edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
I got up at 4:00am EST on Thursday, so as to shower, eat breakfast, finish packing, and set up my apartment before heading outside shortly before 5:00am to wait for my cab. In the event, the cab was about ten minutes late, but I still got to the airport and through security in plenty of time. The flight from Ithaca to Detroit went smoothly, and I made my transfer with several minutes to spare even though they were slow to unpack the plane-side checked bags. (These are bags that would be carry-on items in larger planes, but small jets have small overhead compartments so they basically wrap a tag around your suitcase handle, stash it in the cargo compartment with the actual checked bags, and then hand it back to you at the end of the flight.)

cut for length )

As for my reading: I got through the entirety of C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, which was one of my "I am not entirely sure where I picked this book up, but I should probably read it before donating it" books, and another several sections of Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations, a textbook composed of various themed excerpts from other works and brief explications thereof.

Lewis is, as always, infuriating because I disagree vehemently with a number of his assumptions, with most of his theology, and with a bunch of his implicit politics... and yet he keeps coming to conclusions about human experience and what a good life should look like that are unnervingly close to my own in some respects. So it's a constant swing between, "yes, exactly, that was beautifully put!" and "but HOW can a reasonably intelligent and well-meaning person be so WRONG?!?!" Some other day I should probably quote one of the passages I thought was most apt, and also take a stab at analyzing one point where I think he went most terribly awry.

(Also science has marched on and Lewis's chapter on animal pain and consciousness is consequently even more awful and wrong-headed than when he wrote it, though I think I would have considered it awful and wrong-headed even decades ago because he's arguing from a foundation of theological assumptions which I utterly fail to share. But that is something where I could point to actual science to prove that he is talking through his hat, whereas the other point is more of a philosophical/ethical thing, and thus less subject to hard proof... though one could probably cite various studies on criminal justice and prison reform which I believe tend more toward my side of the argument than toward his. Hmm. *makes note to look into that* But anyway, I'd want to do more research and marshal my arguments in logical order before venturing into that particular alligator swamp.)

And that is what I have been up to for the past three days. :)
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The taxi was ten minutes late, but Ithaca airport security is pretty efficient so I got to the plane on time. All my connections went smoothly, and though takeoff from the Twin Cities was a little delayed by weather, that flight actually landed at Bemidji a few minutes early. Victory!

I am on the island, in the cabin, and will probably make a longer post tomorrow after I have pulled myself back together a bit more. :)
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1. Laundry! Washed, dried, air-dried, folded, hung, and put away.

2. Changed linens.

3. Withdrew cash to pay for cab rides to and from the airport.

4. Bought gum for airplane takeoffs and landings.

more items under the cut )

21. Finished packing, aside from a few things I am still using/will use overnight, which I'll add to my suitcase or backpack in the morning.

The plan is to go to bed at 10pm tonight (and take a Benadryl in hopes of knocking myself out) so I will not be completely brain-fried when I get up at 4am in the morning. UGH.

I must remember to light candles to Meteora, Constructa, Constricta, Wayland, and Trilitus, to request good weather, no mechanical troubles with the planes, a smooth and timely flight, no airport delays or complications, and no taxi delays. (My pantheon of travel gods is about 85% a joke with myself. But only 85%. The other 15%... well, that's between me and my superstitions. *wry*)

And now, if you will excuse me, I have to go wash some dishes and clean my teeth.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
So back in March I mentioned the Mosedale creative writing contest that the Star Island Protective League runs in the Loon (our annual newsletter/directory), and later mentioned that I'd written and submitted something for the 2017 contest.

The Loon has now been published -- my parents received their copy today -- and I may have won? \o/ There is a $50 prize associated with the contest, but really, I am just happy I got a thing printed and people seem to have liked it. :)

Anyway, now that the Loon is out, I am going to post the story here as well.

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Summary: "Don't buy tiny fruit trees," Nic said obediently. (750 words)

Oranges and Lemons )

---------------------------------------------

...If I do get $50 out of this endeavor, I just might buy a tiny orange tree of my own, because reasons. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Wrote a tiny story (742 words) as an entry in the 2017 John Mosedale creative writing contest, which is run by the Loon (the annual newsletter/directory of the Star Island Protective League). I then ran it past Vicky for approval, since although the starting inspiration was my recent obsession with maybe purchasing a tiny fruit tree for my kitchen, it then veered into some stuff drawn from conversations I've had with her this past year, and I didn't want to just throw that out for anyone to read if she'd be uncomfortable with that. But she said it was cool, so I submitted it.

2. Shoveled my front steps and sidewalk AGAIN, because when I got home from work on Friday they were buried under a foot and a half of snow and ice, which had taken advantage of the lovely sunny afternoon to depart the roof en masse.

3. Baked brownies!

4. Helped Miss Cactus decorate the rental office counter for spring:


paper flowers and leaves on a black background . paper flowers and leaves on a black background



The leaves are leftover shamrocks from our St. Patrick's Day display, which I did not bother to photograph since it was not terribly exciting. Miss Cactus and I reused them rather than cut out entirely new leaves to go with the flowers. Most of the flowers are colored paper with a bit of Sharpie marker in the centers to make them look a bit livelier and less monochrome, but a few were printed on white paper and given unique coloring jobs, because we could and because arts and crafts are fun. :)

[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]

more items under the cut )

And now I think I will go to bed, because I am kind of brain-fried for no identifiable reason, and I figure sleep is more likely to help than staying up for another hour and trying to force myself into being productive.
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Aunt Jan sent me and Vicky an email last month, the text of which is as follows:

Attention Writers: Loon News postcard just came. The John Mosedale creative writing prize of $50 is still on. It will be give to "the best short fiction, non-fiction, poetry or memoir" - 750 words maximum. Due March 20 if you happen to get inspired.

Also the Loon Theme is "Whimsical or realistic, painted, colored, drawn, photo or digital, anything goes because you've captured what is special about TREES. No larger than 8 1/2 x 11.


(The Loon is the combined annual newsletter and directory for the Star Island Protective League: it contains reports from the League meeting, reports from the Forest Service, photos and yearly updates from each cabin/family, creative works, obituaries, a phone directory, emergency information, an island map, and so on.)

I could maybe flip through my photo archives to see if I have any particularly good tree photos, but there is no money associated with the images.

The Mosedale writing prize, on the other hand...

I won that in 2010 for my poem Inland, Walking South. I have not been able to enter in a bunch of the intervening years (there is often an age restriction on the contest), and did not win the one time I did enter, but I think it would be fun to try again. :)

Jan says the theme only applies to visual submissions, but I figure to be on the safe side anything I submit should also be tree-related. Now I just need to figure out something to write...

Hmm.

Suggestions, anyone?
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Cut my fingernails.

2. Asked rental office bosses about getting a week off in late June. They said that should be okay, so... I may actually get to Cass Lake this year!!! \o/

more items under the cut )

13. Got to work rewriting my Cotton Candy Bingo fic, as per my realization that the characters needed to be nicer in general. I have managed to salvage and reuse a bunch of existing dialogue, just tweaked a bit so everyone's friendly rather than annoyed, and I have also tweaked a bit of scene-setting so there is now an obvious physical way to conclude the fic when I get there, instead of having it vaguely peter off into awkward silence. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. I got a flu shot today! Thus far, I have not encountered any of the weird side effects I've had in some previous years -- I mean, my shoulder aches like somebody smashed it with a hammer, but that's normal and expected, so eh -- but one year my body didn't glitch out on me until about twelve hours after the shot, so... we shall see.

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2. In other news, there's a frost advisory for Tompkins County from 3am to 9am Friday morning. This is more relevant for areas up on the hilltops than areas down in the lake valley, but even so, I think I may bring my peppers in overnight. It would be a shame to lose them because of one bad night when the following week is forecast to be much warmer.

ETA: My peppers, back indoors:

peppers, temporarily indoors

They take up a lot more room these days!

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3. My parents, having arrived home on Monday, took two days to do laundry and readjust to American time, whereupon they packed their car (...okay, minivan, whatever) and headed back out west to Minnesota. They will arrive in Bemidji on Saturday the 20th, pick Vicky up from the airport, and all reach Star Island that afternoon. Vicky will stay with them for about a week, as I did back in August.

I will be heading down to NJ one last time on the 26th and 27th, to collect my parents' mail and send any relevant bills to them, care of the local marina. They intend to close the cabin around the 8th or 9th of October and pick up the Camry on their way home (at which point we will do lunch and I will make them help me take my AC out of the window for the winter), but if the weather turns nasty and/or very cold, they may leave up to a week sooner.
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We had oatmeal for breakfast today. Mom likes to add dried fruit as she cooks it, so there were craisins and dried apricots mixed in; this adds extra deliciousness. :-)

A thunderstorm ambled through between 7 and 8am, and the rain continued off and on until about 10am, but there were several clear hours in the early afternoon so we (Dad, Mom, Dottie, and I) went for a moderately long walk around 1pm. We went to the south shore and walked all the way to the campground, then cut inland. We decided not to go all the way to Windigo, since the path along the southeastern edge is very overgrown and swampy this year (like the part by the east portage was before Dad and I fixed it), so we came home more directly through the forest. The wind today was mostly from the south or southeast, so we had a nice breeze in the first half of the walk, but the interior of the forest was very still and too humid for Mom's comfort.

We did some chores upon returning home: vacuuming and laundry, mostly. I took a nap from about 3:30pm to 5pm, during which another, bigger thunderstorm (or maybe a chain of small ones?) hit us. There is no real insulation in the cabin, half the walls are made of windows, and the ceilings are quite low, so the sound of falling rain is loud and clear. I find it soothing.

After dinner Mom and I finished a couple more crosswords and played a round of Bananagrams, which she won as her final draw letter was an M, which is a lot easier to play than my final draw of Z. *wry*

I have printed my boarding passes for tomorrow and am partially packed. Mostly I am waiting for one pair of pants to finish drying, and of course for all the stuff I need to use in my morning routines, to say nothing of the laptop on which I am typing these words. But everything is folded and ready to put into the relevant bags, so the actual packing should not take more than five minutes.

And that is pretty much that.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
I set my alarm for 8:30am, to make sure I got up and fed the dog at a reasonable time, but I ended up waking at 8am because my feet were freezing. The temperature dropped into the fifties overnight, and the wind continued to be fairly strong -- it just swung from east-northeast to east-southeast. I got up to close a bunch of windows, and figured I might as well feed the dog then. I also let her out on a leash to pee, though I didn't take her for a walk since it was raining steadily, and chilly rain is miserable, particularly in a forest.

I went back to bed and got up for real shortly after 9:30am, at which point I dressed in yesterday's clothes, put on one of Dad's cruddy cabin jackets, and took Dottie for a short loop walk. (It had stopped raining, but the forest was still dripping incessantly.) Then I showered, ate breakfast, and spent the morning online and finishing Anna Karenina. Victory is mine!

I took Dottie for a second walk around 1pm, dropping the second dock board on the northern muddy patch of the Windigo trail as we went. I split some more logs when we returned home, and then quite sensibly spent the rest of the afternoon indoors.

I like gray rainy days when I have nothing to do and nowhere to be. They make me tired, both physically and mentally, but sometimes it's nice to have an excuse to sit around and think about existential things. And the final chapters of Anna Karenina are useful in that sense, since I find a bunch of Tolstoy's themes worth arguing. I mean, yes, we are bubbles of insignificance in the vast cosmos, here for no reason whatsoever. So what? That just means life can mean whatever we want it to mean. And really, if you think people can't be kind and do good without reference to an overarching god, what does that say about you? I think reason is not selfish -- or if it is, it's just reason that hasn't thought far enough. It is better for you, not just everyone else, to establish fair and just systems, since nobody can ever be top dog all the time, and the golden rule is sort of preemptive self-defense from some perspectives, regardless of any emotional/spiritual impulse toward fairness.

(I hear that after writing Anna Karenina Tolstoy only got MORE didactic. Since I already find his particular brand of didacticism annoying, I think I should not read any of his later works.)

Anyway, Mom and Dad returned to the island around 6:45pm, and we ate dinner around 7:30pm. Dad's reunion was fine, but not as well-organized as it should have been. (The venue was slightly too small for the number of attendees, so it was difficult to move around and find people he used to know.) I don't think we have any specific plans for Monday, though Mom has said she doesn't want to leave the island. That is fine with me. :-)

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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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