Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bowie Songs

The Bowie song on my mind right now is "Five Years" ("what a surprise!").  I got a nasty surprise five years ago tonight, but observed more than once in the months that followed that 2009 ended up being a better year than it had a right to be.  Why it seemed so is lost to me now, but I do recall the gratitude well enough.

2013 was stressful, but not exceptionally painful, and it certainly seems to be ending on a number of bright, clear high notes indeed.  I'm finally allowing myself the Shiny New Job excitement I've held off on through the process, through a certain trepidation about being too easily exciteable, through a period of not wanting to look too happy to leave the old gig.  But leave it I did.  And this week and next should really get me in amongst my new team, which is a good prospect right now.

I'm also excited about The Ax and the Vase, and its prospects for 2014.  I feel educated enough, now, about the unpublished authorial process to believe this revision has been the final one.  Next step is agenting, and after that the hope and process of selling it.

And writing the next novel.

For now, the house is tidy, the Christmas decorations are down (tonight seemed the night to distract myself from five-year anniversary thoughts, and to get ahead of the plan to spend New Year's Eve just on regular cleaning, to start the year off right), and I am comfortably ensconsed on a nice couch with a nice dog next to me.  It's a cozy place.  A cheering one, as X once described it.

May you all have good cheer to start the next new year.  I'll ring it in with friends, and am excited about that too.  Cheers to you all - and some auld lang syne to go with the hope and anticipation of a whole new year ...

The History Girl's Mystery

... can anyone shed any light for her?  The Mystery of the Mayan Shell ...


Saturday, December 28, 2013


It's been over a month since I updated the word count tracking.  I didn't spend nearly enough of my time off between jobs, or the holiday, finishing up the final polish.  Pouring on some more coal this week ...

131, 611.  Without the author's note:  123, 878.


There's this guy I know, a genuine actual archaeologist, whom I've linked here before.  Not as often as I share with y'all about shiny (and, indeed, very very deteriorated indeed) swords, and art, and cavemen, and - endlessly - British royals.  But he makes up a part of the archaeological posts around here from time to time.

He made a point, recently, that artifacts don't actually comprise the entire focus of the discipline - and it's a good point to share.  As often as I chase sexy little stories about THINGS and STUFF, it's a mistake to get wrapped up in them and, well, miss the forest for the trees.  So here's an interesting post looking at dirt and depositional history.  We often fail to think about how the ground beneath our feet is affected by human habitation, but it tells detailed and important stories.  Stories of Olympians of yore ...

Long after we are extinct, the stratigraphic sciences will find the evidence we left behind.

I do love a good story.  (I also like learning new words, like gleyed, which is perfectly delicious.)

Mmmm, now I should see whether I can find a good story to link, about dendrochronological analysis.  I love dendrochronological analysis; it also tells stories layer by layer.  Layers are OSUM.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Unexpected Movies

Last night, for Christmas Eve, as I stayed up far too late and got far too little done far too slowly, I had The Color Purple on through the evening.  Thanks to the wonders of luddite technology, I haven't seen this movie in at least twenty years, and I have aged to suit it nicely.  When I was younger, my experience of this movie was moored in the inexperience of pain and a great deal of white liberal privilege, and it seemed a very painful story.  Now that I'm older, and can recognize the perspective from which I experience the story, it's so much easier to feel and to love the humor in the film.  Oh, it got me gooey, and I relished that.  I also relished Shug Avery, and the repetitive quirks of Whoopi Goldberg's performance.

When CP came out, she was considered a phenomenon, and the movie got a lot of people talking in hushed voices - then she did a lot of comedies that didn't make people lower their voices, and signed on for a talk show, and we forgot that she'd once been Oscar material.  In its odd way, this serves the film, because it lives alone and on its own terms, not just one in a crop of hushed-voice bravura offerings which blur over time.  The Color Purple, to be sure, is faded and filtered, but it's not washed out and it's not blurry.

Tonight, more spottily, I've been giving Forrest Gump its first honest chance in twenty years - or, really, the first honest chance I've ever given it.  Sometimes, I choose to be willingly emotionally manipulated, and there are parts of this one I just didn't feel like resisting, after a nice day with my mom and stepfather, after a  good holiday and on the night before I go back for two more days of work.

Gump was a film I HATED when it came out.  It got so much hype (not in hushed voices, but overly-fast-talking-breathy ones) my natural resistance pushed back and I resisted it like I do Susan Sarandon.  More to my personal taste, it was too sprawling, too episodic, too inclusive, and everything felt shallow.

Again, with experience and age, I find forgiveness a lot easier.  For one things, I've  lost some of my ability to rail against trivialities, and for another, I've come to recognize how collecting the right mass of trivialities along a timeline necessarily appeals to a generation of watchers.  This doesn't make the movie feel any "deeper" when I watch it, but it does allow me to cherry-pick those signposts I recognize and care about along Forrest's long route, and to let them do their job, which is to take me to familiar places we all gather, as it were.  "Ahh, yes - the smiley face advertising guy ..." "Ahh, yes - the soundtracks to the seventies and eighties ..."

The music, of course, is a particularly fiendish route into people's attention and even affection, and that is why this film, hitting so many "I REMEMBER THAT, TOTALLY" buttons, grips its fans by the throat and won't let go.  Music is a commanding emotional manipulator, and it's one of the reasons I'm sometimes willing to forgive, as it were, entertainments I don't necessarily admire as a whole, nor perhaps find necessary.

Christmas, of course, is hardly the time for indulging in necessities; emotionally and spiritually, a certain indulgence marks the season (whether, religiously speaking, this is your bag or not is a different post of a different time).

Unexpected Gift

2013 has been a rewarding year, but it didn't lack for frustration and stress.  I can't say anything about my life is difficult, but I stress myself out and let things get to me.

Of course, the ultimate outcome of that, this year, has been a fairly storytelling-tidy ending, with the year's worth of concern and fear at my job bringing me to a new one.  Even as much of a drama queen as I am, I hesitate to take writing credit - still, the way my brother described it, I'll take.  I was proactive this year.  Even with my skepticism about the means by which I actually managed it, I did in the end manage to change my situation.  The echoes of poison I've heard since leaving do little to contribute to regretting this, so 2014 will have to start with a healthy consideration of gratitude.

The months spent worrying were also months spent lying to my mom - not because I'm a juvenile incapable of being honest with my mommy, but because she had plentiful concrete worries without my whinging to her about unformed and mercurial ones.  She's since thanked me multiple times, told my brother, my aunts and uncle, and apparently her Sunday school class, how glad she was I never said anything about the situation before I resolved it - and I had a new job to tell her about.

The unlooked-for side effect of a long time lying, and of stress deflected and deferred in a lot of contexts, is that now that it's "over" (hee ... yeah, I know life's not actually as episodic as this tidy little storytellers-delight of an arc has run) the anticlimax has me both numb and massively emotional.  For a week or so now, I've noticed myself overcome at things which, while meaningful, probably aren't of such a proportion they should get me weepy.

It's not a bad thing.  It's letting go after holding on for a long time.  It's a liberty to feel after constraint.  It's the luxury of my gender and my hormones.  It's relief, and it's fear too.  The "what have I done?" factor is fairly small, highly manageable, but it's only reasonable to check yourself even in what looks a bit like success.

One of the completely new things for me in the new job is its culture.  I've been in the financial and IT/tech worlds for so long, to work in operations for a company that sells an actual, concrete product is completely different.  The wardrobe will be both accommodating to my professional style and more liberal in some ways, too, which is an interesting opportunity.  The personalities aren't tech nor Project Management nor securities nor even anything I would label as (typically) "corporate".  It's a corporation, to be sure, but it's not an insurance nor financial concern, and its' unlike any corporate culture I've known, so that's exciting.

Another new thing is being in not just mainstream corporate America, but the commercial sector.  This means that the infrastructure of my job, if you will, is entirely unfamiliar to me in some ways - I have an iPhone, for goodness' sake.  Haven't figured the thing out, nor even finished activating it yet (the infrastructure of firewalls from sites like iTunes hasn't changed ... heh), but it will perforce become necessary to be a smartphone carrier.

In keeping with my luddite-ery and contrarianism, I'll content myself with the fact that this is my "work phone" and not a toy I succumbed to personally.  And, of course, the damnably smug nonconformist's knowledge that (a) millions of people would consider such a stance both inexplicable and idiotic, and (b) it'd piss off just the right people, at that.  Heh.

Having been so sick I missed the marking of the new year coming into 2013, I look forward to finding my way into 2014 on steadier legs.  I look forward to not having the cognitive dissonance both of missing that subjective transition and the sort of inchoate fear of this year.

I hope all of you will find your way - steady legs, fine good fortune, and all.  Let me know how it goes ...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Birthday

The job I have so recently left was difficult to leave behind, in very large part, because I was a public servant.  It is a great source of pride to have been a part of the Federal Reserve System.  I was part of an aspect of the System which was not quite "part" of any one Reserve Bank, and yet was in all twelve of them.  It was fascinating, rewarding, and is still painful to leave behind.

I still celebrate those who stay and serve.  A toast, with Ghirardelli hot chocolate, to you all (I know you're reading)!

Me, now ... I'll serve food instead.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

LeVar Burton reads 'The Night Before Christmas'

Reading Rainbow is the best thing he's ever given us.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Workin' (for) It

Ahh, Miss Manners.  Would that everyone working in this difficult economy had bosses like this - and bonuses like Letter Writer #2's.


The Language of Death

It’s a funny byproduct, but a real one, that changing jobs is both like a breakup and a death.  As with a death, there is a tendency to talk in present tense about your last employer or team, if it hasn’t been long since the transition out.  As with a breakup, it’s the same thing as talking too much about an ex, because the frame of reference of your most recent situation informs so much.

You can hear yourself doing this, maybe you try to remember to adjust to past tense, maybe it’s a little embarrassing (“am I talking about THEM too much?”), but it’s a small thing to those around you.

In my case, oddly enough the dominant “ex” on my resume’ isn’t the most recent.  Right now, to be sure, they’re the ones closest to me – but my years with the last mainstream financial services firm I worked with have long been the largest-looming ones for me professionally.  I’m still in touch with the most people from there, still personal friends with some, and still admire and respect everyone, including the executives, I worked with then.  It’s quite the trick, a pack of Securities professionals coming in at the top of a mental hierarchy of People I Think Highly Of – but I worked with those good people whose counsel was “perhaps it is unwise to hand out credit to everybody, their dogs, and their pet rocks” at a time when the industry as a whole was going the way of madness in terms of credit.  Seems to me there was SOME sort of kerfuffle in the economy when that madness failed to work out precisely perfectly …  Hmm.

As much as anything, it’s my team I will miss.  I have good FRIENDS from my most recent gig, and there can be no question that I was leaving my people.  They’re my kids, and I loved taking care of them, and hope they’ll be well served now that I’m gone.  The level of inevitable “you’ll miss me when I’m gone!” schadenfreude is not high.  Heh.

But the new team does have a good shine, and there’s always excitement learning who’s who in a new place.  I’m finding the funny people, and seeing how to relate to my managers already.  The atmosphere here lacks a certain inescapable pall of stress and fear of falling short.  It’s early days, of course, so I’m sure I’ll find plenty to concern myself about as I bump my way along the learning curve.  But, so far, everyone seems to be willing to put up with me …

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Once again, Kim Rendfield has a nice look into Frankish society (Carolingian, of course - not Merovingian).  Meet:  The Insulted Princess.  It's exciting to me how fascinating a character can be, whose name we don't even know for sure.

Some wonderful images of women - insulted and otherwise.  Gallery taken from The Women's Library - which also includes documentary history of bracing variety.  Membership is free, and they are able to assist with specific research needs.

Stonehenge's visitor center has opened, complete with the curiously smooth-complected reconstruction of a Neolithic man's face.  He reminds me of a cross between Val Kilmer and a cousin of mine - except for the seriously state of the art dermabrasion and a moisturizing regimen that must've put the other Neolithic gents to shame.  I know it's very turn-of-the-millennium, but he looks positively Metrolithic.

When I was a kid, we still used to use the phrase, "Excuse my French."  How many of you know where that came from?  I do ...  Take a trip to the Hundred Years War, and get some context on why English was, essentially, a whole lot of dirty words.  For three and a half centuries.  Courtesy English History Authors.

"It means many different things to different people."  My own experience of the use of the term Celt crosses continents and a huge swath of centuries.  What comes to your mind when you see the term Celtic?  English History Authors has a look at whether the label even has any meaning ...  (I can think of a person or two who'd wig out at the idea the term actually means 'barbarian' - but then, I have my issues with that term, myself.)


Woof, woof woof - woof.  Woof!

Monday, December 16, 2013

More Collecting

Elflandia brings us two posts on the absolutely gorgeous illuminations from the Visconti Hours.  I'm brought to mind of the time my older niece said medieval art is "lame" ...  If we go by these images, lame must mean exquisite, and so detailed as to draw us almost into falling into each letter, each piece ...

The new addiction to Arrant Pedantry proves its worth again - irregardless of the fact that I still don't like the word.

A Doll's House.  And a small fortune.  Actually - not all that small, really.

Richard III in threes.  First, a painting of the Battle of Bosworth.  Second, the first story on the judicial tangles of his burial.  Finally, "but wait, there's no more" on that judicial review.  The fun never ends for the long-dead.

3D technology, Framlingham, and Henry Fitzroy's tomb (Fitzroy was the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, whose early death, like those of his uncle Arthur and later younger half-brother Edward, had not only an effect on Henry VIII's mania for getting a male heir, but of course on the history of England itself.)  At least this burial needn't suffer the indignities of that Plantagenet monarch displaced by his own grandfather.

Time Team brings us still another case of "but wait! there's more!" in the ever popular discussion/debate on the site of the Battle of Hastings.  I'd watch the special if only for Tony Robinson.  BALDRIC!!

Have you ever heard of Santa's problematic sidekick, Black Pete ... ?  And there we have a kettle of fish.

The dictionary 100 years in the making.  Wow!

Yayyyy!  Vintage snowmen!

Missed Collection!

While I took vacation between jobs (started the new one today! yayy!), I took a vacation from reading those many other sites and blogs from which I cull the Collection posts which have become a feature here.  Those blogs and sites, however, have not taken a break - and, predictably, I missed out on some excellent pieces.  Hoping it's not too late, I hereby now share some of the backlog with you all ...

The History Blog, which originates several of our links today, shares the eye-popping digital color restoration of a 2800-year-old Japanese statue.  The photos here are truly worth the click!  HB's commentary, as always, is worth the read.

HB specializes, too, in historic forensics - and here we have the digitization of medieval bones.  I'll need to follow this project on Twitter, this is the sort of thing that makes Twitter so compelling for me.  I've already seen Tweets which look pretty fascinating ...

For those who find history's mysteries endlessly fascinating, take a look at the new light shone on the long-lost Roanoke Colony, also at the HB.

Take a look at a baby bottle shaped like a pig and tell me whether you wish you'd had one of these when your tots were small ...  I'll make you click through, to find out what kind of toy the bottles also served as, once baby drank enough to drain their use in feeding ...  (As to the theory of the absence of a baby in the burial, I hope the preserve the soil in case it is or may become possible to test whether an infant once lay in situ but is no longer corporeal.)

Stay tuned for a link on repatriation - but here is an expatriation of sorts.  The Dying Gaul visits Washington, DC.  Another innocent abroad ... ?  Sounds like perhaps not.

And the final History Blog link to share today - another repatriation from Britain, this time to Cambodia.  The statue is truly striking.  The blow against the crime of looting is striking in another way.


Okay, and now to Janet Reid, always an excellent resource for those of us aspiring to publication - and always a good (and even encouraging) read!

Here, she discusses the hard, even difficult, numbers on the road from self-pubbing to traditional success.

Making me feel better and better that my book is not as short as "everyone" says a first novel "needs" to be.  Ahh, thank you Janet - we histfic authors do need room for the furniture and the art.

On the question of whether you have even ordered, paid for, and received the stove before you start trying to turn it on ...  "Cart, Meet Horse."  Yup.

And, at last - did I query before revising TWO more times?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  And, to me, two seemed to be the obvious answer.  Why would you NOT???  *Finishing final polishes before requerying one, and initial querying two, agents met at the 2013 Conference*

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Decorating the tree.  Watching Xena, DS9, and "Viking Apocalypse" because my niece and I enjoyed that on Netflix this past spring ...

Every year, decorating alone, I don't get to exclaim to my family or even friends, "Oh, this is the one I got in such-and-such a way" ...  Decorating a tree alone, I get to do it just as I like - but it does lack for a little bit of fun.  Sure, Pen is here gassing up the room (not sure what's up with that, she didn't get any unusual treats today!) and Goss is periodically providing gentle threats by way of a little more fascination with the pretty dangling ornaments than is 100% comfortable.  But I'd have to call my mom or brother to do the usual holiday reminiscing over this or that piece of decoration.

It's interesting how many of my ornaments came to me though previous jobs.  The thing from that one woman who got such a bad case of bitch-face when SHE laid ME off (and then, I was told, cried to what remained of our team after she'd fired several of us - boo hoo, lady - and I'm so sorry I apparently pissed you off so badly by being fired by you).  The pewter bell from the job with that manager I still remember as one of my best ever.  The little things she herself gave, over a couple of years there.  The beautiful white ball with glitter poinsettas.  The green and turquoise ones I bought with my friend B. last year and couldn't hang on a tree imperiled by juvenile pets.  The snow globe one of my friends at the most recent job gave me just last year.  Aww.

Family and friends hang all over the place, of course.  The beautiful pic of healthy, young Sweet Siddy La, her silhouette in the living room.  The photos of my nieces.  There's one somewhere, I haven't found it yet, of me and Beloved Ex; I did still keep hanging that one on the tree (near the back, but known to me) for many years.  It's still around somewhere, I know.  The red heart Zuba gave me, with blessings in little metal "stones" inside.  The "J..O..Y" ornaments.  The Twelve Days of Christmas ornaments dad gave mom over a period of several years, a pair at a time.  Silver and gold.  Icicles, and that one marabou ball my grandmother once held against her cheek with a happy grin.  The wooden ornaments my mom painted with us when we were kids.

Last year, I  had a tree but it had hardly any ornaments and ended up half-lit for most of the season.  It was a fairly depressing decoration.

Last year, I missed New Year's Eve because I was sick - and the absence of that finish line threw me off in strange ways for a surprising proportion of 2013.  It's an odd cognitive dissonance, to miss a marker like that.

This year, I intend to know what year it is.

Last Day

Last Monday was the final day on my previous employment, and tomorrow will be the first with the new.  In many ways, it feels less than "quite real" - but, for me, since changing jobs every three years or less is sadly a habit, perhaps it's just not as big a deal for me as it might be for many.  I don't get scared about new gigs, but it's also harder to get the excitement really deep in my bones either.  I'm *happy*, make no mistake, and anticipating the new relationships and setting down whatever it is that passes for professional roots for me, but there is perhaps a lack of butterflies going strong in my belly.

All to the good, really - it means I can get a good night's sleep before embarking once again.

Last time I started a new job, I'd been out of work for about three months, and considered that a terrible imposition.  I was lucky - and knew it - but selfishness never quite answers to what we know, and I considered myself entitled to a good job.  In the week before I started it, I decided it was time to paint my kitchen.  (Idiot.)

This time, I treated six days of joblessness as a vacation (I haven't had a "real" one of those in two and a half years), and have enjoyed myself very much.  There hasn't been as much progress as perhaps I'd like/there should have been on the revisions, but I finished Christmas shopping and got the house decorated.  Tonight after I vacuum, the house will be all nice and ready for a fresh new week.  Gossamer and Penelope have gotten lots of yummy attention, and I've spent time with friends and my mom and stepfather.

This inter-jobness may not see a beautiful new kitchen, but the vacation has been restorative (of everything but my back, which is another post altogether) and some good accomplishments have been taken care of.

As to my back, well, we'll see what an NSAID or two and perhaps the heating pad can accomplish there ... and hope that my new desk chair has a stiff back and lumbar support ...

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Housecleaning has always been a rite, a worship, for me.  A thanksgiving, stewardship of what I have been given, what I always hope to earn, to deserve.

Here is a post about the people who were the vehicle by which I was given everything I have, everything I am.  About an artifact I hope my nieces will love someday, too.

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of my parents' marriage, and though dad's not on this plane to share it with us, mom and I had a brief celebration of sorts, doing a crossword together on the phone this morning.  We used to do them as a family, spanning the kitchen and family room, calling out clues and answers out loud; crosswords were a shared thing for us.  Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the first "word cross" puzzle, too.

I seem to like anniversary markers, though through most of my life I'd probably have said that sort of thing didn't really have meaning in itself.  But as I've grown a little older, time - and its observance (and marking) - means more to me, or perhaps I just recognize what it's always meant to me.  Mr. X being so far away probably throws this tendency into higher relief, but that's okay.

Today is also the eleventh anniversary of our first date.  I can still recall so vividly getting dressed for that date, our walking together to the restaurant - the very silly place we went - and his engaging telling of The Greatest Bike Wreck Ever Told, a story about X as a kid having what could have been a nasty wipeout and rising from it triumphantly unscathed.  To this day, that memory just makes me grin at what an adorable kid he still can be from time to time.  Not  a lot of people other than his kids get to see that side of X.  It's a nice side.

Mama gave me the wedding album when she remarried, and its images feel so close, for me - even though they all predate me by years.  Padded ivory vinyl and little brass fleur-de-lys.  "Wedding memories" in gold leaf.  Stiff, brass-cornered pages, black and white eight-by-tens, parchment leaves in between every image, every page.  Five little brass feet on the back cover of the book.  A somewhat tattered box.

The photo of my parents' hands on their guestbook, mama's pretty little fingers slim and unbent by arthritis, the ring slender and unadorned - no sapphires flanking the bright diamond , commemorating two children yet unborn and un-imagined.  The picture of my mom and grandma, the pastel hat grandma wore, which I have now, hanging in my dining room.  The picture of mom with my aunts, her sisters, putting on her garter, her appealingly turned ankle, her beautiful little sculpted heel - the wedding crystal and the Fostoria parfaits behind her on my grandparents' mantel, in front of the mirror mama bought for them, which now lives in my own bedroom.  What that mirror has seen.  I remember it, hanging always over grandma's living room, angled downward so we could always see so much, hanging so high.

One of the most striking images in the album is the one of granddaddy walking her into the church.  They're all black and white, and the wedding was in the evening in December.  A puff of wind took up mama's veil and the composition is full of movement, excitement, joy.  Granddaddy looks stoical, but mama is so young, so fresh, so pretty.  The veil rises up toward a deepening winter twilight, framing the dimmer image of my aunt in the background.  Mama, in white, is luminous, a shock of brightness.

My older cousins, little girls, white pinafores, white socks, and black patent maryjanes.  Adorable chubby knees.  Aunts and uncles.  My young grandparents, all of them, together.  These are the only photos I have of all of them together, and I so love these pictures.  I cry a little bit, that mom gave this to me.  This time capsule, this treasure.

This observation of time.  Of a date, so important.

If my mom was beautiful, my daddy was so handsome.  He was a furry fellow, and so dapper.  His hands were warm and manly.  His hair was amusingly thick, here - and yet, as he grew older, as his crowning glory grew thinner, he never looked any different to any of us.  He was a good looking man, they were a beautiful couple.  I had no idea of that, for so long, but once I realized it I have never been able to look back at pictures of them without seeing that anew.

Lace tablecloth, lace long sleeves, gleaming satin, a little linoleum-floored church hall.  Aunt V. putting her hands over dad's eyes as he slipped the garter off of mama's pretty leg, laughter, the sweet comedy of propriety meeting promise, and a couple I know were deeply attracted to each other.  Dad found mom utterly beautiful until the day he died; she always dressed and made herself up for him - until the day he died.

The bouquet, midair, the small group of smiling women - I don't know who caught it.  The photo captures the penultimate moment, the instant of promise the superstition carries, of potential and possibility ... whoever catches it, marries next ...

Mama in her pretty traveling suit and hat, little black shoes on her tiny feet now, her and dad's heads bowed as the rice flies around them, coming down the evening steps.  Out beside the car, the last streaks of light in the clouds above their heads - an image easily as striking, as gorgeous, as mom's entrance with my grandfather.  Her open, nervous, exciting smile.  Mom's smile always so wide.  Mom's smile always a defining feature of her - mom's laugh is so much a part of her self.  Like her, I know people identify me by my laugh.  Mom's youth, mom's face in love.

And the final picture.

Daddy, in the driver's seat, arm around mama, her smile rising above an almost ridiculously large pouf of corsage, the checks of her suit the only pattern in eight by ten inches of black and white and silver.

Daddy's smile.  His eyes all on her.  His peaked eyebrows, his cute nose.

His everlasting, abiding love.  My dad ... was beautiful.

Happy anniversary, mom and dad.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The Caustic Cover Critic continues to deepen my interest in cover and book design, with a wonderful seasonal array of ... horror novels!  Of course.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Yesterday was my final day at the job I've spent three years loving and learning, and I am taking a few days off.  The new job will begin on Monday.

Though I've taken bits and bobs here and there, and my friend Zuba came to visit for Thanksgiving, I haven't had a "real vacation" (as we Americans like to put it) for something like two and a half years.  Though I'm not traveling to see my family on the West coast, nor taking a small fantasy respite in Savannah or the like, this will be the closest thing I'll get for some time.

My lunch date fell through today, and I'm fine with staying home to do laundry and work on revisions.  It's a nasty day out again (we've had a few, and though it's not cold, every driver in this city turns moron at the merest hint of rain, so not getting out amongst them has its charm), and I'm running perilously low on spare towels.  It's one of those days I'd sit in the office thinking how nice it'd be if I could be home, perhaps reading or getting things done.

I feel an almost guilty bliss:  I get to do that today.  *Off for the first load of clothes!*

Monday, December 2, 2013

Vintage Photo

How much do I love that we finally have a president who was young in the 70s?  NO previous President has had such hip threads.

His mother is so beautiful, that smile is wonderful.  He's lucky he got a little of that.