shadesong: (Default)
Saturday, December 31st, 2011 02:46 pm
Hi! I'm Shira. I write stuff. Here's info on some of it.

* "Wool and Silk and Wood" in Electric Velocipede #15/16, November 2008
* "Unruly Harvest" in Polu Texni, December 2008
* "About a Girl" is a poem and a perfume; check it out at Violette Market!
* "When Her Eyes Open" in Lone Star Stories, February 2009; it was reprinted in the 2009 Eaton Science Fiction Conference's speculative poetry sampler, and was nominated for the Rhysling Award.
* "Twelve" in Cabinet des Fees, March 2009
* "Nine Things About Oracles" in Electric Velocipede #20 (2010)
* "The Library, After" in Mythic Delirium #24.
* "The Changeling's Lament" in Stone Telling #5.

Short Fiction
* "The Angel of Fremont Street" in ChiZine, January 2009. It was shortlisted for the Million Writers Award.
* "Fortune" in Ravens in the Library: Magic in the Bard's Name, the [profile] s00j benefit anthology
* "Valentines" in Interfictions 2, November 2009
* "And to My Wife" in Electric Velocipede #20 (2010)
* "Salt Brides" in Abyss & Apex, October 2010; it has been nominated for the Micro Award.
* "Between Truth and Life" in Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, January 2011.
* "The Portal to Heaven" in Electric Velocipede #21
* "Fortune" reprinted in ChiZine, May 2011
* "Valentines" reprinted in Apex Magazine, June 2011
* "I Am Thinking of You in the Spaces Between" in Apex Magazine, October 2011

In process: Cicatrix is the seriously bent portal fantasy, Places You Haunt is the Vegas mythpunk, and Shayara is the political thriller urban fantasy.

Conventions 2012
* I'll be at Arisia, Boskone, Conbust, Wiscon, Readercon, and PiCon - where I'll be the Guest of Awesome!

Where Else am I?
You can find me at Facebook. You can be my fan there, too. I'm also on Twitter and Ravelry. Not on MySpace. :)
shadesong: (Tiala - xana art)
Monday, December 26th, 2011 03:59 pm
Passing on the news via [ profile] lordlnyc, via Suli - [ profile] badgerthorazine passed away today.

If you're in or around Boston fandom, you knew and adored Badger; if not, just know that we lost an incredibly sweet, joyful friend today.

I may have more to say when I get over these waves of bewilderment and incomprehension. Badger had been very sick, but dammit, she was supposed to get better. The total unfairness of the world is hitting me like a sack of hammers.

EDIT: Per Suli, if you'd like to make a donation in Badger's memory, please donate to the Carl Brandon Society.
shadesong: (Default)
Friday, December 23rd, 2011 10:54 am
Happy early birthday to [ profile] lightgatherer, [ profile] xhollydayx, and [ profile] ineffabelle, who advance a year over the weekend!

State of the 'song
Surprisingly okay, given today's early wakeup call.

Is en route! 10am-1:30pm flight, BOS-MCO.

Ten days. Will miss her.

"I've been gone for three weeks before, Mommy."
"I didn't like that either!"

Yes, I know. College looms.

Apparently I still look youngish.
TSA to Elayna: "How old are you?"
Elayna: "Sixteen."
TSA to Elayna: "Wow, you're the only sixteen-year-old I've seen today who looks younger than her age!"
She motions for my ID and gate pass, and I hand them over. She scans them.
TSA to me: "1974?!?"
Me: "Yep!"
TSA: "You guys are eating organic or something."

BPAL Reviews
A Dense and Frightful Darkness: black musk, vetiver, myrrh, opoponax, hemp, crushed sage, oakmoss, and tobacco.
In bottle: Dark yumminess. I'm mostly getting the vetiver and moss.
On me: Huh! Something here is suddenly very sharp, and I don't know what. Almost alcohol-perfumey.

A Dreary Night of November: bone-white sandalwood, ink-black vetiver, Spanish moss, bitter clove, beeswax, and lotus root.
In bottle: Clear mossiness with the candy pop of lotus.
On me: The moss deepens, and the clove rises up from beneath it. There's the sandalwood, too. Yeah, this one's nommy.

Friday Memage
Wearing: Grey sweater, jeans, stripey socks with owls on them, though I'm about to shower and change.
Reading: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.
Writing: Cicatrix and the occasional burst of poetry.
Knitting: Finishing my long-dormant scarf sometime this weekend (it got set aside for holiday knitting), I think/hope.
Planning: Writing today; I still don't know about tonight. I don't know about anything going on tomorrow, so if you do, let me know? I'm not used to being around here this time of year! Going to a party on Sunday.

shadesong: (Default)
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 11:15 am
Happy Birthday to [ profile] ahf!

Hello to new reader [ profile] shooflypie!

State of the 'Song
Woke up at 3 yesterday. >.< But I appear to have gotten a semi-decent amount of sleep last night. Yes, I need to call my damn doctor.

Holiday Follies So Far
So far, everything is the wrong color or too big. Everything I'm getting, anyway. Except the waffle-maker from Adam. Everyone seems perfectly delighted with the stuff I'm giving them, so yay on that front, at least. Elayna has been squeaking and embracing everything. We're giving her all of her Chanukah gifts during the first three nights, because she'll then be with my birthfamily for the next three and then with my parents for the last few, so she won't be deprived.

Thank you for the knitting patterns, [ profile] ginskye and [ profile] lessthanthree!

Link Soup
* One teacher's approach to preventing gender bullying in a classroom. Awesome.
* New Stone Telling, yay!
* I want this house.
* Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade still think rape is hilarious.
* Nifty Doctor Who timeline.
* X-Men with googly eyes.
* Mystery donors paying off layaway accounts.
* Writers and kitties.

Daily Science
Multiple Sclerosis is a metabolic disorder. Read Nicola's whole post for the implications!

I only have about two hours of writing time today, so I gotta grab that. Otherwise: the making of a big to-do list, some baking, packing up stuff to be exchanged, and, when Elayna gets home, helping her pack for her trip.
shadesong: (Default)
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 01:52 pm
I am a bit down. And it is first world problems, whatever, but still.

Chanukah starts tonight! And... I'm not actually getting much. I have shopped wisely and well for my family, I have knitted, I have a marvelous pile of presents for other people, but there isn't a whole lot in the gift pile for me. And since I'm not going to Florida for Christmas, I don't get the Christmas explosion either - which is more about Elayna than about us, but I do like watching! I've only gotten one gift so far from my birthmom - she sent Adam three, so hopefully there are more coming? And I'd like to think my aunt and uncle would still get us something. But nothing's been coming in the mail. Adam's mom went the gift-card route, which is nice, but no big gift-opening thing.

It's not like I need stuff, mind. I just like the experience. Also, I would probably feel better if I was getting out more.

Also, and this is silly - now that I have everyone trained to use wishlists, I know exactly what everyone's getting me. Plus, I am the designated package-opener for the house, so the few gifts that have arrived for me? I have mostly wrapped them myself. I get no surprises!

Also apparently Friday everyone is ditching me to go play games, and Elayna will be in Florida, so. LATKES Y LAGRIMAS.

Feh. I am hormonal, whatever. Ignore that part.

I have been slow to get anything done this month; it's no real surprise that I never did a wishlist post! Here are some things I want. In the grand tradition of LJ wishlists, this includes wildly improbable things just on the off chance that someone actually has them. And, y'know, I am thankful that I haven't much to put on here; "help recovering the dining-room chairs" was on the list for three straight years, but Sindrian did that last month!

So. Wants:

1. A writing retreat - a week or two of isolation.
2. Simple gluten-free cookie recipes. I feel like I have now mastered oatmeal raisin, but I still don't have molasses ginger down. Simple = a Bob's Red Mill or King Arthur basic all-purpose GF flour blend, not a mix of ten flours and starches, each of which cost $20 per bag.
3. Yarn! Have you given up on learning to knit? Do you need to destash? I would love your yarn. Especially jewel tones and greys, but really I'll play with anything that isn't acrylic or soy-based. Really, I'd like anything I can use to make other things.
4. Speaking of yarn - patterns from my Ravelry wishlist. I am not asking for things that require spending any money, in general, because it's rough for all of us out here this year! But patterns are a few bucks and will provide me with hours of entertainment.
5. Do something awesome for someone else. Then come back and tell me about it.

Today Adam (who has the week off) and I went to the mall to attend Elayna's school band's Christmas concert. No, I do not like Christmas music, but I'm pretty committed to being at all of her performances! The fun of this particular show, besides watching her goof off with her friend and fellow flautist, was in watching bystanders... people who just wandered out of Target and into a concert. The people who stayed were mostly parents and grandparents with their preschoolers.

Preschoolers love to dance. I think I'd forgotten how much. If we'd managed to herd them into the same place, we'd have had a preschooler moshpit. One incredibly tiny pigtailed girl was headbanging like whoa to Jingle Bells, seriously. So that, at least, was awesome. Also awesome? That we are not The Embarrassing Parents - Elayna hugged us hello, and we walked her and her friend to lunch, talking all the way. We are all fortunate in each other.

It'll get better. Not kidding about the hormones; also, I've been feeling like I've been fighting illness off all month, and the last few days, I have felt like I'm losing that fight. Still. We persevere.
shadesong: (Default)
Monday, December 19th, 2011 12:21 pm
Happy birthday to [ profile] ioianthe, [ profile] qemorio, and [ profile] tbclone47!

Hello to new readers [ profile] crazy_book_lady and [ profile] seekerofspace!

State of the 'Song
Oof. Physically mostly okay, just drained; we ended up not getting out of the house at all on Saturday, to any of our planned things. Which makes me a bit argh, but clearly we needed the break.

* I have decided that Monday is Get-Shit-Done day. If I start to get distracted from settling down to write by, say, the messiness of my office-supply drawer? I can turn that off by saying "I will handle that Monday." This worked last week! We'll see how it goes. This way, hopefully, I can focus on writing without feeling like I'm slacking on everything else. I am not not doing my chores. I am doing them on Monday.
* The holiday knitting is done! Elayna's cape isn't really done until I have ribbon for it and have sewn it in, but it's as done as it's going to get without a trip to the craft store.

Link Soup
* Gluten-free latkes.
* Padlock trees! I've seen this on fences, but not trees. Love spontaneous rituals.
* Also love this article about "Fairytale of New York".
* Eleven thoughts about Lisbeth Salander.
* Epic fantastic essay about victim-blaming.
* Anatomy of an idea.

BPAL Reviews
Brood XIX: Tree sap, hay, almond blossoms, moss, hemp, corn stalks, acorn, sweet amber, and rice milk.
In bottle: Sweet and outdoorsy.
On me: On me it goes even sweeter; I swear there's brown sugar in here somewhere. The moss note is gorgeous, as usual. It smells like honey feels.

Io: Red musk, pomegranate, cranberry, blackberry, mango, purple sage, thyme, and angelica root.
In bottle: Hard red candy.
On me: Hard red candy. Like from a grandmother's glass dish. Really, really strong. Fairly unpleasant.

Daily Science
An international team of astronomers has identified a candidate for the smallest-known black hole using data from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE).

Do All The Things! Seriously, too many small-to-medium tasks to bother naming. Tonight we're having crockpot coq au vin, so I get to smell that all day, nom.

How's by you?
shadesong: (B5: Battle of the Line)
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 12:52 pm
Buckle up, y'all, this'll be a big long post. In the interest of not dragging down your day, the bad news first.

Judge Dismisses ‘Epidemic’ of Rape in Military Case
Your pull quotes:
* "Women in the military are now more likely to be raped by fellow soldiers than they are to be killed in combat; in 2010, there were 3,158 military sexual assaults reported, according to the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office—a number that, by the Pentagon’s own admission, represents just 13.5 percent of the estimated 19,000 assaults that actually occurred last year."
* "But survivors say that the assaults themselves are just the tip of the iceberg: more damaging is the way they’re handled. Victims who report their assaults report being further victimized by the military’s handling of their complaints. Ninety percent of them are eventually involuntarily discharged. In naming Gates and Rumsfeld, the suit holds the top brass responsible for a culture of retaliation that leads to victims being treated as perpetrators."
* "Attorneys for the Department of Defense, led by Marcus Meeks, responded with a motion to dismiss, arguing that per a 1950 Supreme Court ruling, the military cannot be sued by current or former soldiers for injuries incurred in the armed forces, including sexual assaults. “The alleged harms are incident to plaintiffs’ military service,” the defense attorneys argued."

So that is fucking awful.

Right then. On to a story that is also awful, but with a better ending.

Frat Survey Asks: ‘If You Could Rape Someone, Who Would it Be?’
Yep. Does what it says on the tin.

But I promised you a happy ending on this one, and it's this: "The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Vermont (slogan: "Building Balanced Men") is suspended and under investigation by campus police."

AW YEAH. Because, y'know, if you think it's okay to survey people asking who they want to rape? You might be a rapist. Apparently UVM's campus police realize that and are looking into it. Ain't nothin' that sends a message of "this is not okay" like a police investigation.

And here is the big big big news!

The CDC's The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS)
This is the one that is depressing everyone, but guys, as someone who works in social change in this field, I am bouncing off the damn walls, you don't even know. This is SO MUCH DATA, and it's from a source that everyone will recognize and respect - generally the sources we cite are difficult to access and not written for the layman, but boom, right there, you can download the report.

In fact, here is your homework for the day - please download and read the executive summary. Just four pages of distilled data. Do it, do it.

One thing I'm finding fascinating is how different blogs are picking up different parts of the study to report on.

* "Rape at a young age was associated with another, later rape; about 35 percent of women who had been raped as minors were also raped as adults, the survey found."

* "Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration. ... Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime; most men who were made to penetrate someone else reported that the perpetrator was either an intimate partner (44.8%) or an acquaintance (44.7%). "

* "As has been found in other studies, Native American women are more at risk than other racial group for sexual assault; in this study, those identifying multiracial had the highest rates of all."

* "Surviving sexual violence was also found to correlate with anxiety disorders and chronic health issues: "Both men and women who had been assaulted were more likely to report frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, limitations on activity, and poor physical and mental health.""

This is a study that covers male survivors, race, repeated victimization, health impact - all of these things that we have all known about but have not had sufficient accessible data on. THIS IS SUFFICIENT ACCESSIBLE DATA. Just the unimpeachable data on 1 in 21 men being forced to penetrate someone is a massive shift, because that's one of the types of rape that rape apologists like to say doesn't exist. 1 in 21. We have that solid data now. Huge.

I guess the people who are shocked and depressed didn't know how bad things really were. I knew, so I am thrilled, because this study is ammo.

Hot on the heels of that...

Men Can Stop Rape is shifting their focus to bystander intervention, which is proven to be the best method of primary prevention. I love their new posters! They give people a very simple toolkit for bystander intervention. Want a concise toolkit? Here you go...


That is today in rape culture. Go forth and fight, y'all.
shadesong: (Cicatrix: Cottage)
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 03:00 pm
So what I am writing is Cicatrix, and here's why it's exhausting: because I need full immersion in this, because the very cadence of it is so different from the way I usually think and I can't force it, I need to trance out into it. Because this story some stories come from the head or the heart, but this one comes from the gut, and that is more taxing to me even than the heart. I need to inhabit Ash, I need to be in Ash's body, and that is difficult, especially given how Ash feels about Ash's body much of the time.

You are ice, you are steel, you are a ball of blood-rusty thorns, you are a wild incoherent scream, you are eviscerated; you dig your fingernails into your palms and you don’t even tell him it’s none of his business, because you do not trust your voice. You don’t know if the door slams, you don’t know if you wake up half the neighborhood clattering down the stairs - all you know is this sharp awful flailing in your chest. This part of town is just barely familiar, just enough for you to find a train station, get on the train, clutch the stinking metal pole with both hands and close your eyes through the tunnels and just breathe, just breathe, horrible hitching pre-sobs into fluorescent light underground, just breathe.

Because I'm not doing "it felt like I'd been kicked in the chest", I'm doing what it actually feels like when you feel like you've been kicked in the chest, and to do that? I need to put myself through that feeling, so I can tell it to you like I should. Because you know what that feels like. And if I just say "like I'd been kicked in the chest", the reader will nod and move on and gloss it over; I need to bring you in there with me. I need you to feel it.

And now Elayna is home, so! Coffee and knitting and making sure she does her homework!
shadesong: (Boondock/can't believe)
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 01:01 pm
Dear character who just popped in and shook everything up,

Where the hell did you come from?
shadesong: (Shut Up and Start Writing)
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 08:35 am
Nicola Griffith's Manifesto:
When I write, dear reader, I don't want to build a careful tale for you to discuss with a smile in a sunny place, I want to own you. I don't want to be The New TV Series, I want to be pornography: to thrill you so hard you're ashamed but can't help yourself crawling back for more.

I want to write a whole novel that invades you. I want to control what you think and feel, to put you right there, right then, killing and being killed, fucking and being fucked, cooking and starving, drinking and thinking, barely surviving and absolutely thriving. I want to give you a life you've never had, change the one you live.

How? I will take control of your mirror neurons. I will give you tastes and textures, torments and terrain you might never find in your real life. I will take you, sweep you off your feet, own you. For a while. For a while when you're lost in my book you will be somewhere else, somewhen else, someone else.

I control the horizontal, I control the vertical. Sit back, relax, enjoy. When you're done, take a breath, smoke a cigarette, figure out who you are now, and come back for more.

My Free Will Astrology this week: ""Were it not for the leaping and twinkling of the soul," said psychologist Carl Jung, "human beings would rot away in their greatest passion, idleness." To that edgy observation I would add this corollary: One of the greatest and most secret forms of idleness comes from being endlessly busy at unimportant tasks. If you are way too wrapped up in doing a thousand little things that have nothing to do with your life's primary mission, you are, in my opinion, profoundly idle. All the above is prelude for the climactic advice of this week's horoscope, which goes as follows: Give everything you have to stimulate the leaping and twinkling of your soul."
shadesong: (One Person can Make a Difference)
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 08:01 am
Two ways to make the world a better place today! Well, more than that. But I'm just posting about two.

1. [ profile] eilonwy is still desperately seeking a home for two kitties, who can be placed together or individually. Time is running out for these guys. Currently in Phoenix, but can be brought to the PA/MD/NJ/NY area ~the 20th.

2. Short version: Furniture needed in or near Nashville for 12-year-old girl. Queen mattress, boxspring, bookcases. Long version: "I'm trying to accomplish a bit of a holiday miracle, and I know your social circle and readers have been nothing less than amazing about things like this in the past. I have a brother-figure whose ex-wife will soon be relinquishing custody of their 12-year-old daughter to him. The problem arises in the fact that said ex has already made known she will not relinquish the child's bedroom furniture. Yes, she deems this more important than the child. Anyway, the brother-figure and his new wife have procured a queen bedframe, but are in need of a mattress and box spring and a couple bookcases. They have no funds available themselves, and I've been posting to Freecycle with no results. We live in Nashville and would happily pick up the items if we can find a donor. If you know anyone that could help, it would make for an amazing gift for this girl and would be most deeply appreciated. If not, I thank you for trying anyway."

Please spread these far and wide! On the second one, e-mail me at shadesong AT and I'll pass the info on to the reader requesting assistance.
shadesong: (Default)
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 11:01 am
I'm printing out all of the novel-in-progress I have, and that is taking a while, so now seems like a good time for an LJ post.

This weekend I hosted a party and attended another, and it was the most group-social [ profile] sindrian and I have been in ages. There will be more! From this point in December, it's parties all the way down.

What have I been up to? The aforementioned getting my house in order. Lots of reading. Holiday knitting. A lot of what I call pre-writing - planning and exploring and turning things over in my head and following mysterious glints. And the writing itself.

(I do worry about disappearing into myself, with the writing. Writing is scary. Loss of self is scary. So much more since I started having seizures, you know. And I write myself into a charred husk. I've told [ profile] sindrian that I can remember to eat lunch or I can write, not both.)

I'm not going to Florida for Christmas. This is the first time I haven't gone since I started - 11 years! Combination of factors... last year's food stress, financial reasons on all sides, time-crunchiness - whenever I thought of going, I had that little clench in my gut and the "we are going to lose half of December!" voice, and so I had to listen to that. Adam's work goes through the 23rd anyway.

Elayna is still going, and that rocks for her!

Update on Elayna: She is still awesome. 94th percentile on the PSAT, good role in the school musical, and we get to see her perform with the band (flute) and a capella group (alto) tomorrow!

Ah, the printer has stopped whirring. Time to get down to it.
shadesong: (Busy)
Thursday, December 8th, 2011 10:26 am
1. Anne McCaffrey memorial panel at Arisia! If you are an Arisia program participant and want to talk about McCaffrey, please go sign up for this last-minute session. Today, please!

2. Furniture moving! Can anyone in the Boston area help move a sectional sofa/loveseat next Tuesday or Thursday evening? It's going from Medford to East Boston.

3. Red the cat still needs your help! He needs a home in the Phoenix area - and now he can also be taken to Pennsylvania or New Jersey, if necessary. His brother Scoots needs a home, too, though they don't need to be the same home, but if you were looking for a pair of sweet kitties? There you go.

That is all for now.
shadesong: (Default)
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 02:33 pm
This morning, Victoria went in for X-rays! We skipped November because she was healing slowly enough that the vet didn't think we'd see significant progress - and seeing as each set of X-rays is $300, I am fine with that.

There's definitely a marked improvement! We got to look at the October and December X-rays side by side, and there's a difference clear to the mostly-untrained eye. In October, you could still see where the breaks were quite easily. Today? The bone graft has definitely taken, and the bone looks almost totally solid.

Our dilemma: The screw farthest down in the bone may be interfering with her extension. It's *very* close to the elbow. If it's in the joint itself, she has a risk of developing osteoarthritis. There's apparently no way to tell if it is other than going in and taking it out or doing a very expensive set of tests. And even if the screw is removed, that may not fix her limp. And surgery is $600-$1100, depending if she needs general anesthesia.

I would feel like a crappy cat-mom for wibbling on taking the screw out, except.

She's fine.

She's in good spirits (well, not right now because she's pissed at us for taking her to the vet). She runs, she jumps, she goofs off with the other cats, she chases her tail; she does have a marked limp, but it truly does not seem to be bothering her at all. She's in no pain or distress. And the vet was very clear on the fact that she can't be certain if the screw if a problem at all.

My gut reaction is that she's probably fine. The vet seems to be treating this as a precaution - the screw probably isn't in the joint. The plan is to watch her over the next few months, be more rigorous about the PT, and hope that her extension and mobility improve on their own.
shadesong: (Default)
Monday, December 5th, 2011 03:17 pm
Oi, Bostonians! Remember: I am having a Wyrding Studios jewelry party this Saturday at 2! Do all of your holiday shopping here! :) There'll be a door prize, and if you're new to Wyrding Studios or bring someone who is, you get a free shiny. Click here to RSVP!

And here are some links.

Phoenix-area kitty needs help! Red was abused and then abandoned, and now he has been injured and is blind in one eye. He desperately needs a home, as does his thankfully non-injured brother. Even a temporary one will do. Can anyone out there foster a cat or two?

The Invisible Backpack of Able-Bodied Privilege. Yes yes yes.

[ profile] jimhines on supporting victims of sexual harassment.

Kepler confirms its first planet in habitable zone of sun-like star.

Right, then. I have Sekrit Knitting to do. (Writing time stops, or at least pauses, when Elayna comes home.)
shadesong: (Default)
Monday, December 5th, 2011 11:55 am
Last night, late, I got a wild hair and started cleaning. Quietly - Adam and Elayna were already in bed. I should have been in bed. But I had a need to not walk downstairs into a mess this morning. So 11pm, loading the dishwasher, clearing the coffee table, gathering Adam's six piles of magazines and catalogs into one, bringing everyone's discarded socks up to the hamper, hanging up all of the coats, folding the cabled throw and draping it just so on the loveseat. Resetting.

All day today I've been going through and doing tasks that have been sitting in my inbox with a to-do label for a month. Big things, long things, complicated things that my brain has not been wanting to engage with. I'm at inbox 8, and will hopefully be at inbox 5 by lunch. Everything after that may require a whole day for each thing. I got backed up; I got stuck.

I have been getting unstuck, and I have been breaking through barriers I didn't know were there. I'm resetting myself, not just my house. As I said to a friend on Saturday, "none of this is bad, it's just all very large."

I'll do the few more things that I can here right now, and then I have office-resetting things to do.

I read Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg on the way home from a BARCC tabling yesterday, and I sent [ profile] sindrian these quotes when I got home.

"A novel makes you behave. There are constrictions. I think of poetry as the final freedom. Each poem is its own universe, but it, too, is a hard freedom. There is no career in poetry and though you might practice, you also have to wait patiently for a true poem to come. Poetry is about the divine; a novel is about work and learning to behave."

"You have to let writing eat your life and follow where it takes you. You fit into it; it doesn't fit neatly into your life."

"A novel is a big dream, a whale of a dream. You have to go under for a long time into the dark waters of the mind and stay there. Poetry, which I wrote for thirteen years, was easier. I could go under and pop back up. With a novel, I had to stay down there. I had to tell a story. It had to connect from one time I wrote to another time. I had to leave myself, my will and control, and let the story come through me. I had to become egoless.

"For all the years I sat zazen, there was a place I came up against, became frightened of, and moved away from. That place was simply being there with my breath, my legs crossed, and my hands on my knees for endless hours of sitting meditation. I was afraid of that egoless state where nothing was happening. I thought I existed only when I created activities, universes, dreams. In the novel, the writer stops existing. She gives her life over so her characters speak through her. We are not used to that egoless state. It is scary."

I am resetting. What I'm up to here is fundamentally different from everything I was doing before, and I am right about to explode with the energy it's building up in me.

I must remember to breathe and eat.
shadesong: (Default)
Monday, December 5th, 2011 09:46 am
Originally posted by [ profile] boosette at WARNING: Purina pet food has started making pets ill
Originally posted by [ profile] issendai at WARNING: Purina pet food has started making pets ill

My coworker John told me that his cat was seriously ill--throwing up, lethargic, refusing food, dropping weight. The previously healthy 6-year-old, 15-pound cat had lost a third of her body weight over the last few months. The vet couldn't find anything wrong with her. Blood tests were clean, and she didn't have any known illnesses. Yet she was a few days from organ failure.

That was a week ago. She's fine now. The solution was... to stop feeding her Purina cat food.

When John told me that, and said that friends of his had the same problem with their cats and Purina cat food, I looked into it. Holy shit. Take a look at the consumer complaints about Purina cat and dog food. This exact same problem has been an issue with Purina pet foods since 2007, but since this summer, the rate of complaints has picked up drastically. People who previously had to problems with Purina are reporting issues. Comment after comment sounds the same:

I've been feeding my three cats Fancy Feast canned food Chopped Grill Feast for many years. They have always devoured their meal and licked the plates clean. Last week, I noticed they did not want to eat much and went from plate to plate, ate a little. Next day, none of them would eat it. I kept trying new cans. What they did eat made them vomit and one cat was lethargic for days. I refuse to buy any more of this food. It's very scary. I don't know what is wrong with the food, but I fear it has toxins in it. I switched to another brand and the cats are fine now. Did anyone else experience this?


My dogs have been eating Purina Dog Chow (green bag) for about four years. They used to eat only Iams, but due to financial issues, we had to go with a cheaper brand. The last bag I purchased was about a week and a half ago. My 14 years old Labrador has vomited about 5-6 times and my German Shepherd has vomited about 4 times. Something is wrong with this food! The food has a kind of metallic smell to it. It just does not smell right. I'm taking it back to the pet store. I am changing my dogs' food, it's just not worth taking the chance to save a few dollars.


We purchased a large bag of Purina One Salmon dry cat food to give to a needy pet owner. She emailed us a couple of days later ,to say that there were maggots, lots of them with what looked to be like strands or webs with more dead gnats or flies, pieces of web in the food and "shells" of gnats or flies in the bag. Cats would not eat much of the food and, fortunately, they did not get sick. The store had noticed this problem in other bags and was willing to swap out.


I purchased a 34 lb bag of Purina One Smartblend dog food every three to four weeks for my two Labradors. The last bag I purchased seemed fine until I noticed a new infestation of little black bugs. Upon further inspection through the contents of the bag, I noticed clusters of white "eggs" adhered to quite a bit of the food. Some of these clusters contained larvae in the process of hatching. I immediately threw out the remaining contents of the bag but did save samples for my vet.

We went out of town last weekend and had friends dog sit for us. We originally attributed their lethargy and random vomiting to separation anxiety. Although they are doing better, I am still concerned and will be watching them closely. As stated, I saved samples of the infested dog food for our vet in the event that anything results from this issue.


I recently switched to the Friskies Poultry Variety pack (32 cans) that says it must be used by August 2013 (12281789 09:31 lo61237) sku (050000454242). I have 5 cats and feeding them this food, I noticed some of them throwing up. There's nothing in it but liquids, no hair ball, no food, nothing. My cats range from 8 weeks to 13 years old.

I switched my own cats to Purina a couple of months ago, and their coats look so much better than they did on the old brand of cat food... but Buffy has started vomiting stomach liquids. Purina and Fancy Feast are off the menu. Permanently.

I have no idea why this isn't news. But if you're feeding your pets any Purina brand, please don't wait for media confirmation that something is going on. Stop feeding your pets Purina immediately.

shadesong: (PSA! - by Zarhooie)
Thursday, December 1st, 2011 12:52 pm
I am backing up my computer.

I am backing up my computer because I have seen too many friends suffer catastrophic loss of their work upon sudden and utter computer failures, and because I keep automatically dismissing the Time Machine backup reminder, and I shouldn't.

So I am going to try to remember to back up my computer the first of each month, at least, and just in case you need a reminder as well: here 'tis.

Back up your computer.

shadesong: (Default)
Thursday, December 1st, 2011 11:15 am
(rabbit rabbit.)

As I've said, I spent the latter half of November fried. One of my stress responses when I'm this overwhelmed is to cocoon, but I had zero time or space to myself for several weeks in a row, so I have been trying to fight all of this off without the resources I needed. Balls have been dropped, in part because I just could not work myself up to being capable of interacting with anyone who wasn't right there in front of me.

There were really good things in all of this. The house concert. Time with good friends. This Thanksgiving was the best yet. But I've learned that what I need is to schedule downtime in the middle of the uptime, or I will completely lose all of my cope, and it's really, really hard to struggle back from a cope/energy deficit like the one I'm dealing with.

[ profile] elisem refers to the sangha of the workbench. The obvious translation for me would be writing, but no, the writing I am doing is not meditative, is is tearing through me, it is eviscerating me, it is leaving me a husk.

I have found my small, flashing moments of peace in the kitchen with [ profile] sindrian.

Staring at the screen and berating myself for not having the spoons to respond to this e-mail or do that task or write that post is no good for me. You've seen this post, right? That.

But it is dinnertime and we have to eat.

[ profile] sindrian and I have been slowly replacing some of the crappier things in the kitchen with things that are better and easier to use. We have colorful ceramic knives now that cut through potatoes like butter, and a cheery red cutting board that's already quite scarred, and this awesome garlic crusher - I know, I know, unitaskers! but we put garlic in everything, and some days my hands are bad. When my hands are bad, I have no grip, not without terrible pain. This garlic crusher, I can just press down with the flats of my hands. It doesn't matter what my body does. I can still dice garlic.

We scavenged the crisper and the bowl of leftover CSA veg. This is all of the normal-size potatoes from the last delivery (we still have fingerlings). Yes, some of them are purple. I washed them, and cut some, and then Sindrian took over as I washed and de-stemmed the kale, tearing it into manageable pieces. The sausage is andouille. The onion was hardcore and made our eyes sting all night. He almost forgot the garlic, but threw it in at the last minute.

We make big pots of food so we can eat for days. We both lose ourselves in work all day. No one wants to figure out what to make for lunch.

I bookmark recipes all the time. I take cookbooks out of the library and have Adam photocopy pages. I want food, I want to try things. When I was growing up we had pasta most days of the week, and while I love pasta, I want to make casseroles, I want to roast root vegetables, I want risotto.

The original recipe calls for millet instead of rice, but we always keep arborio rice in the house, and I've never tried millet. We've made other adjustments, too. And we doubled this - again, for more leftovers. I fetched out the onions and celery and Sindrian sliced them while I sliced a pound of mushrooms. We danced around each other at the sink, and I washed knives as he fried bacon.

Why do more people not know about celery? I feel like that's one of the big secrets of food, what a chopped celery stalk does to a dish. You should use celery.

But yes. The sangha of the kitchen. No flailing, no self-recrimination. Just this - just slice the mushrooms, slice the potatoes, wash the kale. There will be dinner.