blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

Now for something happy!

Our new little girl, Tanner, is settling in a little more every day.  She’s loving all the cuddles and playtime and—now that she’s well-trained to the invisible fence and the weather is better—is merrily running around the yard, investigating rabbit trails, and bounding on and off the deck just for fun.

She and Gambit have reached friendly cohabitation and are working toward being buddies.  One night last week, we let her in the house while Gambit was still out romping.  She watched out the window until he appeared on the porch, whined at us to let him in, then gave him a quick nuzzle when he trotted inside before immediately acting as if it hadn’t happened.

Already she’s picked up on the House Rules such as “All treats must be taken nicely, with no injury to human fingers,” and “Paws out of the kitchen while I’m cooking,” and “Rough play is acceptable, but must stop when humans say so.”  We’re still working on “Drop all toys on request” and “Come when you’re called even if you don’t want to.”  Those will take awhile to master.  Such is the challenge of a terrier!

We had a beautiful morning recently just perfect for pictures.  I tried to get Tanner to pose.  The result is a series demonstrating her penchant of paying attention to anything and everything that twitches.  Terrier!

Read more... )

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
On one hand, it feels so very soon after losing Ty to bring a new pup home.  On the other hand, it felt so very right.

So here is the newest member of our little pack -- Tanner!


More pics and storytelling below the cut!

Read more... )
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Remember those fields of green I posted pictures of about a month ago?

Here's a picture from yesterday -- same field as the first two pictures of the last post, but from a different direction.


The corn across the street from my house is coming down today, too. Farmers are pretty happy to have a few days of warm and dry for the harvest. Me, I'm hoping this weather lasts a good long while. I'm already finding myself flinching at thoughts of winter.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
My drive to town, for which I took a two-mile detour to look at pretty green land:

Pictures! )

And on the way home after dinner, the sunset.

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

Once upon a time, I lived near deserts and I loved them. It was natural, then, that deserts became the living and breathing setting for Sand of Bone.

When I was a kid, my grandparents owned a piece of desert property outfitted with a one-room cabin outside Apple Valley, California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Apple Valley was a little tiny place at the time – less than a tenth of the population it is now – and for a kid raised in the suburbs of Orange County, it was about as middle-of-nowhere as I could imagine.

Our family spent a few weekends every year up there. It being the late 70’s, my parents let me roam the desert at will for hours as long as I promised to never try to catch a snake or explore the abandoned mineshafts.

I never broke the first rule (though I did watch my cousin catch, and get bitten by, a red racer), and sort of skirted the second rule. I mean, really! I was nine years old, my head was filled with adventure stories, and the mineshaft was right there! Alas, by the time I was twelve, I’d seen some movie about a collapsing mineshaft. That movie did a better job of keeping me out of the mine than any threat my parents made.

The stars at night were incredible — glitter strewn on deep blue silk. And I could see at night! I could walk right out the front door and around the hilltop in a dark that wasn’t really dark after all.  I didn’t know then it had to do with rods and cones and how eyes adjust to light.  So I told myself stories about magic in the land that gave people “desert eyes” – a special ability to see the open desert by starlight as clearly as I could see it by day.

As a young adult, I made numerous trips to sites within the Mojave (including the time I tried camping there in August and ended up sleeping in the car wearing nothing but my hiking boots), and high deserts and low throughout the Southwestern United States. Whenever life felt too tight, I longed to head to the desert.

It’s hard to explain the magic of deserts to people who’ve experienced them only from a car window on the way from one more exciting place to another. It isn’t barren at all. It is instead completely comfortable with its unfilled spaces.  There is freedom in the great openness, a thinness to the air that pulls me forward, a longing to just be still and watch the wind pass its touch from dry grass to grit to jackrabbit ear.

In my mind, much of Sand of Bone’s SheyKhalan desert is akin to those deserts. Instead of deep and shifting sand dunes, most of SheyKhala’s landscape is made up of rocky plains, wind-scoured ridges, salt flats, and jagged canyons. But there are parts of SheyKhala, such as the region around the Daggers, that look more like this photo of the Libyan Desert:

Libyan Desert

The sand atop rock, the spires of dark stone, the painfully blue sky… That’s where the characters do a great deal of living and dying. And in the sequel, Breath of Stone, a very special group of characters exist in a place that looks almost exactly like that photo.

Will you picture the same desert for Sand of Bone as I do?  It doesn’t really matter if you do, really.  I’d rather you have in your mind the desert that you feel — the open place that will draw you in then leave you to fend for yourself, that will challenge you to expand your limits rather than have mercy for your mistakes, that will tell you being alone is perfectly fine while at the same time proving the importance of community.

Because that’s what wild and dangerous places do for us.

And now, back to polishing the manuscript…

I have a newsletter starting up!  You can even sign up for the newsletter if you'd like. :)

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
I'm revising. And teaching karate and overseeing Dev's school and scheduling another visit from my folks and coordinating meetings and getting the rest of the garden in and battling ants that seem immune to anything and everything I've used to be rid of them before.

Hence, pictures!

Puppies and pretties! )

And less than ten days to Wiscon!!
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Tonight is Prom Night. Dev just headed out to pick up his date for dinner before prom. I think he's most excited about the fact he gets to drive his own car.

Last year, he went to prom with a girl he'd known for years AND needed me to be the driver. This year he just... drove off. :) Thus I had to grab a few pictures before he headed out, and hope he gets at least one picture of him with his date!

Pictures! )

My handsome boy!
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
For weeks, Dev and I have been scheduling--and having to cancel--a trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Today, we finally made it, and I definitely needed the break.  For writer-me, it was a research day as well.  For Dev, it was a school day.  We win!  :)

The museum is both restful and stimulating. We spent a huge amount of time appreciating the African Art galleries, but somehow completely missed the North American collections. We wandered the galleries of European and Asian art, sometimes with great seriousness, and sometimes laughing as we created dialog between the paintings.
Pictures and Chit-Chat )

Then, on the way home, Dev asked about Sand of Bone, and helped me talk through a solution to a long-standing issue. It'll make revisions a tad more complicated on one hand, but it does indeed solve the issues while at the same time enhancing the story and opening possibilities for future storylines beyond this and the sequel. I have such a cool kid!
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
May we all be blessed with bones large enough to rest out chins upon, and a bounty of fuzzy toys that squeak.


blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
So one of the gifts I found for Dev is a Tardis alarm clock. It makes the wonderful Tardis sound while lights pulse. I thought it would be a good idea to set the time and all before wrapping it. That way, it would be ready to go out of the box. I even set up the alarm to sound at the time he'd need to wake up for work on Thursday. I wrapped it and the other presents, then set them under the tree.

Then I remembered he wouldn't be opening it until tomorrow morning, most likely AFTER the 7:00am alarm time I'd set.

I unwrapped it, reset the alarm, and wrapped it again. If Dev isn't up by 9:00 tomorrow morning, it'll sound as if a Tardis is arriving under the tree.

And now, the pictures!
Read more... )


Dec. 20th, 2013 06:46 pm
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
As of today, I have two weeks off teaching. I'd planned to have a better... well, plan for what to do with that time, but it really boils down to, "Get stuff done, and enjoy it."

The tree is in the house, awaiting decorations. Dev and I were going to decorate last Tuesday, but watched The Walking Dead instead. I really, really love the show for so many reasons. (But I found the episode "Live Bait" so disturbing on so many levels, I was glad when it was over.) Alas, we are now all caught up with available episodes and must await new ones in February. Thus the tree shall receive our belated attention.

I'm sure the Normal Folks would think it odd, at best, that zombie drama trumps holiday activities in this house.

So the Colorado trip was most awesome. We headed into the mountains to explore Morrison, Evergreen, and Golden. For Dev, the first highlight was exploring Red Rocks Amphitheater. The last one, on our last day, was Golden. He fell in love with the town on the spot. I was a mere half-spot behind. :)

I visited the North Pole (a kid-sized amusement park with a theme you can guess) with my nephews, cliff dwellings with my mother, and poked around Buckley Air Force Base with my dad. Dev spent a bunch of time with Grandpa, visiting air and space museums and learning to drive the car he will buy from Grandpa in the spring. And we all ate outstanding Lebanese food in a little place in Golden, and got to see my nephews perform in their Christmas musical.

The next time we come out, Dev and I plan to take a couple days on our own to do some hiking. We love sightseeing with my folks, but neither want to do the sort of trekking Dev and I want to do. And we're going to spend time around Colorado Springs, where there are a million and a half things to see and do.

Would I move there? Yeppers. Dev is still somewhat ambivalent, due in part to his inherent dislike of change, his age, and the lingering sense that moving is a bit like leaving his father behind. He isn't against the idea, and does indeed love Golden, but he isn't there yet. A good thing, really, since I can't move yet anyway.

A few more pictures:

Dev and my folks on the road to Red Rocks:


Dev and my folks on the road to Red Rocks when I realized a car was speeding toward us:


The view from cliff dwellings outside Colorado Springs:

Dev's cool pic from Red Rocks:

And lastly, Buckley Air Force Base in Denver, at sunset:
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Here's what it looked like from my back porch, Saturday morning.
Read more... )
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
We got a tad more than frost last night.


We're expected a few more inches of the stuff over the course of the day. I have the "First Snowfall" happiness that I'm determined to enjoy. By February, I'll be cursing the cold.

Karate classes were cancelled last night, so I spent some time doing nothing, then made dinner for Dev and I, enjoyed a little television with him, then charted out another wellness book. Much of today is for a little bit of unexpected, but not unwelcome, work.

But there will be romping with dogs in snow.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)


That's my outdoor solar lamp. (Frost is covering the little panel on top.) The citronella candle is hiding behind it.

The boy has taken himself off to work, packing Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner. The remaining leftovers are packaged and/or frozen for future meals. The turkey carcass is tucked in the freezer for future soup, and the dogs are mightily disappointed they weren't allowed to take it outside for themselves. (Raw bones are okay, but cooked bones are not.)

Now I'm settling in with warm cranberry wine, goat cheese and sourdough. I've a little noveling to do today.

Making the 50K NaNo goal isn't going to happen, but I did get 20K of first-draft fiction down. This is a big deal, since my fiction projects since Viable Paradise have been all about revising previous works that were salvageable. That 20K of this month is all brand-spanking-new and shiny. Yes, I stumbled around, wrote and deleted at least as much as I kept, and wandered down some research roads when I should have been pounding out words. But I am having fun, so screw the wordcount. :)

Besides, a bunch of other cool things happened this month, and I wouldn't have wanted a miss a single one of them.

(Okay, maybe I'd have wanted to tinker with some of the events, but not miss them altogether. Hee.)
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
For all the others in the region got hammered, our little pocket of earth was passed over by everything save a couple major wind gusts and buckets of rain.

But it certainly looked pretty once it had passed.

Photos behind the cut... )




The clouds were moving so quickly, the sky changed moment to moment. Now it's clear and breezy, and getting a little chilly beneath a lovely moon.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Trying to explain what Gambit looks like is always interesting. A Staffy-Boxer-Rotty mix doesn't really look like any breed. Maybe a dog crossed with a hyena, with a head too small for the body.

Pictures under the cut: )

This Dawn

Jun. 28th, 2013 06:35 am
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Good morning!

June Sunrise

That’s the view from my back door, just before the sun slipped above the horizon.

I’m not a morning person. I’ve been saying so since my teenage years, when theater and parties and exciting books kept me busy until midnight and beyond. My night owl ways were reinforced by parenthood, when I couldn’t possibly get up earlier than my “up with the sun” son but could manage to write in the dark hours after he’d gone to bed.

But over the last two years, I have somehow transitioned into a morning person. Waking between five and six has become common, and sleeping past seven is the rarity. Evidence of this change can be seen in the numerous sunrise photos I’ve taken since last spring. As someone who usually saw the sun come up only if I’d stayed up all night, the novelty of awakening to rosy-gold light hasn’t yet waned.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Yesterday I spent a few hours visiting at the farm where Dev and I lived a couple years ago. Truly it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever lived.

The view from the back porch of the main house:

Read more... )
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
About six weeks ago, my lilac bush looked like this:
Pictures: )


Apr. 20th, 2013 09:29 pm
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Tonight is Prom Night for Dev, and he's attending with a good friend of many years.

Photos Here... )


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