Harpy Unplugged

Photo Credit: Brian Landis

My cabin fever hit critical mass early last week. I told Brian I really needed to unplug, get out of town, and hear the wind through the trees for a couple of days. After recovering from his shock, he agreed wholeheartedly. Brian loves to camp. I do and I don’t. I do love laying in the tent, looking up at the sky through the screen and listening to the birds. I don’t love stinging insects that make me injure myself in my frantic attempts to run away from them. I’ve always had this intensely frustrating fear and it’s always screwed up my favorite outdoor activities, but the need to get out of my head outweighed the buzzing terror.

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On Writing Again

As I mentioned a while back I’ve started writing again, and not just inane blog posts. I have a story in progress right now. It’s so short it could be considered flash fiction, and it is the first creative thing I’ve finished since 1992. That’s kind of appalling. Thousands of people across dozens of worlds have been bouncing around in my head for 23 years and I haven’t told you about any of them. I thought about why those ideas were trapped for so long, and it boils down to two things: fear and time jealousy.

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Brr! It’s Cowd.

Plant sprout in snow

[My poor little garlic shoots are snowed under, except for this one hardy fellow.]

Our birds and plants have absolutely no idea what’s going on. In early January, we were bathed in 70 degree temperatures and covered by clear, sunny skies: a warm blanket of Solar Love. Late February has been a whirling dervish of ice, wind, and gray: an iron maiden of Frigid Hate. I’m ready for Spring.

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Rest In Peace, Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

… his was the most… Human.

Leonard Nimoy died today after a long and fruitful life. I didn’t know him. I knew his work and the characters he so richly brought to life.

He helped shaped my world view through his portrayal of Spock, and I’m a better person for it.

“Popularity is the very crumbs of greatness,” he quoted in a commencement address he delivered in 2012. He was a great actor and a fine human being, and I feel small today from the knowledge that he is gone. The world is a bit darker today.

LLAP, Mr. Nimoy. Thank you.

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Random Friday: So Cold

Featured Image: The Cliffs of Brover by Brian Landis (Creative Commons License)

My Fitbit craves steps like the Evil Dead crave souls, so I’ve been out to walk every day this week in spite of the weather. Freezing my butt off in these unusually low temps has taught me a few things.

I’m Part Xenomorph
It’s true! Walking into a north wind with a 5ºF wind chill makes my eyes water constantly. The tears freeze to my glasses and become impossible to remove. This crap is like acid etching loopy patterns into my specs. While I’m pleased to confirm I’m not 100% human, trying to remove acid tears from my lenses is a pain. I should have sprung for the premium coating.

I am an alien queen!
I am an alien queen!

Addendum: on our walk to work this morning I mentioned to Brian that the church bells sounded like they were playing God Save the Queen. Right there on the sidewalk he started singing, “Our lord xenomorph, you burst forth from meeeeeeee!” This is why I love him.

Arthritis Sucks
My hands took a big fat leap down the suck hole this winter, no doubt aided by the huge temperature swings we’ve experienced. Jerk joints don’t want to work when it’s this cold, so I might have to rethink my plan to move up north in the future or start writing by dictation. On the plus side, if it gets too bad I can get this software and then be able to truthfully say I’m training my dragon.

Cheekbones and Collars!
Cheekbones and Collars!

Sherlock Needs to Hurry Up
I’m referring to the TV show, of course. Brian found it for me last year and I promptly binged us through all the episodes. NEED MOAR NOW. You’re wondering how this is related to the weather? I have a wool pea coat with a high collar that I always wear when it’s horrifically cold. Since watching Sherlock, every time I raise the collar I remember John saying, “You, being all mysterious, with your cheekbones and turning your coat collar up so you look cool,” and I titter.

Spring Also Needs to Hurry Up
The forecast for today is 27ºF with an 80% chance of snow. As I was drifting off last night the ever-present ringing in my ears took on the pattern of cicadas buzzing in the trees. I am definitely ready for spring.

It’s been a weird week, but I’ll label it a win and get on with my business. At least tomorrow actually IS Saturday.

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Remoteness

Working from home has become a polarizing issue as more companies adopt the practice (or rescind it… I’m looking at you, Yahoo). After seeing an endless stream of articles intended to help more sociable employees take the plunge successfully, I decided to post my own take on the subject: from the perspective of an introvert.

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Qualifiers

A Page Out of Time, by Heather Lee (Creative Commons License)

Featured Image: A Page Out of Time, by Heather Lee (Creative Commons License)

I am a writer.

That sentence is difficult to say because I always try to qualify it with something like, “I want to be a writer.” I’ve been writing since I learned how to put pen to paper. You can ask my mother; she still has all the stories I left around the house for her to find when I was little. I wrote for school assignments, I wrote between classes, I wrote during the summer, I wrote for fun. And then I stopped.

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Get Up!

Featured Image: Winter Sunrise, by Heather Lee (Creative Commons License)

After my post on routines, a few people asked me how I managed to go from sleeping 14 hours a day to watching the sun rise every morning. The short answer is time, obstacle removal, and orky help. The long answer is below.

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How to Tweak Your Daily Routine

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working to change my morning routine. The goal is to get up early and sneak in a workout before my day gets rolling and I have to focus on braining for a living. The reality has turned out to be a bit of a challenge.

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Why

This post was supposed to appear last week and it was supposed to be about our garden, but I got a bit derailed. As I was preparing the photo fest to accompany the garden explanation on Monday, a friend messaged me with awful news. Her boss, his wife, and their daughter had been murdered in their home over the weekend. I had also worked for this family back in 2007 and saw them around town all the time. They were good to me. They were good people. I didn’t know what had happened, but I was certain they didn’t deserve it. For the rest of the day I sat here hitting the refresh button on breaking news pages hoping to learn more.

When we heard the truth a tense couple of days later, we were horrified. The couple’s 19-year-old son had come home from college and shot them. He confessed he wanted money and figured he’d be the sole heir to the estate if they were all dead. Processing this was surprisingly difficult for me. We weren’t super close, but I knew these people: all four of them. We spent a good chunk of time together over the summer I worked at their newspaper. From that vantage point I saw solid parents who provided for and loved their kids, but didn’t spoil them. They were just a good local family.

And I still think of them that way. As more details are released and the public learns about the problems the family had with their son, tongues have started to wag. Ridiculous statements of “Oh, I wasn’t at all surprised,” and “How could they not see the warning signs?” are flowing freely on social media. Accusations of spoiling the children and not being religious enough have been thrown around as well. This behavior sucks. It’s easy to sit back now and say that someone should have done something, but we weren’t behind closed doors with this family. We don’t know what they went through trying to help this kid, and I’m absolutely sure they did try.

Normally when something dreadful happens, I feel better when I know why it happened. For the first time, this isn’t the case. Knowing I’ll never see them again bugs me, especially with the guilt from not realizing what they were dealing with back then. Could I have done something to prevent what happened? Most likely not, but I’ll always wonder. And all the hateful, judgmental blathering of the uninvolved doesn’t help. So, for the social media pundits who have everyone else’s families figured out, I share this advice from my late grandmother.

You’re welcome to think whatever you want. You’re also welcome to keep your mouth shut.

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