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And the painting begins!

I got the model, I got the release form. And I begin the cartoons. The head is done.

The rest of the painting will take months. I will document it all here

EDIT: I've been through the wringer today. Dealt with all kinds of issues with my very small circle of friends and nearby acquaintances. People having to sell their homes, people losing their places to live, terminal illness, divorce, death, and so on. All day.

At one point I almost became a minister of religion. Not a "Universal Life Church" type, I mean the whole seminary, vows, living your life for your community cleric.

I don't know how they do it. I've had a day of people's personal issues, and I'm done. Hollowed out.

Here's to your local father confessor. Pat him on the back and buy him a drink. He or she could use it.

I'm new to this poetry game, and it's been suggested to me that posting to daylogs might be useful while I'm "making my bones," so to speak. Below is a haiku, not particularly well received, previously posted under its own node. I thought I'd give it a try here, instead.

A few comments. The poem uses the pidgin English prevalent in Hawaii, a dialect with which I am somewhat familiar. "We go already" means "let's go" or "let's get out of here." "Wahine," pronounced in three syllables as WA-hee-nay, means "local girl." "WikiWiki" means "hurry," much like "chop chop."

I particularly liked the fact that whine, a one-syllable word, can be transformed into a three-syllable word, wahine, by adding a single vowel, a.

I was also fond of the alliterative use of w's. So, maybe this explanation will help. Or maybe the poem just sucked. You decide for yourself.

wikiwiki haiku

       we go already

        a wicked wahine whine

     wikiwiki, brah

Yesterday I got a call. A friend had taken his own life. Put a shotgun to his head and fired.

I have tried not to ask myself why. But I can't. The question rang in my skull the minute I heard the news, and has not left my mind since.

This man was the nicest, kindest man I had ever come to know. He was everything that gave me hope about humanity. Full of cheerfulness and smiles and gifts, equipped with the greatest sense of humor and a heart so big it could envelop the world. Never selfish, never petty, he'd never utter a mean word about someone, helping out anyone he could, may you be the irrascible bitter old lady down the street, the newcomer in town or his long-time pétanque partner. Every living soul on the block smiled and waved has he came, each felt a little happier when he stepped on their doorstep. After a hard day's work, a bottle of Pastis and his one remaining eye lit up, I could listen to him for hours on end.

I know in my heart that his was not an irrational decision, that this was something he thought through. I don't know what triggered it but I know that if he thought it best not to live any longer, he had a good reason.

To me he has not died though, for in me his memory remains intact.
I am not religious, but Maurice was my definition of a truly good man, and who can forget a man like that.

I'd like to be able to go to a convention (or other gathering) and not come home with a cold :-\


This past Saturday, Gary and I went to the Ohioana Book Festival, which was held at the State Library in downtown Columbus. Overall it was very pleasant. Not as many people attended as I'd expected ... seriously, Harvey Pekar was there! And Mary Doria Russell! The festival featured live music, author readings, discussion panels, and book signings.

Gary and I signed a fair number of books and met new readers, and got to chat with Christopher Barzak and Catherynne M. Valente more than we had in the past. I also saw Jane D., a librarian I knew from my days at OCLC, and it was fun to see her again.

Most of our table visitors were fun to talk with. But of course there were also the usual annoyances. One woman announced disdainfully that Sparks and Shadows "looks like a children's book". Uh ... okay. I don't think it does ... but if it did ... why would that be bad? And another picked the book up, read the back, and dropped it like a hot rock, announcing "I don't like short stories." Good to know!

That evening, we went to a reception at the governor's mansion in Bexley, and it was really cool. And not paid for with taxpayer money! There were close to 50 authors who'd participated in the festival there, plus sundry festival workers and guests. Governor Strickland wasn't there, but we met his first lady Frances and she was very gracious and pleasant. We also went on a tour of the mansion, which is filled with art and crafts from Ohioans and has been nicely restored. The gardens there are pretty and filled with fish ponds, and in short I'm glad we had the chance to attend.

The next book festival is set for May next year; I hope we get invited back, and I hope more people can make it.

I am pregnant. I am pregnant!

Warning: biological girly-stuff details to follow.

Approximately four weeks ago, I went to Planned Parenthood for the morning-after pill. I was given the aptly-named brand Plan B and sent on my way. I'd rather not discuss the details of why Plan A failed.

So when my monthly came last week, and was two light days instead of eight heavy days of stained underpants, I didn't really think too much of it. After all, I'd been warned that the morning-after pill, essentially two strong doses of the regular Pill, could interfere with my cycle. But when, a few days later, I had some spotting, that I did think was a bit amiss.

And suddenly it dawned on me. I KNEW. But I had to be sure. So first I went to the dollar store and bought a pregnancy test. One strong pink line (the control) and one weak pink line (the test). But it came from the dollar store... what if it wasn't accurate? So I went to Plastic Mart and bought a 3-pack of the cheapest brand that wasn't the store brand. One strong pink line (the control) and a faint pink line (the test) formed a plus sign. But it said that the most accurate way to use it would be to use the first urine of the day. So in the morning, one strong pink line (the control) and a faint pink line (the test) formed a plus sign. I called Planned Parenthood.

At Planned Parenthood, they gave me a little cup to pee in. They used a stick test not dissimilar to the ones I'd used at home. Before they sent me in to pee, they asked a few questions. The first was easy. Had I used a home pregnancy test? Yes. Two. They wanted to know, would I be having a baby or an abortion? I said I would choose, from the options given in delicate terms (adoption, parenting, termination), parenting. So I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised when the woman who gave me the result said, "Congratulations!" But I was. And I felt a little offended. Who was she to congratulate me? I'm sure she thought my completely blank affect was a little strange for someone who'd decided to keep the baby. After all, you're supposed to be excited, right? I've always been pro-choice. And that hasn't changed. I've always believed that a woman should have the option of abortion, but always known it wasn't an option I could choose. I would feel the loss too deeply. But that didn't mean that this momentous change in my life would be something I could swallow in one gulp. I wasn't ready for congratulations. Especially from a stranger. That was Friday.

I went home and used the third of the three-pack of home pregnancy tests I'd bought. Just in case. And then I called and made an appointment with a doctor at the clinic I've used since I was born. My primary, the doctor who delivered me, is retiring at the end of the year, so he's not taking any new OB patients. So now I have a new primary, a family practitioner who takes OB patients. His soonest available appointment was today. Monday. And when he said congratulations, I was happy and excited. This time, I was ready for it. I brought a paper from Planned Parenthood saying they'd done a pregnancy test. So instead of doing another one, he used a portable ultrasound machine to confirm it. Not much to see, yet, but there is a little baby seed in there.

Yesterday, Sunday, Mother's Day, I told my mom. The first words out of her mouth were, "I thought you knew how to prevent that." I cried.

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