Saturday in what passes for the city

The day got off to a mixed start, so I spent my time usefully cleaning the bathroom and steam-cleaning the kitchen floor.

Then! My new Project Box arrived, and I spent some time organizing my thread, and my hoops, and my tools, and by the time that was done, I was feeling almost human again, so I got out my light-sheet (really can’t call it a light-box, it’s so flat), and traced the design I want to stitch on the needle-holder I made the other day.  I have two “transfer” options available to me at the moment, being out of dressmaker’s carbon.  The first is a felt pen, which gives a thick black line.  The second is a pencil that produces a medium reddish-brown line.  My usual bias is pencil, but I’m thinking that for this, I like the black line better.  We shall, as they say, see.

On the schedule this afternoon is looking out cover art Duainfey and Longeye, which we will be releasing under the proper author’s byline in August.

Also, I’m revising “The Last Train to Clarkesville,” which is due mid-August, so I really ought to get on the writing part of that task, now that I’ve figured out who this One Guy is and how he got into the story.

And that’s Saturday in the city.

Here’s a picture of the Project Box, since I know you’re all dying to know what it looks like:


The Saga of Tinsori the Honda

So, last Monday, I bought a used car.  We’ve been a one-car family for a few years, now, and The Theory was that we would remain so, having moved Into The City and All.

Unfortunately, we moved to a city without transit buses, where the taxicabs are overwhelmed, and came up against a series of events in very short order which required two cars to accomplish.  Now, granted, I could rent a car, at 3 days at a go for the local place and approximately $300 each time.

Anyhow, it just seemed like the universe was arguing for a second car, and we went looking for a used Subaru Forester (we have our reasons).

Reader, this is not the time to be trying to buy a used Subaru, if you also like to live indoors and eat.

After several disappointments, we wound up at Charlie’s Motor Mall in Augusta, where we’d purchased our last four or five, or maybe even six vehicles, including the Forester we have now.

The salesman at the Subaru side confirmed that this is not the time to be shopping for a used Forester, and after some discussion, and a test drive, I allowed myself to be sold a 2014 Honda CR-V EXL in Kona Coffee (or, as the registration states — “brown.”)

I like the car.  A lot.  We had some previous experience with the Honda CR-V, from that time that Amtrak dumped us off the train at 2am in Cincinnati and told us to find our own way back to our car, which was parked at the Albany station.  We drove that rented CR-V 700 miles in 20 hours, and it was solid, uncomplaining, and a complete good sport about everything we demanded of it.  Tinsori, as the new-to-me Honda has come to be called, is equally solid, and uncomplaining, and I think we’ll get on fine.

So — bought the car last Monday.  Noticed a couple things weren’t exactly as they should be, including the back lift gate catch was broken, and there was a stutter in the transmission at certain speeds.  So, I called the Honda Section of Charlie’s Motor Mall and made an appointment to have Tinsori brought up to spec while he was still under warranty.

It was here that things got a little squirrelly because I hadn’t purchased the used Honda from the Honda Section; I’d purchased it from a Subaru salesman off of a mixed lot, and Phone Calls therefore Had to be Made, Permissions Granted, and long story short, the Honda Section did fix the back gate, burnished the transmission, replaced the broken fog light I hadn’t noticed was broken, and! topped off the window washer fluid, and the cost to me was — nada.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  All good, thank you, ma’am, and if anything else goes wrong, you know where to find us.

Now, in order to get these repairs done, I had to leave the car at the Honda Section early in the morning.  Repairs were finished by 4:15ish.  In Maine in these days of late fall/early winter, it gets dark at 4pm.  What with One Thing and Something Else, I haven’t actually driven in the dark for almost 3 years.

Therefore, as Steve was driving us to the Honda Section, we made A Plan for the drive home.  I would lead, driving Tinsori, and I would go the “back way” home, avoiding the interstate because I felt safer that way.

We picked up Tinsori, checked the hatch and the fog light, and Implemented the Plan.

Almost immediately, Steve lost me in Augusta end-of-work traffic, but he knew where I was going, and how, so he kept to The Plan.  As I did.  It’s a little exciting driving in the dark, but I hope to become used to it, and everything was going along pretty well until I came to the intersection of the Belgrade Road and the Pond Road, in Sidney, which was to be my turn toward home.  This corner is dignified by the presence of Steve’s Furniture and Appliance, which has a big light-up sign on the corner of its property.

By now, I was pretty much out of Augusta traffic, but there was a — backup right before I got to my turn.  A long line of cars, and — hold it!  a car without lights sideways across the left lane, and — good grief, two cars in the bushes off the road on the right, and a positive sea of glass in the intersection, where one guy with a flashlight was trying to guide cars around.

I realized that Steve was behind me, and was going to come on this disaster area and Make Assumptions.  I therefore cleared the intersection, pulled into the parking lot at Steve’s Furniture and called him.

“Steve!  There’s a big crash at Steve’s, but it’s not me!  I’m OK!”

“Good,” he said.  “I was worried, and pulled into Steve’s parking lot –”

I’m in Steve’s parking lot!”

After a muddled few moments, we found each other, and got oriented to head off for home, Steve in the lead this time.

Two ambulances passed us on the Pond Road, heading toward the intersection with the Belgrade Road, but we got home with without further incident, parking the cars, and went inside to toast each other with a glass of wine, and kinda let the adrenaline flow away.

So, that happened.

Of tablets, clocks, and Murderbot

Yesterday was Errands.

As you’re all of course aware the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite dropped yesterday, and it was in my mind to arrive at Best Buy in Augusta and Acquire One, since my old-in-computer-terms Asus tablet is trembling on the edge of the True Death.

Alas, the Best Buy in Augusta had no A7 Lites in-stock.  They would have been  pleased to order one for me, but yanno?  I can do that myself.

So, onward!

Our next stop was Ellsworth, where we picked up the tambour clock that we had dropped off for repair in March, and and which I have missed DESperately every day it was gone.

Having driven to Ellsworth via the high-speed (where road construction is underway on both sides — welcome to summer in Maine), we opted to drive home via the low-speed (that’s Routes 1 and 3 to you), arriving in good time at Belfast, where we had a lovely under-the umbrella lunch at Nautilus at the harbor.  Steve had the haddock sandwich and I had the portobello with melted cheese on toast, both pronounced excellent.  There was green wine on offer, but we sadly declined, since there was still some driving to do.

Funny thing about Belfast harbor yesterday — there were no seagulls.  No, not one, even though there were french fries in play.

We drove home, decided that the grocery shopping could be put off until today, and shared the piece of limoncello cake we brought home from Nautilus.  Then Steve put the tambour clock back into its place in the living room bookshelf, I logged into B&H Photography and ordered myself a tablet, and we reconvened in the living room with a glass of wine, to finish reading Network Effect to each other.

In a few minutes, it’s off to the grocery store, then a story conference, then all story all the time for the Next While.  I hear there are authors who never have Deadline Crunch, but those authors are not us.

It rained overnight; I’m not sure how much, and the weatherbeans today threaten us with roaming violent thunderstorms, armed with hail, so that will be exciting, and the more reason to do the grocery shopping early.

Everybody stay safe.


Anything can happen day

We had a small but boisterous thunderstorm on the overnight, which knocked out the power just long enough to be irritating.

Today is, indeed, Anything Can Happen Day, and all I’m saying is — it better.  Or, wait.  Maybe I mean EVERYTHING Can Happen.  I think that’s closer.

The To-Do List includes:

*Reading Trader’s Leap mass market proofs (which landed yesterday; correx due end of June)
*Renewing the Hummer Bars (three Hummer Bars. I think I’d better stop, now.)
*Do the laundry
*Continue work on contracted short story, working title “Gadreel’s Folly” (mid-July target date)
*Continue work on novel (due end of June)
*The mandatory walk and exercise regime

I’d briefly considered going over to Winslow and stopping at the Spiro’s Gyros food truck for lunch, but that might need to wait until, oh, tomorrow, when I have to visit the vampyres, anyway.

Yesterday, was Echocardiogram and EKG Day.  Now waiting for those results.  We also stopped at the grocery store and I had a haircut in the afternoon.  That was Interesting, though possibly not for the reason you may imagine.  In the space of those three events, I moved from an environment where everyone was masked, to an environment where employees were masked, and customers who had not been vaccinated were asked to be masked (and where one maskless guy tried to pick a fight with Steve about masks, but missed), to the the place where I get my hair cut which was packed and I was the only one wearing a mask*.

It’s been Wicked Hot here in Central Maine over the last few days — I think we cracked 100F/38C on Monday; yesterday was merely 88F/31; and today the weatherbeans are calling for a balmy 85F/29C.  I, myself, am living for Friday, when the high temp is predicted to be 66F/19C.

Presently, I have two coon cat supervisors, while Steve makes do with one.

And that’s how the day’s getting underway, here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.

Y’all stay safe.

Today’s blog title brought to you by the Mickey Mouse Club which was on network television around 1958/1959.  Here’s your link.

*Yes, yes, I’m still wearing a mask, even though I’m vaccinated and all.  Doctor’s orders are to pretend I haven’t been vaccinated and the masking orders have never been dropped. This is because I’m a cancer patient (aka a person whose immune system has been purposefully repressed) and there’s some concern that the vaccine is not 100%, or even, yanno, 87% effective in that population.

I got nothin’ but love for you

Towels washed, now drying. Blankie run made, cat towels and throws now washing. The curtains in my office are CLOSED against the nice sunshine, because the weatherbeans are calling 95F today *and* have issued a Heat Advisory until 8 pm. I did…something…to my ankle, so will be typing with my foot up. Yes, it’s All About the Derring-Do. Tomorrow at ohmyghod in the morning, I have an appointment with the cardiologist, which will be new, but I hope not exciting. And I still have that story to finish. There is Mystery Soup from the back of the freezer for lunch, with a salad. Trooper has moved his operations to the jetpac next to my desk, and Sprite is curled up in the sun spotlight from the clerestory window, which dramatically lights the cedar chest. Belle is allowing Steve to brush her.


. . .and I think that’s it from the Confusion Factory.

How’s it going at your house?

Today’s blog post brought to you by! Fleetwood Mac:  Monday Morning.  Here’s your link.

I can see all obstacles in my way

So, it’s been an exciting few days here at the Confusion Factory.  For the first time in five years, I have a new pair of glasses.  Also!  We opened the Hummer Bar, starting with two choices of venue — the Flying Saucer and the Hot Air Balloon.  Not fifteen minutes after we opened our doors, we served our first customer, and there has been a steady flow, since.  I anticipate opening the annex in the front garden sometime in the coming week, and possibly relocating the Hot Air Balloon venue from the back deck to an existing feeding station in the back yard.

Speaking of lawns and yards and gardens — it has been a banner year for daffodils.  Honestly, I don’t remember that we had this many daffodils, but my memory is a little patchy in spots nowadays, and it’s hard to argue against daffodils, so I’m just pleased to see them.

We — by which I of course mean Jeremy the Landscaping Guy — have installed three more cedar trees (emerald arborvitae), which fills in the line between our house and the Neighbors to the Right. This should have been done last year, but a lot of things didn’t get done last year.

The day after the Planting of the Cedars, we entertained Robbie the Arborist, who took down several trees in the back that had been fatally damaged in the big winter wind storms.  Sadly, two of them were birch trees, and their absence really changes the view from my office windows.

Pete the Builder has accomplished the long-awaited steps from the deck to the back yard.  Still some more work to do there, but having the stairs in place, and thus a second way out of the house in case of emergency, is a huge relief.

Up next week is a visit from the Dump Guy, to give us a quote on taking down the shed in the back, similarly damaged in the winds, and hauling it away, along with various repositories of Actual Junk in the garage and elsewhere.

We’re also looking for a return of Jeremy the Landscaping Guy, bearing two red maples (acer rubrum red sunset), and a Snowdance Japanese tree lilac, for the front lawn, the maples to provide shade, and the Snowdancer because it’s gorgeous, and neither one of us could resist the name.  As soon as the City tells us where the sewer and water lines are, we’ll have them planted, and then we can take a breather.

. . .except for getting the book finished and turned in, and three short stories written.  Yeah, yeah, piece o’cake.

Here have a picture of the Hummer Bar:

Today’s blog title brought to you by Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now.”  Here’s your link.

When last we saw our intrepid heroine. . .

. . .she was waiting for the delivery of her Command Chair.

The chair arrived just past 10 am on Wednesday, which you can’t get much more “between 8 am and noon” than that.  It was promptly tested by human and cat — Trooper taking the lead, as he so often does.  There’s a little futzing to be done with the computer table, pretty much we’re set there.

After the chair delivery on Wednesday, Steve and I went to Kennebec Pharmacy and Home Care in Augusta to view knee scooters and other necessary items. There were no scooters on the floor, nor could we view one.  We were told by the breezy clerk that scooters are very popular, that no, there wasn’t one on the floor, that all the scooters were all the same, and that, when someone came in who wanted to rent a scooter (at $120/month, charged by the full month), the guy in the warehouse would put one together and bring it over.  We were also told that Medicare would not cover the scooter rental — which was Actually Good to learn.

Speaking as someone who has managed to arrive at this point in her life without having to interact much with the medical service establishment, I wish that the customer service people would not Just Breeze Through Things, like we’ve all done this before, and not meet newbie questions with impatience or non-answers.  From my perspective, it would make a difficult situation a little less fraught.  I realize that it’s no one’s job to make my life easier or less fraught, but, still…

Anyhow, I was — how to say this gently? — NOT IMPRESSED with the cavalier supposed customer service, so Steve and I left.  On the way home, we stopped at BagelMainea for — bagels!  Fifteen bagels. I feel wealthy.  And very glad to have a freezer.

We also stopped at Home Depot and bought one of the two remaining canopies to install on our deck.  When our neighbors decided to build an addition to their house, they chopped down their Big Tree, which coincidentally shaded our deck. Without the tree, it was too hot to sit on the deck many days, and the canopy is the solution to that problem.

After we got home, and, since Medicare won’t pay to rent a knee scooter, I decided to please myself, and purchased a KneeRover Quad All-Terrain, which will be here at the middle of next week, giving me lots of time to become proficient in its use.

Yesterday, Steve and I (with Scrabble’s supervision) erected the canopy, tested it and found it good.  Today, it is of course, raining, but that’s OK, too.  After a ‘way too wet spring, we’ve been having a too-dry summer, so, Rain Good.

As reported elsewhere, I have been going through the manuscript line-by-line and as soon as I post this blog entry, I’ll get back with that.

Y’all have a good weekend.



Went to a garden party

So, the Authors have been extroverting.  We bought Full Festival Passes for the Twenty-Second Maine International Film Festival, which included a t-shirt, naturally, the sponsorship of one movie, and access to all the rest of the films (10 days! 100 films! eek!), as well as a slew of special events, receptions, and parties.

The film we chose to sponsor is The Fate of Lee Khan, one of the five opening night films.  I do not repent our choice.  We had a great time with this film, picking out similarities to Star Wars, tracing the lines to Crouching Tiger…, and trying to keep track of the double-crosses.  I think we ended up with a quadruple-cross, but somebody might want to view the film and check me on that.

Here’s a link to the trailer.

We also attended a couple of the special events, including a Garden Party, with Brief Remarks, and are planning on attending the reception, concert, and World Movie Premier of The Gathering celebrating the work of Horace Tapscott.

In between all this, Life, and writing, has been going on.  The Nameless WIP  stands at about 81,000 words.  If I get a Turn of Speed, I should be out of this scene today, in draft.  Which will leave The Thrilling Conclusion to be written, and the subplots to be filled in.

Easy-peasy, amirite?

Yeah, right.

Here have a couple of pictures of us at the Garden Party.






Today’s blog post title is brought to you by Ricky Nelson, “Garden Party.”  Here’s your link.

Winter is upon us

It’s snowing today, as it did on Friday.  Apparently, we’re going to have an early and persistent winter.  Well.  Our very first winter in Maine, when we were living in Skowhegan, it snowed every night — sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, every day — and I just figured that it always snowed in the winter, in Maine.  In the years between, we’ve had some winters where we got very little snow, but a lot of cold, a couple of warm winters, a recent winter that dropped ten feet of snow over the course of the season, averaging a few inches every couple days, and a biggish fall once a week.  Very seasonal.  Sigh.

Here at the new house, we can hide the car in the garage, and we have engaged a guy to plow the driveway on a temporary basis, to see if we’re both satisfied with the arrangement.  The front steps are gong to have to be solved.  I may need the War  Engineer to come by and see if he can put a peak over the steps, so that we can at least open the front door from inside, during heavy snowfalls.

And!  This Just In from the Maine Weather Service:  Maine Expected to Get Another Snowstorm Before Thanksgiving.

Winter has also illuminated an unanticipated problem with city living.  We are in a hybrid situation with regard to mail delivery.  Which is to say, we do not have what I think of as a City Mailbox, that hangs on the house near the front door, nor do we have a mail slot in the front door.

What we have instead, is curb-side delivery, like we had out in the country.  Which is fine, the curb’s not that far away, after all, except. . .

Mail is routinely delivered between 4 and 5 pm.  It gets dark in the winter-time at 4:30ish.  We live on a busy road, and while there is a streetlight across the street from our drive, there’s no sidewalk.  Therefore, in order to approach the mailbox, in the winter, when there will be a pile of snow between our driveway and mailbox, we will have to walk out into the road, in the dark.

This seems. . .suboptimal.

So, we’re thinking about moving all of our mail delivery to the post office box, and switching the Informed Delivery Service to that address, so we know when we have to drive out.

I will say that I never considered mail delivery when I was thinking about the potential challenges of returning to city life after a quarter-century in the country.

In another aspect of City Living, I’m actually enjoying going to the gym.  It changes your outlook, when the gym’s a five minute drive, instead of half-an-hour.

So that.

From the writing edge of life, Accepting the Lance is moving along; it’s going to be a long book, I fear, so y’all need to prepare yourselves for that.

I think that’s everything, except for this — a video that Steve and I made for you — yes, you! — to thank you for everything you do.

Here’s your link.


Half a year, here

Today is the semi-anniversary of Steve, me, the cats, and a large cast of characters taking up residence here in the city, at the new! headquarters of the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.

We are extremely fortunate to have found this house, and very fortunate indeed that the series of tightly-reasoned and risky moves that we brought to the board were not derailed by circumstance; that bureaucracy was able to flex with us, rather than against us; and that the Guy Who Knows A Guy Network decided that we Needed Them, and extended the patronage of its members.

We’re pretty much settled, here, though naturally still learning the quirks of a new house (and unlearning the quirks of a house we lived in for a quarter-century).

And, today, in celebration of a milestone — or at least a six-month-stone — There Will Be Pizza, but, mostly, we’ll be writing, and playing with cats, doing chores , and. . .just, yanno, doing what we do.

Everybody have a good weekend.