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: (Andrew Whee!)
Finally getting a bit of bandwidth back, though I think I picked up a cold somewhere, so I'm still quite tired and hurty. Meh.

Anyway ... So: the big reason we decided to go back to London is that I wanted to finally meet my lovely Famous People. They really don't do the con thing at all, so when I heard that two of them were doing this one, I had to. I knew my chances of meeting them in the future were otherwise next to nil, so this was pretty much my one shot. (Two of them--Ben and Hannah--are doing a play right now and are thus a bit more accessible, but the third--Andrew--is very elusive, and only signed on to the con at the last minute. Had to grab him!) And yes, we loved London last year and wanted to see more of it. And did--though I wore myself out with excitedly overdoing it the first couple of days. Oops.

Not really much to say about the non-fan touristing. 90% of it is evident on Flickr. Details )

Quite tickled that I finally met all three lovelies, and got all three to sign the same pic (and also had the bonus-FP encounter, too.) It kind of feels like I've unlocked a fandom achievement or something--like how it was for me when I finally got all four hobbits' autographs (also on the same photo.) I feel a little guilty for spending so much money on what was more or less a big autograph hunt, but hey, ya only live once. I could certainly spend my money on worse things. :)

Sadly, as mentioned before, this is probably my last shot at London. I might get to go back someday if I can manage the physical/temporal/financial bandwidth somehow, but practically speaking, I'm basically done. I think the UK treated me very well both times I went, so I'm content. Bucket list items checked, and the next big travel we do--if we do anything at all--will probably be on the other end of the world (Oz/NZ.) So, farewell to the Isles, with fond memories.
textualdeviance: (Default)
This piece about unflattering photos feels especially relevant to me today, as I'm sorting through vacay pix to find some I feel comfortable posting.

As is the case with most of our travel pics, I'm behind the camera, and 90% of the photos are of landscapes, buildings, etc., with M in a few of them. The majority of our travel photosets don't have me in them at all. It's almost like I wasn't even there, since there's no telling who was wielding the camera. There are plenty of pics of me on Flickr, but most are carefully edited and chosen shots I did myself. No candids. No photos of me actually doing something or being somewhere. And almost none of them are fully public--friends/family only. I avoid being photographed so much it's like I'm attempting to erase myself from my own life.

When I bought photo shoot tickets for Collectormania, I did so because I wasn't sure whether there would be a proper chance for an autograph or any other one-on-one contact with the folks in question, not because I actually wanted a photo of myself with them. They're so beautiful that it seemed like putting me in the pic with them would be somehow blasphemous. I got the photo anyway, largely because I promised someone I'd do a photo shout-out for her. The pic of me is decent, as that goes, but I still don't want to scan it in, because the contrast of how gorgeous they are with ... well ... me ... is just so stark.

As the person in the link above noted, though: I look like that. Flattering or no, and allowances for the odd physics of 2D stills considered, those images of me are more or less what people see when they see me in person. I've not yet become a complete hermit (though I seem to be aiming that way) so other people do see my physical existence regularly. But that's not really by choice. Who I am as a person is so detached from my concept of what I physically look like that they're entirely incongruous to me. Given the choice, I'd rather present myself in a way that reflects who I am, rather than what I look like.

But, some might argue, aren't those the same thing? Isn't what I look like part of who I am? Well, insomuch as it's influenced how I've developed as a person, yes. But that's not necessarily a good thing. My physical self has earned me so much horrific abuse that all I've built from it is a crapload of internal scar tissue. My desire, therefore, to ignore it as much as possible should be understandable. And when I tell people who try to encourage me to live in my own skin, and be more present physically to fuck the hell off, they need to understand why I say that. Only people who are chronically clueless or have been blessed enough by the genetic fairy that they don't get abused by strangers for how they look would think there's merit in that. You may as well tell someone with terrible allergies that they should get out and smell the flowers in spring.

I'm an odd duck: a vaguely post-modern realist. As I've argued about other things before, I recognize cultural and social constructs for what they are--malleable, changeable and in no way biologically essential--but I also acknowledge that just because a thing is built by humans rather than naturally grown doesn't mean it doesn't exist. A building is entirely a human construction, and just as it has been assembled where it is, so can it be dismantled. Yet it's still a very real thing, it still affects its environment, and it still changes, in ways both large and small, the people who encounter it.

The social constructs we have around gender and physical appearance aren't inherent and unchangeable, no matter how much quack evolutionary psychologists may like to argue otherwise. But that doesn't mean they don't exist, or that they don't have the power to do harm. Much as a well-meaning parent might try to teach a child that beauty is only skin-deep, and looks don't matter, and it's what's inside that counts, the reality of life in a gender-stratified environment in which appearance is commodified means that yes, looks DO matter, especially for girls and women. They shouldn't matter, and children should of course learn not to judge people on things over which they have no control, appearance among them, but they also should learn that other people WILL make those judgments. And that those judgments can, in some cases, do some fairly serious damage. If you want your kid to come out without too much of that damage, you help them learn how to avoid it. It's just like teaching a kid about crime. You teach them not to steal, and that stealing is a bad thing, but you also teach them to lock up their valuables, because other people steal whether they're supposed to or not. No, I don't want my kid living under a cloud of paranoia, and the onus of responsibility for abuse lies with the abuser, but I also have a responsibility to keep my kid safe as much as possible--and that includes teaching them how to avoid becoming a target for the world's awful people.

So, this is why I don't make many pics of myself public. I know my looks don't define who I am, but I also know other people will define me that way, and that most of the people who do will judge me a lesser creature, and someone worthy of torment, because of them. Anyone worth my time, energy and affection won't abuse me that way, of course, but as I can't live life surrounded entirely by only those people, I still have to make adjustments to avoid the jerks who will. I don't personally think that being fat or having an unattractive face makes me a bad person. I think I'm a very good person, in fact. But I'm not stupid. I know other people do think that, and that if they're given enough of an opportunity, they'll do anything they can to make my life miserable. It's a form of closeting, of course, but it's an essential one. Just as I wouldn't be stupid enough to out myself as queer in a rural town full of violence-prone holy rollers, neither am I going to go pasting my picture everywhere that the attack dogs of the intarweebs are going to see it. I've already been the victim of some pretty hardcore bullying, both online and off. Why on earth would I voluntarily open myself up to more of that? If other people want to martyr themselves like that, fair enough. I'm not going to be happy about pressure to do so myself.

So, no. I'm not going to post vacation pics of myself in public spaces, and when someone does post an unflattering pic of me, I'll ask them to untag it or otherwise make it less obvious who the person in the pic is. People who know me already will know my face, and know that's me. Strangers don't need to connect that face with my name, because far too many of them will use that knowledge to hurt me. I've been hurt enough already. Sue me if I'm trying to avoid suffering any more.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Back from London, which was awesome (pics/report later), but good gods, I'm exhausted. Even though this trip was half as long as the first, it was hotter/more humid, and I did a lot more walking, so I'm just wiped. We went to bed at 8:30 last night (got up at 4--ugh) but I feel like I could still sleep for two days. Needless to say, being back at work today is extra miserable. Bleh.

Much as I hate admitting it, I think I'm going to have to cut back on hardcore trips like this. My body's just not up for it anymore. I'm still up for smaller-scale stuff, but I think the big cons, weeks spent at amusement parks, etc. just aren't going to happen. Even ended up cancelling our Comic-Con plans for that reason (also realized that the only few Famous People I still want to meet won't be there, so there’s pretty much no point to braving the heat/crowding/walking.)

This is, of course, depressing. I deal with my physical limitations every day, and I know very well my lifespan isn’t going to be huge, but I've sort of been in denial about exactly how much I'm going to be limited/slowed in this last ~20 years. I have planned for some of it--delaying parenting, for instance, so I could travel while I was still young/healthy enough--but facing the music now still stings. There's just so much more I want to do before I die, and knowing I won't be able to because of my stupid body really sucks. Theoretically, I could skip the parenting and squeeze in more of this stuff, but as parenting is also a huge entry on the bucket list, I'd rather not. It's not ideal, but I can always do some sort of creaky person's round-the-world cruise or something later. Best spend what energy I have left on the high-bandwidth baby-and-toddler stuff.


Will say though: seeing this quote from the recently late Ray Bradbury while I'm feeling like this really hit home:

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there."

… and this is why I write.

Being keenly aware of the ticking clock now means this is a lot more important to me. I get that some people are content to merely live on through their families, or don't even think about things this way at all, but for me, it's really important to have at least some little bit of myself that will continue on long after my body is dust. When I was younger, I figured that would happen with performing of some sort. Now that that's not really possible, all I have left is the writing. Yes, I'll have a kid who remembers me after I'm gone, but I need something more tangible than someone else's memories. I need something more than just a bunch of blog entries and photos as the residue of my existence. With so little energy for anything more elaborate, writing it is.

But! In order to do that--in order to do what I need to prove that I was here--I need to have the temporal bandwidth. Which in this case means I need to get rid of this horrid job. I have enough experience/resume fodder at this point to get a paycheck later if I really need one, but the huge things I needed to earn money for--travel, house, kid--are basically taken care of, now. It’d be nice to have more gravy, of course, but not at the mental health cost that this gig is charging me.

All that's left, I guess, is trying to figure out how to leave without burning bridges. So I think that's the challenge remaining for me for the rest of the week.

Well, after I've had more sleep. Eesh.
textualdeviance: (Default)
Managed to survive the last few weeks at work (don't get me started) and am waaaay ready for our vacay, now. Fortunately, we fly out for London in just 19 hours. Yay!

Other than work, things are going well enough. Adoption's moving right along as it should. Will prolly officialy be in the family pool not long after we get back. And then: the wait. Which I'm ok with.

More-detailed post later. For now, need to rest up for tomorrow's airport/9-hour flight hell. The end result is worth it, but daym.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

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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: (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)
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.
Jun. 5th, 2011 10:40 pm

UK: Week 2

textualdeviance: (UK Coming Soon)
A brief pause in the whirlwind that's been the last week!

North! )

Taking it easy tonight (though lamenting the fact that our hotel doesn't know how to make proper salsa), and tomorrow we plan to head south to a little estate/wilderness area, where we hope to get in some birding/caching. Tuesday we get the ferry back to Britain, and two days in Manchester, then it's back to London for one night before we fly out. Kind of crazy that we're creeping toward the end of this. Slightly homesick, but also seeing so many things I'd have loved to explore more. I know getting a chance to come back here anytime soon is next to impossible, but I hope we can do it someday, at least.

Pics for Leeds, Glasgow and Belfast are up on Flickr!
textualdeviance: (UK Coming Soon)
Hanging out in the hotel room this Saturday afternoon. Plan was to find a laundrette, since we're running short of clean stuff, but I'm actually quite exhausted today, so we're taking it easy for now. May go out later, though.

Kinda not surprised to be tired, since the week's been quite full of touristy goodness (check out pics here and here.)

The first two days we were mostly sleeping off jet lag (aside from the British Museum trip) and then Monday, we hopped the train over to Bristol and picked up our rental car. Automatics are fairly rare in the UK, and the rental place only had one: An enormous station wagon that was wholly incompatible with the tiny little streets there. The driving backwards thing didn't actually bug me too much. It was navigating extremely narrow roads with next to no proper signage that really did me in. Also: the center line? Is apparently a mere suggestion, and people park pretty much anywhere they want. Gah.

Still, I survived it--and gained a bit of confidence for the next rental in Leeds--and we managed to get in a pretty-if-scary drive around the Cotswolds and a bit of traipsing through Bath. Had kinda hoped to hit Cardiff, but didn't have time for that. Also met up with a lovely fandom friend and caught the first Primeval ep, which was bliss.

Trained back to London on Weds., and have spent the last couple of days being very touristy (and getting soaked to the bone in a thunderstorm!) Met another fandom friend for dinner Thursday and then spent about 4 1/2 hours on a tour bus yesterday, going around virtually the entire city core, seeing all the key sights. It all seems somewhat familiar, of course, from having seen so much vid/pics of the city through the years, but seeing it in person is still a whole 'nother thing. You just don't get a sense of the sheer scope and detail of some of it without really being there. Have very much enjoyed it so far, even if it is a little overwhelming.

Aside from the endless architecture porn, my favorite bits so far have been the cabbies, who are awesome and insane, Hamley's toy store and Regent St. in general. Also had a very yummy meal at Garfunkel's last night. May hunt down another one of those before we go.

One more full day in the city tomorrow, then we hop a train for Leeds on Monday. Can't believe we're only 1/3 of the way into this. Crazy! But loving it. :)
textualdeviance: (UK Coming Soon)
Flight was a bit of a nightmare. Couldn't sleep on either leg of it, so ended up going 24 hours+ without. Combined with beating up my bod from the travel itself, that meant sleeping a great deal of the next day and a half to try to recover. Kinda expected to lose at least the first day, though, so no worries. Part of why we scheduled three weeks is so we wouldn't feel pressured to do too much all at once.

Did get in a little bit of tourism today, though: Spent a few hours roaming around the British Museum. Which is amazing. Seeing the Rosetta Stone and chunks of the Parthenon in person? 100% win. (Seeing a Primeval filming location? Bonus. ;) )

My very brief impression of London so far: It's a city. A big city. With gorgeous architecture, tiny little streets and insane cabbies. And it kind of smells like pee in some places. And there's something pollinating right now that puts my respiratory system in a major state of Do Not Want. And there's an actual Salvation Army band. Huh. But that's all from a very limited view. Will have a much better chance to see it on the return next week.

There's been a bit of surreal stuff so far. Like not having a jetway when we landed in Iceland and thus discovering the country is accurately named (also: there's such a thing as Icelandic reggae. Who knew?) Kind of freaked out that the place blew one of its volcanoes just a few hours after we were there. Hoping it doesn't mess up our return plans (since we're bouncing back through there again), but that's still three weeks away, so it shouldn't be an issue.

Also surreal: The TV Baftas were held at our hotel tonight. I was just two floors away from Stephen Fry, Matt Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Gillian Anderson, Russell Tovey, Lenora Critchlow and Sinead Keenan. Never had the guts to go downstairs and try to see any of them, though. If I ever did meet any of them, I'd want it to be in a less-chaotic situation in which we could actually chat for a bit.

Will be leaving in the morning for a couple of days in Bristol (and a Primeval viewing--god, fandom friends are awesome!) but we'll be back here Weds aftn to do more of the cheesy tourist stuff. Then it's off to Leeds next Monday.

It all still seems kind of not-quite-real--jet lag will do that, I spose--but we're here, we have passport stamps from two new countries, and that's damned awesome.

More (and some pics) later!
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.

---

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.

---

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. :)

---

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. ;)

---

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.

---

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.

---

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.

---

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: (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: (UK Coming Soon)
Just found out from my boss today that they're intending to keep me on for at least a couple more months, AND they'll work around my vacation schedule if I'm still on then.

Hot. Damn.

:D :D :D :D :D

It'll be a few more weeks before we have the cash reserves to buy the air tix/make the reservations, but...

Guh. I can't believe we're going to make this happen.

Will keep folks posted as to our plans. :)

*boogies*
textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
So, that trip to the UK that I had considered for next month didn't happen (for many reasons), but there's now a very good possibility of doing it in late May instead. There's another event at which my Famous People may be and I'll be turning 40 that month, so those are pretty good excuses. :)

The sticking point, as always, has been time/money. Still sorting out the former, but the latter is looking increasingly possible, between the extra month on my contract and what may be a pretty decent tax return when it's all done.

Still, it's tight, and what with the adoption, I don't want to spend any more on this than I have to, so I'm sorting out exactly what we would do there if we went. This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime trip for me, so I want to make the most of it, but we also probably can't afford more than two weeks there, tops.

Aside from the event, the things I know for sure I want to do so far: Giant's Causeway (and possibly other awesome geographical thingies), Brighton, General London-environs historical sights/museums, somewhere in the North (Manchester, York?) and anything else that's an absolute must-see-before-you-die. Might take in a play if Mansfield's in one at the time, and may also want to hit a Primeval filming site or two (aside from the British Museum, which is already on the list.)

Trying to sort through four countries' worth of attractions to figure out the rest is proving quite insane, though. Yeah, the whole thing is only about the size of California, but still. I don't want to be running around madly from place to place and not have a chance to just sit and enjoy it, too (not to mention that running around will exhaust me and make me not enjoy it anyway.) Also have to factor in things like my limited walking ability and such, too.

Hmph. I've done this sort of logistical planning before, howev, so I know I can do this, too. :)
Tags:
textualdeviance: (Coming Soon: S4 Connor)
Just found out that there may be overlap between the end of my current contract and when I'd need to be here if it gets extended (the guy I'm filling in for now comes back 1/28, and the guy I'd be filling in for after that leaves 2/8 or thereabouts.)

Which could mean enough free time for a trip to the UK for that event. :D

The only issue then is money, and as we're not currently budgeting for the contract extension, if that comes, we can probably swing it.

Gnarrrh. I hope this is possible. But I won't know for sure for a while, yet.



**ETA: Request to my UK peeps or those who have been there a lot**

With 12 days there, where would you recommend going? One weekend would be spent at the event (which is on the south coast) but the rest would be free.

Trying to see if this is possible budget-wise, and want to research transport/hotels for a possible tour itin. :)
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)
Got back home late yesterday and slept well in my own bed last night, but I'm still feeling the effects of the past week's worth of travel chaos. All in all, a very good experience, but man, I wore myself out. Way, way too much walking/standing/picking my way through crowds in thickly humid ATL heat. Also had a hard time getting properly hydrated because I'd so quickly sweat it back out again.

**

Rather enjoying my typical NW weather, now. The cloying mist thing makes me feel so very much at home. Kind of hope this isn't all there is to summer, though. We usually get at least a little bit of the clear-and-warmish stuff sometime in September. I'd kinda like to have at least one more BBQ or something.

**

Slightly disappointed at the moment because I heard that the job I thought I was going to have upon my return (as in, they were scheduling me for orientation for it) didn't go as it should have. Not sure exactly why. Agency did submit me for a couple of other gigs, though, so maybe one of those will work out. Have to admit that I'm just a little bit glad. I really wasn't quite ready to start working again right away. I need at least another week to take care of some last-minute sabbatical stuff and recover from the con.

I definitely need the work, though. Too many big-picture things coming up that require cash, and I'm the biggest untapped resource we have for that.

**

Kind of hate the catch-22 involved in this. I'm really, really dying to do that UK trip (either the end-of-October event or the Feb one), but there's no way we can afford it without me working. And if I'm working, I probably won't get the time off. Meh.
textualdeviance: (Neillison)
Two more days left here, but it's been a blast so far. Met up with my lovely peeps [livejournal.com profile] pottsfanatic and [livejournal.com profile] ourdramaqueen and had an amazing experience meeting some Famous People and watching them be ridiculous for the entertainment of thousands of geeks.

Still kind of sad that my Andrew wasn't here (as had been rumored) and sad that I won't be able to see him at any of the UK events he'll prolly be at soon, but meeting Neil was thoroughly awesome, and that's made me quite happy, and pleased that I decided to do this.

I still want to see some panels and get some autographs, but I'm really, really starting to feel the exhaustion creep in. Too much walking/time on my feet, too much heat, too many rushed meals. This is far, far more physical activity than I usually get up to in such a short span of time, and my body is starting to let me know that this is Very Stupid.

Given that I start a new job within just a few days of getting home, I really ought to take it easy for a while. At least so I can survive the trip home. May spend tomorrow just doing some driving around ATL instead of hoofing it through throngs of geeks.
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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