Counting time, 2021

I will be honest, the last two months have been rougher than I realized. I thought it was fine, and then I realized that it had actually been two months, and I counted up some of the things that had happened (both in terms of personal stress and in terms of what had gone unremarked-on here).

There has been a lot, and I have fallen behind.

In terms of positive things which I would like to acknowledge (distinct from writing; I will do a separate post for that later today); I work for a wonderful place of employment for my day job, I repainted the bathroom and replaced failing fixtures, and my favourite cat seems to be getting better.

I am sad I have not gotten out more this year, but I am very happy that the place I have to stay is as good as it is.

Dead leaves and rain

It’s really a pretty pleasant month, all things told. (I mean, most months are pleasant when you’re thinking about them while a cat is sitting on your lap and purring, but October generally suits me even without that.)

Work continues to go well. I’m working on the OcTBR Challenge and have finished ten books so far this month, which is honestly making me feel a little better about the ungoverned tsundoku pile I am dealing with.  I’m also culling books, which is giving me space to put a lot of them more neatly on shelves. Yesterday’s election could have gone much worse. All the pets are okay. I got a very small rosebush and have so far managed to keep the pets from eating it (although it’s early days yet).

I actually finished a new story this month, too, rather than just revising something. Of course, given how I usually work, this means it’s going on the pile of things to revise. I’m hoping it’ll go faster than previous ones, though.

In other news, I had a small road trip which included dinner 120 stories in the air at a revolving restaurant with a spectacular view, and seeing a lot of very old horror movie posters and props, including what everyone is very sure is the last surviving poster from the original run of Frankenstein at the ROM’s It’s Alive! exhibit. I also got to go by Wonder Pens, which is a really lovely fountain-pen-and-related shop, and think I am now sated for ink for a while.

Heading out to Surrey for SIWC soon, and hoping that will be as fun and informative as it was last year. I should go pack.

Quick Hallowe’en

Two weeks ago, I was trying to prepare for not having a dog at Hallowe’en.

Now, she is sitting next to the couch, staring happily up at me as I scritch her neck around the Elizabethan collar. (This is the plastic cone of shame a pet gets after surgery, to be clear, not part of a seasonal costume.)

A quiet night before NaNoWriMo starts is in order, and I am glad.

The jack-o-lantern I carved for Hallowe'en.

There and back again

In the last five days, I have

  • cruelly abandoned my cats in a place that is one step down from being a kitty spa,
  • travelled to Ohio (border crossings, dear god, border crossings. And why are the railings on the Ambassador Bridge gently crumbling away into rust like piles of cigarette ash?),
  • caught up with people that I haven’t seen in person in six years,
  • visited a fireworks store in Michigan (for the record, it smelled like bath bombs–not scented or perfumed bath bombs, just the dry and powdery ingredients that seem like they should end with -ate),
  • had a couple of pit bulls be absolutely adorable sloppy cuddle-puppies,
  • had a ridiculous amount of very good food,
  • hit the Toledo Zoo,
  • had a giraffe chew on my shirt (to be fair, he was going after the lettuce I wasn’t giving him fast enough),
  • seen jellyfish and bioluminescent fish and a very boredly dismissive kudu and really they are gorgeous in a very elegantly understated way,
  • learned three new campfire games,
  • stayed up very late playing a homebrew blend of Zombicide and Betrayal at House on the Hill,
  • stopped to have a sushi dinner with a friend I had never actually met in person before (who reads this! Hiiii!),
  • and gotten most of the way back home.

(Not all of the way. Self-preservation and the schedule of the cat boarding place dictated not driving all the way through, so we’ve stopped at a hotel. I am actually typing this last night–I cannot be bothered to wrangle hotel internet RN–so the last four days are “July 1st to 4th inclusive”. I’ll post it in the morning. It’ll still be “the last four days” when I do.)

I’ve also rediscovered that yes, I apparently am a person who gets squirrelly without a certain amount of movement in the day. It keeps surprising me; I never think I’ve been making a concentrated effort to walk long enough for it to have become any kind of habit.

I have brought back a not-to-my-mind-ridiculous amount of Cock & Bull caffeine free cherry-ginger soda, and a small stuffed green tiger from the Toledo Zoo. Whose name is Lymoncello, by the way. I will need to get a photo up.

Turning in, given how soon the alarm is going off. May all the roads you go down be kind ones.

A sound of thunder

There is a very large dumpster out in front of our house. It’s a temporary thing, because the neighbourhood is cleaning out the woods. (The woods have been prone to collecting garbage, half-bricks, the occasional piece of broken furniture, at least one defunct barbecue… the kind of thing it’s moderately inconvenient to keep in the house until garbage day.)

Every time a large object is thrown into the dumpster, there is a gigantic rattling clang. It was an unnerving way to wake up, and that’s just for me.

Lucy didn’t come downstairs for breakfast today. After an unnervingly long search, we found her under the bed, and very not interested in coming out. We got her out anyway, because we wanted to make sure she wasn’t hurt, and she’s fine. We put her and her food in a room that’s got no windows to the outside, and she stared at the door for a bit before settling down to eat.

She’s out in the hall now, but she is extremely cautious about the noises. Wherever she is, her ears are pointing towards the dumpster.

Hoping the noise does not go on too long.


I have a few words for people who come in to work when they are snorking and wheezing and letting out those ragged velvety coughs that just make sure you know that their lungs are laced with muck.

I am feeling polite, so I am not reproducing those words here.

I am also (for reasons which I feel are not completely unrelated to being exposed to the current office plague) at home feeling drained and exhausted and needing to give serious consideration to whether I am up to looking at a computer screen instead of napping on the couch.

(I was going to go with sleeping on the couch, but Angus abandoned me. Without him, the couch is just this padded expanse of old fabric instead of a warm and comforting dispenser of purrs, which is much less appealing.)

(…I’m still using it, mind. I’m just not dozing on it.)

It’s being an unproductive day. I am mostly making my peace with this, and trying to recover.


Apparently this “up at six, out of the house by seven, back around seven” thing is putting a bit of a crimp in my usual writing schedule. I am not very deeply surprised.

The work is work I am good at, and all the people there are quite pleasant. Also I’ve decided to see how long it takes me to knit a hat when I’m only knitting in transit to work or over lunch. It’s going pretty well.

The cats are yarbling at each other; there are apparently highly sensitive negotiations in progress, concerning such topics as who gets to lick whose head and which hollow in the cat-tree is Best Hollow. (Based on the available evidence, I would say Best Hollow is the one that already has a cat in it. But I may be missing some subtle nuances, here.)

Oh, hey, a reminder – submissions to Women Destroying Fantasy open up tomorrow, and Cat Rambo‘s posted some notes on what she’s looking for as editor. Very much looking forward to that issue coming out.

Is it the weekend? Why, I believe it is.

It has been a horribly unproductive week. Trying to fix that, in the sense of change it rather than in the sense of catch up on it. There is a point at which you really need to just accentuate change going forward or you will spend half your future putting bandages on the past, and another quarter of it grumbling about it when the cats wake you up around six in the morning.

(Just to take a for-example, for example, that is.)

Still working on my cardigan (cardigan is a sort of horrible word, I think, but “zip-front sweater” sounds rather precious and clunky), and still hope to have it done for London, but have started to seriously wonder if it’s going to be at all wearable in London in August. It is going to be a very warm sweater; the seed stitch holds a lot of heat. That said, I expect to do several hours of bussing this weekend, and I’m at the point where it’s perfectly suitable bus knitting, so while I am in the throes of anxiety over wasted effort I can probably get another few rows done.

(Also I should put in a lifeline; I’m definitely far enough along that one is warranted.)

In other news have been once again surprised at how genuinely cheering it is to have a woven knot of ragged, chewed, slightly damp T-shirt strips deposited in your lap, provided they are deposited by a hopeful dog whose tail is wagging because she wants to see you smile and play with her before she finishes reducing said chew toy to its component parts. Some days it’s the little things that keep you going.

Cold week.

So, this week has been job-hunting, bad weather, and a touch of being under the weather. Everything seems to be improving, which is nice. (The temperature has actually slowly been creeping up all day, even after sundown. Unfortunately, it’s cold enough that the freezing rain is still coming. It’s supposed to be above freezing tomorrow, so I’m thinking “stay inside until the streets melt clear.”)

We picked up a cat tower, which has been providing hours of viewing entertainment. There are regular squirmishes over who has the right to sleep in the bed at the top, and friendly head-chewings, and one abortive attempt to climb up the outside. (That resulted in Angus sort of dangling off the outside of the cat-tower, looking thoughtful and completely failing to climb either up or down. He’d sort of wobble one paw gently and thoughtfully at the surface he was braced on and then not move.)

I’ve been knitting some, too–I’m working slowly on a cardigan for myself. I’ve done one before, but this one’s a lot more detailed, and I’m hoping the fit will be better. Possibly it will be done by London. On a more immediate note, am working on a hat for myself from Doomsday Knits; that will probably be done this month.

The word for year is library.

Early this year, I read a post on Captain Awkward[1], and one of the things she mentioned–cited from the Blogess, actually–was the idea of 2013 as a library. A safe quiet space where you can get ready for something.

Maybe you spend the year recuperating from last year. Maybe you burn the Thanksgiving turkey and forget an important birthday. It’s okay. It happened in The Library. It was just practice for next year. Maybe it’s insanity, or maybe it’s just me, but somehow I think we all need a year in The Library. A year where it’s safe to make mistakes.

Probably the biggest thing for me was trying to actually commit to writing[2]. (Cat Rambo gives excellent classes, by the way, and I am not sure she self-promotes quite enough, and there’s a deal on her classes if you sign up before 2014. Just saying. I like the six-week course best.) I’ve gotten seven rejections so far and I think they’re getting easier to take, which is nice?

Other things this year: I tried to do Mary Robinette Kowal’s Month of Letters challenge, but that got interrupted by a pet health emergency. (Pet in question is fine, but leave us just say February got itself repurposed very hard.)

What else? Started staggering along to Zombies Run again after I’d stopped for longer than I’m happy with. Started reconnecting with someone I’d kind of lost touch with. Went to Farthing Party and CanCon (for the record, doing two cons in two weekends is not a great idea; that said, so glad I managed to get to a Farthing Party).

The house was cleared of about ten feet of bookshelf space and perhaps twenty-five bags-and-boxes of things that weren’t being used, or wouldn’t be used, or would be better used elsewhere, or just really needed to go. And I finished installing a cabinet. Admittedly in the bathroom we use least, but still, it’s installed.

I knit 0.76 of a mile of yarn into a sweater for my mother, and it worked. I mean, it fit and she liked it. I was terrified that I’d need to reknit half of it and the yarn store would be out of the dye lot, and…

Anyway, it worked.

And I cut my hair. Myself. (I haven’t dyed it again yet, but… maybe next year. The light of my life dug up an old picture, and I miss the purple.)

What did you do this year? What’ll you do the next?

[1] Lovely lady, very thoughtful, excellent advice, minimal Evil Bees.
[2] I had to work through a brief bout of “omigod I am admitting in public that I want to write things and care about whether I’m good at it!” to even type that. Oy, my issues.