cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
This was the year that 4th Street Fantasy became the premier dark fantasy convention in the Midwest. ...That would be because all the lights went out, and power wasn't restored at the hotel for a couple (?) of days. The summer solstice storm of 2013 hit the Twin Cities area hard, leaving 500,000 households without power, uprooting trees, flooding streets, and creating sinkholes that looked like Godzilla had been stomping around Robbinsdale.

I was at dinner at Super Moon Buffet* with a group of friends from 4th Street when the heavens opened. Between the torrential downpour and the near-tornado-strength wind, it became a question of how to get to the car, and who was going to get in it, and if it was safe even to drive back. You see, half of our party had chosen to walk to the restaurant! I dashed out to the car with the driver and settled in. Driver went back. I was just wondering what the other people were delaying for (and deciding that I wasn't going anywhere unless the car started to float away) when the restaurant lost power. In the end, we were able to get everyone out safely in a couple of car trips. When we got back to the hotel, we learned that it, too, had lost power. They had some emergency lights, and that was it. I was happy that I'd just downloaded a flashlight app on my new cellphone, especially after the emergency lights in the bathroom ran out of power.

Eventually, I got home and discovered that we had also lost power--and many large tree branches, but nothing that caused significant damage. It was actually really nice. Phil and I had a relaxing evening chatting by candlelight while music played on the laptop that still had battery power.


The next morning, I got to see all the damage while I was riding back to the hotel. We got to play a game of bush-branch-tree, identifying what that ground-level foliage was by the side of the road. The answer was often tree. It took a couple of weeks after the storm before the giant tree that was blocking a road north of our house got moved. As of today, a month after the storm, there are still piles of fallen branches pushed to the curb and waiting for the city to collect them. They claim they'll get here eventually.

In many ways, the power outage was good for 4th Street Fantasy. It made the convention memorable, promoted camaraderie, and didn't (quite) persist for an intolerable length of time. People staying in the hotel who remember glacial showers and critical coffee shortages may disagree.


In addition to the lack of power, there were a couple of other differences this year.

Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Woke up, opened presents, ate breakfast of semmel with blue cheese, went to an oddly empty church for an oddly short service (apparently, this is what Christmas service is like when Sunday actually falls on Christmas).

Now I'm drinking homemade cider, browsing email, and doing story submissions while the baby naps in the next room and downstairs my dad (visiting from Kansas) and my husband (usually resident) watch basketball with the sound muted. Life is good.

Merry Christmas!

First Snow

Nov. 19th, 2011 01:19 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Fairly heavy snowfall outside my window, can't see for more than a block.

I'm not looking forward to winter this year. I don't like the cold (or the heating bill), and I'm especially worried about keeping the baby warm enough. And there's a thick layer of leaves in our backyard that need to be raked up--when there's not snow on them.

But the snow is so beautiful. Just seeing it makes me think of Christmas carols, and hot chocolate, and snuggling under blankets with cats.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (beauty)
Autumn leaves are floating straight up in the gap between our house and our neighbor's. Storm soon?
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Sunday, much miscellaneous writingy stuff was finished. Aside from that, it was the usual (except no church, because Phil was still sick).

I did a fair amount of cleanup of photos from the family reunion last summer. I am a bad, lazy person--people *have* been wanting to see these sooner. On the other hand, nobody paid me, and non-paid photo work tends to go to the back of the burner. So there's a steady trickle of cleaned-up photos. But there were some lovely photos. I think this one is my favorite so far:


though this one says a lot about my family:


I did laundry and dishes, and I took out the recycling. Because everything was all melty, the latter meant balancing our recycling on top of a piece of cardboard to keep the paper bags from soaking through and having their bottoms fall out. We do have a recycling container . . . buried somewhere underneath the five-foot mound of snow behind the garage. We think.

I finally upgraded my new/old computer memory (up to a rollicking 1 G!). There was some panicky calling of tech friends when the computer would not start afterward, but then I figured out that it was because the memory didn't go in the thingamabob right because I hadn't pressed down exactly at the same time as I flipped the doohickeys. But then I did, and all was right in the world.

Circus of Brass and Bone Total

3/6/12, Sunday
* A smidge of writing on CoBB.
* Updated CoBB episode saved to the computer (wrong version--the finished one was on the laptop) and uploaded it so meta-data would be right.
* Posted writing log and freewriting.
* Worked on creating MinnSpec iTunes feed, which included creating a MinnSpec icon.
* Finished taking down Spec the Halls links and adding Circus of Brass and Bone links to the rest of my website.
* Started on critiques for MinnSpec meeting next weekend.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Let's see, what did I do on Sunday? Slept in. Worked on taxes. Did minimum maintenance cleaning. Walked to the library (Yes, in the giant snowstorm. It was my exercise for the day. Because of the snow, it totally counts.) to pick up books on hold. Marveled at the snowstorm (the second record-buster snowstorm of the year?).

In the evening, [ profile] sinister_dr_x and [ profile] fayde invited us out to the 508 Bar for the Timberwolves' special event coverage of the All-Star game. 5 hours of watching a game that only airs on cable (which we don't have). Free buffet. Free drinks. Good company. Lots of prize giveaways. What's not to like? Okay, 5 hours of sports.

508 Bar

It was a good time, though. The food was entirely edible--the salad tasted amazing, I think I must need more fresh greens. I worked on my writing side project during the game. I won a set of Timberwolves wine glasses(!) that were surprisingly non-tacky.

Despite the snowstorm, driving was pretty good. The highway was very well plowed, as were the downtown streets. We only got a little stuck trying to get back into our alley on the way home. Phil was very proud of our "all-terrain Kia Rio."

Here, have some pretty snow pictures )

2/20/11, Sunday
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* Caught up on CoBB thank-yous. W00T! (Then people donated more. Double w00t!)
* Was about to brainstorm new side project story, when I remembered--holy Batman! I have a letter-game story that it’s my turn on, and has been for a ridiculously long number of months.
* Printed off Platinadar, re-read and highlighted strategic bits (plot points to build on, critical names, etc.) and began writing response.
* Fixed some broken html on a couple of the CoBB website pages.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
The sparrows in my backyard have the souls of piranhas. They can strip a full birdfeeder down to the bones in less than 12 hours.

Poor bob-whites didn't have a chance.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Everything is black and white outside. Black winter branches outlined in white snow against a white sky. Black telephone wires against snow-covered roofs. A bobwhite hopping sideways up a tree trunk.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
I came home from my writing group meeting and immediately started to prepare for dinner. Because it was starting to get dark out. And I was a little hungry, so it must be dinnertime, right?

It was 4 PM.

The end.


Oct. 31st, 2010 11:00 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Fewer kids than last year, I think...maybe 30. However, almost all of them were in costume! I'll call that a win. The creepiest was the Burger King. The 4-y-o Wolverine was the best.

Meanwhile, we watched a bunch of horror movies, drank homemade hard apple cider, and life is pretty good.


May. 25th, 2010 08:27 am
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (crazy)
Summer--the time when I remind myself I like long hair because I can get it all out of the way, but I wonder if a buzz cut would be easier. Then I remind myself that that might send the wrong message. Then I wonder if that actually matters.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Psanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs)

Psanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs)

Making Ukrainian Easter eggs with friends is awesome, even if things don't always go perfectly. Lessons:
1. Yes, it will take all 6 hours, especially if people start a second one while the first one is dying/drying.
2. White space is not your friend.
3. There will probably be scratchy marks, so choose a design that works with that.
4. Use an embroidery needle to puncture the egg first.
5. Use a paper towel to blot the last drops of dye from the "dried" egg and continue to hold the egg using a paper towel, or you will get dye all over your hands.
6. Leave a wax "cap" at either end of the egg so the dye doesn't get washed away while extracting the egg. Leave the cap in place for a couple of days while the egg finishes draining/drying.
7. Before trying to blow/inject air into the egg, use the syringe to extract a small amount of egg and to puncture the yolk. Trying to inject air first may cause a blowout. Be careful--do this maybe 1/5th of a syringe at a time.
8. Pie helps.

I also made Easter Bread. My mother made this when I was growing up, but she has since lost the recipe and has no idea how to make it. That's my mom, all right! This recipe is okay, way better than the one I tried last year, when frosted with a basic white frosting from the Joy of Cooking. But I need to remember to be careful not to overbake it. Also, three Easter eggs baked in is about right for us, since Phil doesn't eat eggs.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (experiment)
The snow is going away at last, and soon--soon it will be gone. It has all melted off our roof, and the two-foot icicles are gone from the neighbor's house. The snow in the backyard is about a foot high, instead of over my knees. And everything smells of melting winter.* The air is damp with it.

Snow curls

* Which reminds me, it's time to dig out the water filtering pitcher, as spring means tap water that tastes like spring, which is mostly rotting leaves and dead fish.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Small snowflakes like ashes floating down to blanket everything, and they say snow emergency sometime, maybe today, maybe tomorrow, it's a slow storm and hard to predict. Bowl of bread crusts on the kitchen counter to throw out for the crows, but if the snow covers them before the birds get there, they'll freeze and wait until the spring thaw when things with beaks or claws or mandibles will take them away. Going in early to downtown to pick up earplugs and Vicodin and Tylenol. What a list--I feel old.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
At work, I always walk around with a pen and a small post-it pad in my back pocket, in case of notes or labels being needed.

At home, I'm walking around with a candy cane in my back pocket.

I know which I prefer.

(Though to be honest, candy canes don't store well in back pockets. Is sad.)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • Torn between stories. One has greater Awesome, other's more genre/gender-twisting and a better match for a higher-paying anthology. Ngg.
  • Dear Strib: "Don't Like the Weather? Too Bad" headline = not encouraging!
  • Small victories (now with zombies):
  • Torn between a Droid and a Nexus. Pretty sure I want a keyboard, but--shiny vs. shinier!

Edited to add: I went with the better match story. Sorry, [ profile] xcorvis, the zombies vs. dinosaurs story will remain unwritten. This will become "Ekaterina and the Firebird." It was a princess-and-the-dragon idea, and now it's a brandy-maker's-child-and-the-firebird story. Of course, with a trans-gendered protag, this may be a hard sell if the anthology *doesn't* take it. Did "The Radiator Burped" teach me nothing?

Home Again

Dec. 27th, 2009 10:00 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • ++ Delighted to be safely home and online again after visit to internet-free in-laws.
  • - Unexpected luggage additions: niece's DVDs "Elmo and Abby's Birthday Fun!" and "Disney Princess Enchanted Tales." Hello, USPS!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • Ice pellets? That doesn't sound like a friendly form of precipitation.
  • Don't like working extra days at day job. OTOH, 9:30AM start time seems almost humane.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • - Our kitten, Fu Manchu, is now big enough to jump on kitchen counters. Heaven help us all.
  • Yay, Google!
  • Loving the "Decreased Productivity" Firefox web-surfing add-on:
  • Disable favicons in tabs in firefox:


cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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