, oh Elsbeth you dear thing). Michael Kelly was also (like many of these people) on "Lost," in one episode. He got run over by a bus. (wasn't him after all; guy looks just like him though!) I am eagerly awaiting his reappearance on "House of Cards," where I bet he's going to have a character arc of great subtlety. Or possibly continue to be blandly evil, which is equally delightful.)

Because of this commitment to the legal, political and personal adventures of Florrick and associates, we're way behind on everything else, and have multiple episodes waiting for us of "Doctor Who," "Castle" and "Mad Men." We did remember (at literally the very last second) to watch the finale of "Elementary" (what can I say, it's the show that comes after "Person of Interest" and that wasn't on) which I enjoyed quite a lot and almost didn't fall asleep during. I particularly liked the ending. Nearly all of my bullet-proof kinks come out of Aubrey/Maturin, and "naming a living creature after your friend" is near the top. (I am, naturally, trying to think of how this might translate to PoI. Could Finch come up with a stunning new bit of code and call its result "reesing"?)

As I said before, it's not that I don't like "Elementary," it's that it's on at 10 and I am beginning to be the little old lady who falls asleep in front of the TV. Which does not make me happy about the shift of PoI to Tuesdays at 10, but I guess I'll cope. I just don't understand why CBS makes this show so hard to watch, though. I'm perfectly willing to buy episodes of shows I can't see as they air; for some reason we can't get ABC to come in on our cable-less TV, plus the aforementioned 10 pm thing, so we have watched "Castle" entirely via Amazon Instant Video, and I mostly haven't regretted the money. And we watch cable shows this way too. Helps that our DVD player is programmed to work with Amazon and Netflix directly. But PoI is not available anywhere for money or legally free as it airs, which seems astoundingly impractical. *growls ineffectually at network*

Okay, time to go soak those bitter gourd seeds. Or do the blog post about the ridiculously-late-frost-related death of my Juliet tomato and Romeo pepper duo, titled "Never was a story of more woe."

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