Tags: number one son

new year


Mr S came back from burning prairie yesterday and assured me that this burning season is finally over. It's been a hell of a long one. He goes off for fourteen-hour days, climbing bluffs and whatnot with a pack, and comes back all blackened and smelling of grass fires. Some years it's just a couple weeks in March or April, from the time the snow melts until things green up enough that a fire can't sustain itself, and-or it starts seriously raining. This year, weather was permitting. They burned marshes and prairies and habitat for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly, and didn't torch any evergreens by accident. The planet is in peril, we must make firebreaks.

Coincidentally, I've been reading Rebecca Solnit's A Paradise Built in Hell, which coincidentally turned up at the library book sale, cheap, after I was wowed by the review last fall in the NYTimes. It starts out with the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, which was more catastrophically a great fire, and one of the reasons it was such a big fire was that the soldiers called out to restore order tried turning some blocks of the city into firebreaks, when they didn't know what the hell they were doing. Like, using a warehouse full of flammable chemicals as part of your firebreak: bad idea. Shooting citizens who are fighting fires by hand and digging people from the rubble, also bad. This is the sort of response that comes of expecting the worst of people. I'm up to her chapter on William James and the Moral Equivalent of War, an idea whose time must surely have arrived. Right. Now.

Although we don't see much of Haiti on the news lately, what with the surfeit of interesting times and all, people there are still doing what Solnit says people do in catastrophes: building shelters, taking care of the injured and dependent, scavenging for each other, and feeding people. This is pretty much what they were doing there before the earthquake, if one considers the building codes (lack thereof) and (unreported) graft.

When this gets to be too much, besides reading Sherlock Holmes in annotated entirety, I've started again on Solnit's book Wanderlust on the history of walking. This is also quieter reading than McDougall's Born to Run which Number One Son gave us for last Xmas, although along the same philosophical lines. There is enough buzz now about those wacky finger-shoes (Madison is that kind of place) that I suspect I am going to actually buy a pair, and see if they actually fit my feet, although I'm not betting on it. Henry David Thoreau said that just walking to everywhere within a ten-mile radius of your home could keep you busy and interested all your life. Then I thought, that means ten miles out, and ten miles back, which is a daily walk would actually take me all day if I were even up for it which I'm not. But the point is, it's nothing extraordinary for a healthy human animal. Even uphill, in the snow, as we used to say.

Number One Son (who is studying for exams and has one each day this week) says, Exercise Is The Cure. But he doesn't mean the exercise with bad attitude that most industrial populations seem to think is required. He means, like, jumping rope, playing outside with your friends. (Mr S and I often play Plant Identification, which is sort of like Name That Song except he gets more of them right, and you have to walk around outside to do it.) Number One Son has just finished a semester of being a personal trainer and studying geriatrics, and says, when you feel bad, exercise a bit, stop while it still feels okay before you do anything bad to yourself, and then think about how that worked and what you liked.

This morning I remembered that I neglected to register for the Balticon art show. I've been so out of it for months. But I could start packing for WisCon now. Also, does it even need saying, I'm going for a walk. This is just me trying to work a bit of writing back into my day.
new year

Recent activities

1. I think I neglected to tell about the trip to Eau Claire. Mr S was driving, which for a professional driver (as he is) on a closed track would be one thing, but rush hour even such as it is here on a Friday was something else, and I had to remind him before we even got onto the highway that what he considers a safe following distance what with his superior reflexes and all is not what my blood pressure and adrenals see that way. By the time we got on the interstate, where everyone from Illinois had decided to head north for the weekend, I was in a full blown panic attack. Some people like adrenaline, I guess, but I do not. It's a three-hour drive. There was a section of merged single lane travel for some distance after the Dells, and when we got past that and all lanes up to speed again, torrential rain so that you actually couldn't see the lights of the vehicles in front of you.

2. On the way back, on Hwy 12 to avoid all that construction and general unpleasantness, we stopped at Mirror Lake State Park for a walk. I drove home from there, because I need the driving time.

3. Last weekend I was not really up for a drive down to Naperville though. So Vicky and Adriana (my Cuban family) drove up to see me on Saturday, which was very sweet of them. We had lunch at a cafe on Monroe St, dropped off Adriana for some more visiting, and I directed Vicky to St Vincent dePaul where of course we both found treasures.

4. Number One Son's rugby team played well, and came in third out of eight in the tournament, after Platteville (obnoxious ruffians) and LaCrosse. Then this last weekend they hosted the Alumni for the rugby team's thirtieth anniversary, played the old boys who had seventeen on a side and all the calls in their favor, but these turned out to be good fund-raising tactics. He got a shiner, which he says the photo (on FB) doesn't do justice. Now last week of classes, and next week exams.

5. Sunday we walked around Owen Conservation Park and identified plants. A small child reproved us for being Off The Path, but we splained we were reading tags on the new plantings (white oak, not swamp white oak) and then for a bonus we splained that the fields there around the new retention ponds had been mistakenly planted with four kinds of clover instead of any kind of prairie mix (so it's not like you can step on anything all that important). It is a little surprising how quickly other stuff is coming up in there. I spotted the poison ivy patch in the woods again, which is why nonprofessionals should stay on the paths. The prairie restoration in the middle is coming along, but the woods on the outside of the firebreak path are full of buckthorn and honeysuckle.

6. As is the Arboretum, in some areas, where it should be viburnums and dogwoods. I walked out there to the McKay Center again today, which I figure may be nearly eight miles all told. Had many adventures with flora and fauna. Being downwind of the lilac collection is staggeringly wonderful. They have three American Chestnuts, in the horticultural collection, which I find very sad.

7. And on a literary note, it is all very well for Sherlock Holmes fans to go along with the narrative frame of Watson writing up the adventures, and then try to establish chronologies and secrit histories, as though it were all real; but I want to know how A. Conan Doyle got all that slashy subtext so stunningly well embedded, when from his biography he seems to be such a boy scout.
new year


I wasn't going to take the car half way across town for groceries, where there are specials on, like, potatoes and sugar, when I don't need those things, we have a serviceable grocery half a block away, I am clearing out the fridge (last vegetable box delivery next weekend) and we don't need that much stuff. Feeling a little different about that after carrying home thirty pounds of groceries on my shoulders. Damn gallons of milk, and I can't even drink the stuff. Found a nice little ham tho.

At some point Number One Son will be joining us for a few days as his last exam for the semester is today, but he is also talking vaguely about getting a job during the holidays. (Food service, but with the thousands of calories he has to eat that might be an income type perq.)

Then I went looking online for recipes that call for pomegranates and pomegranate juice, because I happen to have those on hand, and found a kind of salad called Fatoush, and some sauces, innumerable stylish martini-like drinks, and a Persian chicken dish that sounds good that I might even have eaten at a friend's house: Koresh Fesenjaan, which makes a sauce of ground walnuts and pomegranate juice and adds that to sauteed chicken and onions... etc etc, insert link to long procedure here. But I draw the line at recipes that sound like they would be fine without the special ingredient, like apple crisp with pomegranates in. That Fatoush sounds like you could leave out various things not on hand and it would still be a salad.

I'm just waiting here for the pain meds to kick in. My feet (Weather Toe in particular) decided on the way to the store that there is some weather coming in, off in Dakota or someplace right now, or maybe the walking on ice is just wearing, and then in the store I got a wave of exhaustion. And I just got up! Must go administer caffeine, which will put me on the path.
new year


1. I've been successfully dissociating from Xmas as Not My Holiday Nothing To Do With Me, until today the big tree and tinsel was all over the lobby at the clinic when I walked through. D'oh! I got a couple of cool cards from calligrapher friends. That's one thing I like to do this time of year, answer correspondence and mail art. I'm still not buying any guilt, or any sweetness n lite.

2. Altho Mr S braved the mid-afternoon crowd insanity today to pick up new YakTrax at REI. Because I am seriously wearing out the heavy-duty Pro set he got me last year. They keep shedding little springs, and he keeps replacing them, although he says they are made of Really Hard Stuff (he who bends all metals to his will) but then they get walked around on... (He has an extra one to use for parts, from the first time he wore his in the woods last winter and one of them went sproing like a rubber band right off his boot and flew off into the snowy forest.) But now the rubber band parts are beginning to shred. I still have most of the springs on the front toe parts, and as long as the two feet are balanced they seem to work all right on the packed snow and ice, so I am just going to wear them out completely.

3. Considering the above, it's surprising my feet aren't in worse shape, cause I walk around on them every day exactly the same distance and in the same conditions.

4. Number One Son has got me keeping an Exercise Journal, which is good for around 500 words a day describing my various walking routes, the weather conditions, mileage, painful body parts, pain medications (none lately), and yoga practice. It's on Google Docs, and the first such thing that someone else actually looks at instead of me (I just like being able to work on my stuff from a number of different computers. Even the library!) Not sure I'm going to keep it up in this format, though -- I'm thinking I might incorporate it into my LJ, or bibliofile suggests just start a new LJ, cause plenty of other stuff finds its way in there.

5. Like Park Inspections. But that wants to be a whole nother blog. On a blog site, not a mere LiveJournal. With photos.

6. Number One Son actually reads it and emails me helpful questions and suggestions though. I think he is practicing for next semester, when he has to learn about training and conditioning for old people, which is not going to be nearly so easy as training high school kids or fellow athletes, and he will have to get up at like five in the morning because you know how early old people get up.

7. Unless of course they have stayed up all night to finish reading some novel, and then sleep in.
new year


1972 words, abruptly interrupted by the Blue Screen of Death. But that was downstairs. Fortunately the document is on google docs so I can find it from the laptop too while the poor downstairs computer tries to pick up the pieces. One. By. One. By. One.

The plan is, after November, to take previous notes on the subject and smash those several thousand words together with the several thousand words I have this year, and see what it begins to look like. After meandering around for 15000 words or so I began to have a much better idea of what it's about, so there's a moral there -- plain as the nose on your face.

This in spite of the principle efforts of the day being domestic. Yoga class, then another spot of grocery shopping. Traffic was godawful. Went for a walk along the creek and the bay. Made an apple streusel pie (already half eaten) and a pumpkin pie, which involved first butchering the pumpkin. And don't forget fitting all this into a refrigerator that had to have one shelf removed yesterday to accommodate the turkey. Then bibliofile toasted the pumpkin seeds by a process previously unknown to me of first boiling them in salted water. While the pies were in the oven, a couple of little fits of mending, and three loads of laundry. Prepped the bread dressing for tomorrow, and made a little frittata, out of miscellaneous stuff from the fridge (sauteed onion, some little boiled purple potatoes, braised endive, some grated goat cheddar and mozzarella and free-range organic eggs). By which time I was more than ready to sit down for quite some time. But I cleared a lot of stuff out of the living room so now we all have room to put our feet on the coffee table.

Meanwhile, Number One Son was driving down from Eau Claire in the rain. He arrived (just as Mr S was out and in and out again to borrow a big roasting pan from Frenkels down the street which I understand fits our particular variety of turkey just right) with another three loads of laundry, just for me, because he knows how much I like doing his laundry, and he was very happy to polish off the frittata with a big salad and bit of French bread. General mayhem ensued. While we watched our usual Criminy Minds show to maintain normalcy. Naturally there's a party somewhere of his friends from high school, so he's off again until late. Mr S has procured brake parts, to work on Number One Son's car tomorrow, in thanksgiving, of course. The cat is possibly confused by having so many people to look after -- it's exhausting. I agree.
new year

Spare thoughts

You are gonna get a lot more posting out of me when the implants or smart jacket or eyeglasses or whatever make it possible for me to blog while I'm on my walk. All the sentences I made up are gone from my head now though.

  • Still want to write about the vacation. Too many stories: the tigers at Lakewood, the Laona Steam Train, and Peshtigo (Not) for starters. And that's before we got to the U.P.

  • Meanwhile, it was Blog Against Racism Week, and I'm still thinking about what that means for me. Yeah, I was well aware that we were traveling country full of Native American placenames, and walked a series of Native American graveyards that were literally ripped apart for gravel and building materials. There's a couple state statutes against that now. But I'm betting the people who did it were downright proud of themselves, just like they were proud of the Paul Bunyan feat of clearcutting the Northwest Territory and leaving nothing but stumps and slash.

  • Learned a lot about forestry on this vacation. Not so much about mining.

  • Number One Son was home for the weekend, I may have mentioned, and while he and his friend liked my cooking they had to listen to my feminist rant. Didn't know what he was getting into, still was interrupting and talking over me while I warmed up on how guy-dominated industries can be hostile to women, and we were on the same page with ridiculing the base appeal of the booth babes at product conventions, but then I laid on him the white man's burden of calling the Sexist Dogs on their shit! by which time everyone was standing up and carrying their dishes into the kitchen. "Because they don't listen to women!" cleared the table.

  • When I am a properly funded Queen I will have first a staff botanist. Then a geologist. Then either an entomologist or ornithologist, or maybe just an all-round wildlife biologist. Already have landscape architect, construction foreman, handyman, driver, and trainer.
  • new year

    The past is not exactly another country, but at least a couple states over

    Fixing my links after recent online mayhem. My browser irritatingly refuses to load home page, although clicking on homepage icon works immediately.

    Feel better about not being at Worldcon since I googled my own name. I got 1380 entries, all of which seem to be actually about me, the first ninety at least. Photos of me at a variety of conventions, with "Why is this woman smiling?" and a gratifying number of references to my various works. The local public library actually has a copy of the award anthology I had a short story published in -- extreme excitement icon here!!!

    I was looking for an online archive of the article I wrote in like 1993, when (lest we forget) WisCon had no child care program and the concom was deeply uninterested in running any childcare. It was all about how I was taking my kid to cons but nonetheless my purpose in coming to cons was to Exercise The Considerable Portion of My Humanity That Remains Outside Of My Identity As A Mother. How things change, how they stay the same: WisCon now has one of the model childcare programs, not to mention Hordes of twenty- and thirty-somethings who showed up to plug our demographic hole; but parents going to other cons still struggle with the same issue, and cons without kids are still mired in the Graying Fandom thing. Apparently my article is still available only in Fanthology 94, frequently on fanzine auction for the low low price of $5.

    Today the child has got his car fixed, and is back off to college with friend, after a couple days at home (with friend crashing on our embarrassingly catty sofa), by way of waterpark at Wisconsin Dells.