Monthly Archives: March 2009

What I Read This March

Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon
Sylvester by Georgette Heyer
The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (reread)
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Foundation by Mercedes Lackey
Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris
Good Enough by Paula Yoo
The Tower Room by Adele Geras
Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (reread)
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Greener Shore by Morgan Llywelyn
Princess in Training by Meg Cabot
Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
Bread Alone by Judith Hendricks
Princess on the Brink by Meg Cabot
Sweet Sixteen Princess by Meg Cabot
Night Train to Memphis by Elizabeth Peters
The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
Silhouette In Scarlet by Elizabeth Peters
The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith
Street of Five Moons by Elizabeth Peters
Party Princess by Meg Cabot
Princess in Training by Meg Cabot
Pride & Prejudice & Jasmin Fields by Melissa Nathan
Chicks With Sticks (It’s a Purl Thing) by Elizabeth Lenhard
Scott Pilgrim 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley

My gods. Thirty-one. That’s one a day.

Um, yeah. Pretty much all I did this month was turn my brain off and read if I wasn’t working. I read most if not all of a book at bedtime each night because I didn’t have the energy to do anything else, and my brain was too awake to fall asleep easily. The library loves me; I love the library. They’re literally saving me, because I don’t have the money to buy books.

I finally read my first Georgette Heyer! I will read more.

I read the last three novels in the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi, despite telling myself that I should really space them out to enjoy them one at a time. I’m sure I would have enjoyed them that way, too.

Why do I still read Mercedes Lackey? Is it because I keep hoping I’ll enjoy it as much as I did when I was seventeen?

I also finally decided to read the sequel to Twilight. It was better, although I still rolled my eyes a lot when the tragic hero re-entered the scene. I find the references to classic love stories and comparisons between the contemporary storyline and classic heroines and heroes really clunky. Meyer seems to undercut her own writing somehow. It will be working, actually flowing, and then she’ll do something that sinks it by using cliche or something, and it stumbles along that way for a while before it begins to creep back, only to run headlong into cliche again. It’s frustrating.

I wanted to like The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency much more than I did. Oh, well.

Hello, Day-After-Deadline

This is the day where I wander around aimlessly because what’s been driving me for however long I’ve been handling the project is gone, but I don’t have the brainpower to start something else up again right away. This time it isn’t so bad, as it’s only been two months, but it’s enough to make me need a bit of a time before jumping into something different. I can’t completely break with the project mentally yet, either, as my editor will be getting back to me today or tomorrow with her initial response.

I need to reinitialise my freelancing gig again, and I have to get back into the headspace to revise Orchestrated. I scheduled collating and calculating all my 2008 receipts for the taxes for this week, so I need to get into the headspace for that, too. Today, however, is my official Do-Nothing Day. Which of course means I’ll do other stuff like wash dishes and empty the dishwasher and make bread and plan out an Actual Meal Of Some Kind for dinner instead of kitbashing an hour before the meal. I should practise, as well. Not that I haven’t played tonnes of cello over Friday/Saturday/Sunday, but there were a couple of new things assigned at my last lesson that I haven’t even looked at yet.

Now I need to select and print some photos to go out with a small package. One of the things I need to do is hit the post office today, so hopefully the sun will come out again because I don’t want to go out into the cold, damp, dark day, even if I’ll be on the bus for a bit of it. I’m tired of being chilled.

(Oh, hell; my colour cartridge is out of one ink, so the colour is totally off. Looks like the yellow, as the resulting test picture is eerily purple. So much for photos. Gnarr.)



Intro complete, bios in, story order rocks, spreadsheet final. Except now there’s the editorial memo/cover letter, which always takes longer to write than it ought.

Two hours later: Done, done, done, and handed in! (Okay, there was an hour-long break to do some divination work for a different cause in there, so it didn’t actually take two hours.)

Oh, hell. I haven’t thought about what to make for supper. *headdesk*

Weekend Roundup, Featuring A Concert Review

Fabulous weekend!

I freely and cheerfully admit that I was completely and utterly wrong about the quality of performance at this concert. It was a most excellent evening — it blew us all away, musicians and audience alike. This conductor really knew her stuff; she trusted us more than we trusted ourselves. And what astounds me is that she didn’t know us, beyond observing a rehearsal or two previous to her turn at bat. We pulled it off, thanks to her, to her faith and her leadership and her solid preparation. In the end, this was not in fact the concert to miss if you had to miss one, as most of my regular concertgoers ended up having to do thanks to other responsibilities.

There were over a hundred people in the audience, which was wonderful too. I’m glad so many people got to experience it. My deepest thanks go out to MLG, HRH, and the boy, who were my own personal cheering section in the back corner. I saw the boy standing on his seat to applaud wildly after the first half of the programme, which made me grin so hard I thought I’d strain a muscle. And on the way home he was singing to himself in the back seat. We asked him what he was singing and he said, “I don’t know.” We listened closely and realised that he was singing the bell theme from the Carillon at the end of the L’Arlesienne suite. My heart just about burst. I was extremely proud of him and of how he behaved.

The only mishap on the part of the celli (and the biggest musical mishap concert-wide, I think) was that we completely and utterly missed our cue for the celli treble clef solo in the middle part of the Carillon. We were counting, and then we heard the oboe playing, and I thought, Hmm, I don’t remember the oboe playing here. And then the principal and I suddenly looked at one another out of the corner of our eyes, because we realised that we’d missed our entrance. It would have sounded awful if we’d jumped in, so we all let the oboe have a lovely solo. Who knew they played the same line we did? The conductor laughed about it once we were done, as did all of the celli. No harm done, but terribly amusing after weeks and weeks of work on that line and hitting the entrance every time. I think this version was nicer anyway; much gentler and more nostalgic.

Sunday morning was the monthly meeting of the Pagan playgroup, where they coloured eggs and painted masks. The boy’s egg is blue, although he kept handling it and most of the colour has come off on his hands. His mask is also impressive, with carefully blended colour and sparkles on the nose, feathers over the eyes, and one sparkly jewel just below the right ear with another on the left side of the chin. Oh, and with a riot of blue tinsel hair.

I had a group cello lesson Sunday afternoon, at which some of us incredulously dissected the previous night’s successful concert before settling into the group pieces. It’s nice to have all the heavy orchestral stuff behind me so that I can focus on lesson and recital work now. We got the final lineup for the recital and the official assignment of who’s playing what part in the trios and quartets, and my duo partner and I are making plans to meet to rehearse our piece. I love our group lessons, although I suspect we tax our teacher’s patience when we all get together and there’s variously missing music and giggling and rhythm issues.

Also, Saturday featured the most amazing warm, sunny weather. HRH got the last of the snow out of the shady corner of the yard, the boy got thoroughly muddy, and we went for a walk sprint around the neighbourhood with frequent pauses to examine cracks and leaves. It rained yesterday, but the ground needed a good soaking, and it was a novelty to drive through rain instead of snow on the highway.

Today is anthology d-day. I have already crossed two of the four things on the anthology to-do list off, which means I’m halfway done, right? Never mind the fact that one of the remaining things is ‘read the ms. from beginning to end’ and the other is reorganizing a fiddly Excel spreadsheet that must be legible to my editor. Once that’s gone… well, I don’t know what I’ll do, actually. Probably hibernate for three or four days after having a long bubble bath.

My signing cheque arrived in the mail on Friday, too late for me to actually take it to my bank, so I must sit on it till Thursday. But hurrah for having money again! Of course most of it will go to paying bills, some to renting the cello for another couple of months, and some to the Mac mini (I hope). And there’s definitely a dinner out this month for us in the cards, too.

Cautiously Optimistic

(I see that I have used this title before. I don’t know whether to be amused or concerned.)

I think that the order I now have is final. I need to walk away for a while, then come back and go through it with a fresh eye to make sure it flows. Or to at least ensure that the shifts aren’t too jarring. Because you just know that I’ve deliberately put some jarring sequences in there to shake things/perceptions/cherished beliefs up. Homogeneity is boring! Carefully scripted juxtapositions are exciting!

If it works, then Monday I’ll do a final pass on the introduction, and then the anthology is my editor’s problem! (Sorry, Andrea. But I am doing my best to make sure it’s in the best possible shape before it lands on your desk, to give you as small a problem as I can. *g*)

Suspiciously Cheerful

Suspicious because I shouldn’t be this happy and/or laid back this close to a deadline. I should be more focused on what I’m doing. But it’s sunny outside and there is no more snow (well, other than the edges of the backyard), and I got my third lovely surprise yesterday: a small bouquet of tulips from my boys.

Today I’ve been researching Mac Minis. I had to walk away from my desktop yesterday because it was (a) loud and (b) connected to the Internet. I tried to use my Dell laptop and it was even louder than the desktop. I defaulted to the Macbook I have on extended loan, and it operated in blessed silence. All my experiences with the Macbook so far have convinced me that I want to go Apple next. HRH has told me that any time I want to go downtown to the Apple Store to do some hands-on research, he’s good to go. He gets an educational discount, too, which knocks a bit of the price down. Of course I’ll just feed that right back into a three-year warranty, but hey. It will be very exciting to have a brand-new computer with a warranty. And I’m looking at the Mini because I have all my peripherals and don’t need the all-in-one package an iMac offers. Also, much cheaper. And portable. And tiny.

I had two cupcakes for breakfast. So there.

Yesterday I managed to finish my first draft of the introduction for the anthology; I’ll polish it on Friday. I’m still poking at the order, trying new things in different places. It feels like I’m spinning my wheels, because rearranging fifty stories doesn’t net me any tangible progress except a different sequence of titles in the table of contents. It’s harder than it sounds, because it takes a lot of brain power to remember what each story is about and what themes or tones it demonstrates. It’s like making a mix tape, trying to get the right flow between the moods and styles, except it’s 277 pages of stuff instead of two thirty-minute chunks. It’s taking up more mental RAM.

Fearsclave and I are geeking out about recurve bows at the moment, and I’ve pulled my two volumes of The Bowyer’s Bible out to lend him next time we see one another. In a rather apt illustration of my personality, they were shelved between books called Music and Literature: A Comparison of the Arts and The Technical Manual And Dictionary Of Classical Ballet.

And now, I must go and poke at the anthology with a sharp stick again.

More Joy!

The day just keeps getting better! I just had a call from Bodhifox, cheerily inviting me to go out for tea. Of course, he’s in Ohio and I’m in Montreal, but it was such a wonderful thing to ask. To unexpectedly touch base with someone I love like that was fantastic.

Fox says there’s one more good thing to come, as surprises come in threes.

I feel like spinning around in the sun for a while. I wish there were daffodils to pick. I’ll have to make do with looking at the sun and pretending it’s warm. Also, there are cupcakes to make.