Sorry to disappear on y'all—it's been One Busy Week, what with one thing and another. Among other things, today (Feb. 12) was 1)
Said husband gave me a MacBook Pro for said anniversary (I gave him a great black-and-white photo by Bob Gomel, of Malcolm X and Cassius Clay at a lunch counter, in the early days of the civil-rights movement. Here's a link to the image of it: http://www.monroegallery.com/detail.cfm?id=356 ), which I've been messing with in the interstices of the day.
Younger daughter's washing machine committed suicide, so she came by this morning to do her laundry, pausing to fill me in on the horrifying (but deeply entertaining) details of her friends' messy lives, including the Full Story of what happened on her best friend's 21st birthday—this involving a hotel room, two young men going shot for shot, and one of them passing out stark naked on the toilet ("What did he think he was? Elvis?" my daughter demanded rhetorically). He wasn't naked for any apparent reason, btw; everybody else was out celebrating the birthday girl's "power hour" (this evidently being the hour between midnight and 1 AM on the person's birthday, during which they go to a bar with their friends and order alcohol for the first time ever (or so we assume
At the other end of the entertainment scale, I had to read fourteen essays on the subject of "The Limits of Scientific Knowledge," which, while Most Interesting, sort of weren't as riveting as the picture of the young hotel manager, wrapped in a sheet stained with various terrible substances, moaning, with his panicked friends piling pillows on his head so the Room Service waiter wouldn't perceive that the corpse in the bed was in fact The Boss. These (the essays) are part of the entries for this year's Agassiz Prize for science writing, which I and a few other people sponsor at
And I'm theoretically writing a short story (yeah, that'll be the day. Last time I wrote a short story, my agents informed me that this was the size normal books are (that was LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER)) for an anthology titled PHOENIX NOIR, which needs to be done by the first of March.
And Hoang, the excellent artist who's doing the artwork for the (so far untitled) graphic novel, sent me the next batch of layout pages, which are great. (Layout pages are his preliminary quick pencil sketches of each script page—no particular attention to character beyond a rough suggestion of features, but showing the composition of each panel, so I can say whether he's caught the elements and mood I intended with my description.) These are always fascinating, and I have the editor's permission to post one of them on my website so you can see what it looks like—I'll send it to Rosana tomorrow, so it should be up within the next few days.
Meanwhile, the phone lines in the neighborhood are completely wack (as Younger Daughter eloquently puts it); we haven't had any phone service since last Friday, though we had a visitation from a young service technician who—between talking diesel engines with my husband and describing the four train horns he has on his truck ("A hundred and thirty-seven decibels each!")—cheerfully diagnosed the problem as "a wet splice," which doesn't sound like anything one wants to have. This is evidently a Bad Thing, but it's on the phone company's side of the property line, so we possess our souls in patience and keep our cell phones handy while they mull the problem (mulling seems to involve a number of phone company trucks driving slowly through the neighborhood with young men—I don't know why young women don't seem to want to do this; maybe it's a Y-chromosome thing having to do with the desire to honk train horns at unsuspecting people)—at the wheel, all talking animatedly on their cell phones, while gesturing excitedly out of the window (I saw three of them, while out for my daily brisk walk around the neighborhood today).
And I'm reading—in hasty pieces—Dana Stabenow's new thriller, PREPARED FOR RAGE, so I can interview her about it at The Poisoned Pen this Friday night (, for those of you living in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. We'll both be signing books).
And I have macerated my right arm while pruning the pomegranate tree (this being the most prolific thing in the garden. I foisted at least eight dozen pomegranates on unsuspecting friends and made two bottles of pomegranate liqueur, and still raked up roughly two hundred of the things this afternoon). No doubt inspired by this spectacle of fecundity, a bottle-gourd vine went mad and produced 51 bottle gourds. Which, I am told, make excellent bird-houses. I'm sure we have at least 51 pairs of birds in the hedge, because I can hear them every morning—them and the Very Aggressive woodpecker who keeps pecking holes in the oranges and tangerines (which is OK; there are a lot of them) and trying to drill a nesting hold in our big saguaro (which is Not OK), but whether I have the time to clean, drill and paint 51 bird-houses is somewhat problematical. I did clean one, just to see how much work it might be to make a drinking gourd/canteen—pretty easy, in fact.
And of course, the Hunt for Jamie's Butt continues. I was putting together a pile of photocopies (not all of buttocks, I hasten to add; castles, clothing, and other assorted bits of reference) for Hoang, when my husband spotted one of the Butt Candidates on top of the pile. Beyond being scandalized ("You shouldn't be able to get bottoms on the Internet!"), he was also rather critical ("I sure hope Jamie is more muscular than this poor little boy"), which led me to a fresh search. Luckily I thought of Robert Mapplethorpe.
Now I think perhaps we are getting somewhere.
Anyway, the day concluded with a delightful dinner (and bottle of wine) at our favorite restaurant, and while the wine was very good (a nice Rombauer chardonnay), we managed to conclude the evening's festivities without either one of us passing out in flagrante.
But it was kind of busy. With luck, I may be able to post something more coherent tomorrow. What was it I was going to talk about? Sex? Well, I think sex is generally a Good Thing. Details to follow.