Anyway, I promised to talk about my trip, so...um. Good trip.
Long--eleven hundred miles round trip--but not that bad--ten hours there, ten hours back, nothing too onerous. Good to see Mom & Tom again. Tom is much thinner, which initially freaked me out, so I approached it with my usual subtlety and tact--"Tom, you've gotten so thin. Do you have some horrible wasting disease and aren't telling me?" Tom denied any wasting disease, said he felt great, and attributed it to most of a year spent hacking away on marble for hours a day, which would certainly do the trick. He's done some really fabulous sculptures of fish. If you're looking for a six hundred pound marble fish for some reason, and have a few grand to drop on it, say the word and I'll hook you up. Best marble fish you'll ever find, I guarantee. I gave 'em some advice for updating their website and the general process of webselling, so expect me to plug 'em occasionally here in the future, once there are more photos up.
Max, my five year old brother, is growing rapidly, and is, I am told, a great kid, very into computer games. James made a friend for life by being able to defeat Qudditch in the Harry Potter game, which Max couldn't do yet, so they bonded. I reaffirmed my desire not to have children--he may well be a great kid, but even that is more than I could possibly handle. Hell, I don't have the time for a dog--the cat and a few hardy plants are just about my speed. But, given that the topic is largely academic for me, he seems like a nice kid. (James, who had younger siblings and thus is more of an authority, tells me that he's really bright and very well behaved, so take his word for it, not mine.)
Weather was lovely, lots of flowers, ditches full of crown vetch and daylilies blooming with absurd glee. Drove around in the woods, took lots of photos. There was a great area where an old mining camp had been along the river--all that's left were foundations, which were overgrown with moss and trees. Very cool stuff. Took a lot of photos. Some even came out. And there was an old stone railroad bridge, which was basically a giant arch of mortarless masonry over a creek in the middle of the woods, looking entirely too fantasy for words. Too dark for really good photography, but I got a few. Blooming milkweed, giant viceroy butterflies as big as my hand--those came out pretty well.
Not great birdwatching--too many leaves--but saw the usual array of turkey vultures, swifts, swallows, jays, hummingbirds, and a raven the size of a small dog. Tom says that they get tons of orioles coming through in spring and fall. It's not a long trip, so hopefully we'll be able to get up there again, or they can come down here. Got a lot of art matted for Anthrocon--have to work on that over the weekend so I can mail it in to my agent. Still not sure what all to send--should get some of those little handprint frogs done, but have been so busy that I haven't yet.
And that's the state of Ursula...