The goats are all fattened up and ready for a long winter. They put on more wool and more fat than other years. I think they know something we don't ...
We had just a couple of inches of snow, much of which got melted by rain. Today I got to enjoy one of my favorite sorts of days: patches of sunlight and clouds, no wind, golden light on snow, blue sky shining through icicles, and occasional bouts of snow coming from silver and white puffballs floating overhead.
The chickens spent most of their day sunning themselves by the house. When a particularly dark cloud went overhead, the roosters all crowed, and then crowed again when the sun came back. They worked great as an alarm so I knew when it was time to head out and take a little walk around the garden.
They got frozen grapes for a treat. I hadn't meant to freeze them--I just missed a few bunches, and since half the bright yellow leaves have now fallen off the grapes (the leaves are falling off the beech tree like rain now that we've had some serious cold) I discovered them.
Not pictured: Brian and Finn chasing each other around the yard in the snow. Beautiful white fluffy dogs enjoying the perfect day.
I've had to modify my writing goal this month to be more in keeping with the traditional Nanowrimo word count rather than my 100,000 word goal--and I think I'll be lucky to make it. I should have been well over 25,000 words by now, and I'm not quite there yet. Hopefully a couple of days of dedicated writing will fix that.
In legal news, which I haven't been able to talk about, a lawsuit has settled out of court. It's a huge weight off of my shoulders. I don't think it was particularly fair, but I'll settle for no-longer-stressful (and we're fine--this didn't affect anything except my moral sensibilities.)
So the two days I'd asked off so that I could be dragged kicking and screaming to court are now available for writing and preparing for our house guest.
The kids are doing really well, we're doing well (we're going to survive to the end of the year, yay!) and life is pretty good. I'll definitely be counting a lot of blessings on Yule.
It's a beautiful evening with big, fat, sloppy snowflakes falling outside. It's a hot chocolate with a giant marshmallow nuked on top kind of night, a writing night, a reading night. It's a night for sitting in the living room with the lights turned out, watching the deck light reflect off of frosted leaves and buried deck spars.
Orycon 32-- had a wonderful time. The Endeavor Award party was packed into a pretty small room, but we managed to all squeeze in. I met some wonderful people, including a mask artist. We got into a great conversation about masks, which led to some new ideas for Masks .... I had to go to the dealer's room and not buy beautiful, wearable art that I can't afford.
Sharyn November, btw, is funny. Great interview by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Sharyn talked about her history in poetry, as a member of rock bands, and how she developed her line of books. The way she works with her authors--on a very personal and yet profession level, sharing a love of the art and the story on the page while working hard to reach the reader--really heartened me. I hope the publishing world is full of people like her. And yet, of course, they can't be. I'm sure there are tons of excellent editors, but clearly, Sharyn November is one of a kind.
Best of all, I had great talks about writing with Mary Rosenblum and Sara Mueller that may push my writing to the next level, after a long plateau. Wish me luck!
November is such a mess, it's a wonder I'm getting any writing done at all. But I keep on keeping on, and I think the reason has changed just a wee bit. Normally I write because I love writing. Now, writing is actually helping with my mental health.
My DH is being awesome on that front too. He's helping me focus on the right stuff instead of worrying in endless, useless circles. We're still making progress on the porch, and my office, and the house is starting to look spiffy. It's all good, though I have so much pressure from so many fronts--legal, work, social/volunteer, etc.--I'm starting to get stress symptoms. Bad dreams. Cranky tummy. Weird aches and pains.
Some of the stress will go away with Thanksgiving. The time pressure--too much to do, too little time--is not going to let up until December at the very earliest, and probably not until the bitter, cold end of December. So I have to identify and assess down time--what truly qualifies as down time, and what is the highest quality down time. For example, watching good movies really relaxes me, but that feeling doesn't last as long as when I garden.
Writing is turning out to be really high quality down time with long-reaching positive benefits. When I was writing full time, writing was work time. Really fun work time, but I had to organize stretching, snack breaks, running errands, doing housework, etc. around my BICFOK (Butt in Chair Fingers on Keyboard.) And I had to organize computer time around computer time--differentiating offline actual words on page vs. research, networking, communication, marketing, all that good stuff.
Now writing is a retreat. After a long stretch of writing, I have the energy to tackle other stuff. It's actually a subtle difference, because I always enter and then emerge from other worlds when I'm doing the novel thang. That stays the same. I guess it's one of those absence makes the heart grow fonder things. I don't take writing time for granted, therefore it feels more like a treat to be able to write. And I'm happy after I have my treat. It's as if writing suddenly got dipped in chocolate. It may also have possibly been dipped in nuts, but so far my flow still feels okay. I just hope it reads okay.
I'm looking forward to lots more treats tomorrow. I have a rare day off. Wee!
The boy is sad, so I brought home comfort food: fried chicken. I know, we're not doing it right because in order to be complete it should come with warm buns, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy. But basically we're a bunch of carnivores around here, so we have the chicken and the rest is just extraneous.
A conversation between a mother and her teenage son at the register at work today:
The boy said, "I know exactly what I want for my 101st birthday."
Mother: "If I'm alive, I'll get it for you."
He looked startled at the thought she might not be around.
"It's not out of the question," I offered.
The mother smiled at that. "I suppose not."
"I plan to live to be over three hundred," the boy said.
"People don't live that long," she said.
I had to wonder, though. Medicine is advancing at a rapid pace, though to us old people and to people with serious or terminal illnesses, it's not moving fast enough. This kid is only in his mid-teens.
What will we discover in ten years? Twenty?
What will our life expectancies be in a hundred years?
It's all about living and loving in the Pac NW with all me aminals, especially the human beans. A husband, two kids, five dogs, five goats, four cats and a chicken (I should dress her up as a partridge for ... er, never mind) make for a busy life, even if I didn't like to write and paint. Did I say like? Obsess. I obsess to write and paint.