Still

It’s dark outside.

I slept really well last night–even woke up before the alarm this morning–and feel rested, despite the early hour. Yesterday was a kind of lovely day, despite the incredible tension of the Saints’ win over the Eagles 20-14. I managed to get a lot cleaned and organized, and while those five chapters of Scotty are still waiting to be looked over–I did realize how to revise and redo the opening of the book last night. So, that’s progress of a sort; today I am going to try to organize my notes on the book as well as read those five chapters so I can move on to the next five. This coming weekend I am planning on not doing anything other than the usual errands as well as watch the Saints game on Sunday; I may have to take my car into the dealership to have the oil changed and the tires rotated–I am going to try to do that either on Friday or, if need be, on Saturday. But if I go to the West Bank on Saturday, I can also include my other errands that day…and if I go to work early on Friday I can make the Costco run after I get off work, so there’s that as well.

And this weekend is when I am going to start back at the gym, methinks.

Always good to have a plan.

And of course, no sooner do I make plans than I have to change them. I need to take my car in for an oil change and tire rotation; so of course there’s nothing at the dealership on Saturday. So I had to make the appointment for Friday morning, which means going to the West Bank Saturday morning and negates the possibility of an after-work Costco trip Friday–which means I’ll just have to go on Saturday morning, which means if I get the groceries I need on the West Bank after my car is finished, I can be done with it. But I think taking care of the car on Friday morning before work makes the most sense on every level…particularly since one of my tires seems to be losing air with a higher degree of frequency than I would like.

See how that works? The best laid plans, and all of that.

But today seems to be going well; as long as I stay motivated and focused there’s no doubt I can get everything I need to get done, done.

The Saints game yesterday was perhaps a little more exciting and stressful than I would have liked, but they did prevail, and now the Rams are coming to town next Sunday. Should be a great game–it certainly was the last time the Rams came to town–and so should the Kansas City-New England game be a good one. It would be very exciting to go to the Super Bowl again; although nothing will ever be better than that first experience. (I went back and reread my blog entries around the Saints winning the Super Bowl and those memories are wonderful ones I will always cherish–and I always forget I wrote Who Dat Whodunnit partly to make sure it was recorded.)

And on that note, tis back to the spice mines with me. Have a lovely Monday, Constant Reader!

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Cruel Summer

I am having a rather productive day so far, really. I slept late–which I didn’t want to do, but maybe, you know, just maybe I needed the sleep–and since getting up feeling completely rested, I’ve been taking my own advice I gave out on the panel yesterday and am cleaning; and the cleaning is clearing my mind and that mind clearance is bearing fruit. I’ve already made some good notes on a short story I’m working on, and as the Lost Apartment slowly but surely gets more clean, I feel more on top of my game; I think I am finally getting back on track after being derailed by being sick for so long.

Huzzah!

I have also dived back into my Short Story project, and today I read Laura Lippman’s “What He Needed.”

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My husband’s first wife almost spent him into bankruptcy. Twice. I am a little hazy about the details, as was he. I don’t think it was a real bankruptcy, with court filings and ominous codes on his credit history. Credit was almost too easy for us to get. The experience may have depleted his savings, for he didn’t have much in the bank when we married. But whatever happened, it scared him badly, and he was determined it would never happen again.

To that end, he was strict about the way we spent money in our household, second-guessing my purchases, making up rules about what we could buy. Books, for example. The rule was that I must read ten of the unread books in the house–and there were, I confess, many unread books in the house–before I could bring a new one home. We had similar rules about compact discs (“Sing a sing from the last one you bought,” he bellowed at me once) and shoes (“How many pairs of black shoes does one woman need?”). It was not, however,a two-way street. The things he wanted proved to be necessities–defensible, sensible purchases. A treadmill, a digital camera, a DVD player and, of course, the DVD’s to go with it. Lots of Westerns and wars.

But now I sound like him, sour and grudging. The irony was, we both made good money. More correctly, he made decent money, as a freelance technical writer, and I made great money, editing a loathsome city magazine, the kind that tells you where to get the best food/doctors/lawyers/private schools/flowers/chocolates/real estate. It wasn’t journalism, it was marketing. That’s why they had to pay so well.

How much truth is there in those three paragraphs? Haven’t we all been in that kind of relationship/marriage, where one partner tries to control the money and judges the other’s every cent spent? And how confined and trapped that can make one feel? In those casual, almost careless and unemotional paragraphs Lippman deftly paints the portrait of a marriage in trouble and a woman who is desperately unhappy, both at home and at work.

The story was originally published in Lauren Henderson and Stella Duffy’s wonderful anthology Tart Noir (from which I’ll undoubtedly be pulling more stories from during the course of my short story project) and was reprinted in Lippman’s wonderful short story collection Hardly Knew Her. 

Lippman is one of crime genre’s bright shining lights; her Tess Monaghan series is one of the best private eye series in print currently, and her stand-alone novels are incredible accomplishments, in which she stretches herself, the boundaries of crime fiction itself, and tells well-written, amazing stories about women and their realities, their choices, and how they respond to the bad things that happen to them. I’ve already read her yet-to-be released 2018 novel Sunburn, which is destined to make a lot of Best of 2018 lists and get shortlisted for every crime award out there (most of which she has already won, sometimes more than once). I will be discussing that one, as well, closer to its pub date.

And now, back to the spice mines.