The car had gotten grungy from sitting around under places where birds perch, and in Phoenix with pollen and dust in general. I stopped in the parking lot at the designated car wash point and gave the thing a good hose-off. (Did I mention my apartment has a place and hose designated for car wash? How cool is that?) This got my shoes soaked and muddy, and me just plain soaked.
My plans for a relaxing but productive afternoon had been delayed, and then were utterly scotched when I sat down at the computer with lunch and noticed a good-sized brown beetle on some paper. The young cockroach looked cheerfully oblivious as I stared at it, bug-eyed, for a second before lifting the papers and stuffing it into a handy trash basket, slamming the plastic bag closed, and marching it off to a more hospitable habitat (the dumpster). "And stay there!" I told it. At length, I concluded that the most likely point of origin for the thing must have been the box of books I brought in from the storage cupboard, which means that not only will I have to ask for them to come spray, but I will also have to leave all my books outside and unpack them outside and shake them out before I bring them inside. It could have come under the door, but there is hardly much in the way of tasty fare here, and why suppose one just wandered in when I probably brought its clubhouse inside? Yiiii. A nap was in order, so I took one.
My lack of organizational skill became apparent when I stumbled into Writer's Group late and without anything coherent in the form of A-Team & the Gemstone Girls to share, no matter how rampant the bunny for the character death had been. Alas.
The dreadful woman who showed up last week did not show up today; there was much giggling over her and the situation in general, because it was one of those incidents straight out of a comedy of manners. Imagine me as the group leader, sitting at the head of the table, unable to do or say anything, although something needed to be said, because to tell her to STFU with garnetdagger speaking would be in clear violation of courtesy and perhaps (most worryingly) of Women's Center policies, but we just couldn't let her turn the entire group into the negative morass she was blabbing.... Imagine me with my eyebrows at their upper limit, my eyes very wide, my mouth in "buttonhole neutral", and my hands flat on the table (I'm usually typing on the laptop). There was much re-creation of the scene and re-hashing for those who weren't there, with laughter. I'm glad we managed to salvage something from the experience. easalle suggested writing someone like her into something as an antagonist; I rather think that cuttingrmfloor has someone of the like in the form of Aunt Heloise already. Heh.
azwriter called in the middle of group and said she couldn't make it -- dealing with vehicular paperwork, and then she's got a Girl Scout meeting next week, so argh. H and M.Schell were therefore rideless; easalle and I discussed the issue and I wound up being the ride. (I know azwriter's going to be out next week, and since she's usually their ride, maybe easalle will be their ride next week if need be, because V's going to be back and gods alone know if she'll be able to give them rides; this way easalle would only have to do one ride in that fuel-slurping monster.)
I scampered out early to go make my unscheduled birthday call upon the birthday guy, but ran into a snag in the form of his complete and utter absence: out to dinner, it turned out, with the family. I wished him a happy birthday via cellphone, left flowers and book on the doorstep, and hightailed it back to Phoenix with the gang.
We wound up at Coco's. easalle called me to let me know they were ditching Cafe Fiat because of the crowd. I was on the road almost there by that time. I'd called from Darkside's and left a message on easalle's voicemail to let them all know that I was on my way back.
Enough of the Coco's staff remembers us so that when I came in, I was greeted with a smile and a pointer toward the table where the writing group was sitting. Someone else remembered that enough of us wear wings for it to be notable.
There was a nasty accident on the 10. I have no idea how much damage there was, or if anyone got hurt, but it blocked all the lanes of traffic, and it was at a standstill. That was going the other way. I evaded that coming back. I got M.Schell dropped off fine, but I got a little lost headed to H's.
The smell of rain in the desert isn't as easy to describe as one might think it should be. It had started blowing and flashing lightning by the time we left Coco's. In other parts of the world, rain smells of damp, and the decaying matter on the ground, and the smell of the earth. In the desert, the smell is of damp, and copper dust, an acrid creosote scent, ionized and sharp. Even the rain has the desert dust in it, edged with unseasonable salts. Other parts of the world, the growth in the rain is a lazy, foregone conclusion, as it has been in the rain just past, and will be in the next rain. The growth in the desert rain is a desperate scrabbling thing, bursting with life seizing this rare chance to explode before the sun leeches the water back up. In town, the scent is softer with more growing things regularly watered by human design, but there is still the scent of three months' accumulated dirt that the rain must tend to first before getting around to soaking into imported trees and pet grasses. Later rains may merely bathe and feed; the first rain has to scour. A desert rain is rarely silent. Days of anticipation of rain have built the charge in the clouds to monstrous voltage, and wild white lines scrawl across the sky in some cosmic Etch-a-Sketch design twirled by a hyperactive kindergartener. In daylight, the lightning is impressive. By night, the bolts, cloud-to-cloud, cloud-to-ground, light the damp dusty sky a shocking ultraviolet. Even after the rain, the earth is still thirsty. What has not run off the hard face of the earth will be soaked up until the sun evaporates anything left standing. Everything treats each rain as if it will be the last, yet the last rain of the season comes as a surprise, that there just are no more following, that all the clouds are high and empty with dry lightning, or low and laden with dust.
Of course, it had to rain right after I washed the car.
figment0 and I spent time on the phone work-geeking, then talking about how to define magic, and the historical contexts, and how wandering about astrally can be likened to wandering the bad parts of the internet in a full 3D virtual reality experience, with no parental controls (and often no pop-up blockers).
heidi8 has a post on hopes and fears for HP #6. I hope Dumbledore and a Weasley or two bite it. I fear that canon is going to back up a 'ship: not so much for the 'ship itself, but because of the unbearable attitudes of at least certain of those fen whose 'ship it was. I hope that whatever 'ship she writes, if any, she sells it to us convincingly. I fear that she won't. I also fear the reactions of those who are inevitably going to mourn whatever character it is who dies. I was wincing at the Sirius-love and utter devastation I saw all over the friendslist when the (unlamented by me) Mr. Black hit the curtain. OMGWTF, people? (Um, seriously. If anyone's journal gets filled with OMFG!DED!DED!DED!WOE!! posts and the noise-to-signal ratio hits that limit, I'll make with either the defriendy (if not close personal relationship) or the un-default-listing until the WOE dies down to something my stomach can handle.)
So. Um. Day. Yeah.
Morning pages make a difference. Seriously.