“A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.”
Emily Dickinson

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Cover art features 16th century woodcut (public domain)
this fictionette did not ask for your help dude
Fri 2016-05-06 23:59:59 (single post)
  • 1,220 words (if poetry, lines) long

Let's pretend it's still Friday the 6th. (I'll make it easy by editing the datestamp on this post. No one'll notice a thing.) *ahem* LOOK! It's the first fictionette of May: "The Spindle's Spell." If you guessed it's a riff on Sleeping Beauty, you're right! I've never run across a retelling that concerned itself with what the sleeping princess dreamed during her enchanted sleep. (I've also never heard anyone comment on whether she snored.)

Everything wound up late today mainly because of my knee. My knee has been giving me trouble for no good reason. I mean, yes, we had scrimmage last night, yes, I had some awkward and or dramatic falls. I took a wheel (maybe my own) to the inside right ankle bone, which made a lot of necessary maneuvers painful, which made me a klutz. But I don't recall any single incident involving my right knee.

You'd think there'd have been something, given the way it kept me up all night complaining at me. When I went to bed, it was sore, but just a little, just in this area about the size of my fingertip on the left side of the joint. A few hours after I'd been asleep, it woke me up yelling that it was stiff and in pain and if I dared bend it just wrong it would scream. And then there was just no good position to try to get back to sleep in.

We think it's nothing serious, just a deep bruise. We're keeping an eye on it. Meanwhile, the plans I had made to run some errands by bicycle were scuttled. Seemed safer to just walk and bus. More conducive to putting the knee through its regular paces under very close observation. But this in turn meant more time walking in the hot sun, which meant I was even more tired when I was done, which meant very long afternoon nap. Good news is, the knee was not noticeably worse after the nap. And it was already noticeably better for walking the stiffness out of it. So that's OK.

So the knee problem led to the walking/bussing rather than biking, and both of them led to an unfortunate encounter at the bus stop. Dude walks up, wheeling his bike, and proceeds to be that aggressively friendly asshole who treats everyone in his vicinity as owing him their attention on demand. He started with the man sitting to my left, grilling him about his shirt and whether it was "tribal" and whether he belonged to a tribe. I think the man said "yes" just to shut him up. Then, upon noticing me massaging my knee, "Hey, hey, is your knee OK? You gonna be OK? I can show you some pressure points that'll help it, it's like acupressure or acupuncture, let me show you--"

"I didn't ask," I tried to shut him up with.

It's never that easy. "Hey, I wasn't suggesting anything sexual, I wasn't going to touch you, I wasn't even flirting, I just want to show you something that will help you, I wouldn't have to touch you to do that, I could just show you on my knee--"

"I want you to leave me completely alone," was my second and final try.

"Ooh, are you going to mace me? Come on, do it! Mace me!"

And so forth while I stared fixedly down the street and away from him. By now I was unfortunately alone with him at the bus stop. I had planned to spend my bus-waiting time on my laptop or darning socks, but at this point I didn't want to give him anything else to comment on. So I just sat there and stared at the approaching traffic and tried to tune dude out. This, by the way, is why we can't have nice things.

Eventually he stopped haranguing me directly and started making up a song on the spot. "I just wanna be friends," he crooned. And then, inexplicably, "Oh, speaking of sabotage, thanks for reminding me--" Sabotage? What?

Anyway, he got on his phone and--it's not like I try to overhear these things, but dude was loud--got into negotiations with someone about a package he's expecting that's addressed in his name but to a place where he no longer works (I wonder why, she said sarcastically). It was a long call, and he was still on the phone when the BOLT showed up and he boarded...

...without his bike.

He just left his bike there, leaning against the side of the bus shelter, not locked up or anything. I think he meant to take it with him on the bus, but between his phone call and his NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO WITHHOLD ATTENTION FROM MEEEEE harassment campaign, he just... forgot it.

I could not make this up. I mean, I could, but the first manuscript critique it got would suggest that the instant karma aspect was just a little too pat, you know? A little too smug. Dude harasses woman who just wants to be left alone; dude loses his bike. This Story Has a Moral! Don't Miss the Moral of the Story!

I do still kinda want to come up with an explanation for "sabotage." There might be some fiction fodder there. I mean, what the heck was in that package he was expecting?

If you can't spot the arugula, that's OK. It's tiny.
transplanting tomatoes and exposition
Thu 2016-05-05 23:59:59 (single post)
  • 2,158 words (if poetry, lines) long

All the things. All the writing things! Every single last one of them, and scrimmage too.

And also gardening! Look, look, I put plants in the dirt. Here are the lovely tomatoes that my teammate gave me, and there's a bunch of arugala seedlings that will hopefully do more than just fall over, and there's also some sunflower starts which it is my fervent desire that the neighborhood squirrel not discover until they less resemble something you find at a salad bar. Since there is no bird feeder out there this year, there has been no squirrel-attracting mess of seeds on the patio floor. So maybe we are no longer on the squirrel's habitual commute. Who knows? I have one more peat pot of sunflower seedings still indoors, just in case.

For today's short story revision session, I finally wrote that phone call that needs to happen during the office scene, the bit where the protagonist is hard at work and her older sister calls her up with a job interview opportunity that the protagonist doesn't want, we have talked about this before, did I ask you to find me job interviews, I don't think so. I thought this might be an opportunity to move some exposition out of the narration, where it was boring, and into the dialog, where it would feel more natural. But as it turns out, not so much. Turns out, the protagonist told her sister, "I am not going to explain this to you again." Which meant she wasn't going to explain things again, not even for the sake of the reader. Drat. Hopefully the thing I wanted to explain will be understood well enough with the hints I was able to include. Hopefully I can get a few eyeballs on it this weekend to tell me whether it worked.

Tomorrow I get to rewrite the board of directors meeting. Or the budget meeting. Or the shareholder meeting? That's the thing. The story as it currently stands can't seem to figure out whether the protagonist works at a non-profit or a shareholder-owned corporation, and whether it's got a board of directors or not, and whether the boss man gets called "the director" or "the CEO" or "the president." Gah. These distinctions are not things I am usually interested in, people! Why do I have to be interested in them now?

Watercolors and wine. Job done.
starting to look like a solid trend
Wed 2016-05-04 23:45:10 (single post)
  • 2,158 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,039 words (if poetry, lines) long

Two good days in a row! Progress on all the things. Prepared one of the Fictionette Artifacts to be mailed on Friday (with very clever illustrations on page 2, if I do say so myself) and did another solid revision session on "Stand By for Your Assignment."

Here's the thing about a good day: It takes doing. There are things I have to do to make sure they happen. Thing is, between John and myself, it's pretty much understood that I've got some form of mild (undiagnosed) depression weaseling around in my brain, whence comes (among other things) the occasional inability to get out of bed until external forces intervene. So I've got certain self-care strategies to deal with that:

  • John gets to poke and prod and harass me until I am up, feet on the floor, and productively puttering about the house. (External forces!)
  • By the time he leaves for work, that 20 minutes or so of upright-and-puttering helps ensure I'm fully awake and not tempted to go back to bed.
  • I may not feel like writing. But I know that doing that first task will make me feel accomplished and proud, which emotional lift will carry me into the rest of the morning shift. So get to that first writing task!
  • After my first task, I take a walk or otherwise small bit of exercise outside. Exercise and sunlight are known things that help ward off the funks.

But the problem with that last bullet point is, too much exercise in the sun leaves me feeling like I got walloped in the can-do. So today almost bottomed out when my bike ride up to The Diaz Farm for eggs and tasty sourdough took out all my get-up-and-go. But! I've got the evening off from roller derby--the Bombshells got a much-needed rest after all our efforts at the tournament--so enough time remained to restart the day in the afternoon and damn well get stuff done.

OK, yes, in order to convince myself to work on the short story revision, I had to do the hot-bath-and-glass-of-wine trick. But hey! I got work done on the revision, and I got a relaxing soak in the tub with a glass of wine. Win-win!

Tomorrow:A good, full writing day and Thursday scrimmage! Can it be done? YES IT CAN, my friends. Yes, it can.

This is Velvet. He is almost as old as I am. He can still rock a cover pose.
a good time was had by all the story-like objects
Tue 2016-05-03 23:25:42 (single post)
  • 1,998 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,329 words (if poetry, lines) long

OK! So. We got Friday Fictionette catch-up and short story revision. We got a good day.

The Fictionette Freebie for April, as it turns out, is "Reviving the Legends." (Click for the full text as HTML as a page on this blog or a post on Patreon, as a PDF ebook, or as an MP3 read and recorded by me. I am all about providing options.) I have some trepidations about releasing this fictionette into the wild, though. Generally I am very good about cover art; either it's my own photography, or it's something released under a Creative Commons Attribution license and I attribute like woah. In this case, I'm afraid, I was less than punctilious. So. Featured at right is a possible alternate cover art model. His name is Velvet. He is ready to step in should his services be required.

Bonus fact about me you didn't really need but that I will tell you anyway: My brain is a free-association jukebox. ("Gee, Fleur, tell us something we didn't know," says my entire roller derby league.) The whole time I was converting "Reviving the Legends" from Patron-only to Freebie, I had Neil Diamond's song "Suriving the Life" stuck in my head on infinite loop. Eventually I gave in and just queued up the Beautiful Morn album and sang along very loudly.

Anyhoo. Short story revision! Got "Stand By for Your Assignment" to a place where I could print it out again and consider it as a whole. This draft was spent removing all the things I wasn't 100% sure it needed, so that I could front load the creepy bits rather than the exposition. The next draft will be spent putting some of what I cut back in, but with intention. Like painting over the painting-so-far with a thin wash of Protagonist's Family, stuff like that. I'll start on that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I seem to have just joined a local critique group. Maybe. They're having their initial meeting this Saturday, just to see if it's going to work, and I'm going to bring "Stand By" or another of the short stories I'm editing to it, see what they think about it. For those of y'all who are my Local Writer Friends who are women and are interested, this is the "Small Circle Women Writers" on Meetup.com, located in/around Longmont. It's public in the sense that any woman can apply, but it's private in the sense that applications must be approved by the organizer.

Anyway, I'm excited about going, and a little nervous, and also I am feeling the pressure of Short Story Revision MUST Be Done By Saturday!!! Which, ultimately is a good thing. A little fire under my butt is useful for cooking up fiction.

Cover art includes original photography by the author, who has amassed quite the collection of Mardi Gras beads.
this fictionette is bruised but unbroken
Mon 2016-05-02 23:43:25 (single post)
  • 1,341 words (if poetry, lines) long

All right, already. It's up. Finally. The Friday Fictionette for April 22 is up. It's called "The Queen of Carnival," and it's about a Faerie abductee who, having fought her way back to New Orleans, then has to fight a battle of a different sort for the right to call it her home again.

I'll be playing Friday Fictionette catch-up all week, thanks to the previous couple weeks' absolute failure to stay on top of things. You can expect the Fictonette Freebie for April to be released tomorrow, I think, and then I'll be working on the Fictionette Artifacts for my $5/month Patrons over the rest of the week. Meanwhile I'm already dreading working on the fictionette for May 6 because it is so very vaguely formed at the present time. Well, that's why I get a week to work on it, right? While I work on this other stuff.

In case you are wondering, the tournament in Eagle went splendidly. We lost our first bout against 10th Mountain, which we knew was probable, but we lost it by a lot less than we might have. We made up a lot of points in the second half and finished strong. We went on to win our second bout against Durango, which it turns out we were predicted to have only a 5% chance of doing, so, hooray! I think we're all a little disappointed by the way we lost so much of our lead, but, despite a penalty-plagued ten minutes or so in the second half, we held onto that lead after all.

I have so many bruises on my right side. I'm proud of every one of them. I played in the A position, which is to say, right up against the inside line, and a lot of jammers engaged our wall by slamming straight into my right hip and shoulder. I'm proud to say those initial hits didn't knock me down once. Oh, later in the jam I got knocked down plenty, but never from that first impact, even when I was blocking fully side-on. I'm really pleased about that; it's something I've been working on for a while.

My next bout will be on May 28th here in Boulder County. If you're local and interested, I suggest you clear your calendar for the day. It's gonna be awesome.

Cover art incorporates original photography by the author, who had no idea that genuine doorknobs were so scarce in today's retail scene.
this fictionette will come rolling home eventually
Fri 2016-04-29 22:34:47 (single post)
  • 1,039 words (if poetry, lines) long

Argh! Argh, argh, argh. It's not like I've never been late with Friday Fictionettes before, but I try to at least get them all out in the right month. But the very belated April 22 edition will not be out tonight, and probably won't be out tomorrow.

I am at this moment in a hotel in Eagle, Colorado, preparing for tomorrow's roller derby tournament. It's 10:07 PM. Skater check-in is at 10:00 AM. I am told that getting plenty of rest between now and then is desirable. Thus, not staying up all night. Sorry-not-sorry? It is possible that I might surprise myself and get the fictionette up tomorrow morning before we head over to the tournament venue. Possible. Not terribly probable. If it happens, I'll crow all about it right here. Just... don't hold your breath.

I have no excuse. I was not very good with time management this month, and especially these last two weeks.

Let me at least tell you about the previous fictionette, the one for April 15, which was late but did in fact go up. It's called "The Day the Storefront Let Jen Bledsoe In," and it's about the new norms in business partnership after an event the characters refer to as The Great Awakening. Of the buildings, that is. It's the buildings that woke up. Which means that opening a retail storefront takes a bit more cooperation than some might be used to. Some people adapted to this change more quickly than others, of course.

I'll probably write more fiction in this setting. Not sure whether it'll be related fictionettes to release on Patreon or full-fledged stories to send out for publication, but it'll be something. This one was just too much fun to write.

The current one? The one I'm continuing to be late with? It ought to be fun. I mean, it's not not fun--writing is fun. But some stories come more effortlessly than others. This one would be one of the others.

Anyway, more later. I can say that much for sure. Just don't ask me how much later. As little later as I can humanly manage, OK? Because the first fictionette for May will need to happen too.

when your laptop starts singing Daisy it's time to move house
Wed 2016-04-27 00:41:45 (single post)

Hi! So, I have all sorts of reasons for the recent radio silence. They are all totes valid, too. Probably the most immediate reason is having begun last week the laborious process of replacing my 5-or-more-years-old laptop.

It wasn't the purchase that took forever. That was simple. That was, pretty much, me walking into Best Buy, finding the very small selection of laptops that weren't touchscreens or any of that expensive nonsense, and locating the display model that was all but labeled HEY I HEAR YOUR ASUS IS DYING HAVE A NEW ASUS JUST LIKE IT ONLY NEWER AND FOR A LOT LESS MONEYS.

Details for them what wants 'em: It's an X540, the one with an Intel Core i3, 4Gb RAM, and 1Tb storage. $329 before tax when I bought it on April 13th; $299 today. (Drat.) Battery is emphatically not customer-serviceable, but I'm no stranger to opening up laptops. The keyboard layout is exactly the same as the old, which is handy, except that they put the power button where the END button ought to be, and the END button on the 1 key on the number pad. This resulted in hilarious unexpected shutdowns until I finally went into the Power Options, found "Choose what happens when I press the power button," and chose "Do Nothing."

No, the thing that's taking forever is moving all my stuff and things over. It's like moving house. All my habitual programs, all my customized settings, all my files. Digging up my EditPlus registration key, which was on a decade-old ZIP disk buried in the closet. Locating and installing fonts I'd thought were standard installation features but in fact were not. Stripping the DRM off those ebooks that still need it so I can access them on the new machine. Learning that my Firefox and Thunderbird profiles will take all night to copy over.

All these file-moving operations were made even more tedious by the old ASUS's efforts to reassure me that, yes, I was right to finally replace it. Several times a day it will restart for no apparent reason, or its wifi adapter will have another existential crisis, and I'll have to start a multi-hour file transfer over again. At least the wifi failures are no longer a factor now that I've cabled the old ASUS directly into the router. As for the random restarts, I'm beginning to think that the horrendous noises I thought were a dying fan are in fact a dying hard drive.

And then there's Windows 10. Windows 10 is like Windows, Childproofed and Shiny. Like, who would ever want to edit the parameters of their wifi profiles, right? Who'd want to manually assign them a priority order when Windows will figure it out for you? Connecting you to some ambient unencrypted hotspot instead of to your own home network is just how Windows shows it cares! I'm Cortana! Ask me anything! Why don't you want to ask me anything? And why would you possibly want to prevent Quick Access from accumulating recently accessed locations to itself? I mean, yes, that means that your "Writing" folder shows up twice, because you pinned it there and you accessed it recently, but Windows knows your writing is just that important to you! And why, for goodness sake, would you ever want to create a shortcut in your start menu? Why would you want to manually edit your start menu at all? Wait, what are you doing with that Classic Shell install file? I can't let you do that, Dave...

Well, most of the kinks have been ironed out, most of the files have arrived at their new home safely, and almost all the programs I use in the course of the day have been installed. I'm living and working on the new machine now, and only occasionally going back to the old ASUS (or, in the case of one DRM-locked ebook, the old Dell) for tidbits and scraps.

And the new machine is light and fast and quiet and very nice. It's amazing how much less reluctant I am to boot up the computer and get to work when the computer isn't whining, clicking, wheezing, randomly falling off the network, or randomly choking up over mundane tasks.

So that's where I'm at. One of the places I'm at, anyway. More tomorrow...

YPP Weekend Blockades, Apr 16-17: When the flotilla sinks, we'll have no place to race
Sat 2016-04-16 13:22:19 (single post)

If you're here for blockades, you're in for a quiet weekend. Just one PvP on Emerald tomorrow at 10 and three blockades on Meridian between now and Sunday at 11. As always, scroll down for the full schedule. It should all fit in one window unless your window is very, very small.

If you're here for other Puzzle Pirates events, I've got a couple to alert you to. Both of 'em are on Emerald.

  1. Flag I-N-K are hosting a Kraken Hunt contest next weekend. See how much treasure you can winkle out of the kraken's lair! Prizes to the three best scores. Meanwhile, all participants will be entered into a raffle.
  2. A Sloop Flotilla Relay Race was supposed to be held this morning, only Emerlaus went and sunk the flotilla. SO MUCH FOR THAT. Watch the linked thread for new date/time to be announced.

If you're here for the actually writing blog and you're wondering where I've been all week, I am not going to tell you because it will make me look bad. But do stay tuned for this week's Friday Fictionette, which I hope to post this evening and thus keep its lateness to within a 24-hour margin. (Sorry about that.)

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, April 16 ***

12:00 p.m. - Nightshade Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Black Veil (6)

10:00 p.m. - Carmine Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Dragon Lords
Attacker: Chapter Three

*** Sunday, April 17 ***

10:00 a.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Salmon Aren't Crafty
Attacker: Blow Me Good

11:05 a.m. - Drogeo Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Barely Dressed
Attacker: Chocolate Coated

YPP Weekend Blockades, Apr 9-10: Now live from servers owned by Grey Havens
Sat 2016-04-09 12:38:45 (single post)

OK, it's Saturday, and we got blockades, but FIRST!!! The Dread Ringers have some important news for us all. On April 6--just this past week--ownership of Puzzle Pirates was transferred:

... to a company called Grey Havens. Grey Havens is a group of former Three Rings employees who have come together to keep the games and communities we love alive and happy.

This has also been the case for another Three Rings/Sega game, Spiral Knights. Hopefully this is the happy outcome that dodges the prognostications of naysayers averring that Sega was going to shut these games down. NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN NOW LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

*ahem* So. Blockades.

Unaccustomed activity on Opal, where Ursa Major are defending three islands from a simultaneous attack by Der Zorn der Götter. I personally hope UM win because their jobber is a pirate named Momo who leads a crew called Neverending Story. This indicates the presence of Michael Ende fans, which is a faction I can only support.

On Cerulean, Babylon are going to try one more time to oust a Brigand King from the much-abused shores of Tinga Island.

On Meridian, Barely Dressed and Legacy of Life are teaming up to run off a few Brigand Kings of their own.

On Emerald, witness the debut of Salmon Aren't Crafty (Public Statement: "THEY SWIM UPSTREAM!!! WHAT’S CRAFTY ABOUT SWIMMING UPSTREAM!?") as they attack This Means War on Ix Chel. Also there's a thing on Sayers Rock.

And on Jade, Courage are proceeding with anti-Brigand King actions on Isla Spaniel.

Is that all? I think that's all. Details below. Have at it!

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, April 9 ***

11:01 a.m. - Ilha da Aguia, Opal Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Alianca da Aguia
Attacker: Chthonische Horden (1)

11:45 a.m. - Maia-Insel, Opal Ocean
Defender: Ursa Major
Attacker: Der Zorn der Götter

11:45 a.m. - Edgars Wahl, Opal Ocean
Defender: Ursa Major
Attacker: Der Zorn der Götter

11:46 a.m. - Paihia-Insel, Opal Ocean
Defender: Ursa Major
Attacker: Der Zorn der Götter

12:00 p.m. - Tigerleaf Mountain, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (4)
Attacker: Legacy of Life

12:06 p.m. - Isla Spaniel, Jade Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: La Llama que todo lo consume (1)
Attacker: Courage

1:00 p.m. - Napi Peak, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (5)
Attacker: Barely Dressed

2:00 p.m. - Sayers Rock, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: Here's the Thing

4:00 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Salmon Aren't Crafty

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Sunday, April 10 ***

11:06 a.m. - Tinga Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: The Jade Empire (4)
Attacker: Babylon

Cover art incoroorates original photography by the author, who, like a Traveling Wilbury, would like to be handled with care.
all the fictionettes came home to roost
Fri 2016-04-08 22:53:24 (single post)
  • 1,049 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,329 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,012 words (if poetry, lines) long

This has not been the best of weeks, for--oh, so very many reasons. But! It is Friday, and I have posted a Friday Fictionette to the Patreon "Creator Posts" stream. I have given it the extremely imaginative title of "Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Gloom of Night," because we are picking up a package in one story for delivery to another. And by package, I mean character. Basically, a character is running away from his story and a U.S. Post Office driver is taking him into another. Some stories are safer to be in than others.

(Standard explanatory text for Friday Fictionettes: Click the link to read an excerpt, click the links you will find there to A. download the full text as a PDF ebooklet or MP3 audiobooklet if you're already a subscriber, or B. to become a subscriber and then revisit step A.)

I've also finally gotten around to producing the teaser excerpt of last week's fictionette, "Reviving the Legends." Additionally, I've released "The Call Is Coming From Inside the Building" as the Fictionette Freebie for March 2016, such that its PDF and MP3 downloads are now free for all to enjoy. Which means I'm almost all caught up on the Fictionette stuff (barring, as usual, Wattpad releases and backfilling all the early MP3s) except for the Fictionette Artifacts for those subscribers who may expect to see them any day now. (I've bought new stamps! They are pretty! You will see them soon! hugs & kisses!)

And that's pretty much all I've gotten done this week on the writing front. There's a possibility--just a slight one--that this may have something to do with the last three boxes full of books having come home from storage this week. (Books! Old friends! All the Patricia McKillip! Alphabet of Thorn, how I have missed you! Oooh, Robin McKinley's Shadows!) But there may have been additional factors.

By the way, there's only maybe two light carloads of stuff to bring home before that rented storage unit is empty, finally, and we can at last declare ourselves--after slightly more than a year since coming to live at our new address--entirely moved in. This is moderately exciting! And for our next trick: Installing shelves on every single wall so that all the books, sheet music, CDs, records, DVDs, and video games have somewhere to live, other than in boxes.

Hello weekend! I deserve you. *dives in*