Snow is thin on the ground. I hiked to the Tamarack Bog today to see if the Pitcher Plants were poking through.
Here’s a Pitcher Plant with frozen water inside it.
I spent an hour paddling in the chill dusk wind. My poor little camera did its best, but the sunset was waaaay more intense than this photo.
Myrna Mae Berg camped on Ogre Island the weekend before she returned to her teaching job. She’s got a kayak so I happily canoed her supplies to the island.
I paddled over at dusk and we ate s’mores and laughed.
I don’t usually see pictures of myself from afar so it’s fun to see Myrna’s pictures of me during her Ogre weekend.
Myrna Mae Berg took great care of me that past few weeks. My health has been scraping bottom and my friend and aide Brook has been busy on a big carpentry project.
Here she is making spaghetti for me.
Myrna delivered food and laundry, cleaned my cabin, and fixed big pots of yummy food that keeps me fed for a week.
She walked the dogs for me and found out what a willful being Mika can be. Mika wanted to get in the canoe and Myrna tried to talk her out of it. Haha. When Mika makes up her mind you have to follow her or be firm.
I’m glad Myrna loves my lake and woods and was able to spend some quiet time. Next week she comes to camp on Ogre Island.
Thanks, Myrna. You’re a great friend!
Lily pads are tiny ecosystems of leaf-eating bugs and leaf-eating-bug-eaters. Heavy rain sweeps them clean.
Summer is tough on my Central Pain Syndrome. I spend a lot of time in my canoe, just drifting.
Winter 2008-9 Slideshow
When I was healthy I maintained huge perennial flower gardens. Gardening was one of my favorite arts and pass-times. I liked an unruly garden, not geometric.
I haven’t planted or weeded these lakeside steps.
I’ve walked up and down them thousands of times and sometimes I stop and appreciate how beautiful they are. Living in the wild and being too sick to garden I appreciate natural compositions.
Tony visited The Pad last week and made this delicious and gorgeous salad out of food he brought and vegetables I’d roasted (green beans and fennel heart). It was a salad to contemplate as you ate it.
When I have visitors my brain shorts out and I can’t handle any task more complex than obeying the Law of Gravity. Stimulating conversation is my brain’s Kryptonite and Tony – philosopher and instigator of mad adventures – tends to be fun to talk to, which sets my brainium to spitting sparks.
Tony has known me for many decades, since we were teacher’s aides working with Special Ed kids at Katherine Curren School in Hopkins, MN in 1976. He knows my brainrot well. When Tony visits he pampers me by doing all the tasks that I’m too glitched to handle – cooking, cleaning, prepping for a hike.
I named a leading character in The King of Chicago after Tony. To win the game you usually had to rub out Tony Santucci, the leader of the Chicago Southside Gang. (Cool gangster by Rob Landeros.)
Here is Tony in all his glory:
I was having a lousy health day and this review put a big goofy smile on my face.
Some Martel Lake sunsets looks like thin slices of backlit agate. The pictured sunset happened 7 years ago. I remember it well.
This is my biggest haul of blueberries – a scant handful. Furry critters eat 99.lotsa9′s% of them. Can’t complain since blueberries are just a treat for me and critters depend on them for food. I’m still picking a few here and there in shady places.
“My” Loons aren’t nesting this year. I’ll miss watching the chicks learn the skills of Loonhood. The lake is 2′ higher than last year and the nesting site they’ve used the past 2 years is submerged. Hope they find a new site next year.
I don’t play canoe tag with my Loons because I like that they are wilder than a lot of Boundary Waters Loons. Since I’m the only one who boats on Martel Lake I can keep them at a distance so they are not afraid of me but still avoid me. When I’ve got dogs in the canoe the Loons give their warning cries more often.
Sad there won’t be chicks this summer but I’m glad I got my Loons back after last summer’s BP spill dumped oil into their winter hangout.
I wore my Myrna Birthday Art Haircut for a week and then attacked my head with shears and clippers. Much easier to find ticks with short hair ;^)
I’ve been worried about “my” Loons because some Loons winter in the Gulf, which was oily from the BP spill. So when I heard a Loon cry from Martel Lake two days ago I was ecstatic and when I heard an answering Loon cry from Miller Camp Lake I stopped worrying – the local population is safe.
Yesterday I paddled out to Loon-watch and found the pair in the marshy bay where they’ve nested the past few years. Martel is about 2 feet higher than last year and their islet nesting spot is underwater, so I bet they return to their old nesting spot on the shore of a big island.
I stay far away from the Loons while they nest, so this photo is the best my little cam could do.
I love watching the Loons raise their young. The call of the Loon is the soul of summer at The Pad.
via itsu jitsu
Two years ago tonight I saw one of the best rock shows of my life: a benefit for Laura Kennedy of the Bush Tetras with a stellar line-up. I titled my original post “Rock Show for the Ages: Pere Ubu’s Dave Thomas, Suicide Commandos, Bush Tetras.”
Halfway through the show I decided to try video mode of my camera. I held it at waist level and vaguely pointed it at the stage. I wasn’t too hopeful about the results. I kept pointing it at the musicians while I did my little happy dance.
Two years later I’m flabbergasted that 27,517 people have watched my crunchy bootleg video. Which averages out to just about 38 viewers every day.
The video is a vertiginous, glitchy, hard-rocking 11 minutes of Pere Ubu classics: Non-Alignment Pact, Final Solution, and Cloud 149.
I love the fan comments:
F’in BRILLIANT! Thanks for posting!
crunchy is right! But it’s perfect for the music!!!!
Commandos AND Ubu? Mind-blowing! 5 stars even with the “punk aesthetic” camerawork!
fucking amazing!! 5/5 if it weren’t for the sound quality
Now, that’s some STUNNING eleven minutes!! Wish I could’ve been there!!
My friend Juliette Wade wrote the cover story, “At Cross Purposes,” for the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Analog. Artist Bob Eggleton did the cover and did a great job of capturing her intergalactic otter-aliens.
Juliette is a friend in my writing group Written In Blood. I got to read and comment on drafts of the story. As always Juliette concocts a truly alien alien race, who swim through their spacecraft and who are yoked in purposeful duos. Juliette is a linguist and excels at the venerable sci-fi game of alien/human first contact befuddlement.
This is Juliette’s 3rd Analog story and her first cover. Analog is one of the top speculative fiction mags and getting the cover is a BIG DEAL. Congrats, J-being!
Thanks to all who donated to my Clarion West Write-a-thon drive. If you’d like to donate to Clarion West in my name please go to my Write-a-thon page. Clarion West is boot camp for speculative fiction writers and donations keep it affordable for poor wannabe writers. The 6 weeks I spent at CW in 2002 convinced me that I could become a writer if I worked hard at it.
I achieved my major W-a-t goals. I finished Channel Zilch and wrote a query letter (with a lot of help from my friends) and started sending it to agents. So far I’ve sent 8 queries and have already got 3 rejections! GAME ON!
Here’s the query letter:
Dear Ms./Mr. Agent:
[Custom intro sentence for each agent explaining why I think Channel Zilch will blow their socks off.]
Mick Oolfson shitcans his astronaut career by stunt-flying a shuttle during re-entry. He’s miserable as a groundling so when testosterone-surfing geek goddess Heloise Chin offers him an astronaut gig on Channel Zilch, a pirate orbiting reality show, Mick jumps at the chance to return to space, though it means denting his Boy Scout scruples by swiping space shuttle Enterprise from the Smithsonian.
Launching Enterprise is a longer shot than relaunching Mick’s NASA career, but to ride a rocket again he’ll endure the reeking Turkish freighter, Potent Bull, and tangle with the Russian Mafiya who infest Baikonur Cosmodrome. Mick’s prime worry is Hel herself: Is Channel Zilch her real goal or is it just a cover for a plot to hack the Universe?
Channel Zilch is a 96k-word near-future sci-fi caper with heart and purpose, the first book of The Geek Rapture Project. Book 2, Hel’s Bet, is complete in draft.
I’d love to work with you.
Time to spend some quality time with QueryTracker picking the next agent to query. Wish me luck!
Myrna Mae Berg bought her Texan daughter Kristan and Kristan’s daughters Sarah and Emily to visit The Pad and we had a great time. I borrowed a peddle boat from neighbors which we used as a swim float.
Mika and Travis got lots of petting and attention. They love visitors who love dogs.
We had lots of laughs and ate yummy food. The girls had such a good time that they are talking about coming back this winter to brave the ice crocodiles.
Sister Joan visited last week and we had a great time talking and laughing and hiking and canoeing. Joan is a bigwig in the Presbyterian church. She just got a position as Presbyter of Missouri and has over 70 churches in her Presbytery. We talked about her religion and my evangelical atheism but mostly we talked about our kids and lives.
I missed her middle son Adam’s July 4th wedding in Kansas because I’m not well enough to be around a crowd of people. It was great she could visit me right after that big event.
I love showing family and friends around The Pad, lake, and woods. Now Joan knows where her big brother hangs out.
Joan and I were close as kids but haven’t spent any time 1 on 1 together in decade. It was great to get close again.
Brook and Stephanie dropped by to celebrate finishing Channel Zilch. We had a bang-up party which featured canoeing, picnicking, and looting.
I reread the book and must admit I still get a kick out of it. I sent it to about a dozen new and old readers.
I’ve been goofing off hard in the past week. I’ve started taking notes for the new query letter. Next week I write it and start the agent hunt.
I had a great week of writing. I knocked off 36 of 41 edit notes – leaving 5 to finish before the end of the month. I blogged 3 times and did some PR blurb work for the book.
I should finish Channel Zilch tomorrow!
Please sponsor me in the Clarion West Write-a-thon. Contribute $5, $10, or $1,000! Clarion West is an intensive 6-week writing workshop that nurtures new speculative fiction writers. Attending CW in 2002 was one of the peak experiences of my life.
Martel Lake is about three feet low so our usual clumps of Blue Flag are high and dry this year with few blooms. Blue Flag is a wild Iris and is one of my favorite flowers – elegant in its symmetry and delicately-veined coloration.
The first year I lived at The Pad – 6 years ago now – I was in much more pain than I live with now. I was unable to write. I spent hours that first summer floating quietly in my canoe, healing. I paddled out to Ogre Island one day and as I rounded the point I saw my first Blue Flags lining the bay. Their beauty was in such stark contrast to my constant harsh pain that I cried. I remember saying to myself, “I deserve this.”
The Martel Loons have produced another set of twin chicks. Here they are at about 2 days old, two little fuzzball Loon chicks between two protective parents cruising by a beaver lodge:
The first time I saw the Loon chicks was on June 4th. I wasn’t sure they’d hatched and was heading to their nesting area when Travis (who likes to range the shoreline while Mika and I canoe) dove into the water after a Loon. I was taking video with my cheap little camera and caught the cries of a parent Loon leading Travis away from the new-hatched chicks. I’m too far away – the Loons and Travis are just dots – but the soundtrack of Loon cries is amazing:
I’ve been staying away from the Loons until the chicks grow bigger because Travis has decided that this is his year for catching something in the lake. He’s spent hours this year swimming after Muskrats and Beavers and Loons.
In this picture a beaver splashes a warning as it dives to escape Travis’s charge:
Last week on a canoe trip Travis ran far ahead and saw the Loon family out for a swim so he dove into their midst about 200 yards ahead of me. I paddled with all my strength yelling, “NO LOONS” and banged my paddle against the canoe. Both parents were in a panic when I got to the scene but it didn’t look like Travis had a baby chick in his mouth. Then the two baby Loons surfaced 20 feet away. Big relief for the parents and for me.
I live between two small lakes and often hear the two resident Loon pairs calling to one another at night. There are just over 3,000 Loons in Wisconsin and I am privileged to live where I can listen to 4 of them.
Loons from Wisconsin winter in either the Atlantic or The Gulf of Mexico. When I hear my loons yodeling at night or when I see the Loon parents swimming protectively with their chicks I feel a pang. Will my Loons die this winter in the oil-soaked waters of the Gulf?
I know that when the ice goes out next spring I’ll be watching for the Loons to arrive. It hurts to think of summer at Martel Lake without the sound of Loons.
On a far happier note I have 2 days’ writing left to finish Channel Zilch!