Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

When I was a little girl in small-town Iowa, I remember making May baskets. There were different ways to make baskets from office paper: my favorite involved coloring one sheet with red crayons and then cutting pages into shapes that interleaved to make a red-and-white basketweave heart, and stapling a handle onto it. I remember making one for my best friend (only friend, really) Katie Schaper, biking down in the early morning to hang it from her door handle: candy and flowers, either violets or lilacs, of which there were plenty in our yard. A May basket still feels like childhood and spring to me in a way that nothing else does. I mention this because Chris got one from one of his neighbor-kids, and I had a sudden fierce pang: I remember and I want one!

Nevenah Smith gave me this lovely necklace, from Susan Phillips in North Carolina. It’s a beautiful crafted object, and I am really amazed and touched by this. Thank you, Nevenah, again! I can’t wait to show it off in person. somewhere..

It’s been hot and sunny these last few days, so yesterday, I put an enormous suntent over my wooden front deck, with a table and chairs, and some adirondacks. I spent most of yesterday outside under the tent, with the Kansas winds keeping it pleasant. It means I can’t see the sky and the crazed clouds there, so I may buy something smaller and designed to keep a single person shady, instead of this party-for-ten thing I currently have. But all this shady, windy, outdoor space feels lavish, and it was perfect yesterday for talking with a friend face to face for hours. Face to face! We even hugged at the end.

I broke down and purchased the new computer. This ended up being more complicated than it might have been. The Apple person who took my request for the computer managed to screw it up in every way, having it shipped to my house a week or so down the road instead of a pickup Friday at the Leawood store, which defeated the purpose of my Friday Genius Bar appointment for transferring everything. I found this out when I got to Leawood, but the staff there sorted it all out, I cancelled the shipped MacBook Pro, and purchased instead the fancier one for the same amount, plus a discount on the service contract (which I ALWAYS buy, knowing my luck with technology). It’s mostly working, but there’s still something that’s not happening with downloading Office 365; hopefully tomorrow we can figure this out. For now, I am on my old computer, rather hoping the crash doesn’t happen for a few more days.

This meant that I drove over twice in the new car, which really is a dream on the highway. (It also has a moon roof, as I periodically text friends to mention.) I still only have a couple of hundred miles on it — bought the first tank of gas Friday.

American Tour is on hold again, alas. I had been having a lot of trouble with Chapter Twelve, complicated by the way a professor’s job deteriorates in the last three months of the academic year to spatterings of makework and disconnected one-off tasks. I just couldn’t do the mental work to connect the dots — and I knew that in May I was going to have to pause anyway, since I have three requests for shorter work for magazines and a journal, all due before July, and two of them due by the end of May. But I am interested in these projects. One may have to be punted, but hopefully the others will finish. And then, finally and at last, back to the book. I envy to my soul people who have jobs that are mostly consistent.

Anything else? I am reading a lot of Mick Herron, who writes very elegant yet savagely funny spy thrillers.