edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
I am sadly behind on my posting. Woe, alas, alack!

Anyway, Wednesday was another slow day -- you may note that was kind of the running theme of my vacation. This is not a bad thing! Unwinding is necessary and beautiful! But I think if I'd had a two-week vacation rather than only one week, in the second week I could really have started to tackle some chores and trail maintenance.

Wednesday breakfast was catch-as-catch can, which for me meant toaster waffles and another clementine. It rained several times, but Mom and I got in a decent walk (the inland path to the south portage, and then home around the southeast shore of Windigo) without being dripped on excessively, so that was nice. I also finally started reading Don Quixote, though I did not get past the translator's notes and the prologue on that day.

Dinner was BLTs, and we had champagne cocktails beforehand to celebrate general island happiness and getting a firmer answer about both what the problem with our boat was and when the repairs would be complete... though alas, we did not have a returned boat itself to celebrate.

I think I forgot to mention the boat problems earlier? Anyway, there was a leak in the bottom of the boat, so we took it in to the marina for repairs. (We still had the rowboat, which is equipped with a 15-horsepower motor, so we weren't stranded or anything, but that's not a great boat for rainy or windy days.) There was some confusion about the source of the leak, but eventually they proved it was a crack in the fiberglass hull, which had to be scraped and widened, filled in with new fiberglass, and then coated with several layers of protective material that each take a while to dry/cure.

So on Thursday morning, because the boat was not yet ready, the marina owner sent one of his staff out to pick us up in one of their general maintenance boats, and then loaned that boat to my parents for Thursday afternoon and Friday morning while the boat repairs continued. We got to the airport on time, and all my flights went smoothly. There was a minor delay at Detroit when the plane door didn't close correctly, but maintenance came and promptly fixed it so that was all right.

I am sad that Fuddruckers no longer has an outpost in the Detroit airport, since that had been my go-to travel dinner for many years, but I guess nothing lasts forever. And now I am home, and in fact back at work, so, you know, life goes on. *wry*
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
The thing about the island -- and this is both good and bad -- is that it's very easy to lose track of time because the rhythm of the days is very different from the normal workweek.

Anyway, on Sunday I don't think I did anything in particular, aside from finally finishing the edits and extensions to "Second Chances." No, wait -- Dad, Mom, and I collectively walked down to the east portage and then I peeled off to come home via the woods while they continued on to the south portage and walked home from there.

On Monday, we had pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Mom has also been feeding me clementines, which is nice; they are just about exactly the right size for the amount of fruit I want in the morning. I went down to the dock to get some reading done -- still working through Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations -- after which I took a nap. Then I took the big hedge-clippers and did some trail maintenance along the east portage loop trail I'd walked the day before. It still needs a LOT of work, but it's slightly less dire so I feel I got something accomplished. And I got home in time for us to have steak (grilled out in the back yard) for dinner, so that was nice.

I also wrote and posted another installment of "Edmund and Ginny Go to Harfang," because why not.

Today we had soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, accompanied by the leftover apple-bran muffins from Friday. Then we walked all the way around Lake Windigo (the lake in the center of Star Island). That is a fairly decent walk, though we stopped several times to admire various views, and also to chat with two of our neighbors up at the north portage. (The portages are all from Cass Lake in to Lake Windigo, in case that was not obvious. The north portage is suitable for anything; it is very short, wide, and sandy. The east portage is suitable for canoes. And the south portage is not really a portage -- it is just a regular woodland trail -- though I suppose you could carry a canoe along it in a pinch.) The trail needs a bunch of clipping, though, and a few places really will need to be rerouted over the next few years because they are in danger of collapsing right into the lake.

When we got back, I took a nap (longer than I meant to, but I suppose that makes up for staying up later on Monday night than I meant to -- Dad and I were talking about this and that, got really into our conversation, and mutually lost track of time), and then went down to the dock to finish Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations. So that's two reading projects knocked off, go me!

(I have signally failed to start reading Don Quixote, though. *sigh*)

I also picked a starship design for the Amber Lotus -- the Red Cross ship in "Intervention," aka my WIP Big Bang fic -- since my artist wanted a visual reference. That was a little annoying/embarrassing, since I had actually picked a starship type a year or two back... and then forgotten to write my choice down, so I had to recreate it from scratch today. *headdesk*

Hmm. Other things, other things...

I do most of the table-clearing and dish-washing at the cabin, since I find it meditative and also I don't help much with the cooking. I have obviously been doing a bunch of that.

Mom and I have also been working through a book of crossword puzzles I bought a few years ago for use on trips (sometimes crosswords are more my speed than a book; sometimes it's the other way around) and while most of them are pretty reasonable, there was one that had straight-up terrible clues -- hopelessly non-specific, and not even any clever jokes to resolve ambiguities. We had to cheat repeatedly to get anywhere, which is annoying since we have done harder-rated crosswords with much less difficulty.

And now I think I will go to bed, since I want to get through tomorrow without collapsing for a two-hour nap. *wry*
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. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
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. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
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.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
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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Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

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