There’s No Heat In This Winter Sun

It’s been a week of winter. Freezing rain, sleet, ice, and snow. I’m fortunate I don’t live in New England, where snow tunnels are the norm. And there’s a certain beauty when the sun comes out and shines through the ice-coated limbs of trees like diamonds. For the first time, I think I really understand why Christmas trees are decorated the way they are. The tinsel, the lights: all of it to re-create the natural, diamond sheen of nature when ice coats the world and the sun shines through. It’s beautiful.

But with that beauty comes a dangerous edge. People have been without power for days on end, and travel conditions, based on where you live, are pretty treacherous. We’re lucky: we’ve lost power only briefly, and we’re close enough to the main roads that driving conditions aren’t really an issue. Though it’s scary to be driving and realize your windshield is icing over and you need your defrost on the highest setting, in hopes that’ll be enough to get you home. My grandmother, while having power, can’t leave the house even if she wanted, because the hill at the end of the driveway is nothing but ice.

I remember worse. Down in my neck of the woods, you’ll often hear about the “Blizzard of ’93,” which hit in March. But this is the longest bout of winter weather I remember in a long time. And it’s been so very, very cold.

Next week is my next week of four 10-hour days, but next Friday is Con Nooga, not a Writing Work Day. I keep eyeing the weather suspiciously, and right now, it looks to be fine, but I don’t trust it, nor do I trust the weathermen who report it.

So I’m crossing my fingers that it won’t be an issue. For me, or for anyone else who’s traveling for it, like my friend in Virginia.

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Today’s headline comes from Tom McRae’s “Please,” from the album The Alphabet of Hurricanes. I know, I’ve already pulled from this album, but I’m kind of in love with it, and I love his lyrics. You can hear the song, which I’ve had on repeat all week, here.

A Day Like Today

Thus ends my first week of working four days, ten hours each. Friday is my official Writing Work Day, with a break to get my allergy shot.

How has the new schedule gone? I’ve seen some highs and lows. The week started rather badly, to be quite honest. The doctors think she had a mini-stroke and they discharged her Tuesday evening. I spoke to her Wednesday but wasn’t able to get in touch today, so right now I’m assuming no news is good news. We’re all glad she’s home, but I can’t fight the fact that given her age, she’s probably never going to be at 100% again. The important thing is to keep her as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

But after that, I realized pretty quickly: I like the longer day. Coming in early means I can turn on some music and get some necessary administrative shit done first thing in the morning without any distraction, and staying late means that I can finish whatever projects I’ve got going on without feeling super-rushed or stressed. Yesterday on my way home, I was contemplating how much I liked it, while my brain was heckling me with doubts.

Sure, it says, THIS week was good. But what about two weeks in a row? Three? How’s your body gonna like that?

Only time will tell there.

Okay, fine, my brain says. But what happens if you wake up with a MIGRAINE. Missing any time means either taking a bigger chunk of sick time OR having to divy up your hours and come in on Friday ANYWAY.

Shut up, brain.

So it did. Sort of. Until I woke up at 4:30 am with a migraine. Little bastard. It was an old school migraine, the kind that makes me worship the great porcelain god. How’d I handle it? Vomit once, decide I’ve had enough of this shit, and get ready to go to work. Hot water works wonders, and I took my prescription. Made it to work on time, sans headache, nursed an emergency Coke all day, and got in my ten hours. The day was full and crazy-busy too, but as of now, I’m not kicking myself over the extra time spent there during the day.

Then again, it’s only the first week. And tomorrow’s my first Writing Work Day, though given my current plan, there will be less writing and more reading, analyzing, and thinking about how to whip Codename: Telepathic Soulmates into shape.

In truth, the real test of this four 10-hour day experiment will be in March, because next week has a federal holiday, so I’ll be putting in eight hours a day due to the paid holiday, and then the week after, I’ll be doing four 10s, but instead of writing on Friday, I’ll be hooking up with a dear friend of mine and trekking to Con Nooga for all kinds of crazy shenanigans. But by time March rolls around? I should have a clearer direction for what I’m doing for revision, and that, my friends, is where we’re really see how this experiment works.

In the meantime, today’s blog post comes from Tom McRae’s “A Day Like Today,” from the album Just Like Blood. You can listen to it here.

Told My Troubles To The River

It was a hard day.

My first official and intentional 10 hour day.

My cold is on the way out.

A short story was rejected.

I woke up to the news my grandmother was sent to the ER with chest pains.

It was a hard day.

It could’ve been worse. I learned better today that emotional toll can zap you faster than anything physical. That waiting and not knowing is utterly draining no matter how much you have to keep you occupied.

It was a hard day, but my mother had it worse, and I’m glad she was there to keep us posted, to keep my grandmother company through all the infernal and seemingly infinite waiting.

My grandmother, last I heard, is fine. No diagnosis and from what I understand, her CAT scan and MRI came back clean. Next up will be the results of the Lexiscan, and maybe, just maybe we’ll learn why my grandmother had such a bad weekend that they called an ambulance to take her to the ER.

So it’s time to rest up, start over again tomorrow, and pay a visit after work.

And hope and pray that today’s hard day doesn’t turn into a harder week. Or a harder month. Or a harder year.

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Today’s blog post title comes from “Told My Troubles to the River” from Tom McRae’s The Alphabet of Hurricanes. What a fantastic album title. You can hear the song “Told My Troubles to the River” here.

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Edit: And then I heard this: Melanie Tem passed away. Damn it. I feel like I need a good cry now. Steve and Melanie were our Writers in Residence during Week 5 of Odyssey 2005. A lovely couple, wonderful writers, and Melanie was just amazing. I am so terribly sorry to hear this.

Music Monday: Tom McRae, “Mermaid Blues”

So this is really, really different, and for two reasons.

1) This is a link to a song file on MySpace, and not a video. I did find some videos on YouTube, but they were either abbreviated versions of the song that lacked some of the instrumentation that really makes the song stick out, and/or they were tribute videos that I felt would be distracting from the lyrics of the song. One thing I hate about music videos is that they tend to tell you a story rather than letting you create your own story for the song, and since nothing appealed here, I decided to go a different route.

2) First Music Monday featuring a male vocalist! I don’t know why Tom McRae’s been on my brain lately, but I remember when I first discovered his music: back during the heyday of Alias fandom and a lot of its fan art pulled from McRae’s lyrics. A friend I made through Live Journal sent me a mix CD of his work, and when I decided to buy the albums, I discovered this song and freaking fell in love with it. There is one thing I can tell you about Tom McRae lyrics, and I don’t say this often because I don’t often pay ATTENTION to lyrics, but it’s this: they’re poetic, poignant, and thought-provoking.

So in lieu of a video, click the link below to visit My Space and click play on the song. Please. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And since there’s nothing for you to look at, I’ve pasted the lyrics below the link.

Click HERE to listen to Tom McRae’s “Mermaid Blues”

Tom McRae, Just Like Blood

And now for the lyrics, behind the cut:

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