For Rose Fox

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My boring (but delicious!) horchata recipe

Put 1 cup uncooked white rice into a blender and grind to a powder for about 3 minutes (maybe longer) until it’s pretty smooth. Combine pulverized rice with 1/4 cup ground, blanched almonds and 1 cinnamon stick and let sit overnight.

Remove the cinnamon and place the mixture back into the blender. Blend for another 5 minutes until the mixture is powdery and smooth. Add 2 cups of water and blend for about one minute more.

Strain into a pitcher through several layers of dampened cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Add 4 cups of water, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup of sugar (I replace the water and sugar with 3 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup simple syrup because I’m too lazy to stir). Serve over ice with a little extra simple syrup if my wife isn’t watching.

Drink it. Enjoy the flavor.

Pretty basic. The next time I make it I’m going to chug water before the final steps so I’m not quenching thirst with it, just enjoying.

Update: Wow, did I get a lot of these measurements wrong. Sorry.

Date night

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Last night was “date night”, the biweekly ritual in which my wife and I suddenly realize, at about three in the afternoon, that our regularly scheduled baby sitter will be there in an hour and a half and what the hell are we doing to do together all on our own?

My wife wasn’t keen on yet another restaurant trip and I couldn’t blame her. Instead we went to the Henry Art Museum in the U District: The PanOptos exhibit was pretty damn cool. This is one of the photos I took. I’m not sure why, except that I like the imperfections.

And James Turrell’s Skyscape sculpture, Light Reign, was wonderful (and I immediately tried to think of a way to build it in Minecraft, which only shows you what a saddo I am). I would have spent much longer in there if it hadn’t been so chilly (it’s installed in the courtyard).

Dinner came immediately after (and, since we had it in the U. District, the less said about it the better) and then we hopped over to the UW Bookstore to catch Cherie Priest’s reading of Bloodshot. I’m dubious about vampires, but her excerpt sounded pretty good, and when she talked about the book afterward she tempted me even more. Still, vampires. Hmm.

From there we took the crosstown bus to Ballard for dessert in a nice Italian place we found. My wife’s cannoli (she loves cannoli) had a chocolate coating on the shell, unfortunately, but my tiramasu was pretty dang good. Then it was home to watch the Lego animation my son had worked on.

In short, fun. And of course we spent a good deal of time talking about Important Things. For instance, we have a trip to Lisbon that we’ve been wanting to take forever, but when I bring it up it turns into a flight to Amsterdam, then a train trip to London, followed by a tour through Barcelona and Madrid and finally…

Me, I just want to go to Lisbon and check it out (we have family there). My wife thinks she’s being restrained because she’s ready to put off Paris and Rome until the next go ’round.

On top of that, I’ll be going to Readercon this summer (Hello, convention-going people. I’ll be at Readercon this July. If you’ll be there too, please introduce yourself. It’ll be my first sf convention and I’m not entirely sure how I’ll do). For my wife, this is a chance for all three of us to fly out early and check out historical sites. While I’m at the con, she and the boy would tour around the city, learning about the American Revolution and so on.

Nevermind that I’d miss out on those tours. Nevermind also that she’d like to immediately fly from Boston to Amsterdam, etc. Jeez, give that woman a transcontinental flight and she takes a month-long international jaunt.

UPS operates at its usual competency level

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Hey out there. If you’re the Steve who sent an UPS package to me, please be aware that UPS has returned it to you for no good reason and without notifying me first. Please contact me before trying again.

I have no idea why UPS is pretending my address is no good, since it’s the same address they’ve delivered to many times. I have no idea why they’re sending me a postcard notifying me of the problem that doesn’t arrive until after the return date. I assume it’s because they put a new guy on the route.

The previous guy knew me by name. He’d wave when his truck passed me at the bus stop and I was happy to give him a copy of CoF. I want the previous delivery guy back.

An advantage of being the stay-at-home parent

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My knee has improved to the point that I can sleep through the night with only occasional twinges of pain-that-wakes-me-up. As a result, I’m sleeping like a narcoleptic, crashing at odd hours and inconvenient times.

And, I hate to say, the muscles of my injured left leg look atrophied, even though it’s only been a week and a half. I know it comes quickly, but it always surprises me. Time to start up the rehab exercises–as long as the pain stays bearable. And maybe some walking tomorrow.

Sorry that the blog has become so much about my leg pain. I usually try not to write about it very much, but it’s been a big deal in my life lately and has taken over everything, including my blog.

A brief interlude from work

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My wife and son have just left me here alone while he gets an eye check up. Wish we had vision insurance, but what can you do? The boy can’t see.

I just finished listening to Nancy Pearl on our local NPR affiliate, KUOW. She recommended Jo Walton’s new novel along with Gail Carriger’s SOULLESS. I sent them an email mentioning Cherie Priest’s BONESHAKER, but Nancy Pearl brought up her name before they had a chance to read it on air.

They didn’t mention my books.

Which disappointed my wife, but I didn’t expect it. I don’t think the Twenty Palaces books are quite up her alley, to steal a cliche. Too dark, I think. Even if she had read them (and as a fan of hers, I wrote a personal note for the folks at Del Rey to send with her review copy–I even have a Nancy Pearl Action Figure but it’s an older, less flashy version) I’m not sure I would have passed her Rule of 50. Which is fine; no writer should expect that their book be loved by every reader everywhere. In fact, god forbid.

Anyway, the fam is out and Warren Olney has been turned off (I like his show, but his voice has a quality that’s hard to ignore) so I can dig in to the copy edit of Circle of Enemies. I lost the whole day yesterday dealing with my blown knee, but I’m less than 60 pages from the end, and I’d like to finish tonight.

Then, finally, I’ll be able to write a post or two about some of the things that have come up lately, like putting a direction behind the word “stand” and on the need to figure theft of your product when setting price points.

Back to it.

Email notifications ON!

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My son just sent me an email (meaning he wrote the message in my msn account and sent it to the msn account, which I picked up in webmail at the Starbucks) letting me know a fat package from Random House just arrived.

Hello, copy edit for Circle of Enemies. I will be home shortly to scribble on you.

Progress in all things, right? I’ll finish the first draft of the short story I’m struggling with first, then it’s time for home-made meatballs delivered in yummy sandwich form and every grammar insecurity I’ve ever had laid bare on the page by the copy editor’s sharpened pencil.

In unrelated news, the guy sitting across from me keeps picking his nose, scraping at gaps in his teeth and digging his ear. Blech.

F*&$ing Amtrak

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I finally got in from my Amtrak train, only 37.5 hours after the original scheduled arrival time. The cab pulled up in front of my apartment literally at the stroke of the new year.

I’ll get around to responding to emails and comments tomorrow sometime. My son is still opening Christmas presents, and I’m getting some much needed family time.

Happy New Year, everyone.

I’m what you might call “dismayed” right now

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And a little ticked off, too.

The reason: I’ve been officially bumped down to coach for the whole trip to Seattle. Two nights in a chair with no space to do even rudimentary pain-controlling work on my legs. And this was supposed to be a chance to take a couple of days to myself and finish the submission package for A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark (aka “The Auntie Mame Files”) for mailing next week. I still plan to work, but in coach I’ll be much less productive, if only because I can’t fucking sleep in a chair without a lot of pain.

Oh Jeez, was that negative? Am I posting negative things on my blog, when so many experts advice me to be all cheerful and upbeat and fascinating?

Well, that’s a load of ass. I’m in for two and a half days of pain and I’m deeply unhappy about it. I’ll deal with it, because I always do. I have Tylenol and an extra book to read, and even the coach seats comes with electrical outlets. I’ll work, and eat sandwiches wrapped in plastic, and I’ll carry a bag of bagels onboard. Or something.

Christ. This is going to suck.

Added later: The Chicago Public Library is completely gorgeous, and they even carry my books. I’m sitting in the “Winter Garden” a big, beautiful room with marble floors, trees and ivy in planters, and a glass ceiling to show the blue, blue sky. It’s very soothing a beautiful.

Now I’m going to head out to get some food, then try again for a roomette.

Added later still: Got one! Actually, I got two rooms, one for the first two-thirds of the trip to Whitefish, Montana (about 9pm on Thursday night), and another, much nicer room from Whitefish all the way into Seattle. They’re calling the nicer room a “Deluxe” and I admit I don’t know what that means. If it’s the next size up from the “roomette” I’ll get my own bathroom and shower.

And I get to eat actual restaurant food instead of plastic-wrapped sandwiches out of the lounge.

Now I’m in the “Metropolitan” waiting room, where people w/ sleeping accommodations wait for their trains. It’s as different from the coach waiting room as a hotel lobby is from waiting area of the county hospital. There are leather chairs, big screen TVs, and a fireplace decorated with lights and stockings (not to mention a live fire).

Swank.