Month: July 2014

Clearing Away the Mess

This morning I looked around my house and saw all the accumulated clutter from the past five weeks. During those weeks I packed for a trip by pulling things out of their usual places. Then I unloaded my suitcases, but not everything got put away. I was too busy preparing for a convention, which required me to pull out a completely different set of things. Also there was an art show, which strewed another set of paraphernalia about. While I was away on my trip, Howard brought home a drawing table and assorted gear from Dragon’s Keep, because he’s drawing at home now. Some of the gear is duplicates, most of it is sitting in boxes waiting for me to have time to decide where it goes. Then I came home from the convention bringing back piles of things which need to be put away.

One of the troubles with having so many piles of things, it means that even when I know exactly where the item I’m holding belongs, there is probably a pile between me and that location. So instead of putting the item away, I set it on a pile to put away later. Piles beget more piles until the entire house is full of piles which must be moved out of the way in order to accomplish anything useful.

This morning I looked around and realized that the most important business task I could accomplish would be to clean house. So I spent many hours of my work day organizing and putting away. There is much work yet to do, but it is begun.

I’ve also begun dismantling our back deck. The railings are off and we pried up enough boards to shine a flashlight underneath. That part was a little bit scary. I really did not know what we would see. I feared hornet’s nests and massive spiders because I swear that there were bugs or webs in every single join of every single board I removed. I no longer consider it a nice deck. It was a massive bug and spider house. Apparently. Underneath was actually pretty boring. There was dirt. We started at the far corner from where the rotted support is because we’ve seen leaf cutter bees flying in and out over there. If I have to deal with angry insects, I want to have time to know that they are there first. I’ll probably do a post with pictures, but it’ll probably wait until I have pictures of every stage.

Now I need to rest so I can have a similar work day tomorrow. We’ve had five weeks of running around. The next five weeks we’ll all stay home. I’m looking forward to that.

At the End of Westercon

I have so many thoughts in the wake of Westercon, but they are all fragmentary. When I try to pull one into coherence, it slips away from me like a colorful fish in murky water. I can tell they are lovely, but I barely get a glimpse before they are gone. A part of me is afraid that they will get away, vanish in the gloom never to be seen again. Tomorrow, when I have slept all the sleeps, I will try to coax them out where I can see them.

For now I write the fragments that may help me coax full thoughts tomorrow.

We had a wonderful time.

Keliana sold 3/5 of her art show pieces and many of her prints. She earned a significant portion of the money she needs for her tuition payment in August. She also won “Best Use of Color” for one of her pieces. She got invited out to dinner by professional people who wanted to talk to her, not her parents.

All of my panels were excellent. I learned things and I felt like we gave good value to the audience.

I had many wonderful conversations.

I need to write a post on the power of witness.

Mary and I visited an antique store, one where you have to ring the bell to be let inside. Unfortunately the owner had firm opinions about the use of photos so I couldn’t take any to share. But I was struck by how needlessly beautiful these objects were. We make things to serve a need. These things fed the need for beauty. I put my hand to the surface of a two hundred year old table and realized it had a story, probably many stories, and I will never know them. Not even if I bought it and took it home. That building was packed with untold stories. I wonder if I sat quiet for a long time if they’d whisper their stories to me. Certainly my brain tried to create them. I could not afford a single thing in the store.

I’m excited for LTUE next February. I think it is in some very good hands.

Commuting forty five minutes to and from the convention each day significantly increased the fatigue and reduced pretty much all of my evening social opportunities.

My kids who stayed at home are amazing and were absolutely fine while I was gone.

I have ideas to increase the fun and reduce the burden of SLCC in September.

I have ideas for Gen Con.

I had a dozen things that ought to go on the to do list, but can’t remember what they are. I hope they come back when I’ve cleared the murk.

The Shadows Beneath anthology is beautiful.

Sometimes you see behind the scenes to how an event is put together and it is like watching a train wreck, you can see the crash coming and cringe in anticipation. At Westercon I saw an event which was repeatedly saved from disaster by people who stepped in at the last minute to solve problems created by communication issues and other errors. The con com was full of heroes. Then there are other times where I see behind the scenes and the more I watch the more I respect everyone involved. Watching the Writing Excuses crew is like that.

Traffic and sales were really slow in the dealer’s room, but we still did better than I thought we would.

I never did make it across the street to Fantasycon. I’ve heard there were many things worth seeing. I was happier staying in the smaller space.

I have a deck I need to start dismantling this week and Apricots which are going to fall off the tree unless I can entice someone to come collect them and take them away.

I really want one of Jessica Douglas’ little dreaming trees with either fish or butterflies, but I can’t decide what colors or theme I want. It needs to mean something to me. A dreaming tree has to have symbolism in the colors and objects. I’ll wait patiently until my brain tells me what the symbols are.

A set of blog posts, getting onto panels, being a good panelist, being a good moderator, being a good convention guest, things conventions can do to make life easier for their guests.

And those are the glimpses I have right now. Time to sleep

Good Things on the 4th of July

My youngest two kids do like fireworks, but I think their favorite Fourth of July tradition is when I buy a pack of 50 glow stick bracelets and they run around in the dark backyard way past the time when I usually make them go to bed. If I were less tired, I would write up a post talking about the evolution of our 4th of July traditions. Some other time perhaps.

I’ve spent the last two days up at Westercon. I’ve got two days more. It is a convention with more than the usual quantity of organizational snafus, but none of them have truly impeded our ability to do the things we need to do nor have they reduced our enjoyment of the show. I’ve had so many conversations today which warmed my heart. It is good to be among friends. I’m tired, but happy. Tomorrow morning I get to go back.