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[cancer] The NIH Fundraiser – stretch goals?

Yesterday, the Science Fiction Author on Trial (NIH trial, that is!) fundraiser made goal.

Thank you very much. This helps meet the costs for Dad and Lisa Costello to be here in Maryland, as well some of my incidentals.

One of our prize sponsors suggested we set some stretch goal prizes. I’m going to let them worry about that with the organizer, Shlom Ster. It would be nice to cover the $2,000 or so in extra costs from my last minute travel fire drill. Any money beyond that will go into my healthcare fund for future needs here at NIH or at home.

But really, to do it yesterday, while I was out for the count for surgery and recovery… You guys are awesome, and I love you. Thank you so much.

[calendula] The birthday that was, picking up every stitch

Yesterday was the Witchbirthday. We celebrated by having some spa and sauna time at Common Ground, which was very nice indeed. The weather was perfect for being wet and warm under the open sky a while.

After that, calendula_witch and I had a marvelous Vietnamese lunch at Pho Van, before repairing to the Witchnest to do some writing and plan our December getaway weekend.

Then to Nuevo Rancho Lake (bearing fine cheese) to see the_child’s Halloween costume in full deployment. While we were there, my mother and my aunts got to telling old stories, which were largely hilarious and occasionally tragic. Two memorable statements that stood out for me were “Joe was so mad he couldn’t even fiddle with his pocket protector” and “Sometimes you have to drive through a civil war to get to a story”.

We rounded out our evening with a truly lovely dinner at Papa Haydn. There I bestowed my Witchgift, which seems to have been well-received.

I cannot speak for the birthday girl, of course, but I found it a very satisfactory day indeed. I hope she did too.

[food|calendula] Momos and fried olives at Witchnest Manor

Yesterday we had a post-party party at calendula_witch’s new digs, Witchnest Manor. Some of the out of town JayCon guests, some of my family, and a bunch of food. I supervised the making of momos, which were prepared with five different fillings: yak meat, beef, lamb, turkey and vegetarian meat substitute. Much work was put in by many people to make it all come out right, but serious yum.

shelly_rae then took over the kitchen and made fried olives, per my recent dream. The best version was kalamata olives, stuffed with fontina, wrapped in prosciutto and fried in olive oil with a panko crust. shelly_rae will be posting the recipe soon.

And the house. Mmm. Witchnest Manor is gorgeous, and calendula_witch is already amazingly well moved in. The place is so nifty, and she is definitely queen of her hall.

Photos to come…

[calendula] She’s on her way here

Well, is leaving the Witchnest this morning — about now, in fact — to make the drive to Oregon. She’ll be here for about ten days, during which time we’ll make ‘s coast writing retreat (along with the lovely and talented , who’s currently visiting as well), do a bunch of homebody/couple stuff, and hit Foolscap. I can’t wait to see her.


[personal|calendula] A grand day out

Worked the Day Jobbe yesterday, but pushed my lunch hour to the end of the day so and I could light out for ‘ wedding in Healdsburg, a wine country town up in Sonoma County. Had a lovely afternoon drive with the top down on the Witchmobile, checked into Madrona Manor, a truly glorious bed and breakfast in a Victorian mansion. Our room was in the old carriage house, with what may be the most comfortable bed either of us could ever recall. We took some quiet time to get over the drive, then lazed over to the swimming pool, the lazed back to our room to mellow out before the wedding.

This was an aloha-themed wedding, which meant I fit right in. I didn’t know a soul there besides , and she only knew perhaps a dozen people, including the bride and groom. Almost everyone was in some variant of islandwear. They got to the wedding party pretty swiftly, to keep us from getting restless methinks, in a back garden of the mansion which was laid out very simply and tastefully for the show. Bubble makers were handed out all around, then the bride and groom processed to ukulele and slack key guitar. When the vows were read — led by an officiant who could have stepped out of Animal House — they were in Dr Seuss verse. Bride and groom then recessed to “Tiny Bubbles”, while we all blew. It was without a doubt the funniest wedding I’ve ever attended.

Afterwards, mai tais and Hawaiian hors d’oeuvres were served around, and we milled and swilled a while. When dinner came, and I were seated at Table 5. We spent a great deal of time talking to a friend of the groom’s and his wife. She’d spent a year of college in Dakar, Senegal, and then two years in the Peace Corps in a small town in Mali, so she had a lot of very interesting stories to tell. Dinner was a melange of Hawaiian dishes and semihaute cuisine, very tasty and big. Later more time spent talking to a high school friend of (she went to high school with both bride and groom, hence the connections) and his wife, with whom we had a lot in common. Meanwhile, Table 9 got pretty drunk and kept erupting through the dining rooms in conga lines, song and dance routines, and whatnot. Wedding cake was finally served in the form of the most complicated cupcakes I’ve ever encountered, and a series of lovely and moving toasts, along with more irruptions from the Table 9 Players.

Once things died down, and I retired to a dark portion of the gardens to lie on the ground and watch the Perseid meteor shower. This was about 11 pm. The stars were out in force, down to fifth magnitude at least from our vantage point. Even a day behind peak, we saw easily a dozen meteors within twenty minutes, including five or six drawing magnificent glowing contrails across the Milky Way. Nothing like a rural sky…

This morning was a wonderful breakfast, another swim in the pool, a chat with the bride and groom, and heading back to San Francisco. Me, I’m off to Portland shortly, while is back to her real life as well. We’ll see each other again at the end of next week, but this was a fantastic coda to Worldcon in Montreal: Dr Seuss wedding, fine food, and the universe scrawling its signature across the midnight sky.

[cancer|calendula] Just a bit more inside my head

heads back to San Francisco today. Our news is so much better than expected, thanks to the reprieve from chemo. Parting is tough, even though I’ll see her next week. I’m still processing, furiously so in truth, and haven’t quite come to the other side of it yet. Maybe I never well. And “reprieve” is the right word. Serious issues yet afoot inside me. Just not so deadly serious and urgent as before. A day for introspection, especially when my heart falls quiet a while once I have put my true love on the airplane.