textualdeviance: (Babies R Us)
We're in! Of course, it's nearly two months past when I thought it would happen, but we are, finally, in the adoption pool! We had a little conference call with our agency counselor to tie up a few other things, and she said we'd actually got in as of Monday--she'd just been out of office and hadn't got the info until late.

It's amazing how freeing this feels. We've spent nine months just getting this far, and even though a lot of that was waiting, it was anxious waiting: wanting to be sure we had all the paperwork right, and that they'd approve us, etc. There will be waiting now, of course--probably a year of it, at least--but we don't have to actually do anything until we get picked by birthparents, so it's a lot less stressful.

Actually, I take that back: we do have a couple of tasks ahead of us in the short term: getting together a pile of emergency baby gear, just in case we get a last-minute placement, and getting M (finally) snipped. But beyond that, we really don't need to do anything else but wait and hope that someone out there thinks we're awesome enough to raise their kid. We're somewhat restricted in what we can do during the wait--we need to keep any traveling within a short flight away from home--but beyond that, we can just go about our business, now.

---

At the moment, of course, the majority of my business is working on novel revision and thinking a bit about what else I might want to write for the proper NaNo coming up in ~6 weeks. I finally completed an overhaul of Harper that I've been meaning to do, and I feel pretty good about that. Also got another beta reader lined up for that, and I'm interested to hear what she has to say about it, since she's very familiar with the market I'm aiming for.

The other one, the one I just finished, does need some major surgery. I ditched the first two (grossly infodump-heavy) chapters, but it didn't quite feel right. Three hours of banging my head at it last night, and I finally fixed it: Same scene, different PoV character. Made all the difference in the world. Will probably spend much of the next week going over the rest of it and expanding where needed. I know M and D want to read it soon, but it does need quite a lot of polish before I'll let that (beta) wordbaby out into the world.

---

Other than the writing and the adoption stuff, though, I'm not doing anything special. Still mucking around with my container gardening. The tomato plants are scaring me with how huge they are, and I seem to actually be growing artichokes and Meyer lemons, which is kind of astonishing. I guess we've just had enough hot, sunny weather for them to grow. Not complaining! Also need to figure out bulb-planting stuff, since it's about that time. We don't have much of that already planted, and I always forget to do it in the fall, so I'm going to try to remedy that this time.

Amazed it's Seoptember already, though. Need to think about my plans for fall--the usual house parties, holiday stuff, of course. Also in a nesting mood, now, so there will be things like cleaning out freezers and general tidying, plus scheduling some regular house-maintenance services we need, like roof cleaning and such.

Or ... I may just spend what pre-parent, non-writing time I have left watching trashy TV shows, playing video games and doing dorky fan shit. :)
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.

---

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: (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.
Jan. 19th, 2012 11:31 pm

Snowbound

textualdeviance: (snowflakes)
Aside from a brief lull Tuesday--which was good timing, since it was our 15th anniversary and we were able to go out--we've been basically snowed in all week. And today: the ice.

A couple of examples:




(More up on Flickr.)

So far, we've not lost power, but I wouldn't bet on that lasting forever. Something like 200k people were without earlier today, and they're saying it may take days to get everyone back on. So I'm hitting the electronicsing hard while I still can. ;)
Nov. 11th, 2011 01:31 pm

Blowing in

textualdeviance: (skwirls)
Got a little spoiled with how gorgeous it was the last week or so. The cold, gray, rainy stuff is kind of sad. Not entirely, though. It's adding to my nesting jones. Feel as if I must Bake All The Things! and make the house pretty. Also looking at holiday plans. We currently have no T-day plans and are open to options.

Also, consider this a call for card addresses (comments are screened.)

Spent yesterday tidying up the back yard, putting patio furniture away, etc. Am feeling it, today. Some of that stuff is way heavy. Ow. Glad I did so, though, considering today's storm. The birds seem to be happy as well. We've had a never-ending swarm of sparrows and starlings gorging themselves at our feeders the last several days. Also still have some finches, juncos and a few flickers hanging out, plus the usual black-cap and chestnut-backed chickadees.

Have gotten into birding so much these days that I now want to go to Oz/NZ expressly for that purpose, considering the freakyass birds they have there. Sigh... :)

Khaleesi is still terribly shy with the other cats, and Otter's still being a shit to her, dangit. She's also been meowing her head off, apparently looking for her lost kittens. Not entirely sure what to do about that, though we may intro a new little one and see if that helps.

First adoption meeting this week went well, but I'm not sure we'll be going with that agency, as most of their placements are foster-to-adopt, or otherwise come with a lot of baggage. Drama is inevitable no matter what we do, but I'd rather not have that kind. So we're reconsidering the open agency, and have a seminar with them at the end of the month. We'll see.

Up to ~18k words on my NaNo project. Hope to cross 20k today, and 25k this weekend. Plot pushing is happening a lot faster than I'd thought. Suspect some of the last bits of it will be going back to fill in gaps.

Managed to get a screenshot of the 11/11/11 11:11:11 thing. Feel proud of myself for it. Because I'm dorky that way. :)
textualdeviance: (Default)
Six weeks into my summer sabbatical, and enjoying it, for the most part. Currently parked in the back yard on a lovely afternoon enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and birdsong and dragonflies and bumblebees. And my spiffy laptop and our awesome wireless. ;) There's something really calming about having my own green space to chill out in--at least when the weather's nice. Even enjoying doing a bit of tending of my little kitchen garden. This year, in addition to the herbs, we have tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, lemon cucumbers, yellow watermelon, Hubbard squash and raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Oh, and a little tree that's supposed to produce something called a limequat. So far, the only thing that we've harvested is strawberries--the plant we have is very prolific--but we have tomatoes and peppers growing, the blueberry bush is absolutely bursting with stuff that should be ripening in the next few weeks, and everything else has at least flowered. Hoping there's enough summer left to get at least something out of most of them.

***

I think I've gotten past the initial panic about not having enough time to do everything before I have to go back to work/start raising a youngun (more on that in a bit), so now I'm just taking it easy and doing what I want/need to do as the mood strikes me.

Writing, family, kid-buying, blah blah )

***

Gotta admit: I'm actually enjoying 40 so far. It's kind of like having a license to not give a shit what the world thinks anymore. Yeah, they still do care, but I'm out to pasture as far as the must-be-decorative pressure goes just based on age alone, so the rest of it doesn't matter as much. I think I've been a brassy old broad since I was 20. Nice to finally be the right age for it. :)
textualdeviance: (Default)
To squeeze into the last few weeks of weekday freedom.

Boring to everyone but me )
textualdeviance: (Cascadia)
So, aside from all my navel-gazing blather over the past several weeks, and my short-form updates on FB and Twitter, what's been going on for moi...

--

Had a lovely, if slightly hot and long, drive around the base of Mt. Rainier yesterday. (Evidence here.) We've never done that drive before--hell, I've never been anywhere near those environs--so it was quite the adventure. Lots of narrow, twisty roads, but definitely gorgeous scenery. It's actually exciting to me how much of it is just pure, unspoiled wilderness: Extremely dense forests, giant, rocky hills, and of course the volcano itself. I feel so amazingly lucky to live in a place where I can drive for a couple of hours and see such majesty in person.

Tons more updates )
--

Not much time left on my sabbatical, now. After the ATL trip, I'll be contacting my agency again (who already tried to get me a gig recently) and will prolly start doing interviews mid-September. I may also look for something more permanent and maybe a little less... button-monkeyish. I don't mind doing the short contracts--it's nice to have some flexibility with that, and the pay is good--but I really, really want a career-type job soon. I need to have something that uses my brain instead of just doing little more than formatting content. We'll see, I guess. Finding something like that is going to be hard, I suspect.

--

This does mean I only have a few more weeks to work on my novel, though. I'd hoped to have done more on it, but I just haven't been motivated (long story as to why.) The Rainier trek was part of getting back on track with that, however, and I think I may have a bit of a fire building to get going again. Likely won't get a ton done, but I can at least make some progress, I hope. I'm actually glad for all the fandom writing I've done lately, though. It's helping me kill some bad habits, which will make the eventual end product for my Real Writing that much better.

--

See? My life's not all Sturm und Drang. Really. ;)
Jul. 8th, 2010 10:25 am

Birdies

textualdeviance: (Default)
More backyard bird porn this morning as we sat out there having breakfast. Sadly, no pics of my own this time as I forgot to grab the camera, but we saw a couple of new ones that hadn't been around before:

Cedar Waxwing (saw two of these together)



Red-Winged Blackbird



This guy was absolutely gorgeous: Shiny and flashy. And he was eating from the feeder, so I hope that means he'll be back.

Also realized we have tree swallows in addition to barn swallows. Zippy little things.

I suspect I'm going to have to get myself a small field guide for when we're in Atlanta, because I'll probably see critters there I wouldn't ever see here.
textualdeviance: (Cascadia)
If my fascination with this keeps up, I'm gonna need a better camera. I like the 15x digital zoom on mine, but it's just not quite the same as having a real lens to get better distance shots.

The shots I've gotten so far:

American Goldfinch



More birdies )

I've also seen dozens of other sparrows, and a ton of Barn Swallows.
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:12 pm

Birdies

textualdeviance: (Cascadia)
We recently set up a birdfeeder in our back yard, and we're now apparently the hottest thing on the avian tour circuit. At least for the little guys. :) I've seen a few different kinds of chickadees, sparrows and finches and a few robins, of course. And a couple of ones I can't ID (that rosy-breasted one in this pic, for instance. ETA: Found it! It's a female black-headed grosbeak) I think we also get a flock of some sort of swallow or swift come through regularly, but they don't stop.



Tons more pics.

The cats, of course, are delighted at the constant view of Bird Porn through the windows.
textualdeviance: (skwirls)
A little more than two months into my mandatory break, and let's see where I'm at with my to-do list:

Not half bad, though I could stand to do more on the non-fandom stuff )
textualdeviance: (Default)
Realized that I've been using this journal for a lot of bellyaching lately. My basic, non-angsty life stuff has all been posted either on Twitter or FB. Oi. Might have to do more of these kinds of posts to make up for all the self-absorbed, maudlin shit.

--

That big, yellow ball in the sky has finally started visiting us poor folks here in Puget Sound, and it's brought some nice personal energy with it. Yay. Of course, helping in this endeavor is the experiment I've been doing with my Wellbutrin: I accidentally took a double dose a couple of weeks ago, and had one of the best days I've had in months. So I did a double dose again for a few more days, to see if it was a fluke: Nope. Felt really good. Then I went back down to my regular dose for a few days. Felt craptacious. Sooo. I'll be seeing my doc again soon to see about getting me upped officially. I hadn't been taking a bigger dose before because I had anxiety and insomnia issues with it, but this time, it was mostly manageable. I probably won't go the full double dose with the increase, but upping it at all might be interesting.

--

The sun and the mood have helped me be somewhat productive in the last several days, even aside from the fandom stuff. Actually did some writing and research on the Novel of Doom, did a bit of Real Cooking, and have left the house to do running around. Oooh. Real world. Scary. ;) Today's efforts included a trip to a nursery, where we picked up some edibles: herbs, tomatoes, a couple of different kinds of peppers, strawberry and cucumber. Will be getting those into the ground in the next couple of days. I may well kill them off--I'm still not much of a green thumb--but I figure I'll give it a go.

--

Kitty update: We're slowly switching them over to a hypoallergenic food, and it looks like it's working: Fammy hasn't been barfing nearly as much as she used to. Hope that solves the problem. Now if only Penny would use the litter box properly... Sigh...

--

Having entirely too much fun on Twitter. It's (obviously) not the place for substantive conversation, but watching the rapid-fire repartee between clever, wordy folks like actors and writers is ridiculously entertaining. It's like some of the best TV, only immediate and for free. And getting in on it on occasion makes it even more fun (I suspect the Primeval scriptwriter who's now following me is probably in over his head, but... ;) )

--

Andrew/Primeval fandom stuff has been slow, lately. No new stuff (and nothing expected for another month, at least) so it's just fanworks and random discussion keeping up right now. Which is fine. I've been needing a bit of a break from that, plus there are all the new summer shows starting up soon to keep me occupied. [livejournal.com profile] fanbitch may well have content other than Andrew-related fic sometime soon. Oooh. ;) Still hoping he shows up to Dragon*Con, as was rumored, but even if he doesn't, I'm really looking forward to it. Lots of fun stuff going on there, and I'll know several folks who are going. Should be entertaining, though I hope I don't die in the ATL heat.
textualdeviance: (Cascadia)
M is off geocaching with [livejournal.com profile] rackham and [livejournal.com profile] havdrake is off doing... whatever it is he does on weekends. ;) So I have the house to myself (well, and the kittehs), for the first time in quite a while.

Naturally, I spent most of my free time doing laundry and taxes, and tidying up my office a bit. Ooooh. Such a rebel, moi.

Did watch the Olympic opening ceremonies, though. Very impressed. Loved all the First Nations stuff. And I think I'm probably sekritly Canadian. (Of course, most of us here in Cascadia are...)

Considering mucking about with more Tasty Bite goodness, but my back's killing me from sitting in my not-that-great office chair, and I'm also still not quite recovered from my Horrible Infection of Doom. I'd go have a nap, but the bed's not made. Hmm. Must be time to park myself in the theater with some trashy movie or something and a cat on my lap.
Dec. 3rd, 2009 06:49 pm

Car recs?

textualdeviance: (Bridal Illusions)
So, since M's car is now officially totalled, according to the insurance company, we need to go shopping for a new (or recent used) one. Since it's been seven years since we did this last, we're a bit out of the market these days and have no idea what's really out there.

Criteria:

*$15k or less (preferably way less)
*AWD/4WD (Roads get way too slick here, and we live up a hill. So, yeah.)
*Decent MPG
*Some amount of passenger and cargo room, and the ability to get a car seat/squirming child in and out easily
*Low maintenance. I want it to just run, period.
*Safe! Good crash ratings, etc.
*The usual standard comforts: Power windows/seats/tinted or anti-glare windows, etc.
*Easy to handle, park, etc. No behemoths.

Don't really care about body style, towing capacity, engine size or any of that. Just a safe, comfortable car for commuting and toting around people and stuff.

For the record, I adore my RAV4, so we're sort of looking at other mini-SUVs and crossovers, but I haven't the foggiest what's out there these days.
textualdeviance: (ASLWTF)
So, remember that leak in the ceiling in the living room at Chez Fou? The one that started us down this long and crazy path of uprooting? The one we spent *mumblemumbleassloadofcash* getting sorted out?

It's back, and terrorizing the new owners.

JOY.

I am so damned delighted I just can't express it.

Now comes the process of digging up the contractors who worked on the project, and seeing if they even still cover the warranty since we're no longer owners of the house. YAY, THIS IS JUST WHAT I NEED RIGHT NOW.
Apr. 1st, 2009 01:49 am

Good grief

textualdeviance: (pennybitches)
So, I was thinking that this renting for a few months thing would be easier than finding an affordable house while we're spiffing up and trying to sell this place.

HAH!

All the apartments/condos/townhouses I've looked at won't take more than 2 pets.

All the houses (Craigslist, at least) want year-long leases or are scuzzy little hovels.

Sigh...
textualdeviance: (Default)
We managed to hash out a housing plan: We're going to wait another month to see what the market trajectory is like. If it's still going down, we're going to chuck the moving plans and instead throw some money into making this place nicer for the next few years.

If it seems to be stablizing, though, we're going to try to put the place on the market, and see if it gets any bites. I hate the idea of living in a zoo exhibit and/or having to move to a temporary pad, but there's just no way we're going to afford the kind of place we want without tapping into the equity here. Even if the stock market went up and I got a job, it still wouldn't get to even half of what we have tied up in the house, and with the market the way it is, trying to get a contigent sale going would be hard.

We're probably going to spend the first month or so that it's on the market trying to live in it, so if it doesn't get any bites at all, we can just de-list it and go back to the other plan.

In any case, we should know by June, and I may as well start sprucing up the house regardless. Whether it's for us or new owners, the place needs some spit and polish and I need something to do while I wait to get employed, so I'm going to attempt some level of domestic divaness.

Oh, also? I know some of y'all are fairly familiar with Renton and environs. We've noticed that our price range can be found more easily in the Kennydale/May Creek type of area, so we might head further south than we'd intended (which was originally Kenmore/Kirkland.) Anyone know about those areas and can tell me more?
textualdeviance: (Cascadia)
The good:
There seem to be a fair number of houses in our price range, and they're getting marked down regularly. There are bargains to be had! (Though a few of the ones we've looked at are also selling fairly quickly at those price points; looks like the upper end of our range is about what many folks are willing to pay right now.)

The bad:
Ehm. The same sort of thing is happening in our zip code. And there's no way we can cover this without at least $100k of equity profit on this place. It's also taking 100 days or more to sell up here. Bugger.

The frustrating:
A fair amount of the uncertainty on this would be solved if I got a job. I still wouldn't count my income toward what we can afford in payments (heck, we're not even going by the 28/35 rule), but it would be a nice cushion for the other stuff, like the upgrades and fixes we need to do here to sell the place.

Am I out of my tree for considering this? )

Barring total disaster, the real worst-case scenario I can see happening is that prices drop even further, I can't find a job and we have to do some serious Vitus dancing to make the mortgage payment for a little while. But I really, really don't see that sort of thing lasting beyond another year, maybe two at the most.

And in the meantime, we're likely to be considerably happier on all other counts because we'll be in a nicer house in a better location, we'll be seeing our friends more, and M will have an extra half hour to an hour in every day thanks to the shorter commute. Heck, that bonus alone would be worth the move, IMHO.


Bah. I still just don't know. In the short term, this is probably crazy. But for medium-to-long term value, I think jumping on these bargains right now is probably justifiable.

What do y'all think? Am I throwing myself off a cliff or making a shrewd wager?
textualdeviance: (Starbuck sidearm)
Broad FYI to those in question:

We've decided we're going to stay up here at the homestead (thanks for the invite though, [livejournal.com profile] mrdorbin!)

Anyone who's interested is welcome to join. We'll be DVRing the east coast HD feed, which starts at 7, and playing it through starting at 8, which should give us a minimum of commercials to have to sit through.

Ping me if you need directions!

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