Yesterday I finally shook my head clear of the fog it’s been in, and decided that it was time to get myself in gear. I went to the grocery store. I planned a good dinner. I cooked that dinner, and I fed it to people I love. I managed to say something vaguely supportive to a friend, and when the lady in the queue ahead of me in the shop was annoyed about how many bruises were on the apples she’d chosen, I somehow magnificently managed not to say anything that even remotely suggested that her problems were totally ridiculous to me (and should be to her) unless they involved a dead mother.
I even sat down to work for a little bit – to start getting caught up on the chaos that is my work life. That’s right, my mum’s been dead two weeks, almost to the hour, and I just yesterday managed to acknowledge that I have to earn a living, and contribute meaningfully to the charity I’ve promised my time to, and I did that. I sat down, thought something like “C’mon Steph, get it together” and moments later, my laptop had a complete seizure and suffered a fatal stroke. I’ve had that beast since 2011, I planned the first Sock Summit on it, that’s how old it is, and now is when it leaves me. It’s a joke, I tell you. I can only assume that it was depressed by the goings-on around here and decided there was nothing left to hang on for. (It was wrong. I swear I was pulling my scene together.) I took it as a sign, a sign that I was supposed to be knitting, and set about making our wee Elliot a hat. (This is Canada. Winter is coming. Winter is always coming.) I’d had my eye on this Garter Ear Flap hat from Purl Soho for ages, and I had some MadelineTosh DK (so aptly called “Happiness”, which is just what I’m looking for) and a little math and whammo – that pattern works just fine.
It’s sweet as pie, actually, and Meg put it on him after dinner (that’s a lie. I rammed it on his wee head so fast it made his head spin around) and we both agreed it made him look properly like a gnome, and cackled about that for some time. (There is a very, very great deal to be said about how much a tiny person can lift spirits.)
Suits him, doesn’t it? He’s so happy and unaffected by all that’s going on around him, and making him little things is such a balm for my heart, and Meg’s too, I think. He’s been nothing but light and sunshine over the last little bit, and for a minute or two I didn’t even mind so much that my mother and my laptop were dead while he smiled at me.
Today was all about starting him another sweater, because I see now that he’s the secret to sanity over the next bit – and somehow trying to whip my iPad into shape to do at least part of the job of my laptop for a few days before I can figure out how to replace it. If this entry looks weird, it’s because I’ve worked out a really odd system for getting a post up. I suspect it will be the pictures that are really strange, but screw it. Look at me! I got something done two days in a row.
I honestly never thought I’d be proud of that. See you tomorrow, if nothing else dies.
- I’ll be drawing a winner of an autographed ARC of Terminal Alliance tomorrow! See http://www.jimchines.com/2017/09/
disaster-aid-and-terminal-alliance- giveaway/ for details and to enter. (And HUGE thanks to everyone who’s already donated.)
- The wonderful Book Smugglers are celebrating their 10th anniversary next year, and are doing a Kickstarter to help them to buy and publish more fiction, as well as to bring in new blog contributors. Contributors can receive anthologies, art prints, autographed books, and more awesome stuff!
- ICON and Continuum will be here in the coming weeks. I’m Toastmastering the former and Guest of Honoring the latter. Anyone else planning to be at one or both?
- Apropos of nothing, this remains one of my favorite xkcd comics ever.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
My introduction to The Tick came in the late 90s, with the animated series. A few of my grad school friends and I would get together each week, eat Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, and watch The Tick (and a few other shows.)
I loved it. I loved the humor, the silliness, the undermining of superhero tropes, and the overall sense of fun.
This was my background as I logged onto Amazon Prime to watch their live-action take on The Tick.
It felt like the entire show was filmed using the same Gritty Angst Filter they used on Batman v Superman. They managed to make The Tick almost entirely joyless.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Three weeks ago today, I went over to my mother’s house after physiotherapy, with the intention of running her over to the doctor because she had a virus. She’d been feeling crappy for about a week. We ended up at the ER instead, and mum never went home. She was admitted that day, and she died ten days later. It was shocking, it was fast, and I know that I am supposed to be grateful for her sake that it was so swift, but I am having trouble finding gratitude for any part of it. I’ve been asked several times if I’m angry, and I don’t think I am – I just feel sad and shocked and tired. I’ve been trying to ease back into a real life, trying to do proper things, and this morning I went back to physio, and I bought vegetables on the way home, and I managed to do a little work. This afternoon I’m going to ride my bike. My current operating theory is that if I do lots of sane, sensible and healthy things, that soon I’ll start to feel sane, sensible and healthy, which I don’t just yet. I feel breakable and sad and I keep thinking that people are being insensitive, but I’m realizing I’m just sensitive right now.
I’m knitting again too – and yes, that implies I stopped and I mostly did. The day after mum landed in hospital we were all to leave for week long family vacation to Nova Scotia. Me, Joe, the girls, Alex, the baby, Joe’s parents and siblings and Frankie and Luis, and my little niece Myrie and brand new baby Emmett. All off us heading off to Cape Breton for my niece Savannah‘s wedding. That’s who I was making that shawl for, the last time I wrote to you. I had big plans to finish it and block it in Cape Breton, and give it to Savannah to wear on her wedding day. That first day mum was sick, I told Joe and the girls to go ahead, and I’d stay home, get mum sorted (I was sure she just needed an antibiotic or something) and when I got her home I’d follow on a later flight and still make it for the wedding.
That’s not what happened. I didn’t make it on a later flight, I did miss the vacation and the wedding, and it was a pretty lonely week. Usually when things are bad my knitting is a good friend to me. I know you’re probably some of the only people in the world that I could say that to who won’t think I need to be committed immediately, but my knitting makes me less lonely, and keeps me company when things are rough. You would think that ten rough days in the hospital culminating in the worst day of my life would add up to a lot of knitting, but it didn’t. What was happening was so destructive and so terrible that I couldn’t knit. I couldn’t do something productive in the face of all that, it felt trivial to even try. Erin and I were at the hospital pretty much all the time, and we slept there for most nights of it, and there I was, holding my knitting all the time like it was some little comfort lovie, but didn’t really knit on it. I managed a few stitches here and there, but didn’t finish the shawl in time for Sav to have it for her day.
It’s taken three whole weeks to manage what should have been two days worth of knitting, if that.
It’s coming back now – the urge to knit is creeping in around the edges, as I start trying to feel better, or think that it’s even possible to feel better, as I start thinking about what comes next, or what a world without my mum in it looks like, since I guess that’s the one I have to live in now. I keep telling my friends that I’m trying to have faith, some of them have lost their mothers, and my mum lost hers, and they all went on to have what looked like happy lives, so it must be that this feeling goes away, or is transformed, or you get used to it. I’m waiting for that to happen, and trying to be confident that it will – and that makes me less frightened. As I wait and try to make that feeling of the new normal happen, I’m looking forward, and those ideas of building something or something being transformed… those feelings feel like knitting…
and suddenly Sav’s shawl is finished.
It’s too late for her wedding, but I’m giving it to her anyway.
It’s a good time for beautiful things.
ETA: Congratulations to Mel, chosen by the Random Number Generator to win the ARC of Terminal Alliance. And thank you to everyone who donated.
Two weeks ago, Sophie received advance review copies of Terminal Alliance. I’ve been meaning to do a giveaway, but I was struggling to come up with a good way to do it.
Then I started seeing the damage reports come in from hurricanes and flooding. The devastation they’ve left in their wakes, and the devastation yet to come. A million people without power in Puerto Rico. Record-breaking rain and flooding in the southwest U.S. 41 million affected by flooding and landslides in South Asia.
And now I know how I want to do this giveaway. You want to win an autographed ARC of Terminal Alliance? There are two things you need to do.
- Donate to one of the organizations helping with disaster relief.
- Leave a comment saying you donated.
I don’t need receipts or anything like that. I trust you. And there’s no minimum donation, either. I know money is tight for a lot of people. If you can afford to give $100, great. If you can only afford $1, that’s great too. It adds up, and it all helps.
Here are some organizations to consider, though this is in no way a complete list.
- Houston Food Bank
- Islamic Relief USA
- United Methodist Committee on Relief
- Austin Pets Alive
- Global Giving
- Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross
I’ll draw one winner at random toward the end of next week.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.