May. 8th, 2017

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Is Sento canon? I’ve never found a name before.

No, in Shattered Empire, Shara mentions her husband and son, says neither of them get to see her son often, and says that the son is with her dad. That’s all we have about him, so I made him up for the Lost Kings series, and invented Kes’s relatives while I was at it. 
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Am sitting in the dark on my big sister’s leather couch in Savannah like a creeper, but I’m awake extra early and just don’t want to put a light on that disturbs anyone. So I guess I’ll collect my various thoughts, none of which are all that interesting– mostly, airline travel, elderly dogs, and the foibles of children. The almost-5-year-old niece, who was quite standoffish last time she saw me (understandably, I seldom see her) has decided I am The Best, and over the course of yesterday extended this to my dude, who in the last five or six years has gone from mildly distressed by small children to pretty used to them. Which is good, because last night she decided he was For Climbing, and her favorite thing is to climb into his lap and then press her nose to his nose, which is disconcerting if you’re used to adult personal space concepts. (I don’t usually do things like that to him, so – but he’s been quite amused and graceful about it, which, I mean, you have to be somewhat, but I’ve been substituting my cheek for my nose because I don’t want her to mash my glasses into my eyeballs, for example.)

The trip was uneventful; full planes, but no real issues. First leg had a large group traveling together where apparently nobody spoke English, and so this being the US, it’s not like the airline was going to have anyone on staff who could translate for them, so they just stood in the way of a lot of things and the staff repeated themselves without slowing down and generally no one was thrilled by this, especially when they extended this to listening to crew instructions in the cabin. But they seemed copacetic with the Fasten Seat Belt sign, at least, so in the end it went smoothly enough.

We arrived in Savannah to discover that it was a lovely, breezy, relatively cool sunny day– of course much warmer than we’d left (freeze warning last night in Buffalo, wtf), and there were strange bugs everywhere– black beetles with red dots, flying around in pairs conjoined at the ass. Dude Googled them, and discovered that they were Red-Shouldered Bugs, also sometimes known as Love Bugs, because at mating season they stick their asses together and stay like that for a couple of days at a time, while going about their business. They have become a theme so far, because my sister’s back porch seems to have some kind of nest of them or something underneath it, they’re just everywhere out there. But they’re not really by the pool so much, so you just have to kind of wave your hands as you go out that door. 

The closing dates on #1 buying my sister’s new house and #2 selling her old one are actually lining up in a copacetic fashion, which is very good and also important. Of course, my sister is still trying to finish out her position with the Georgia national guard, so she’s managed to cram two back-to-back sessions (you know how the pitch is “a weekend a month, two weeks a year” well she’s trying to do I think two months’ weekends just to wrap up all her stuff, and she has to cram that in right before moving), and also her husband has already moved so she’s on her own doing it. (He’s living in the barracks of a tiny National Guard post up in Maryland, which is their destination. She says he’s doing better than she thought he would; his only real distress is that he loves to cook and hates eating out, and his kitchen facilities currently are a microwave and a mini-fridge, so he is dying inside, but figures if that’s his only complaint he can’t really count himself that unfortunate. He really is kind of a foodie, though, so I’ve no doubt his suffering is real. It’s not even that he likes fancy stuff, it’s that he really likes making it himself. He has discovered that Maryland has excellent crab everything, though.)

But, Middle-Little, and Mom and Dad, are both able to come help move, so. 

Today, a Pod arrives, that we’re going to try to fill. One Pod is already gone, and it had all the stuff she was sure she wouldn’t miss over the short term in it. (”We packed up the liquor! That might have been premature.” There’s some tequila and some gin left, I’ll improvise.)

I told Big Sister what Dad had told me, which was that since her specialty is logistics, he had great faith in her. She rolled her eyes, and said, “Well, he’s not wrong, I even have the letters after my name,” and I don’t know what that means so that’s today’s line of questioning. 

Her children went off to free-range the neighborhood at one point, and she wound up dragging lawn chairs out to the driveway in front so she could at least keep tabs on what was going on. We were scrubbing her driveway, as well, because her mother-in-law had, last visit, done a really cool art project with tempera paint that was supposed to be washable, but it turns out if you let tempera paint dry on uncoated concrete, it is not in fact washable anymore, and now she has this house she has nearly sold that has not been closed upon yet and the driveway is completely coated in splatters of paint with childrens’ footprints in it.

So– there was some name for it, Mouse Painting or something, like from a book or something– parents or caretakers of young children, note this down, it was a great activity and enormously fun, and cleanup can be easy– throw the kids in the pool! no problem– but for the love of all that’s holy, hose down the driveway while the paint is still wet. It was several days baked in Georgia sun by the time my sister got home, and it’s apparently indelible, so we spent a while with Oxy Clean and scrub brushes out there trying to get it faded enough that the buyers on this house don’t back out. 

(This, by the way, is a great encapsulation of that particular mother-in-law relationship.) 

So my first afternoon in Georgia was spent sitting on lawn chairs out front listening to children shriek in the yard across the street. Sort of off-handedly, I don’t know what this says about anything, my sister told me the names of all the surrounding dogs. She has two, who wander the neighborhood a bit, and so she’s just aware of the surrounding dog-terrain, because everyone’s dogs kind of wander a little bit. That one’s Georgia, she said, so-and-so got her for her (child’s) birthday, she’s a little under two years old now. That one’s Max, he’s not quite a rescue– rescue orgs wouldn’t give them a Shepherd because they didn’t have a fence, but she found that one on Craigslist, and then just got a fence right away anyway, he’s like a year old and he’s got some anxiety problems and tried to eat my cat but I don’t blame him, I try to keep my dogs from bothering him too much, etc. 

The punchline of the dogs thing though is that later, all three kids were climbing the trees in the back, and the middle child had asked me to come watch, so I was standing there watching (and discovering that there were fire ant hills out here, i’m glad I was mentally prepared for that), and Max was pacing in his yard and watching us, so I said hi Max! to him, and middle child was astonished that I knew the dog’s name. So I told him I was psychic and knew dogs’ names, and, get ready for this- he said oh yeah?? what’s the name of that dog across the street? and I said, Georgia! She’s two! 

It blew him away. 

He then demanded whether I knew the name of the hound they’d found and rescued once in a brief incident like five years ago, and I was like, look buddy it only applies to current dogs, but as of this moment I’ve just remembered that dog was named Julep, so. I have to think of how to bust that out.

Oh I also rediscovered my childhood superpower of swimming in water everyone else thinks is cold but I find comfortable. Dude couldn’t even stay in the pool ten minutes but I was in there close to an hour, me and Middle Child, who’s the most, hm, thermally stable, let’s say (he’s a Substantial Boy), and I felt like the water was warm, but after I’d been out, dried off, gotten dressed, and was sitting at the dinner table, I realized that all the fat in my thighs was still chilled, and then I was cold.
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For a change here’s a farm story about the faithful farm hound, who is a rescue black lab mix named Dini (short for Houdini).

 She was a rescue from a humane society in Illinois, basically feral, so poorly-socialized she was terrified of humans, the indoors, the concept of being enclosed anywhere, etcetera. But they’ve had her six or seven years now, and she’s gotten to the point where not only will she come indoors, but she’ll actually be in a room with, and be unbothered by, strange adult men, who used to terrify her.

She is very strongly bonded to Farmsister, though, and loves her and wants to be with her constantly, and follows her from room to room when indoors, and when outdoors, follows her and lies beside her while she works. (She likes other people fine, and will go for walks with anyone who asks, and sometimes likes to run alongside the chore truck on its rounds and such, but primarily, she loves to be near Farmsister.)

Today was gorgeous and sunny, and we have two or three solid days of rain coming up. This meant that everyone was frantic to get work outdoors done today; the livestock peeps were trying to get the broilers out on pasture because it was too hot in the brooder for them, and the vegetable peeps were frantically transplanting everything they could because two days of rain are PERFECT CONDITIONS for baby transplants, and also it’ll take several dry days for the field to be able to be driven on again so it’s now or not for a long time, and a lot of the seedlings are about to be Too Big. 

So, in the afternoon, I watched Farmbaby, and Farmsister went way up the hill to the farthest beds, inaccessible when muddy, to transplant cabbages. Lateish in the afternoon, Farmbaby wanted to play outside, and this was fine, we ran around the barnyard and had ourselves a nice time, until she slipped and fell and “bonxted” her knee. (Bonked. It’s the only phoneme Farmbaby really has a consistent baby-talk problem with anymore– a hard central consonant and the past tense. She’s also not great on Ls and Rs yet, so her favorite thing in the herb garden, sorrel, is incomprehensible to the uninitiated, but. Otherwise she really talks like she’s four or five, not three-and-a-quarter.)

She reflexively insisted she was okay, but as I gathered her up, she began to wail that she wanted her mommy. Which is an old reflex, but. Well, I said, pointing, Mom’s up the hill, all the way up there. I could tell by then, by the way she was moving, that she indeed was not injured physically. She turned to look, and I looked as well, and sure enough, there in the distance, up on the hill, ant-like in size, were several people, and there was the black spot of Dini, sprawled out next to the white-tank-top-and-straw-hat of Farmsister. 

Farmbaby refused any comfort I could give her and insisted we had to go see her mother. Her sobs had never actually produced any tears and at this point she was a little distracted so they were a great deal less convincing, but clearly, she was committed enough to this emotional direction that we were going to have to stay the course for the forseeable, so I said okay, let’s go, and we set off for the road that goes up next to the fields. (I just measured on Google Maps; it’s a solid eighth of a mile walk, and the elevation goes up a good hundred feet too. It’s not nothing.)

Literally seconds later, the dog comes bounding out from between the hoop-houses and runs up to us, all concerned. 

Farmsister said she’d been working and had noticed the dog perk up, then suddenly take off running down the hill, and she knows the dog’s body language pretty well and said she was clearly looking at a person, and from her attitude it was someone she knew. It was only after the dog had gone out of sight that she herself heard Farmbaby shrieking. She’d already noticed us down there, had seen I was with her, so she wasn’t too worried, but clearly, and obviously, the dog was.

Dini satisfied herself pretty immediately that Farmbaby was okay, but still greeted her with a great deal of tail-wagging and solicitous concern. She and the child are not the greatest of friends; at three, Farmbaby still does rather an unpleasant amount of pinching and pulling and shoving, and Dini’s table manners are too good for Farmbaby to really make up for it in food rewards. But, obviously, Dini has extended her protection of Farmsister to the child; she clearly understands how puppies work.

Anyway, Dini proceeded to escort us up the hill, and I managed to talk this up enough that it totally distracted Farmbaby so she completely forgot that we had been making this trip in loud emotional distress. (We got distracted, so Dini got bored and went and waded in the creek, which utterly charmed Farmbaby, to my somewhat-terror– this is not the cute little creek that runs through the property, but rather the actual river that borders it, the full-on Quackenkill, which is thigh-deep, 20 feet wide, and has just gone over a 15-foot waterfall a quarter-mile back so it’s pretty fast-running just there. Sure, the dog can go in it, but I am NOT taking a child in there, especially not in April.) But we did have a lovely walk alongside the creek, watching the dog frolicking etcetera. 

Until, like half an hour later, when we reached the top of the hill and she saw her mother and remembered to dredge up some good shrieking wails to show her how she’d “bonxted” her knee. Her mother awarded her the small-child equivalent of an Oscar for her performance, by dutifully carrying her back down the hill to the greenhouse (which was where she was going anyway), black dog escort in tow.
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I love that the location suggestion is just “Georgia”, it’s not like this is Rhode Island or something.
Photo dump of the first day, with peaches from the farmstand, some book-readin, tree-climbing, and driveway-washing.
Facebook crossposts don’t get the multiple photos so click thru to Instagram and swipe to see the rest if you care to. (at Georgia)
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lalaleliana:

i really like the advice “write marginalized characters but don’t write about marginalization unless you experience it” 

absolutely i think cis people should expand their horizons and write trans characters, but they shouldn’t write stories about being trans. likewise i think allistic / NT authors should write about autistic characters! but not stories about being autistic. 

represent us. absolutely. but don’t tell our stories. let us do that.
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Updated for 2017: My sister’s middle boy’s friend got his drone stuck in a tall pine tree across the street and sister, dude and I just spent like 20 minutes out there lobbing baseballs and soccer balls at it, to no avail
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oh noooooooo the niece who has been so snuggly since we got here just came down with norovirus

nooooooo

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