A gift beyond measure
By its very definition, “photography” is means by which we “to write or draw with light.” My new camera invited me to twist the lens in a way that brings closer the things I might otherwise have overlooked: sharp edges and rounded corners, bold patterns and rough textures, saturated and sun-bleached colors.
I'm doing my level best to remember Leonard Cohen's admonition:
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
It's a messy thing, this bearing witness.
Got both pairs of Tim's work pants mended & hemmed and did laundry. Wrote one book review but didn't get it uploaded. Was gone most of the day, spending too much money at Mulewart (everyone who worked Thanksgiving got a 25% discount on one order yesterday), stocking up on flour, sugar, peanut butter, chocolate, cat & chicken food- only a couple of small, unnecessary purchases (a couple of Christmas ornaments and some nail polish. Oh, and a couple of balls of fancy yarn and some pink flannel with kittens in tea cups to make into jammie pants)
Today I have to run into town again to pick up insulin and do a few other errands but can't be gone very long because of needing to feed the wood stove frequently. So between that and how horrible I feel (just amazingly sore and achy) I'm not going to the gardeners association party tonight. And I'll feel wretched that I missed it but I just can be arsed to make a potluck dish and come up with a white elephant gift when I'd only be able to stay an hour. I'll stay in and try to make more progress on my giant list o'doom of cleaning and doing.
The dogs love this weather. Al could play out in the snow all day. Penny prefers to spend her time inside by the fire. We ended up with somewhere between 4.5 and 6 inches of snow, which gave me a chance to wear the fancy new boots.
OK, they're not all that fancy; they're from Payless. But they keep my feet warm.
In honor of the snow, we set up our tree and used the 'white' ornaments. Yes, the tree is on top of the TV armoire. It's a 4 footer, and the star is too heavy and needs to be replaced.
Those ornaments all used to go on our big 8' tree (since we have the dogs, we got rid of that tree) so they're too large for this tree. We also haven't set up the second tree (the colorful one with homemade ornaments) since we got the dogs, and probably won't until the dogs are geriatric.
The blue ornaments are new this year. I was taking those to the Meet and Greet event I was supposed to attend in DFW Saturday, but since I've decided not to risk 8 hours of questionable roads, I went ahead and put them on the tree. We were supposed to bring some ornaments related to our books, so this was my best shot. Blue for the old blue-and-white flag of Portugal (it wasn't green and red until 1911 or so.) I suspect it looks more like Hanukah/Christmas hybrid tree...
I finally finished school on Monday, with a 17 page paper that I can't remember what it was about. I was so ready to be done. This last class just killed me. On the upside, I can whip out a flawless 17 page paper on almost any topic.
I kind of sat and stared at my computer on Tuesday, Wednesday, and yesterday, wondering what to do with myself. Today I got up and decided to regain my photography skills, which have badly atrophied in the past 18 months. I woke up early--about 5:30. It's my birthday, so I wanted to do something special. I drove out to the Cosumnes River Preserve, one of my favorite places. Got there just before the sun came up. It was cold, in the 20s, but I had my warm hat on, so I was comfortable. I took some pictures and listened to the birds. It's a stopping place for migratory birds, and there are thousands of them this time of year. I came home and celebrated a normal cholesterol level by cooking up some breakfast sausage.
This should be an interesting year. My work responsibilities are changing--I don't know what I am going to be doing. Some sort of teaching, but not the same teaching I'm doing now. It's too bad, because my job right now is just about perfect, but I'm always up for something new and interesting.
I had a bunch of lab tests yesterday. All normal. I'm being worked up because I am losing the hearing in my right ear. At first they thought it was related to the sinus issues I have had since getting my nose busted, but that's not it. I get to see a specialist next week. I'm curious to know what's going on.
I'm not sure if this is another random entry or I'll make it a regular thing for the year. I'll see how it feels.
Sing me what the Lord was singing
On the day He made the water
The color of the blues
Sing me that song
Sing me to till the heavens rising
On the day He made the water
The color of my baby's eyes.
- Current Music:Ryan Adams--Mockingbirdsing
- Thu, 12:57: My origami heart ATCs for my lovely virtual b-day party winners are done! :) Now working on the origami heart for... http://t.co/MNYQm14mH4
- Thu, 14:19: Incoming mail for April @aprilastrology! broken compass . . . she walks with the fragrance of the lotus #micropoetry #poetry
- Thu, 15:40: What you can do with a small studio. It's beyond brilliant! #art Thanks, Mary!... http://t.co/9Qacs4AKeB
- Thu, 15:43: And those who need a laugh about the holidays and pop music. http://t.co/sqhfRpEN6D :) http://t.co/YpYet8EH3j
- Thu, 16:29: I'm sure when I get to grad school, I'll feel this way. http://t.co/KB59h0zlvh http://t.co/IUHo5IF1k5
- Thu, 23:53: #micropoetry #poetry #smallstone sudden windchill all the (heart)aches I cannot count in my bones
- Thu, 23:57: waxing crescent-- hoping to see the worth of my hands, my touch as I clip my nails #tanka #micropoetry #poetry #5lines
- Fri, 09:22: RT @Boiarski: #FF - @PoetAddiction @erichatheway @Ltd_To_Two @StartYourNovel @SirMorose @six4certain @alotus_poetry @bondwooley @Storslette…
- Fri, 10:04: The Zen Space looking for Winter 2014 #haiku #micropoetry subs! Please share for those interested! http://t.co/uGgO9WIAP2
- Fri, 10:44: RT @Haiku_Today: HaikuToday is out! http://t.co/bs7kMRcoRC Stories via @jdubqca @alotus_poetry @kinghaiku
5 usable Christmas cards (small)
5 usable Christmas cards (medium)
6 blank envelopes
1 calendar for 2014
1 supermarket trolley token on a key ring
3 cheap pens
12 pence in coins
1 small brown stone
Oh, and in order to remove Dad from all these mailing lists it often required the use of a magnifying glass to read the small print to find the information on how to do this. Literally, a magnifying glass. Bonus points to the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) for being the only charity to provide everything in a nice large clear print.
- Current Mood: efficient
Almost a year ago, I put up a post about my genderbent Slave Leia costume. I talked a lot about why I decided to create it and my insecurities around exposing myself on the internet. It got a little more attention than I expected, and when I was finished hiding under my bed, I started wearing the costume to cons and costume parties. I thought I’d share some of my frightening and enlightening experiences here.
Last week I talked about my experiences going to conventions in less than conventional dress, but I left the account of my being fondled brief as I thought it deserved its own discussion. This is that discussion, and it comes with what is becomming a distressingly boilerplate trigger warning.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment(s); comment here or there.
Random quote of the day:
“A rich man is either a scoundrel or the heir of a scoundrel.”
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.
Mirrored from Better Than Dead.
Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:
“Self” Publishing: It Takes a Team (Elizabeth Weed) http://writerunboxed.com/2013/12/06/self-p
Approaching Messy First Drafts (Elizabeth Spann Craig) http://elizabethspanncraig.com/1559/appr
The Fierce Urgency of Now (Discoverability Part 3) (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)
Imaginary Audience: 6 Tips on Envisioning Your Readership (Robbie Blair)
We Have to Believe (Rachelle Gardner)
Keeping a Professional Distance From our Book (Elizabeth Spann Craig)
On Third-Party Queriers or "Agent-agents", and Sapsuckers (Jennifer Laughran)
Don't Fall For Vanity Radio (Victoria Strauss)
Readers Aren't Elephants (Kathryn Lilley)
Pay Proper Attention to Your Bio (Jane Friedman)
The hardest thing an agent does (Janet Kobobel Grant)
If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2012, and last week’s list.
If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time). Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.
“The Veto” is one of those auto-debate topics in polyamory, like abortion or religion or Billy Mitchell, where merely mentioning it to the polyamorous causes a hive-like breakout of debate. Those who have veto power in their relationships feel that it’s the only sane method and view everyone without a veto as some sort of Darwinian poaching ground where slavering fuck-chickens knock you down and mount your partner, whereas those without a veto see the vetoers as Relationship Stalin, executing potential lovers with a single word.
Full disclosure: I am a Stalinist. My wife has a veto, as do I. I personally don’t recommend the veto system for every poly relationship, as like most parliamentary procedures the veto becomes a disaster without the proper frameworks to support it.
Yet I wanted to talk about what the veto is not: an end to conversation.
For me and Gini, the veto power is of such a devastating potency, like nuclear weapons, we’re loath to use it. The only reason we’ve given each other such power is that we know neither of us would ever use it without having tried every other recourse: talking, begging, negotiating, smoke signals, operant conditioning, feng shui, late-night infomercials touting the merits of dating someone else.
The veto is our bond of trust: “I know that you would never use this power unless you felt you had no other way of being heard – and so when you use it, I know it is because you are hurting so badly that we need to stop right now.”
As such, in all our years of marriage, we have never vetoed anyone.**
But if Gini or I did veto a partner, shutting down that relationship, that would not be the final word.
Too many people view the veto as a trump card – you slam it to the table, yell “VETO! NO BACKSIES!” and then your partner can only give a Swiper-like “Aw, man!” and dutifully slink away. There is no further discussion, just a sullen obedience.
Whereas if I ever vetoed one of Gini’s partners, Gini would indeed stop dating (or perhaps even talking) to that person. That would be Gini, showing me her understanding of how badly this relationship is hurting me.
But then I would have to explain all the reasons how her behavior with this guy is causing me so much pain that I felt I had to thumb the big red “NO” button.
And then we have a big discussion of a) what’s acceptable and not acceptable in our relationship, and b) how she could alter her behaviors to both make me feel loved and date this guy.
Because I want Gini dating other guys. (And girls.) I want Gini dating other guys and girls who I’m not necessarily involved with. I want Gini to not be dating other people, if she’s in the mood to. I want Gini to be happy.
If I’ve just shut down her relationship, obviously neither of us are happy.
And I think that’s why the veto gets a bad rap: too many partners use the veto as a way of walling off the things that make them uncomfortable. “I don’t like that guy,” they say, yanking the big “Veto” ripcord and then walking away without a word of explanation.
Except that for me, Gini obviously gets pleasure out of her partners. Maybe she’s so caught up in them, she’s neglecting me in ways that make me feel horrible. Maybe he’s abusive to her in ways I do not wish to tolerate. Maybe he’s better at something than I am, which makes me feel small and scared.
The veto power is not the shutdown, for us. It’s the start of an emergency talking session, and that discussion is entitled, “How can she continue to date this person, and still make me happy?” And my goal is to keep her dating that person, if at all possible.
Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes two people have toxic habits when combined, or one person really is disrespectful in a way that doesn’t fit with your relationship. The veto risks discovering that yes, it’s them or me, and now you have to choose. Which is another reason we try not to push that big red Veto button: it could be them. Maybe I’m acting like a jealous ass. Maybe this discussion is going to reveal that I’m the one at fault. It’s unlikely that Gini’s going to leave me, her husband of well over a decade… but I have just opened up that possibility.
In the end, we love each other, which is why we’ve never vetoed. We’ve managed to negotiate through all the difficulties our other partners have caused, and keep them going.
The reason we’ve managed that is because our primary goal is to make the other person happy. That veto works because of mutual assured respect. And I think a veto given to the wrong person, one who wishes to control or suppress, would be an unmitigated disaster.
In the meantime, we’ve got this Veto button sitting between us. Haven’t needed it yet. But if it gets pressed, we know to listen.
* – If you have not seen this movie, which is the best documentary I have ever seen, then you are missing out on the majesty that is Billy Mitchell, my friends.
** – Full disclosure: There has been one veto from my girlfriend, and that after months of misunderstandings and discussion about the party in question. Which should also put a lie to the idea that vetos are a way of enforcing not-really-poly binary relationships: my girlfriend also has veto power.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/358475.h
Hmm, Fëanor's voice seems a bit too calm and rational there in the beginning. :-P But I thought this was really cool. I'd watch that movie, if it existed! (Note: I had to turn up the volume a lot to understand the words.)
- Current Mood: enthralled
Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment(s); comment here or there.
Once again I woke up later than I hoped, and have wound up feeling rushed this morning. I have a tentative 10 am appointment at my hold workplace, and a firm 10:45 am leading to a group lunch. I'm planning to spend the afternoon with
How can I feel so busy when logically I am taking things easy? One of life's sweet mysteries. Meanwhile, efforts proceed apace on securing clinical trials, and various other life issues such as car repair, fixing my broken recliner, and dealing with the problems I've been yammering about of late. As for the personal generosity that has been shown to me this week, thank you so very much. You know who you are...
Off to the cold soon. It is currently zero degrees F outside here.
Graveyard of spacefaring dreams, Star Wars Shop in Aberdeen, WA.
Photo © 2012, 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.
This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
United States, Israel opposed Mandela, supported Apartheid — The attempt to make Nelson Mandela respectable is an ongoing effort of Western government spokesmen and the Western media. He wasn’t respectable in the business circles of twentieth-century New York or Atlanta, or inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C. He wasn’t respectable for many of the allies of the United States in the Cold War, including Britain and Israel. And yet he prevailed anyway, and we were wrong.
'Tis More Blessed - Week 1 — In which I am part of a holiday raffle. (Well, one of my books is.)
Typists who clear 70 wpm can’t even say where the keys are — We don't have much explicit knowledge of our good friend, the QWERTY keyboard.
What the English alphabet used to look like — Cool.
The Coolest Music in the World: Listen to Siberian Ice Drummers Use Frozen Lake Baikal as an Incredible Musical Instrument — Wow. (Via David Goldman.)
China's first lunar probe 'Chang'e-3' enters Moon's orbit
23andMe Puts Health Reports on Hold — Personal genetics company 23andMe will only sell ancestry reports and raw data as controversy with regulators continues.
10 Things Traditional Christians Got Terribly Wrong — Although progressive Christians have been at the forefront of social justice, conservative Christians are often on the wrong side of history. I’m pretty sure “often on the wrong side of history” is far too kind. Every one of these things was a cherished religious belief, a Biblical injunction which must be obeyed by all of society, not just the believers in question. Every one of these things was once the eternal and inviolate word of God. Every one of these things by happy coincidence sustained the prejudices of the Christians of the time. Every one of these things is now considered wrong. How do you suppose the current Christianist views on the prosperity gospel, evolution, climate change, homosexuality and abortion will hold up over time? (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)
Of Myths and Modesty — Feminist Mormon Housewives on whether or not to wear a bikini top. That intelligent adults of faith can be consumed by questions like this is one very good reason I am an atheist.
Confederates Look To Win 'Second Battle Of Olustee' In Florida — I will never understand the conservative need to support and defend their profoundly racist rebellion against their allegedly beloved Constitution.
Fox's Latest Christmas Scare Deemed A "Vicious Dissemination Of Untrue Information" — That would pretty much describe everything that ever is said on FOX about any subject, insofar as I can tell. Your Liberal Media, hard at work sustaining the conservative narrative since forever.
How a Frustrated Blogger Made Expanding Social Security a Respectable Idea — Yup. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)
What would the Union Jack look like if the Scottish bit were removed? — Huh. (Via my brother.)
California GOP defends its fake health insurance web site — When you can’t win on your ideas, lie. The GOP’s core mantra is proven over and over and over again.
?otD: When did Johnny strike up the band?
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired and ready for some things to smile about.
- Amateur Photographer Shoots Largest Ever True Color Photo of the Night Sky. Composed of 37,000 photographs, this is “a 360-panoramic view of the sky taken by trekking 60,000 miles across the western United States and South Africa…”
- High-resolution, zoomable and navigable version is here.
- Best #BisexualFacts. Apparently Bisexual Facts was a thing on Twitter, and resulted in a number of humorous “facts” … which have now been turned into lovely images, suitable for framing or giggling over.
- Best #BisexualFacts, Part 2.
- Australian pigeons team up to use a public water fountain. Because Australia! (Link from Laura Anne Gilman)
- Also in Australia, scientists basically brought a heart back to life without a body. I don’t know whether Australia is the most awesome place in the world, or the most terrifying. (And yes, I know the correct answer is probably “both.”)
- Image gallery from the Hubble telescope. Wow…
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Can also be used as a noun, an instance of same (or possibly the splash). When you jirble yourself another stiff drink, it's time to quit for the night. If not change your clothes -- depends on how unsteady you were. You probably cannot jirble a gerbil, not unless you liquify it first -- and if you do, you have bigger problems.
And that wraps it up for a week of obsoletes. Back next week with the usual random mix.
Last night, the cover for INFINITE in German appeared on the internet! So because I love seeing covers all lined up, and I assume you do too, here they are!
What does it all mean? The series title is THE SEA OF SOULS, and the book titles are ONLY ONE LIFE, ONLY ONE LOVE, and ONLY ONE NIGHT.
I'm glad to say that my story "Arrow" will be reprinted in Dean Francis Alfar's Outpouring: Typhoon Yolanda Relief Anthology in support of the Philippine Red Cross. (Yolanda is the Pinoy name for Hainan—they were the same storm) The Philippines is a big country, and I never went further south than a week in Cebu, so I don't really have a personal connection with the Visayas or Tacloban. But the three years I had in the Philippines changed me very fundamentally, and my outlook on life. It was where I learned that doubt is at the heart of faith, something that doesn't seem to have sunk in for many of my countrymen, and I think it's the reason I still feel a stranger here, and never more so than in my family's home state of Georgia.
I wonder if any of my old school chums will ever read it. A lot of them are in it, in borrowed pieces. I'm not naming names, but if they do, I hope they see where the pieces fit into the puzzle that I'm still trying to piece together. I tried to do that story "right", and be honest with myself and everyone I came to know and the history that walked in ghosts ("little men") around us. But even if it was a failure, I hope it does some good.
This sums up something that often bothered me in academic history (or simply academic discussions), a sort of “more enlightened than thou” mindset: the kind of mentality that looks at the radicals of the past, people who signed Emancipation Proclamations or suffered death threats or had their printing presses destroyed by mobs with axes, and says, “So what about their accomplishments? Those people never reached my pinnacle of twenty-first century enlightenment, and therefore I can look down upon them from my lofty moral heights.”
This is particularly pernicious in academia, which tends to encourage the idea that smart people, by sheer virtue of their intelligence, are in some absolute sense better than everyone else - as if intelligence were the ultimate measure of human worth.
But intelligence is an accident, like beauty or athletic talent or rich parents or being born in the twentieth century. It’s not a reflection of virtue because it’s not something that we chose or earned; it’s something we were given, by luck or God or genetics, and therefore it’s foolish to look scornfully at people who lack any of those advantages, because “there but for the grace of God go I.”
I think that if one’s philosophy - any philosophy, feminism or Christianity or postcolonial theory, anything - becomes largely an excuse to look down in touchy judgment on 99.9% of humanity, past and present, then it’s not worth much. People so often seem to latch onto the judgmental parts of a worldview before they get to the parts that expand their kindness and compassion.
If we see farther than Abraham Lincoln did, it’s not because we’re fundamentally better human beings. It’s because we have the good luck to stand on the shoulders of giants.
Hurry, hurry! Schrodinger urged, looking over his shoulder at Zoey and Lily. Hurry!
“Why are we hurrying?” Zoey asked breathlessly as they ran after him. Jack was even further ahead, galloping for all he was worth.
“It must be something important!” Lily told her, taking her hand so they could run together.
It is! Molly made candy canes!
Lily’s eyes widened and she increased her speed. “Real candy canes? Not the cookies?”
“I’ve never had homemade candy canes!” Zoey said, and they ran the rest of the way to the bookstore.
The entire air was scented with peppermint when they burst into the kitchen, and Molly turned around, a startled look on her face. “That was fast!” she said, then looked at their red faces and heaving chests. “Did you run all the way?”
They nodded, too winded to speak.
“Because… Schrodinger said…candy canes!” Lily said.
“They weren’t going anywhere,” Molly said, laughing. “They would have waited for you!”
“You made candy canes?” Zoey’s eyes were wide. “How did you do that?”
Molly can make anything, Schrodinger said. She’s a kitchen witch.
Zoey’s eyes got even wider. “A witch? REALLY?”
“A kitchen witch, yes,” Molly said. “It’s not really that big a deal.” She took the box from the island and held it out to them. “You each can have one.”
They weren’t the candy canes that Zoey was expecting, Schrodinger saw. Instead of the familiar red and white striped shepherd’s crook shapes, the sticks were plain white, thick and short. Lily and Zoey each took one, and Molly broke one in half for Jack and Schrodinger. After they enjoyed them (they were much lighter than Schrodinger had expected, almost meringue-like in texture), they went over to the wall that the advent calendar hung on.
“It’s your turn today,” Zoey told Lily. “I wonder what we’ll do today?”
Lily found the number 6 curling off the end of a ribbon in one of the corners. When she touched it, the painting crumbled and the snowflake came out. It shimmered and dropped a note into her hand.
“Are you up for a walk today?” she read out loud. “Ooh, I wonder where?”
In answer, the snowflake zipped out into the bookstore. They followed it up to the second floor, where it burst into a fall of sparkles over an older gentleman who was dozing in one of the easy chairs.
Father Christopher? Schrodinger went up to him and touched him gently. Are you awake?
“I am now,” the Catholic priest said, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. “Oh, good, you’re all here!” He smiled at them, and then held out his hand to Zoey. “Welcome to the Cove, Zoey. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Hi,” she said shyly, shaking his hand. “You were waiting for us?”
“Indeed! I have a very special task that I’m hoping the four of you can help me with.” He looked over them. “Do you have time to do that?”
They all nodded.
“Oh, bless you!” Father Christopher stood up, and led them downstairs. Molly met them at the bottom of the stairs with a tin that she pressed into the priest’s hands. “And bless you too, Molly. What would I do without you ordering tea for me?”
“You’d be drinking that horrible stuff you buy from the grocery store,” she said wryly. “The way you do when you forget to tell me that you’ve run out.”
He looked guilty, but his blue eyes twinkled. “Thank you, Molly.”
“You’re welcome.” Molly looked at the four of them. “Drew will pick you guys up later at the church, so don’t worry about coming back here.”
Schrodinger looked over at her, and she smiled. He knew that look. Molly had known exactly what they were going to do today.
Then again, does it really matter if she knows what’s going to happen each day? Isn’t part of the fun in the surprise? Jack said quietly to his friend. Just enjoy it, and stop worrying.
You’re a wise dog, Schrodinger said, as they went out the front door, following the priest.
Of course I am. I’m your friend, Jack said. Comes with the territory.
They walked over to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, which was decorated simply, with holly and ivy wreaths on the doors, tied with red ribbons, and a single candle lit in the center of each one. The stained glass windows glowed with the lights from inside, and painted the snow with brilliant color.
“Welcome to the church I serve,” Father Christopher said, patting one of the doors fondly as he led them into the rectory where he lived. This was a small cottage off to the side of the main church, decorated in the same way. He opened the kitchen door and waved them inside to a large room, bigger than Schrodinger had expected. Molly would love this kitchen, he thought. The place was spotless: the cabinets gleamed, as did the appliances, and there was not one dish cluttering the large sink, although there was a tea mug in the drainboard. The kitchen was dominated by a huge table that looked as though it might have sliced from a single tree, and this table was covered with all sorts of bags, boxes and various wrapping implements.
“Do you know what December sixth is?” Father Christopher asked them. When they shook their heads, he continued, “It’s the feast of St. Nicholas. He’s said to be one of the precursors of Santa Claus.”
You mean like an ancestor? Schrodinger asked.
“Not exactly.” Father Christopher motioned them over to the table and indicated they should take their coats off. Once they were all seated around the large table, he said, “St. Nicholas was a bishop in a town called Myra, in what is now Turkey. He was a very kindly man, and he always made sure to take care of the poor, which is what Jesus told us to do, after all. One of the most famous stories about him involved a poor nobleman who lived in his parish with his three beautiful daughters.
“Now, in those days, you needed to have a dowry to get married. This nobleman was so poor that although his daughters were very beautiful, they couldn’t get married, because they had nothing to bring to the marriages.”
“Oh, how sad,” Zoey said, and Lily nodded. “What did St. Nicholas do?”
“He was walking through the woods near their home, and he saw them hanging up their stockings by the fire to dry one night,” Father Christopher told them. “So after the entire family had gone to sleep, he climbed up to the top of their roof and dropped three small bags of gold coins down. One in each stocking.”
“So they could get married!” Lily said. “What a good man!”
“Indeed.” Father Christopher smiled. “Now, in honor of his good deeds, we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas, and in many of the Scandinavian countries, this is when children look for gifts from St. Nicholas. It’s said he goes around with his help, Black Peet, who carries a sack. St. Nicholas rides a white horse in some countries, and arrives in a boat in others.”
I would like to see that, Schrodinger said. Arriving on a boat! Like the Daughter of Stars!
“Yes, that would be something to see, wouldn’t it?” Father Christopher said. “Maybe next year, we can get one of the captains to help us, and have St. Nicholas arrive in the harbor.”
You should ask Pavel! He would do it! Schrodinger said, bouncing a little in his seat. Captain Pavel Chekhov sailed a ship through the Roads called the Heart’s Desire, and he was as dashing a pirate as Schrodinger could have imagined.
“I’ll bet he would.” Father Christopher laughed.
“So what is all this, Father?” Lily asked, waving her hand at the piles on the table. “Is this what you want us to help with?”
“Yes.” Father Christopher looked at all of them. “Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas, after all, and I’m hoping you’ll help St. Nicholas and I with his deliveries. This,” and he indicated the full table, “all needs to be wrapped and put into baskets, which will be delivered tonight to the poor in the parish.”
Oh, how wonderful, Jack said, wagging his tail. Thank you for letting us help!
“No, thank you,” Father Christopher said. “I would have been up all night doing this myself, and that would put St. Nicholas behind in his deliveries.”
Zoey looked skeptical. “St. Nicholas? You can’t really mean that the saint himself is coming to deliver these.”
Father Christopher’s blue eyes sparkled. “Are you sure, Zoey?”
“But isn’t his feast day the day of his death?” she persisted. “So if he’s dead, how can he come back here and deliver gifts?”
“That’s part of the magic,” Father Christopher said. “Don’t you believe in magic?”
“Magic shouldn’t work like that,” she said stubbornly. “It doesn’t make sense.”
But it does, Schrodinger told her. Magic is powered by belief, or so the Librarian taught me. The more you believe, the more powerful the magic you can produce. If you have hundreds of millions of believers…you could do anything. Even bring the dead back to life.
“Or raise a saint,” Father Christopher said. “He’s right, Zoey. If you believe, there’s no limit to what you can do. Magically, or otherwise.” He chuckled softly. “Trust me, I know how hard it can be to accept that, especially if you aren’t born into it.” He nodded at Lily, Schrodinger and Jack. “They’ve grown up with magic – it’s a part of their life, and always has been. But you and I, coming from places that don’t have as much magic, have a bit of a harder time – they’ve seen things we can’t explain, and man is a creature who needs explanations. Sometimes, that explanation is magic. It gets easier the longer you live here.”
“You weren’t born in a CrossRoads town, Father Christopher?” Lily asked.
“No, child, I was born in a little town in the California mountains.” As he talked, Father Christopher started them sorting the piles on the table into groups. Schrodinger realized that the baskets would have something for everyone: toys, food, clothing, even a small bag of money. It wasn’t a lot, but it would make someone’s Christmas a lot brighter.
Wait. Then how come you can hear me? Jack asked him, confused. I thought only people who grew up in the Cove could hear me!
“The longer you live in a CrossRoads town, the more the magic changes you,” Father Christopher said. “Eventually, Zoey will be able to hear you too. The more you believe, the faster it comes.” He chuckled again. “It also helps to be young. The young always adapt faster than us old folks.”
Schrodinger watched Zoey out of the corner of his eye as they worked with the priest. She was thinking, he could tell: there was a faint frown wrinkle on her forehead, and every so often, she would look up at Father Christopher, as if sizing him up or looking for changes. He wondered what bothered her more: that the priest accepted the magic, or that she didn’t.
The table had looked piled high, but in a surprisingly short amount of time, they had packaged everything up and placed them in the large baskets that Father Christopher had supplied. Where did all this come from? Schrodinger asked him.
“Donations,” Father Christopher said. “This town is wonderful when it comes to making sure that their fellows are taken care of. I couldn’t ask for a more charitable parish.”
“That’s the way it should be,” Lily said firmly. “Mom and Dad say that the responsibility of those who have more is to help those that don’t have enough.”
“Your parents are very smart,” Father Christopher said. “And right.”
Zoey nodded. “I thought that this town would be cold and unfriendly when we first moved here,” she admitted. “But everyone’s been so nice. I…didn’t expect that.” She looked at the priest. “Is that part of the magic too?”
He smiled down at her. “Not the kind of magic you’re thinking of,” he said. “You just happened to choose a very good town to move into.” Then Father Christopher clapped his hands together. “Now, the important part! Who wants pizza?”
After dinner (which Schrodinger was surprised to find Father Christopher cooked for them, and the pizza dough was even better than Molly’s), Drew showed up to collect them. Before they left, Father Christopher handed each of them a wooden shoe, painted with reindeer and snowflakes.
“These are what the children in the Netherlands put out for the Feast of St. Nicholas,” he told them. “Put a couple of carrots in there for St. Nicholas’ horse, and put it on your hearth. Tomorrow morning, if you believe, perhaps there will be something for you too.”
“Do you think that’s enough carrots?” Zoey asked her parents anxiously later that night. “I don’t want the horse to be hungry.”
Peter Allard smiled at his young daughter and ruffled her hair. “I think it’s perfect,” he told her. “Now, where did Father Christopher say to put it?”
“The hearth!” Zoey picked the shoe up and went running into the living room. “Come and see, Dad!”
Donna watched her husband, wondering what Zoey would do if the carrots were still there when she woke up. Which they will be, she thought resignedly. I don’t want to lie to her.
Once again, a scene rose in her mind’s eye, a scene that got replayed far too often during the holiday season. She was six, it was Christmas Eve, and something had woken her from a sound sleep. Something had moved downstairs, and she’d known, in the way small children always knew, that it was Santa Claus downstairs. So she’d crept down the staircase as quietly as she could, hoping against hope to catch him in the act.
And then, crouching on the top stair, she heard it.
“I wish they didn’t grow up so fast,” her mother had said sadly. “It’s no fun when they don’t believe in Santa anymore, and this is probably the last year Donna will.”
With those words, Donna had realized the entire thing was a myth. A lie. And she’d never believed in magic again.
Until she’d come to the Cove, that is. And she was still on the fence about how much of the weirdness of the Cove was actually magic. She was betting science could explain most of it away.
“Good night, Mom!” Zoey came running back in and kissed her cheek. “Sleep well!”
“You too, munchkin,” she said fondly. “You too.”
But Donna couldn’t sleep, she found. So she got up from the bed, careful not to wake Peter up, and went into the living room. She turned on the Christmas tree lights, and sat down in one of the armchairs they’d found in a barn sale on the way up from Pennsylvania.
In the dim colored light, the living room was a mass of shadows and suggestions. However, Zoey’s painted wooden shoe, filled with a handful of baby carrots, was situated in a pool of colored light. Still full of carrots, she noted. Just like she’d thought.
It was snowing lightly outside, a quiet shush-shush of flakes against the windows, and the sounds were oddly soothing. Donna put her head back and closed her eyes. Maybe if I just rest here for a few minutes, I can get sleepy enough to go back to bed, she thought.
Not five minutes later, or so she thought, something moved in the living room, jolting her awake. She opened her eyes, wondering who had gotten in. Her gaze fell on the shoe, still sitting in its pool of colored light. But the carrots were gone: in their place was a long, narrowly wrapped package and a thick red and white swirled peppermint stick. Donna blinked, and then looked around.
A shadow moved across the room, and she looked at the window in the corner. A man looked back at her, his blue eyes kindly and his long white beard blowing gently in the night. A tall red bishop’s miter collected snowflakes atop his head, and he nodded once to her. Then he vanished.
Donna sat there for a long time, wondering just what she’d seen.
I've been thinking for a few years how typically privilege is embodied in and signaled by the assumption of the role of Judge. That grave, judicial person who kindly and expertly assesses one's performance, one's offerings, one's being. Or of course the demonic condemner-- but most privileged persons are such Good Persons. They wouldn't do that. No, they want to approve the efforts of the lesser folk who are trying so very hard to measure up to the Right Standards, and who so need to be reminded of those standards and measured against them.
I remember Sheeyun telling me he'd liked the way I pleaded with him to do a little of the housework instead of leaving it all to me, on one particular occasion.
By and large I don't think people hear themselves seizing the podium of judgment. One of the privileges of privilege is unconsciousness. Some day I may write something about catching oneself and saying, "Who the fuck do I think I am?" if one wants to stop abusing privilege.
This morning I read, “`If the president has a plan for extending unemployment, I’ll take a look at it,' [Speaker Boehner] said."
I suspect that Representative Boehner may be seizing that delicious role of (dis)approving the offerings of the President deliberately. Maybe not. But maybe so. I don't think he'd want to drop the role. But I think we can note his implicit use of it, and call him on it.
* Now available for Kindle, Nook and Kobo. Soon to be available in hardcopy. http://www.amazon.com/Pen-Pal-Franc
"Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man made and can be removed by the actions of human beings." --Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
My characters, as always, are in deep, deep trouble. In this case, I can't really imagine it ending well for them... but you never know...
Greeting my relatives, friends, and supporters:
It saddens me to hear that a great man like Nelson Mandela has departed from this lifetime. He was a man who was truly inspirational and showed us the possibilities of how a continued struggle by indigenous people could manifest itself in levels of freedom that have been marred by centuries of oppression.
Our Native people suffered the same types of oppression many times. It is not as overt and as easily distinguished as in some places; however, if you are dead because a policeman shot you, or dead because you could not stand the racial and cultural genocide, so you committed suicide-- you are just as dead either away. Nelson Mandela is known for leading the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. America talked about ending apartheid and put sanctions on South Africa. Not being all that adept at the English language, it is my understanding that (apartheid) means to keep someone apart from something; my people have been kept apart purposely from the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. There was, and still are, measures that keep us apart from our true history, perpetrated by an education system that limits the truth of our being. Right now, here in America, right now in Canada, right now in South America, there is apartheid that seeks to separate us from our sacred places, our lands, and our resources. Right now in Canada Native people are struggling to protect their aboriginal lands from fracking which destroys the water tables and disturbs the natural balance of the Earth. Right now with an apartheid mentality, they seek to build pipelines across Native lands that have the potential of great ecological destruction. Right now there is an apartheid that seeks to separate us from the protection of the constitution of the United States which says treaty law is the supreme law of the land; which also says you have a right to an unbiased fair trial; which also says you have a right to a jury of your peers. Right now our young Native people are tried as adults THREE times more than other groups and kept apartheid from their families and kept apartheid from competent legal representation.
I could go on and on, but you can see where I am heading with this. The struggle from apartheid, I am sure, is not over in South Africa, nor is the struggle against apartheid and slavery over in America. We must all consider Nelson Mandela an inspiration, but I am also inspired by the least of our people who stand up for what is right, like the young man or young woman who peacefully mans a roadblock against developers or fracking companies or some factory that hurts our air. While I am at it, in all this chaos, I also want to remember a brother by the name of Wanbli Tate who tirelessly championed the rights of indigenous people through radio programs, writings, and the internet, to bring attention to the wrongdoers represented in government and corporations.
We have lost a lot of our people in their last years, and again I remember my brother Russell Means who was also tireless in his efforts in trying to bring about an end to this American version of apartheid that faces Native people.
In the spirit of all those who have gone before us in this struggle, I would like to say stay strong and NEVER, NEVER give up.
Your friend always,
In the spirit of Crazy Horse,
- Fri, 06:51: white-rimmed streets a procession of snow plows #haiku #nahaiwrimo
- Fri, 06:52: RT @haikunortham: winter of divorce my son pulls apart the fake white tree -Roberta Beary @shortpoemz Bethesda, Maryland #haiku #haikuna
- Fri, 06:54: #nahaiwrimo prompts (a week of shapes) 1 arc 2 square 3 line 4 triangle 5 cylinder 6 prism 7 diamond
- Fri, 06:59: cold garage his old Santa’s hat in the first box #haiku #nahaiwrimo (triangle)
- Fri, 07:16: RT @apwpoet: #haiku #senryu #micropoerty #sixwords #nahaiwrimo December notebook another blizzard of ink.
- Fri, 07:23: December 5th prompt: cylinder http://t.co/1l2hG0pGBl
Due to bringing carloads of Stuff here from my Dad's bungalow, our house is a mess and it has reached the point where I can no longer ignore it. Also, now Dad's post is being re-directed here, Stuff (in the form of begging letters from charities) drops daily through the letterbox, adding to the clutter that's already here. I decided it had got to stop. I am therefore busily writing letters and emails requesting that Dad be removed from their mailing lists.
Charities are like seagulls on the promenade at the seaside. If you make the mistake of feeding one, before you know it you are being mobbed by hordes of birds, demanding more and more! I do worry that they put elderly people under pressure to donate when they may not be able to afford to. I also dislike the waste of all the "freebies" like pens and Christmas cards and address stickers that they send. The most bizarre was a small brown stone sent by Farm Africa, who claimed that mothers boil up stones to give the children the illusion that they are cooking dinner. I know they are trying to guilt me into donating, but all that happens is that I get cross and want nothing more to do with them. Anyway, I hope that today's purge will at least reduce the flood to a more manageable trickle.
Then, over the weekend, I need to sort and wash all the items that I brought home in order to donate to our local Red Cross charity shop.
The other thing I've done this morning is to email Amazon to inform them that someone has set up an account using one of my email addresses. Obviously it's not the address that is linked to my own Amazon account and it's not one I really use at the moment, but I might want to start using it next year, so it needs sorting out. For a while I thought that my near-namesake would realise that she wasn't getting email receipts for all the trashy Kindle romances she was buying, but it seems that she hasn't. So I've emailed Amazon using that address and asking for it to be disconnected from the account that isn't mine. I will let you know what transpires!
- Current Mood: efficient
The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Striking the right balance in a horror film can be a surprisingly tricky proposition, especially when you're dealing with the kind of subject matter that Lair not only deals with but revels in. And while the balance that Lair strikes may or may not be the right balance, it is certainly its own, and I loved it. Violent at times without being grotesque, goofy and over-the-top while at the same time surprisingly subtle. (The characters getting tangled in various white tubing was great.) It has the lurid psychosexual and religious motifs that are apparently the director's trademarks, and they're handled in sequences that are often as delightfully surreal as anything I've ever seen in a movie. It's also very, very British, starring a very young Hugh Grant in something like his fourth film role.It's got a giant monster, snake people, ancient buried evil, myths and legends proving partly true, archaeology, and at least a few lead characters who are in it to solve the mystery. And it's got maybe the best theme song you're likely to find in a horror flick:
With a few goofier names thrown in, the story wouldn't feel out-of-place in Lovecraft's ouevre, though it would probably be even more at home among the writings of one or another of his less celebrated Weird Tales contemporaries. It actually comes by way of Bram Stoker, with liberal doses of the story of the Lambton Worm (song included).
This was my first direct exposure to Ken Russell, though I've heard a lot about him. I hear The Devils is probably his best film, but I have to admit that, after seeing Lair of the White Worm, I'm extremely keen to track down Gothic, about the famous night at the Villa Diodati that gave rise to Frankenstein.
The prompt for December 5th is cylinder
Brainstorming some ideas....
roll of carpet
piece of candy cane
paper towel roll
roll of ribbons
logs in a log cabin
Here's my cylinder poem:
any way you say it
bûche de Noël
- Deborah P Kolodji
I've been reading up on math, particularly the connections between math and art, particularly the proceedings/papers from the Bridges conference. They are wonderful and interesting papers. I especially like any to do with using math and art to show people beauty (that of math, that of art, that of the connections.) Bridges discusses all forms of art/culture and the connections to math. I'd really love to attend someday.
Sorry this is late, guys. I was busy – hubby and I went to see Rifftrax Live do Santa Claus Conquers the Martians! It was awful in a really, really funny way. But here is today’s story!
“Brr! It’s cold out here!”
Molly grinned at Drew as he stamped his feet on the frozen ground. “It’s winter, remember?” she teased. “What did you expect?”
“I know, I know,” he said. “Remember, I’m not from Maine originally. I’m not used to it being THIS cold.” He squinted up into the slate grey sky. “At least I was used to some cold. Poor Steve is going to freeze solid one of these days.”
That was an image that made Molly laugh. Steve, one of the other techs up at the Gate station, was from Texas, and as soon as the temperature dipped below sixty, he started to shiver. “If he’s planning on staying up here, he’d better get used to it,” she said, after she got herself under control. “Global warming isn’t going to make it that warm up here.”
“True.” Since it was fairly common knowledge that Steve was deeply in love with one of the new postal carriers, who had made it very well-known that he wasn’t leaving his hometown, the Texan was working to up his tolerance to the cold. “How much longer are we going to be here?”
Molly looked at her watch. “It should be any minute now.” As if that was the cue it had been waiting for, the bell rang. “See?”
Lily and Zoey ran over to them. “It’s cold today!” Lily announced. “Too cold to make snowballs, sadly.”
“You’re right,” Drew said. “So we’ll have to postpone our snowball fight.”
“So we’ll have to get you another way,” Zoey said, and before he could move, they both jumped on him and knocked him into the snowbank.
“Hey! Help!” Drew squirmed, trying (but not very hard, Molly noticed) to get away from the two girls, who proceeded to wash his face in the snow. “Help!”
Schrodinger and Jack leapt into the fray, pulling Zoey and Lily off him, so he could fight back. She sat on her swing and laughed at them all. “You guys are going to be soaked!”
At the sound of her voice, they all turned to look at her. Drew leaned in and whispered something to Lily and Zoey, who both nodded.
“Don’t you dare,” Molly warned them, as they all got up and started towards her. “I mean it. Don’t you dare!”
They dared. In fact, Drew not only scooped her up from the swing, but he, Schrodinger and Jack held her down as Lily and Zoey dropped snow on her face. Molly shrieked in laughter and promised them all doom when she was free.
Finally, when they were all chilled through, they trooped down to the tea room, stopping briefly by Molly’s apartment so she and Drew could change. Lily and Zoey had snow pants on, but Molly’s jeans were soaked through, and so were Drew’s. Once they were changed, they went down to CrossWinds Books.
“I wonder what the advent calendar has in store for us today!” Zoey said, as they entered the back door of the bookstore. Her eyes were bright and she pulled at one of her braids. Molly noticed they were tied with gold ribbons today, and there were tiny bells in the center of the bows.
“Well, come on and find number five!” Lily told her, hurrying over to the calendar. “It’s your turn today!”
Molly smiled as she watched the four scrutinize the picture, searching for the elusive number five. It was Lily who finally found it, curled up under one of the stars in the night sky. Zoey reached out and touched it with one fingertip, then she stepped back.
As they were used to now, the paint crumbled away in a perfect square around the number, and a silvery, shimmering snowflake came out. It hovered in front of Zoey, who held her hand out expectantly.
She wasn’t disappointed. The snowflake spun and, to her surprise, two carrots and two perfect sugar cubes dropped into her hand, along with a note. She handed the note to Lily, who squinted at it and then read aloud, “I hope you have warm clothes! This is going to be a cold one!”
Carrots? Jack nosed her hand. Are we making more snowmen, then?
If we were, then why the sugar cubes? Schrodinger asked.
Maybe we need to sweeten their disposition? Jack said, and Lily giggled.
“No, silly! The sugar would melt!”
“Maybe you aren’t thinking it through,” Aunt Margie said, coming into the kitchen. She had a large bag in her hands, and from this, she pulled out scarves, mittens, and hats. “It’s a good thing these showed up today, I guess!”
“Where did they come from?” Zoey asked, as she accepted a set of lovely gold and green mittens, with a matching hat and scarf.
“I bet I know!” Lily said, peeking out from under the silver and purple hat she’d crammed on her head. “Gramma! Gramma makes the best knitted stuff for us!”
There were even scarves, hats and mittens for Molly and Drew, and as she drew hers on, Molly thought that Lily was probably right. Mrs. Barrett loved to knit (a common habit in Carter’s Cove, and one that made sense, considering how cold it was every winter), and her products were welcomed by everyone who got them. She’d included scarves and hats for Schrodinger and Jack too, and it was a testament to how cold it was that Schrodinger didn’t object to the hat.
“Okay, we’re ready, snowflake!” Zoey announced, giving one of the carrots and one of the sugar cubes to Lily. “Where are we going?”
In answer, the snowflake sparkled through a rainbow of colors and shot out through the front door of the kitchen, heading out the front door. They all trooped after it, waving to DC as she checked out a customer, and headed back out into the cold.
The snowflake led them back down to the park, and Molly wondered if maybe Jack had been right after all. But instead of leading them to the clearing where the two snowmen lived, it flashed along another path that led to the other side of the park, where they saw a large, ornate sleigh with two large draft horses hitched to it.
“Who’s that?” Zoey asked.
“Doc!” Molly raised her voice in greeting, and the older man in the captain’s great coat raised one hand in response. “Doc” Robbins had been a merchant marine in his younger years, before retiring to the Cove and farming. No one knew why he was called Doc – as far as Molly had ever heard, it was a nickname given to him when he sailed the Sea Gates.
Every December, Doc hitched his two Percherons Daisy and Shredder to the sleigh he’d built with his own two hands, and gave rides around the town to look at the lights. It was a tradition that Molly had enjoyed as a child, and now she looked forward to sharing it with Zoey and Lily.
“Ah, I see you’ve come well-prepared!” Doc said, as they got closer. Doc had one rule: he never charged for his sleigh rides, but Daisy and Shredder needed to be bribed, or so he said. The gentle beasts loved both carrots and sugar cubes, and Molly had taken two apples from the refrigerator, as well as a small package of scones for Doc himself. This he accepted with a grin and a wink.
Then he showed Zoey and Lily how to give Daisy and Shredder their bribes. He had them balance the sugar cubes on their outstretched hands, and the two horses leaned their massive heads down to daintily lip the treats from the girls, who giggled. Daisy was all grey, with a white blaze down her face, while Shredder was dappled grey and black. Both had red and green plaid ribbons and holly sprigs braided into their manes, and their harnesses were covered with bells.
“All aboard!” Doc cried, after Lily and Zoey had offered their carrots as well. Molly knew they’d have the chance to do the apples at the end.
Doc helped them all to climb into the sleigh, where they snuggled down under layers of blankets and sheep skins. Then he climbed up into the driver’s seat, picked up the reins, and called out to the two horses. “Giy-up!”
Daisy and Shredder perked up, and began to haul the sleigh forward. Molly leaned back against Drew, Schrodinger snuggled on her lap, and enjoyed the ride.
Lily and Zoey were up on the edges of the sleigh, wrapped in blankets, looking with bright eyes at the glory of the snow sculptures around the Cove. Every year, the artisans in the town went out and put the snowmen that many towns had as decorations to shame. It was another part of what Molly loved about Christmas in her town.
The middle school had done a Charlie Brown theme this year: sculpting the various characters as they skated around the frozen pond (which Molly realized was ice that glowed blue). To Lily and Zoey’s delight, as the sleigh slowed down to give them a look, another small magic made the snow sculptures actually move around the pond, and they heard the strains of music from the classic TV special.
At the Gate Station, the theme was A Christmas Carol. Molly identified Scrooge, the three Ghosts of Christmas, Tiny Tim and more. These didn’t move, but they all carried various forms of light that flickered in the mid afternoon gloom.
“You guys did really good this year,” Molly told Drew.
“Mac is a slave driver,” he replied. “At least this year, we didn’t have to replace all the lights on the mansion.”
Carter’s Cove land Gate was housed in a large mansion on the outskirts of the main town area, and Molly and Schrodinger loved to walk to it on their days off. It wasn’t far from the bookstore or her apartment, and many of the techs and engineers knew they were welcome to stop by the tea room for some homemade goodies.
Doc then took them down by the harbor, where Lily and Zoey cheered the large three-masted ship Daughter of Stars, which was lit by thousands of magical lights. Captain Carter’s historic ship was permanently moored in the harbor he’d discovered by sailing through the Sea Gate, and it was the centerpiece of the harbor’s display. There were smaller ships that were lit up as well, and at the end of each wharf was a tree that was decorated according to the type of ship that docked there.
Then it was a swing through the commercial district, where the shops all had their window displays up. In addition, many of them had musicians that played, and the music was piped out to the outdoors. Molly much preferred that to the muzak that many other stores in other towns had.
Finally, Doc brought them to Happy Garden, the only Chinese food restaurant in town. There, he turned around and handed Lily, Zoey, Jack and Schrodinger a jingle bell that matched the bells on Daisy and Shredder’s harnesses. “This is a magic jingle bell,” he told them solemnly. “If you are ever worried, or scared, jingle the bell, and remember this ride.”
“That’s magic?” Zoey asked him.
Doc smiled. “There’s more magic in memories than you can imagine, little one. Much more.”
She looked down at the jingle bell clutched in her hand. “Wow.”
Molly handed the apples to Doc and then they went into the restaurant. The fresh air had stimulated their appetites, and they fell onto the food as if they hadn’t eaten in months.
“This has been awesome,” Lily declared, finally leaning back and putting her chopsticks down. She’d learned to use them over the summer and was very proud of that fact. “This has been one of the best days ever.”
Zoey nodded. “You know, though, that we’re saying that almost every day.”
“Maybe that’s part of the magic too,” Lily told her. “You know? The magic of Christmas seems to be rediscovering the wonderful things around us.”
Molly hid a smile behind her mug of tea. Well, well, well, my niece is beginning to realize there’s more to life than what she can get out of her elders because she’s cute. That’s a very good thing.
Lily wouldn’t do that! Schrodinger objected, but on their private wavelength. She’s a good person!
I didn’t say she wasn’t, Molly said. She’s young, and she’s self-centered. Most youngsters are. It’s the ones that don’t grow out of it that are worrisome.
They walked back to the bookstore through a clear chilly night, with Lily and Zoey singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of their lungs. When they walked in, Molly saw that Mrs. Allard was seated at one of the small tables. She had a book in her hands, which earned her points in Molly’s world. Maybe she wasn’t as bad as Molly had been thinking after all.
“Mom! Look what the advent calendar gave us today!” Zoey saw her mother and ran over, brandishing the jingle bell in one fist. “A jingle bell!”
Donna Allard put her book down and smiled at her daughter. “Oh, how pretty! What did the calendar have you do?”
Lily and Zoey shared the story of the afternoon, telling her all about the snow sculptures and the lights and the music. Donna listened, her face genuinely interested.
“And now you came here!” Zoey finished, throwing her arms around her mother. “So you can see the calendar! And you can meet Molly and Jack and Schrodinger and Drew!”
“Yes, I can!” Donna laughed as her daughter tugged her out of the chair and started dragging her towards the kitchen. “That’s why I came down! I had to meet all these people!”
Schrodinger moved over to them. I’ve been waiting to meet you, Mrs. Allard, he said politely, holding up one paw in welcome. Zoey has been a wonderful friend to share the advent calendar with. I’m Schrodinger.
Donna paused, her eyes wide as she took in the large CrossCat sitting before her, one paw raised, his hat and matching scarf still on, his intelligent eyes upon her. Molly held her breath, wondering what the woman would do. Would this be the point where it fell apart, and she dragged her daughter out, determined to keep her away from anything magical?
Then she knelt down to get to Schrodinger’s level, took his paw, and shook it. “It’s very nice to finally meet you, Schrodinger. Zoey’s told me so much about you, and I wasn’t sure how much of it was true. But you are. Very, very real.”
And soft, Schrodinger added modestly. My fur is very soft.
“Yes, it is,” Donna agreed, chuckling.
“Please don’t feed his ego,” Molly said, moving forward before Schrodinger could say any more. “It’s big enough as it is.” She stuck out her hand. “I’m Molly Barrett, Lily’s aunt.”
“Very nice to meet you, Molly.” Donna stood up and shook her hand, and then Drew’s as well as he moved forward to greet her. “Thank you both so much for making Zoey feel welcome here. We were worried, moving her so far from her friends and family so close to the holidays, but it was such a good chance for Peter.”
“She’s been a sweetheart, Mrs. Allard,” Molly said, and Drew nodded. “She’s very talented.”
“Please, it’s Donna.”
“Donna.” Molly smiled. “Would you like a cup of tea?”
“And you can see the calendar, Mom!” Zoey said. “And meet Jack!”
Jack had hung back, knowing that Donna couldn’t hear him. After all, Zoey couldn’t. Now he came forward, his tail wagging, and she stroked his head. “Zoey tells me you can talk too, but she can’t hear you,” she said. “Why is that?”
“We think it might be because she wasn’t born here,” Drew said. “When you’re born into a CrossRoads town, you’re kind of steeped in the magic of the Gates, and it expresses itself in all sorts of ways.”
“So there’s actual genetic manipulation?” Donna asked, following them into the kitchen.
“Definitely,” Drew said, and Molly looked at him. “They’re doing some studies in some of the bigger CrossRoads towns, especially Boston, on exactly what that genetic change is. The studies are fascinating.”
“I’ll have to look into that,” she said thoughtfully. “Genetic manipulation has always fascinated me.”
“It’s really interesting,” he agreed.
“Look, Mom! This is the advent calendar!” Zoey, impatient with the talk, pulled her mother over to the giant calendar. “Isn’t it amazing?”
“It certainly is,” Donna agreed, leaning forward to inspect it as if it were a painting hanging in the Louvre. “And you still don’t know who sent it?”
“We have suspicions,” Zoey told her, and Molly smothered a laugh with difficulty. “But no proof.”
“You sound like a detective,” Drew said, ruffling Zoey’s hair. “Going to give Jamie a run for his money?”
“Maybe,” she said. “I’d make a good detective.”
“Yes, you would,” he agreed.
Donna declined the cup of tea, declaring that she needed to get Zoey home for school tomorrow. But she did stroke Schrodinger’s and Jack’s heads before she left.
DC stuck her head into the kitchen, a grin on her face. “And there goes another victim of Schrodinger’s charm,” she reported.
“Oh?” Molly looked up, intrigued. “What did she say on the way out?”
“This town is so much warmer than I thought it would be! Weirder, but in a good way. Maybe magic isn’t as bad as I thought it was,” DC recited, and Molly giggled.
Schrodinger, however, looked insulted. I am NOT weird!
Molly knelt down and hugged him. “Oh, you are, Cat, but honestly, I like you that way.”
What's interesting, though, is what endures. The scan muddled so much so deeply that I had to keep referring back to the original for words, for runs of words, for whole missing phrases; the story was written long enough ago that I barely remembered the shape of it, certainly none of the language; and yet most of those gaps I could have filled in without recourse to the printed copy, and got them right almost every time. Voice is inherent, I guess. If I start a sentence thuswise, more likely than not it's going to wind hereabouts and end up over there. Much is implicit, and much is common; much is apparently inevitable. Who knew?
After deliberating for...I don't know, a month?, I now appear invisible (not online) to an Instant Message contact. I changed that setting because she did something that made me lose what was left of my respect for her. Actually, come to think of it, she's done
It bugs me that I used to think of her as a friend, when she has this (to me) serious emotional-ethical flaw. We had a couple of lengthy IM conversations, but mostly it was incidental. So that's no loss.
I don't do this sort of thing lightly. But it was time. She was childish at my matemour over something stupid, so ducked responsibilities. Before that, she hurt my mate. Before that, she'd given some kind of fucked-up responses to my initiating IM contact. Before that, she also made some huge negative (and false) assumptions about my son and school problems. It was a whole slew of things that caused me to finally, in essence, mute this level of contact. I probably didn't do it soon enough. But I wanted to be sure of my reasons.
This, by the way, is the main reason I'm not on Facebook. I don't link to anyone just because I know them. I never did, ever. Why would I do that online??
Have you had to do this sort of thing online, with people you're around in real life?
Then Walk the Green Cones. 20 obstacles. Only running 14 though, but walk them all because if we aced those 14 would we get to run all of them... Except when the first person in class aced it, it turned out that "all of them" actually included also the first sequence of 11, so suddenly now 31 obstacles. It was brilliant. Because we all went a little into panic mode, our heads had just been deep into just the new 20 and had essentially deleted the first 11... I don't know physiologically why, but It was almost like being at a trial, the adrenaline, the brain a little rattled, ahhhhhhhh what was the course? how exactly did i handle that? and how am I going to handle obstacles 12-13 without that lead out I did when it was obstacle 1-2?
My Notes for what I gotta work on:
learn to keep my hands low
work on continuing to support the send with my arm and shoulders as I move outta there with my feet
No class next week: Soshana is in CA at the ONEMIND seminars again
Stell was brilliant. but she seems like her back is sore, she moves ok, but she won't do a full stretch bow. always part of our warm up. she does a half a curtsey or a full down but something keeps her from keeping her butt up and stretching her back ... massage and heat, maybe medicam????
A non-native invasive species, but a source of color at the black chain-link gate. The fruit of the tomato relative bittersweet nightshade Solanum dulcamara.
Just a few feet away, the fruit of the fungus Exidia recisa, having weakened the wood of an overhead branch, has fallen with its food to the ground. There is no accepted common name for this mushroom, but I like "winter jelly" or maybe "willow jelly" since it's one of the only mushrooms common in winter, and it mostly feeds on willow branches.
- Current Music:Smashing Pumpkins - Mayonaise
EDIT: And just because...
Serious question, I will listen if anyone wants to tell me the answer: what makes people enjoy Dune? I thought, if nothing else, I'd like the villains, but Baron Harkonnen is wasted on the plot. He sits around and twirls his mustaches and essentially goes, "Hee hee, ain't I rotten?" through 300+ pages. In the denouement, there were a few moments I liked. Creepy child Alia spends two pages onstage and is the most memorable character in the book. But it wasn't enough to justify a big thick book.
still chugging along and looking great!! sunday, we have a dinner date at a fellow foster's house so he can meet her dogs, her kids, as well as her (apparently a little nervous of people) foster pup. fun times!
bec is coming over tonight. she hasn't seen him since the first day we got him! she is going to be amazed.