Archive | March 2020

The Pibald Player

This is left over from Pi Day.  I had trouble wrapping it up, and in the end, I didn’t… quite get it wrapped up the way I wanted, but here it is. 

It’s in the greater world of Fae Apoc but has none of the standard warnings except – it IS set in a post-apoc and some of the people are kind of shitty people.


She called “pip-piperelle!” as she walked into the town, singing a wordless tune & strumming a pipa.  She was let in somehow, despite the fact that the town was shut down, not letting anyone in for fear they’d bring disease or pillaging, of which the town had had none but their neighboring towns’d suffered more than a little over the  last months.

(in the small parts of their hearts, in the privacy of their psyche, some of them knew that they had pillaged, and that meant they feared other pillagers even more.)

The world was falling apart; everyone knew that.  People were being assholes everywhere, being small and petty and, well, pillaging.  They were also dying of things that had not been a blip on the radar 2 years ago – plague and famine and fear and malnutrition.

And into this town, this barricaded town with no way in or out, this woman strode.

Her skin was piebald, marked here and there with shapes like clouds, paler than her brown skin, in places pure white.  Her outfit was likewise piebald, a tie-dye tunic flowing down to her thighs and batik-patterned leggings covering her legs.  Her hair was pulled back from her face in two puffball-like pigtails to better show off the markings that speckled her, and the tunic was low-cut and sleeveless.

“I can fix your crops,” she told them.  “I can make them happier; I can make them better.  I can sing to them and they’ll grow.” Continue reading

Work From Home Blog: Day 6

 Day Six of my work from home, and I’m contemplating the advantages and disadvantages in re. sick time and being sick. 

For instance, the Friday before I started this, I worked from home because I had a cold and I wanted to nap at lunch but I felt good enough to work.  

Today, I was up a portion of the night with a pounding migraine and I’m not sure how well I can think – but I can show up to a meeting, then go nap until the next meeting, and so on, and since my life is like 3/4 meetings and Zoom trainings since this whole thing started, that’s like a half day. 

Is this a plus? Is it a negative?

I mean, it lets me husband my sick days.  It lets me save them for, say, I can barely move, which I’ve had. But on the other hand, it means that I’m less likely to take as much sick time and recovery time as I might need, when I could just log on for a couple hours. 

Right now, it’s “just a migraine”, so I’m going to try to show up to meetings.  But I know that when I feel like this, I can’t do critical thinking very well at all; it’s like the migraine is literally sitting on the thinking parts. Also, I think my focus is even worse than normal.

Okay, I’m trying to write a thoughtful post about whether or not being able to take partial sick days mid-day is a good thing or not while explaining that I can’t think while I have a migraine.  Does the amusement of this hit anyone else?

Right, so, if you’re working from home, what’s your personal sick day policy? What’s your office’s? How does it differ from when you’re working from work?

I.e. obviously, there’s not going to be a “please don’t come in and breathe on everyone” when you’re already at your workplace by being home, right?


The Bellamy, Chapter 11

Veronika made herself stop reading.  She glanced apologetically at Two. “It’s, ah—“

“I’m getting paid,” Two shrugged cheerfully. “The problem is, you want to finish this test before you’re old and grey.  Look, 1860, you can come back to it. Or you could take it out, too?”

Veronika wavered. “I could…” She had her own magnifier, of course.  Not because she’d ever walked off with microfilm or microfiche…. just for reading very small things which weren’t reduced to 1% of their original size….

“I’d better not,” she concluded.  “I should try to be here a week before I start signing things out.”

“Oh, no, go home every night, even if it’s just your apartment on site!  Don’t ever try to stay here a solid week — even we don’t do that, and we’ve got multiples!” Continue reading

Work From Home Blog: Day 5

 Day 5 of working from home: I almost miss my work workstation. 

I am, I believe, doing a lot better than many of my co-workers, because I already had a home office. I’ve doing the All Day Writing there the last couple Christmas breaks, so I know I can sit there for long stretches, and it’s an actual desk and then a “docking station” where I plug my laptop into a proper keyboard and monitor (I always use a proper mouse).  

I also have a standing desk set-up next to it which I’ve been trying to use for about a half hour to an hour a day, or until my feet really complain. 

My real problem is posture. In part because I like to use my laptop as a laptop a lot normally, I get comfortable looking down at my monitor, which yes, I know is awful. But it makes getting my chair-and-monitor set up so that I don’t make a crink in my neck by the end of the day… tricky.  I might need another textbook under my monitor, and I already have about 8″ of textbook. (My laptop sits on two board games and a dictionary.)

I’ll probably get it set up and comfortable by the time they declare we can all go back to our offices – although maybe if I dragged the Tempurpedic chair I use in the other room in here I might be more comfy…

People discuss work from home ‘offices’ as the dining room table (we don’t have one of those) or the bedroom and, while I have worked from bus and a couple times from car, I can’t imagine doing that full time.  I wonder how much of my willingness to and comfort with work-from-home is due to having a solid office? (Even if it lacks a back wall.)

(It’s a three-walled space backing on the living room, it’s not like I’ve, you know, knocked out an exterior wall!)

If you’re working from home – and it sounds like most of the world is at this point – how’s your home-office set up?

(are you remembering to stretch?)


CHIVES! (A blog post)

One of the first things I planted here – at House Thorn – were chives.

I got them off a freecycle or plantcycle (same idea), back in the days when those lists were doing well here in Ithaca.

(The concept of either is that you post “I have this thing I don’t need anymore” or “I have this thing I need, does anyone have it?”  I’ve used it to get: a scythe, cat litter buckets (Our cat litter comes in sort of cartons and I wanted to try cat litter bucket planters), air mattresses, a broken breadmaker… We’ve gotten rid of a safe, a burn barrel, a turtle sandbox…)

I also went and got the earliest-blooming crocuses that were available.

Of course, since we moved into the house in mid-September, we discovered the next Spring that the people who had owned the house before us had been of a similar mind – there are spring blooming bulbs all over this place, so it’s a riot of color from the first thaw through the end of day-lily season.


I hate March, I’m afraid.  Really dislike the month. (T was explaining why to a friend and he summarized it as “the color.”)  It’s grey and muddy! And it’s a tease; you want to plant but you can’t.

The last freeze date in our area is mid-May, just for reference.

But CHIVES.  Chives are food.  They are fresh and they really taste good only fresh. And when the snow is just starting to melt, when it’s just thinking about melting, then you have chives.

This little bit of green pops up in your garden (I have an “invasives” bed I’ve mentioned before, where I let various chives and mints duke it out. I tried oregano once and I ended up with hybridized mint-regano.) and it’s like All Is Not Lost.  Things Will Grow Again. Here, have some Food.

It’s amazing. Alliums are a gift and we should cherish them forever.


Want more?


Other Chive Posts:

Gardening! March 23, 2012

Life in the Country, Tuesday edition (Actually Monday edition, just really late). March 21, 2012

On Chives  April 9, 2014

Spring! Chives – May 16, 2013

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Twelve

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Lina wiggled her fingers.  “Can you feel that?”

“Feel what?”  Ethan stared at her fingers as if they were made of magic.  Well, they kind of were. 

“I can feel — little tingles of power. In — in eight of my fingers.”

“That’s going to be interesting when you add more people.”  Jackson hrrmed. 

“When?”  Lina wrinkled her nose at him. “Are you planning on me saving more lives?”

They were walking — casually, slowly, like they weren’t in any hurry at all — through the sort of befuddled crowd, currently past what remained of the catering tables. Jackson was handing Lina mini-quiches while Dylan and Ethan grabbed sushi rolls for themselves.   Continue reading

Work From Home Blog: Day 4

Yesterday, Day Three of my Telecommuting Journey…

The power went out. 

The internet also went out. 

(We have two UPSs.  The router & cable modem are plugged into one of them. I have about an hour, hour and a half of time working if I turn my laptop to dimmest, etc…. IF the internet isn’t also out.)

It was just after my late lunch, and I really wanted a nap, so I walked out to the middle of the road, got enough signal for gmail and Discord, emailed my boss a telegram (Power out, internet out, will contact when back) and pinged my friends on Discord.

Then I took a nap. 

I mean, my entire job is online. I’d have had maybe… 20 minutes of cleaning my office if I was at work. 

I did some writing when I woke up, called NYSEG just in case nobody else had (1290 people affected, we imagine it will be about 5 p.m. when we get it fixed), played some Minecraft (obv. not the shared server), ordered pizza (from the end of the block), picked UP that pizza, and played Tiles & Tales once I got the tablet with games charged up.

The power came back on at about 9. 

In ordinary circumstances, I might have gone to a local library or cafe to work but… nothing’s open. 

Do you have plans for work if the power/internet go out?


Work From Home Blog: Day 3

I’m going to try to make a trend of this, doing it before work in the morning.


Day three of Telecommuting: My co-workers are starting to suspect I’m actually another cat.

Honestly, I think Oli may be worried and Merit thinks I’m just sick again, and Theo just ignores everyone during the day.

But I was going to talk about supervision. 

For me, this is pretty much exactly the same as being at work – because my boss is always remote (well, a few times a year he visits the office, but with the border to Canada closed, it’s going to be a while). For most of the admins, there won’t be a lot of difference, because the professor that supervises them is either usually just in their office or not even that.

I mean, except the one extrovert in the office.  I imagine she’s going to go mad.

(we did Meyers-Briggs at Admin Excellence Training summer of ’18.  She was like “OH this explains so much” when everyone else at the table came back Introvert.)

But with all that, I still found myself checking the calendar to see if my boss was “at a conference” (he’s got at least two that are tele-conferences now.) yesterday.

As far as I can tell, no.  

But Oli did his best to fill in boss’s virtual absence anyway by sitting on my desk and staring at me.  Good kitty. I feel well supervised. 

How about you?  How do your supervisors feel the need to fill in that gap?


Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 5 (A Story for B)

Began here.

Chapter 2 here

The Princess of many names (who we will refer to as Malina for simplicity’s sake) looked between a sand map of the city and the sand-cat sitting on the throne. Staring back at her from the map was a figure that seemed to represent her, and staring at her from the throne was a cat. 

The cat stretched and turned around twice on the throne.  “You are correct. Not just the map, which is usually right about these things, but the land here,  the tower here, this whole place. All of it believes you are important.”

“Because I’m named after a grandmother?”

“Well, several of your names certainly help in the process.”  The cat reached up towards the top of the throne, claws piercing the upholstery.  “There is a power in names, you know. There is a strength in them, and that power gives you, say, a tool.  But the person using the tool is just as important.”

“I’m just, well,  I’m here because I got lost at a party, because I got tired of the crowds,” Malina protested. Continue reading

Work From Home Blog: Day2

I’m still sitting in the armchair doing Pre-Morning Things again, so this is Before Day 2. 


Today I’m thinking about meetings.

 When I’m in a meeting at person, I have to do at least moderate performative attention-paying (ditto for training).  I have to look at the person and pretend I’m making eye contact and try not to look too distracted. 

I mean, I generally doodle maps, as anyone who has seen me post “in a meeting” maps can tell, or if I’m too close to the presenter, I just doodle generally, but there has to be some looking at them. And, in general, I have to TRY not to look too bored. 

When I’m working from home, I get to do something to distract the bouncy half of my brain while the other half listens.  Performative attention-paying is “make sure I formulate an interesting question and ask it at least once” which I try to do in meetings/training anyway.  When it’s interesting meeting/training I can engage pretty well and I don’t get talked over or interrupted in chat the same way.

(grumble grumble grumble)

And when it’s three stultifying hours of meetings I am in to show willing… well, let’s just say there’s been a lot of progress on my Minecraft railroads and stations.

That’s a long way of saying meetings are nicer by Zoom when you are an introvert with ADHD. 

(And life is easier in general once I learned those were things about myself that were both true and acceptable, or at least, that *I* could accept them and the rest of the world could be faked around easily enough.)

The Dilbert will continue until morale improves. 

What’s your favorite or least favorite thing about telecommute meetings?