Category Archives: True Stories

Anecdotes from my past and present.

A farewell to the blankie

Posted on January 9, 2012 by

In 2001, before we left for Greece with Snuffy, I bought one of those fleece blankets they make from recycled pop bottles, and wedged it into my backpack with a bunch of other warm-weather gear that I thought might be superfluous.

It turned out it wasn’t a bad idea at all. We were there in April and May, on the cusp of summer, and there were some scorching days but also more than a few really chilly ones.

This year, to celebrate the blanket’s tenth birthday, I took it back to Europe… and left it there. Hopefully someone will give it a good home. Kelly and I decided to travel light, you see–in fact, we took carry on luggage only. Our wee bags were pretty crammed when we left, and part of the plan was to jettison some old clothes and other items if we acquired new items or souvenirs.

The blanket made it all the way back to Rome before it got the boot. It was an odd but nevertheless satisfying sacrifice. And before we let it go, I asked Kelly to pose for a good-bye shot.

All Imported-899

Blue Magic Cover Reveal

Posted on December 8, 2011 by

Blue Magic will be out on April 10th, which is a mere 124 days from now, and I am excited and extremely proud to have the official go-ahead on showing you the cover art…

Lovely, mmm? This is a composite image–the portrait is by photographer Clayton Bastiani and the nebula (here’s the original) comes to us from NASA. The exquisite design is by Jamie Stafford Hill. All of this effort was pulled together by the Tor Books art department, and in particular the wonderful Irene Gallo. Thank you, team Tor! It’s a beautiful cover and really appropriate.

What I love about this cover–besides that it looks so at home with the original Indigo Springs art and that it’s gorgeous in its own right–is that the figure could be one of several of the characters from the novel… but that’s something I’ll talk about in a later post, after more of you have read it. I’m actually contemplating a Who is She? contest, to run after Blue Magic‘s available… when? Oh, April 10th, that’s right.

P.S. If you click on the image, it gets bigger.

Slave to the wee beasties

Posted on October 30, 2011 by

A few weeks ago I decided that it would be good for all of us if Rumble got a bit of a run in every night before bedtime. What’s spilled from that decision is the following bedtime routine:

First, there’s a bit of hopeful chirping as the evening winds down. “Are you going to bed now? How about now? Now?” This is, in fact, an improvement over his snoozing all evening on the bed, resting up so he can wake me at three in the morning for a snuggle, get threatened with Squirty Bottle, and stampede in terror over Kelly’s sleeping form.

When bedtime finally comes, I have a little snack and get out of my clothes, all while Rum lurks about impatiently, with an air of “You’re not gonna forget, right?”

I then drag the peacock feather around our bed while he chases and pounces and tries to kill and kill again.

Playtime for Rumble

Meanwhile, Minnow, who’s realized that Fun is being Had, sits in the kitchen sending Big eye vibes of Hope through the wall.

Minnow in the Morning

Once Rumble’s wiped out, I leave him with a feather to gnaw and close him in the bedroom so he can’t beat the crap out of her for getting involved. This is necessary because a) he’s not dumb; b) Minnow playtime is a high-volume, impossible to miss scrabble of claws on the faux-hardwood floor. I take the other peacock feather and set Minnow on a mad, looping, acrobatic feather chase in the kitchen (I was using a laser pointer to run her around, but I dropped it and it died, and I haven’t replaced it yet.) Anyway, this goes on until…

Rumble starts crying piteously at the bedroom door and Kelly has her face washed and jammies on.

I am hoping to get video, but of course they tend to stiffen up when the camera comes, usually in an attitude of “Oh, did you want a close-up of what’s right under my tail?”

Transitioning from news avoidance

Posted on September 29, 2011 by

I used to take a daily dose of news from CBC Radio–a small, thoughtful and sanely-chosen selection of what was going on in B.C., Canada, and the big wide world, handily delivered as I was making dinner. After 9/11, I stopped listening to those broadcasts, and for the decade that followed my exposure to current events was spotty. Mostly, I’d pass headlines on the street and thus know the bare minimum about what The Vancouver Sun thought was worthy of the top fold. On the rare occasions when something was happening and I wanted to know more, I’d surf up the details on the Internet. They were always there waiting.

I stopped with even the CBC broadcasts because the world was in a terrible space, at that time, and the news kept dragging me back into the mire of distress. Regular exposure to brutality, pollution, war and especially the rage-inducing stupidity of politicians was eating at my peace of mind.

I find myself having to explain and justify this, often.

“I’m a news avoider,” I learned, isn’t a statement many people hear–and it’s one they’re fundamentally inclined to disbelieve. It’s a bit like explaining to a little kid that it’s possible to live without a car. (Or without a TV, I’m told, though I haven’t been in that position.) So for the past decade, I’ve ended up telling someone, “No, really, I don’t watch the news or read the papers,” on the order of twice a month, minimum. In most cases, I have this conversation three times with any given individual before they actually take it on.

There was always a little nagging sense, in the back of my mind, that I was skating on an obligation of citizenship by ignoring the world as much as I possibly could. But, I’d remind myself, I don’t actually believe the newspapers or the TV folks do a terrific job of keeping one up-to-date anyway. Most of what they offer on a daily basis is partial narratives about ongoing stories. The idea seems to be to offer just enough new stuff to make you want to read more tomorrow… and the lack of depth drives me crazy.

(And that doesn’t even get into the question of accuracy–I know many of you question whether mainstream media can be trusted to deliver reliable facts. Or the opinion, held by some, that the point of the news is to not make us informed so much as to make us afraid.)

Anyway. I prefer the kind of coverage that comes from feature articles and long-form documentaries. So instead of breaking news, I read things like The Best American Science and Nature Writing (this year’s guest editor is Mary Roach, folks! I know–OMG, right? Pre-order now!) Snuffy sends me copies of Texas Monthly so I can read Pam Coloff’s excellent articles about justice, and miscarriages thereof.

Social media has pulled me back into the news world, a bit. It started with Livejournal: occasionally my friends would post a link tantalizing enough to follow. And now the headlines stream by, along with the treasure and flotsam in my Twitter feed, and I cherry pick the stuff that interests me and run a minimal risk of hearing that our prime minister’s said something that makes my head explode. I follow CBC News and Peter Mansbridge and Mashable. But I’m still a feature reader at heart, and so mostly I have gotten entirely sucked into browsing–no surprise–the articles available at Longreads. That’s where the meaty stuff seems to be, and I heartily recommend it to you all.

Ambling, lunching, couchsurfing, all the weekend sports

Posted on September 27, 2011 by

We had two days of warm and muggy weather and on Saturday K and I made the most of it, ambling through the Farmer’s Market at Trout Lake (first time all season I’ve made it there!) and from there south beyond Kingsway, just for the walk. It was an uphill climb–my walking app claims we ascended about a hundred feet–but finally the hot and the damp were overpowering, and so we caught a bus on Kingsway to Mink.

My new flowery Doc Martins and my feet seem pretty happy with each other. After a careful breaking in period, I’ve done several 5K-10K walking days in a row, and the shoes have even made it through a number of rainstorms without carrying me home soaked. So they have won the coveted honor of being my winter boots. How fabulous for them and me, mmm?


After many failed attempts to find them open, we also finally got to Crumpler–I wanted to look at their bags, but the Answer was not there. I am beginning to suspect that the Answer is for me to have my own personal valet/Sherpa. Then we went on a sandwich-hunt that turned into a spontaneous visit with Barb. Finally, surprise! We wound up at Cafe Calabria.

Now the rain has come back and I’m wondering if it’s chicken-baking weather.

The new TV season continues to occupy my remaining free time and free brain space: The Mentalist started surprisingly well, but seems to have found a way to cruise back in the direction of their formula, so I’m not sure if I’ll keep on watching. Prime Suspect, meanwhile, is doing Realism, big time. Which isn’t always my favorite thing, but the first episode’s script was very tight and Maria Bello turned in a fascinating performance. The story was all about Jane Timoney and departmental politics and not so much about the murder of the week. It didn’t seem entirely divorced from the original and oh so amazing Prime Suspect, and the feminist heart of that series–the stuff about a woman trying to make it in a male-dominated profession–was very in-your face. For some reason, I thought that material would be downplayed or excised entirely.

I’m still enjoying 30 Rock, too, though the high school reunion episode was too mean for my liking.

What’s bad out there in TV-land? I will not be watching Blue Bloods this year. Last year’s finale was Far Too Cheesy, cheesier even than a quattro formaggio sauce with extra cheese on top, served on cheese-stuffed tortellini. It may in fact have been the most howlingly tasteless thing to cross my flickerbox since Kiefer Sutherland solved 24 hours worth of his personal and professional problems by taking an axe to… well, I won’t spoil you just in case. Either you’re blissfully unaware or you’re cursing me for reminding you.