matociquala: (criminal minds bad shirt brigade)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/7748412

(reposted from Patreon)

ON ANXIETY

Above, a photo of three adolescent kittens. Please ignore the background clutter: it's an actual picture of my actual bedroom 30 seconds ago, unretouched except for a little color correction, complete with the clean sheets I didn't manage to get on the bed yesterday.

The goofy tuxedo cleaning his toes is Duncan; the elegant blue blending into my robe is Gurney. They're littermates.

I want to talk about the vigilant little tortoiseshell on the footboard.

Her name is Molly, and she's a little over a month older than the boys, but two pounds smaller. She came home with them because when she came into rescue, she was housed with them as a near-agemate, and the three of them have bonded like true sibs; there is washing, and chasing, and spatting.

The difference is, while the boys somehow wound up in a shelter and from there eventually a rescue, they obviously had good mothering and good human socialization. They know how to play without using their claws; they have a number of vocalizations that they use liberally with humans; their favorite game is fetch.

Molly is a semi-feral who was netted on a street in New Jersey and got very, very lucky to find her way into the same crate with her foster brothers and eventually on to my nice warm bed--rather than being euthanized.

She's almost always vigilant; her head is on a swivel, and even when she's napping she almost never completely relaxes. She's difficult to approach and will only sometimes tolerate human contact, and she needs to be in control of the interaction.

In human terms, she's anxious and on the defensive all the time.

Some of this is genetic, of course; she's pretty obviously got at least one feral parent, and she'll never be the sack of comfortable snores her brothers can be.

Some of it is the kitty equivalent of PTSD. She's been traumatized, and she knows that everything can vanish under her in seconds, and she might have no control about where she lands.

The boys are rambunctious, bold, and while they're both very athletic, one of them--Duncan--has a real tendency toward getting himself into scrapes he needs to be rescued from. He doesn't follow the rules of parkour very well, and he doesn't always know how to get out of what he's gotten himself into. (Gurney generally has a plan. Duncan is like KOWABUNGA IT'LL WORK OUT SOMEHOW.)

Molly always has a plan. Molly has three plans. In addition to her plans, Molly has two escape routes, and she's prepared to fight for her life if they don't work out.

The boys crash and bang and stampede all over the house. Molly moves on little ghost feet, in doorways and around the edges of rooms.

Molly acts like she works in the publishing industry.

Specifically, she acts like a writer (or any artist, probably) who's forced to confront the realities of making a living in a field with wildly inconsistent rewards and quite a few punishments, and doing it through the means of stripping out all her fears and vulnerabilities and waving them around for people to be entertained by (or not) and to judge (and quite possibly publicly disdain.)

I know so many anxious writers.

Hell, I'm an anxious writer. Coming back from a really messy, crippling bout with it right now, actually, and currently have the upper hand, but let's not talk about the latter half of 2015, and almost all of last year.

I have so many brilliant friends who are anxious about what they are writing about, or the quality of what they are writing, or showing their writing to other people, or whether the internet will fall on their heads no matter what they do, or even being able to write at all... and it pisses me off, this anxiety (and my anxiety, which manifests in I HAVE NOTHING USEFUL TO SAY AND I AM SAYING IT POORLY SO WHY BOTHER) because it robs the world--and selfish me--of so much good art I could be enjoying otherwise.

I wish I could take all of their anxiety and roll it up in a ball and ship it to those guys who spend a lot of time stomping around the internet fussing about how the world doesn't understand their genius and plotting ways to game award processes. Except I know that that's anxiety, too.

It's a way some people deal with it--by seeking validation any way they can, and blustering if their self-image isn't constantly reinforced. Just a some people deal with it by internalizing and eating themselves away, or being paralyzed into being unable to write or unable to submit, or withdrawing, or--my favorite, and the most subtle of all!--pulling themselves back from their art, no longer being honest and making themselves vulnerable through it, and creating something more facile than true.

What's the answer?

I don't know.

I suspect everybody has to find their own solution, because everybody's anxiety manifests in a different way.

I've dealt with it recently by getting angry and sad enough that I feel like I have something to say that's worth saying, and reminding myself that it's better said poorly than not said at all. I've dealt with it by (with the help of my spouse [hello, spouse!]) making space to work early in the day, when I am relaxed and not yet feeling the press of worries and duties of the day.

I've dealt with it by bulling through, but that doesn't work in the long run. I've dealt with it through medication, which does, sort of, but you still have to use the respite to get to the underlying issues. I've dealt with it by figuring out what I was afraid of, and remembering that--like Molly (remember Molly? This is a post about Molly)--I have lived through worse.

Also, you know, this is my job. And I love it. And I'm doing it to the best of my ability, which is pretty damned well, actually, because I am good at my job.

And I am entitled to my voice, and to the space to speak out with that voice. My falling silent will not, in fact, in any way improve the commons or its diversity. It will rather diminish that.

People don't have to choose to listen to me, but they have no right to tell me not to speak.

And if people are unhappy with my books, they can write their own damn books.

I'm sure as hell not stopping them. They shouldn't let their anxieties stop them, either.

Molly doesn't need anybody. She, unlike her brothers, can take care of most things herself.

But here's the thing: they're noisy little guys. They talk to me, their toys, birbs, bugs on the ceiling, each other.

I've only heard Molly vocalize (other than a defensive hiss) on two types of occasions, and until this morning, it was only one. If she is somewhere else in the house and doesn't know where her brothers and Scott and I are, she will pause in her explorations sometimes and emit a perfect little "Meow?" or two until somebody says--in cat or human--"Molly, we're over here."

And this morning, she was sleeping on my feet, and was startled awake by a boy-noise in the hall. She sat bolt upright like a little meercat, front legs dangling, the better to survey the situation.

And while she was sitting there on my feet, she emitted a little, muttering growl, as if to say, "This is my spot, and I will fuck you up if you come for me here."

Molly may be anxious, but she also has something to say, and she apparently has a platform to say it from.

If a six pound semiferal kitten with PTSD can manage it, so can we.
matociquala: (bear by san)
Here is the text of the emails I just sent to my U.S. Senators, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey,

I grant the right under Creative Commons for anyone who wishes to repurpose this text for their own use when contacting their elected representative.

***
Dear Senator Warren,
In light of recent allegations and ongoing concern about foreign meddling in the U.S. Electoral process, and in light of concerns that President-Elect Trump may, in effect, be influenced by a foreign power--and in light of ongoing problems with the incoming administration regarding Hatch and anti-nepotism law violations--I strongly support your efforts to use every legal means to vet such appointees of the incoming administration as are subject to Senate confirmation, and oppose those who are unfit for duty.
You're a fighter, Betsy, and you're our voice. Please speak loud and clear.
Best,

***
Dear Senator Markey,

In light of recent allegations and ongoing concern about foreign meddling in the U.S. Electoral process, and in light of concerns that President-Elect Trump may, in effect, be influenced by a foreign power--and in light of ongoing problems with the incoming administration regarding Hatch and anti-nepotism law violations--I strongly support your efforts to use every legal means to vet such appointees of the incoming administration as are subject to Senate confirmation, and oppose those who are unfit for duty.

We believe in you, Ed. You have our voice. Be loud with it.

Best,

matociquala: (muppetology need bears fozzie & kermit)

INT: BEDROOM: 8:00 AM
MONKEY rolls over and yawns, hugging a pillow.

ENTER SEMI-FERAL NINJA PRINCESS QUEEN EXILED FROM BEYOND THE MIRROR DIMENSION, slowly sidling up the bed toward the visible hand. She flops down about 18 inches away from the monkey, back to her for plausible deniability, and headbutts the monkey's hand. 

SFNPQEfBtMD: Pet me, Horrible Ape.

Monkey: Whifrlequiddlers?

SFNPQEfBtMD: I said, pet me.

Monkey: Oh, good morning, Molly.

SFNPQEfBtMD: I didn't say you could look at me.

Monkey: *scritches*

SFNPQEfBtMD: *purrs*

ENTER THE SMART ONE, with self-possession and confidence. He flops down between the current petter and pettee.

At the bottom of the bed, ACTION DORK CAT snores.

The Smart One: Pet me too.

MONKEY resignedly frees other hand, pets both cats simultaneously.

ALL PURR

SFNPQEfBtMD: Oh my god, Gurney, your butt is so dirty.

The Smart One: I DO NOT CONSENT! I DO NOT CONSENT!

A Flurry Of Activity Ensues. SFNPQEfBtMD vacates the premises. The Smart One flops down facing away from the monkey for more pets.

Monkey: Oh, my god, Gurney, she wasn't kidding about your butt.

The Smart One: *Harrumphs and gets up to leave.*

The Smart One: Oh my god, my butt.

SFNPQEfBtMD: *Wanders back over, notices that the monkey's hands are free.*

SFNPQEfBtMD: Pet me.

Monkey: Don't you lick my fingers. I just saw where your tongue has been.

SFNPQEfBtMD: [Primly] Brothers are always dirty. 

Action Dork: [Waking up, blearily] Whifrlequiddlers? Oh, hey, petting. All right, then.



 

matociquala: (muppetology animal deadlines)
Karen woke me up at 5:45 this morning in order to write down two pages of draft introducing a villain and including the sentence, "Managing a person as needs managed is like managing a horse with no manners."

So I wrote 500 good words before dawn this morning, and feel like Hemingway. Of course, it was 500 words of a book that's not under contract, when I have four unfinished books that are.

A thin, dry snow is falling, and it's time to wake up now, and cuddle kittens, and to do the work I am actually supposed to be doing.
matociquala: (bear by san)
My muse is apparently back from a long vacation and feeling a little manic and eager to get back to work.

And it's really nice to have my creativity suddenly flooding back, and be so full of ideas and bits of dialogue and stuff just being handed to me, after literally years of having to go out, as Jack London said, and get it with a club.

But I do kind of wish she'd stop being quite so "LOOK IMMA LET YOU FINISH THE ACTUAL WORK YOU NEED TO DO TO PAY THE MORTGAGE BEAR BUT HEY FIRST STOP A MINUTE AND WRITE DOWN THESE TWO BITS OF DIALOGUE FOR TWO DIFFERENT KAREN STORIES AND ALSO THIS IDEA AND HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND DRAGONS PLEASE."

I've actually been working on reorganizing my notebook-keeping tactics in order to deal with the sudden flood.

I guess I'm back.
matociquala: (bear by san)
I'm trying an experiment with Ancestral Night and its voice.

Usually, when I write a novel, what I do a lot of in the early chapters is work out, integrate, and assume a voice. It could be a character voice--Karen Memery, Jenny Casey--or it might be a genre/setting voice: The Stratford Man's Nature Identical Elizabethan Flavoring, for example, or the high fantasy tone of the Eternal Sky.

This book is just me. Basically, the same narrative voice I use in my blog. Just, you know, a couple hundred years from now.

It's interesting, actually, because it gives me access to the full range of the narrative tricks. And in Haimey, I'm writing a character who is closer to me in what she cares about and how she thinks than anybody since Matthew Szczgielniak.

Weird to kind of take the puppets off and do the story with bare hands.

And now, a little bit of administrivia, and then back for another thousand words.
matociquala: (bear by san)
Patrons-only post over on the patreon includes the poem draft that I wrote at 2 am this morning, when I should have been sleeping.

Also, some notes on my Christmas cactus, which is blooming now, so [livejournal.com profile] tanaise says it's an Epiphany cactus, and hey, every once in a while, we all need an epiphany.

matociquala: (bear by san)

  1. Discover burned out microwave light

  2. Fuck around for two months

  3. Get screwdriver, remove light cover

  4. Remove burnt out light

  5. Discover no appropriate lightbulbs in house

  6. Order lightbulbs

  7. Leave light cover and screw on counter for four days

  8. Open package of ordered lights

  9. Install light

  10. Discover cover is greasy.

  11. Set screw down on gray and black granite counter

  12. Wash cover

  13. Put cover on light

  14. Cannot find screw

  15. Cannot find screw

  16. Cannot find screw

  17. Cannot find screw

  18. Go to toolshed, get thing of random screws

  19. Try similar size screws

  20. Find one that nearly fits

  21. Install light cover

  22. Take care of other household tasks

  23. Tell scott_lynch funny screw story when he gets up

  24. Sit down to tell internet funny screw story on laptop at kitchen counter

  25. Spot missing screw ten inches away on countertop



Yes, my counter needed cleaning. It was on the list. 
matociquala: (criminal minds fate)
Holy shit, how did I forget to listen to TMBG for so damned long? That was a terrible idea.

It's amazing how having kittens gives me something to blog about again. The giant ridiculous dog is wonderful and adorable and my best friend and walking buddy now that he's too old to run*, but he is a creature of steady habits, especially at the age of 11, and doesn't give me much to comment on: "Today we went for a walk and played kickball for ten minutes and pooped twice and had breakfast AND dinner AND cookies AND a piece of cheese, were teased by the cats, had a series of profoundly satisfying naps and were interested in a squirrel, briefly."

It's a dog's life. One day is pretty much like the next and they're not always noteworthy. Except when the ice hurts his poor feet, or I expect him to go outside and pee in the wet like some kind of barbarian, or he has the best day of his life and gets within six inches of actually catching that damned fat squirrel.

Six inches, Zack! I would have had him!

Kittens are still having adventures.

This morning's adventures started at 6:30 (roughly) with me getting up and realizing that there were no kitten noises in the usual places and no kittens on the bed, or in the guest bedroom where they sometimes hang out, depending on the availability of local sunbeams and the phase of the moon and other Important Kitten Reasons.

I walk down the hall to the bathroom. The bathroom is also where we feed kittens, and as soon as I entered its sacred precincts, I had two boy kittens on my heels. 6:30 am is not, however, the time of the feeding. We're not naive about what the result would be.

The boy kittens stayed in the bathroom. I walked back toward the bedroom, and saw that a door that should not be open was open. A door that leads to the downstairs, and several non-kitten-proofed rooms full of potentially hazardous and/or breakable objects and furniture that one could hide under indefinitely. Not to mention house plants, great for chewing on and excavating around and peeing in.

I saw that beyond that door, there was a stairs. And on that stairs was a Molly, looking freaked out as only a feral kitten that is outside her comfort zone can look.

I went back, and shut the bathroom door with the boy kittens inside. And said to Scott, who was in the office typing, which is, after all, what we do for a living, "Houston, we have a problem."

We found her under a futon in the front room, which was fine, and which has a door that opens onto the front hallway, which the kittens DO have access to generally speaking and which has a second stair to the upstairs, which is designated kitten territory. We opened the door to the front hall and closed the door to the rest of the downstairs, and Scott went upstairs to make sure the door that had been left open accidentally was closed so there wouldn't be a second escape.

I lay down on my stomach and stuck my head under the futon.

"Hello, Molly," says I. "Surely you want to go upstairs?"

The freaked out look intensifies.

I offer her a Magic Finger. You know the one.

She looks at it like it's a snake.

"THAT'S A SNEK!" says her.

I make sure I am physically between her and the hiding places it would be harder to retrieve her from. Slowly, I reach out, with the Molly Approved (occasionally, maybe) back-of-hand petting gesture. (Sometimes you're allowed to use the grabby side of the hand, but not always. Because Apes are horrible, and also Grabby.)

Molly says, "YOU WANT TO GRAB ME!" and skitters away. (Her primary form of movement is still skittering, though there has been a certain amount of sauntering and scampering recently. She really is coming around.)

Fortunately, she skitters through the open door into the front hall.

And freezes. And looks around, stunned. SHE IS NOT LOST FOREVER. THIS IS HER HALL. SHE BOUNCES GLITTER BALLS DOWN THE STAIRS. She relaxes. Her ears perk up. She looks around some more.

"I KNOW WHERE I AM!" says her.

And then Scott said, from upstairs, "The light is green," and I had to close the hall door really quick to keep her from running away back into the room I was in in a panic because a Horrible Ape said something in a moderately loud conversational tone three rooms away.

But now she's on the bed ignoring me, though there were no Morning Cuddles today. Horrible Ape. This Was All Your Fault Somehow.

Such is life with a semiferal.

Gurney, meanwhile, is a toddler. A very sweet toddler, not a tyranty one (that's Duncan), but a toddler nonetheless.

Gurney has a best toy, which is Mousie. Now, there are many mousies in this house. There are three different KINDS of sisal mousies. There are five other sisal mousies that are identical in every way to Mousie, except for being less battered and chewed on, and still having feather tails. Also Mousie is bright pink and hardly rattles anymore, and the other ones are yellow, green, blue, grey, etc.

Mousie is the toy Gurney plays fetch with. It is the toy he carries around and talks to in low tones and crouches over and won't let the other kittens play with. Mousie is his Friend.

He likes to take Mousie up to the broad, flat surface of the credenza in the bedroom, and bat Mousie around.

Today, Mousie fell behind the dresser. This was at 7:20, when I had just gotten back into bed after the Molly Experience, and was planning a little more rest before work started.

TRAGEDY! YODELING! PAWS FORLORNLY REACHING INTO THE GAP BEHIND THE DRESSER!

Gurney is NOT a semiferal, and you can tell this because when something goes TERRIBLY WRONG, he looks around, finds the nearest monkey, and demands we fix it. Well, NOTHING would do except I go get a yardstick and a flashlight and retrieve Mousie. At 7:30 am.
And then, once retrieved, he had to take it and jump up on the credenza again and start playing with it right where he lost it before
Now, "But mousie wants to be here" is the excuse I'm getting for him and mousie being loud on the bookshelf that serves as my night stand.
Mousie is very inconsiderate.

Here, in the aftermath of the morning's great trauma, is a picture of Gurney and Mousie, and Molly and Duncan too:



Here, Duncan has liberated Mousie, and is teasing Gurney with it. The offending credenza is in the background:


Mousie is a very important member of our household, as you can probably imagine.




*(and I've had to quit, at least for a while, because of a really stubborn tendon problem in my right foot. So I'm giving it a year to fix itself and then I either decide I'm not a runner anymore, or I look into surgery. La.)
matociquala: (bear by san)


How a professional do.

Except now I gotta write the damned thing.
matociquala: (writing gorey earbrass unspeakable horro)
It's Patrons only, but the rough draft of the first scene of Rook and Ruin is up at my Patreon here.

You guys, I'm so excited about this story.
matociquala: (bear by san)
Well, that's sort of a draft, ish, of Rook and Ruin.

If it keeps that title. Who knows?

32,000 words, and the denouement is a bunch of pieces on the floor, two of the characters need to grow a real relationship, and there's one scene left to write, but it's done enough for now.

Now I'm going to take a shower and put my pjs on.
matociquala: (comics invisibles king mob)
Usually, my post-kitten morning routine goes like this:

Sometime between 6:45 and 7:20 am, I start to make moaning noises and twitch under the covers, as sunlight intrudes on the bedroom and I start to assume consciousness.

At this time, Gurney realizes that I am awake, and jumps up onto my shoulder or chest for cuddles. His brother Duncan soon follows, and eventually Molly turns up as well.

Today, when I rolled over, Duncan was on the foot of the bed, but the only kitten who wasn't too musy doing Important Kitten Things to come be petted was... the semiferal, Molly, who we have been working on for two months now to get her to accept being touched.

She settled cheerfully into the warm spot between Scott and me and started purring like a mad thing, poking my fingers with her paws, headbutting, and generally demanding to be cuddled and fussed over.

She was getting a bit pushier about getting her share of time and petting when the boys were climbing all over me, but this is the first time I've really been independently Molly-cuddled.

The boys showed up eventually, and then I had to spend about twenty minutes playing fetch with them (the boys play fetch, but only with specific toys. Duncan likes the plastic springs. Gurney has a particular sisal mousie that is HIS. It is the Best Mousie. Other mousies are mere shadows of the One True Mousie.)

Photo evidence of the amount of kitten fetch my life contains now:











Molly is not amused:



Or maybe she is. She has resting WE ARE NOT AMUSED FACE, so it's hard to tell.

Here are some cuddly boys:



I weighed the kjittens yesterday. With the boys, this just meant putting new batteries in the scale (they had worn out the old ones playing with the pretty lights), weighing myself, and then weighing myself plus each kitten. Molly, being semiferal, was a little more challenging.

I put the scale next to the food bowls and rattled the cat food bag. Once everybody was safely in the bathroom where the cats get fed, I closed the...

Molly, seeing the door close, MADE A BREAK FOR IT and ESCAPED. (I am a vile and perfidous Ape!) She slid through like MacGyver diving under a closing blast door, and I was left with two already-weighed boy kittens and their chorous of demand for crunchies. (Because our cats are mostly fed wet food, crunchies are a hardcore treat and in high demand around here.)

So I opened the door again and put food IN THE BOWLS this time.

Molly came trotting back and settled down by her bowl. (She has chosen the one closest to the door, natch, for fastest escapes.) I SHUT THE DOOR.

She was busy enough with the crunchies that she only glanced over.

She will allow herself to be petted while eating at this point, after long practice, as long as you make yourself small and don't loom over her (VILE TIPPY APE). So I crouched down on the scale, reached over, petted her, and very carefully lifted her six inches off the floor. Before she started to squirm, I managed to read the scale!

WIJKTORY!

Molly is 8 months, one week old (roughly) and 6.9 lbs. The boys are 6 months, 3 weeks old, and both are exactly 8 pounds. This keeps surprising me, because Gurney looks bigger--but he's long and rangy and very skinny, whereas Duncan is more compact.

And now, I need to go work on my novella. 
matociquala: (bear by san)
Well, today was supposed to be a hugely productive day, which was largely derailed by an absolutely killer and pointless anxiety attack that I finally managed to get the better of about an hour ago. So now I feel less like I'm harboring a chestburster, but much more like I want to collapse in an exhausted heap--but I have not written nearly as much as I wanted to, so I'm going to go back and try to get some more. Because I really, really want a draft of this story by the end of the year, because god damn it, 2016, I will beat you.

I've got almost 27,000 words of it, though, and I don't think it will go to much more than 35, so that's still doable if I really dig in.

I've been writing first thing in the morning, mostly, which is nice and involves co-authors, but does involve eventually having to get out of bed and let the dog attend to his biological needs. Here are my coauthors helping this morning, however:



I moved to the living room after that so I could watch it snow more conveniently. The snow, alas, was a bit of a disappointment on the nor'easter front--our predicted 8-12 inches turned into about a wet inch and a half overnight. Well, at least we probably won't have to shovel much.

And we did get a fuzzy-tailed visitor. (Scott saw rabbits last night.)


matociquala: (bear by san)
matociquala: (writing karen memory)
Karen Memory is the January 2017 selection for the Goodreads SciFi and Fantasy Book Club, so if you've been waiting to read it with friends, here's your big chance!

Here's a bonus photto of me and Ace, and a bonus kitten. Because I know what you guys are really here for.




And now I have to get up and put a goose in the oven and walk a dog, when I really want to stay in bed and write for a while longer.
matociquala: (ascii frog by Jean Seok)
(Reposted from Patreon)

The caper in this caper story I'm writing kind of vanished.

I had too many genre savvy characters who went, oh it's a caper, and got on with their lives.  So now it's more of a character-driven adventure, without all the who's-zooming-who.

I got stuck three times writing the first thirty pages of it, went back and started over, and you know, it just didn't want to go into the shape I had planned. Eventually, I decided I would rather have a finished story than the story I had planned on it being, and got with the program. Now I'm averaging six pages a day and expect a draft before the New Year.

Stories are kind of like relationships. You can try to force them to be a thing, and break them, and make everybody wind up unhappy.

Or you can let them be what they are, and enjoy them, and realize that sometimes you have to let go of your control issues and let things just be.

matociquala: (bear by san)
Time for more kitten pictures. It's a wonder I ever get anything done, what with kittens being so adorable.












This morning's wrestlewashing session pleased everyone.
matociquala: (bear by san)
Current state of the work is: efforts to combat distractions. Because life is full of things that need doing, and it's easy to get distracted from the actual job of putting stories into pixels, I've been writing in the morning before I get out of bed. This involves a certain amount of typing around the kitten swarm, but has the double benefit of Actually Getting The Words Done, and also making me feel good about myself for the rest of the day.

So there's that. I did the first round of revisions on the short story yesterday, and I'm increasingly happy with it. It's called "What Someone Else Does Not Want Printed," which is, as you might know, the second half of an Orwell quote.

More on its disposition when I can.

Also, I just posted two links to podcast interviews (both of them with Scott Lynch as well as me) over on my Patreon.

Next project is seeing if I can get a few more words on Rook and Ruin, which is the possibly final title of the Karen Memory novella I'm working on. I think it's finally coming together--I have to figure out a bit of social engineering to make the caper work.

Capers are hard.

But with a little luck I'll get myself back into the discipline of working and creating every day.

When it feels like the world is burning, sing. 
matociquala: (bear by san)


Now, you may ask yourself, what exactly is this bottle of Devil's Tongue habanero-infused olive oil doing tucked beside the radiator?

Well, friends, it's cold enough in this ancient house that the olive oil had solidified, making it difficult to decant for holiday gifts.

Radiators, however, are warm.

March 2017

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