Wednesday, January 30, 2008

(Only Some) Promises Kept

The scene outside McDonald's this morning

My little sidebar project has now turned into a major database creation project, the better to keep track of Robins through blog changes and name changes and life changes. It'll be worth it in the long run, but tonight I've barely gotten started, creating an Excel doc that so far has participants from the first six Challenges back in 2005 and the most recent eight Challenges in 2007-8. It's interesting, seeing who first turned up back near the very beginning, some of whom are still active today.

It's eaten up my evening, though. Well, that and the apples. And the dog. And the thing with my Dad.

There's a scene in Heirs of Mâvarin with the following text:

Del’s party of selmûnen and tengremen was almost to Mâshelamar. Farmers’ fields gave way to cultivated forests of oak and maple and orchards of apple trees in neat rows. When evening came they set up camp in one such orchard, outside Pomlebeth, where the humans dined on venison and roasted apples. Del wondered how so many apples could be ripe this early in the season. Then he noticed that nearly all of them passed through the hands of Gar Nabil first, and knew that selmûn magic was involved.
(Heirs of Mâvarin by KFB, page 249)

That got me wondering exactly how early in the season it actually was. I dug up the Word document that converts key dates from Mâvarin terminology to English equivalents, and read that the book starts on July 5th. This scene takes place a week later, on the 12th. Peak apple season, I read online tonight, is not until September, so mid-July is very, very early to expect ripe apples. When I was in junior high and high school, I used to eat several varieties of apples from branches grafted onto the apple tree in our back yard in Manlius. Seems to me I started doing that as early as July, but the summer apples were tart and sour, like a Granny Smith only smaller and less moist. That's sort of what I'm going for in the scene, that the apples are like that until magically ripened; but I may be pushing my luck with July. I may have to go with August, and change 40 or so chapters from the various books to accommodate the change. Well, maybe I'll leave it in July. Meanwhile, though, I had a good time reading about New York State apples online, got emotional for a moment upon reading the name of a familiar Central New York grower, and very nearly set off for Safeway for a Granny Smith or two. Didn't get a lot of writing in, I'm sorry to say.

And yes, as promised, I walked the dog.

Tuffy loved it of course. Me, I had a backache by the time we returned from what was actually a fairly short walk. That's why I need to do it. It's vital to start getting the exercise I've neglected for two or three years. But I have to start with something relatively easy. Hence the dogwalking.

Sent to my dad: pictures from the local railroad museum

When I got back I called my Dad, to get his take on the primary. He's leaning toward Hillary right now, and I'm leaning toward Obama, although I told Hillary's robocall survey the other night that my current choice was Edwards. I have less than a week to decide! But anyway, talking to my Dad reminded me that I promised him photos from my Round Robin railroad shoot two weeks ago. (He's past president of a railroad museum). So I spent an hour or so filling an email with eighteen large photos, including three from Dillinger Days. I hope Ruth's email server and online connection can handle it!


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