Friday Summary

Where am I?

  • Pas de Chat finished posting this past Sunday. Still undecided on whether I want to spend time cleaning it up. My sister Tessa is willing to help out with cover art (and new cover art for Lucinda at the Window), but I haven’t touched base with her since Wednesday. She’s working on establishing a photography business, but is willing to provide a family discount. (And I might help set up a better website for her.)
  • My thoughts on two of the Nebula nominated novellas, including the winner, over at Reading Notes.

What else am I up to?

Oma’s memorial was Wednesday morning. It was less painful than I expected. Pastor Tim provided a lovely homily, my sis provided a beautiful photo for the service, and Elvis’s music had me bawling. Aunts Eileen and Leona, Cousins Tim and Mike, and Mike’s daughter came in *for the day* from northern Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa. They were a comfort to my grandfather. Currently, I’m doing okay, but I’m not sure if the ramifications of Oma being gone have entirely sunk in. While walking through Gordmans today I thought that I should report back on the interesting lawn ornaments, that Oma might want to check them out. And then caught myself.

Haven’t gotten back to work yet. I’m spending today at my in-law’s house. Eric and I took a trip to Ted & Wally’s and we’re going out to dinner with my sister-in-law and her family tonight, but mostly my potential work day has been spent catching up on a few things. Getting closer to normal. It’s been chilly and rainy here, weather I generally like. Yet, I find myself wishing for the heat and the dry. I’m sure I’ll regret that about five minutes after we touch down in AZ.

My mom gave me her Sony eReader. I’ve been having some fun with that, but it makes me want a tablet PC more.

Friday Round Up; Of Health

Time for my Friday round up:

Where was I this week?

Issues of Health

Eric and I planned our trip to Omaha this week, though it’s still somewhat tentative. My grandma’s health is not so good. Since last February, she’s been up and down, and lately, more down. I really, really don’t want to have reason to go back before our May 24th flight.

On my side of health, a nasty arthritis flare-up on Tuesday reminded me that I need to do more when I feel good. That includes exercising. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s any pattern to exertion and flare-ups. I’ve gained a few pounds lately and I need to start exercising more again. 2-ish times a week isn’t cutting it.

Women’s League

While I’m a proponent of women’s ultimate, I will admit that I’m not very good at it. I’ve played mostly co-ed, and as someone who’s played mostly with men, it’s often hard getting used to shorter and, yes, slower targets. Yet, I found myself really excited about women’s league after seeing my team. I mean, Sarah, Betsy, Marnie, Mel, Monika, and Kaysi all on the same team? Fun and good might actually co-exist! I was pretty surprised at the talent in the women I didn’t know too. Deborah is a dark horse with some skills and  the others are all enthusiastic and willing to learn.

We lost our game last night, but in universe point against a squad consisting of mainly ASU girls. The final point was notable in that it lasted nearly twenty minutes. I kid you not. The point was well in-progress when hardcap was blown at 9:50pm and we didn’t slap hands until 10:10. Allyson actually asked if we had heard the horn. Granted, the captains have made a vow to explain rules as we go along, and I believe that last point consisted of at least one rule-related stoppage in play and possibly a medical stoppage as well. (I don’t remember if it was during that point that Erin got clocked by Betsy or the point before.)

In all, my play was pretty good. After lacking limb control on Wednesday, I was a little worried, but after heading long during the second point, I knew I’d be okay. Throwing was decent. I hit Marnie in the hands with an IO forehand for an almost-score. That was a little low and zippy though. I only threw one ridiculously high backhand, which Kaysi nearly snagged anyway. My D was okay. I think the only person that ran rough-shod over me was Kaetlynn, but hopefully I proved to be a little less of a mis-match than she figured I would be. Well, a girl can dream…

Notes & G is for…

Other than RoW80 and A to Z, where am I:

The second part of Chapter 40 is up at Pas de Chat.
Posted a review-ish thing of Prospero Lost at Reading Notes.
Speaking of Reading Notes, I’m going to participate in Dewey’s Read-a-thon tomorrow. I’ll be updating all day!

This was the last week of spring league. Mario’s Magic Mushrooms ended the season with one win, but 7th seed on Thursday night. Ended up in the same pool as the team Eric’s on. Next week, we start playoffs and next Saturday will be finals. Which means I need to get more exercise lined up. We’ll probably go out to Intel disc again. I ran/hiked Tempe Butte on Monday. It was nice so that’s probably something I’ll add to my agenda until it gets too warm.

Finally, officially, moved the computers around. I now have "Oblivion" in my office space and "Continuum" shifted over to my side of the backroom (where I’ve been working since January). Eric’s new computer, "Luck," Is still sitting semi-assembled on the backroom table in troubleshooting mode. Unfortunately, the keyboard from my office space is attached to "Luck" and I have the elderly Eric-cootie ridden keyboard. I have been assured that this will be remedied in the very near future.

—###—

G is for Goals

There are two ways to set goals:

You can set a goal that will be easy to achieve. The advantage is you can guarantee yourself a victory. Satisfaction at getting a job *done*. The disadvantage is that you might not achieve as much as you can achieve.

You can set a goal that will stretch you. The advantage is that you might get more done than you thought you could. The disadvantage is that you might fail to reach your goal, even if you end up achieving more than a conservative goal. That can be disappointing. Or you can prove that you can do more than was expected of you and have to live up to higher expectations.

I know there is virtue in the latter, though I am not overly fond of that kind of goal. I developed as a schooly over-achiever. Failing to achieve a goal is painful. I’m always gaming myself, weighing how much of a compromise I can get away with. And I get complacent and happy with the small amount I get done. I need to work on this.

Friday Frivolity

Not really feeling frivolous, but I can hope that the use of happy words can affect mood like happy expressions affect mood.

Where am/was I this week:

  • New words on Luck for Hire means new Luck on the web. My official #FridayFlash is "Business as Usual." Chronologically, this is the most up-to-date Luck, but on the blog I should have a few "Scene Missing" placards for bits I haven’t posted.
  • I have a very short piece up at 52|250 as well: "Evidence." I EtherPad-ed it again as well.
  • Posted Chapter 29 of Pas de Chat on Sunday.
  • And I may or may not have mentioned, "Breakfast in the Garden" is in Bards and Sages Quarterly.

And all of that is pretty good reason to feel a tiny bit good despite having a cranky computer and the usual 24 hours to get spring league up and going.

Every Day is a Month When You’re Busy

Cadbury Christmas "Cadberries" (and their Easter brethren) can no longer come into the apartment. They join a rather short list of things that I will eat compulsively if I have access to them, "diet" be damned.

The first day of RoW80 went off well enough, I suppose. I ended up deleting part of a scene and rewriting it. In all, I wrote 1200 words. Looking at the bumped-back document, Eric doesn’t say anything critical about the new stuff. We’ll talk later, I’m sure.

Today is Tuesday. #2QueryTuesday to be exact. Yay! Or something like that. Time to get Model Species out the door again.

Speaking of Tuesdays, chapter 29 of Pas de Chat is available in all its #TuesdaySerial glory.

Strangely, 2011 already feels like it’s months old. Good thing that it’s not. My Christmas tree is still up, which isn’t too unrespectable for the fourth, but would be a problem if it were April. Also, I haven’t heard anything about Spring League yet, which worries me slightly. But that’s how every league seems to go. Like the theater (and most things), it generally turns out well in the end whether pushed or not.

Friday Flash: Joanne and the Jaguar

Mr. Luck has been neglected this week in favor of VOTS stuff, but Pas de Chat has been longer neglected in favor of  Mr. Luck.  The following is a semi-stand-alone except from Ch. 15 of Pas de Chat which will be posted on Sunday, Aug. 29th. So, this is a sneak peek/tease of sorts.

—###—

Joanne and the Jaguar

"What kind of kitty-cat are we going to see?" Joanne asked.  "A lion or a tiger?"

"I think your daddy said it was a jaguar," said her mother.

"A jaguar?" said Joanne.  The word was hard to get her tongue around.  "Jaguar," she repeated.  "Do they have stripes?"  She liked tigers better than lions because of their stripes.  And because they were orange.  Orange was good, there weren’t too many things that had the same color as Joanne’s hair.

"I think they have spots," said Mom.

Spots.  Once again the day held promise and not even a shush from her father could squelch that.

They were standing in front of an area cordoned off by thick red velvet ropes.  Beyond the rope there was a podium and a large cage that was covered by a beige sheet.  The edge of the sheet moved as though a breath of wind was blowing against it from within.  Joanne felt her heart beat a little faster.  "Jaguar," she whispered once again to confirm the word.

A man stood next to the cage.  He was taller than Joanne’s father, and lean.  His face was especially long.  His nose came to a hook and it seemed to twitch in time with the movement of the covering sheet.  His ears stood out from his face in a way that would have made Billy Walters from school make fun of him.  The tall man laid a protective hand on the top of the covered cage as the man with the red flower in his pocket walked up to the podium.

He made a speech, but Joanne ignored him.  Outside the sky gave way, and the rain poured against the complex’s roof with a boom of thunder.  The man at the podium made some sort of joke that the grow-ups laughed at.  The tall man standing by the cage didn’t crack a smile.  His eyes roamed the crowd and finally fell on Joanne.  Joanne smiled at him.  To her surprise the edges of his thin lips raised ever-so-slightly.  His eyes shifted to the podium and Joanne decided that she’d pay attention too.

"But we wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for all of you and your generosity. And therefore, each of you primary docents will get the chance to meet the first resident of the Harris-Ellison Cat Complex, face to face."

The weather complemented the man’s words and lightning crashed outside.  Thunder never scared Joanne.  She knew it was just what happened when it rained sometimes.  It was nothing to worry about, her mother had told her, even when the lights went out during a storm.  The only thing that Joanne was scared of was the dark thing in the back of her closet and she even doubted that was real sometimes.

The tall man slowly drew off the beige sheet.  The cat was smaller than the tigers that Joanne had seen.  More like the size of a lion.  Maybe smaller.  The cat’s fur was beautiful.  The markings on the thick orange fur looked like dark flowers to Joanne.  One rosette surrounded another; each spot was distinct and dark.  It might have been that because Joanne was small that the jaguar stopped and met Joanne’s eyes.  The cat’s eyes were pale yellow and glowed in the low light of the complex hallway.  Joanne’s heart sped up, and she clutched her mother’s hand tighter, but she didn’t make any effort to hide.

"This is one of the oldest jaguars in captivity. She was captured in the jungles of the Yucatan nearly ten years ago, already an adult," the man with the rose was saying.

After a moment, the jaguar began to move again, pacing around the cage, panting with her pink tongue hanging out.  The jaguar’s teeth were a pale yellow color and long. 

"And this is Howard Devlin, her caretaker.  Howard?"  Joanne was vaguely aware that the tall man with the hooked nose, Howard, had taken a step closer, placing himself between the crowd and the jaguar.  Her eyes stayed fixed upon the cat.

"I need everyone to do as I say," said Howard Delvin.  His voice was rich and accented.  He spoke softly, with more authority than Joanne’s father ever brought to bear.  "I’m going to open the cage up and lead her out.  Then you all may, one by one, have a picture taken.  No more than one person at a time.  I will be at her side at all times."

Now Joanne’s mom’s hand tightened.  "I don’t think this is a good idea," she whispered to her father.

Howard slipped a rope strung through a pole between the bars of the cage.  Quickly and easily, he looped the rope around the jaguar’s neck.  The cat halted her pace, but otherwise didn’t seem to notice.  Howard held on to the pole and slowly opened the cage door.  The jaguar paused and then stepped out.  She laid her ears flat and surveyed the crowd one more time.

"Well, if you don’t like it you can always leave," said Joanne’s father.  His smirk didn’t leave his face.  For a moment, Joanne feared that her mother would actually leave.

"I want to see the jaguar," she said.  Her mom’s eyes were worried, and Joanne immediately regretted making the statement.

"See," said Father.  "My little Jo isn’t afraid."  He took Joanne’s other hand and her mother let go reluctantly.

"But he said only one at a time," said her mother.

Her father didn’t hear.  He led Joanne to a gap in the velvet cordon.  Howard shook his head slightly before they stepped through.  "I said one at a time only."

"She’s just a little girl," said her father.  "There’s no harm in both of us, together…"  His voice lost power under Howard’s head shake.

"One at a time or not at all, sir.  She’ll be perfectly safe."  Howard leaned down and let his hand rest against the jaguar’s back though he managed to keep the rope and pole taut.  The jaguar rested back on her haunches and regarded Mr. Ellison and his daughter.

Her father bent down, but not far enough to look Joanne in the eye.  "You want to be the first one to have your picture taken with the kitty, Jo?"

Joanne knew her father wanted her to say yes and her mother wanted her to say no.  One of them would be unhappy with her when they returned home.  In the end, it was the thick spotted fur of the jaguar that made Joanne’s decision easy.  She nodded.  "Yes."

"That’s my brave girl," said her father.  He patted her cheek and ruffled her hair.  From nearby, she heard someone cheer her, ‘That-a-girl!’

"Come here slowly," said Howard.  Joanne still found his nose entrancing, but it was the jaguar that she concentrated on.  The cat panted again with her tongue out and, like Joanne, seemed oblivious of the thunderous storm that had hit outside.  Joanne walked carefully to a spot beside Howard Devlin on the far side from the jaguar.  She stopped when Howard held up his hand.  "Let her get used to you a little," said Howard, "and be very quiet."

Joanne nodded.  Her right foot ached to make the squeaking noise again, but she knew that wouldn’t be a good idea.  A short distance away, a man with a large fancy camera knelt down and angled his camera so the red velvet cordon wouldn’t be in the way. 

"Alright, come forward.  Keep your arms at your sides," said Howard.

Joanne walked forward.  Her eyes only strayed from the jaguar long enough to see the muscles in Howard’s arms tense as he held the rope and pole.  "You can come a little closer."

The jaguar was sitting, but Joanne was barely taller than the animal.  Joanne could see the details of the fur on the cat’s face and the wiry whiskers that surrounded her nose.  The patterns of light and dark were delicate and more intricate than the stripes Joanne had seen on a zebra.  She desperately wanted to touch the jaguar’s fur.  Joanne just knew that it would thick and soft, softer than any stuffed toy she owned.  She remembered Howard’s warning though and clutched at her skirt to keep her hands at her side.

The jaguar’s whiskers twitched as they took in Joanne’s scent.  There was a low rumble from deep within the cat.  "And now turn around for your picture," said Howard.

Joanne slowly turned to face the crowd and her father, but kept the jaguar and Howard in the corner of her eye.  She smiled.  Thunder rolled over the building as the camera clicked its picture. 

Then the lights went out. 

Startled sounds came from the crowd, but Joanne stood absolutely still.  She could see the slivers of light from the outward facing windows reflected in the jaguar’s eyes.  She knew the cat was much closer than when the picture was snapped.  Joanne breathed in the heavy smell of jaguar.  She reached out her hand and touched fur that was every bit as Joanne thought it would be.  Joanne felt the jaguar bump into her and leave a ghost of warmth against her chest and legs.  The cat knocked her off-balance and Joanne landed solidly on her butt as though she had abruptly sat down.  She was surprised when she felt hot breath against her face and the top of her head. 

She stayed very still.

Friday Flash: A Tale of Balito Germand

It’s been an interesting week, writing-wise, and I’ve unfortunately been sort of out of it. Thanks to everyone who has been reading nonetheless. Here’s a summary and this weeks Friday Flash:

I was the winner of Emma Newman’s first Friday Flash podcast prize draw! To kick off her narration service, Em is recording pieces submitted by #FridayFlash participants. My piece was "Wicked Witch for Hire," my first Friday Flash and one of my all-time favorites. Em does a wonderful job of reading it; give it a listen! (And she pronounced my name right on the first go!)

Added Bounce! to 52/250, a site endeavoring to publish a year of flash fiction, each week with a theme. This past week’s theme was "small worlds." Small is relative.

Also, Pas de Chat is still going strong. I’m only up to chapter six, so if you haven’t been reading, it’s not too late to catch up.

[Edit:] Amelia T. is holding a Dream Sequence Blogfest. I added Lucinda’s dream from Ch. 4 of Lucinda at the Window.

And now, for this week’s Friday Flash. I’m currently working on a reread/editing pass of Divine Fire. It’s part of the Weordan universe, so there’s a couple of words that don’t exist in general English.

—###—

A Tale of Balito Germand

In the crowds, Balito could remain hidden, but he could also lose a mark unless they stood out.  Neltiar easily fit in with his plain face.  He was an everyman.  Marie was short and not striking enough to be unforgettable.   The pair would make good pickpockets in Balito’s estimation.  Not to mention Marie’s damned parasol.  Lavender was a popular color this season.

They stopped often at shops.  Sometimes they stayed for a while, sometimes the visit was so brief that their return took Balito by surprise.
 
When they turned a corner into an alley, Balito jostled past a pair of robed Ecclesians and smashed into a short man with a curly mop of brown hair.  He bounced off of Balito and crashed to the ground.

Continue reading “Friday Flash: A Tale of Balito Germand”