Tomb Raider Legend is hard. Or I am pathetic. One of the two.

How hard is it?

I’m thinking of popping in Resident Evil 4 so that I can relax and take a break.

I am feeling vaguely melancholy this evening.

Part of it is that I just finished “All The Way Home” which was a melancholy sort of book–one guy writing about his effort to renovate a completely destroyed mansion, the premise of which is occasionally funny but frequently sad, as the entire book basically consists of “Oh god, I have bitten off more than I can chew, but I cannot tell my wife, because she believes in me, and I cannot let her down, and I sort of sneakingly enjoy doing this, but oh god, I’m in so far over my head and oh my god, is that a raccoon?”

Had I written it, it would have been heavier on the funny anecdotes and lighter on the male angst. Mind you, that’s probably inevitable, as I do  not think I HAVE much male angst.* Still, renovating a condemned house is bound to be comedy gold. One does not need to have every other chapter dedicated to how providing a home for one’s family is some kind of primal male urge and the terror of failure as a husband/father/provider/etc and the angst about having to grow up and be a real adult and so on and so forth.**

Needed more squirrel trapping and wisteria slaying and less angst.

Still, it held my attention, so I’d at least recommend it once it comes out in paperback. Just don’t go in expecting a laugh riot.

The other reason I am feeling melancholy is because I did not get nearly as much accomplished today as I wanted to–a misplaced save wiped out several hours of editing and rewriting, which I duplicated at high speed, but which exhausted my efforts for the day, particularly after I spent half the morning getting an estimate for the body work to the car. (Body shop guy: “Man, those deer were gunning for ya…”) Fortunately it’s only $250 deductible, which, given the damage is over $2K, (they’re replacing most of the front) is nothin’ to sneeze at. Something about redoing work is far more wearing than doing it the first time. Go figure.

Also, I miss

  But that probably goes without saying.

Therefore, I shall do what I always do when sorrow threatens. I shall load up a video game–classic Tomb Raider is on the plate today–and some hot tea and perhaps later a slice of cheesecake, and Ben will see that I am playing a game requiring dexterity and concentration and thus will crawl in my lap to hug me and purr madly, and all will be, if not right with the world, at least as good as it’d gonna get.

*I can’t rule out the possibility that I have some–I am told that I am deeply non-girly in many regards, by friend and foe alike–but I’ve never noticed it. Then again, I’ve never tried to renovate a house…

**I don’t know, maybe this is what male angst looks like. I always assumed it would more involve penis size, but maybe that’s overly simplistic. What do I know?

ART RECEPTION CHANGE!

Okay, gang, the art reception will NOT be Monday the 4th after all–apparently there was a miscommunication between when the show opens, and when the reception actually is. Free cheese day will be Friday, August 22nd, from 6-8.

This is a lot later in the month than I was expecting, but apparently the city has the show first, and then the reception, which is sort of backwards from what I’m used to, but they’re buying the cheese so I can’t complain.

Anyway! Friday the 22nd! 6-8! Clear your schedule then, not the 4th! Yes, I will post reminders!

Itch itch itch…

At some point Sunday evening, apparently I walked on a chigger nest, or some sneaky and nefarious relative thereof.

I learned this Monday morning, when I woke up with the outside of my left thigh covered in bites. Over the course of Monday, whenever I’d scratch, another set of bumps would be revealed. As of this morning, my left thigh is basically covered from ass to knee. There’s a few random bites scattered across the rest of my anatomy, usually single nips, from the top of my right foot, next to my belly button, a really galling one on my right buttock, and a few around my right knee, but apparently the left thigh was the bit the bugs really got their little mandibles in.

And I mean REALLY. Like forty or fifty bites. It’s carnage down there.

I’m bathing in itch-relief gel. A trip to wikipedia informs me that the irritation is caused because chigger nymphs aren’t blood suckers, instead they bite a hole in the skin and inject digestive enzymes. It doesn’t start itching until they drop off, apparently, so I’m probably not still coated in wee little parasites, but gawd, the itching…

Just a heads up, gang–if you’re local, clear your calendars the evening for Monday, August 4th! My gallery show opens at Jordan Art Center in Cary, and there’s a little reception with the usual cheese and fruit plates and all that stuff. (No booze, alas, they don’t have a liquor license, but I may be hitting my flask of whiskey rather hard…)

I’m sort of terrified that no one will show up except me, as is the fate of many a gallery opening, so…um…if you’re around, please come by! Free cheese! Free terrified artist! OH GOD, SAVE ME!

Ahem. That was undignified. Still.

Meanwhile, I should be painting. (What, you thought the show was done already? HA!)

Also, I have this weird sense that at some point in the last few weeks, I promised Penguin seventy-odd illustrations in a month. I am not sure quite how that happened. Feel free to point and laugh, as such hubris undoubtedly deserves…

If there’s anything better than crawling out of bed after sleeping until ten, with your hair looking like a high-speed collision of a bird’s nest and a dead muskrat, and staggering into the living room clad in underwear and an oversize Where The Wild Things Are T-shirt, and STILL having the sexy guy in the bathrobe say “Good morning, love!” and give you a kiss…well, screw it, there’s just nothing better than that.

Particularly when you know that there’s leftover blackberry shortcake in the fridge for breakfast.

Family Musings

The following is entirely true. I made up none of it. They’re really, genuinely like that.

So a distant relative of mine died a few days ago, and plans commenced for the funeral. I have no contact with this side of the family, so my mother called me up to tell me the more entertaining bits.

Mom: “So I was talking to Shirley about Shelley…”

Me: “Shirley? Shelley? Wait, is Shelley the one with the plate in her head?”

Mom: “No, that’s Shirley. Well, one Shirley. The other Shirley has forty-one cats. Shelley’s the Jesus freak.”

I paused for a moment to bray hysterically. “God! What a family!”

Mom: “No! It gets better! Shirley was saying–”

“Shirley with the plate? Didn’t she go Mormon and become obsessed with geneaology?”

“Well, yes, but that was just the plate in her head. After the accident, whenever she stood in the sun, it’d heat up and she’d get loopy.”

I paused for another moment to bray even more hysterically, which undoubtedly makes me a very very bad person.

“ANYWAY,” said my mother, determined to get through the story if it killed her, “so Shirley–with the forty cats, not the plate–was saying that if Shelley showed up in the costume to the funeral, she’d have to ask her to leave.”

“Costume?” I said warily.

“I know! She was the Jesus freak, so I was thinking–what–flowing white robes? Tammy Fae Baker make-up? So I asked…”

I waited with bated breath.

“It’s a burka!” said Mom triumphantly. “She became a hardcore Muslim!”

“…”

“I know!” Mom continued. “It’s nuts! She used to send me all these militant right-wing e-mails, and finally I sent her some links to stories about bereaved parents in Iraq, and she got really huffy and told me that we just didn’t see eye to eye and not to send her any more e-mail like that. And now she’s like a hardcore Muslim.” She paused. “Jeez, I hope I didn’t have anything to do with that…”

“Well,” I said finally, after boggling a bit, “at least that’s more interesting. I mean, Jesus freaks are a dime a dozen…but Islamofascists! How many of those do you see in the family tree?”

“That’s what Tom said! And you know, her sister’s still a Jesus freak…”

“Bet Thanksgiving at their house is a treat…”

Suddenly my art-crazed side of the family seems so very, very normal by comparison.