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Kathy
21 April 2015 @ 02:02 pm
This turned out to be such a wonderful weekend. Nora is outgrowing her toddler bed. Ok, she's not really quite outgrowing it. It would probably last another year, but she feels like she wants a bigger bed. She also wanted an "up high" bed and Ikea has some great models--sort of a bunk bed without a lowerbunk. That frees up space  for storage or playing or whatever which in our teeny house is a plus.

We drove out separately, they were in the Kia and I took the Fit alone with the car seat removed and set up for cargo. Nora was fantastic at the store. Yes, it was a friday, so it wasn't crazy, but she did so well. She's still a four year old so it wasn't purely smooth, but given the stimuli and two tired mommies, it went so well.

We also got a bed for ourselves because a bit ago our Malm collapsed with some kind of defect. This one has storage, which will be nice.

Saturday I got Nora out of the house so Janna would have time to put together her bed in peace. We went to the farm and looked at the critters then took a rather long way to the pet shop and picked up some glofish (genetically modified zebrafish) and some oto cats better known as algae eaters. We are down to one of the "shellie" cichlids so I have a little 5 gallon tank where she or he is going to "retire" and we're remaking the 30 gallon into a planted community tank. The glofish will go with the cichlid and the otos can start cleaning the big tank which has way too much algae.

We just had a great time and thankfully, this seems to have reset Nora's "I don't like fish" phase. She's got a long list of dislikes which include cows, pandas, elephants, and more than occasionally me.

It was just the most amazing weekend. SO much fun. And then it all went to hell. I don't know what happened, whether it was exhaustion or food poisoning or what, but I woke up Sunday morning and immediately threw up and spent the next six hours either being ill or sleeping in misery. It started to wear off by afternoon and by the evening I could have a turkey sandwhich, but ouch ouch.

Monday was Patriot's day which is a Massachusetts holiday and I had it off. We took it easy. Janna was tired from building the Ikea stuff and tending to me collapsed on the couch. I made a nice roast chicken dinner and we pretty much stayed close to home otherwise.

Still, despite the weird sick thing, it was a pretty nice weekend. Probably going to be having a lot of long weekends soon because I need to burn vacation hours in a serious way. I think I need to dump 3 weeks in the next two months.
 
 
 
Kathy
23 March 2015 @ 07:14 am
Barf  
This is going to be one of those mommy entries. I'm sorry.

What a weekend. I had high hopes. The week before my Active Directory got into serious trouble and I spent all day Saturday in work and a good chunk of Sunday working on it remotely. So I took part of Thursday and all of Friday as comp time expecting to have a nice weekend with a little bit of sane time. That would give me a day to unwind from work, then we'd have Janna's parents over, then we'd have a day to unwind from that.

And that worked Friday. Janna took Nora to the local children's museum and I stayed at home and got a few hundred words of my new piece done as well as just some relaxing peace and quiet. I took care of the shopping and made dough for pizza. We had a nice evening. All was well in the world.

Then about midnight, Nora simply erupted. I'm guessing it was something picked up at the museum, but she just puked everywhere and that pretty much repeated itself all night long. Due to the odd layout of our house, she still sleeps with us, so when I say erupted, I mean erupted on us. Well, I think she missed the cat.

Given the evening's festivities we cancelled for the second week in a row on having her grandparents over for dinner and spent the day being quiet. And a little shellshocked. She started to come out of it about the middle of the day and perked up and was able to eat.

Then we discovered the other shoe dropping. With huge piles of wet sheets, blankets, duvet covers, and everything else under the sun, our dryer decided to die. It runs for about fifteen minutes, then shuts off with a lint filter warning and never warms up. Well, the lint filter is perfectly clean so it must be a sensor or it needs the internal ducting cleaned or something. Janna will call the repair people today. We have some nice independents who were able to fix our refrigerator rather than telling us to replace it. Hopefully they can do the same with our dryer.

For extra bonus points, Janna's parents didn't pick up when we called to cancel and when we made our third call without them picking up the phone or calling back, we started to freak out because of the unsafe nature of their home. Apparently it required actually telling them to call us because when Janna did that, they finally called back an hour later. (They do not have a cell and her father has his email set to delete everything as spam.)

Then yesterday Janna started to feel sick and I'm not exactly firing on all cylinders so more or less the weekend was a complete loss. I barely wrote. The house is a shambles. And now I'm back to work, which I very sincerely could do without for another day.
 
 
 
Kathy
26 February 2015 @ 11:00 am

Yesterday I woke to find around 5 inches of snow had fallen over night instead of the 1-3 inches we'd been told was coming, which was already too much. I almost wept. It doesn't really impact me all that much other than slip sliding down the driveway, but it is really getting to me emotionally. It's just disruptive to constantly be wondering if the power is going to go out and so on. We've actually been looking at vacations for next winter, maybe a Disney Cruise which we figure would be Nora friendly.

Nora is doing great. She's starting to pick up the ability to recognize and "read" some words. Socially, she's still improving. She has official "friends" at school and is going to a birthday party this weekend. Unless it's postponed again due to blizzard. We watched My Neighbor Totoro last weekend with her, which she absolutely loved. She wants a catbus and saw a photo of a giant one at the Ghibli museum and announced we should get one and there was enough space in the living room for it.

My book is starting to get past that first month rush, but it burbled back up to #1 in lesrom today. Sales are a bit slower as it is February, but by the end of next week, I should qualify for the Romance Writers of America published author network, which is pretty cool. I also have an audio book currently in production with a great narrator.

So with all those proceeds. I bought myself a computer! A really nice iMac. The top of the line "late 2013" 27 inch. I got it from the refurb store (which are mostly "buyers regret" not actual refurbs) and when it came, it had an upgraded video card and huge 3gb hard drive. Unlike the MacMini, this one is working out great.

My second book is coming along. I'm at 19,000 words. It's a young adult about two 17 year olds thrown together when their families take a combined vacation. The presumptive title is "Our Demented Play Date."

 
 
 
Kathy
10 February 2015 @ 11:27 am
I got uncharacteristically ambitious yesterday for dinner and made an Asian noodle stir fry. It was basically little chunks of fried chicken, along with whatever veggies we had around, and noodles. I did the chicken in small batches, soaked in siracha and soy and dredged in corn starch. They really came out great, just like the General Tso's or whatever.

The big achievement was that, for once, I nailed the noodles. Nailed them. Wonderful flavor and not falling apart. Perfect in every way I could imagine. I can't even list the number of times I've had wilted noodles or ones that stuck to the wok and ended up half as much. Part of my success, I'm sure, was a different brand of noodle. I was also careful about how much they were cooked and did a lot of seasoning and added a bit of oil while they were still in the (non-stick) pasta pot.
 
 
 
Kathy
09 February 2015 @ 07:53 am
This weekend was really rather exhausting. We had Janna's parents over on Saturday and I made home made pizza from scratch with fresh mozzarella and a fresh real caesar salad and the whole nine yards. The food was great, but we scheduled fairly early and our house was a mess so by the time they arrived, I was already pretty pooped.

Yesterday, ugh. Maybe best not to talk about it, but Nora was pretty much in demon mode. "NO!" was pretty much her one word vocabulary. The night culminated with her being allowed a half hour of Frozen puzzles on her kindle followed by an ultimate meltdown when the half hour was over.

On the other hand, I roasted pork in the slow cooker and Janna made this amazing jimaca slaw and we had the most amazing soft corn pork tacos.

I didn't get any writing done between going nuts cooking saturday and just going nuts on Sunday. Seventh is still #1 in lesbian romance, but I know I need to have something ready for March to keep that momentum. I'm just stuck on a scene and need to push thruogh it.
 
 
 
Kathy
26 January 2015 @ 12:32 pm
So apparently we're about to be obliterated by snow. We're expecting 15+ inches and 70mph windws which pretty much means 24+ hours without power (or heat), quite possibly two or three days, and God only knows how long to shovel out of. I'm stockpiling electronics so I can write. I'm not excited about Nora being in a cold house for a day or more. There's a good chance this will be the worst storm since we moved here 15 years ago and it's not going to be happy times.

I am maniacallly downloading crap to read and watch during the downtime, but batteries are only going to hold out for so long.

Speaking of writing, my first novella is available for pre-order. It's on the hot new releases and the top sellers for lesbian short reads, so I guess that's good. Though I suspect it's two or three of my friends, not big sales. We shall hope for the future. If it can get onto those lists, it gets visibility and pretty much everything goes from there.
 
 
 
Kathy
05 January 2015 @ 09:38 am
So it's a new year. Rah.

On New Year's Eve we took Nora to Edaville Railroad, which is now Edaville USA. For people who aren't from eastern Massachusetts, the quick story is back in, I think the 50s, some guy went a little nuts putting up Christmas lights around his cranberry bogs and opening them to the public. Then it was too hard for people to see them all, so he bought an old narrow gauge train and ran it around. It's become a big tradition to go see the lights when you have little ones.

Since then, they've branched out and they have some vintage amusement rides, some kiddie rides, a scrambler, a tilt-a-whirl, and this funky "space ship" ride that is very obviously based on a Mercury space capsule and must date from the early 60s.

One thing for sure, Nora loves rides. She also loved the train. I was more than a little nervous, particularly running out there after I got out of work, but it all worked out. It was freezing though. Cape is probably 10 degrees or so warmer than the rest of Massachusetts because of the ocean, and wow were we not ready.

Other than that, it was a good New Years, though we didn't get up to much and as usual, the champagne is still sitting in our refrigerator.

In other news, my novella is done and I've been through a couple of rounds of editing. I'm trying an online service called Autocrit that does a computer search for passive voice, run on sentences, and that sort of thing. I'm finding it more or less helpful.

I returned the Mac Mni. As I worked with it, I just didn't think I was getting enough for the money. It had a lot of lag when I was web browsing. That's probably something to do with me using Chrome and the feud between Apple and Google, but it doesn't matter. I use Chrome and it was laggy when I scrolled down. I also had some weird issues with dragging and dropping text. So whatever the issues were, it was getting in the way of me writing and working and it was supposed to make that easier. So instead, I reinstalled the old PC and I'm back to that. This means I'll have to do the final ebook layout on the laptop's 11" screen, but I guess that's life.
 
 
 
Kathy
09 October 2014 @ 10:18 am
It's Columbus Day weekend, so I'm taking friday so I can have a four day weekend. The Taylor-Bray Farm pumpking festival or whatever they call it is Saturday, so we'll be going to that with Nora. It's pretty cool. They have hay rides and they raise money by selling pumpkins and gourds. Nora loves her "little pumpkins." Not sure if we'll do the hay ride or not. It's behind a kind of noisy belchy tractor and I think she'll probably be afraid of that.

Other than that, not a lot up outside of work. It's been a tiring week, not sure exactly why. I'm still getting over that horrible cold I had and the days are getting shorter (ugh getting up in the dark!), but I've had no energy when I've gotten home from work so my writing and other things are slipping. I'm trying to keep up on taking a walk during my "lunch" hour (I never eat lunch or anything else at work) to try to get in better shape and lose some weight. It's nice two mile loop down to the beach and I listen to music or podcasts or something.

Nora continues to do great at school and seems to have made a friend, though she denies it when asked. The school has done amazing things for her and we're very very pleased. We're even talking about expanding her week to cover monday and friday. If she wants, of course.

I barely have gamed at all. The whole "gamer gate" thing with misogynist assholes attacking women who game has been very trying on me. I've dropped off of a board I'd been a member of for over ten years because they turned into shits over it and wallowed in the leaked nudes. It's sad to see people who are usually quite reasonable people about other things be unable to acknowledge that they may not know how other people experience things. I'm not the only one to leave over it at least.
 
 
 
Kathy
01 October 2014 @ 02:17 pm
Last week was a total loss. I got home from work monday and I didn't really move off the couch until the following Sunday. Really bad head cold that just got in everywhere. I was only really Sunday that I started feeling any better. Still not 100%, but I'm at least functional.

Getting better on Sunday was good as Janna made a big equinox meal. We had these interesting squash/potato pancakes, an ungodly good beet salad with capers and feta, and some beef sausage from one of the local farms, then for afters these amazing Apple hand pies with the most perfect crust I could imagine. Oh, she picked up a quite nice shiraz as well.

Mostly what I did during the lost week was read. I have only a vague notion of how many lesbian romance novels I read, but Amazon will not be making any profit on my $9.95/month Kindle Unlimited subscription. I think of the funniest experiences I had was with a "rock star" romance that I quite enjoyed, then I got to the end and discovered she'd written a few stories for the "new" (now over ten year old) Thieves World books.

I'm sort of slogging through this week. To return to the 90s: I'm not sick, but I'm not well. 
 
 
 
Kathy
04 September 2014 @ 03:15 pm

Well, when we were visiting Joy and Lona and Henry and Peter, a couple of things happened that made me reevaluate my camera situation. The first was that when we went for a walk, there was no way I could deal with stringing my DSLR around my neck. Too big. Too heavy. Too dorky. Too hot.

The second was the of all the pictures I did take, the best one by far was done with the Fuji XF1 compact and that made me think of some of the better pictures I've taken and quite a few are from the Fuji not the Pentax and I realized that it ain't the camera capabilities, it's that the XF1 is always with us and the Pentax is kind of a hassle. I just plain end up taking more pictures. It also doesn't hurt that the minute she sees the DSLR, Nora just starts mugging for the camera so it's not very natural.

I've always liked Fuji and I've noticed that a lot of the people who were posting photos I thought were really well done were using Fuji mirrorless equipment. The cameras also have a nice retro look. I'd been eyeing them for a while.

Then Fuji had a sale. It wasn't the most amazing sale, but it was a sale sufficient that I could upgrade to a camera that would fit our lifestyle better and with sales of my used equipment, come out only a little worse than even. So I'm now the happy owner of a Fuji X-E1 mirrorless camera with the 18-55 kit lens and the 27mm pancake. The latter was the real key. The thing is tiny, it's a good focal length for general use, and together that means I can carry it in my purse. In fact, if I can find a decent case that hugs the contours of the camera (and I have), it can live in my purse full time and I can drag out the 18-55 when I want to do more serious shooting.

So far the results have been pretty good. The reviews say it has issues with focus and it does hunt a bit, but Pentax was all screw drive and not a whole lot faster. I love the fact that I can see the depth of field in the viewfinder. Generally, the lenses are far superior to anything I had with Pentax except for the old manual 50mm. The 18-55 is just amazing.