aithne: (Default)

I’ve been taking care of two households for the past week or so; Bryan and Laura are on vacation, and I’m back down in Renton, housesitting and taking care of the animals.  Fortunately, at the moment my place in Issaquah doesn’t take a lot of taking care of.  I have a fishtank, which I’m doing a fishless cycle on and will be ready for inhabitants in another week or two; and I have plants, and the occasional package that shows up that has to be brought inside.

The animals are all asking what they’ve done to deserve their needs being tended by only one human.  This, they feel, is a far less than adequate number.  I had a friend over for movies yesterday, and Pip spent much of the time she was there leaning on her and looking up at her soulfully. 

I did pop up home this morning, to pick up a package that needed to be grabbed from the post office.  We’re having our usual late-May bout of summer weather in the area right now, and so the air was cool but rapidly warming when I stopped at home.  There’s a lingering chill coming off of the mountain, lurking under the tall pines and firs.  Welcome home, it says.  Welcome back.

I’ve joined a local gym and am working out three days a week, trying to convince my cardiovascular system that it is time to once again get with the program.  I’m banging against some writing, trying to get the crust that seems to have formed on me to come loose.  All these systems that have become stuck need to get unstuck, and now.

Patience.  Patience. 

I think I’m going to the coast this coming weekend, take the dogs and go on a mindful walk.  Blow some of the dust off.  

aithne: (Default)
I have a friend who hasn't been on this coast long, and needs a new gig.  I'm trying to help her out, because there's nothing like networking for finding a new job!  Bridget's taught, has done play and event production, and is interested in getting into the gaming industry as a writer, level designer, or producer.  The industry's not critical, though.  She's not a coder, but she does know her way around a computer and she's done a bunch of online community management.  I can totally vouch for the fact that she's awesome.  

This is her LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bridget-natale/49/a28/92a  
aithne: (Default)
So, there are Things Afoot.  I'm moving out of the house I've shared with Bryan and Laura for almost seven years in a few weeks.  I have a new place in Issaquah that I'm moving to, tucked right between Tiger, Cougar, and Squak Mountains..  The split has been entirely amicable, they're keeping the animals (the condo I'm moving to is no pets), and I'm likely going to hermit it up for a while before returning to my normal-for-me social life.  So those of you who haven't seen me around for a bit may start getting to see more of me this summer.  

There's something in those mountains that loves me and wants me to live near it.  It's the strangest feeling.  I suspect that I'm going to be doing a lot of hiking, trying to figure out what it is.

I'm doing all right.  Moving is always stressful, but I'm really looking forward to being done and moved in and such.  Bryan and Laura have been wonderful--they're truly stellar people, both of them.
aithne: (self_Greece)
Dropping off most social networking for a couple of weeks to recharge batteries and get a project finished. Have fun, kidlets, and don't break the Internet while I'm gone.
aithne: (starbuck fight until you can't)
Crashed and burned yesterday, a bit.  I was taking my laundry out to the garage, and was more concerned with keeping Zed from running out the the garage with me than where I was putting my feet, with the net effect that I put my foot wrong and my heel slipped off the edge of the stairs.  Cue landing hard on my right heel on a concrete floor.  (I managed to keep the rest of myself upright, fortunately.)  

I seem to have injured something in my foot; while it doesn't hurt as long as I don't have weight on it, trying to walk is...interesting, and forget about putting any weight at all on that heel in anything like a timely fashion.  (I can do it, but I have to do it gradually.)  I'm guessing I re-injured the fascia or the ligaments near where they attach to the heel on my arch.  Nothing for it but NSAIDs and ice and rest, I fear.  

Super Klutz strikes again!
aithne: (Default)
Things continue apace. Dayjob has calmed down a bit, i'm outlining the frog book, I have short stories to read and critique, and it looks like I may have some time this weekend to get my submission system back in order so I can start submitting short stories again. I'm starting to get ready to sell prints through ArtFire, which requires a bit of thinking and design work, and of course I'm still working merrily away on The Wrong Project.

(And when I say "outlining" what I'm actually doing is putting together a list of touchpoints and themes, deciding where I'm starting, where i'm ending, and the major points I have to pass through between. I've got three POV characters, and each of them have a character arc. I have a couple of major decisions to make right off the bat; I know that the first third of the book belongs to Alois, the Saint of the Counterweight, but the last two-thirds belong to The Saint of the Splendid Bullfrog and the Saint of the Torn Quarto, but I don't know yet if I'm going to alternate POVs or if I'm going to choose one of them to stick with through the middle of the book and the other to go through the end.)

I have a couple of essays in the back of my head, one concerning how to intertwine worldbuilding and plot, and one about something else entirely. But, for the moment, you get some pictures!

Happy Red Dog is happy:
Happiest Red Dog in the WHOLE WORLD.

Newly painted kitchen wall and door, with bonus new pendant light:
newly painted kitchen wall and door!

Yes, the color is that vibrant in person. (It's one of the Behr Disney colors.) Those are the spice racks on the wall, exactly at Laura's eye height so she can get in and figure out which spices are which quickly. The new pendant lights are converted canister lights, which we decided to do the moment we saw that there were conversion kits at the hardware store.

This is sort of a midpoint picture. We've finally decided that what needs to happen with the kitchen is that the cabinets need to be painted, we need some more cabinets, and we need to replace the countertop. (I will also be painting the walls and ceiling...there are several different levels of gloss on the ceiling, and it drives me a bit nutty.)

Anyway. That door is soothing. Devine Whip paint, aged bronze doorknob, all is right with the world.
aithne: (Default)
So, recently, I did a bit of a reboot of my office. While the color of the paint on two of the walls was lovely, it darkened the room quite a bit, and it was in not-so-great shape after several years of having shelves installed and uninstalled, etc. My Libra-esque waffling finally bore fruit in the form of a finished office and a semi-finished design for my bedroom--after five years of declaring I was going to do something about it someday.

I wanted my office to be bright and feel spacious even on the greyest days of winter, despite the fact that it's a small-ish (11x13) room with low ceilings. I chose for the walls a color called Devine Reef, which is a relatively unsaturated blue-green that changes personality as the day goes on, from a cool blue in the morning to brighter green in the afternoon. But! I will let the pictures tell the tale!

(to just look at the pictures, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/nareshe/sets/72157625137280350/ .)

before! )
during! )
after! )
aithne: (Default)
We went to Northwest Trek for my birthday yesterday, Sunday being the only day we were all free and in town. I love Northwest Trek, so much; we saw elk sparring, mountain goats being all picturesque, a sad baby porcupine, and several members of the weasel family (motto: "So Cute, Yet So Evil!"). I have pictures, but I was a little busy last night and didn't get to processing them. Tonight, with any luck.

Finished the painting on the doorframe to the Harry Potter cupboard. I am still in love with Devine paint, and this white (a color called "Whip") is just luscious. The rest of the evening, I was doing some proofing/editing for a friend of mine. I was almost done with that when Boone showed up, saying, "time for bed!" I picked him up, put him on my lap, and continued proofing. He continued to nudge me on occasion, but I scratched his ears and ignored him.

Then Pip showed up. She put her paws on my knee and gave me her very best "I am tired and I need to go to bed and incidentally have a cookie!" look. I looked at her, then at Boone, who was giving me that same look.

The power of two combined puppy pleading gazes is considerable. I gave up, saved my work, and went to bed.

(These dogs are spoiled...I can't put them to bed and then continue to stay up and keep working. No, they like having me in the bed next to them and fuss if I, say, stay up long enough to scoop the catbox and refill the food and water bowls.)

Anyway, I'll finish the proofing tonight. I am more of an editor than a proofreader, but I'm managing, and since I've also volunteered to do the interior layout for this I'll have one more chance to pick up anything major I missed.

The other npt-so-fun thing I was doing was defeating some sort of mild cold. I'm still not at 100%, but I'm a lot better than I was on Friday. My immune system wins again.

Outside, it is misting and weirdly warm. I don't know what the weather is doing, but today it's a lot more like Maui than Washington. I have about a million things i'd like to be doing (finish proofing, finish a chapter of The Wrong Project, finish the herbwife story, prep a closet for painting, finish painting a door), but...must wait, for tonight.

Paitence.
aithne: (Default)
 Office is painted.  The color is genuinely beautiful, the new doors on the bookcases are awesome, I managed to not have any paint-related disasters, and I am officially in love with Devine Color.  The paint is just gorgeous to work with, has an amazing consistency, and though it's expensive it is well, well worth it.  Over the next couple of years, i'l probably going to repaint the whole house.  The next victim is going to be the stairwell, since I have two gallons left of the Reef and I really want to use it up.  After that, if I can catch a weather break on a weekend sometime, I'll do my bedroom.  

(Devine claims that its paint has one-coat coverage; I didn't find it to be the case, but we have a case of rather extreme texture going on.  It's nearly stucco-like.  Popcorn ceilings, orange peel texture gone nuts...I suspect that the builders of our house had something they wanted to hide.)

Anyway, before and after pictures will be coming later once I get the cabinet put together and my stuff put away.  I still don't quite know what I'm going to do about the Lighting Situation (tm), but I have leisure to think about it for a bit.  And sleep.  Maybe i'll be able to sleep this week.  Despite the fact that I was exhausted from all of the physical activity I did, I barely slept all weekend.  Stupid wonky sleep cycle.

Totally worth it, though!
aithne: (Default)
 This summer has made me restless.  As often happens when I'm restless, I am redecorating.  The current target of my "must fix up all the things!" energy is my office.  While it's a perfectly usable space, it's been a bit neglected, and I've finally decided what I wanted to do with it.  

First thing is easily the most disruptive--it needs painting.  Two of the walls are a lovely rich berry purple at the moment.  While the color has grown on me, it's not that big of a room (about 11x13) and the upstairs ceilings are, to my vast dismay, only about seven and a half feet tall.  Together, the low ceiling and the dark wall color produce an effect that's less cozy than claustrophobic. 

So, I'm painting the whole room a cool blue-green that will (hopefully) not fight too much with the warm color of the floors.  (Devine Reef, if you're curious.)  The bookcases will get doors, the open bookshelf will get replaced by a glass-doored cabinet, and the couch is going to at least temporarily get a slipcover.  It's the comfiest couch, really, but the upholstery pretty much screams mid-90s, and it's very dark.  Basically, I'm going light and cool with everything in order to try to give the space an open feel.

So right now, I've packed up all of my books and everything out of the cabinets and put everything in the office closet.  Thursday night I'll shut down and pack up the computer equipment and move the couch into the middle of the room and the rest of the furniture into my bedroom.  (That couch is not leaving that room, ever, without the help of an axe.  Low ceilings strike again.)  Friday, I pick up paint and do prep--the dark walls are glossy, so they need to be sanded and deglossed, and the rest of the walls need to be washed and taped.  Saturday morning, I prime the dark walls.  Saturday afternoon, I paint and then let the paint cure overnight.  Sunday, I move stuff back and probably hit Ikea for the furniture purchases.

This is going to be so much work, but I think the end result will be worth it.  
aithne: (Default)
 Spent this weekend not doing any writing work at all, I fear, other than a quick poke at a couple of stories.  What I did spend it doing was helping host a lovely party for Laura's birthday.  It was low-key, which was good, as the weather has turned a bit fall-like and we were all wrapped up inside the house.  We played Rock Band, ate yummy food, and talked.  

hanging out
(Click to go into the photo set for the party!)

I discovered that [livejournal.com profile] satyrblade would like a different story for his anthology than the one I was originally planning to send him, so I need to go read over my crits for that story.  (I fundamentally believe in this story, and I've made some significant changes to it already, but there's a pair of themes in it that I really want to bring forward.)

Sunday, we went to brunch with Bryan's cousin Gareth (who is a different person from his brother Gareth) and then I came home and attacked my office.  A lot.  I pulled out about six bankers' boxes of books to sell, went through and got rid of a lot of crafting supplies for crafts I don't do any more, and ended up with the aforementioned boxes of books, a pile for Freecycle, a pile to give to the YWCA, a bag of stuff for Goodwill, and a couch full of stuff that now needs new homes in the space.  I have a few more boxes to go through yet, but I think I'm mostly in the putting things away phase.  It looks like hell, but it really is almost finished.

The whole reason for doing this is that I want to reconfigure the space a bit and put in glass-doored bookcases, to help keep the dust down a bit.  As well, I've just been feeling the weight of just too much old stuff, too many things that used to be useful and now would be more useful for someone else.   There are books that would be better off in the hands of someone who will actually read them, since my TBR pile is now reliably at least a foot high, and I barely have enough time to read new stuff, much less go back and read my older books again.  

Some of it, of course, was admitting defeat.  I'm never going to make it all the way through Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.  I'm just not.  No matter how many people tell me it's wonderful, I'm never going to get past the first 200 pages of simply not caring about any of the characters.  There were some other books in my TBR pile that were in the same state.  I am letting them go.  Fly free, little books!  Do not plague me with vague guilt any longer!

Anyway.  Go de-stuff-ing!

And now I, like Zed, am bushed:

growing is hard work.
aithne: (Default)
I spent last weekend about 30 miles  from the  Mexican border, in southern Arizona.  My dad used to work out at Fort Huachuca as a contractor when I was but a wee pup, and we drove onto the base to take a peek around.

And lo and behold. they had one of his projects sitting out in a park!

my dad and his plane

This is a RC-12G Crazyhorse intelligence aircraft, aka Project Guardrail.  My dad worked on a number of the systems for this one, most of them having to do with the intelligence-gathering parts of the planes.  He did get to fly one during a test run, which he said was a lot of fun. 

My dad's retired now, as is the RC-12G, but I don't think I've ever been that close to something he worked on before.  His projects don't often make it into museums.  (The other project he spent many years working on, the Quick Fix helicopter project, is still in use in the Middle East as far as I know.)

A few other pictures from the weekend (or go to the set to see more!):

pictures this way! )
aithne: (Default)
calling all angels

(go to the album)

As always, the 4th of July was wonderful. It's always good to see everyone, collect hugs, and blow things up.  As usual, the food was excellent (the goat cheese macaroni and cheese was amazing), and the company just as good.  The fireworks took almost two hours to go through this year; we went a little overboard.  :)

And for the first time in ever, i came home without any mosquito bites!

B&L have taken the dogs and gone to the coast, so I will be basically working, writing, and playing Dragon Age (they released a DLC today) for the next few days.  I have been having some misadventures in kittens.  I forgot that you have to keep them awake in the evening, because if you let them nap they'll be up at 1 am, playing with your blinds.  

But quiet time is good, as is housecleaning, and I'm getting both of those in this week.
aithne: (synchronized panicking)
 I have gnawed on Chapter Six of Taker of Souls until it finally came off and decided to be an actual chapter rather than a collection of "stuff goes here".  I've got some work to do on it (including renaming a character), but it should be on its way to the usual suspects on Thursday or Friday.  I got a little way into Chapter Seven, and next thing is cozying up to what may or may not turn out to be a sex scene.  Jumana is being awfully coy about it.   

I'm going to have to put the book aside for a couple of weeks to work on some short stories; I have two I need to write and two to revise.  Three of those already have homes; the fourth is some social SF that I wrote the first draft of about a year ago, decided I hated, and now have decided I sort of like.  Except for the ending.  I hate the ending.

Anyway, I've semi-sort of decided that one of the two new stories is going to be the bone woman story that I've had in the back of my head for a few years now.  The other one I haven't quite figured out yet.  I'll get there.

I was walking to work from the transit center this morning, and marveling at how intensely green everything is right now.  The cloudy sky was casting a diffuse light, and it had just stopped raining so all of the greenery was wet and shiny.  I love spring here.  I slept with my window open last night, listening to the rain.  I could almost hear the plants growing through the drops.

I really do live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
aithne: (sleepyhead (by Kris Dresden))
 A thousand words even on Word of the Chosen last night; I think I am coming up on a chapter break.  We'll see; after a chapter made largely of backstory and scene-setting and the audience catching its breath, we'll see if it feels right to end on the duhn duhn DUHN that I am likely to get to tonight (if I don't go clothes shopping instead of writing).  At this point, I'm telling myself I can do a thousand words a night and then quit and play Petville for a bit.  It's progress, even if it's progress that's a lot slower than I'm used to.  

So.  Friday.  It's a very Friday-ish Friday, at least so far.  I drove in to work this morning; I may regret that tonight, since Friday night traffic is consistently completely horrible, but it was an easy drive in so perhaps I should not complain.  Thing Wot I Do at work is complete and we have one credible RC and two more in testing.  I am thinking about repainting my bedroom and office, and have sent away for color samples from Devine Color, which is rumored to have developed their paints specifically for the quality of Northwest light.  The paint is also rumored to be far less stinky than regular paint, which would also be a plus.  

I think i could have used a little more sleep.  I am a bit dumb this morning. 
aithne: (all fun and games)
I am ever so slowly digging myself out from under a pile of Things Wot Must Be Done. Yesterday was an errand day, as I'd gotten some money for selling a story and was bound and determined to spend at leat some of it. I popped up to Seattle and went to Camera Techs, where I had my camera cleaned (cleaning a CCD, the camera's sensor, is not for the faint of heart, and I vastly prefer to let the professionals handle it) and bought a new filter for my main lens. The guy who sold me the lens was a brusque charmer with an accent I couldn't quite identify (Galway by way of Boston, perhaps?) who minced no words telling me that my filter was crap. I told him I knew, and would he please sell me a new one?

So! Nice new filter. Multi-coated, weather-resistant, all that good stuff.

I stopped by U Village while I was waiting for my camera to be finished. Sony declared my ebook reader obsolete a few months ago, and my choice was to either send it in for refurbishing or trade it in for a discount on a new one. So I am now the owner of a Sony Reader Pocket Edition. I was totally the easiest commission that the guy who waited on me made all day. I came in and knew what I wanted, what color I wanted it in, and I even bought the extended warranty. (wise, for a piece of electronics that goes everywhere with me.) The Reader is shiny and silver and even smaller than my previous one, so it'll fit into smaller purses.

And U Village now has a Trohpy Cupcakes outlet, so I had to stop and have a cupcake.

I tried to find a quiet place to work on the crits I'd brought with me, but there is one thing that U Village is lacking on a Saturday morning, and that is quiet spots in which to do a bit of work. I bagged the attempt, collected my camera, and came home.

This morning, I'm finishing crits for this afternoon, since I kind of ran out of steam last night, and then perhaps there will be some coffee and a shower and more wrestling with Word of the Chosen. I had forgotten how much trouble the protagonist of this book is. She is a very difficult character for me to really empathize with in the beginning, which makes being inside her head duly uncomfortable. She gets better eventually, but the first four chapters at least are going to be a bit of a slog because of it. (And a slog now pays off in dividends later, because this character has echoes through all of the rest of the books in the series.)

Perhaps I'll take my new, clean camera for a test spin and think about writing some more.
aithne: (starbuck smoking)
Assorted rambling:

1. Imryne story posted! Next story plunges off the rails into the Horrid; we get to see the consequences of keeping secrets, Greyanna makes good on a threat, and Melrae sees the darkest hour that it has for some time. I'm almost done with that story, and I hope to have it posted this week.

2. Crazy-ass weather yesterday. Snow! Rain! Sunshine! Hail! Wind! Snow! Ah, spring.

3. Four more days of getting up at 5:15 and stumbling around and running into things in the dark. Then I'm done. I'm probably going to be just as busy as if I were working for pay, but I won't be getting up before dawn any more.

4. Evidently, there is a vacation of some sort in the works in April. No idea where we're going or what we'll do when we're there. This short-circuits the worry loop in my head which freaks out about travel. I will evidently be told when to pack a bag and how long to pack it for. There will evidently be sunshine. I'm good.

5. Next week is a week of closure, finishing things up. Breathing out before I begin to breathe in.
aithne: (camera)

...still not so sure about this
Originally uploaded by Nareshe.
Lots and lots of snow. With an exciting sandwich layer of frozen rain. Pip is ecstatic. Boone...not so much.

Click through to see other pictures of Boone in his raincoat and snow everywhere.
aithne: (cold kris)
It snowed for the first time this winter this weekend, and right on schedule the skin on my hands has dried out so much that my knuckles bleed a bit when I flex my hands. I am missing my lotion at work for some reason, so fixing that will need to wait for tonight. My car door locks were frozen shut this morning as well. Joy.

We finished the Christmas cakes this weekend, and I'll be posting process pictures and possibly recipes if people want them tonight or tomorrow. That was a lot of fondant we worked with yesterday, including covering all the cakes and making decorations. Now we have all this cake decorating stuff, I feel then need to make fancier cupcakes than I have been making. The marzipan we made (good almond paste from the cake decorating place in north Seattle + much powdered sugar + a few flavoring ingredients) was extremely tasty, as well.

We did have a dog-related minor disaster, when Pip climbed up on the kitchen table and consumed all of the fondant holly leaves I had made. I'd forgotten to push the chairs in, and Pip is silent when she wants to be; I came downstairs to look for something, glanced at the table, and wondered, "What did I do with all the leaves?...oh."

Pip also re-discovered snow (which she loves) and found a dead ratsicle (which she was gnawing on before I caught on and took it away from her). She'd thought it was the Best Chewie Ever and was quite disappointed when I removed it. Boone, on the other hand, is quite upset about the turn in the weather, and requests that we turn summer back on.

Me, I'm glad to be done with Christmas cakes, and going out to lunch with a coworker today. I have some pre-Christmas things to do, but the last Christmas present for my parents is going to show up today, so I'll be able to send a box tomorrow. Winding down towards the solstice and Christmas; I'm looking forward to having some time off!
aithne: (monologuing)

touchdown

Autumn has set in, here.

I went to Kubota Garden early in the morning on Saturday for a meetup. Armed with an umbrella and my 30D, I wandered around and tried to get halfway decent pictures. I managed a few, including this picture of a wet leaf.

Then I went home and we proceeded to empty out the garage cupboards and pull them off the walls. We're having a storage system installed that should allow us to get rid of the shed in the back yard, and maybe park two cars in the garage. It's the last remodeling project of the year, and fortunately it's not nearly as disruptive as the floors were.

We've had a couple of days of nice weather, but it looks like a storm's coming in tonight. I'm working busily away at this Imryne story, which just...keeps...going. I need a conclusion and I'm not finding one quite yet. Hopefully tonight.

Long, slow fall towards the solstice. Where did 2008 go?

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