Blog Without A Name

Sunday at the Cat Farm

It snowed overnight — just a little bit of snow, but it still needed to be relocated, which was a modestly pleasant task — the sun was out, and the air was warming nicely, and by the time the plow-guy arrived, it was possible to go outside without having to bundle up in All The Winter Things.

Today is one of those rare days when I’ll be making dinner:  beef stew, in the HotPot, which will be a first for me, and will stretch my practical skills with the equipment.

Still got some Stuff moving in the background.  Yesterday, as a sort of Displacement Activity, I cleaned out the bottom drawer of the supply bureau in my office.  Threw out a metric ton of old software; shifted some old tech — roll up keyboard; portable USB hub; an old trackball to the Goodwill box.

I was so jazzed by all this success, I moved to the next drawer up, and got rid of Even! More! Stuff!, so that now what occupied two drawers barely fills up one.

Today, I may also make a loaf of quick bread; that will be soothing.  And useful, too.

Hope everybody’s having a pleasant weekend.

View from the deck, photo by Steve Miller

Books read in 2018

12. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik (e)
11. The Cat Who Played Post Office, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9. Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)

Oh, I’m in love with the janitor’s boy; and the janitor’s boy loves me

So, it’s been an exciting couple of days here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.

Yesterday, of course, was Sprite’s visit to the vet; always an energizing time.  Sprite had previously been able to call in enough bad weather to twice call for a cancellation of this annual event, but yesterday, her luck ran out.  She was outfitted in her harness and glittery leash, and her ladybug-print bib and off we went.  After a first, obligatory shout-out to the neighborhood that she was being kidnapped, and a few energetic curses as we started up, she settled down on my lap, and seemed to resign herself to her fate.  Steve had turned on the classic rock station — Sprite being partial to classic rock — and that seemed to soothe her somewhat.

The vet pronounced her in good health, and good fur, delivered the required shots and home we came, where Sprite retired to the so-called “medium dog bed” under Steve’s desk for a long and restorative nap.

This morning, she’s still a little subdued, and, after a mouthful of breakfast, has again retired under Steve’s desk for another nap.

I did get together the paperwork, and mailed my check and registration form to the National Carousel Association’s annual convention.  I also tried to call the convention hotel to reserve a room, the information in the packet being that rooms are limited and go fast — well, there was no try about it — I did call, as instructed.  Predictably, all operators were busy, and I spent about eight minutes on hold, listening to the robot telling me that I really could do all necessary business on the website or through the Marriott app.  I held on, though, and finally got a click, and the tail end of an answering machine message which stated that it could not accept any more messages — whereupon, the call was disconnected.

Um, yeah.

So, I’ll try to call again today, though the Main Adventure on today’s schedule is for me to go down to Charlie’s Subaru and have them install a remote starter in the Forester.  This operation will take approximately 2 hours, so I guess I’ll have the courtesy van take me over to Barnes and Noble, which is far more entertaining than Charlie’s waiting room.

What else?  I’m sure there was — Oh.  There are two additional events in motion at the moment, which created much excitement for Steve and me. But!

I can’t talk about them yet.

Oh, but I can tell you that the Dyson — remember the Dyson? that had to be sent away via UPS for repair last Friday? — the Dyson, it says here, has been repaired and will be home today!

And if that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is.

Everybody have a good day.

Today’s blog post title brought to you by Nathalia Crane, “The Janitor’s Boy.”  Here’s a link.  Oh, and here’s another — from Natalie Merchant.

Books read in 2018

11. The Cat Who Played Post Office, Lilian Jackson Braun (read aloud with Steve)
10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9. Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)

Legacy Systems published in paper

Legacy Systems: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 19, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, including short stories “Intelligent Design” and “The Space at Tinsori Light” is now available in paper!

Here’s your link.

Once again, I am converting the older echapbooks into paper books as time permits, so progress will be slow and erratic. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Desmond takes a trolley to the jewellers store; buys a twenty carat golden ring

So, it’s been a Exciting! Few! Days! here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  Allow me to recap.

There were appointments with health care professionals in the beginning of the week for Steve; and in fact, he was at a doctor’s appointment on Thursday when I decided to vacuum the house, which surely needed it.  Got out the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Allergy vacuum (successor to the venerable Dyson Cyclone, I think it was called, which was not up to the contributions of three Maine Coon cats), started to vacuum the kitchen rug and — thud.  The brush bar stopped moving.

Said a few choice words.  Unplugged the vacuum, went down the hall to the change bottle and got a nickle, a dime, and a quarter, and returned to the scene of the crime.

Now, the former Dyson could be completely disassembled in a matter of minutes using only a dime.  The new Dyson, I quickly learned, is Far More Sophisticated.  Instead of two big, gaumy plastic screws holding the brush assembly in place, there were four teensy, tiny, star screws.  I searched for and eventually found the many-headed Philips screw driver, located a head small enough to do the job, and got to work.  Three of the screws came out — I won’t say easily — butt he fourth was in it for the ages, and wouldn’t budge.  Steve came home about then, and he couldn’t budge it, either, so I repaired to the internet and got in touch with Dyson.

Several emails later, it was determined that, indeed, the machine needed to be repaired, and I should take it to the nearest UPS Store, where it would be boxed up and sent to Dyson at no cost to me.  I was given a Repair Order Number.

I had physical therapy on Friday morning, so added the transport of the Dyson to UPS to the errand list.

As it happened, Steve elected to come with me on Friday, and it was he who escorted the Dyson to the UPS Store.  The woman on the desk signed into the Dyson webpage, found the work order, took the machine, matched up the number in my email from Dyson, and — that was it.  Our refurbed machine ought to be back home in 7-10 days, and in the meantime, thank ghod, we still do have the Dyson Cyclone, else we’d be awash in cat fur.

So, that.

Today — continuing the theme of excitement — the mail included information for the 2018 National Carousel Association’s Convention.  Now, I have long wished to attend one of these conventions, which includes tours of private collections, visits to numerous carousels, and band organs, and whatnot, but — they’ve been in places like Kansas, and Michigan, and California.  And, also, inconveniently close to WorldCon.

This year’s convention?  Is in New England:  Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts.  The Convention Itself is from September 12 through September 16, but there’s a pre-convention warm-up on September 11, which includes four “extra” carousels, for a Grand Total of 15 carousels, 2 museums, and a private collection.

This is clearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and — yeah, I’m gonna try to figure out a way to do this thing.  Steve has allowed as how, though very cool, this is not something he thinks he wishes to partake of, so I’d be running solo.  On the other hand, I can drive, or take a Greyhound, to the Convention Headquarters in Connecticut.  There’s also a vendor room, but I’m not sure I want to schlepp the carousel books with me, on the off-chance three people will want to buy a set.

We’d only be back from WorldCon about a week by the time I’d have to head out again.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t be scheduled for panels, or, yanno — work — at the Carousel Convention, and — in theory, anyway — there wouldn’t be a short deadline breathing down our necks. . .

Yeah, I can do this.

I think.

Today’s blog post title brought to you by the Beatles, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.  Here’s your link.

All Six Archers Beach Titles Available in Paper

It’s a little-known fact that, in addition to my work with Steve Miller in the Liaden Universe®, I am the author of the Archers Beach near-fantasy series.  This series consists of three novels: Carousel Tides, Carousel Seas, and Carousel Sun, which are set in the rundown beach town of Archers Beach, Maine.

In addition to those three novels, six short stories (in three chapbooks!) exist in the Archers Beach universe:  Emancipated Child, How Nathan Archer Came to be a Prince of the Land of the Flowers, The Gift of Music, The night don’t seem so lonely, Will-‘o-the-wisp, and The Wolf’s Bride.

Now, the reason I called you all together today is that!  You may now and at last purchase all six of the Archers Beach books — three novels; three chapbooks — in paper.

Here are your links:

Carousel Tides (Archers Beach #1)
Carousel Sun (Archers Beach #2)
Carousel Seas (Archers Beach #3)
Surfside (Archers Beach #4), including Emancipated Child and How Nathan Archer Came to be a Prince of the Land of the Flowers
The Gift of Magic (Archers Beach #5), including The Gift of Music and The night don’t seem so lonely
Spell Bound (Archers Beach #6), including Will-‘o-the-wisp, and The Wolf’s Bride

For those who like to sample before they buy, you may read the first nine chapters of Carousel Tides starting here.

Books read in 2018

10. The Faded Sun: Kutath, CJ Cherryh (e)
9. Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)

I must go down to the sea again…

. . .or at least to Belfast Bay.  Can’t really afford the day off right now, to go down to Old Orchard Beach.

But, we did go down to Belfast, after. . .Steve’s dental appointment, and breakfast at Governor’s.  The really nice thing about getting up Stupidly Early in the day is that you can get lots done before noon.  If, yanno, getting lots done includes driving down to Belfast Bay.

The day was warm and sunny, by which I mean 40F/4C, and it was so very, very good to get out of the house.  The tide was out at Belfast, but we walked around the park and the boat landing for a bit, looking out at the grey water, the seagulls, the ducks and the cormorants.  We did duly note that we are not to exceed 10 knots in passing a Right Whale, which species visits our waters all year round (who knew?).

Then we drove home through Brooks and all over that way, and it’s hardly past noon.  Plenty of time to get some work done.  Plus, we were out in the heat of the day; temps are supposed to start dropping, oh, about now, and hit a low of 9F/-13C tonight.

Tomorrow’s supposed to be somewhat cooler, and Wednesday, of course, we’re expecting significant snowfall.

Yes, welcome to Maine.

So, today, Steve reads Fifth of Five while I do laundry and, oh, why not? Some tax paperwork, which, much like writing a novel, isn’t gonna fill out itself.

For those who wonder what sort of Wild Goings Ons are perpetuated by coon cats in our absence, I offer this photograph of our hall, when we came back home this afternoon.

Books read in 2018

9. Emergence, CJ Cherryh (read aloud with Steve)
8.  The Faded Sun: Shon’jir, CJ Cherryh (re-read) (e)
7.  The Faded Sun: Kesrith, CJ Cherryh (e)
6.  My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart (re-read) (e)
5.  The River Bank, Kij Johnson (read aloud with Steve)
4.  Still Life, Louise Penny
3.  Thick as Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner
2.  The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (e)
1.  Romancing the Werewolf, Gail Carriger (e)