textualdeviance: (Eowyn pen)
Still high on my success of last November, I decided to do the summer version of NaNoWriMo, and I conquered it! Got the first 50k done in 24 days, and now seeing how much closer I can get to finishing the story by the end of the month.

Assuming I do finish it--and I'm sure I will--this will be my third completed novel in the last two years (fourth, if you count the 120k-word fanfic novel) and to be honest: I'm gobsmacked that I've done this.

I'm sure many reading this won't be surprised. I'm ridiculously verbose, after all (an LJ post of less than 500 words is incredibly short), so banging out ~300,000 words of fiction theoretically doesn't seem like much. However, most of that verbosity is in blog posts, commentary and other short-form nonfiction. Even my fanfic, until I started writing the series that eventually became a novel, was rarely more than 3,000 words each. I've been writing since I was a kid, and I've always had something to say, both in commentary and fiction, but I've never before had the stamina and focus to tell a long-form story. My ADD and tendency to get bored easily would always kick in, and I'd move on to something else before I'd got more than a couple of chapters in. There are probably as many words of unfinished stories sitting in various notebooks and hard drives as there are of the ones I've finished the last couple of years.

So what changed? How am I able to do this now when I wasn't before?

When strangers ask me what I do, I tell them I'm a writer. Then they ask me if I'm published. Well ... )
textualdeviance: (Andrew Whee!)
Hallefreakinlujah: I'm unemployed! Today was my last day--almost exactly three months since I started--and I've decided I'm never, ever going back there again. The people are nice, but the actual work itself has been miserable for me. I need out. And thankfully, I AM.

Have also decided that I'm going to stay unemployed for quite a while, unless we suddenly need the money or MSNBC has a gig I want. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I've been mommy-tracking my career for years, now. Time to stop doing that, do the mommy thing, and then get started back up on it again once the kid's ready for day care. I've wasted far too many years in jobs in which my education and skills were utterly useless. If I go working again, I want it to be in something where I'm valued and useful and, I hope, can make a positive difference in the world. What I've been doing for the last five years? Not that. I think I burned out on this on my last go. These last three months have been excruciating. Yay that they paid for London, but still. Enough.

Near-term post-job plan is to dive back into the writing, and start pushing hard to get at least one of my novels sold. I'm not certain that'll happen, of course, but I want to at least try. Given that I've also already written a chapter on yet another new book, I think it's time I consider myself a serious writer. I'm always looking to improve, of course, but I think I'm at least as good as many of the published writers in my genre. All that's left, really, is people paying me for the pleasure of reading my stories, which is more a business effort than a creative one--and one I think I can handle.

So, yeah. I'm going to do that for the next several months--however long it takes to get picked by a birthfamily. Then I'll spend a year or so with the sprog while it's tiny and needs constant attention. Once that's all done--two years and change from now, prolly--I'll take a look at circumstances and decide then what to do about getting a proper paycheck again.

As I mentioned on FB, I don't want to go too long without having some sort of resume fodder--I'm far too practical of a person to screw myself over like that--but yes, I am going to take some time off for now. Honestly, we don't need the money. We DO need my sanity, and that was being sucked dry by that horrid job.

---

The only downside, of course, is that it means we have less money for travel. I think I'm good on that front for the time being, though. As I mentioned, London took a lot out of me, and I think my days of hardcore traveling like that are done. Definitely a few other things we want to do--New England, Mexico and of course some regular Hawaii and Florida jaunts--but the long, transoceanic flights to cavernous airports? Not so much. Oz and NZ will have to wait until I have more bandwidth. Which prolly won't happen until the kid is travel-ready, which will be a while. I know I'll get itchy feet again--soon, even--but I think I can keep them satisfied on this continent for now.

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Speaking of the kid thing ... we're alllllmost done with the first half of the process. We've written the (enormous) check for the pool-entry fee, and tomorrow is the last of our home-study interviews. All that's left after this is getting a photo collage together and getting in a few reference letters, and we're good to go. I'm guessing another couple of weeks, tops, before I can point y'all to our profile page on the agency's waiting-parents site. I'm nervous as all hell, but also really looking forward to being done with this part of things. Idle waiting I can handle. Seven months of paperwork hell? Driving me bonkers.

---

Have to remind myself: with at least a year of no real responsibilities, I don't HAVE to do everything on my to-do list in the next 48 hours. But oh, so tempted. The back yard, for one, has been begging for all sorts of attention. It's gotten some--there's a new batch of birdfeeders and a bunch of container garden stuff--but still needs more spiffing. It's rapidly becoming my favorite place to be on a nice day. It can be a bit noisy at times. There's all the games at the park across the street, a tiny bit of freeway noise from the 405 down the hill, and frequent Cessnas overhead (there's a small airport nearby.) But beyond that, it's actually very peaceful. Everything's green and lush and the birdies absolutely love it. We've had tons of hummingbirds this year so far, and I've counted every single kind of bird we've had back there before, plus a few new ones. Love it!

Also have some gaming to do, some fandom stuff (a few fics and vids) and a LOT of reading and movies/TV to catch up on. Also want to properly cook again. Planning to conduct the writing thing in a professional way--making sure I meet a daily wordcount--but beyond that, I'm squirming about having more freedom.

Honestly, this feels like I'm getting back to my real life--back to me. I think I've more than paid my working-world dues at this point. I want to work on the rest of who I am, now. I'm not getting any younger, and my health means I probably won't have many retirement years to do all this in. I'll be damned if I'm going to let any more of my life slip away in a tiny, flourescent-lit box if I don't absolutely have to.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Avoiding going in to work, even though I have to. Have already put in a request to terminate the contract. Will see how that pans out.

Realized something sad, though: part of the reason my career hasn't taken off like I'd hoped is that I've not been fired up to get a better job. Why? Because for the last five years, I've been thinking I was going to become a parent within a year or so, and I didn't want to commit to anything long-term or intensely involved if I knew I was going to be taking a year+ off to wrangle a little one. Had the attempts at making a tiny human on our own worked out as I wanted them to, the kid would now be in pre-school, and I'd be pursuing something far more rewarding than button-monkey contract work. I chose contract over permanent because it was flexible enough to allow me the time off I was going to need.

And as each year has gone by without that tiny human showing up, I continue to be stuck in limbo, not able to find something better because I have to wait.

If there were any way for me to make the kind of money M does, he'd be happy to take the parental leave instead. It's not like we're married to the idea of splitting parenting duties by gender, after all. But practically speaking, his paycheck is absolutely necessary, and I can't make even half that, even if I did get a better job, so I'm the one who gets to stay home for a while.

For the record, I'm not opposed to people who choose daycare, either because they have to work or want to. I'm also not opposed to people who have nannies or au pairs around to enable them to work as well. I'm not planning to be around my kid 24/7 until she starts school. Hardly. But we can't afford a full-time in-home nanny, and since I don't have a truly fulfilling, well-paying job right now, there's no point in blowing 80% of my paycheck on daycare just to enable me to go to a job I'm not excited about. That and really: I've waited this long to have the experience of being a parent. I may as well actually have that experience, y'know? I want to get to know this new little person, not spend 40 hours a week in an office wondering what she's doing. M's already done the parenting thing with his siblings, so he's not as jazzed about that--though he is looking forward to having his own kid. But yeah. I do want to be more directly involved while my kid's little.

The only thing I worry about is whether I can light a fire under my career when the time comes again. I'm guessing my only option is to do whatever I can to get one or both of my books published, so I at least have that going on to fill the gap, and make certain that I have something more on my CV for that time than changing diapers.

Which leads me to a final thought: Ages ago, someone asked me when I was going to have kids, and I told her, "Oh, not for a while, yet. I want to make some contributions to the world, first." She glanced over at her kids and said, "Those are my contributions to the world." I get that I kind of offended her, but honestly? I think she was full of shit. It is of course a difficult and laudable job to turn a tiny human into a functioning, self-sufficient adult, but if that's the only thing you've ever done, you've not actually made something of yourself. Living your life through another person--partner, child, etc.--isn't making your own mark.

If you have dreams of what your children will be when they grow up, and those visions include something besides parenting, why don't you have those dreams for yourself, too?

Frankly, I've not achieved nearly the amount of things I wanted to before I became a parent, but time's too short now to wait any longer. So for now, I get to put aside the development of me in favor of the development of a tiny human. I'm doing this voluntarily, of course, but it's still kind of sad.
textualdeviance: (Button Monkey)
So, since I haven't updated about this since my last bellyaching ...

I first sent mail to my teammate, confirming that it wasn't just me--there's really next to no work for us. In the middle of that, I also discovered something else that's a roadblock for the team, with larger-scale potential repercussions. So, I broke down and wrote a long mail to my boss about it all late last week.

Things post-mail are still settling out, so I don't really know what's next. But it does seem like our workload is slowing down to a trickle--and a trickle of stuff I really don't want to do. I already suggested that if this really is just a one-person job, then I'm happy to train my teammate on the stuff she doesn't know, and let her have it. Having my position go away due to budget reasons would be the best course of action, I think. It'd mean I wouldn't lose brownie points with my agency for quitting/breaking contract (and thus can get another one later if I want) but it'd also get me out of this mind-numbingly boring and degrading position I'm in now.

There is still a dilemma, though, and I've come to realize that it's why, despite the adoption process going well, despite the upcoming London trip, despite the great weather and everything else, I'm actually kind of miserable right now.

Downwardly mobile dog )

It's weird to look around and see how much I have and yet still feel so desperate. I'm sure people look at my life and think I have it all, and wonder why I worry so much. But that's just the thing--I don't have it all. M does. This stuff isn't mine. It's his. And if we split up, it'd all go away. I'd keep some of the material goods, and we'd split whatever pittance we could get from selling the house, but that wouldn't last. He'd be perfectly fine--financially, at least--if we split. I'd be fucked. This is not how my life was supposed to go. I did well in school. I went to college. I worked like a dog as soon as I could, stopped only when my stupid body told me I had to, and started again as soon as I was able. This shouldn't be happening to me.

I suppose this is probably why I have so much sympathy for other people who are on various forms of public support. I know very well that but for the grace of my husband's paychecks, I'd be one of them. Not through any fault or laziness of my own, but just because this is how things are sometimes. Where you get in life is only about half what you put into it. The other half is where you start and fate. People who are fucked on that other half shouldn't be assumed to have fucked off on the effort part. Unless you're lucky enough to have 30 years of living expenses set away somewhere, anyone can come to ruin at any moment--even M could, if he lost his job. Sure, we could've lived closer to the edge all this time and saved more rainy-day money, but it wouldn't be enough to make that big of a difference, long-term (and the mental health benefits of travel, the safe, comfortable house, etc., go a long way to making the rest of it possible anyway. I don't regret what we've spent so far--it's been its own investment.)

So, no. It's not weird that I'm so worried about my future survival when my ability to support myself is so fragile.

At the moment, all my hope lies in one thing: being able to sell at least one of my novels, and write/sell more while I'm home with the little one. That doesn't pay a lot, either, but it's at least possibly steady work if I'm able to sell enough of one to get contracts for more. It's also something I could do while doing paycheck-earning work of other kinds until I got better established as a writer. Best of all, it would be something I could take pride in, rather than something that made me feel like a particularly technical worker bee.

But that's hardly a guarantee. And with the current gig having hit the iceberg, just waiting around for that lifeboat to maybe show up so I don't go down with this slowly sinking ship is agonizing.
textualdeviance: (Whole Lotta WTF)
In the past four days:

Good:

-Had our first proper intake meeting yesterday with the adoption agency counselor we'll be working with. It went quite well, I think. She seemed to like us. Next step is getting the home study together. Should have that wrapped up within the next month.
-Killed time between appointments yesterday by wandering around Pike Place Market. Haven't done that in years. Came home with tons of awesome from DeLaurenti's and other food purveyors.

Sorta good:

-Finally got a new job. Start Tuesday. Sort of my old team, but under a different boss, working on a different product, and doing something with more editorial/writing stuff. Less button monkey = probably won't want to set the place on fire. It's a 12-month contract. Not sure if I'll finish that out. Depends on how well I like it and how long we're waiting for a birthmom to pick us.
-Money, CV fodder and something to keep me occupied during the wait = good. Extremely fucked-up timing in the short term = bad. See below.

Bad:

-Got a hard-drive-mangling virus. Necessitated a reformat, which meant scrambling to back up data. Just barely starting to reconstruct the machine now.
-Called in the washer repair folks for the THIRD time, since the thing still wouldn't properly spin.
-Found out I have "mild but significant" hearing loss. Will be fitted for hearing aids Monday.

Worse:

-Penny went into sharp decline, and we decided to let her go. In-home vet was here just a few hours ago. It was peaceful and kind, and I'm glad I was able to be with her, but I'm pretty shattered. Also, all grieved out at this point, having lost four cats in five years. Glad the remaining two are young.
-Khaleesi, freaked out by Penny, decided to pee on the bed last night (this is very unusual for her--she's normally quite well behaved.)
-This woke M up, so he's had 3 hours of sleep.
-I've not had a full night's sleep in three days, either, due to raging anxiety induced by all of the above.

I really wish my body could handle alcohol, because I'm tempted to spend this entire weekend very, very drunk.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Haven't done one of these in a while!

Digest version, for those in tl;dr mode: I wrote another book, our adoption process marches on, I have yet to get an offer for a W2-earning job and I'm dying for a proper vacation.

The long version:

I wrote a book! Now, bring on the revision/publishing angst. )

---

I wrote another book. A while ago. And am also angsting about it. )

---

On to other things which are just as fraught with Social Bullshit angst, but a different kind, at least.

Adoption process update )

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Not going back to chorus )

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Still unemployed. Now slightly annoyed by that. )

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I just need my own private jet so I can go whereever I want. )

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Other than all that, life goes on. Still playing video games, hanging out in various fan circles, grousing about politics, getting annoyed at the cats, blah blah. Getting things together for spring back-yard mucking, too. Slightly angsty and irritated at the world for big meta stuff, but otherwise in good nick.
textualdeviance: (trapped)
OK, so I don't really fancy myself at that level. Hardly. But I think I've nailed down why I'm dreading tomorrow's preview show, and why I'm glad this chorus term is almost over: I am seriously musically/creatively frustrated, and it's driving me up the damned wall.

I don't mean this to be an indictment of the group--there's nothing wrong with it, for what it is. But ... I really, really, really need to be singing more hardcore stuff. The one challenging piece we're doing is being slaughtered because it's beyond most of the folks in the group, and everything else is pop songs and Kirby Fucking Shaw arrangements of hoary old standards. Fun for a casual singer, definitely, but for me, it's just jaw-achingly tiresome.

Add in all the other issues I'm having with it--being surrounded by 200 chatty women, for instance--and it's all coming up to be an exercise in ennervation. What I wanted from this group--reminding myself what it feels like to sing--happened in the first three weeks I was in rehearsals. I stuck with it this long, thinking it would get better, but it just didn't. I'm completely behind the idea of the group--it obviously fills a niche both in a political and social sense for most of the people in it--but it's just not giving me anything I need. Instead, it's only reminding me of what I wish I was really doing. Which is very, very depressing.

I know this probably sounds impossibly snobby. I get that I'm hardly some elite diva. But imagine any other occupation in which one has a fair amount of skill and ~20 years' experience, and then imagine being stuck in a job that's journeyman level, at best. There's no shame in being a journeyman, for those who are legitimately at that level, but it's hardly soul-satisfying for someone who is years beyond it.

I'm not haughtily declaring that I'm too awesome to hang with the unwashed masses. I'm just saying that singing is so incredibly important to my emotional well-being that not being able to cut loose and do it the way I've spent half my life training to do feels like a massive case of creative blue balls. I would rather not sing at all than sit around in rehearsals while everyone else is getting drilled on rhythms when I've been off book for a month.

All of this, of course, is compounded by being frustrated in my other passions, too. The journalism thing is a bust, for various reasons (and I can't even seem to get a job right now.) I'm stymied on the novel writing for a reason I can't nail down. My fandom stuff is kind of blowing up. The adoption stuff is a bone-achingly slow and bureaucratic process. And I can't even get my damned cat to stop harassing his feline housemates. Argh.

If I thought it would do me any good, I'd hop in my car right now and just take off for god knows where. But, as a wise person once said: no matter where you go, there you are. I'd only be taking my frustrations with me.

I will most likely do these concerts, out of my own sense of duty and professionalism. But I'm not going to enjoy them the way I ought to be enjoying performing. And I can't describe how much that breaks my heart.
textualdeviance: (Default)
This past weekend's retreat thingy proved a few things to me:

1. I'm not a lesbian.
I am most definitely sexually and romantically attracted to many women, of many different kinds (oh, am I) and I love my female friends, but where a lesbian might feel comfortable and energized at being in an estrogen-dominant environment, I find it awkward and draining. When I found myself gravitating to the handful of (queer) guys there, I knew something was off.

I think the reason for this really boils down to my gender stuff. I've tried really hard to find a model of womanness that feels right to me (and of course there are many; there's no one right way to be a woman) but I've just never landed on that. I can relate to other women in many ways--common interests/experiences/humanity--but I don't have that automatic sense of identification many women do with each other. It never feels "native" to me, if that makes any sense. Still don't feel male enough to transition, but I definitely identify more with men. So, yeah. Always feel slightly out-of-place when I'm surrounded by women.

2. I think I've got all I'm going to get out of this group.
Much as I've enjoyed getting back up to speed on singing, I think it's time for me to move on. Which I always knew I'd do, of course. What with the adoption thing and wanting to do more-complex music, I knew I wouldn't be here forever. Just kind of surprised it only took me one term to make up for the four years of being away from singing. Guess the riding-a-bike thing is true of riding my instrument, so to speak. I do still have some work to do on getting my sight-singing up to speed before I go auditioning for one of the next-tier groups (and they're not auditioning until summer anyway) but I think that's prolly best done with a coach. And since I'm not getting anything else out of this group, and I'm starting to dread rehearsals and the upcoming concerts (much less the summer choral festival), I think it's time I shifted gears to something else. I don't ever want to go another four years without singing again, but I also need to do the kind of singing, and be in the kind of group, that really feeds my soul. And this just isn't it. Nothing wrong with the group--just not for me, is all.

3. Bandwidth limitations suck
Got submitted for another work gig. Three positions with this one (it's a startup team) and one is an interesting schedule. The contract also only goes through June, which would be good. I really don't want to work right now. I would much rather spend my days writing, among other things. But we could definitely use the money, just to have on hand for any unforeseen adoption expenses and such. And I can always quit if I don't like it. Of course, I may not even get an interview, considering the last three submissions didn't come to anything, either. Can't decide which is more irritating: facing having to do the office grind again, or realizing I'm actually having trouble finding a job, which is slightly scary.

If I do start working, though, there's really no way I can give any more energy to this chorus. I'm feeling pulled apart enough as it is with just the adoption prep getting in the way of writing time/focus. If I'm doing the paycheck thing, I'm going to be in big trouble if I'm trying to do chorus, too.
textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
Agonizing a bit about difficult life choices. For those who've not followed this saga elsewhere: I'm trying to decide whether to go back to work, and if so, which job and when. There are some big concerns with mental health, bandwidth and money involved:

Job A and B )

Now, in an ideal world, here's what would happen: I'd get Job B, and they'd be fine with me starting in February, so I could survive January's nightmare schedule. I'd work there through our waiting time in the adoption pool, and then either quit entirely or take leave when the baby shows up, or maybe even only take a couple of weeks and then go back, as the schedule is childcare-friendly enough. And if the job turned out to be hell, I could find a way to leave without burning too many bridges. Ditching a contract before its end is bad form, definitely, but not unheard of, especially for parental leave.

Theoretically, I could also leave Job A at any time without too much drama--the open-ended contract helps a LOT with that---but the time/mental-health drain of it in the short term would make doing everything else really difficult. Really, the biggest reward of Job A comes down to one thing: Money. Quite a lot of it. And fast.

The dilemmas:Money vs. time/mental health )

Or, in summary: We don't absolutely need money from me working in order to make this all happen. It would just make things easier, faster and more secure.

Summation and decision making )

The Bottom Line:

The next phase of my life, in my ideal world, will consist of five things: Kid, writing, singing, friends/family and travel. Anything that doesn't fall into furthering one of those five categories is something I don't want to have to spend time/effort on.

I realize how very lucky I am to even have this choice to make, and I'm grateful to M's brain and the luck of the stock market from 15 years ago that made this happen. But I do have this choice, and I don't like feeling that I'm being selfish or irresponsible if I choose to do what will make me happy over what will fatten our bank account. Money for its own sake doesn't interest me. We have enough of it to have and do the things we want, so long as M keeps working. More of it isn't nearly as necessary to me as feeding my soul. And stuff that will take away my bandwith for singing and writing, without giving me anything in return but a paycheck, is actually starving it instead.

A footnote about M )
textualdeviance: (Brenda)
So, the job I've sort of been waiting for just came up.

On paper, I'm definitely qualified for it. I have everything they want in terms of knowledge, experience, technical skills, etc. The only thing I don't quite have is enough leadership experience, since I've only done the bossing-people-around thing a little bit here and there. Still, I'd definitely be one of their top candidates, I expect, and a little bit of interview magic would probably get me in, unless someone else is just miles better.

But, some problems:

1. I don't want to work right now. I'm enjoying my sabbatical, and really, really need the downtime for mental health reasons. Related, getting this job now would get in the way of my DragonCon travel plans. Which is another mental health thing.

2. I'm sort of in an anti-journalism mindset at the moment. I'm so disgusted by the NOTW thing and so burned out after three years of working on stuff that occasionally got creepy that I'm in a mental palate-cleansing phase. I'll be back in the game again eventually. Just don't want to be caught up in the news cycle for now.

3. We're probably going to be starting the adoption process in September (currently waiting on numbers for M's annual review to budget for it.) The process itself wouldn't require me not to be working, but once the kid shows up, I'm planning to take at least a year off. Getting a job now would mean only being in it for a year, tops.

4. The above issues mean I'd have a hard time selling myself. My resume would get me an interview, I'm pretty sure of that. But I'm not sure I'd pass the interview itself because I don't think I could fake enthusiasm for the company/job well enough to do so.

Meh.

If this job came up three months from now, I'd probably jump on it. But I just don't want it right at this moment, and since my paycheck isn't essential, I don't need it, either.

Thing is, I'm wondering if I'm shooting myself in the foot on a long-term career basis by not going for this right now. A job like this is so rare that it's not going to come up again anytime soon. If I turn it down now, it'll be years before something similar comes around. This is absolutely the kind of job I want to be in 2-3 years from now, and something I'd be comfortable doing for years beyond that. I just don't want it right now.

Dangit. I don't know what to do. :(
textualdeviance: (Default)
Hit the ground running as soon as we got back, and have barely had time to think, let alone properly sleep. It caught up with me Wednesday, and I ended up working from home--and doing rather awfully with it--due to sleep-deprived delirium. Conking out soon and plan to veg in the theater all day tomorrow with our massive DVR and Netflix backlog.

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The vacay reports (and there will be one last one when I remember to pull the remaining pics) are up for your perusal (scroll back a few entries.) Long story short if you don't want the slog: It was great, I loved it, but I don't think I'll be moving there. Like home better. :)

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Two more work weeks before I hit the end of my contract. There's a small chance of a few weeks' extension because one of my eds wants me around for Comic-Con coverage, but that probably won't happen. Technically, I have another four months before I have to take my mandatory break, and my agency might well find me something short for then, but honestly, I think I'd rather have the rest of the summer off. I need a chance to breathe and get my head back on correctly and do some of the big projects I've been putting off.

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One of said big projects is the adoption thing, though that's... sort of up in the air right now. Details )

***

One thing we most likely will do in the meantime is get another kitten. It's been horribly empty being just a two-cat household since Fammy died, and poor, ancient Penny is getting pestered by Otter all the time because he's bored and lonely. But with me working, we didn't want to introduce a new furbaby without having someone around to mind it through the chaotic adjustment period. Free time for me, though, means kitten-sitting is possible, so we'll probably go shelter-crawling in the next few weeks. We considered a dog, but with the baby thing still a possibility, we didn't want to go that high-maintenance. So, kitten (or maybe even a 1-2 year old) it is.

***

Feeling slightly maudlin about the end of my show in a couple of weeks. Likely to be the last series of it, unless its primary backer gets good ratings when it airs this series in January. Seems unlikely at this point. And even if it did come back, most of the cast I love might not come with it. So just two more episodes, and then I get to cry a lot. I have a ton of other stuff I love, of course (have really gotten into Game of Thrones in particular), but this is the first thing since LOTR that I've loved enough to join a fandom for, and the fandom itself has been great, too. It'll still exist after the show's gone, of course, but it won't be quite the same, and that concept breaks my heart. :(

***

And on that depressing note, I'm done for the day. Hasta la pasta, and if you want more of me in the meantime, go stalk me on Twitter.
textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
The biggest thing on my horizon at the moment, of course, is the fact that in 72 hours, I'll be on a plane on the way to London. Yay!

But I'm also looking ahead of that, since I've been tying up loose ends at work, and figuring out what I'll need to do there when I get back. And I'm realizing that I'm probably in for one hell of a bout of post-travel depression, because the adoption is the only big thing I can see in my near future, and hanging my hat solely on that isn't exactly a recipe for mental health.

Don't mind me. Just feeling icky at the mo and need to write to get it out of my system )

In truth, I envy people who can content themselves with friends, family and a non-soul-sucking job that pays the bills. I've always--always--felt my life had to have something more. I've cut my expectations down from the worldwide fame and political power I imagined at age 10, yeah, but I still need something else--something uniquely mine--to point to. I have just this one life, and I have above-average skills in certain things, and I can't stand the idea of wasting that just... existing. I want to leave more of myself when I die than a kid, a paid-off mortgage and a crapload of vacation photos.

The question is: What?

Maybe three weeks on another continent will give me some epiphanies this direction. I hope so. I'm never content unless I'm working toward a big goal, and too much time being less than useful will drive me batty.
textualdeviance: (Default)
In a bit of a holding pattern right now, as I wait for various things to happen...

17 days until my surgery

Feeling slightly weird about that, since it's a definitely-never-getting-preggers thing. Also feels weird for other reasons. TMI )

---

29 days until we leave for the UK invasion tour

Doing the final prep for it: buying new luggage, clothes and other sorts of supplies, and making sure we have maps and lists of stuff we wanna do. Downright giddy for it, though also nervous about various logistics issues (TSA, customs, schlepping luggage, driving, etc.) No word yet on whether any of my peeps are going to be at the con we're going to, but they haven't released guest lists at all, yet, so there's that. Also pinged one of the folks in question about it today. Not that he'll likely answer, the silly flake.


---

40 days until I turn 40

Debating whether to throw some sort of bon voyage/damn I'm getting old/hooray for surgery party before we leave.

---

5 months until M gets a big ol' raise.

The Company announced today that they're restructuring pay for most product-group folks, which includes the Mster. This is, of course, good news--never going to turn down additional money, especially with impending sprog expenses. But it's also kind of frustrating for me, because the amount of increase he's likely to get (raise + bonus) will probably be in the same vicinity as the amount I make each year (what with working 6-9 months/year.) Basically, his raise is going to make my working redundant. Yeah, I'll probably still work (after taking some time off for the new sprog) but it's still depressing to know that my 40-hour weeks are worth less than a quarter of M's. I work just as hard as he does and have far more education, but because my skillset isn't as rare as his, he gets the big bucks and I don't. Meh. Maybe someday I'll have a Real Career of some sort instead of just this boring button monkey shit. Disproportionate pay wouldn't matter so much if I was really doing something I love.

---

21 days since I sent a query to an agent

The agent in question is pretty much the best person to pitch my novel to (in the kinds of stuff she's looking for), so I'm crossing my fingers. She supposedly responds to every query, so no news is probably somewhat good news in that she either a) hasn't gotten to it yet or b) hasn't rejected it out of hand. Not entirely sure what to do next if she does reject it, but no sense in dwelling on that now.

Looking forward to getting some feedback from my beta readers on it, too (and if you're not one and would like to be one, holla.)

---

16 days since I posted any new fic (and more than a month since the one before that.)

After finishing the novel, my creative-writing jones has basically gone on holiday. I'm doodling a bit here and there--making tweaks to the novel as I think of them, and spitting out a few paragraphs on various fics--but otherwise, nada. The non-fiction muse seems to be in good order, as I finished off two big projects for work, and have written nine lengthy posts on the new semi-pro blog, but the completely-making-stuff up muse is AWOL. Hmph.

Part of this, I spose, is the post-partum novel thing. I'm holding my breath waiting to see what the world thinks of my new baby before I go breeding more. Also, the TMI stuff is making me somewhat disinclined to write naughty things, so there's that. I imagine I'll get back to it eventually--maybe when there's new series 5 stuff to perk me up again.

--

5 hours since I last ate anything

Which prolly means I should go do something about that. Ciao for now.
textualdeviance: (Eowyn pen)
The new Primeval was awesome--and I got to see it earlier than I thought I would!

And then this happened.

big image behind the cut )
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textualdeviance: (Eowyn pen)
I made this.

It probably won't get homepage play, but it's the biggest byline I've had there to date (the last one was a short Harry Potter gallery a long time ago; the "fangirl faves" gallery I did last year didn't have my name on it, nor have most of the other things I've written copy for.)

I kind of like that I did the whole thing from the ground up myself: Research and copy writing, pic selection and editing, gallery building, dropping it in the proper page shell, etc. The only thing anyone else did to it was the obligatory copy pass. Otherwise, it's all me.

The editor for this (the guy who runs the Parallel Universe side of things) liked this so much that he wants me to start doing more features for him (which may mean getting a bit of freelance work now and then even after my contract ends.) I think this may also catch some notice from the rest of the editors, and make them reconsider whether my skills are being wasted with just using me as nothing but a button monkey.

I don't know whether this will really be a breakout moment for me or not, but it does feel pretty good to have done it, and to know that at least several hundred thousand people (if not more) will probably read what I've written--with my name attached. Kind of funny to have spun my fanthinging into a career. :)
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textualdeviance: (Default)
Hall-decking, while not as elaborate as I'd like (and would do if I weren't working) is basically done. Two batches of cookies done, and a couple more on the way. Half of the gift shopping done. Aside from a few more gifts and some cards, I'm in good shape.

--

Oh, and as for the cards, y'all may get them after Christmas. Which is par for the course for me anyway.

--

Very much looking forward to doing some socializing soon. Having some lovely folks and their adorably squirmy little ones over for brunch on Sunday. Plotting the best ways to leave them all uncomfortably full of food. May also see about tackling another person for dinner soon.

--

Work has been alternately frustrating and satisfying. Have earned some serious brownie points lately, and also will have a byline piece coming up in a couple of weeks. But also have had some roadblocking issues, and a ton of year-end content to wrangle, so the schedule has been brutal. Spose it's a good thing in a way. The harder I have to work, the less time I have to think about some of the truly trashy content I'm working on.

--

WRT real work: I haven't written much on the novel this week, but I did churn out another ~3k words last week, and feel pretty good about that. I'm optimistic that I may well finish this damned thing someday. And really? I'm starting to fall more in love with the story, which is good motivation. I really love my characters and think they're having fun and exciting adventures, and that makes a big difference.

--

Sort of hoping fandom stuff is quiet for the next few days. It's been an embarrassment of riches recently--which is great, of course, but also frustrating because I don't have the time right now to to truly enjoy it. Gnarh.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Thanksgiving down. We did it early (Sunday), which turned out nicely, even though it was just the three of us. I admit one of these days I want to do a whole blowout with a dozen people or something, but as most of folks I know have family they do that with (and I don't), ain't gonna happen anytime soon. Ah, well.

---
Sort of wish I could get together with folks more for other holiday stuff, too. Loved our New Year's Eve party last year. Maybe I should do that again. Or something similar. I haven't socialized with local folks nearly enough lately. That needs to change. Pity everyone's usually on serious social burnout this time of year.

---

Spent the entirety of last week working from home, thanks to the weather. It was... OK, it was a bit of a nightmare, because my publishing tools don't work great remotely, plus the whole system was bogged down because everyone else was remoting in, too. That said, it was nicer than having to try to go into the office on icy roads. I'm very glad I wasn't one of the poor slobs who had a 6-hour commute last week. Horrible.

---

Work in general is getting to year-end crunch time now. Tons of year in review content to get up on top of my usual stuff, which is going to keep me beyond busy for the next couple of weeks. Might get in some overtime at least.

---

This is all quite frustrating for other reasons, too, namely the fact that there's a metric buttload of new fandom stuff going on right now: The new Primeval is around the corner, Andrew just posted a new short film, and my other shows are getting in some awesome episodes, too (plus some will be airing holiday episodes in the next couple of weeks. Eep!) Damn work, getting in the way of my fanthinging!

---

I'd probably be less frustrated about this if I wasn't so disgusted by some of the stuff I have to do for work. Don't get me wrong, I like that I'm employed (even if it is on contract), and I like that they pay me well. I even like that I get to work with entertainment content. What I don't like is the fact that we have to pander to lowest-common-denominator audiences sometimes, which means some truly trashy content on a regular basis. Bleh. I want to work in entertainment media because I love the creative work that talented folks making movies, TV and music can do. I don't exactly enjoy pushing the careers of untalented bimbos who get attention from some cheapass reality show. I'm watching the decline and fall of Western Civilization from up close this way (and am probably helping it along) and that really grates on me.

---

That's probably a large part of why I'm in such a funk right now (as I mentioned yesterday.) There's the usual weather/low light thing, and the wtf did I do with my life this year thing (about which I'll prolly post separately later) but also just... I feel dirty right now. Like I'm being a hypocrite by pimping the sort of thing that I've spent so much energy fighting against most of my life. Obviously, I have some choice in the matter, but if I want to make enough money to buy myself a kid (and reach some of the other goals we have) this is what I have to do. I can't do this any other way right now because the jobs just aren't out there. But that does kind of mean I'm a sellout, which really bothers me.

---

There is some hope on the horizon, though--or will be as long as I get my ass in gear. I've still been managing to squeeze in some work on my novel here and there, and cranked out ~3,700 words/a new chapter in just a few hours yesterday. The story is really starting to take shape, and the more I work on it, the happier I am with it. There really is nothing else quite like it out there right now, even though it's familiar enough territory to be sellable, and I think it can at least get me an agent. As long as I have the time/mental energy to work on it, I'm hoping I can have it at least in rough draft stage within a few more months. I'm hoping something comes of it eventually, at least, because that's the only thing I have right now keeping me from feeling like I've wasted my entire year frittering away on fandom and other nonsense.

---

On a completely different note: Apparently, my totem animal is a raccoon. In addition to the staring contests I had with 3 (!) of the little guys a few months back at Point Defiance, we had one show up on our back step last night to chow down on some cat food we'd left there for one of the local ferals/strays. My goodness but s/he was bold. Wasn't the least bit afraid of Otter, who was downright livid about the whole thing, and held eye contact with us pretty much the entire time. I admit: I kind of love the fact that we live close enough to a major greenbelt that we get a lot of critters running around. It's like being out in the wilderness while we're still 3 minutes from the freeway.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Scalzi posted something recently about new writers trying to find the time to write with busy schedules, parenting, etc. The gist of his advice was this: If you really want to be a writer, you find time to write. The obvious extension of this idea is that if you really want something, you find a way to make it happen. (Obviously, taking into account actually insurmountable limitations.)

This idea has been gnawing at me the last several days--the idea that if I don't have some of the things I want, yet (a proper career, a kid, etc.) then I must not really want them that badly because I haven't found a way to make them happen.

Only... I don't think that's actually true. It may be true that I haven't put massive effort into certain things, but it's not that I don't want them. It's that I'm afraid of putting in all that effort and coming up short anyway. Because that's happened to me so many times I no longer have any confidence that hard work/sacrifice is always or even most of the time going to pay off.

A couple of examples )

I'm absolutely willing to put in quite a bit of effort if I have some sense that doing so will give me at least some semblance of the results I want. The uprooting thing, for instance. I worked my ass off to make that happen because I knew that there was a good chance it would. And, well, a year later, here we are, happy as little clams in our new pad. Same thing with my last degree. Spending $30k and living in B'ham for almost two years wasn't exactly easy, but I knew I could do it, and at the end of it, I have a pretty little certificate hanging on my wall and a far greater earning potential than I would've had otherwise.

Yet if I'm not certain, or don't think I have at least a fighting chance to reach my goal? Then no. No matter how much I may want something, if I don't have at least some confidence that the odds are in my favor, I just can't see blowing that much time and energy on it.

It may break my heart--and does, to an extremely painful degree--that I wasn't able to put together an opera career, but once I realized that no matter how good I was, it wasn't good enough because I didn't have the right pedigree, I gave up. Likewise, I dropped my music degree at the very end of it because there was no physical way possible for me to pass the keyboard competency part of it. I wanted those things. Really, really, really wanted them, but it eventually became clear that wanting and working at them wasn't going to be enough, so I had to let them go and move on to a career in which I had a fighting chance.

I sincerely believe that hard work is necessary to reach most goals. Some folks are born with privilege such that they don't have to work as hard as others, and that sucks. Level playing fields would be nice. But aside from that, yeah, all of us need to put in some effort. However, I really dislike the implication that if we don't have something we want, it's just because we don't want it enough to work at it.

The truth of life is that, even beyond hard limitations outside our control, often the effort required to reach a goal is far, far out of proportion with the chances of getting there, and with the benefits of that goal. At some point, you have to ask yourself whether what you want is really worth the massive outlays of time, money and energy necessary to get it.* And just because someone isn't willing to torture themselves like that for something doesn't mean they're lazy or don't "really" want it. It just means that they've made sensible choices of what to do with their resources and have decided that those resources are better spent on something else.

Pursuing a dream is all well and good and sounds romantic, but reality and responsible adulthood aren't often compatible with that pursuit. A person who acknowledges that reality and responsibility isn't a lesser being for having done so.

And yes, I'm musing over that question a lot these days wrt the adoption.
textualdeviance: (Default)
So, things apparently got sorted somehow. I had an interview (two, actually) yesterday with a completely different team, and that went really well. Well enough that they gave me an offer. However, I was still submitted for the gig with my old team, so I poked a little, talked to my old boss a couple of times today, and the net result: I start in early October, and will go at least through the end of January, and probably a few months beyond that. I'll mostly be doing the same stuff I was doing before, with a little more responsibility since they've changed how they're handling some content.

***

On the one hand: Yay, money! On the other hand: Crap, no way am I going to be able to get any time off to go do either of those UK cons coming up. Which prolly means my chances of meeting Andrew are basically nil at this point, dangit. Of course, with the new/old job, there is an infinitessimally small chance I could wrangle my way into a (phone, prolly) interview with him, but that's about it.

I suppose we could see Primeval stuff at next year's SDCC or D*C (since they'll be between s4/5 at that point) but if so, he'll probably be a lot more swamped there than he'll be at these two, and I'd be lucky to get 30 seconds in an autograph line. Granted, it could be a really good 30 seconds, like my experience meeting Neil, but... Meh. Plus, I also really wanted to the UK trip anyway, both to be a crazy tourist and to meet up with some of my fandom friends, but that's just not gonna happen at this rate. Sad.

***

This also basically means I have another ~2 1/2 weeks in which to get my hardcore fan jones on. Just a few more fanworks in progress I wanna finish and that's going to have to be it for the near term, unless the job turns out to be fairly slow (which, going by the new duties involved, it won't be.) I'll still be doing the passive fan thing--watching my shows, etc.--but I won't really have the time to write and make vids and such. Which is prolly a good thing, I spose. I've really gotten myself in quite a bit of trouble with all that. ;)

***

The yay, money part of all this means we'll likely get the ball rolling on the adoption soon after I've settled into the job. Maybe November or so, we'll start talking to attorneys and getting an idea of what all we need to do. It'll still be at least a year out from there, I'm sure, but I am looking forward to at least getting started.
textualdeviance: (Default)
First impressions: My, it's flat. And has a chewable layer of smog. Ick. Also, there are only about half a dozen buildings with more than ~50 floors. I was somehow expecting a metropolis, I guess. Some rather pretty old architecture here and there, however. Hoping to see more if we can run around a bit.

Was also rather impressed by the massive nuclear plant we saw as we were descending (four cooling towers. Eesh. Dunno if that was GA or MS, tho.)

Other than that, I haven't seen much of it yet. I tried desperately to get some proper sleep last night and it just didn't happen. Finally passed out around 2:30 or 3, and then got right back up at 6. Tried to sleep on the plane--no go, even in first class (yay for mileage plan bonuses.)

This lack of sleep, and my usual annoyance at the first part of travel (Big Fucking Airports, too-close quarters with strangers, eensy beency airplane loos, fucked-up car rental locations...) made me far too tired and cranky to do anything else tonight. Only posting this here now because it's keeping me awake until a reasonable hour to turn in. So I don't, y'know, get used to waking up at 5 am here and then start passing out at home around 8 pm when I get back.

Registration for the con is tomorrow afternoon. Will get the lay of the land then and get a better idea of what I'm doing the rest of the time here. May spend the earlier part of the day driving around in circles.

***

Oh, and in other Texty-licious news: I have a job again. My old team apparently wants me back--so much so that they're foregoing an interview. So I'm starting again the week after we get back. Dunno much in the way of details beyond that, though. Curious what the contract length is, but I'm up for just about anything, really. I'm enjoying my sabbatical, but I'd also enjoy a regular paycheck again.

On the chance that I do have a long contract ahead, I think I'm going to treat this weekend shindig as sort of a last hurrah before going back to the grind. So, tonight's catatonia aside, I plan to party my everloving geeky butt off.

That, combined with shittastic net access and cel signal here at the hotel, means I'll be on the brownout side of Internet Dark for the next few days. Holla if anything interesting happens.

***

Random sad fan note: I actually hauled out M's laptop on the plane so I could watch yesterday's ep of Ideal and jot down the first few grafs of a fic whose bunny was threatening to chew my leg off and beat me with it. Huh.

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