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We went up to Holly's new place on Sunday. It's awesome, up in the hills on a horse ranch, and there are half a dozen horses stabled literally fifteen feet from her door. (Her house is basically half a duplex, with the other half belonging to the ranch's owner.) There's also a wandering good-natured pet goat named Jack who will come in and start eating houseplants, and who has to be shooed off of patio furniture. Plus at least three dogs, a cat, a bunny, a guinea pig, and assorted wild lizards. They're right near hiking trails. It's amazing. It's, like, four or five miles from our house, but it's like you're not even in Oakland anymore. Plus the place has three bedrooms, two full baths, laundry room, dining room, covered back patio, biggish kitchen... we have total house envy. She pays about 10% more a month than we pay for our tiny one-bedroom. It's a great deal, and it's a wonderful place for our nephew. Animals! Hiking trails! Etc.!


There were further difficulties with the DMV. Specifically with departments within the DMV not communicating. I called back and forth between the divisions (one saying, "You're fine!", the other saying, "You're screwed!"), got assorted assurances that supervisors would call me (which, natch, they never did), and finally talked to someone who suggested I come in with various bits of paperwork to clear things up in person. I guess it is harder to ignore someone who's standing right there. Anyway, I went today (my day off), and it was actually very quick. I mean, everyone was really rude to me, and I think I mortally offended one woman (she asked me about my shirt, which depicts the vèvè of Papa Legba, because I figured I needed all the help I could get at the DMV), and when I told her it was a symbol from voudon she went from sweet and chatty to cold-eyed and brusque. The other guy stared daggers at me and expressed stunned disbelief when I didn't have some random other paperwork, which it turned out I didn't even need. All in all, not a fun experience, but it was fairly fast, and now everything is finally taken care of. (And I only got pulled over by one cop for having expired registration. And it was a Berkeley cop, so he was of course very nice and polite. In Oakland I probably would've gotten my car towed and been left on the side of the road to fend for myself.)


Went to Susan's last night to give her a birthday present and eat some cake, and was pleased to see Jed and Jen Fu, two people I love seeing and seldom spend time with. A very nice night! Even if we did get pulled over by a cop (see above) on the way home at midnight. Heather and I were both hungry, so we stopped at a Jack in the Box drive-through on the way home. While waiting in the line of cars we were accosted by a cranky panhandler with a single crutch. (He didn't need the crutch -- he hopped quite adroitly between cars -- so he was basically an angry dude with a big metal club.) But the burger was good.


Yesterday my boss was kind enough to take me with him to visit our mutual friend Mikey, who's in the hospital for hip surgery. She was in good spirits, and it was a nice little visit before the physical therapist shooed us out. My boss also treated me to a lunch at a tapas place I've been curious about for a while, but had never tried because it's on the pricey side. As far as Tuesdays at work go, it was pretty pleasant.


I got a nice big check a couple of days ago -- the signing portion of my advance for Dead Reign and Grift Sense -- and once it clears into my checking account, I'm going to pay off the big nasty credit card that's been dragging down my spirits and thinning out my soul for the past ten years. Whoo! This doesn't kill all my debt -- there's a smaller credit card that still has some honeymoon and wedding debt on it -- but my next check, for delivery of Poison Sleep, should make that debt small enough to drown in the bathtub. By the time our baby's born, I should be debt free (apart from my student loan, but it has such a low interest rate and such low monthly payments that I barely notice it -- I spend more every month on our gym membership). Then I'll actually be able to start a savings account. It's astonishing. Being a grown-up is going to suck a lot less soon.


I’m reading Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand, and I love love love it. I'm about eighty pages from the end, which I gather a lot of people have problems with. But even if the ending totally falls apart, it's been a great read so far, and I'll be happy. I wish I knew how she made a fundamentally unsympathetic narrator so damn interesting and compelling. I could use that trick in my writing repertoire.

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