madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
... everyone over at LJ seems to be planning to move to Dreamwidth wholesale on account of Russia. I'm always the last to know (to be fair, I've been so up to my ears in Lifeā„¢ that I wouldn't have noticed if a giant foot had come down and mashed LiveJournal flat, a la Monty Python). It's been long enough that my old posts use my "my kids are under 21" nicknames.

So I'm attempting to jumpstart my DW posts. What's new?

Um... Julie had an exploding appendix and was saved by 1) her boyfriend Joe, who got her to the hospital despite her "nah, it's just... OW... it's just..." demurs; 2) a good surgeon who got her 'gnarly appendix" out and cleaned up the mess it was attempting to leave behind and 3) the Affordable Care Act, so that she is likely not to be drowned in debt while she's looking for a job.

After Julie was back on her feet again, Joe proposed. So there's that.

Becca is taking a semester off from college to 1) earn money to 2) go to Europe for a couple of months. Until she gets some traveling in she will not be able to hunker down and do the last two years of her undergraduate degree, so it seemed sensible. In the meantime, she's living with us, which is, predictably, both heaven and hell.

I am Operations Manager at a small museum in San Francisco with all the predictable joys and woes of a small non-profit organization. From day to day it's a roller-coaster ride.

Emily is still a dog. Creakier than she used to be, but still a dog.

What's up with you?

Joy!

Dec. 25th, 2016 10:42 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

This has been a challenging year, but this morning we gathered--two daughters, one-soon-to-be-son-in-law, one dog, Danny and I--to eat doughnuts, open stockings, and then presents. In honor of Julie's songwriting talents (see below) Julie got artichokes in her stocking; Becca got avocados, and Joe got a stalk of Brussels sprouts. I love my family.

Whether this is your holiday or not, may your day be peaceful and sunny, your health good, your toes warm and your home full of delicious smells and more-delicious foods. May the year ahead exceed your hopes for health and good work.



And Julie's pre-op Artichokes for Christmas carol:

Wow

Dec. 19th, 2016 08:35 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Yesterday was the last day of Dickens Fair, and I went off to do my sewing thing. But because it was Sunday, and Julie's sweetie Joe holds "Cockney Church" on Sundays, after I got things set up I toddled down to Mad Sal's Ale House to watch the fun. The last day there is a Nativity scene (including a large man playing the baby Jesus in a union suit and...a kilt?) and much song, interspersed with Joe's lovely, highly researched by totally goofy homilies on texts from the Bible.

Here, for example, is the Nativity, with Julie dead center, playing a slightly crazed Virgin Mary:


What I wasn't expecting was for one of the homilies (read by Mad Sal herself) to turn into Joe's proposal of Marriage to Julie. RIght there in front of the audience--and The Guv 'imself, Dad (God).  It was wonderful. Not a dry eye in the house.



And I understand that Julie was so overwhelmed with joy that she got sick after the fair and puked in the car driving back to Davis. Joe cannot say he doesn't know what/who he's getting. Me, I'm waiting for the video to show it to Danny.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
This has been a tough week. In addition to Julie's surgical adventures, we lost Danny's lovely father, Emil Caccavo. It's hard to sum Emil up in a sentence or two: he was funny, passionate about social justice, a teacher, an entrepreneur (he always had a terrific idea for a new scheme). He was a father and a husband, loved by his family, and damned near everyone who knew him. The kind of guy who'd flirt with the waitress just enough to embarrass his kids.
He was 99 1/2, and the end was a long, gentle decline rather than an abrupt or traumatic stop. He'll be deeply missed--but he left the world a better place whan he found it, and not everyone can say that.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

Portrait of a woman lighter one appendix and full of delicious painkillers. And on her way home.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Along with the awful that was the election and threatens to be the next four years in my country (a country which I love and in whose potential I believe), and the deaths of some people I loved and admired... my daughter Julie went to the hospital last night with what turned out to be a ruptured appendix. The offending item has been removed, strong antibiotics are being applied, and we have reason to believe that she'll be up and dancing in what will seem like an age to her, but will really be pretty quick.

But as I keep quoting, first at Julie and then at November in general: "You really delight in these sadistic strains on my blood pressure, don't you?" (from The Little Mermaid, if you were wondering.)
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Or rather, all Whitehall in a single ebook. If serialized fiction--and waiting for the next chunk of it--is not your bag, but you were interested in Whitehall, the episodic story of Catherine of Braganza, Barbara Palmer, and King Charles II, you're in luck.

Whitehall is now available in ebook form! Wherever, as the phrase goes, fine ebooks are sold. Really: run right over and pick up your copy today.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
The top layer was in the fridge...
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
I never seem to get the smooth, finished look of the fondant that I imagine. Still, they're supposed to be old books, and they look like old books, so...

Tonight: gilding and embossing.

madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

Three cakes (small - spice) (medium - chocolate) (big - yellow) have been made and rough-shaped and crumb-coated.

Tomorrow night: the coloring, rolling out, and application of fondant.

Wednesday evening: decoration.


In the beginning there was batter.


Post baking, cooling, thinking upon its fate.


Three tiers, three books.

Must see if there's a way to create "marbled" edges. Hmmm.

madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
This week we're celebrating the Bookbinder's Museum's first year in our beautiful space as part of Third Thursday (the Yerba Buena/SOMA cultural celebration that happens--you guessed it--on the third Thursday of every month).

So I'm making a cake.

As a stack of books. Old books (16th century, give or take) and new (19th century).

There will probably be process photos, because you know I do that.

You have been warned.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
For those of you who have been following along, today is the last episode of Whitehall. Will there be another season? Dunno. Would enjoy it, but I have no idea. But it has been a wonderful experience being involved with this one. If you like historical fiction, may I humbly suggest you check it out? Episode 1 is free...

Still Team Catherine, FWIW.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Did you know that Whitehall palace flooded often? And do you think that, having learned that fact, I, being an infrastructure wonk, could resist using it?

Today the penultimate episode of Whitehall comes out. It's also the last of the episodes written by me. And I'm kind of pleased with it. Just so you know.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
It isn't that your opinions on politics are either more or less valid just because you and your generation are young. It's that coming to those opinions is a new (to you), and exciting sensation. As it should be. Those opinions are therefore shinier than any of the old shopworn opinions of an aged parent. A thing to consider some time when you have absolutely nothing else to do? AP's opinions started out just as shiny and exciting, at a time as roiling in its own way as this one. And at that point AP's generation was going to fix it all, too (for the record, we fixed some stuff. Just not all of it. And none of it via ideological stubbornness).

Brought to you by hearing my family debating vociferously BEFORE I HAVE EVEN HAD COFFEE.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
Once again I am plying my mighty words to help raise money for scholarships to the Clarion SF Writers Workshop*. I've pledged to write 20,000 words over six weeks (should be a snap, right? Except for that pesky day job...), and more than that, I'm going to do my damnedest to write every day (hear that, day job? Words every day), which should put me much closer to finishing Sarah Tolerance #4 (currently titled The Fate of Women, but that is likely to change).

It's not just me, either. There are a bundle of excellent writers participating, too many to list here. If my work is not your cup of tea, there are many other writers to encourage. And of course, the money all goes to support scholarships for the next wave of SF, Fantasy, Horror, and cross-genre genius writers out there. Think of it as ensuring you'll have good things to read in your old age.

_________
*I'm participating in a Write-a-Thon for the original Clarion, now in San Diego, as opposed to the Clarion West Workshop--they're doing a Write-a-Thon too, and they too are worthy. But I went to Clarion at MIchigan State, so...

Two Things

Jun. 7th, 2016 07:42 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
1) I cannot tell you how glad I am that the primary election has finally arrived in California. In a few minutes, after I've pulled on my pants and put on shoes, I will go do my bit for Life in the Republic. Please, if you're in one of the primary states today, go do likewise.

2) My first episode of Whitehall goes live tomorrow. If you're reading along, I'd love to hear whether you enjoyed it.

That's all.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

Not quite a year ago I was approached (doesn't that sound mysterious?) about becoming part of the writing team for a serialized historical story called Whitehall, focusing on Charles II, his wife Catherine of Braganza, and his mistress, Barbara Castlemaine. Not a period I know well, and I was a little reluctant to take on something I'd never done before... and then I heard about the people who'd be on the team with me: series creator Liz Duffy Adams; Delia Sherman; Mary Robinette Kowal; and Barbara Samuel (and Sarah Smith coming in as guest writer on #11). In which group, in my own mind, anyway, I  was decidedly a Junior Partner.

But I said Yes anyway. And dived into research and reading and plotting, in the most unsual sort of collaborative process I've ever participated in. Once I got over the first flush of "wait, you--what? but I was writing that scene" push and pull of the thing, I began to realize how generous, and inventive, and fun all these people were.

And the characters! You've got Charles, finally on the throne, enough of a king to realize that he cannot enact vengeance on the nation that killed his father and sent him on a decade-long flight through Europe. The original laughing on the outside/sorrowing on the inside guy--restless, thoughtful, deeply intelligent, taking the stewardship of his nation very seriously. And Catherine, with the weight of her nation on her shoulders, who--against all self-interest--falls in love with her new husband. And Barbara Castlemaine, who loves her king, but realizes as well that her standing at court depends on maintaining ascendancy over the new queen. And a cast of secondary characters who scheme and want and worry.

So tomorrow, Whitehall debuts from Serialbox: one episode a week for 13 weeks, available as e-book or audio-book. With five different voices telling one story, each of us with our own take on the time, the place, and the people. For what it's worth, me, I'm Team Catherine all the way. At least one of my fellow writers is team Barbara. Where do you come down on this one?
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

Beautiful, difficult, loving, hilariously funny, generous, smart.

May 21, 1924 - June 11, 1986

26

May. 3rd, 2016 07:51 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)
So twenty six years ago I awoke in labor. By 2pm I was a mother. It's been all roses, quotable lines, terror, and joy since then.

Happy birthday, Julie Caccavo. By the law of the land and the grace of Obamacare, you are an adult and, in many ways, on your own now. But you've got the love and back up of a huge group of Julie-fans, including your parents, who love you deeply. You're a funny, smart, feelingful, hardworking, good woman. Go forth and conquer which ever part of the world catches your eye (but don't forget that once it's yours you have to clean up after it and make it eat its vegetables).



madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (citibit)

ICFA was lovely--although going from FogCon one weekend to ICFA, barely three days later, meant that I was a little soggy and hard to light. Punked out, overwhelmed by Being Social, most evenings by 10. Even with Becca there, we sort of folded around 9:30, came upstairs, and nattered until the kid fell over (I outlasted a 20 year old. Behold, I am puissant!). But: I saw many people I really like, and hung out with same. Didn't see as much of other people I really like, and am sad for it. Did a really good panel on publishing (publishing panels can be everyone Viewing With Alarm, or a whole lotta inside baseball, or sometimes they die the death. This one did none of these things, and I hope was useful to the people who came to see it. At 8:30 on a Saturday morning.

Spent Sunday day doing weird Becca errands (searching for tarot cards and crystals, eating vegan food, and getting her laptop fixed. Also: playing Skeeball and air hockey (they had a Pac-Man variant of air hockey that just about killed me: you're going along merrily shuffling the puck back and forth, and then suddenly there are dozens of pucks all over the place, and confusion reigns. I wonder how many heart attacks occur at that table). That was lovely. And then, just about the time Bec headed back to Sarasota, my old high school friend Shellie, who lives within driving distance, came down, and we ate dinner and talked about everything, in that way that two people who haven't been face to face for 40 years do. And laughed a whole lot.  Then I got to hang out in the hot tub with Rachel and Mike Swirsky and Karen Burnham, talking about stuff, and that was swell, too.

And today is transit all the livelong day: airport by 9, flight by 11:30 (got there early because I was expecting security to be a nightmare, but TSA-Pre got me through in record time), in to O'Hare by 1:20... and then my 4:00 flight to San Francisco was delayed by rain at SFO. So now, later than it ought to be, I am on board a big old jet airliner on which the movie server has punked out. So I come here to you, LJ, to lick my wounds.

How was your weekend?

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