The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
April 1999

Tree Sex, April 10

Title of the Month: Natural Enemies Handbook

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Tree Sex
Saturday, April 10

Sorry I haven't written in a while. It's been busy at work and home and spring is springing. I have accumulated several subjects to natter on about, though.

First thing: trees are having sex right out in the open here in Minneapolis, and I think something should be done about it, especially in the case of the maples. It's not just that I'm allergic to the pollen—I'm an open-minded person—it's the way they flaunt it along the boulevards and even in the yards of private homes in broad daylight. Disgusting. No decency.

Oh sure, my eyes are watering, my nose is stuffed up, and I scare the cats with my sneezing, but that's beside the point. Trees have to learn some morals one of these days and fit in with the American Way of Life.

Another alarming thing in the streets is babies. For the third time in my life I found a baby alone in the street. The previous two had been in diapers staggering down the middle of the street and I had to go from door to door knocking to find a parent.

This one was about 2 years old, fully dressed and merely playing in a puddle by the side of a very busy one way street at rush hour. I pulled the car over to block her way into the street and looked frantically around for an adult. Just as I was untangling myself from the seat belt, I heard a woman scream. She came running down the alley. I gathered from her screams that she had been unloading her car and had only turned around for a second. . . .

She got the child and was babbling when I pulled away, fearing that I'd get rear-ended. Had to go home and shake for a half-hour before I was good for anything. At least this mother didn't immediately swat the kid, the way the previous ones had done.

Minicon 34 was held over Easter weekend as usual, but in a much different shape, place and form than in the immediate past. The concom moved us to a hotel downtown, instead of the Radisson South (out in the suburbs) where we had been for 13 years. They scaled way back on many things, some of which were rather dear to my heart. Programming got a late start.

However, it turned out pretty well. The hotel was lovely and had a great space which accommodated the attendees very nicely. It was huge with an abundance of comfortable seating. Since we were downtown there were restaurants galore, and a witty, well-written guidebook to help one explore.

The consuites were mere shadows of their former selves but there wasn't as much need for them, and they were still better than 95% of the cons I've ever been to.

Programming was a bit on the sparse side, but came off well, with many interesting panels. Octavia Butler and Dave Nee as Guests of Honor were fascinating. Octavia Butler is a great speaker, funny and rational, and Dave (a former boss of mine from back in the Berkeley days) knows the bookselling business inside out and backwards.

There were many good parties and other events, good music from what I understand (ah, the sorrow of being old and crabby after 10 p.m. and having to go to bed), a good art show and huckster room. Even the elevators were superb! Twice as many and twice as fast. The only thing I could have done without were some uncharitable gloating remarks made in public by a few concom members about those who had doubted their wisdom.

However, Geri Sullivan ran a fine convention and deserves much praise and honor. The con is a much more manageable size and I hope it stays that way.

Lots of my Bay Area friends came out for the occasion. I could hardly decide who to hug first and of course didn't get enough time with any of them, but that's the way it goes. It was great to see them. You know who you are.

We were able to do the Lady Poetesses From Hell panel again this year, but it was a new, improved version. Jane Yolen had forgotten to bring a hat, so I loaned her my gorgeous Salmon Enchanted Evening fish hat, sculpted by Lauryn Macgregor and given to me by Karen S. It's hard to describe but I assure you Jane looked lovely, especially with the fish hat's eyes flashing on and off.

On the escalator ride down to the programming area she burst into song and we quickly stabilized it into something like:

Lady Poetesses on the move
Here we go, here we go
Lady poetesses on the move
Watch us go to hell. . . .

as we made our stately progress.

So all six of us made an entrance into the packed room singing. This year it was Jane Yolen, Rebecca Marjesdatter, me, John Rezmerski, Laurel Winter, and Ruth Berman. A good time was had by all, and we got a standing ovation.

I guess that panel and going shopping with Don Fitch for the concom suite supplies were my favorite parts of the convention. It sounds weird to say that, but going anywhere with Don Fitch is a wonderful experience. There's something in the way his eyes light up at the sight of the Lund's pastry counter that speaks volumes to my heart.

At one point I was sitting around a table with Diane and Jim and Debbie and we were discussing what pleased us most about getting older. To me, it's the amazing people I've been so lucky to meet over the years, and how I have a whole reference library out there—editors, writers, gardeners, artists, cooks, computer whizzes, accountants, engineers, real estate experts, bee keepers, teachers, librarians, mothers, fathers, doctors, nurses, file clerks, secretaries. . . the list goes on and on. Knowledge and delightful personalities—it makes me feel rich.

So Happy Spring to you all. Take good care of yourselves and your richness.


f**king trees. . . atchooooo!

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
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Copyright 1999 by Terry A. Garey.