Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Magic!

Today has been a long time coming.  After a brilliant spring and summer full of adventure and butterfly chasing, it's time to get back to work.  I managed to get some stuff done in writing, and stuff done around the house and garden, but not enough to stay afloat, never mind make progress.  It feels like the beginning of a new year.  Maybe it's the kids still being on a school schedule.  I never escaped the school year calendar system to uninstall it from my brain.  Or it may be the first hints of Wandering.  For those of you unfamiliar with Wandering, it's an autumn thing.  The restless leaves, the morning chill, a special softness to the quality of light, especially at dusk, like glass lightly frosted in blues and salmon pinks, and the warm but urgent wind that inspires an intense desire to journey beyond the horizon line.  The Wandering twinge has tugged a few times already, but faded quickly.  It's early.

Soon now.

But that's not what I wanted to blog about today.  I wanted to talk a bit more about magic. 

Studying physics and engineering in college, plus growing up with an engineer father and a mother whose an RN, has solidly rooted me in science.  I love science.  I love the scientific method, when it's employed properly.  But.  (Yep, you saw that big but coming, didn't ya!)  The scientific method isn't always used properly.  Politics, money, and personal agendas get in the way of learning.  Seriously.  For example, I pity the poor souls who get wrapped up in anything dubbed a paranormal study.  Ridiculed, scoffed-at, with little or no funding, they haven't even had a chance to develop the tools (and the tools are so critical) for examining certain phenomena.  They can't measure a damned thing.  Some have tried, using tools from other disciplines, but this is a lot like trying to learn what elements our sun is composed of using a flashlight, a notepad, a pencil, and duct tape.  Heck, a prism and a bunsen burner would be great, as would some highly refined materials to burn and catalogue, but no, you don't get those.  To add insult to injury, most of the paranormal 'scientists' don't understand the scientific method, or how to measure stuff, or what to measure, developing hypotheses, etc.  Many of them, if they're doctors of anything at all, have no experience in research.  

The reason I've been thinking about all this is because I heard a rumor that finally the medical community will be taking a more extensive and serious look into the placebo effect.  Hopefully that will eventually be something I can mark off my magic list.  Which should clue y'all into what's on my magic list.

On my magic list: 'ghosts' (whatever the heck they are,) healing through prayer/visualization/laying on hands, 'out of body' experiences, phantom predators, what I call deities (which are not omnipotent, btw, at least not to my experience, nor immortal,) the ability to dance longer and harder than I can jog, and other stuff having to do with phantom-ish things like disappearing objects that reappear in the last place I left them.

I would love to check these things off my magic list and have them placed in the known phenomena list, or at least properly explored phenomena list.  In other words, I don't really believe in magical magic as some sort of 'supernatural' force.  It's all natural, baby.  It's all part of this world.  We just don't get it, yet.  

Why is Bigfoot not on my list?  They're too borderline.  First off, they're presumably a living species and therefore that doesn't make them special, just rare, possibly on the verge of extinction.  Ockham's Razor and all--why should Bigfoot be psychic/magical/supernatural but be hairy and stinky like every other living thing?  If they're physical beings they have to have bones, and believe me they couldn't hide them all.  Serial killers have been trying to hide bodies for years.  Eventually, a percentage of those bodies turn up, and with an entire species, I think it would be damned near impossible to hide all the bones.  Now, if I see something, fossilized or other, that suggests that there might be a huge skunk ape running around, I'm all about changing my mind.  But I'm not willing to accept increasingly weird ideas about time travel or dimension-shifting beings until I've seen a Sasquatch or read about confirmed evidence.  I'm willing to entertain the thought that they might exist.  Enough respectable people have come forward claiming to have seen them, or smelled them, or whatever.  But they're not truly magical.  Same with aliens.  They're presumed physical, no, more, presumed to be flesh and blood, even by the people who swear they exist, and so I need some flesh, blood or bone evidence before I'm willing to say okay, I believe they're among us.   

On the other hand, I won't say that they absolutely don't exist, and I won't mock those who believe in them even when they're sounding their most woo woo.  I've seen too much weird stuff in my life.  I'm just not going to hold my breath for the first evidence to show up, and I won't be leaping up and down saying I told you so.  I'll be just as surprised as anyone else in mainstream science, though I admit I'll smile and speak a little blessing to those who knew but couldn't prove it and had been ridiculed up to that point.

Contrast this with healing, or ghosts.  I've healed some pretty serious stuff.  I've seen ghosts.  I've heard them, felt them.  I have corroborating witnesses who saw, heard and felt the same things.  If Amazing Randy was willing to come to my house and set stuff up here, I would have a million dollars right now.  But that's not the deal and that's the trick with 'real' scientists and worse, skeptics who make skepticism a lifestyle, who won't accept any evidence contrary to their beliefs, and scream laboratory conditions are required at the first sign that they might have to touch something they've poo pooed so far.  Now, I rather like Amazing Randy, but things have gotten skewed.  I watched a program once (bear in mind too that his editing team gets to pick and choose what's shown) where he mocked a purported psychic.  Even with Amazing Randy and his editors in total control of what I got to see on tv, they had to admit she got the vast majority of facts right about the person when reading a photograph.  She may have even gotten every one--I don't remember.  It was remarkable.  But she didn't get the one fact that he wanted her to get right, what he thought was the most important fact (the picture was of a serial killer) about the man in the picture.  To him, that proved that she was a fraud.

And that's when I knew he was just as much a fraud as those he wanted to expose.

I could have ghosts screaming through the house knocking on all the walls and I would not get my million dollars, because it wasn't in a lab, nay, not any lab but his lab, to which I would have to fly on my own dime.  I understand that he doesn't want to spend his own money going all over the place, but some things, like Saturn, won't move to a lab for convenient study, not for all the bank accounts in all the world.

Okay, rant over.

I believe there are explanations within the realm of nature for things like ghosts, healing, and what I categorize as religious experiences with intelligent semi-corporeal beings.  It's not all in my head.  For that matter I don't think it's supernatural.  

When someone else hears the knocking and the voices too, it's not just me and it's not mass hysteria when there's nothing to be hysterical about.  Mass hysteria is like swamp gas--a means for people to dismiss something they feel isn't worth pursuing.  If it's not worth pursuing, fine.  If no one ever decides to explore these things, it's really no skin off my back.  Weird stuff happens, and it's not really critical to our survival, though it may have an impact on our experiences after we're dead, if there are any.  (Dead people have long taken a back seat to the living in our modern era.  This may bug them, but neglect of the elderly is pervasive too and I get quite a bit more excited about that than I do about how society deals with issues of afterlife, especially since we haven't even scientifically established that there is one but we definitely do have issues with abuse of the elderly.)  Just don't tell me I'm stupid or crazy for knowing what little I know.

What science doesn't acknowledge or understand, yet is real as far as I can ascertain, I categorize as magic.  I want that list to be small.  I'd like it to be smaller.  Heck, as far as I'm concerned gravity borders on magic.  The 'well' in the space fabric is all fine and good, but what is space fabric and how can it communicate instantly?  No fabric I know of can communicate instantly.  There's a delay as the threads stretch when you deform the surface.  Therefore, it's a magic fabric, the magic fabric of space that no one really understands.  Or, it might be magic graviton particles that communicate instantly in defiance of what we know of physics.  Gravity is clearly real.  The difference is that everyone agrees it's real and is devoting lots of resources to its study, while healing through thoughts/focus/energy is considered bogus or woo woo.

I think the placebo effect is a big piece of thought/focus/energy healing (though it's not the whole shebang--how other people can affect a person without their knowledge is not part of the placebo effect.)  It's encouraging that forays may be made into our understanding of the placebo effect, and that we may be able to employ it and expand on it, make it more powerful so that we can use fewer 'real' drugs, less chemo, less surgery, etc.  To have treated it as a mere artifact since 1955 or whenever seems to me to be a major medical research oversight.  It deserves to be much more than magic.

We may not get to answer all the questions.  There's no rule that says that an offshoot of great apes on planet Earth get to figure everything out.  Some things may remain a mystery forever.  But they may not.  I think we have at least a shot at seeing a glimmer of an answer here and there to even the most complicated, obscure and elusive question marks in the universe.  I believe that most of the time scientists have correctly prioritized our explorations.  We have some big problems that need solutions and big questions that need answers.  Ghosts can wait (at least, I hope we aren't dealing with a big oops on that score.)  In the meantime, I'll have to be satisfied with dealing with them as I've always dealt with them and other magical things--as a bumbling primitive who doesn't really know what's going on, and through trial and error deals with them in such a way that helps the most and hurts the least.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


It's Wednesday already?  Really?  Yikes!

We're gearing up for ABBB.  I've got my list and I'm checking it twice.  

Adventures of the Bug World:  I saw a couple of birds fighting over what I thought was a leaf.  Hmm, odd thing to fight over, and it's not nesting season--and then the leaf skittered in a wind that didn't exist.  And leapt and flipped.  I went to investigate.  It was a praying mantis!  It was pretty riled up, wings cockeyed in every direction, legs splayed, and slightly flattened so that it could cling closer to the ground.  Truth be told I thought it had been squished.  But I offered it my keys and it came along for a ride from the Home Depot parking lot where I found it, all the way home, where it's now on some tall stonecrop making like a leaf.  

They're my favorite bugs.  Awesome.  Now that I know how they puff up to make themselves big and low profile at the same time, I think they're even more awesome.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Learn Like the Wind!

I'll be at Sport of Kings this weekend, an SCA event that promises fun and learning.

Learning.  It's one of those critical things that people do every day.  Some of them don't notice it.  They're reinforcing habits, entrenching their points of view, defining who they are by what they do.  Although I know lots of people watch a lot of television, I don't believe that this nation is comprised entirely of couch potatoes with nothing better to do than work and television, but I'm rather the optimist.  

Anyway, ideally, given a choice between doing the same thing (and doing it better each time, presumably,) and doing something even a little bit new, there are advantages to doing the new thing.  It's more data into the system, and that forms new connections in the brain.  More connections=healthier brain.  Mix it up--physical, spiritual, intellectual, relationship/social--and you have a much more complex and healthy brain.  This is a good thing.  Research is showing that the more games you play, the more people you have in your social network, the more things you do outside, and the more introspection you do, the better your brain is able to bounce back from problems.  The big scary (which we all have a 10% chance of contracting and those with genetic factors have a 20% chance) is Alzheimers.  Guess what?  Some people with that disease don't seem to suffer very many ill effects.  What kind of people?  Yep.  The folks who go out birdwatching, and play chess with people from around the world, who learn how to play sudoku one afternoon and go through a bunch of books before they move on, the ones who volunteer ... sometimes they go undiagnosed until after death occurs from other causes.

Besides, learning is fun.  I can learn stuff from the television and books, but to make it really stick it's important to apply it in some way.  Researching and then writing stories.  Reproducing a historical costume.  Playing a game against a challenging opponent, or just an opponent that interacts.

I wonder if the Italian Renaissance came about not just from the discoveries of a few men, but because the social demands and interactions were so complex that people's minds expanded with synaptic complexity before unknown to man.  To be 'someone' you had to have knowledge in science, poetry, music, religion, art, fashion, food/wine, politics, foreign languages and manners.  Martial skills were often admired in the men, and women could add textile arts to their domain.  They didn't just read about these things.  They applied them.

In our information-saturated society, we have an opportunity for another explosion in our capacity to understand and be.  We can't be passive about absorbing this information, though.  Political commentators are our enemies in this regard--handing our opinions to us.  Even the media will not be helpful.  Besides, I know how much they set things up and lie--it's ridiculous all the things they stage and edit to go a certain way, just like reality tv does.  The media is no more reliable than hitting random on a Google search--their purpose is to make money, not transmit real news.  To really learn and gain the benefits of learning we have to become active explorers into our world, through travel or communication with real people who are living and working in the situations we're interested in, in short by finding trustworthy sources who have more at stake than a 15 minute news spot to fill.  But I digress a bit.  We can learn lots of kewl stuff, more than our ancestors could have ever dreamed of, and then we can do neat things with that knowledge.  It's good for individuals, and it's great for society.  It's all good.  We like the good.

I'll be back with a post on Monday.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Long Hello

Rory came in late last night.  It's pretty amazing.  In some ways it feels like he's never left, and in others--I'm still a bit startled to see him when I go into a room, or when I hear his voice and it isn't interrupted by static or drop outs.  

The kids are happy too.  Everyone's all smiles.  The next few months will probably be a challenge as we figure out poopyheaded work stuff, but we're just starting out on a new adventure and we feel equal to the challenge.

In other news I got a new assignment for my master's class in the fall, so I'll be devoting some time to that over the next couple of days.  And then, Sport of Kings!  Which we'll need some additional clothes for.  This is an SCA event and normally I link to all this stuff, but I want to get back to my whole family all together in one house.  Even if it's just to mess around in the kitchen.  I know if I look out the doorway, he'll be there.  Makes me grin every time.  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Home of Dreams

The dogs are rampaging.  This cooler weather has made everyone more active than usual.  We're all blackberry hacking, lawn mowing, house cleaning fools around here.  We even went to the laundromat and did all the bedding.  Or maybe it's not the weather.  Maybe aliens downloaded Pride and Prejudice (the 2005 movie) into my brain.  (Sorry, love Colin Firth, but not in the 1995 P&P movie and that sunk it for me.  Sling rotten veggies at me all you like, you can't make me like his performance better.)

Why P&P rather than, say, The Stepford Wives?  It's the architecture, the elegance, the open spaces and beautiful things that aren't too crowded, but aren't too sparse.  It about having power and affecting the world rather than being a slave to it.  And why the movie rather than the book?  Much as I enjoyed 99% of the book, the ending left me with a bad taste in my mouth because Lizzy fell in love with Mr. Darcy after she saw his beautiful home.  There's little or nothing between the lines to imply that what she saw there filled in his character and told her what he really was in his soul.  It read like plain old greed, at least to me.  In the movie, on the other hand, not only did they fill in all kinds of beautiful expressions and wow, chemistry throughout, but when Lizzy went through his house it was like she was exploring him.  Total foreplay on the screen.
Anyway, I want the house to be less of a nest and more of an expression of me.  I've been nudging it in that direction for some time, but this last week I've been digging deeper.  In writing terms, I'm making my setting more rich, and suggesting character through environment.  

I have lots of cans of paint and I'll probably lavish some on the walls upstairs, but not tomorrow because tomorrow, my first, last and only true love is coming home!!
Which is probably the root of the reason of why I'm going crazy with the clean up, but then again I usually go on a cleaning spree 24 hours prior to a big event, not building up over the course of a couple of weeks, and it's usually a pretty barbaric sort of cleaning.  This is like spring equinox and Lady's Day (May Day) combined.  There's a festival air and sacred breeze flowing all around us.

Yayness!  Bless his flight, and bless his life.  Welcome home, my beloved.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Slow Progress: Better than No Progress

Yesterday I felt like I made some headway.  The Cavalry is home, if squeaky when cold, and runs very reliably.  Starts right up, and does not protest its work.  They let us off more cheaply than they estimated, so that was a welcome relief.  It got through its emissions test with flying colors.  Now I have to get it re-registered.  Its registration expired a long time ago (didn't make sense to renew its registration when it wasn't running--but it's still insured.)

I still don't feel right, but it's only been a short time.  Just under a week.  I've got the hyper-vigilance thing going on the road.  Probably not a bad thing.  

I have to get some writing done today.  Have to.  I've been writing every day (well, more like editing every day) but it feels picky instead of, I dunno, flowy.  It's not even a zone thing.  I can get into my writing zone pretty easily.  I think I'm just impatient with my progress.  If I had several good hours in a row to devote to it ... but that's not quite it either.  I worked on one of my novels during O&A's fencing practice, and the hour flew by.  I thought it was weird that the class ended that soon, until I stood up and realized my butt was numb.  I think I'm putting in more writing time than I realize.  It's just slow going right now.  I suspect that when I'm concentrating my thinking is slower than usual.  It's not some sort of faulty perception.  It probably has everything to do with my persistent low blood pressure.  I'm sure I edit fewer pages per hour than I normally do.  This too will get better.  I just hate for so many aspects of my life to be affected by the accident.  Yet another exercise in patience, I guess.

Thanks to everyone for your encouraging words and well-wishes.  I really appreciate it.  Thanks to you I don't feel alone and at a loss.  I have all kinds of hope that everything will be all right in the end.  And it's been good for me to look on the brighter side of things.  Yay, I'm alive and relatively unhurt!  Yay, no more car payments!  Yay, I have transportation!  And especially yay for reminding me that these things happen, that I wasn't reckless or unlucky or dumb.  If anything, it sounds like I'm a late-bloomer in the whole totaled car thing.  Live and learn. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Recovering is kind of an odd word if you think about it.  In reference to life and living, it makes it sound as if covering is the normal state--both in the sense that you're doing everything that has to be done (or that you're doing stuff for other people, or maybe covering for yourself, but not actually doing what you want and love,) and a strange metaphorical sense that life is a facade, a cover, for something else that's more real.  Or maybe it's a combative thing--you're defended, your targets covered.  I could look at the etymology but it's more fun to speculate at this point.

Anyway, I am.  Recovering.  Dire car news is less dire than I feared.  The car repair to have a working car is not good--timing chain (it did not break, yay! but it and all its little timing chain accessories had to be replaced.)  Timing chain stuff is expensive.  The labor just to get to them and then get back out is much of the problem.  There's an old water pump along the way.  We're having that replaced too, since the DeathMobile is going to be our primary car.  

The car needs a new name.  It no longer smells like dead mouse.  I'm thinking the Cavalry, since it's coming to our rescue.  And it needs its registration renewed.  It's still insured, so no fuss with that.  Just have to get it home.  They guesstimated that would be sometime today.

My head hurts less, and my appetite has improved.  No neck pain, not much soreness, though I did discover that I hit my shoulder and elbow.  Didn't notice at the time.  Weirdly, I'm still dizzy (probably that low blood pressure) and I'm afraid to exercise.  I know, it's early, but I really do love to run.  It had been so long, and to have the accident so soon after my very first run in years ... there's no correlation in my mind as far as running caused the accident or whatever.  The fear stems from this dizziness.  What is my body telling me?  Is it saying you're getting better, you're fine so it's time to have some fun running by the river and you'll perk right up, or is it saying stuff is still wrong, you need to rest and if you push it you'll pass out?

I don't know.  If I know what's up inside me I can judge what to do.  I don't know what's causing the low blood pressure, and I don't know how far my head injuries go.  They could be just skin and a few blood vessels, or it could be something minor inside that might become a more serious problem if I push it.  I guess I just have to err on the side of caution.

My running shoes and the dog leash are by the door, waiting.  I miss them.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Food for Thought

I don't want to eat.  

I don't want to sound like a whiny baby, but I try to be honest on my blog and this is honest.  I was in a car accident yesterday.  I bumped my head.  I'm fine, and my doc and the EMTs checked me out--my health is okay except a little bruise and low blood pressure that's making me light-headed, medical is all taken care of, insurance guys are on the case with the car.  But the red car is totaled.  And it was a newish car, so we still owe a lot on it and its gone just like that.  

I had my cry.  All done with that.  But now comes the staring part, the unsure what to do part, and nothing in the fridge or freezer looks good.  I feel like I've been on the phone for days.  Weird things make me smile.  The idea of a purple PT Cruiser with paisley decals parked in the driveway and my DH's "you didn't" expression, and then me saying just kidding--waving a wand and it vanishes like smoke.  Walking on the shore of the Columbia River, playing with the dogs, the whole family together, sandy toes, artful smears of river mud on our faces.  Watching swallows from the deck (I actually did that for a while today--there's a couple dozen out there right now.)  Imagining the red car is fine, still in the driveway, and that I can just drive it down into town and pick up a prescription if I want.  A magic cloud with a voice like a violin drifting down and with three words making the repairs on the car of death (called that because a mouse died in the ventilation system and stank there forever) a tenth of the quote I got today.  Thinking about fixing up the No-Go and driving it again.  Starting a new job.  Being at the writer's class on the coast.  Picking up my DH at the airport and everything is done, all good, nothing to see here citizen.

I'm going to make myself eat something.  I don't know what.  Something with protein.  I'm just so tired.  Beaten.  Some things aren't covered by insurance.  We'll be paying for a car that doesn't exist.  I can't fix this.  I just have to do the best I can.  I have all kinds of plans.  Maybe tomorrow I can make some of them into reality, but for now, I think I should have some fish and veggies and drink lots of water and maybe write about someone who has way worse problems than me, and a lot more resilience. 

Saturday, August 08, 2009

All My Children

We've almost gotten all the tansy out of both pastures.  That's where most of it was.  We figure tomorrow morning we'll have it all done.  Our neighbors plan to have their lower west field cleared this weekend.  It all comes together at once, like poetry, only with sweat.

O bought his first piece of furniture with his own money.  I think it'll work well for him, a kind of portable mini-papasan chair.  He's so happy and proud, justifiably so.  He got it very inexpensively, and it was love at first sight, the way lasting purchases ought to be.  It fits in his room, with his room, like it's always been there.  I suspect it will not only follow him to college, but into his first apartment and maybe beyond, one of those things his first live-in girlfriend will tell him is way past throwing out but he'll hang onto it even though it's threadbare and has a smell.

Lately, though I've been trying to be more and more frugal, it feels like money is pouring out of my accounts.  Part of that is car stuff, and part is animal stuff.  Carey, our fluff-fluff, is very ill.  She started looking a bit raggedy a couple of weeks ago.  The vet has done blood work and we're anxiously waiting on results.  She's lost over four of her original 11 pounds she had when she was at a healthy weight and fully recovered from her bout as abandoned outdoor kitty.  You can feel her spine clearly when you pet her.  The vet gave her a camelback (fluid infusion) and that helped perk up her appetite.  She ate twice today, much more than she has in a while.  She's going to be on rich, fatty wet food and restricted to A's room so we can monitor all her stats.  The vet told us one of three common things might be responsible for her rapid weight loss--thyroid, cancer and diabetes, in order of likelihood for a kitty of her age.  I didn't like to see cancer as #2.  My mom has a kitty with thyroid problems and that would be something I could deal with.  It was wonderful how quickly Lady bounced back once she was on the right meds.  

Anyway, the other animal thing is that Dakota (who is doing well, don't fret) needs a wellness check and arthritis check in order for the vet to be able to legally extend her arthritis med prescription.  I doubt he'll order any changes, but it's a necessary formality, as in if anyone catches a vet prescribing meds to an animal s/he hasn't seen within a certain time, that's considered malpractice.  Dakota has been camping with us and seemed to enjoy it.  I expect she'll hop right into the car expecting more camping fun, and will be terribly disappointed.

We're still working on getting the garden and house ready for ABBB.  It's a huge job.  Safety is the primary focus of the garden, with appearance coming second.  That's good news for the western goldfinches, who are enjoying the thistle seeds throughout the garden.  They'll be working off of a depleted supply before too long, as those are pokey plants and I don't want anyone walking the paths to get scratched up.  But mainly we need clear stairs with flat surfaces (level molehills, fill mole holes, weed wack,) mowed pathways (so that people recognize sudden changes in grade,) and blackberry access (so that they aren't tempted to lean out to get berries--I want berries in easy reach, no guests falling into blackberry patches please!) and a completely weed-free firepit area to reduce fire danger.  In the house I need the kitchen and bathrooms to be spotless, floors to be completely clear of anything trippable, all tabletops clear so we have places to put food and drinks, beg borrow and steal chairs from wherever I can get them, arrange furniture for lots of open spaces, and steam cleaning the carpet so that folks with animal allergies are a little more comfortable.  

Piece of cake.

Sometimes all that plus prepping for an important sekrit arrival to the household plus trying to have something approximating a writing career plus fretting about whether I'll get a job offer before we spiral into financial oblivion plus volunteering for a big job for OryCon (head of programming) plus trying to keep the kids engaged in stuff that'll be good for them (SCA, fencing) feels like too much.  But I haven't started drowning yet and I don't think anything has is being seriously neglected, so I must be doing okay.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hippo Birdies Two Ewes

Happy birthday to Selene, JV, and my great-aunt.  Yes, the August Babies have already begun counting in their birthdays.  Some of them I've forgotten the exact date, others are burned into my mind, in no apparent order or with any reason or rhyme.  Your parents knew how best to occupy themselves on those longest nights of the year.

We're still pulling tansy from our pastures, and when we're done that won't be the end of it.  Sadly, there's more scattered on the trails through the blackberries (and some are unreachable in the middle of the blackberries) and in my garden.  I talked to my neighbor across the fence--they're pulling the last of theirs out of the lower west pasture sometime this weekend.  If we can bear the thought, the next step is to ask our neighbor on the other side if he needs help with his.  He's been here for over thirty years now, and due to his age I don't think he can manage even an hour out there pulling by hand.  Maybe he can mow it--it'll come back, but weaker, reducing the overall seed load.  Either way, it's best if it goes away.

There's a fun side-benefit--tansy ragweed attracts bees and beneficial wasps.  With all the local tansy pulled, they'll gravitate to my lavender, squashes, tomato, oregano, mint, blanketflower, echinacea, farewell-to-spring, and all the other stuff that's in bloom right now that self-seeds.  Hopefully we'll have more of these lovely and useful plants popping up everywhere, and less blackberry seedlings.  There eeeevvryweeeaaar, the wee little blackberry seedlings and they make me craaaaaazy!!  As if we didn't have enough blackberries around here.

Which brings me back to ABBB--traditionally, we have blackberry milkshakes, and sometimes I get pie crusts and make homemade blackberry pies.  Well, this year we may be all done with the best of the blackberry crop.  We'll see.  If it rains between now and then, poof!  The berries get very watery and many of them mold, spoiling our fun.  That's one of the hazards of having the party later in the month.  On the good side, though--we may have early grapes.  Yum!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Time to Write

I'm at the Fat Straw, prepping to write.  Today I'm writing about a woman with no legs, and I'll possibly go into writing about a woman who has nasty symbols burned into the front of her body if I have time.  I'm also staring at a deadline.  I've crossed the finish line, but I let the manuscript ferment for a bit and I'll taste it today to see if it's ready to go.  If it is, I'll send it out, as I got pinged the other day reminding me that the story is due by September 1.  Piece of cake.  If I'm not done dithering by then, I can't call myself a pro.

Mixed in with all these writing tasks, I've got a field riddled with tansy ragweed that has to get cleaned up before the flowers go to seed.  Sometimes it feels like an uphill task, I mean, for metaphorical reasons, not just because the field is on a hill.  Our neighbors have a field full of tansy ragweed too.  They usually get rid of it early and we're the ones at the eleventh hour pulling things up, shoving the ones gone to seed already into big plastic bags.  Not this year.  We're a little ahead of our usual MO, they're way behind.

It's not fruitless, though, just aggravating.  Like the necessity of marketing--it'll never go away.  Even if I manage to find an agent, I'll still have to send short stories out, write query letters, synopses and proposals, make phone calls, do business.  Would I rather just write?  Heck yeah.  I'd rather just do my regular gardening too, instead of sweating out in the pasture pulling up stuff that shouldn't be there in the first place.  But it's part of owning land, and marketing is part of writing.  You just gotta do it.

On the plus side it's cooled down locally.  Very pleasant writing weather, pleasant gardening weather especially in the early evening, when it's still light outside but the birds are trying out their night songs, and the moon is like a rosy pearl, and it's too bright for stars.  That's my favorite time to be out, as long as I remembered to spray on some bug juice.

It's still bright and warm outside now, but it feels like the perfect hour.  Time to write.