Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Yesterday it was ninety in Seattle. I'm here teaching Clarion West and by yesterday evening, we were all sort of flattened by the heat. Today is supposed to be cooler and tomorrow they say it will be back in the mid-seventies and we will experience Seattle as it is meant to be.

This morning it is bright and not yet hot. I think I tend to go to places when they are not themselves, so to speak. I go to Taos when there's no snow, and so far I've enjoyed Seattle with no rain. Seattle is a place of sun light through greenery.

I can only get internet intermittantly, and my email is still awkward. I went days without email--which was kind of nice in a lot of ways, but of course, now I am buried, and it is difficult for me to send out.

Friday, June 16, 2006

In the Mountains

Taos has been good this year. Great critiques, so far. Last night Walter made his traditional black roux gumbo and rice and for desert, flaming bananas foster. The stories have been ambitious and that has given us a lot to talk about.

Rio Hondo is always a strange balancing act between the extraordinary beauty of the landscape and the nearly perfect temperature, and the vicissitudes of altitude. Just climbing the steps at the Snow Bear lodge is challenging for us (we all get to the top floor and pause, gasping.) Altitude makes people sleep fitfully. The air is so dry that my sinuses are whacked. The cottonwoods are dropping a dusting of cottonwood and Daniel Abraham's allergies are in full bloom. Alcohol hits us all twice as hard. Last night, Walter made margaritas. I figure we'll be positively giddy at today's critique. Today we do three stories, including Walter's. Tomorrow we do the last two. Sunday I fly to Wisconsin for the Writer's on the Lake. My email is working poorly, alas.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Word From Iraq

Jason called this morning. I had sent him a package full of cookies and snacks. It turns out he is addicted to wasabi peas and he told me that when driving patrol at night, wasabi peas are great for staying awake. He had also indicated that Bravo Co. wouldn't mind a coffee grinder. So after I talked to him I went and bought a coffee grinder, two pounds of fair trade whole bean coffee, two packages of Walker shortbread cookies, and a giant bag of wasabi peas. (My local trendy upscale health food store has them in bulk.) I shipped them off this afternoon.

When I went to the gym, I parked behind a car with a yellow 'support the troops' sticker. I thought to myself that I should hand that person an Adopt a Marine box and see how willing they were to support the troops. It turned out to be a woman I see often. She was a science teacher and now has a little business selling science education supplies and when I walked in she said, 'I want to get some of those boxes from you.' Since I often believe, uncharitably, that a lot of people think that by sticking one of those yellow ribbons on their car they have done their bit (which is neither fair not true in all cases) I was surprised. She took the five boxes I had in the car because she said people at her church would fill them. She promised me that when I got back from traveling, she would undoubtably want more.

I don't know why those yellow 'Support the Troops' stickers irritate me so much. I associate them with people who support the war but they don't have to be. I don't support the war and I'm adopting out recon marines. It is important to have ones prejudices revealed, even if it is usually discomforting.

I'm off to New Mexico for a week in Taos. Then a week in Madison, Wisconsin, teaching at Writing By The Lake. Then two weeks in Seattle--one week teaching at Clarion West and one week where Bob will come out and meet me. We were originally going to vacation, but with his new job, he'll be bringing a laptop and doing some work. I'll also have a laptop and probably also be doing some work for a freelance gig. I figure the work will feel really different when we do it in a coffee shop in Seattle, where the coffee is supposed to be the best. But I am hoping we get away for a day to see whales, or islands, or Mt. St. Helens.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Clean Check-up

My doctor is really pleased. So am I. Everything looks great.

Monday, June 05, 2006

On the Move

For the last month Bob has been in the process of being courted for and finally accepting a new job in Austin, Texas. Today I could finally announce it.

Since it has been difficult to think about much of anything else, I have been very lax about posting. Now I will probably write a lot of posts about how it sucks to move.

But I am excited to think that I will be moving to a place with bats and moonlight towers. Oh, and I bought a membership to World Fantasy Convention.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Usual Check-up

Had a CT scan this morning. It's just the usual follow-up. I'll hear the results on Tuesday next week. The good news is that my veins are getting better and they got the IV for contrast going on the very first try.

The other news is that my laptop started overheating and I am typing this on my new laptop. Of course, now I need to get all my bookmarks reestablished...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Boxes Boxes Everywhere

I just addressed twenty-two flat rate priority boxes to send to Iraq. Twenty-two boxes take up more space than I had actually considered. But I found out that even though you have to fill out a custom form, since the FPO addresses all have zip codes, the post office treats them like domestic mail. I included a custom form with each box so people could fill them out and not get the post office and find out there that they had to (as I did. In fact, the next time I mailed something to Jason, I had forgotten about the customs forms and had to fill it out at the post office again. The forms are brain dead easy--my last one listed the contents as 'snacks and cookies'.)

I am feeling insufferably virtuous about all of this.

In other equally fun Marine news, I found out that Jason Campbell's nickname in his Recon unit is 'Scramble.' He says he was in class in training and he was falling asleep and the instructor said, "Campbell."

From behind him, an amused voice said thoughtfully, "Scramble." And he's been Scramble Campbell ever since.