textualdeviance: (Thunderstone)
Given that LJ, to my great dismay, is very nearly defunct, this will likely be the last year I post one of these here. Will copy it over to FB, and go from there next year. Seems sad to be letting go, after such a long (if occasionally dodgy) history on LJ, but since it's like a ghost town here, and community is what really drove it before, I think it's time. Fitting end to the year, I spose.

Onward to the life tally!

Last Year I ... )

This year, I will ... )
textualdeviance: (Default)
My yearly list of what's gone and what's to come (2011's, for reference.)

Last Year I ... )


This year, I will ... )
textualdeviance: (Cascadia)
Been a while since I've properly checked in on the State of Me here!

Recovering today from last night's terrific chorus-reunion party (and bless D for tidying up the disaster zone afterward.) Got to see most of my usual suspects, which was lovely, but also some folks I'd not seen in a while--and a couple I'd not yet met before! The point of the party was to sing through some of our old stuff, and that didn't happen quite so much, because we were all quite rusty on remembering any of it, but we had a lovely time reminiscing about the group and past concerts anyway. Thinking seriously of throwing another one of these next summer, and doing it up a bit more formally--picking music in advance, etc. I really do miss singing and performing, and as that other chorus didn't really give me what I wanted, I need to find another way to do that regularly. If I were feeling seriously ambitious, I'd make plans for a proper (small) show, but with the upcoming adoption stuff and the fact that many others also have time-stealing little ones, not sure if it would really work out. Still, coming together now and then to harmonize with beloved others is so hugely gratifying for me that I need to figure out some way to do so.

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One other thing that the party made clear: I can pretty much halt my usual late-year depression in its tracks by hosting some sort of social event. Yeah, it's a lot of work to put on, but reminding myself that there are other humans besides the ones with whom I share a house who (I assume) enjoy my company is a major boost. As I noted on Twitter the other day, I'm really not a going-out type, because I can't communicate properly in most crowded, public spaces (among other reasons), but that doesn't mean I'm anti-social. On the contrary, I adore (like-minded, compassionate) people, and that's a big part of why I spend so much time online--it helps me feel connected. Technically, I am still an introvert, and I do need a lot of quiet, non-people time (especially when I'm writing), but I need a lot more of in-person contact than I often get, and the longer I go between social events, the more I start hurting. So house parties with the people I like are a big thing for me. And I especially like hosting, because I like cooking for people, and our house is big enough for folks not to feel crowded. So, yeah. Feeling pretty good about how well things went last night. :)

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Of course, another reason they went well is that we were all in high spirits thanks to the election results. Nationally, of course, I'm quite pleased that we won't have someone who would appoint more Scalia clones to the SCOTUS, and who supports GLBT and reproductive rights, and also that we had so many great new women elected to the Senate. But we also had a banner year on a state level, too, with the passage of 74, among other triumphs. Not a toker, so I'm not necessarily excited about the pot legalization thing (though I voted for it) but I do hope it at least frees up law enforcement to pursue more-serious offenses.

Have posted more about this on my legit blog, so won't say too much here, but I will say that I am distinctly pleased that the tide seems to be turning, and people are voting more from a place of thoughtfulness, compassion and understanding than one of fear and superstition. And I dearly hope, though I'm not optimistic, that the results will finally get more folks to realize that human rights shouldn't be up for debate. Legitimate political disagreement can be had over nuances of economic and administrative policy (though I'd hope such debates come with the backing of established fact, instead of outdated philosophy), but any policy based largely in religious dogma or the belief that suffering and death are reasonable consequences of poverty or lapses in judgment shouldn't even be on the table. Both objectivism and Christian exceptionalism need to get the hell out of the political discourse, so the rest of us can finally hash out the rest of it like adults.

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Aside from politics and socializing, the majority of my recent time has been spent writing. I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this month, working on a prequel/book one for the project I did in August, and also spent much of the previous two months polishing up the other two. I'm pursuing traditional publishing for #2 (Harper) and also submitted it for a contest put on by a major publishing house. No clue how successful I'll be with that, but I did want to give it a go. For #1 (Thunderstone), I've decided to go ahead and self-publish, via Amazon's in-house service. Have enlisted the services of a cover artist and editor, and as soon as I have all that in place, I'll be posting it for sale.

I had originally been against the idea of self-pub, because it has some major drawbacks, most notably the perception, however much value it has, that self-pubbed works are notoriously crap. Also, having the support of a proper agent and publisher is a big deal, especially for larger distribution options. But then, I also realized that my stuff isn't quite mass-appeal enough for most agents or publishers to want to take a chance on it, especially in a tightening market. Getting my foot in the door that way is going to be a major uphill climb, and one I'm not sure I have the patience for. On the other hand, if I get this out there myself and get a decent following, that will go a long way to helping me get a proper deal, for it or other stuff. I retain full rights with this service anyway, so it's not like I'm screwing myself out of future traditional pub options. It may not sell more than a dozen copies, but it'll at least be out there for folks who might like the story, and that's what really matters.

So, yeah. Hoping to get this one live by early December, and will definitely be linking to it far and wide when it's ready (they also do print-on-demand, so folks still wanting analog editions can get those, too.) In the meantime, it's back to the keyboard for more work on #3/3.5.

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Other than that, it's just the usual around here: playing video games, watching TV and movies, doing fandom stuff and trying to keep the cats from destroying each other or the house. Definitely feeling the itch for more travel, and we might try to find a way to get to Hawaii soon, but beyond that, we're more or less content with the holding pattern we're in while we wait to get picked by birthparents. My ongoing existential angst and annoyance with rotten people notwithstanding, I think my fall is going pretty well. :)
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)
Way too many maudlin, self-pity-riddled navel-gazing posts here lately. Keep meaning to get back to this as a proper, far-more-diversified blog space instead of the endless whinefest it seems to be turning into, but I keep getting distracted by other stuff. Just don't have the daily bandwidth for anything other than burst-spewing on Twitter (and occasionally FB) so it's only the long-form bellyaching that ends up here.

So! To try to remedy that, here are some actual recent highlights of the Marvelous Life of the Texty:

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Started the new job: About five weeks into it, now. It's boring. Rather more so than I expected. I'm also doing a lot more of the same button-monkey stuff I did before. Kind of feel like there's been a bait-and-switch, in that I expected more content generation and editorial decision-making than has actually been happening.

That said, what I'm doing is just different enough, and my duties are just interesting and few enough, that I think I can tolerate it, at least for the short term. It's a 12-month contract, and I'm not 100% sure I can finish that out (or at least go until I'm on family leave) but I think I can at least stick with it through the summer. Which will be useful in terms of money. Which, really, is the reason I took the job in the first place (that and plugging a growing CV gap.)

The money, of course is going to help with three big things ...

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Random health stuff: Got my hearing aids this past week, and have been adjusting to them over the last few days. I can't say as I actually like them just yet, since they're a really abnormal feeling to wear, but I am seeing an improvement. Actually asked M to turn down the TV today. Whoa.

Have a bunch of other little stuff that needs taking care of soon, though. New glasses. Dermatologist. Some other bits and bobs. Need to go back to the periodontist soon to get my bone graft done. By the time I get the actual implant (about a year from now) I'll probably be completely used to the giant space where that molar used to be.

The bone graft is going to cost us about $3k, and I'm sort of wondering how long I can put it off, because I'd much rather spend that money on ...

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Travel: Hooray for my paychecks, because it means we're being naughty and going back to London at the end of May. Holy carp. Have been wanting to go back since the moment we left, and when it turned out that a couple of my lovelies are doing a fan event (plus the play) ... well. I kinda had to. Yes, it's not the most responsible thing I've ever done, but dammit, I want to, and I can (if barely) so I'm gonna. Yes, yes, I should sock all this money away in retirement or college funds or something, but life's pretty damn short (and my available time/energy for travel even shorter) so I may as well.

It's a much shorter trip this time--nine days as opposed to three weeks--but it'll be 90% London, with perhaps a side trip or two to Brighton and/or Cardiff (and the con, which is in a small town about an hour-ish to the north.) Very, very much looking forward to being back, and getting a little more in-depth to the things we'd only skimmed over before.

Also hitting Comic-Con this year, though Dragon*Con isn't happening, due to my missing the hotel reservation thing, plus remembering how miserable I was last year in the cloying Atlanta heat. It just completely drains me, and I end up not having any fun at all. At least with San Diego, there are some nice ocean breezes. That, and I expect Game of Thrones people to be at SDCC, and I'm dying to meet those folks.

We might do more travel after that. Not sure, yet. If we do, it'll be domestic--something where we can hop right on a plane and head back at a moment's notice if we need to. Which could, theoretically, happen, due to ...

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Adoption Stuff: Hooray! We're officially on to the next phase! We have our first home study visit scheduled for mid-May. This will be the in-home thing where the social worker gets to know us better, checks off the "safe for kids" list for the house, and generally gets more of a picture of who we are, so we can start building the family profile that gets handed out to the birthfamilies. After that first meeting, there are individual meetings with each of us, then one more in-home followup. After that, assuming all the paperwork and such is in, then we finally get to enter the waiting pool!

Then starts the interminable wait. Last we talked to our counselor, she said the average wait was actually getting just a little longer, too: about a year for most, and 14+ months for same-sex couples (I assume we'll be on the far end of that, what with the openly queer thing.) Eep. Still, I'm guessing we'll be in the pool by the end of June at the latest, and might well be in adoption planning a year from now. Really, it all comes down to whether we look interesting enough to a birthmom. It's kind of like matchmaking: never know if you're going to be sitting around forever because no-one wants to dance, or whether that one, perfect mate is going to show up right off the bat.

Still, knowing that we're qualified, and just waiting to be picked--which will happen eventually--will be very nice. And I can certainly keep myself busy in the meantime, what with the job--if I can tolerate it that long--mucking around in the back yard, and maybe more ...

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Writing: Still waiting to get feedback from some beta readers for the novel, though M and D both loved it. Once I hear back from more folks, I'm going to work in whatever suggestions they give me, and then get it polished up for agent shopping.

I'd been considering shopping the first one around, but the more I think about it, the more I like this one better. Have more ideas for sequels, too. Also like its publishing chances better. No clue, of course, whether it'll get picked up, but I hope so. I'd rather have the resources of a proper editor and publisher than to try to self-publish and market it on my own. Self-publishing is easy, but rarely lucrative, because it's so hard to get your book noticed when it doesn't have the resources of a proper marketing team.

Have also been writing quite a lot more on my quasi-legit blog, including a piece on online socialization, and a bunch of yammering on about TV shows and social responsibility. Do similar stuff over on my Tumblr these days, but with more shameless fanthing drooling over picspams and other general flailing about ...

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Fandom life: Pretty darn busy right now, actually. In addition to my barely-coherent glee now that Game of Thrones is back on, I've been watching Eureka, The Borgias, Grimm, Fringe, Lost Girl and Criminal Minds. The big portion of my fanthing time, though, is going toward all the news and such for the Primeval spinoff that's filming in Vancouver right now. Got a chance to go up there for a con last weekend and see a panel with the new cast. They all seem like really nice folks, and I'm hopeful that the end product for this will be worth it for us fans of the original show. I think it's in good hands, at least.

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... and that's about it, really. Sleeping, working, writing, cooking, tending to the critters and the house, watching dorky TV shows, reading ... The usual. It's been pleasantly calm this month as opposed to the giant shitstorm from the end of last month. Hoping May is equally bland-but-satisfying.
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. )

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

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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: (Default)
Finally left the house yesterday after being snowed/iced in since Tuesday. Oddly, I don't feel like going out today, though. Too busy enjoying being a complete slug after the monstrous household Tetrising I've done over the past few weeks: De-decking the halls post holiday, and getting ready to launch the kid-buying process in earnest.

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As we're coming up on starting the home study (the initial agency seminar is next week, so we'll be doing the HS stuff shortly thereafter), I figured it's time to start getting the house in a kid-ready state. In order to pass the home study, you have to qualify as a state-certified foster home, and there's a pretty giant checklist of safety and other measures that need to be in place before the social worker will sign off on that. So, we put away all the booze (not that we use it for anything but parties anyway), reorged the parlor (putting breakables into closed cabinets) and, the biggest bit, we moved my office into what was previously the guest room. Technically, it still is, since the bed's still in here, but we now have one room completely free which will be the nursery.

This was actually a far more complicated proposition than it might seem. I'm a huge packrat, and I'd managed to get pretty entrenched in my old space in just the two years I was in it. Plus, I also wanted to get my stuff better organized and laid out, since how it was before was basically a slapdash job just to get me up and running when we moved in. There's still a little bit of finish work left (adding a second tier to a bookshelf and sorting through some paperwork to file) but basically, it's done. And I LOVE it. Even though there's less floor space because of the bed and extra desk, it really, really feels better to me. It's a very personalized space now, and I can see myself happily writing in here for years to come. Pics of it are up on Flickr.

Next project is tricking out the nursery, though we'll be waiting to get started on that for a couple more weeks. Don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We'll be buying the basic items necessary to pass the home study (car seat, bassinet, etc.) but the hardcore furniture will wait until we're reasonably sure we'll have a kid to use it all.

Speaking of the kid thing ...

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As I was drawing up the budget for the next year-ish, I did up a baby-stuff list. And ZOMG, formula is ridic expensive. Holy carp. The sticker shock drove me to looking up whether it'd be possible for me to make my own somehow. And, theoretically, it is. There's a lot of prep work and possibly some herbs or meds, but it's supposedly possible to do it. So I may give that a go, just to see if I can. I won't make as much as a birth mom would, but I might be able to make enough to get the kid the antibodies and such, plus supplement the formula a little bit to make a dent in the cash outlay. Not fussed about the rest of it--have never had the emotional desire or instinct to do it for that reason, and the kid's going to get plenty of attention anyway--but since these damn things are otherwise going to be useless, I may as well see if I can put them into service for a while. They've been giving me back pain for the last 30 years. They may as well earn their keep.

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Speaking of cash outlays, I need to decide, and soon, what sort of spring vacay we might be taking. We have the budget for a small trip, and we'll have at least a little bit of wait time before we get picked by a birthmom, but we need to choose wisely. It'll likely be our last out-of-town for the forseeable future, so it needs to be bang-up. Am trying very hard to resist the urge to drop it all on another short UK trip, since two of my three Primeval lovelies are in a West End show starting in March. And since it's looking like we're not getting any more of the original series, this'd be my last chance to see any of them together in something for who knows how long. The sensible thing to do is spend that money going somewhere we've never been, doing a short cruise or something. And also, being a grown-up and backing off of my fandom bandwidth outlay. Sigh ... But the urge is still there.

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Decisions about cash would be somewhat easier if I had an idea of when/whether I'll be working anytime soon. I'm actually quite irritated that I never heard back from my agency about the supposed sure-thing gig with my old team, and I didn't get any bites for the other two gigs I was submitted for, either. Granted that I'm not sure I want to work right now, and I'd be taking off for parental leave in the middle of any long contract, but it would still be nice to work at least a couple of months, for the money and to fill in an otherwise-glaring resume gap.

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Really, though, a lot of stuff is kind of on hold until we're through the initial starting gate of the home study. Once we get an idea of how long our time in the waiting pool might be, I can start making more decisions about how hard to push on finding work, and whether to stay with chorus, and where/when to go on vacation, etc. I'm also planning to get both novels in agent-ready form during that wait time, too, but I'll want to do something else, at least. Being in limbo with those decisions is kind of sucky, so I'm glad we're coming close to the end of that. I do feel like I've accomplished quite a lot even in the limbo state, though. Just a bit more kid-proofing of the house, and we should be good to go on that. Crossing fingers the social worker signs off on us pretty quickly.

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Life continues apace, however. M and I celebrated our 15th anniversary on Tuesday in part by going ring shopping. We've been wearing different wedding bands for years, since the original ones are kind of ridged on the inside and therefore uncomfortable. But we found a really cool one we like to order, and will be picking those up next week. Also got the first part of my major dental surgery done, which was annoying (and still hasn't fully healed.) Just waiting for a few months for them to look at it post-healage and decide which step is next.

Other than that ... the usual. Cats being both annoying and annoyingly cute. D being amazing and the best roomie ever. Birdies hanging out in the back yard getting wasted on seed. Politics making me roll my eyes and laugh so I don't cry. That sort of thing. ;)

But damn, I wish spring would hurry up and get here.
textualdeviance: (Default)
My yearly list of what's gone and what's to come:

Last year, I ... )
This year, I will ... )
textualdeviance: (Recommended for the Internet)
So, if you've not kept up with my tl;dr rant and babble lately (and I wouldn't blame you), here's a condensed version of what's been going on in my life the last couple of months!

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The biggest thing, of course, is that we've got at least a rough plan for getting the adoption going. We've been sorting through agencies, and have found at least one that may be right for us. We have our first intro seminar dealio with them next Tuesday. Assuming that goes well (and it may or may not) we'll get going on the home study stuff soon after. That process will take a couple months, but we'll probably be on the waitlist sometime in January. Then? No clue how long it might take. Could be a long wait, though, since we're going to be pickier than some, and have a few not-so-attractive things as potential adoptive parents. Still more-than-slightly terrified, especially about getting cleared medically, but I'm crossing my fingers.

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The other big thing is that I'm singing again! I bit the bullet and joined up with SWC. Only a few rehearsals so far, but god, it feels good to be back. It's been ~4 years since I did any serious singing, and getting back into it is making me wonder why I ever stopped. (Well, I know why--time, burnout, scheduling fail, etc. Still.) I've been needing to feed my soul, and music is its preferred meal, so. Yeah. :) First concert's in February. We'll see what I do after that--will prolly depend on adoption stuff.

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Also still writing like a demon, though it's been ages since I did any fanfic. (Kind of fading interest a bit on the primary fandom. More on that in a bit.) Since I'm not working again yet, I decided to take advantage of the downtime and do NaNoWriMo this year. If you're over there, you can find me with this handle. I seem to be going well on my project so far--have topped 9,000 words in just four days, which is well ahead of their suggested pace. Helps that I put together a decent chapter outline for it in the middle of this, too.

Haven't done more agent shopping for the other novel, but I think I want to give it another edit and maybe a bit of expansion before I do. Have been letting it sit for a few months now, and fresh eyes wouldn't be a bad thing before I go dropping it on someone else.

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Khaleesi seems to be settling in fairly well. She's still shy of Otter, because he's an asshole and he's almost twice her size, but she gives him (well-earned) smacks on the nose pretty regularly. She's also basically a perfect cat. She's friendly, sweet, has perfect litterbox habits, etc. About her only flaw is that she scratches a lot. But she also responds well when she's scolded for it. Still considering whether we add another kitty--perhaps one more young one to take Otter's focus, so poor Penny doesn't get any harassment at all--but that may be a while yet.

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Have been diversifying my fandom interests, now that Primeval is on ice for at least the near future. A little burned out on it, to be honest. Still think the cast is adorable (though there's some behind-the-scenes stuff that has me a bit uncomfortable) and still keeping up with our fan groups, but I'm just spending more time on other stuff. Particularly, I've been dipping my toes into Game of Thrones/ASoIaF. Just finished the most recent book in the series, so I can finally go hunting fandom for it without risk of spoilers. Sadly, a lot of the fandom I've found so far seems heavily oriented toward dimwit fangirls. Which is kind of creepy, considering they're way too immature for this subject matter. Ah, well.

Elsewise, I'm watching Sanctuary, Fringe, Downton Abbey, Criminal Minds and a few other things here and there. Looking forward to more Leverage coming soon, too.

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My mandatory contract break is up, now, and my agency has pinged me about new possible assignments. I'm not sure I want to work again right away, though. We could use the extra money, but it's not critical, and I figure someone else needs that job more than we do right now. I may want to work again while we're in the adoption queue, but for now, I'd rather spend that time writing, catching up on sleep and watching the birdies in my back yard (of which there have been TONS this year.) I may change my mind if there's a really awesome assignment up, though.

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Also, I want to spend more time socializing. We had a way fun Halloween party, and I'm dying to do more of that. Not that I don't love my long-distance/online friends, but meatspace socializing really boosts me, and I need more of it than I get right now.

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Bed, however, is my main goal at the mo. Especially because Khaleesi just dropped an atom bomb in the litter box. Ugh. Night.
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)
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: (Default)
I just now realized that Mother's Day is the day before my surgery. I.e., the day before I say goodbye to ever bearing children. Theoretically, since my ovaries won't be affected, I could use a gestational carrier and still have bio kids, but since my stoopid eggs wouldn't get fertilized in the first place, and the fertility clinic basically refused to do egg extraction on me anyway, that's not an option. So any future kids I obtain are going to be someone else's. I've known this for a while, now, of course, but it's still kind of hard to swallow. It would help if my stupid culture wasn't so bloody obsessed with bio mothers, as if they're the only people in the world capable of being proper parents.

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Speaking of the surgery, I had my pre-op consult for it yesterday, and they confirmed that they're knocking me entirely out. I'm a little worried about this (anesthesia is the reason the clinic refused to work on me, after all) but mostly, I'm just not looking forward to waking up. The last time I did general, I was horribly miserable when I came to: Thirsty, headachy, confused, scared, etc. Nastiness.

Also not looking forward to the drug I need to take the night before, as it's supposed to cause horrible cramps. Yaye.

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Fortunately, I shall have glorious fandom goodness to distract me from all this, as there's a premiere event going on Sunday at which a fandom friend will be. There will be pics, I hope! Also still hoping there will be some folks at the event I'm going to at the end of the month, too. They haven't announced many guests at all, yet, so I'm still hopeful. Would kinda suck to spend 3 weeks traipsing around the show's home countries and not see at least someone from it. I'll be seeing some filming locations, of course, but that's not quite the same as real live humans. :)

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My fannish creative muses came back. In hordes. In the last 10 days, I've written 9 fics (about 20k words) and put together a new vid (which I'm also retooling a bit for submission to a Dragon*Con fanvid contest.) Amazing what happens when new promo material gets me salivating. ;)

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Good thing I've kept myself creatively busy, though. Got turned down by the first agent. Sigh... I kinda wondered if that might happen, though, as she's mostly doing modern fantasy/paranormal right now, and my thing is definitely a traditional fantasy setting, even if its plot and themes are less so. Will go hunting for other agents when we get back from our trip.

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Semi-related, I was realizing yesterday that each decade of my life has some fairly clear definitions, in terms of a snapshot of who I was/what was important to me. 0-10 was school/reading/being a tomboy, 10-20 was school/politics/socializing/radio, 20-30 was school/performing/socializing/sorting out my love life, 30-40 was fandom/journalism/establishing a home/getting money sorted. What's 40-50 going to be? Not entirely sure, yet, but I think it may be novel-writing/parenting. And then probably add travel into that for my 50s. Not a bad life, I guess. At least I didn't spend most of it (so far) intoxicated or in jail.

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Some of the above epiphany comes courtesy of the electronic attic-cleaning I've been doing the last couple of days. I've had several layers of poorly-filed crap sitting around in my docs folder for years. Most of it's from multiple backups, so there's a lot of duplicate and frankly useless crap in there I've been sorting through. And because I'm an idiot, I can't easily tell what most of these are about just by their titles, so I'm having to open them up and scan. And some of my old writings and such? Good grief.

I think for most of my 20s, I was dead convinced that if I didn't have a ton of lovers, it meant I was pathetic and useless. Granted, I'm still a randy little perv even now (hi, fanfic?) but I'm also not falling in lust with my friends all the time. Still a bit here and there, but not to the ridiculous degree it used to be. I think the difference is that while the libido is still there, the desperate need for approval isn't anymore. At least not that way. These days I'm pining away more for the approval of agents: writers' and adoption. Whether people consider me fuckable is of far less importance to me now than whether they consider me creatively skilled and good parenting material.

Which, I suppose, is one of the benefits of being near 40. Frankly, I don't think I'd ever want to go back to that state of being again. Feeling like my entire identity and self-worth was dependent on whether I was attractive enough was horrid. Still feel like that a lot now, but it's not as big a deal as it was then, at least. That monkey is still clinging to my back, but it's at least losing its grip, which is a damned nice feeling. I just feel sorry for the millions of other young women still beating themselves up every day because shallow idiots don't think they're decorative enough.

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At any rate, this all kind of feels like I'm going away to the UK for some sort of major personality overhaul or something. Like I'm going to undergo some sort of rite of passage and come back a totally different person, and be ready for the next phase of my life. Which may be true. Three weeks of being 5,000 miles from home might give me a good and necessary brain scrubbing. We'll see whether I'm a Whole New Me come mid-June.
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 )

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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5 hours since I last ate anything

Which prolly means I should go do something about that. Ciao for now.
textualdeviance: (Default)
So, the bad: Something is quite terribly wrong with just about everything in my midsection. Icky health TMI crap )

---

Complicating matters is that I have to work tomorrow (stupid awards show) and M's going to San Jose at the asscrack of dawn Monday, so I have to figure out how to get to work on my own then, too. Tomorrow's going to be especially exciting because they're tearing down bits of the freeway I use to get there, and the whole thing is closed this weekend. I know how to get there w/o the freeway, but the traffic's going to be horrid.

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There is good, however! The UK/Eire trip is fully booked (though after today's events, I'm wondering if we should reconsider going through NI) and I'm very much looking forward to that (assuming I'm at least somewhat more healthy by then.) The sad bit of it is that I won't be able to see the new series of Primeval while we're there, because it's airing on a pay channel that most hotels don't get. Bummer.

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Also of the good: The novel is finished, and has had two healthy editing passes and a good once-over (with helpful feedback) from M. It's in good enough shape now that I've taken the leap and sent off a query to an agent. The agent in question is probably the best I've seen for the kind of thing I've done, so I hope she likes it. Crossing my fingers.

If anyone else wants to have a look at it, I'd be happy to have some more beta readers.

---

Overall, it's been a good couple of weeks. If the stupid health stuff would just go away, I'd be sunshine and roses. Hmph.
textualdeviance: (UK Coming Soon)
First off: *points to icon*

It's officially official. We've both been cleared by our bosses! Now just nailing down exact dates. At the moment, the most likely is May 20-June 10. Or thereabouts. We'll definitely be hitting the London Expo (already have tickets) and also doing a Duran Duran concert that weekend at the O2 (also already have tickets.) Haven't seen them live since 1984. Figured since I'm (almost) 40-going-on-13 these days, may as well go all in for it. (Heck, I may even go haunt the red carpet zone at the BAFTA TV thingy going on then, too, if my lad's stuff gets any noms.)

The specific itinerary for the trip still being worked out, apart from that weekend. Thusfar, I know for sure we want to hit Brighton, Bath (and yes, Stonehenge), Cardiff, Dublin and Leeds. Plus a bunch of touristy crap in London. Depending on timing/routes, we'll prolly also hit Glasgow and Belfast (or at least thereabouts; I want to see Giant's Causeway.) We'll likely also make some stops based on birding/caching/gardens stuff, and I hope to find a way to hook up with at least some of my fandom peeps (if not at the Expo, then some other way.)

I've decided to bite the bullet and rent a car while we're there. Not while we're in London--gods, no--but for the rest of the tour, I think it'll ultimately be easier than figuring out trains, etc. (especially with my somewhat-limited mobility.) Slightly terrified of getting used to things being on the "wrong" side, but if I start out in a smaller town (Leeds or Brighton) and make sure I have an automatic, I should be OK after a day or so's practice. Just hope I don't smash things up while I'm learning!

I can't believe we're actually doing this, though. First--and probably only--time for something this big. I've never done a three-week vacation before, never crossed the Atlantic, never been on a plane for more than 6 hours, and the only foreign country I've spent more than an afternoon in is Canada. So. Yeah. Big deal for me. *wibble*

More updates )
textualdeviance: (Default)
As in the past, my annual tally of the year gone by, and a look ahead to the year to come.

Last Year I... )

This Year, I Will... )
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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