New Foreigner Book!


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.

New ‘toy’…

Some of you who were at Shejicon may have remarked that I was moving a little slowly, a little uncertainly—in point of fact the years of sitting at a keyboard have taken a heavy toll since we gave up figure skating: just years and years of not-walking, not-doing, sitting moving only my fingers.

I’d gotten to the point where stairs were a worry, little 3-step stairs without a hand-rail. One bad fall and I could be in a world of limitation, which would make it even worse.

I don’t have time or energy to run off to the gym; we tried that. Weather, parking, just the daily disruption…so that fell by the wayside.

We do try to walk—but hot weather, rain, snow, ice, what-not, again back to immobility.

Jane is experiencing the same thing: pain that limits mobility.

Mom had had an exerciser she never used: she was just never inclined. She’d always say, “I get enough exercise doing housework.” But time catches up with that. And I don’t want that to happen. I like moving. I like climbing things and doing things.

So I started reading reviews on this thing, a Gazelle Edge. As machines go, it’s not that expensive. It’s no-impact. It’s about the size of a coffee table. It increases stride and balance and restores your walking rhythm. Zing! yes. Two areas needing help. It’s from Amazon. Returnable if not doable.

So I did. Assembling this mass of pipe and airline cable is rather like wrestling with a praying mantis, but we did it. We tried it.

I could only go one minute when I started. One minute, and the arms burn, the shoulders burn, the legs get tired. You never take a step—you swing your legs, while standing, sort of like scuffing through snow, and the path of swing corrects tendencies of knees to knock in or ankles to veer off straight—in other words, it puts you into good alignment, the way skating does. You can bend your knees, or not. It has much the benefit of swimming, but requires less effort, while you still get the burn. It’s also dead silent and non-bouncy, so you can watch telly—and walk. Fast. I resolved to work one minute longer every day, and I’m, with a couple of days off for various reasons, up to six minutes. My target is an hour. Daily.

I’m now able to go up and down stairs without worry; Jane’s hip problem is improving. Tendons that were sore and losing elasticity are recovering. I’m walking with real steps. In a handful of days.

I think this machine is a definite winner. If I work it up even to half an hour a day, it’ll be a real, real help. Did I mention that exercise increases blood flow to the brain and you wake up and get back to work with more energy? Yep. Writing faster.

Today’s preferences: favorite ‘I need comfort food’ dinner…

Mine, currently: spaghetti and meatballs, and I’m really particular about the meatballs. But buy them frozen from Costco…being lazy. I often use Classico tomato sauce—again, since cooking is what I do in 20 minutes after work…from a jar. However, Jane had something at Tomato Street which she really liked, and she says I do better: pour olive oil in a small saucepan, add basil, oregano, black pepper or red chili flake, and a heaping teaspoon of chopped garlic (I get Safeway’s, in oil: Jane and I can tolerate this one member of the lily family if fresh or ‘real’, as in, it was never dried —ironically, there’s a preservative we’re allergic to that they particularly use on garlic)—any, cook the meatballs in that, spoon over spaghetti, add a little parmesan, lovely.

Jane’s: chili with beans over spaghetti, topped with melted cheese, jalapenos and a dollop of very good natural sour cream. But she’s coming to really like the meatballs, too. SHe has trouble with tomatoes.

Eggs. Recipes.

Nuff disasters. How do you like your eggs? Let’s have some silliness.
Mine…if scrambled, I want them whisked once around a hot pan and served. I hate hotel eggs.
If fried, over very easy, or an institution from my childhood, ‘basted.’ This is where eggs aren’t flipped, but the cook uses the spatula to kick hot grease up onto the yolk, which coats it white and cooks the upper surface, while the hot pan cooks the lower. Serve on toast or toasted English muffin—which for the English is sort of a twosided crumpet that comes split to open like a book. Cholesterol on the half shell. Served with thick-sliced peppered bacon. Or hickory smoked bacon. And maybe another muffin with marmelade and real butter. One can hear one’s arteries hardening.

I am very glad it’s not yesterday. Yesterday sucked pondwater.

Jane wasn’t feeling well, think she picked up a bug. And…she went to close down her 50% complete novel file (as I think: I hesitate to ask) and the program simply showed asterisks as a file name. Three months of delicate edits…and gone. Whole file, blank. And saved down. No backup, as it is supposed to make. The program had flat glitched. And it had been way too long, too many delicate edits ago, since the last completely external backup. One of the problems writer folk have, and I have it too, —is the two brain problem. When the right brain is in charge and creation is going on, the leftside brain which is the side that remembers to back up, is not in charge. Is not in the building. The right brain, happy as can be, is not on this planet. It happens to us just way too often. And having the left side take over for a moment is creatively disruptive, to the point where you can’t remember your own character’s name, so it is not often invited to take over at all. This is how we discuss who is driving the car today. WHo is ‘in a scene’ and what kind of scene is it. The one who can safely summon the left brain—drives. The other sits and stares into, well, some other universe. No, there WAS no backup of the delicate part. But thank goodness, computers, like elephants, never forget, even if traumatized.

Well, so, back to yesterday, when Jane arrived at my door with a face gone white and said the computer had lost her file…and the routine backup was lost along with it.

Well, we start to do what used to be a simple file recovery, 1) don’t write to the affected disc any more than necessary 2) get a text-file recovery software, usually Norton 3) find the affected mess 4) give it a new name 5) fix whatever was corrupted, if anything.

Unfortunately, that ability now rests in software-for-pay that is specialty stuff, some of it available to law enforcement only, some of it—well, after several ‘free’ downloads of what turns out either to look ONLY for corrupt Word files (which seems a cottage industry) or to ONLY recover erased files (any boy scout can figure how to restore the first letter of a file name, which is the typical computer erasure..) Oh, no, Norton doesn’t do what Norton used to do, which is to give you access right down to the sectors…and we have reassembled novels out of that schizophrenic chaos….No. We have to find other ways.

Well, Abbey does this sort of thing now and again, helping somebody fish a file out of the digital lake, and she had a program, which FINALLY—after a very upsetting evening—got the file back.

Both of us are frazzled and didn’t get much sleep, after THAT adrenalized day…but we have it.
Win 10 does NOT play nicely with WordPerfect X4. It does have versions that do.

Sigh. Again. Dental troubles.

Today they sealed the work just done. But I feared a full set of x-rays would find more problems, and they have.
Another bridge, this one needing the anchor tooth extracted next Tuesday, with a bone graft, three month wait for that to heal and ultimately an implant, as they try to rework the bridge to be a cap for the other anchor tooth. Maybe two implants.

Plus antibiotics, which make me feel ‘off’, with no holidays possible: got to get this book in and get started on the other.

I do not look forward to this. At all. It’s just so tiresome, dental pain, sore spots, and more and more and more meds.

I’m not feeling too good. Frustrated. Headache from the morning’s procedure. And a bigger headache in terms of just hauling myself up and getting back on even keel.

The chimney is being fixed even as we speak…

It’s not, in my opinion, necessary, but it is over the long haul—a chimney starting to have loose bricks at the top is going to admit water, which in our climate means ice, which expands joints, etc.

So the scaffolding will stay up until Tuesday, giving the mortar time to cure, and then they will finish up and we will have a nice newer chimney than anybody on the block.

Monday, I have yet one more dental appointment, this one with the regular dentist, who will remove the temporary filler on the bridge and replace it with new filler. I don’t see any reason to replace this comfortable bridge at this point. We will discuss that issue.

Meanwhile—we got ourselves a nice new exercise machine that I have some hope for, Gazelle Edge, which is no-impact joint and muscle exercise. It sits in a box in the living room until I clear some space in my room, which involves the garage sale we are finally going to have. We have 3 recliners and a chair to move out, not to mention knick-knacks and unused bric-a-brac and sitabouts. And books. Boxes of books, including old Time-Life sets that we just don’t need. I hope we have a lot of bibliophiles come through.

Mmm, back on antibiotics….after root canal…

Just makes you full of energy. No.

OTOH, it seems it’s a good thing to count your pills. I counted mine, seeing the vial looked less than full, and I’d also lost track of my doses, so I counted and subtracted. Walgreen Drug shorted me 5 pills. Doesn’t show that way in their record, but a 28 and 23 look similar to someone filling the prescription, and I know what I have left. They were nice: they’re going to fork over the 5 pills. The really big issue is that you don’t want to stop a prescription short of full time…

Root canal 2…

This one took an hour—because the person who did the first one on this tooth 10 years ago missed a root (branch) and used pins with a cement that resisted being removed. Got it, however, and am back on antibiotics. Sigh.

On the genealogy front, I turn out to have some relatives with a whole national history I have not a clue about: Frisians. Lots of Frisians, from the 1300’s, whose names I’m having to look up because the spellings are nothing I’m familiar with. It’s out of a Dutch genealogy site, and sometimes I don’t know a title from a first name. Some are from Lower Saxony, some from the Netherlands, and I foresee a bit of fun figuring this all out. Seems there was some conflict in which many of them figured, and I’m about to learn about Frisia. I love genealogy. This is kind of ironic because I am VERY aware of my maternal great-great grandfather and that lot, out of New Amsterdam, but this is a whole new bunch who seem to have slid in sideways, from a marriage into that line once they had left New York…I don’t know what set of events caused a set of people with a Dutch background to settle in early Oklahoma, but I know that my mother’s father’s family was not the only one, because in my childhood, coping with the old crank-phone party line, there was, on the party line, a set of sisters who would hold great gossip sessions on line—in English, until they got to the good part, then change languages, so the language was still active in that area until the 1950’s. In such a small town as it was, people all knew each other, but my uncle never told me the sisters’ family name, and I wish now I’d asked.

The chimney—is, well, not falling. But…

our neighbor urgently fears it will. What we have is two loose bricks.

We had a chap assess it. We really don’t need another bill this year (my endodontist appointment is next Wednesday, to be followed by a dental appointment, etc) but—we did figure that rain and ice up there with a cracked flue surround do pose a future problem—to us, not our neighbor, in any sense. We have a guy with a good record on Angie’s List (which is an online review by customers) and the means to head off any problem with the chimney for the future. So we’re having a proper cap put on it and the loose or someday-to-be-loose bricks fixed.

It’s August, it’s hot, we’re walking when we can, but not in the heat of the day. I figure if we don’t go out to eat for several months (like that’s going to happen), that will pay for this, at least. If I can avoid having any more dental issues, that will help. Also helping is the fact that our favorite watering hole is having ‘cook’ issues at the moment, and so you takes your chances.

So…well, I’m learning to use this nice stove in proper fashion, and not to burn things. It’s one of those glasstops, and it’s a good range—not chef level, but a good GE range. To my delight, you can program the thing: you get yourself an oven thermometer, and you can actually adjust the oven thermostat to correspond to reality. This is the most brilliant idea since sliced bread. If I tell it 350, it’s actually 350.

We also are taking advantage of the fact we can handle garlic if it’s real garlic and not powdered. Jane ordered this at a restaurant and I can fix it at home: spaghetti and garlic meatballs: pre-done meatballs, frozen, [Costco], in a small saucepan with about a quarter cup of olive oil, half a teaspoon salt, teaspoon black pepper, heaping teaspoon of oregano, heaping tablespoon of dried basil with about 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped garlic in oil. That’s all there is to the meatballs and the sauce. Killer flavor. And popcorn chicken (frozen: Tyson’s or Foster Farms) baked with a drizzle of Frank’s Original Sauce (hotwings) over a green salad with lots of random veggies and Caesar dressing. I add a dash of Fig Balsamic vinegar to mine, but Jane can’t take vinegar. Anyway, a sample of how we avoid eating out. We eat out, get the recipe, and cook in. 😉

Picked up 2 new waterlilies today…

A yellow, Texas Dawn, and a dark red, Midnight Ruby…hardies, to live in the deep end of our pond and take the place of the winter-shield during the summer. A tangle of lily roots and pads and blooms is an anti-predator measure that’s pretty besides. We have as many as 6 lily blooms at any moment this year, really nice, and the shallow end of the pond is mostly covered with them. The lotus the raccoon tried to eat is now two plants and going strong: blooming, and very pretty.

And Jane and I had a story conference today that is going to nudge me out of a stuck spot in fine fashion, so all in all a good day.

There’s a medical clinic with a very large parking lot a little up from us, and we decided to drive up there, park at the far end of the lot, and take a walk up the sidewalk and back—a level, predictable surface. Jane’s been having a very sore hip, and me, I’m incredibly out of shape. I did that walk and have been gimping about the rest of the day. We are resolved to start doing this and get ourselves back in shape.