@#$%^ Technical Difficulties

Just discovered that the bonus page for mailing list subscribers (*waves*) is…broken? But only sometimes? How long has it been like that? WHO KNOWS?! Why is it like that? EXCELLENT QUESTION!

So. Had to code a new page of html (rather than using a WordPress page) and do the password protection through the main site controls. Which, incidentally, requires me to set up a username as well. So now the link AND the login will be different.

*runs screaming into the distance*

Those of you on the mailing list will be getting the new login details in an upcoming email. I have corrected the information in the message for new members. I have tested it and found it to be working. I have sobbed into my keyboard.

I’ll keep the old page up for those who have bookmarked it, with a redirect to the proper place.

I didn’t know I was signing up to be a web admin when I started telling stories. I might have reconsidered, had I known.

I’m really, really sorry, people. I swear, I’m doing my best.

 

 

Everything Is Boring, Everything Is Fascinating

Growing up, most children seem to have at least a brief phase when they want a pony. There’s a good market out there for horse-related products aimed at little girls. Have a pink sparkle unicorn school binder, a Breyer collectible, and a coloring book. Because while this passion for horses is some kind of truth of childhood (at least in the US), very few children will ever get that real pony with a ribbon around her neck.

Unless, of course, you grow up on a horse ranch like I did.

(For reference, ponies frequently have appalling personalities and a propensity for bad behavior. They are little balls of fluff and rudeness.) Whatever else can be said about my social life during grade school, this aspect of my life had some serious value to some of my classmates. At least one girl maintained a casual friendship with me for the sole purpose of being invited over to see the horses on a Saturday afternoon.

I, however, couldn’t have been more bored. Horses meant corrals to be cleaned, emergency drives to the equine hospital, and parents occupied with caring for someone else for most of the day. They were the permanent baby siblings I hadn’t exactly signed on for. I saw our horses every day. I liked them, or didn’t, on an individual basis. That baby kicked me and I’m holding a grudge. This one makes a funny face if I tickle his nose right. Horses could be fun, or annoying, or upsetting, or calming. They were never fascinating, though.

(Truth: I did, nonetheless, collect Breyers. Toy horses have significantly fewer annoyances associated with them.)

To this day, I forget. I forget that my lifestyle is special and unusual to other people. I forget that they want to hear about it and understand the secrets I take for granted. I forget that, just as I am weirdly interested in the daily lives of mechanics and painters and trash collectors, other people are interested in the daily life of a rancher. (Or a writer.) Only when something goes wrong do I remember that horses are strange and delicate and complex, harder to fix than I would like, and that life with them is anything but dull.

I forget that everything is boring and everything is fascinating, depending on who is doing the living and who is doing the looking.

Some day in the future, space travel with be an annoying routine. People will complain about the traffic at the space station and the line of ships backed up at the wormhole entrance. They’ll complain that the food synthesizer on board is making everything taste like licorice AGAIN. Exploring new planets will be someone’s daily grind. It has very little to do with the reality and everything to do with our perceptions. Do something enough and it becomes boring. Invisible. Often, catastrophe is the only thing strong enough to shake us up: scare us, and we start to look at our own lives with the eyes of strangers.

Humans will need to remember: anything can be boring, anything can be fascinating. If we forget, life has a way of sending a little mayhem in to remind us.

New Book: Local Forecast

So, this is sort of a weird and unexpected development. The story I sent out back in January didn’t make the cut for the magazine. (At this point, I’m using this story to take a break from the stories I’m using as a break from…You know what? Forget it. I’m just doing this thing right now, and then I’ll do something else. It’s too confusing otherwise.)

While I’m disappointed that the story didn’t make it in–I had been looking forward to working with this particular editor–I’m not unhappy with the story. It has space whales. I mean, that’s the best way to describe something very large in open space, making unusual noises and encountering unwary ships.

Rather than send it out for another round, I shined it up and I’m publishing it myself. It should be out next week; I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, wanna see?

forecastAMZcover

When investigating a disturbance in unexplored, unclaimed space, a desensitized space miner discovers something very live and very large that might doom her…or save her from another unseen threat.

Space whale. I told you this singing comet story would end up doing something to my brain. It’s not mermaids, but close enough.

Bottle Koi

bottle koi 2

For my birthday this year, one of the places I went was a miniature house shop. That’s where I got the tiny bottle pictured above. They had fliers announcing the annual miniature show in town a month later. Since I have an alarming fondness for very tiny things, I went to that too.

A kind lady gave me a little cup of the tiny koi she makes by hand. She doesn’t actually sell them; they’re just her supplies for making other things. It was a very exciting gift. So I thought I would combine the two.

bottle koi 1 bottle koi 3 bottle koi 4

I used a one-part resin to fill the bottle and give the koi the “water” it’s suspended in. The air bubbles were intentional, though it took some work to figure out how to introduce them properly. Then I made a bail with some gold wire.

It’s the first time I’ve done jewelry work since moving. Apart from having to actually dig out all my supplies, I discovered that my hands have lost some of their “working with fiddly things” muscle tone. It took a long time to wrap the wire, because my hands kept cramping.

bottle koi 5

This first one is hanging as a decoration, because I don’t really need more necklaces. I’m considering turning two of the others into a set of earrings, though. (Not that I really need more of those, either.)

The real problem is going to be when I run out of tiny koi and can’t get more. Should my next craft skill be clay modelling?

Tibbs, 1999-2015

Yesterday, I had to put down my cat, Tibbs. He had been doing poorly for a few days and going rapidly downhill. It turned out to be a tumor in his abdomen, and there really wasn’t anything else to be done.

I adopted Tibbs when I was thirteen. I wasn’t supposed to get a cat that day. I had been researching cats–for some reason, I thought buying a purebred was a thing I should do???–and biding my time. I was definitely (especially according to my father) not supposed to go to the pet store for a rescue agency’s adoption day. I ended up with an armful of VERY ANXIOUS four-month-old cat. He was clinging, though, not trying to escape, so of course I said, oh, yes, this neurotic furball, this is the one for me.

Tibbs turned out to have a few health problems the rescue hadn’t noticed. Like the cold that made him sneeze so hard, he gave himself nosebleeds and sprayed a mist of blood on my bedroom walls. Or the raging case of ringworm. He gave that to me, which meant medicated baths for both of us for weeks. Baths were the first in a string of things that should have upset him and mostly just didn’t.

Tibbs was a grumpy old man since kittenhood. He picked fights with my pit bull. He hated my girlfriends, which he expressed by cornering them in hallways and shredding pictures of them. (Not at the same time, which would have been an impressive display of hostility and planning, even for him.) His calm disinterest in my best friend was a roaring success. He was a cat with opinions, almost all of them haughtily negative.

He enjoyed suffocating me in my sleep by draping himself over my head. He liked to wake me by gnawing on my jewelry and battering at the door. He liked dried lavender even more than catnip.

I thought I would lose him a year and a half ago when he got a serious UTI. I thought I would lose him when I hauled him 200 miles north to live in a tiny trailer for six months. I thought I would lose him when the summer temperatures reached 114 on a daily basis. He shrugged all that off. I got a year and half more than I had expected even in my wildest dreams.

He had a good life and a decent death. This, then, is the fabled good end I’ve wished for so many times before when writing here. I’m still just as sad, but it’s a clean sadness, untainted by rage and helplessness. This is as good as it can ever get in a mortal world.