June 2006

Running around like a chicken with my head cut off–to no one’s great surprise–getting ready for HeroesCon. There is no art show, apparently, so I’ll be selling some small pencil originals at the table. I was planning to bring along General Globberlich, but honestly, I’m kind of attached to him, and tempted to keep him around. It’s so rare that I want to hang on to a painting of mine that I feel almost guilty. Not because I dislike my art, I hasten to add, or anything silly like that. I just generally like money more. Ultimately, this is a good thing–if I kept all my art, I’d be broke, and more importantly, up to my earballs in art. Being prolific only works if the art is going out at a significant fraction of the art being generated, or the studio gets awful cramped.

I’m not expecting too much out of this con–if I make enough to cover food and my half of the hotel room, I’ll be happy–since it’s more of a comic industry convention than a weirdo SF art convention, and of course, I have almost no Diggers to sell at the thing (I was going to take what Sofawolf had left over from Anthrocon. However, sales were just too darn good, because there were three whole copies left. Oh, woe, such a hard life. *grin* ) But hey, I’ll put one out as a display copy and direct people to the website or something. And you never know, it could kick ass–it’s a big convention, after all, starting to get in the general neighborhood of 10K attendees, and with that many people, there’s bound to be a few who will shell out money on weird hamsters and Bad Egg T-shirts.

And once this is over, it’s the end of my con season, and I can sleep for a week.

More goblinage!

Let’s just hope that sketch of the goblin schoolgirl stays forever locked within my sketchbook…


This was one of those paintings that leapt out of the sketchbook, grabbed me by the throat and said “PAINTMENOW!”

“Yes, sir, General Globberlich, sir,” I said. (His name is so obviously General Globberlich.)

I was so intent on finishing this painting I didn’t notice that it was nine o’clock and I had missed dinner–James is working late tonight–so now I run, quick like a bunny, and get food!


A squirrel has been trying to get to the feeder that I had suction cupped to the window by my desk.

He can do it, if he’s patient, but he usually isn’t. He has to inch and scrabble along the little wooden crossbars on the window. Usually he gets frustrated and tries to leap for it, misses, and hits the deck.

Generally once I hear him scrabbling, I throw the shades open, and he falls off the window in a panic.

Today I threw the shades open, and found myself eye to eye with…squirrel genitals.

The squirrel was not getting down. He was getting to that sunflower seed if it was the last thing he did. He was pressed sideways against the glass, clinging to the wooden supports, and that meant his nads were squashed against the window about two inches from my nose.

“YOW!” I said, recoiling.

In case you were interested, this particular specimen had enormous black and wrinkly equipment. It looked like he was wandering around with a small tire wedged under his weenie. It was not something I was expecting to come into view before breakfast.

I strongly suspect that the squirrel is doing this deliberately. I have startled him too many times. He was waiting for me. “Ha! Scare me off the window, will she? I’ll scare HER off the damn window!”

I know I’ll think twice before flinging back the shades again…

Not exactly a quick sketch, but definitely a sketch…


I felt the need to pay tribute to my turtle visitor, and then of course, I had to add the obligatory small rodent.

From the department of small pleasures:

–The Lysol odor neutralizer wall plug actually works on catbox odors. Due to some peculiar convection of the house, the smell of the catbox would get sucked exactly to the front hall, which is probably the worst place to have it (except possibly the kitchen.) It would smell much stronger there than if you stood over the box itself. But this thing I picked up actually works–it genuinely does what it says it does, and de-odorizes, rather than having a nasty floral stink. It smells kind of vague cleanerish–sort of like somebody shampooed the carpets last week–which is a smell I can live with much more easily than cat.

–My jewelweed seems to have survived transplanting! All four plants seem happy with the world. I didn’t expect them all to make it, but there they are.

–Some of the daylilies I liberated from the doomed garden next door are–somehow–triples. Each bloom looks like three tightly nested tiger lilies. You have to stare at them. They look like a real-world monitor glitch.

Which leads us to…

From the department of rather large pleasures:

–I have a new monitor!

It’s…a lot brighter than the old one. Which is good, because my monitor was burning very dark, which meant that a lot of the art I was posting was much more washed out than the norm. (The Fisher, for example, was nearly black when I painted it, not meant to be such a vague grey.) I hate monitor calibration with a rare and brutal passion. I hate the notion of going through and color correcting the last three months of work even more, mind you!

It’s a 21 instead of 19 inch. It looks huuuuge.

–Well, Nurk met with my agent’s approval. (Ursula, who had been in the “This is the worst bit of tripe to ever spew forth from a keyboard!” stage of insecurity falls to her knees going “Oh god, oh god, oh thank god…”) Now we’ll see if it’ll meet with a publisher’s approval.

–My agent tells me that if, when I am at HeroesCon, somebody comes up to my table and launches into the plot idea for their six thousand page epic comic saga, I can cut them off and say “Oh, god, I’m sorry, but I can’t listen to this–my agent tells me for legal reasons that I can’t read or listen to unpublished stories like this.” Since there’s always somebody at every Con that insists on telling you their great unwritten webcomic in exhaustive detail, this makes me desperately happy. I haven’t even gotten money yet, and it’s already worth it to have an agent!

Which reminds me–if you want to come and chat (which I quite like, don’t let the six thousand page saga thing throw you!) I will be at HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina, this weekend. I’ll have a table in the small press room–Indie Island? something like that?–and I am always delighted to see people. Since I’ve never done this con, I will probably be even more delighted than usual to see someone who knows who I am, so come on by!

Heh, a wildlife heavy morning! I went out to see if the turtle had moseyed off (actually, he’s sulking under the beautyberry bush) and James said “Look! A little tiny squirrel!”

I followed his gaze and said “Honey, that’s a chipmunk.”

It turns out we have the Eastern Chipmunk in the yard. We are at the extreme, extreme, extreme edge of their range, so amusingly enough, they are generally found on one side of Raleigh, and not the other. Bein’ on the north side, we get chipmunks. Go figure.

He’s cuter ‘n hell, of course.

Turtle Redux

I found myself awake early this morning–before James! Madness!–and went out and did some weeding, and dumped a few more things in the ground. (From next door, shasta daisies, echniacea, and another indeterminate yellow thing with leaves like a black eyed susan and a head like a marigold, from the nursery black snakeroot and the prairie winecup.)

Along the way, I tripped over another of Mother Terrapin’s minions. This little fellow was a little smaller than a paperback book (although much thicker, obviously–a Robert Jordan sized book, let’s say.) I picked him up and he clammed up so tight he was practically hermetically sealed. Had I wanted to put my ear next to the shell of a small biting creature, I fancy I could have heard the hiss of the airlock closing. He was, of course, the eastern box turtle.

Since James is mowing today, I moved the little fellow over to the back yard. Having read about turtles after the last one, I now hate to move ’em, but I figure a journey of twenty yards is preferable to an encounter with Mr. Lawn Mower. He’s welcome to live on the property, or lay eggs, or whatever he (or she) desires, of course, but he’s probably just passing through to someplace else.

So that was kind’ve a neat way to start the morning.

Well, the total today looks like six daylilies, seven iris, eight echinacea, two wedges of creeping thyme, a dozen mums, a shasta daisy, one indeterminate yellow thing that resembles echinacea, and nearly twenty gladiolas.

I also went out to the nursery this morning to get the cow poop and soil conditioner to plant these things, and while I was there, splurged and got brown-eyed susans, a native wildflower called “prairie winecup” that’s supposed to love dry and sun, and, to my immense delight, they had cardinal flower/giant lobelia, which is a beautiful native that hummingbirds go nuts for.

So it’s a good day in the yard.

And now I am in the “Guess How Badly Ursula Abused Her Body Today!” moaning and limping stage. But it was worth it…!

It’s Like Christmas! Only Really Hot!

So I live next door to a house that has a wonderful front garden. It’s densely planted with bulbs and shrubs and flowers, it’s thick and tangled and overgrown in the way that established cottage gardens get, and is generally just awesome.

The house just sold, and the new owner wants to tear the whole thing out and put in lawn.

I cringed when I heard this. This is terrible! Lawn! The horror!

But…the new owner is a pretty nice guy, apparently, he’s just not a gardener at all, and he knows he has no hope of keeping this thing from becoming Weed Jungle. So he has given the gardeners in the immediate neighborhood–four women, including me–carte blanche. If we can dig it, we can take it. Take it all. Take everything.

This is an excellent way to ingratiate oneself with the neighbors.

We four have met and made loose plans–“save me some glads. I’ll take those lemon lilies. I can fit a sweet william bush–you, take those daylilies! Take as many mums as you can fit!” Since I have the least established yard, however, I have far and away the most room, and the most eclectic color sense, so I’m the designated ark. (I get the impression there’s a lot of plant swapping in the neighborhood, which is how it should be! Already I’ve been brought a vicious little thorny orange tree and a clematis, and have offered free run of my hostas when they next need to be divided.)

Today I took my trowel and went over and went to work.

I have mums. I have daylilies. I have echinacea and gladiolas and lilies and iris (iris! good god! there are few plants on earth I love as much as iris!) James hauled me out to cool off, since it’s about 90 degrees here, and I am acquiring the coloration of a postmortem lobster. (I’m drinking lots of water and sweating like a pig, so hopefully I’ll stave off heat stroke. I don’t even care. Heat stroke would be worth it.)

Once I have shed some heat, it’s back out for gayfeather and passionflower, more glads, more daylilies, creeping thyme, cannas, spiderwort, hostas! (Passionflower and spiderwort get to live in Mr. Pot.) I may be all this all day. It’s not a great time to transplant plants, ‘cos of the heat, but since it’s that or get mowed, they’ll thank me later.

I am both sweating and giggling uncontrollably. This’ll get that flower bed established in a hurry…!

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