27 May 2002

Good morning. The presents are wrapped, the mud pie is in the freezer, the theatre has been chosen, the addresses verified, and the ETA (Estimated Time of Amber) determined. In short, we are all ready for Mark's birthday to begin. And it's his golden birthday. Even better yet. (For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, your golden birthday is the year you turn the date of your birthday. Mark is 27 today, hence, golden birthday.)

It's also Memorial Day. Last year I wrote about my Gran. And now both of my Great Grandmas are gone. I'm not really a flowers-on-graves sort of a person, and anyway I don't live in the area where any of my relatives are buried. But I have tried to figure out memorials of sorts. I think Memorial Day will be my day of the M&Ms. I associate M&Ms with both of my Great Grandmas, for different reasons. Gran kept them in a little crystal bowl on her desk at home, when we were coming for a visit; Great Grandma Lingen sent me "treat money" for them when I was in college, and oh, she loved them herself. It was almost the best thing you could get for her, a bag of M&Ms. It was right up there with strawberry ice cream and Rice Krispie treats.

There are greater and deeper things that each of them gave me than M&Ms. But sometimes we don't need greatness and depth, we need something concrete, something we can put our hands on. Something that's different enough to be out of the ordinary but small enough not to be a major burden. For people who do that sort of thing and live in the right areas, flowers fit the bill. Me, I'll think about my Great Grandmas and crunch on candy coating.

I dreamed of Uncle Lloyd this week. Uncle Lloyd was my Onie's husband, and he was old and sick the whole time I knew him, but, oh, he loved kids. For an old sick guy, he was the best uncle for kids. He had all these little tricks and games, and when I was doing my earnest little kid games, he would just sit back and watch and enjoy it. I was never in the way with Uncle Lloyd. Might have been because he wasn't going much of anywhere, but I don't think it was, because it sounds like my mom was never in the way either. In my dresser drawer at my folks' house is this magic trick wallet, where the $2 bill changes sides when you close it and open it up again. It belonged to Uncle Lloyd. Simple, but it charmed me so much when I was a little kid, I'm glad to have it. Small, concrete memories.

Ah well. I read The Alienist oh my, infodump city. I believe it sold pretty well? So evidently people don't mind being smacked with The History Of It All in every paragraph. I don't know. It was entertaining enough that I kept reading it, but I don't really want another, unless I had some reason to believe Carr had improved. The only thing that might get me to read the sequel to The Alienist was the blind spots, the things that characters couldn't recognize or couldn't think of because of their background. I liked that. The rest -- well. The rest of it was pretty mediocre, especially the way he couldn't stop beating us with the "Look, it's Roosevelt!" stick. That sounds a lot more negative than I mean it to be. I don't mean "bad" when I say "mediocre." It was a middle-of-the-road, entertaining book. But I stopped last night 40 pages from the end, not knowing what would happen with the serial killer they'd been tracking throughout. Contrast that with The Hamlet Trap: I didn't get in the shower until 11:00 Saturday morning because I couldn't put down The Hamlet Trap with 100 pages left to go, in a much shorter book.

I started Robert Charles Wilson's Mysterium this morning. Not much of an opinion yet.

I did an ultra-short yesterday and submitted it to The Phone Book. It's an amusing exercise, and I'll probably do a few more to try them with, whether or not they want this one.

So. Perhaps this week will be better than last. I'm already not so exhausted as I was. And my throat and ears barely hurt at all. I've gotten three rejections in the last three weeks, so sooner or later the streak will have to end, right? And we've got a birthday to celebrate. I don't really have anything else of interest to say here. I'm just stalling. There's a bunch of other stuff that I actually do need to do and want to do. So I don't really know why I'm stalling. Maybe I'm just unusually inertial today.

Right. Celebrating. Cupcakes. Off I go. Have a happy Mark's birthday.

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