September 22nd, 2009


Autumnal State of the Mris

It's autumn here: the light has shifted. The temperature has not, really: August was unseasonably cool, so we're getting a September that's within parameters but not particularly different from August. However, the light has shifted enough that I want to grab a coat every time I go somewhere. That's not yet necessary.

A lot of people think winter is my favorite season, but actually it's fall. I always love it here in Minnesota, but fall is when I most want to be here. This year I'm only missing one weekend of Minnesota fall, and for that I'm going to Michigan, which is at least climatically similar. I will be spending Convivial weekend sleeping in a hotel, eating meals away from home, and hanging out having low key conversations about fiction and life with geeky people, possibly while other geeky people play games in a nearby room. But this year I'm doing it as a Gritter family gathering rather than a convention: our new niece Lily Jane will be baptized that weekend, which in this family's religious tradition is only likely to happen once, or at least a very small number of times. So that's our priority this year, and I will hope there's a fallcon again next year. Other people in my immediate vicinity are making a bunch of other trips out of my immediate vicinity in October, and we're getting a visit from Our Favorite Swede (no offense, akirlu). Johan wanted to come for Grandpa's memorial service, but it was too soon for him to be able to get humane airfares, so he has settled for coming to spend a week with us now, not to play tourist, just to spend time and tell stories about Grandpa and be together. This will be good.

We often see and do things and notice how much Grandpa would like them. Grandma said he would have loved our new car, for example, because it is a nice car but mostly because it is blue. (How Grandpa Was Like papersky is a longer list than you might think, actually.) Sometimes we also provide What Grandpa Would Have Said To The Baseball Game or other Grandpa Soundtracks. Then we laugh together, or just smile, depending. We still miss him dreadfully. Of course we do. Always will.

In sort of celebration of the season, I'm making rye buns and beef stew for dinner. I didn't completely stop baking bread for the summer, but I did less of it, like ya do, and now it's not summer any more and everybody likes rye buns. I always think I could halve the batch, but then there would be fewer rye buns, so I never do. This time I called Grandma to see if she wants me to save some for Saturday's dinner (if I pop them in the freezer that long, they won't freezer burn but will be fresher). She does. There's a surprise, Scandosotans accepting an offer of rye bread.

I'm still in that mode where a lot of what I do socially is either with family (which by no means implies that I'm seeing enough of my family) or in the very small number of things I do that repeat pretty regularly. The other category that gets some play is "events that will happen with or without me": it's a lot easier for me to say, "We will sure try to make it to that if I'm feeling good enough," for a party where we're not the only invited guests than for a dinner plan where if we don't make it, there is no plan. And I'm still having great difficulty contacting people and saying, "Can we get together? How about you do all the work?", not because I think you lot wouldn't do it, just because it's hard. (Also because tacking on, "Oh, and I'm only potentially free two days in the next N, where N is a large number, and that had better be a fine time for you to do all the work, or else forget it," does not seem all that appealing.)

I'm not having any really thoroughly physically good days yet, but I'm getting a few good hours in a chunk once a week. I have been being careful about saying this because it is really, really frustrating when I'm trying to be happy with a few hours a week and people come crashing in and, out of caring for me and wanting me to do better, either assume that I'm doing far better than I am, or else commiserate with me about something I'm feeling pretty good about. But it's persisted for long enough that I feel like I can say it here: four hours of feeling decent, once every six days, for almost a month now. Tentative cheers encouraged.

My brain is doing bits and pieces of short fiction and gathering itself for the final push through The True Tale of Carter Hall. The puck drops on the Wild season October 3. I have hopes that it will do so in my brain as well, because I feel almost ready to work on something large again. We'll see.