In the move, we’ve — somehow — managed to lose our forks (and the one flash drive that contained the almost ready to go Darkship Revenge, leaving me about half.  The copy on the computer is corrupted, the directory has disappeared AND — for what must be the first time in my life — I didn’t send the work in progress to friends.  WTH?  Anyone cursing me lately?  It gets better: I’ve narrowed “where the flash drive went” to the pocket of the jeans I wore while moving.  Which have disappeared.  Not in the wash, not washed, not hanging.  Seriously, this is ridiculous. It’s starting to feel uncanny.  I am going to rewrite the d*mn book from middle on (it’s not a raw rewrite, as I wrote two books conjoined) and maybe I’ll find where it went wrong, yes?  Because clearly someone is trying to tell me something.)

I was telling mom that all we have are dessert forks, and she freaked out “You lost your wedding cutlery.”  I had to explain, in small words, that no, I didn’t.  I lost the every day forks, not the good forks.  And then I got all brave and announced that when we move to the “final” (well, probably not really, as ten to fifteen years from now the boys will probably be settled elsewhere in the country and we’ll either move near one of them or get small places near each of them, and divide our time.  BUT “Final” for a while.) house, we’re going to get rid of the every day silverwear set (bought at big lots 17 years ago and such high quality the forks bend if you look at them wrong) and start using the good one every day.  “I’ve been married 30 years mom.  What am I saving the good set for?”

She thought about it, or at least there was a silence, and I prepared for an explosion, and then she said, “You have a point there.  I have “good” sets and “good” dishes, and yet if I die, no one wants them.  Everyone wants their own stuff.”

Which brings me to when mom’s grandmother died.  We got her good wool blanked.  I remember, because I used it to nap on the sofa (usually with the cat) all through my adolescence.  The wool blanket was of some artisan manufacturing and no longer made when Great-grand died, which meant it was probably valuable (I wonder if it still exists or moths ate it.)  At any rate great grandma’s possessions, when I was 6, were all subject to much dispute among children and grandchildren.  And you may say well, they were antiques.  Sort of, except no one treated them like that.  They treated them as everyday use stuff, and still they fought over them.

There was also the fact that my grandparents on mom’s side had an uneven number of chairs.  I.e. they had five children, but seven chairs.  Grandad used to joke (I think it was a joke) there would be a fight over the remaining two chairs.  In the same way, my parents had an extra kitchen stool, and my brother and I would stage mock fights for the extra stool.  (Five stools, two kids.)

It was a joke in our case, and in fact when my paternal grandmother died 24 (really, that long?  I still miss her everyday) years ago, there was no fight, not even over the land she owned, or the antiques in the house.  (I got some everyday use things: her religious books and guest towels.  It’s all I wanted, and it’s not the value.)

BUT at some point, possibly when I was very little, this stuff wasn’t a joke.  Which is why mom is keeping all her “good” stuff (in her case acquired late in her marriage, when they had the money.)  Because at one time high quality silverware and dishes were left to children and grandchildren.

And it’s why I’ve kept my “good” wedding silverware immaculate and used cheap-ass cr*p for 30 years.  Which is ridiculous.  If my boys get married, their brides will want their own stuff, not a handmedown from me, no matter how good a quality it is.  (Though I hope one of them marries a woman who REALLY likes tea, possibly British.  I have in my possession, come down both sides of the family — well, Dan is from new England — tea sets dating back to the 19th century.  “Wedding” tea sets, though on my side, more often than not acquired later in the marriage, when they had money.  And my own wedding teaset is added to it.  I think I used it twice in our marriage.  Anyone up for Writer’s Tea Parties after we move?  Perhaps A Writer’s Holiday Tea?)

So.  Our politicians are crappy, our social structures are decaying, our education sucks, but can we forget all the Rousseau crap already?

We are prosperous beyond measure.  Yes, a lot of what is made is crap, but we’re prosperous enough that the parable of the man who gave half his cloak to the beggar seems weird.  Why not give him a new, cheap cloak?

In the developed worlds no one goes naked for lack of clothes (which still happened in my day, often with children.)  They might wear crappy-ass clothes, but they don’t go naked.  No one goes hungry for lack of food (they might eat awful stuff for lack of the skills to cook better or lack of give a damn, but they don’t outright not eat.  Those children with distended bellies from honest-to-Bob famines?  We don’t have them.)

This is the day (relative) freedom has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

And then we can get back to fixing our culture, our education and our politicians.  (What, I think they should be neutered.  You?)

Go and make/build something today that can give fruits for generations to come.

We make, we build, we elevate.  It’s what we do.  If we work hard enough, we’ll do it faster than they can tear it down.

Meanwhile: It’s ALIVE!  Sword and Blood has gone live.

sword and bloodcover1


156 responses to “Legacies

  1. Laura Montgomery

    Congratulations on publication!
    Sword and Blood is my next read.

  2. The Other Sean

    I’m all for for fixing our politicians, but many (most?) have already reproduced by the time they’re worth any note.

  3. I forget who it was, but I have read something on the order of:
    I don’t have a mansion, but the house I am in serves well.
    I don’t have a Rolls Royce, but my car runs.
    I don’t have fine China, but the Corelle does well enough
    I don’t have $NEWEST_THING, but $OLD_RELIABLE works.

    Pointing out that the ‘gap’ between “rich” and “poor” or at least “not rich” (in the USA) is for most all-but-imaginary.

    Often “best” or “most sought” isn’t ideal, and ‘good enough’ is really best. How rich are we, really? We have to invent artificial scarcity! “Limited time offer!” and “Limited edition!” etc. We have the cornucopia… and try to turn it off!

    • Back when Sam Walton was the wealthiest man in the United States, a reporter asked him why he drove a 10-year-old pickup truck.

      Sam said, “It isn’t worn out yet.”

      • Back when I first started working in Silicon Valley, the VC who funded my first company used to get around in a ratty 12-year-old Ford Mustang.

        Not that he couldn’t afford better (he was a multi-millionaire then, a billionaire now) but because he liked it, and could drive whatever he pleased – he didn’t feel the need to make a display.

        I thought he had a point. We’re far from his wealth class (I wish!) but my wife and I have been comfortably middle class or better most of the years since then. And neither of us (or our kids) has ever paid as much as $20K for a car. We generally buy recent-model used cars and we keep them as long as they’re still reliable. Ditto for our house (nice, comfortable, but an older house rather than a McMansion), our home furnishings, and the rest of our lifestyle.

        Meanwhile many of my cousins (we have a large extended family) have OK incomes, but complain about money being tight, being unable to buy a home – and regularly buy new luxury SUVs that cost nearly half their yearly income.

        I rather suspect that some of them think we’re not doing all that well when we show up at family gatherings in a 5+ year old sedan instead of something more impressive. But we’re happy, except for a mortgage (almost paid off) we’re debt-free, and we’re on track with our retirement savings. So why change things?

      • Patrick Chester

        I only got a new car a year ago because my 20 or so year old Geo was starting to break down more.

  4. You, me, Alma Boykin, Anita Young, a few other ladies: Chattanooga, LibertyCon, Tea Shop. High Tea! Breathing room for introverts away from the convention!

    Date and time to be decided on a whim, so it’s impossible for a crowd to make it not-breathing-room-for-introverts-away-from-convention! There may, schedule permitting, be multiples of this event!

    Granted, it’s not using your good tea set (and I’ve lost mine in the move. How do I do that, when I packed all my boxes?!) But it’s darned fine practice!

  5. Remind me, how many times did I have to resend my S&B edits because the file vanished?
    You know, I used to do a bit of jewelry and metal working. Thinking strongly of attaching a tiny thumb drive to a brick with unbreakable chain. I believe I’ll call the line the Sarah collection.

    • Why do I now imagine some sort of implanted memory device?

      “You can’t truly lose yourself, can you?”
      “Don’t tempt the Universe like that.”

      • SheSellsSeashells

        Simon Illyan would like to have a word with you.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          To Be Fair, Simon Illyan didn’t lose himself.

          His memory chip was sabotaged. 😀

          Of course, even after the chip was removed, he had problems adjusting.

          • Sara the Red

            And then, once he HAD adjusted…he got bored…

            (I cannot BEGIN to describe how much I want a Simon Illyan/Baron Arqua heist story…)

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              “he got bored…”

              A phrase that should strike terror in the hearts of all that hear it!! 😈 😈 😈 😈

    • Besides the usual ‘attach USB drive to lanyard and hang from neck’ there are cute options that the female version of James Bond would probably be able to use.


      Personally I wouldn’t use those because of how hot they’d get, I imagine, but I’m sure a little research for what materials to use would lead to the Sarah collection of writerly multifunction jewelry.

      Personally I prefer Toshiba brand. The Daichi series of 32GB flash drives are USB 3.0, and come in bright colors and have a little gap in the casing for a lanyard attachment.

      For ridonkulous amounts of storage there’s the 256GB capacity one… or the 1tb flash drives from Kingston… (Kinda fun how the devices shrink.)

  6. Anyone up for Writer’s Tea Parties after we move? Perhaps A Writer’s Holiday Tea?

    Yet again making me regret we do not live closer…

    • sabrinachase

      One of the nicest con parties I attended was a Regency tea 🙂 And it wasn’t at murder O’clock at night, either! Elegant finger sammiches on compotes, the whole nine yards.

      Ya know, we *could* do Skype or google hangout Teas, since somebody lost the keys to the dimensional portal and the Mole People are behind schedule on the tunnels.

      • The Anime con I work has two teas, one tea for BJD collectors and another for the Goth Lolitas. While I don’t collect I have been adopted by the BJD crowd and am allowed to attend. (I have seen one doll I would love — with the right face up, wig and clothes she would be Audrey Hepburn from the dance scene in the Paris cellar in Funny Face…)

        Two years ago the new person running hospitality upgraded the teas. He arranged with a local tea distributor to come in. They developed four tea blends to go with our mascots. Apparently those blends have sold well for them and their general sales in the Dealer’s Room are sound, so they have been delighted to continue.

        • BJDs are one of the things I wished I could get into, but because they’re so expensive I decided to let that thought go. (I’ve looked into such over the years and… yeah I’d have to be really rich.) Back when I first became aware of them it seemed the trend was “adopting” the doll, as they were expensive to have and then to dress up and maintain.

          There’s a subset of ball jointed dolls that do a sort of skin-over-joints option. (I wish I had the spare cash for that one and a female body one, for pose and body study purposes). Phicen Limited does GORGEOUS dolls, but they’re not cheap.

          They seem to be popular for people who do costume minis (most of the ones I’ve seen are WW2 soldier types but on occasion you get things like Vincent Price http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10382583 or Vladimir Putin, Martin Luther King Jr. or comic book characters like Shi.

          Putin Doll: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10382077

          Shi: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10382057

          or this fellow: http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10381737

          • Yes it is an expensive hobby. But OH!

            Thank you for sharing the links.

            • *grin* You’re welcome. At least we can look at the pretty shiny things and admire the artistry, right?

              I actually did buy a couple of BJDs eventually (Sebastian the demonic butler from Black Butler, and as a birthday present, Sinon from Sword Art Online for my hubby, who, I imagine, would cheerfully play GGO if it existed) but I can’t bring myself to take Sebas-chan out of the box.

    • One of my favorite portions of Bubonicon is the Author’s Afternoon Tea, which originally was sponsored by several of the authors (now a more general set of regulars). This is a British “low tea” (i.e., upper-class fancy), where people often dress up. It has become so popular, that in 2015 there were three “sittings” that people had to sign up in advance for.
      C’mon down. 🙂

      • Maybe next year. This year it conflicts with the start of class and inservice for me. (BuboniCon is my “home” Con, although that may change as AmaCon grows.)

  7. Lost your forks? I’m sure you’ll come to a fork in the road. Take it.

  8. Meanwhile: It’s ALIVE! Sword and Blood has gone live.

    I’m confused… are they alive or undead?

  9. I’m in for a holiday tea. Or a “late summer before school starts get away to the mountains” tea.

  10. Corrupted files? Are you and Amanda sharing computer virii?

  11. Ah, the family stuff – we had a few things from both sides, as my parents were only children, so all of Dad’s parents things and Mom’s parents things came down to them. Only Dad’s family had any pretensions to wealth (at one point). But the retirement house that Mom and Dad lived in burnt to the ground in 2003 in one of the big California wildfires, and the only things which survived had either been parceled out to my sister, or grabbed by Mom in the twenty minutes they had to evacuate the house.

    As my brother said afterwards; “Look on the bright side – there’s practically nothing for us to fight over inheriting, now!”

    • OT helped by a serving of sleep dep, I finally realized what your icon reminds me of.

      The IDIC tribble’s fur pattern from Star Trek Online.

      • I know – teeeny tiny – but is actually the San Jacinto battle flag,

        • Randy Wilde

          The Republic of Texas owed its existence to Vulcan tribbles from the future?

          I don’t remember that from 6th grade Texas history… but I’d just moved to that school district from California and I had a huge crush on a girl in my class, so I might have been looking at her instead of paying attention to the teacher the day they covered that.

          • Click on the picture to see it enlarged or check Celia Hayes’ link to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum — since when did Network TV circa 1965 ever allow the display of a women with a bared breast?

            • I did click on it, but it’s more fun to speculate about Vulcan tribbles. And to reminisce about my 6th grade crush, wondering where she is. 🙂

          • How do we know they were from the future? Didn’t some Vulcans get trapped here at some point. Though I don’t think they would introduce tribbles. Of course if the tribbles liked kudzu, I would trade. They would be stupid to take that trade though.

  12. “And then we can get back to fixing our culture, our education and our politicians. (What, I think they should be neutered. You?)”

    Politician, rope, lamppost. Some assembly required. Child of twelve with Phillips screwdriver not included. *

    * But wait! That’s not all! With this handy offer, for a limited time only, you ALSO get…

    Condolences on losing the novel. I’ve done something similar. It’s… “irritating” is such an inadequate word, sometimes.

    • scott2harrison

      That just gave me visions of Kate at 12 with a big grin and a rusty looking screwdriver.

  13. !!!!!!!!!!

    Sarah! Check your email please!

  14. In the developed worlds no one goes naked for lack of clothes (which still happened in my day, often with children.)

    I was 1965 and we were on one of two a family vacations we ever took. At the time what I knew was the urban northeast. We were in the south visiting places my mother remembered from her youth. I had already been confronted with unfamiliar and unsettling things, such as segregated water fountains.

    My father was driving the family through the hard scrabble tobacco share cropping area of North Carolina to get from Ocracoke to the Blue Ridge Mountains. As I gazed out the window I saw something that made an unforgettable impression me. There were kids outside badly worn shacks playing in the dirt yards wearing nothing but what looked to me like scraps of rags. I had never before seen signs of such poverty. The kids playing on the streets of the ghettos of Philadelphia at the time were dressed like kings and queens in comparison.

    • When I went to Army basic training, there were young men from the deep, deep South in my platoon who broke down crying when they were issued their boots – it was the first time they’d ever gotten brand-new footwear.

      • When I first got to AF basic training in 1976, our TI’s told us tales of women trainees who had to be sent with a voucher to the BX to purchase underwear. Didn’t report to basic with bra and panties, likely had never worn either, until they enlisted.

  15. Aimee Morgan

    When my parents downsized, I got their black ‘china’. It’s actually stoneware that Dad bought in Hong King while he was in the neighborhood as part of that whole Viet Nam kerfluffle. Service for 12 (there were seven of us, after all), including some actual serving pieces.

    I’d rather have something that my Mom or Dad used and treasured than something that they kept behind glass and looked at. My Dragonette has started telling me what pieces she gets when I die, and I’ve noticed it’s the stuff I use, not the stuff I have on display.

    As for thumb drives, I have upwards of 40 of them, but can rarely find the one I want. Carbonite is a nice substitute, at least for the important stuff.

    • I bought a set of black dishes a few decades ago. I love them.

      My wife keeps buying flower-pattern saucers and plates. Not sets, just random single pastel floral items that match nothing. The patterns range from “bleh” to “fugly.”

      So, for just the two of us, we have enough dishware to serve, oh, maybe forty people at once…

      When I finally get the new house finished, only the black ones are coming along.

      • After the first ceramic grenade (it had previously been shaped like a bowl– I have no idea how nobody bled from that incident) I started getting nice, thick stonewear at Goodwill.

        We now have some green plates that I love, some rainbow saucers and plates the kids love, and a set of blue bowls that my husband loves because they’re the PERFECT size for him.

  16. My Father’s side was pretty standard inheritances. Mostly just papers and records. My mother’s side was a cluster because grandmother had remarried and died before she was supposed to sign divorce papers. Actually needed police escort to get some heirlooms from first marriage.

    My father is threatening to be buried in his antique car though. Five of us arguing over it.

  17. Decided decades ago to use the sterling forks etc everyday as who is more important to me than my family…one of best decisions I ever made as ALL my patterns (silver, crystal, china–yes, little ones, people got that stuff once upon a time when they got married) have been discontinued and no one wants any of them now anyhow…only two things still not discontinued are hubby and me and after 55 years our times are coming too 🙂
    Hope flash drive re-appears. Remember that saying about 3 moves equals one fire?

    • and when this is done, we’ll have done three moves, one of them in a hurry (this last one.) Sigh.

      • Buy at least two new flash drives. Put one on your keyring and the other on a necklace. If you carry it in a pocket, use one that has a string loop, then put an alligator clip or stocking clip on the string to attach it to the edge of your pocket.

        • I have knocked a clip off of my pants pocket. Try a locking carbiner clip, and attach it through a belt loop and/or around your belt.

          • Anything is better than depending on gravity!

            • But a an aging human I can tell you that gravity always wins. The force of nature, not the opposite of a sense of humor. A sense of humor is necessary to face aging.

          • Locking Carabiner? That was The Climbers first album! I saw them open for Jethro Tull in Atlanta. What a band.

  18. Put one on … on a necklace.

    For the guys: LANYARD — it’s not just for guns and knives.


  19. I’m a believer that the silver and china should be used. Been to a few too many estate sales featuring a 40 year old set that looked like it had never come out of the hutch. Always thought that was sad.

    For my first apartment, my everyday “silverwear” set was an eight place setting silver plated set picked up at an estate sale for $20. Used it daily for 15 years before it moved down to the camping bin.

    Just for fun, the plates my cats eat off of are china purchased at a thrift store. I’m informed that anything less would be beneath their regal status.

    • Our everyday china is a box of vintage Noritake, bought at a junk place that provided clean-out service for rural sheds and barns. The plates and cups were sitting on a table under a pole barn in the rain, half-unpacked, and I bought the whole lot for about what a single one of the dinner plates goes for at the discontinued pattern china outlets. It was just as you noted – pristine, unused. Wrapped up in paper, stuck in a shed someplace for years.
      Lovely stuff, a pleasure to use, and in the year and a half since, we’ve only managed to slightly chip one plate.

    • My mother had at least three sets; every time they moved, she got another set to display in the fancy hutch.

      After she died my Dad tried to give them away, but they were so fugly nobody wanted them, so he eventually put them out in the trash.

    • I still think mine’s pretty… but I’m afraid it is never likely to see as much use as something that can be scraped, microwaved, and put in the dishwasher with impunity. Probably it’s an ugly floral to some people, too.

  20. I just got my great grandfather’s pocket watch from my mom. It’s a wonderful mechanical thing and I’m going to have to get it cleaned and find a key. Doing the internet research was an interesting journey which will be a post as soon as a take pictures of the watch.

    • I have my great-grandmothers’ ladies watch, which is about the size of an old silver dollar. I think I got that on my 21st birthday, which to my English grand[parents was a Very Significant Thing. I also have the ring that my great-grandfather bought for her on their honeymoon as a guard ring, as her wedding ring was a little too large for her finger.
      I have the notion to dress up in full late Edwardian kit for author events – hat and long skirt and all. (bought a pattern for a walking suit at Hancock Fabric this last weekend.) I should work out a way to wear Great-Granny Alice’s watch as part of the outfit,

  21. Sarah, mind an OT question here? Got a few Audible credits to burn and looking for rec’s…

  22. Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.

    My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.

    If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

    Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I’d have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

    I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

    I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

    I would have eaten popcorn in the “good” living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

    I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

    I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

    I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

    I would have cried and laughed less while watching television … and more while watching real life.

    I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

    I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

    I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for a day.

    I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn’t show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.

    When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner.”

    There would have been more I love yous … more I’m sorrys … more I’m listenings … but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it … look at it and really see it … try it on … live it … exhaust it … and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.


  23. their brides will want their own stuff, not a handmedown from me

    I’m slowly buying a second set of silverware matching my Mom’s pattern. I’m planning on giving the original set to my niece when she gets married. I think she’ll like Grandma’s better than something new. Meanwhile, thief magnet: Sterling setting for 18.

    She always believed in using things, not storing them. The knife handles are dented from hitting jar lids. Mom, seriously?!! But, that gives it a story. I did replace the teaspoon that went through the garbage disposal, though.

    Daily dishes don’t match at all and the flatware is stainless from Sam’s Club. “Good” dishes (which get used at least once a month) are plain white ceramic – not china – for 24. (I used to have a much bigger table than I do, now.) I’m sick of the plain white, but I’m not spending money to replace perfectly good dishes. Eventually enough of them will get broken to justify replacing the rest (or making them the daily dishes).

    Good luck finding the flash drive. My wedding ring just vanished. It must be in the house, somewhere, but we can’t find it. I’ve decided to replace it with a tattoo of a ring. And now I’m going home to backup my photo directory.

    P.S. If you haven’t heard of it, Replacements (dot com) is an excellent, if not cheap, place to get, well, replacements for china, silver, etc…

  24. The cyborg travesty of humanity staggers in from the spore-ridden hell of the Texas pollen season, its mind fixed on dreams of flaming revenge on the entire seeded world… “I…live. And I will remember.

  25. Captain Comic

    I’m starting to think Darkship is seriously some sort of “King in Yellow” sort of thing. If it’s truly finished or published or read, bad things will start happening the world over. Maybe the time stream is trying to save itself or something…

  26. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Wisconsin seems to have gone pretty close to the forecasts of certain pundits. We shall see.

  27. This is why whenever I’ve done enough writing to notice, I zip it up and upload a copy to my web hosting. (Sometimes to both web hosts.) You’ll want to use a passworded directory to keep the crawlers out.

  28. You should submit a FOIA request on your novel. The NSA probably has a copy.

    • You think you’re joking.

    • It’s labeled extremely top secret so FOIA doesn’t apply.

      • Maybe there is a Hun in Ft. Meade who could quietly slip her a copy some way that wouldn’t get them in trouble. Spoof an email from Shadowdancer saying that she had been sent a copy for some reason that Sarah forgot in her exhausted state. I’m sure a gift horse wouldn’t be examined too closely if it showed up with the file.

      • Randy Wilde

        Well, if it was that secret there’s probably a copy on some politician’s email server. Maybe Sarah can get a copy from the Russians.

        If they want authentication, just tell them “Moose and Squirrel”.

  29. Actually the trick IS to use it. And then it’s wanted because of all the memories in. My “good” as in special use for feast days china, is my grandma’s everyday ware. Because of all the stories you tell when you lay them on the cloth of the meals you took back then. And yes, they were fought over, and I won, because I’m oldest.

    I do have good wedding china, which we use for company, any company, which will become everyday once we reach a point where the yard ape, doing cleanup doesn’t regularly break a piece. Because it’s good quality, well made and pretty. (Just like grandma’s)…

    And so it goes.