Having Returned

6 November 2002

Well, then. Hi.

We returned last night, roughly on time. That "we" is Mark and me; Timprov, as planned, is staying an extra week in Minnesota with his folks.

Lucky Timprov.

David fetched us back from the airport, and we were just in time to vote. They could have turned us away if they'd wanted to be jerks about it. Of course, if they had, we'd have known one way or the other whether our votes counted. We were both pretty skeptical on that issue with the touch screens in Alameda County. It would be a pretty stupid system that wouldn't have a test code, but there was no way to tell that the card you were using had not, in fact, had the test code entered into it. When there's a physical manifestation of the ballot, or if there was a system of verification on the computer, that would have made me feel better. It would be trusting not just in the goodness of humanity but also in humanity's general desire not to get caught.

But it's not like any of the candidates I vote for ever win, anyway. I'm the voting kiss of death. Politicians should be courting my anti-vote. I haven't finished checking the paper to see who won what. I was a lot more concerned with the charming three-ring circus of Minnesota politics. Here? Eh, whatever.

It really is charming there. The yard signs. One of the gubernatorial candidates was running on the slogan, "He makes sense." Has anyone in California politics ever, ever claimed to make sense? No. Why not? Because none of them do. And there's all kinds of complaining about negative ads, but a good half of the radio ads I heard talked about how the candidate was a hard worker, a person with a family, and someone who valued at least two abstract nouns. Even the negative ads were kind of cute. There was one with Sven and Ole in it. A negative ad. With Sven and Ole. Let that one sink in a minute, and just enjoy it. And the governor's race was a four-party race. Four. Hee.

I was glad to be home when Paul Wellstone died, frankly. I was not a big Wellstone supporter, but he was an important man, a statesman and a Minnesotan, and I am an exile here. Sitting in Perkins and eating a muffin, talking about it with the nice people at the next booth while they lowered the flag to half-mast, everybody genuinely shocked and saddened by it -- that was the right way for it to be, not here. Not alone here.

I do think, though, that anybody who wanted to use the phrase "Paul Wellstone's legacy" in their campaign ads should have had to cite three concrete things that they supported and he also supported. Talk about the war in Iraq and what you'll do to oppose it. Talk about mental health issues and what, exactly, you mean by caring for the mentally ill. Talk about welfare, the minimum wage, education, anything, anything at all, because the man had public, concrete opinions on pretty much all of it. And just trying to say, "Hey, here's this dead guy, I hope to ride along in his wake" is just tacky.

Even before we got to go vote, though, we had the pleasant greeting on our door: "pay your rent or get evicted!" Since I did pay the rent, myself, with my very own hands, before we left, this was more than a bit alarming to me. Mark fetched the mail while I listened to answering machine messages and tried not to hyperventilate. Turns out that there was a message on the answering machine saying, "Oops, well, never mind, we know you paid the rent, we've got it right here." Whew.

Unpleasant surprise number two (and the reason for this late entry): my network card died. So we had to install an extra that Timprov had sitting around. Which was a relief, because at least he had one. The problem is, now we're having a hard time getting my monitor to show true color. It's skewed to the lavender, which is a bit hard on the eyes.

Ah well. I'll monkey with it some more, and if we don't get it fixed, I'll ask for a monitor for Christmas. Grandma wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas, many times while we were seeing her, so if my monitor is broken, I'll just ask for that.

I hope we can get it fixed before that, though, or get a new one before that, because this isn't the best thing for my eyes.

Well, World Fantasy Con was...we enjoyed ourselves during it, sometimes at panels and sometimes talking to people and sometimes wandering off to do something else completely. It was not as successful a con for us as WorldCon, not by a long shot, but we got a ton of free books out of the deal and saw some people we wanted to see, so.

And we saw people we wanted to see while we were in Minneapolis, outside the World Fantasy experience. C.J.'s office was not particularly far from Timprov's folks' house (still isn't), and so I got to have random lunches with him as well as more substantial time for dinners etc., an unexpectedly good thing. We also saw other friends and family a good bit -- I have pictures of some of them, but Timprov still has the camera, in case he wants to take more Minneapolis pictures.

So much there. When Trey asked me how the rest of the trip was going for us, I just kind of waved my hands and said, "It's been...everything." I don't know what to say now. I just want to go home. David said he wasn't sure what to say to me, because he knew, knows, that I'm not happy to be here, so perky happy greetings seemed not to be the right thing. And I appreciate that. I sat on the plane and cried and cried, and Mark held my hand and didn't try to say anything comforting. It was snowing lightly when we left, flakes dying before they hit the ground. The clouds were low, so we couldn't see anything as we left, not Ceej's house, not the skyline, not the lakes. I felt robbed, but it would have been at least as hard to leave if it'd been one of those crisp, clear fall days. Maybe more so because of the emotional disconnect of the weather with my mood.

I have more to say, but I'm exhausted, brain-dead. I'll write more in the morning, I guess. Until then...well. This morning I got a request for my first novel from an agent I'd queried. She also wanted synopses of the other novels I mentioned in the cover letter...which includes the Not The Moose Book. Which, um. Doesn't exist yet. The synopsis, I mean. The book isn't done, and I have to write the synopsis. I hate synopses. I started writing it and was driven a bit mad, even though I'm excited. I decided that I'd run errands this afternoon and let some of the synopsis stuff simmer, and I'll send it all out tomorrow. I think it's a good thing, giving it a few more hours. I think it'll be good.

I'm going to print out some stories, take my contacts out, write in my paper journal, and read some more of Nancy Farmer's The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, which was free and is better than the last free book I read. But more on the books, and on writing and reading YAs, and all manner of other things, tomorrow. I invoked the 5:00 Rule this evening, much earlier, and now there are just a few things to take care of before I crash hard.

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