12 May, 2021

mended


When there is absolutely no way to invisible repair the clapotis, repair it boldly. The patch keeps the same pattern, but sets it at an angle, and adds an extra corner at the bottom because why not

And! Nearly a year after tearing a hamstring, I'm back road-running. The healing period was spent running laps up, around, and down the 7 flights of parking structure, which kept the cardio and let things heal and made other things stronger. (Of course I did not rest.)

I also changed my gait completely, a mix of necessity and intent, which I'm given to understand one shouldn't do? Or something. Whatever. I am far happier than I thought I'd be to be running again. I look forward to it, even.

And! It doesn't hurt. I had forgotten what that's like.

I came late to running--in my 30s--because I'd always believed I wasn't built for it. I pronate pretty badly on a heelstrike, which is my "natural" stride, and end up pulling my body weight forward, rather than pushing off from the ball of the foot. Turns out I could, and did, muscle my way through for a while, with a scattering of IT and piraformis injuries (treated with months on an elliptical). But the hamstring, boy howdy. There was ouch and then there was ouch and then there was literally unable to touch my toes. Like, could not. Pain override.

It was the yoga that clued me in, hard. I couldn't do things I'd always done. A quick search told me what this was. Torn hamstring! Tendon?! I had to let that heal. And that meant I was going to have to stop running.

I was terrified. There was no gym access! Walking isn't enough! I'd get...well...fat.

And here let it be said: this is not about fat-shaming. This is about body dysmorphia and eating disorders.

11 April, 2021

belated

( ...originally typo-titled "bleated," which might be kinda appropriate too)

I was going to write about getting the vaccine when I got the second dose two weeks ago (Pfizer). I had imagined--based on my unexpected emotional reaction to the first dose--that I would have Feelings. First shot, we'd gotten a spot unexpectedly, because a coworker posted on Facebook that a nearby vaccine site was accepting appointments right now for educators and we jumped on that. After that jab, I realized how much stress I'd been under, and how even one shot made me feel like...not that things would return to normal, not that everything was okay now, but...like there had been a pressure, a discomfort to which I had become so accustomed I no longer noticed it, and now it was gone. I noticed the negative space of it, the place it had carved out in my psyche. I thought that the second shot would herald a return of that feeling, but it didn't. I was just relieved. 

That was two weeks ago. If there is such a thing as officially vaccinated, all the immunities as in place as they will be... we're there. Our region is coming out of restrictions, things are reopening, and great! But I am in no real hurry to go back to the restaurants I haven't been to in over a year. I've grown accustomed to the take-out sandwiches on Friday "date night." It feels weird to think about removing a mask in public. And eat in public? Egad. Visiting a zoo might be nice. Or a museum. Or a store that isn't faithful Trader Joe's. But be around people? No, thank you. My latent agoraphobia has taken root this last year, hard.

(I better get over that before classes start in the fall. Because barring a new pandemic, they will. We've been super lucky here--the UCs have shut the fuck down and stayed that way for in-person instruction. How delightful to have official policy dictated by science and public health, instead of political toadshit.)

And I wasn't going to write about any of this, sweartogod. I was going to write about The Patchwork Terror and how, in his quest to eat all of Tinycat's scarfed-and-barfed breakfast, he chewed a big chunk out of the first clapotis I ever knitted. And how I did not quite freak out because he's not Idris: he shreds and gnaws whatever he eats to tiny pieces, even wee bits of kibble-treats, so I was pretty sure he hadn't swallowed long strands. (He never did throw up a damn bit of it. Where has it gone? The obvious answer--through him--has not manifested. He either reduced that wool to tiny pieces and digested it along with his food or it's still sitting in his gut, making itself into the grandmother of hairballs.) 

But also, ferfuckssake, I was upset, too, at the destruction. The loss. That clapotis--hours and hours of knitting, out of a indie-dyed colorway--is irreparable and irreplaceable. Of course PT was, is, more important, and I would set fire to the clapotis myself to keep him safe, but he's also fine, and fortunately not inclined to chew on textiles unless someone has thrown up on them first. This is a one-time catastrophe. 

But then, as I began writing, I realized--the worry, the fear, the anger, the guilt about being angry over a ruined thing on which much work had been spent, the grief over what was destroyed--felt familiar. This was a fresh wave of it, sure, but that's why I noticed it, after so long being numb to it. It's what I felt last spring. 

Anger. Fear. Guilt. That sinking, sick feeling of knowing something is irreparably mangled, and there is nothing to be done for it except figure out a way to salvage what's left: make it, if not beautiful, at least defiantly functional. Somehow. Wabi sabi. (And even if it's not beautiful again, ever--the clapotis will be warm. It will be of use. And it will be a story). 

I wish I could say that I think the world, post-pandemic, post the 45th president, will be like this clapotis. I don't think it will, though. We can't wabi sabi what's happened. We won't be past BLM because we're not past white supremacy. We can't get past anti-science insurrectionists because they're still crawling all over the Capitol. We can't even get people to take the fucking vaccines. I don't know how that sort of damage becomes functional again, that it can be patched. I hope I'm wrong. I don't know what happens if I'm not.

In the meantime, I have a clapotis to mend. 


03 March, 2021

15 February, 2021

happy slightly belated birthday, tinycat

small black cat looking annoyed
Tinycat on the eve of her 13th birthday

Technically, her birthday was yesterday (we think. One does not know with rescues, but why not choose Valentine's Day when the date is "sometime in the middle of February"?). She resembles here a small, disgruntled owl for two reasons: one, she hates to be photographed, and she always knows when that is happening, and two, because Murdercat is closer to the food dishes than she is, and even though no one will be fed while I am playing paparazzi, she resents even the possibility that he might eat first. The Patchwork Terror is out of frame, which is why that ear is cocked, but she's not mad at him. 

I note here that typically before dinner, it's PT who will straddle her body--while they are both standing, because she is that small--and tug her ears while they're waiting for me to put down their bowls. (She forgives him for it, and goes to hit Murdercat in the face. Things are not fair among cats.)

She is very sweet to people, however--guaranteed purring, all about laps, responsive and alarmingly clever. She is also demanding and particular and stubborn and we love her. 

I leave you with Tinycat, still annoyed by the paparazzi, but in possession of her pillow, and so not about to be moved.




02 January, 2021

Happy New Year

 This winter break was especially short--just shy of two full weeks, which seems a lot until you realize there were two holidays in there, and all the website-building and asynchronous video recording and general class-prep stuffed into that same time. Then it's oh god, teaching starts when? and a cocktail. 

Of course I still found time to procrastinate the knitting of my cardigan and avoid making those videos a bit longer  to do something fun. Nous got the figure for me last fall ("that hat!" he said, "those boots! And the tiny skulls!"), and she's been languishing on my sewing table, daring me to find time to paint. So finally, I did. She took the last couple eps of S3 of The Repair Shop and the whole season of Bridgerton. 

front view of a painted miniature woman figure pointing a crossbow and brandishing a sword

back view of a painted miniature woman figure pointing a crossbow and brandishing a sword


The photo quality is Aging iPhone SE in the miserable winter afternoon light, which lets me say honestly that she does look better in person. I am by no means a pro painter, but my eyesight's holding up and my hands are steady and I'm improving. 

Also, I'm really proud of those tiny skulls on her braid and belt. 

Anyway, I thought she was a fine way to spend the waning week of 2020, and a good first creative accomplishment for 2021. 

16 December, 2020

I podcasted! And wrote some guest posts. And am late to all the parties.

Okay. Finally, now that my grading is done (though not finalized), and the quarter is mostly wrapped... the long delayed list of publicity and posts related to HOW THE MULTIVERSE GOT ITS REVENGE (which, for the record, would make a fantastic holiday gift. Audio book, ebook, paper. All three!)

And if you are tired of me, here are a lot of other people saying very nice things about REVENGE. 

  • Publishers Weekly: Review 
    • "This fantasy-space-opera hybrid provides no shortage of action, interstellar hijinks, and fuel for future installments. Series readers will be pleased."
  • Fresh Fiction:  "Most Anticipated New Releases: Fall-Winter 2020!"
  • Amazing Stories: "Science Fiction to Look for October 2020"
  • Smart Bitches Trashy Books: Review 
    • "Both the first and second book in this duology are excellent... I'd love to read more about Rory and her group of friends."
  • Tor.com: Exclusive Excerpt
  • The Quill to Live: Review
    • "...A fun fusion of different science fiction and fantasy concepts that kept me engaged the entire time... How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge is a fantastic book that checks all of my boxes for something I highly recommend."
  • Girl Who Reads: Review
    • "This is a fascinating mix of magic and space opera... A great story."

I am happy that this book seems to be delighting people, because my god we need some delight about now. Did I mention it'd make a great gift?

two cats sharing a pillow in the sun
The Patchwork Terror and Murdercat, BFFs
And because it is a lovely almost-winter day here, and the sun is warm, here are two house tigers, extra fluffy, catching a few rays.


03 December, 2020

[insert a title here]

 ...or as my students might do, "a new post", because many of them think a title is the same thing as the name of the assignment/the prompt. And I get it. Titles are hard. How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge began as something else entirely, as did How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse. Only Enemy, Outlaw, and Ally kept their titles.  The manuscript currently on my editor's desk began as Tin Can Fun Fur, which my agent suggested, because it's a genre mash-up. We gave it a more sedate title for my editor, who may or may not like it; since she's the one who prodded us to come up with How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge, I am inclined to trust her instincts. 

I don't blame my students, though. This quarter--which began in October--has seen a pandemic, fire, civil unrest and mass demonstrations, their first national election (and oh, what an election. Guns at polling stations. A president who won't concede and who continues being...I'd say a brat, but he's more dangerous than that. Astonishment at their relatives' voting choices, when it's so clear to them that this can't go on. I feel this last one, students, right there with ya.) And, now, another fucking fire in the area, here in December. 

More personally, I had How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge release in October, with attendant publicity posts (to follow in another post, once I've got 'em all collected), a reading an a panel at World Fantasy, and a merit review observation--which, oddly, is done on the quarter the review is due, which is not a quarter covered in the review. So the letter that recommends whether or not I should get a raise is based on different teaching than everything else in my file. It was also a) remote and b) a new course prep and c) a new curriculum for that course. 

I mean.

And through all that, incredible good fortune, to have a university employer that listens to science and prioritizes the health of students, faculty, and staff; and the ability to work from home; and our collective excellent health (except Murdercat, who has a cavity that must be removed next week, but who is otherwise 13 lbs of solid muscle fine). 

And my students, many of whom are in their first quarter of uni, having just seen their senior year meltdown, are reading, and writing, and showing up in synchronous classes and conferences despite less than ideal internet situations, or homes in which to get quiet time to attend class, or, in at least two cases, sixteen hours of time difference. They're pretty great. 

...this post ended up in a nicer place than I thought it would, so yay? Yay. And I better quit there, while I'm ahead. Besides. I made a pumpkin pie, and I think it's finally cool enough to eat, and I need something to put the whipped cream on.