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THE BOOKS OF 2016

While I'll almost certainly do a "The Books of 2015" bookpost — and maybe throw in a 2014 version, as I think I never got to it — it will have to wait until I cobble together exactly what books I did read in 2015. (I was as disorganized as ever last year — this year I'm planning to use GoodReads more consistently as a track-keeper.) I know there were a couple Graham Greene novels (Our Man in Havana and A Burnt-Out Case); a couple of S.M. Stirling's novels of the Change; John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley; a Connie Willis book that I did not love (Blackout), an unusual experience with Willis books; and a number of others that aren't coming to mind right now. Plus lots of graphic novels, periodical articles, web content and so forth.

But it's never too early to start a Books of 2016 post! This post will be updated throughout the year and stay atop my LJ (not that I do all that much posting these days as a general rule). Future Land O'Ledley Readers may disregard the previous paragraph as irrelevant.

So, Book #1 of 2016 .....


1. TELEGRAPH AVENUE by Michael Chabon. This was my second experience with Chabon, after The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. This one doesn't quite rise to that book's heights — the scope is smaller, for one thing, being about Oakland black-interest record store owners, their midwife wives, and the people in their spheres as all their livelihoods are threatened — but I found it compelling. If only because I share many of Chabon's passions (music, history global and regional, comic books, and so forth). But not only that: His characters seem real even while skirting with but not falling over into cliche; they all (well, most) seem like people I'd like to get to know even though I would probably find each of them at times maddening and frustrating). And his voice is always lyrical, even when at the most gritty. Occasionally, he seems a little too aware of himself, a little too self-consciously a Writer -- and it can take one out of the story. My brief GoodReads review touches on this:

"Couldn't put it down. While Chabon occasionally can be a touch overindulgent in his frequency of metaphor, allusions to culture both high and pop, and writer's flourishes -- I haven't decided yet whether chapter 3, an 11-page sentence, is the height of brilliance or just showin' off -- the characters he creates and the story he tells are compelling."

Your mileage may vary. My wife Diane can't read Chabon -- she made a valiant effort with Kavalier & Clay, got halfway through it, but just couldn't. But she related to a few of the Telegraph Avenue darkly comic passages I read her about childbirth.
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FAREWELL

I will post at greater length here next week or so -- most of my communication on the subject has been on Facebook, where far more of our friends are -- but for anyone who's still seeing my LJ posts who hasn't already heard:

My beloved wife Diane passed away last Friday, Feb. 26, due to a massive heart attack brought on by acute coronary disease.

I am crushed, though not destroyed. Diane was THE great love of my life, and none can ever fill that role. I am devoting the rest of my life to living as she did -- fully, truly, kindly, fiercely, whimsically.

Her kids and I, as well as her parents and siblings, have been uplifted by the kindness expressed by so many people, in words, thoughts, prayers, photos shared, meal and other offers, assistance with tasks (both everyday tasks and funeral-related). The wonderful erinwrites even set up a gofundme page for us -- we would never ask for money ourselves, understand -- and the response has been tremendous. Overwhelming. As I've said elsewhere, Diane always thought the best of people, and it's nice to see her proven right.

But still, I am heartbroken. And there will be an emptiness in my life, my heart, my soul for the rest of my life.

Goodbye, my Cuppycake. Until we meet again. And we will. We will.
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RHYTHM AND RHYME AND HARMONY ....

So last January, on Facebook, I started a series of posts counting down my 365 favorite songs, or at least 365 songs that I particularly like(d) at that particular point in time. I thought it would be over in a year, but I haven't gotten around to posting every day ... or every week ... or even every month. So we're only up to around #290 after around 15 months.

Facebook is notoriously horrible for accessing old posts, so I finally figured I would archive the old selections here, five at a time.

So here goes:


LDW'S PREFERRED TUNEZES, #365: DRIFT AWAY - Dobie Gray (1973, written by Mentor Williams)

So awhile back, for no apparent reason other than curiosity and the idle thought of constructing the Ultimate Playlist, I scribbled down my picks for my 365 favorite all-time songs (favorite at that given moment in time, anyway). And figured that I might as well share 'em, one day at a time, for a Year of Posts.

We start at #365, with a song that has sentimental associations for me: It was an occasional earworm for my father, who was known to launch into it at odd times -- driving the pickup, at the dinner table, hoisting Sheetrock, etc. It was a touch incongruous because if you knew my dad, you know he was no rock-and-roller by any stretch of the imagination; by and large, to him music began and ended with Southern gospel quartets such as The Florida Boys, the Masters V and The Statesmen. But he'd get the odd rock or country earworm from time to time, and "Drift Away" was the most frequent. And I can see why: It's not just catchy, it's *hopeful* and soulful and transcendent; it speaks of the power of music, of communal artistry, to lift us up. To get us lost in a way that we truly find who we are. "I want you to know I believe in your song." Indeed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIuyDWzctgY



LDW'S PREFERRED TUNEZES, #364 : SKIN - Bill Mallonee (Vigilantes of Love) (1995)

No offense to Don McLean, but this is my favorite song about Vincent van Gogh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7lhFXZDMtE



LDW'S PREFERRED TUNEZES, #363: SOME NIGHTS — .fun (2012)

Really? Yeah, even though I'm pretty much apathetic to Music The Kids Are Into These Days -- as I was when I was one of the Kids These Days back in the '80s -- but I kinda like .fun. I have Diane Brietzke Paine to blame for it: While her tastes are quite eclectic, encompassing Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Grateful Dead, she tends to leave the top-40 station on the car and insisted we see .fun at CMAC. I'm liking their harmonies and arrangements, as well as the lead singer's voice. Don't quite get the Civil War-themed video, but y'know. (Caution: language)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQkBeOisNM0



LDW'S PREFERRED TUNEZES, #362: WHAT ABOUT US — The Coasters (1959, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller)

In which a subtle touch of social commentary is injected into the Coasters' ("Yakity Yak," "Charlie Brown") winsome clownifying. And, as usual, dig that bass.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMLFNmtmRAE



LDW'S PREFERRED TUNEZES, #361: MERCY NOW — Mary Gauthier (2005)


Every living thing could use a little mercy now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT7NiFpJmvI
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THE YEAR THAT WAS, 2014 EDITION

OK, a mere 10 days into 2015, we finally have my Year In Review, 2014 Edition. A good year, mostly. Actually, a great year, dominated by two main elements:

1. Mawwiage! Diane and I got all nuptialized in September, in an outdoor tent ceremony in Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva, NY, with the lake as our backdrop. There were all manner of comedies-of-errors surrounding the wedding, including the park informing us three days before the wedding that it rented the pavilion to a different party (Diane's dad came through, got a tent and generator and convinced the park -- he and Diane's mom and longtime users of the park marina -- to let us set it up) and a bridesmaid discovering, like an hour before the wedding, that the security tag had never been removed from her dress. (That's when the I-thought-dubious-at-the-time wisdom of booking a hotel 45 minutes away from the wedding to put up wedding party members proved prescient -- said hotel is less than 5 minutes' drive from one of the Rochester area's biggest malls, and one of them proved amenable to removing the tag.) But all the brouhahas fell away when Diane and I spoke our vows and our extemporaneous comments to each other, exchanged rings, and were pronounced married. It was highly enjoyable seeing people from a diverse cross-section of our lives in attendance -- and mrgoodwraith provided the most epic of toasts at the ceremony. (It's up on his LJ.)

That's the wedding; the marriage itself has been blissful. Diane and I just get each other in just about every way, and have a conscious commitment to always understanding each other, always having the other's back, and always, always letting each other know how deeply we are loved.

2. Movin' in. Slowly moving out of my old apartment -- more quickly and maniacally as the lease expiration drew nearer -- was a long haul; it's when one learns how much stuff one can accumulate in 10 years at one location if one is a bit of a minor pack rat. Had help from Diane and her daughter, and a couple friends who helped haul the Big Stuff. But whew, I don't want to do that again for a long while. I'm liking our place -- I'm back living in a trailer park again (deja vu -- lived in one throughout my childhood, adolescence and part of my adulthood), but this one's a nice building in a particular nice park/community. Double-wide, with a garage and a shed. Not parking in the garage yet -- had to have someplace to put that 10-year accumulation of stuff for the short term, after all -- but we'll get there.

That's the Big Stuff, which have pretty much dominated the year. There have been a few other elements of note:

• My mom had a pacemaker installed this year, after a scare in which she was having a hard time walking more than a few steps without being completely exhausted -- turns out that her heart was only pumping at half the beats a minute as it should (and was slowing down further in the ER, which necessitated the decision of running her up to Strong for the surgery that very day). Since then, her heart's been pumpin' right along. Mom is in her late 80s (had her 88th birthday last Saturday), so there's really one health issue after another these days -- but she keeps on truckin'. She's tougher than she'd ever admit.

• After gaffiating a bit from the filk community for a while, though not totally and not completely intentionally -- Confluence 2013 was canceled, we missed OVFF 2013 for another of my mom's health issues, and we skipped FKO 2014 to save a bit of money for the wedding -- we got back in the thick o'things with attendance at Confluence in its new and pretty nifty digs and then at OVFF, the Woodstock of filk. (We also made it to Eeriecon this past year — concerts by Ookla the Mok, Worm Quartet and Luke Ski, among others, plus a reunion of sorts of Radiance, the Houghton College speculative fiction group that mrgoodwraith started back in 1989.) It's not overstating to say that filk has become something of a family for me, exponentially more so since I've been with Diane and she's been embraced by and enfolded into the community as well.

• Work? It is what it is. As at many newspapers, the news/editorial staff is more or less skeletal these days, but we manage -- we do good work, and occasionally great work. I hardly ever get to write these days; I'm mostly on the copy-editing/administrative side of things -- though occasionally I've been able to snag a byline, such as in a recent piece about Robert Sawyer's appearance at the local community college. I keep my antennae up for something within my skill set and proclivities (but with better remuneration), but I'm more or less content. Domestic bliss kinda helps that way.

• Books read this year: I didn't really keep track, but off the top of my head, here's a sampling (there were many more, of course, plus re-readings and periodical copy, research and such):

The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
— After Marquez's death, I thought I should honor him by picking out another of his books (after quite liking One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera). I wouldn't put this historical novel/meditation/reimagined-bio of Simon Bolivar on their level, but it was interesting, if only for the larger-than-life figure at the center.

Redshirts and Lock-In by John Scalzi — Pretty good sci-fi thrillers from Scalzi. Lock-In in particular raises a number of questions about interlocking rights and responsibilities and potential for abuses that Diane and I have talked about. Redshirts was just a great read for this old Star Trek fan.

Innocence by Dean Koontz — Never had read any Koontz before, and was pleasantly surprised by how lyrical and evocative this was, along with being a page-turner. And one heck of a twist ending.

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire — Seanan, and Toby, are reliable favorites: I will pretty much always like her books, no matter what she puts Toby through.

The Given Sacrifice by S.M. Stirling. I'm loving the Emberverse. It's looking like we're poised to jump forward a generation for the next book. I'll be there.

I know I read many more, but they aren't coming to mind right now -- will have to update this later. This year, so far I've read Hood by Stephen Lawhead and have picked up Connie Willis' Blackout again. May keep making my way through Dostoevsky, Dickens, Chesterton, Stephen King and that big stack of science-fiction compilations. May try to catch up on Harry Turtledove, though he writes (and publishes) faster than I read.

Have a good 2015, all.


Words: Blackout by Connie Willis
Sounds & Images: My iTunes shuffle -- currently "Unlonely" by John Prine from The Missing Years
State O'Mind: Content
Celts, renfest, Arrgh

I LIVE

*Ahem*

Still here! This LJ has lay fallow for quite a while, but this year I hope to post at least once a week. If only because, for a number of years, this blog was my primary journaling/online-social-interaction venue, and I still have a soft spot for it. Sometime over the next few days I'll make my 2014-in-review post. (The short take: Got married. Livin' in bliss.)

So ... who among my friends-list is still aboard and reading?
Father Mulcahy

A FEW THOUGHTS ON CIVIL RELIGION AND THE DANGERS THEREOF

Some folks may think that, because I'm a Christian, I would agree with and celebrate the recent Supreme Court ruling affirming a town board's practice of opening meetings with prayers, generally from Christian clergy. (See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303647204579543572388368040?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303647204579543572388368040.html.) And many who share my faith certainly are celebrating it, as they have championed the practice in question in this and other towns

But as for me ... I'm not so sure. I'm leery about it for two reasons: the effect on non-believers, and the effect on believers.

I'm not making a constitutional argument: As I understand it, the ruling affirms previous rulings in favor of public-meeting invocations resting in part on their historicity, going back to the First Continental Congress (which, yes, was pre-Constitution) ... and sometimes it seems the No Religion In the Public Square Ever folks tend to think their modern understanding of the Constitution supersedes that of the folks who originally wrote, ratified and interpreted it, many of whom indeed opened their sessions with prayer. The Court's dissenting opinion has a point, though, that a municipality can go too far in having *one* religion represented. The establishment clause does not bar religion from the public sphere, but it does bar government from showing favoritism to one over the others.

So ... why am I skeptical?

1. Their exclusionary nature. A public, board-sanctioned prayer at a meeting of public business sends the message, implicitly (sometimes explicitly, depending on the people) to those citizens who are not believers that: "This is OUR town/village/county/school district -- we tolerate your presence because we have to, and we suppose you're technically citizens; but make no mistake: You are marginal. You are fringe. You are the Outsider." The more sectarian the particular prayer is, of course, the larger the group being marginalized is: A Christian prayer others those of non-Christian faiths or no faith; a trinitarian Christian prayer others Christians of a unitarian bent; a Protestant or Catholic prayer ... well, so on and so forth. But going the other way, as general and non-specific and watered-down as one might make a prayer (and you water it down enough, and one wonders what's the point), you're still telling the atheists and agnostics (EVEN IF THAT'S NOT NECESSARILY YOUR INTENT), "Hey -- this isn't really *your* town. Not as much as it's *our* town, anyway." This goes way beyond merely "offending" people -- it's about setting up a divide.

2. The effect on believers. I think, and I'm hardly alone in thinking so, that one of the most dangerous things for religious faith -- for any faith -- is to become identified with and intertwined with government, with the prevailing culture. No, I'm not advocating a separatist, isolationist approach to culture for believers (far from it, I believe in full engagement) -- but if (and I'm speaking from my own theological background here) faith is best understood as a personal commitment/relationship between an individual and his God (or gods, etc.) and how the implications of that commitment/relationship should compel her actions in society ... then it's very dangerous when that faith IS the dominant culture. One can just be carried along on the prevailing winds of their culture, thinking they're devout believers when they've never really asked the hard questions of faith -- never really wrestled with God. I tend to think that's where Christianity is in the U.S. these days, more or less. I've known people who have argued that the conversion of Constantine to Christianity (and yeah, there's plenty of debate as to how deeply that actually represented a commitment to Christ on the emperor's behalf) in the long run was a negative for Christianity -- sure, it stopped Roman-era imperial persecutions (though not entirely; there was a later wave), but it set Christianity up to be the Dominant Power, the political force, the empire -- and power is always a deadly, deadly temptation. (One of the recorded temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness, according to the New Testament account, involved taking temporal power.) Generally speaking, whenever people of faith aspire to power, the long-term effect on the faith is negative. And the power proves nebulous and temporary, anyway.

Now. I'm not saying that anything like a majority or even a sizable minority of those supporting public-meeting invocations are consciously or even unconsciously trying to be belligerent, or at least confrontational. (Though a certain percentage probably are -- those who tend to be in the "Say 'Merry Christmas' Or Else" camp.) I'm just saying that I think a number of my spiritual brethren have seen this as a my-team-vs-their-team issue and haven't really stopped to think about the impact: on the message sent to nonbelievers and the dangers of cultural religion (specifically of Christendom, which is *not* Christianity). I do think it's possible for a municipality to have invocations with a policy that provides for full inclusion -- but it seems like such a difficult task that it would take away valuable time from the other business facing the board in question. Most town board or city council members -- this isn't their job, they do it in their after-hours; their time is limited.

I have similar skepticism about school prayer, but this is a big enough text block.


Words: Various science-fiction short-story compilations I've amassed over the years. Favorite of the stories read in the past week or so: Tanith Lee's "All the Birds of Hell."
Sounds & Images: Songs of the Maniacs by Worm Quartet
State O'Mind: Tired
ShaveDave, jar

IT'S HIM AGAIN

... And radio silence, or LJ silence, for more than three months. Sorry, folks. I still like LJ and don't want to participate in its slow crawl into the realm of the defunct, but sometimes it's easy to forgot about. So, here's the bullet-point update.

Weddingstuff: Plans proceed at a crawl -- basically, we've picked the date (Aug. 2) booked the venue (Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva, NY), asked my pastor to preside, and picked our wedding party, and made a tentative guest list. (No small feat, that -- Diane's was easy, but getting four men who were free from prior commitments and actually in the country at the time was like arranging an exchange of prisoners. The inimitable mrgoodwraith will no doubt do a stellar job as best man.) We need to get moving on sending invitations so we can arrange for food (once we get RSVPs back), getting the wedding party clothed, arranging lodging for the out-of-towners among them, planning the ceremony, printing programs and so forth. Diane has been under the weather lately, so plans are proceeding slowly. Fortunately, I have a vacation coming up in a week, so after spending a weekend at Eeriecon, we can get moving on this stuff -- as well as making some serious dents in clearing out and cleaning my apartment, as the lease expires at the end of July, two days before the wedding. Whew. Weddingstuff is stressfulstuff -- but fortunately, the Marriagestuff is what's important and lasting.

Workstuff: I remain at The Company, doing mostly copy editing, text management for our off-site page designers (heh, off-state, not just off-site, and still writing the very occasional A&E piece. I have a good one coming up about a local science fiction/fantasy anthology called Rochester Rewritten in which the guiding theme is: Rochester, NY, with a different history. Go. So there's one set in a vaguely steampunky 19th century that also has active sorcery (and in which the Brits still rule); one in which a certain photography pioneer is a serial killer; one murder mystery set in the "Ville de Rochefort" (the area being part of New France, the French having won the Seven Years War); one about a man horrified to have run over an alien refugee on Route 490, and so forth. Good stuff; highly recommended even if you don't live in the ROC or know anything about it. I still have tendrils out for better-paying jobs, but for now this remains OK. Especially since in a few months I lose around $800 of current single monthly expenses when I close out my apartment.

Familystuff: Which is essentially Momstuff. She remains OK -- still in her own home after her stint last fall recovering in nursing homes from a pelvic fracture and a heart attack. Her scoliosis appears to be worsening. She remains mentally acute, except for a repeated (but intermittent) confusion about what time of day it is. I'm very thankful that, God willing, she will be around to attend our wedding.

Nerdstuff: Sad to miss FilKONtario this weekend -- need to save the money, and that's always an expensive con for me. Will make Eeriecon next weekend, what with concert slots for both Ookla the Mok and Partners in K'Rhyme, and with mrgoodwraith trying to organize a reunion of Radiance, our old college SF/F club he founded back in '89. Should be un-gaffiated by OVFF, if not before. We'd love to make it to Confluence this year, if the timing -- the weekend before our wedding -- doesn't make that unrealistic. (I can always say I'm in conference with my best man, who's running the filk at the con.)

Lifestuff: Generally happy. And still thankful for all y'all.


Words: Rochester Rewritten from R-Spec Press
Sounds & Images: Smell No Evil by Ookla the Mok
State O'Mind: Anticipatory, and content
Funkytown

TURN THE PAGE

Happy New Year to all my friends on LJ! Saw 2014 in quietly, working on a jigsaw puzzle with my Sweetie and watching the ball drop while digesting a tasty dinner of strip steak and garlic mashed taters and sporadically reading the newest Fables trade paperback. It's been a nice and low-key way to transition into a new year.

The old year has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's seen Diane and me grow closer virtually every day, through times of delight and disappointment -- leading, of course, to the impromptu proposal at Astronomicon last month. On the other hand, this year saw some trying health issues for both Diane and my mother, both of whom spent more time in health facilities than they would have ever liked. Diane's harrowing spring and early summer -- gall issues, sciatica issues, and horrific nausea that turned out apparently to be a reaction to her diabetes medication -- were followed by my mom's ordeal of two stays in two nursing homes for rehabilitation, once for a fracture after a fall, once for a mild heart attack a day after she was released from the first one. But the ordeals are over: Diane has not had to go to an ER for more than three months now, and Mom has been home for more than three weeks -- and her two rehab stays have been funded (one through Medicare, the other through Medicaid), and she has home health aides that come by every day or two to check in on her, so she's still able to live independently, which is highly important to her. Anyway, it seemed at times this year that I was living in hospitals and nursing homes -- at one brief period in late-August, early-September, I was running back and forth between my mom's hospital room and the ER waiting room to see if Diane had been admitted. Figured that if I keep bringing different women in to the hospital, I was going to raise an eyebrow or two. I was buoyed throughout by the Lord on whom I rely and who loves both women with a love beyond even mine, and the support and kind words and gestures of many a friend, whether in meat-space or online. Thanks to everyone!

Otherwise ...

• The year has seen some weird work circumstances I can't talk about, but I can say that the newspaper I work at remains a viable news source that's still doing some excellent work.

• I was in an auto accident in late August, the first one I'd been in since 1991. This one, in Diane's old van, was minor; nobody was hurt, and the vehicle was able to be driven home (we were only about a mile from Diane's home), and she was able to take the opportunity to finally change vehicles (she never liked that van, anyway). Essentially, we were last in a string of about four vehicles; the one in front turned suddenly, forcing everyone to quickly brake, and I accidentally hit the gas instead. Whoops, sigh. Felt pretty stupid at the time -- and felt bad about it in other ways, since Diane and I had planned to take her kids to the New York State Fair that day. But Diane was very understanding and helped me stop beating myself up.

• Got to see a couple of my favorite acts live this year -- Bruce Cockburn in February (I think) in Auburn, N.Y., and the Lost Dogs at Boulder Coffee Company, a Rochester coffeehouse -- that last one, I was seated about three feet from the stage -- I could've reached out and touched Derri Daugherty, though he probably wouldn't have appreciated it.

• Lost track of the books read this year, though they included The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins, Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner, Transition by Iain Banks and Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire (I'm in Chimes at Midnight now), among several others. Liked them all, though Zanzibar was a sloooow slog for the first couple hundred pages before I really started to care about the characters, and I'm not sure I ever really did for Transition.

In 2014, the big plan will be getting married, moving into Diane's home and setting up our new life together as a married couple, with all the logistics that that involves. I also plan to do more "extracurricular" writing, exercise enough to get closer to my target weight, and spend more time with all those I care about. And as always, my ultimate goal is to grow closer to God, to abide more completely in the Vine. At year's end, we'll see how I did.

In the meantime, Happy New Year! May it be filled with joys and challenges, peace and excitement, opportunities to grow in wisdom and faith and enlightenment, and opportunities to just have fun. May you eat lots of tacos, because tacos are yummy. Let's enjoy this shared year's journey, and may its end 365 years hence find you well.

Words: Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
Sounds & Images: Recently, Heathen by David Bowie and Between Heaven N Hell by REZ, because I'm all schizo, er, eclectic like that. Also highly enjoying the latest Oxford American music issue compilation, like always.
State O'Mind: Content, and pleasantly expectant
ShaveDave, jar

NEWS? YEAH, MAYBE A BIT

Well, I broke my promise not to let another half-year go between posts, but I'll try again.

So ... what's been happening with LDWheeler lately?

Meh, not much, other than, y'know, getting engaged and stuff.

(That sentence would have more Dramatic! Impact! if most of all y'all, other than filkferengi and a couple others) hadn't already seen it on Facebook.)

Yep, Diane and I are planning to get all nuptialized sometime next spring. We got engaged in a fairly dorky manner -- while leaving a science-fiction convention in Rochester that shared a hotel/convention center with a wedding, Diane caught the bouquet flung by a man in the wedding party who wanted to get rid of it, then she asked me if there was anything appropos to the moment I wanted to do. Since I haz a Sense Of The Moment, I dropped to one knee then and there.

It's a happy capstone to a half-year that's been alternately wonderful and trying. Trying in that this year has seen serious health issues for loved ones -- Diane spent most of the spring and early-mid summer in hospitals dealing with gall and related issues that had laid her quite low, even threatening her life at the worst, but that's largely resolved and she's in good health again. Just in time for my mother's turn in the medical community. In late August, Mom took a fall and fractured her pelvis; after a week's stay in the hospital, she was sent to an area nursing home for rehabilitation for about five or six weeks. When she was finally discharged, she spent one night at home -- then the next morning had a minor heart attack. (Apparently she'd been discharged with a serious infection, which put a strain on her heart.) Again after a week in hospital, she's been in a different nursing home -- much closer to home -- to do physical therapy, occupational therapy and so forth. She's actually healthier now than she's been in a while, and is getting ready for discharge within a week or so.

A trying year, but it's been leavened by the joy that Diane and I have discovered in each other and in the community of friends and family who are so happy for us.

Anyway, I'll try to pop onto LJ a bit more often than has been my practice of late. I still like and value you all.

Words: Between books right now and in that WhatNextWhatNextWhatNext!! state
Sounds & Images: 220 by Phil Keaggy
State O'Mind: Content and at peace
ShaveDave, jar

SIX MONTHS LATER ...

It really has been that long since I've posted to LiveJournal, though I've more or less stayed some degree of current in keeping up with friends' LJs. Life -- including a switch to all late shifts, plus an ongoing serious relationship -- has accounted for much of my time; it's been easier to post quick 'n' pithy observations over on Le Facebook. But I still value LJ as a means for long-form ruminatin', and as the venue where I got to know a number of folks and got to know others better. So: the update.

As of my last post, I was around one month into a serious relationship. Now, Diane and I are approaching seven months together and continue going strong. I have never met a woman with whom I was so in sync in so many ways: intellectually, spiritually, interest-wise. We have similar off-kilter senses of humor and aghast reactions to grammatical atrocities and Tremendous Geek Tendencies. She's also one of the kindest, most open and accepting people I know. And her kids like me (and I like them), which is not always the case -- particularly considering the circumstances, as they lost their father to a heart attack after years of ill health. Some of you will remember this post from 2007, in which I held forth on the various attributes I seek in a partner. I've found them all in abundance in Diane. All my friends, from various spheres of my life -- church, work, filk/fandom and so forth -- have been quite accepting and welcoming to her: A particular passel of thanks to the filk community, as they're the ones most likely to be reading this post: When I brought her to OVFF last year, everyone was kind and made her feel at home -- in her own right, and not just as Dave's Girlfriend. I had no doubt that would be the case, having observed it happen before with, for example, erinwrites -- still, experiencing it directly has been a Big Delight. (Sadly, she couldn't come with me to FilKONtario this past weekend; she was a mite late in applying for a passport, and even with expediting it had not arrived by this weekend. May be for the best; she was not feeling well this weekend.)

In other news, I remain at the same company work-wise -- enjoying (most aspects of) the job while still keeping my eyes out for something more lucrative in my general field and my general region. (Due to my mother's age and frequent ill health, I want to remain in the Finger Lakes/Rochester area for the time being.) Still a part of the house church. Still doing a bit of "extracurricular" writing, though I'll keep project details to myself until anything comes of them. Still in an unlikely level of good health. Still have too much beard. And still planning to attend Confluence and OVFF this year (both with Diane). The parody I hoped to inflict upon hsifyppah at last year's OVFF should finally be done by Confluence; heh.

And time constraints are, um, constraining, so this is enough for now. I promise not to let another six months -- or even six days -- pass before checking in again. Take care, all.


Words: Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner. A very slow slog at first, but it's increasingly captured my interest and now I'm more than 400 pages in. It's very obviously dated in some ways, but in other ways it's both universal and prescient. Heh, Shalamaser and Mr. & Mrs. Everywhere predated both the web and Facebook.
Sounds & Images: Ookla the Mok vs. Evil by Ookla the Mok. Long-awaited, and well worth the weight. Come to the dark side.
State O'Mind: Content