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I aten't ded

So it's been a while since I last posted. I'm not entirely sure why. Some of it was the familiar feeling I always have that my life just isn't that interesting. To me, living it moment by moment, it often seems to be a cycle of mundane things -- landry, cat-feeding, staring at the computer trying to find the right words. Christmas was quiet and pleasant, which was good, as 2014 was not, I think, my favourite year (though there were some excellent parts: waves to aliettedb, kateelliott, rcloenen_ruiz and Rhi). I didn't get the novel into shape, which was frustrating, and there were too many distressing personal things. Moving into 2015, things are easier for the marquis and me, but not for all those I care about, and that's a concern. And the books is still sitting there glaring, though after a brain-storming session with the marquis at the weekend, I now have a better sense of it.

What else? Tomorrow evening (Thursday 15th) I'm giving a talk on The Vikings to the Fulbourn History Society, at 7.30 pm, in the Fulbourn Centre, which should be fun. I like the vikings: it's a very dynamic field and there are new finds and ideas all the time. And in just over a week, we're heading off on the annual Cambridge fan ski trip. (I will try not to break anything.)

How's everyone out there in lj land? People are posting more, which is good to see and enthuses me to do the same, if only I can think of something to write about. Any suggestions?

Skirt of the day: blue flags
1) A circular black and white gingham miniskirt (and matching net petticoat)
2) A toy raccoon.
3) A small embroidery frame
4) A ten-sided die, with the numbers in Chinese
5) A pair of small hand-weights.
6) A Saint Francis de Sales medallion.

No, I don't know how this happens. My desk does this. It also currently holds a dvd set of the 1966 BBC series of The Three Musketeers, a folder, lots of pens and pencils, my lectern, a couple of books I need to return to other people; a pair of scissors, a wooden ferret (carved out of sycamore, and beautiful), a mug of water, several notebooks and my kindle (as well as the keyboard and monitor). But these are more normal.
So, what's on your desk?

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So, snow...

It's almost that time again, when the marquis and I head off with assorted other Cambridge fen to slide down mountains and try not to break ourselves. We're going to Arabba in the Italian Dolomites this time, and the flight is at really silly a.m. on Saturday. So tomorrow is all about packing and doing and getting down to Gatwick.
The book is pottering along. I'm taking a notebook -- the old-fashioned kind made of paper with a binding, that you write in with a pen -- so I shall be off-line until I get back (on the 28th Jan.) Have a good week, all.

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Aha!

I have fixed the spelling issue -- it was a Firefox problem, not LJ (Firefox had re-set itself to US English last time it upgraded). Thank you to everyone who made suggestions, and my apologies to LJ for maligning it!

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So...

It looks to be 2012. How did that happen? (I'm sure it was 2001 just now.) I hope it has started well for everyone and continues well, too.
I'm not doing a full review of 2011, if only because I'm not sure I did that much that was unusual (for me). It was an okay year, with good bits and bad bits, and no-one close to me died, and that works for me. Things that immediately come to mind about it: Eastercon and accidentally starting an bid for 2013 during the Closing Ceremony, because both jemck are Too Responsible; skiing through trees in Sweden, with only the marquis and birds for company; a squirrel taking revenge for his species and biting Horus back; Mooncat meeting a_d_medievalist and demanding she move in at once; discovering that desperance finds me humming while I write distracting (who knew?); amazing scenery in Oregon and unreasonable heat in San Diego; watching eagles from a Moorish fortress with the marquis; finding out just how many of my neighbours are visited by Ish at a local Christmas party. I went to a whole bunch of places I've never visited before, which pleases me (because, y'know, itchy feet). And the contract on The Grass King's Concubine was signed.

And today we've had high winds and heavy rain and hail and sunshine, all before lunch, and Ish has dried himself on me twice. The holiday season is done and this afternoon -- once I've been to the Post Office -- it's back to the writing mines.

Speaking of which, my friend and fellow historian helen_lerewth is now on lj. And she's published some of her short stories. I've been reading her stories for about 12 years, I think, and I've always hoped to see them in print. They are fabulous: barbed and witty, sharp and devious and strange. And right now, she's offering them for free, which is a gift, if you ask me. She has a really interesting take on the world. Please go and say hi, and do read her writing. It's well worth it.

Skirt of the day: black cord with purple piping.

Scarlet for me...

So today is mainly about packing for richardrampant's weekend-long birthday extravaganza in North Wales. I have jeans, walking boots, tops, underwear, my hairbrush, my huge silk net petticoat and a corset... (And my toothbrush.) I guess if I've forgotten anything, I can always take a side trip to Bangor (no singing at the back). It should be a lot of fun, if last year is anything to go by. I've got my rewrites, too, as I still have about 4 chapters to tidy up.
And yes, there will be castles. They are everywhere....

And meanwhile, how did I come to forget how awesome this is? I mean, Marc Almond has half the voice Gene Pitney has, and his top notes are dodgy, yet somehow instead of being unbalanced, this is pure magic.

No skirt today -- I have to drive across the country, so I'm in jeans. (The long blue linen skirt is going, though. A girl needs at least one skirt. [Apart from the Huge Silk Net Petticoat, that is, and its demi-skirt.])

Tremble, gibber, panic

Just did my tax return. I think it's right. Now all I have to do is send it in, assuming I can find my online filing details.
The marquis held my hand. He made me create a spreadsheet.
I am so not good at things involving numbers. (Useless writer is useless, sigh.)
Goes away and shivers, possibly with beer.

Skirt of the day: lilac, was petticoat under Gudrun blue dress.

Here's a question for the hive mind

So, one of the things I have trouble with, sometimes, is believing that I exist. (Yes, I know. That sounds stupid. But it's how I am.) There's a piece of me that finds it reasonably clear the the external world is real, but not that I am. Certain things/events/behaviours make me wonder if I am, in fact, just a fiction.
The marquis, on the other hand, is pretty sure he exists, but isn't always so sure about the external world.
What about you lot out there? Do you believe you're real? If so, why and how? Conversely, do you believe that the external world is real, and if so, why and how?
(I believe in the external world because that's clearly where all the power and control and entitlement comes from, and where all the important things are.)

Five things make a post

The sun is shining, a light wind is blowing and keeping the heat down, and Mooncat is helping me with everything I do by sitting on it, patting things and generally being underfoot.

Outside, the building work in entering its final phase (I hope). And our primroses have survived the experience, including being buried for a while under three feet of soil (the marquis dug them out and they have responded wonderfully).

Our rhubarb, in the front garden, is flourishing: fresh rhubarb pie is on the menu for the very near future.

Regular gym visits and work with fixed weights are keeping my shoulders mostly mobile and relatively pain-free.

And here is the extraordinary story of Kazimierz Piechowski and his friends, who escaped from Auschwitz.

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Cambridge is waking up. As I drift about my city, its gardens are filled with massy magnolias, laden in blossoms of cream and raspberry. Cherries shake their pink petals over the paths, blackthorns hide their dangers behind clouds of white. In our front garden, the greengages have hearts of white blooms and soft green leaf buds. The borders are filled from side to side with the green and blue of grape hyacinth. To the back, the snowy mespil enjoys its short burst of fragile lacy flowers. The last of the winter jasmine winds yellow through the hedge. On the big roundabout just down the road, tulips stand to attention, clad in glossy dark purple. The cats chase petals across the lawn and yawn happily in the big pool of sunlight that falls across the floor.
It may be spring.

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