February is Women in Horror month and my favorite fiction podcast is joining the party with a line-up of female writers who love their craft, or their Lovecraft, as the case may be. So if the standard February world dripping in red paper hearts is too much for you, you might head over to Pseudopod and check out some stories dripping in something else. If that's your cup of poison, that is. I found last week's story "The Godsmaid Clara and Her Many Smiles" by Sharon Dodge greatly entertaining, and the reader, Kim Lakin-Smith, nails it.
A few months ago I found myself with an important work meeting on the horizon, and I thought it was possible that this was the sort of thing for which I might have to dress nicely.
My daily office environment is such that I don't have generally have to worry about this sort of thing. When I roll out of bed in the morning, I grab a pair of jeans that falls into the category of "clean enough", pair it with a t-shirt with a spaceship on it (fun fact: 28% of my t-shirts have spaceships on them; I ran the numbers), pull my hair into a pony tail, and I'm out the door.
Seems like lots of things around here are in need of repair right now. The heater went out and the roof got a terminal diagnosis from the roof guy. The dentist told us the kid has a couple of cavities which makes me feel like I need to clear some space on my dresser for the "Worst Parent of the Year" award, and I took the cat in to the vet where my standard line of "Oh no, it's just that he's really really fluffy" was carrying absolutely no credence with the weight scale. On Sunday I got hit in the chest with a hockey puck and then tweaked my ankle at practice.
So it's the fourth day of Christmas. We ran the Bay Area traffic gauntlet, visited friends and family, and landed back home in time to have two full days of loafing around the house. Probably the last thing I should do, full of Christmas food as I am, but, my, did it feel good.
On Saturday morning I woke up and went to brush my teeth. There was a high-pitched sort of electronic buzzing sound in the house, similar to the sort you get when you have an auxilary cable plugged into a stereo on one end and dangling loose on the other with the volume cranked. At first I thought my ears were still ringing from the night before (the band at the company Christmas party was Awesome) but as I moved about the house I found the sound had a directionality to it and it pulled me to a corner of the house where we keep our server cabinet.
Christmas crafting with the youngling:
"Mommy, your reindeer isn't very accurate. Reindeer aren't predators. They're prey so their eyes are on the sides, not in the front."
What I didn't say: "Except for Santa's reindeer. They are carnivores. Hmmm, I wonder what they eat...."
What I actually said: "That's a fine point, kiddo. So the fact that these specimens are red and white striped and one-legged doesn't trouble you?"
"No, I'm using my imagination."
Knock on gingerbread, but I feel like I've got the Christmas scene pretty well in hand this year. Tree's up. We've made cookies. My husband brought home a mistletoe clump the size of a tumbleweed. I've got a few minor shopping things to do, but mostly it's all wrapped up and in the bag, so to speak. Aside from rooting around in the back of my closet for something passable to wear to the company Christmas party, I'm set. Often I'm starting to feel a little harried at this stage in December. I don't know exactly how it happened, but this mellow season of waiting has been quite pleasant.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Hope your mashed potatoes were merry and bright. We had a thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat and sang a few bars of Alice's Restaurant, with four part harmony and feeling. As you do.
And now we're out the other side of turkey day and it's December. The leftovers are pretty much gone, which means I'm going to have to start cooking again. Crap.
As I've mentioned, I undertook a big steampunk project effort Halloween this year, which I'd love to show you but only finished it by the skin of my teeth (weird expression) and I haven't properly photographed it yet.
I wore it to a friend's Halloween party last weekend and I was grateful for the opportunity to take it for a test drive, but it's a bit of an ordeal to put on, and long experience gained over many Halloweens has taught me that doing my regular job at a desk for eight hours in a corset makes me cranky by day's end.
Halloween has arrived, and with it, one of my favorite traditions: All Hallow's Read. And so, dear friends, I give you two stories for your contemplation on this dark and stormy end-of-October day. I read these both in the last couple of weeks, to get into the spirit of things. I offer you the same spirits.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving