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a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

Terrible news…

One of our dearest friends, Mike Briggs, of Mike and Patty Briggs—passed away unexpectedly of a sudden illness this morning. We’re just devastated.

40 degrees F out there, my sainted Aunt Tillie…

I want, yes, a decent cup of tea. Unfortunately we are out. I decided it was worth it to get kitted up to brave the walks, and they call it 40 degrees.

Well, news flash, the walk is frozen so hard neither shovel nor hoe nor rake nor metal shovel can make a dent in it: worse, it’s irregular and uneven ice compounded of our trying to get the groceries in during a wet snowfall. Not only is it frozen, but the interior of the garage where melt has happened is a skating rink.

Not that I am even yet utterly incapable of navigating a rink, but after a cup of tea seems, well, perhaps I can wait and have expired and nasty tea without cream. I can swear that there are few things viler than Almond Milk used in bad tea…but, ah, well, we are far from starving here. And melt will come sometime during the month.

Are we braving the front walk to take the garbage to the curb? Nay. One nice thing about cold weather—nasty garbage freezes, so you can take it out when the walk is passable.

So we wait. We have plenty to eat, and coffee enough. I can make soups or beans or rice. We are good. We are staying put.

Allergies: had to undecorate the ‘woodland’ tree…

..and Lysol it. These artificial trees aren’t necessarily allergy-free after a few years of use, and this one is, well, one of our earlier purchases in Spokane, which could put its date of birth somewhere in the first decade of the century. So we got by with it for a while, but in time, the allergies kicked in. When my eyes were watering too much to see my work yesterday, I consulted with Jane and offered to do the put-away of the ornaments. The woodland tree is a nice, plain little tree with pine cones, and we concentrate our ‘animal’ and woodsy ornaments on that one, lots of deer and stags and my much-loved little ships and pirates. I have four drunken pirates that I love, right down with the snow fairies for the other tree. 😉

Well that is done, and I flung open the window last night on teens-weather cold, and waked this morning after a wonderful sleep for the first time in days.

Jane and I are both working on the Alliance Rising book, and making good progress. It’s kind of a rolling sort of write: we’re composing it in agreed-upon scenes, and fitting them together in the rewrite, which both of us will do until we’re both satisfied. You really have to have a good working partnership and ego well in check to do this sort of thing, and we can do it.

More snow.

SNowblowing the driveway is much nicer with a warm knit cap and muffler. 😉 Really nice!

I have my next to last dental appointment at 7 am tomorrow, and have to keep the drive clear, despite snow last night and snow today.

It’s coming down again, and I just finished. It’s going to be like that. But it’s so pretty.

Wish me luck tomorrow. This is not going to be a pleasant one.

Back from the dentist—one more time.

Otoh, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, at which point I will fall short of having my own personal dedicated chair, with plaque, at the dentist’s office. They’re fixing things to prevent future problems, and while it’s a hit right now, (and I have a headache), I’m pretty confident after a couple more appointments I will be happy with the outcome.

Approaching the new year…and another spate of cold weather…

We’re doing very little going-out, but we did shovel the drive to get the car out to head to Swinging Doors to have a story conference. There’s something comfy about one’s chosen dark sports bar/watering hole that promotes better thinking—none of the chores waiting for us to distract us.

We got more done in two hours than we could have done in a day of puttering around at home, in terms of idea-trading, and we’ve got story developing, which is a great feeling.

Now more snow is coming and so long as the power doesn’t go out, we’re good. OTOH, having been through LAST year, we own a generator. And really, we don’t look for this to be as much snow, but it may be colder. Our house windows are in great shape now—used to have cracked glass, non-functional storm windows, and heat leakage; and now we’re just comfy. Was a huge hit on the pocketbook, but if we hadn’t fixed that front window, we’d have seen some more serious damage. Not to mention the mold source.

So we face a year in which we are going to be cleaning out the (shudder) basement and garage. Jane’s determined on a garage sale, and I’ve sworn to the same. Moves from WA to OK, with 2 houses, then OK to here with two apartments and a house, have seen us outfit a new place and then have to re-outfit, and do it all again just way too many times. At one point, here in WA, we had 3 storage units because we just couldn’t figure what to let go of. THIS year, we swear we’re going to clear the decks and have what we actually need rather than what we might need someday.

And we’re going to get a lot of writing done.

Jane shoveled out the drive today—about half a foot deep.

Which let me get to the store to get cheese, spaghetti, and a lot of stuff…the mouth is finally letting me eat something besides soup without pain, and we’re figuring on being snowbound, since tonight is supposed to put that half foot BACX on the driveway and it’s going to snow every day for a week.

We are supplied! We are going to be toasty and warm and well-fed, but I think going out for New Year’s is not going to happen this year!

Let me give you our favorite split pea and ham soup recipe: adjust the spicing to your own taste.
16 oz. bag of split peas, 6 cups water (precise), in saucepan, bring to boil: 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, celery seed, (not celery salt) and red chili flake. Potatoes optional. Add generous portion diced ham (pre-cooked) and simmer on low until cooked to green paste. The bag may say 30 minutes, but we put it on at one if we want it for supper at 4:30. IT looks like a Dr. Seuss concoction, but it’s tasty, especially if served with buttered seed-bread toast. This will warm the chilliest soul. Serves 4. The celery kick tames the ‘pea-ness’ of it and makes it savory.

Something restful about snow…

I love the snow. In Oklahoma we didn’t get it every year—more like 1 year in 4. When we did get it, it was often sleet. And then, rarely, you’d get a snow several feet deep. I recall hiking about when I was about, oh, 13, and forgetting about the steepsided drainage ditch (in Oklahoma all unwalled ditches and creeks cut very deep into the earth, which lacks rocks: just plain dirt and sand moves along, leaving banks that are pretty straight-sided, well over your head.

Well, plunk! down I went. I looked up to a circle of blue sky: the snow was about 3′ above my head, but being typical ‘wet’ snow, it stayed put and didn’t cave in on me. So I began working at getting out. I did it finally by packing the snow into steps and climbing up that way—and just being real glad nobody saw it. OTOH, if that had been powder snow, and if it had caved in, I’d have been wishing for witnesses with a rope and shovel.

I didn’t build snowmen much: I hated to disturb the pristine coat of snow. Only once the place had become trampled, then I’d do it, but I hated the mess it made.

To this day I hate shoveling not for the job itself, but because I have to disturb the prettiness of it—in the practicality of being able to get to the garage.

We’re going to get rain on Tuesday, then right back in the freezer with more snow afterward. Wednesday morning I have an early appointment (endodontist job 2) and have to get out, so I’m really hoping the re-freeze doesn’t give me a coat of ice to contend with.

The good news is the antibiotic is working, and I’m feeling better. The decorations are up, prezzies are wrapped, and Monday we make the trek to the post office, weather permitting, to mail what needs mailing.

Endodontist phase 2…

works real well, no pain even on the shots, but…didn’t give me antibiotics, and he’s off today. Friday. Sigh. OTOH, thank goodness for my dentist, who does have Fridays—because half my face is red and the sinus hurts. We knew that one was affecting the sinus. And it did. Good news is, we got the med, and I’ll be on it for the next endodontist appointment next Wednesday.

We had freezing fog last night (road is clear now with daylight, but they can be interesting when the temp is 10 degrees in fog.) The trees are absolutely gorgeous, all frosted.

So the drive to the drugstore was really pretty.

Got all my shopping done—meaning everything I mail-ordered arrived; and we’re ready. Antibiotics isn’t quite the thing I’d wanted for Christmas, but hey, last evening I really, really wanted them. Early present, eh?

THe dentist is suspicious of yet one more molar, but the endodontist says give it time—this is the one the not-so-good dentist office worked on. I’ve never heard a doc actually say ‘malpractice’ but my current one said it of the last guy…mmm. But I’m not the suing sort. I’m just glad to have a good guy now.

Not too sore. Of course, it’s usually day 3 when ouches show up…

Going to have a few bruises, but all ok.

Figure skating was one of our really good smart moves. You learn how not to fall on slick surfaces and how to fall if you’re going to…which boils down to, walk like a penguin on frozen surfaces, ie, flat-footed in small steps, never set a heel down…you’ll notice hockey refs using penguin steps; b) watch for slope c) if you do hit a slope center yourself and squat as much as you can (shorter fall) and d) if you’re falling, fall—don’t fight it; keep your head upmost and put your arms out sideways or straight up like Superman taking off, so you won’t break bones. A belly flop hurts, but it rarely breaks anything if you can avoid hitting your chin. Ditto a back fall—curl like a kidney bean, hug yourself, and try to land on your curved back rather than hip or head. Note that Walker Shortbread tins make a very poor landing spot.