It’s nippy out there.

The air temp was up to a balmy -15 °F when I took my walk today. That’s before wind chill. The wind chill has been at “OH HELL NO” since last night. -15 marked the high point between -24 last night, and -23 projected for tonight. -50 wind chill anyone?

Yes, I went outside in that kind of cold. Yes, on purpose. Yes, without a job location I had to travel to reach, or a pet who needs walking, or any other external justification.

Why? Why not? Being able to do things like stroll around in the killing cold by choice remind me how lucky and rich I am, relatively speaking, and how grateful I am for so much in my life.

Also, if I don’t get my body moving and keep moving at a steady pace for at least 30 min a day, I hurt, but I could do enough walking indoors to cope. Not easily, and going around and around inside the house is boring as hell, but hey. I have done it.

But given the choice between boring laps and going out into the deep freeze? No contest.

It was a fantastic hike and meditative too. I spent the time focusing on my breathing rhythm, maintaining awareness of my body’s position, location, and surroundings (the whole world changes in incredible, beautiful ways when it’s super-cold)

..at least, that’s what I was doing when I wasn’t concentrating on ways to keep my glasses from frosting over.

I’d been out about a half-mile when I realized why I was enjoying myself so much. Dealing with weather like this is a lot like swimming. You’re deliberately exposing your body to a medium that will kill you if you’re immersed in it too long, but with the right gear, training, and effort, the experience can bring you a satisfying thrill.

When it comes to gear, I have tons. Decades worth. I ruthlessly toss or donate clothes that wear out/don’t get worn, but cold weather kit keeps well. And scarves? Well. Textiles are my dragon hoard.

My winter coat is literally designed for Antarctica– it came from someone who went on a cruise trip with a company that uses old Russian icebreakers. It has a patch on it and everything.

My closet is packed with thick, plushy hoodies & warm socks and so on. I am spoiled for choice.  I not only have sleek, soft long underwear comfort-rated to sub-zero, I have fleecy versions I can layer over it and under my outerwear.

Hats? Ear protection? insulated gloves with mitten covers? Scarves and ear bands to keep everything but the eyes safe from wind chill? YUP.

And boots with thick soles to keep my toesies in a dry, temperature-controlled environment are my year-round standard.

Basically, I was all set for today.  Note, please, none of my stuff is new. A purple wool scarf my friend Jody found for me and the sparkly red scarf gifted to me by my other friend Tess are the  youngest pieces in the ensemble. Some of the long underwear is old enough to drive, and I think the coat is old enough to vote.

But it’s all good gear, so when I wrap up to go out in the killing cold, I am covered top to toe in cuddlesome coziness and feel super-rich and thankful for every protective piece.

I’ve had training too. Nothing rigorous, just enough to make me comfortable navigating a populated neighborhood.  There were many lessons in cold weather survival in my youth, plus I’ve done a lot of independent study since then. (hello, I’m a writer)  Knowing when to stop is a key skill, and listening to my body saying “enough!” is a thing I have learned well.

Once I find some goggles (frosty eyeglasses are a real PITA) I will be able to easily handle hikes on days far colder than this one. Goggles have been on a vague quest list for years now. Since Polar Vortexes are likely to be a recurring issue, I think I will make a point of hunting some down before next winter.

Because it really was a lovely walk today, and I want to do more.

By the way, if anyone is wondering, no,  I wasn’t the only one out there. I wasn’t even the only person out here without a dog on a leash. I spotted one hardy soul out running, and no one was even chasing them.

Was there a point to this post? I don’t know. But we’ve reached the end of it.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

Another post about GEN CON? YES!

Sunday morning at 9 o’clock as the exhibitors file into the hall. Seven more hours of con.

Booth 1841 with Games Plus. Many-colored coat, bright yellow hair. Can’t miss me. Unless I’ve wandered off.

Yes, yes, I didn’t post last night. Too busy catching up with a dear, dear friend(HI GARY! I had so much fun.  Thank you for making time for me. It was fab to crowd-watch  & sight-see & catch up!) from back in the summer camp days when piling six people into a car and driving from “outside Morgantown,”  to head into Bloomington Indiana was our weekend entertainment. Oh, Waycross-Hickory Hill. Always in my heart, you shaped my life in wonderful ways.

ANYWAY. Con notes. Just a few, because I want to get onto the exhibit floor to wander while the crowds are absent.

  • Many thanks to all of you who have been sent by mutual friends to drop by and talk to me about books ‘n stuff. And many, MANY thanks to my supportive friends. I am beyond grateful and thrilled and humbled and all that. Glitter hearts and hugs to all of you.
  • Special shout-out to the wonderful Troy Maynard, the Very Vocal Viking, who braved peak Saturday crowds to say hello. (If you haven’t read his book, you should.  WONDERFUL stuff.)
  • People are stopping for stickers and then buying books just because they think the stories sound good. How cool is that? SUPER COOL.
  • Someone who bought Rough Passages on Friday dropped by to ask a fantastic, thoughtful plot&concept-related question no one else has ever asked me. Filed under “How To Make This Author GIDDY With Book Joy.” (Yes, I answered his question. We had a lovely short convo about it.)
  • I’m going to have a proper logo. Daniel Govar, who designed my Dawnrigger Logo & dawn dragon, has it. No idea what it looks like yet, he wanted to surprise me here. So…THAT’s exciting!
  • I had dinner last night with the Games Plus crew and it was delicious. Mount Yummy was demolished, drinks and food and stories shared. (key points: dry humor, phrasing, and a bit of gentle mockery.) Good times. I am privileged to be included.

That’s all. I have many photos, but my technology is not cooperating. Later. for now…

ONWARD!

MOAR GEN CON: Friday edition

At Booth 1841 with Games Plus. All weekend. Just saying.

It’s 11 PM on Gen Con Friday. Today was equally epic to yesterday in similar ways. My feet hate me. I am dead-dog tired. The con is still going strong. I’ll post some pics at the bottom of the post. ALL the gaming goes on until 2AM. And gaming is welcomed in almost every imaginable spot in the convention center and most of the hotels. SO. COOL.

Today’s things of note:

  • The people in the booth next to Games Plus are demo’ing and selling a neat game called Era of the Ninja. I got to chatting, As One Does, and it turns out one of them works in a library in Ohio & likes SF & fantasy, go figure. We talked libraries, and books, and she now has a copy of Rough Passages to take back to her library. So maybe soon people in Ohio will be checking out my book.  That would be sweet!
  • I played hooky all morning with my Minneapolis friends & generation-next, tackling my third True Dungeon. Our party reigned victorious, although my elf wizard did not survive the final encounter. Next time, someone needs to be a cleric. When the druid is the only healer and everyone is being zapped & poisoned left & right…yeah.
  • But hey. I boosted the team’s initiative to beat the Big Bad to the first punch, AND I bumped up the ranger’s fighting ability before I expired. We rocked the teamwork part. ANYway. The event was fun and it was truly a joy to hang with  good friends I feel instantly comfortable around despite a gap of nearly 10 years…but that isn’t even the big news.
  • The BIG news is: a book sold while I wasn’t even at the booth. How ’bout THEM apples, eh, world?  Now if you’re wondering, “Is one whole book sale that exciting?” The answer is, “HELLS YEAH IT IS.” It can’t be a pity sale if I’m not even there, see? I did more sales today than I expected again, and am now sold out of the title I didn’t bring many of because I didn’t expect it would sell, based on past cons.
  • I continued to practice good people-engagement and passed out stickers & bookmarks and bitty-little biz cards all day. My smile muscles are so tired.
  • Note to self for the next generation of bling: get the website name onto the stickers somehow, and do author-branded bookmarks rather than book-focused ones. Maybe bookmarks to match the banner styling. Also 2 banners, with the full text.

I’m sure there’s more, but I’m wiped and want to wind down with a little more reading in Freelance Familiars before bed.  Here are the pics I promised.

Two whole days yet to go. I’m gonna be soooooo tired by the end of this. But so happy. That’s my prediction right there.