cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
Last week was the end of my "catching up on email and socializing and house-cleaning" two week break after finishing a huge project. I dealt with some critical and overdue emails, I definitely got out of the house and saw people, and Phil claims the house looks better even though I can't see a difference, so I guess I'll call it a success. Time to write novels again, which is somewhat intimidating since I've been working on other projects for the last few months. Back to the grind!

Other good things...

I did the second Women in Sci-Fi and Writing Female Characters panel. There was pretty art (it took place in an art gallery in Lowertown) and cupcakes! I said some things that I hope sounded smart, sold two copies of my book, collected a couple of new email addresses for my newsletter, and was gifted with a batcat hat (okay, fine, it's a pussy hat, but I dislike that term even though I understand the reasoning) made by my dear Alis. I thought the event went pretty well.

New microwave! This one doesn't turn itself on and off at random intervals, so I am less worried that an electrical fault will make it burst into flames in the middle of the night when we are all sleeping. It displays actual numbers in the timer instead of weird dancing bars that look like the countdown on a Predator bomb. And it's black and silver, which Cassius thought was really awesome.

I realized that I had missed a deadline (a month ago!) and instead of giving up and being sad because I couldn't do a thing, I emailed people and asked if I could apply late, and they said yes! So I did!

I went to a living room concert and listened to awesome steampunk music, played with my camera and took photos, caught up with friends, made new acquaintances, and heard new jokes. It was good times. And seeing people appreciate my photos later is a nice egoboo.

Diabolical Plots (by David Steffen of the Submission Grinder) included my story in his recommendations for Hugo/Nebulas this year. Eeeee! I've never had someone recommend one of my stories for an award before, so this is a pretty exciting first.

Phil's award bonus from work came through, so I gave him a full grocery list without worrying about whether we had enough to cover the cost. Sometimes it's the small things.

Learned about bubble paragraphs and skipping stone backstory intro scene structure stuff. (Yup, Ginger, your name-coining has stuck!)

I cooked tater tot hotdish for the first time because Steph was posting looking for recipes and gave me a craving. It was delicious gloppy comfort food even if I'm the only one in the house who likes that kind of thing. Also, something about the tater tots makes my brain think it's acceptable eating for breakfast too. Ooookay, silly brain.

I have sparkly red fingernails, and they make me very happy. I don't have a lot of time for frivolous self-care stuff, so this is a special treat.


Bonus good things from the previous week, which I didn't post on time:

Making origami flowers and paper "rain" for Theia, and seeing how much she enjoyed playing gardener. (She was a gardener and I was the botanist telling her how flowers grow in this scenario, apparently.)

Insisting on taking the boy to see a healthcare professional, and having it be the right parental decision. This is not a good thing because he has strep (boo!), but because I never feel confident making this kind of call, so I'm glad I didn't waste our time and money.

Chatting with the spouse about publishing industry stuff, specifically novellas and how the markets for them are changing and why.

Writing a quick piece of micro-fic and submitting it minutes later. Fifteen words long!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)

Fifteen minutes to describe what's been going on in my life since my last journal entry of 11/9/2014, more than three months ago.

Is too much. I will sum up.

Phil had his first work trip to California of the year, so I had a week of single-parenting it. Mostly everything went okay. On the last day of his trip, I even managed to wrangle two small children onto the bus to the Midtown Global Market DMV to renew my instructional driver's permit! It was an epic trip. First the DMV (and I highly, highly recommend this location--5 PM on a Friday afternoon and the wait was only about 10 minutes!). Then we watched adorable kids doing traditional Chinese dancing, including the Lion Dance, to celebrate the Chinese New Year in MGM's main area. Cassius got to "feed the lion" by holding out a red envelope with a dollar in it. He liked this idea a lot. Holy Land for a dinner that was only a moderate success, since I ordered poorly and spent too much for food that the kids didn't eat (the leftovers were delicious, though, and Holy Land's fries have officially replaced those of McDonald's in my affections, something I thought would never happen). After a half-hour in the extremely popular play area, I hauled the kids out under protest. We swung by Chicago-Lake Liquor (since I had a valid ID again) and back to the bus stop, where there were a variety of future Jerry Springer contestants waiting for the bus. Fortunately it was all talk and I didn't have to explain anything to Phil about why our offspring were traumatized.

I finished the-story-that-took-forever-to-finish! I got through all the finicky changes and details and whatnot for A Circus of Brass and Bone. So pleased that I got that wrapped. There are still three tiny typos that I have to wait for a long enough sales lull to fix. I'm not sure if it'll pick up any momentum beyond the initial friends-and-family sales, but I don't have a marketing budget to throw at it, so I'll just have to wait and see. I'm taking one day every week to work on PR stuff. It is like pulling teeth to get reviews, though, even (especially!) customer reviews on Amazon etc. Gah. The marketing hat is uncomfortable on my head, but I'm doing my due diligence. I owe it to the story. I feel like there are a lot of people who would get something good out of the story, but who will never even know it exists. Sadface.

Um. My journaling time is up, but other stuff happened too! Working on getting Cassius into preschool, working on getting Cassius potty-trained (related), readjusting to having any free time, horrified by the state of my house, intimidated by the state of my short story editing backlog, looking forward to the next project but wanting a clearer deck before I start it but also wanting to get to it before I lose my enthusiasm, and a whole bunch of developmental advances by Theia, who is now getting the hang of walking and talking and acting almost like a toddler instead of a baby! Sniff.

13 Years!

Apr. 6th, 2014 05:47 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
Our household has been afflicted by The Sick for the last 2+ weeks. First Phil was sick, so I was doing as much solo parenting as possible and certainly not leaving the house while he watched the kids. Then I got the sick. At first, I hoped I was going to get a milder version than what he had--basically just a sore throat and snuffly tiredness--but as it turns out that was just my immune system putting up a losing battle. I got the full sickness, with the headaches and feverishness and general muzzy-headedness, it just took four extra days to manifest. You know, just in time for the weekend last week. So I didn't leave the house then either. I finally started to feel better as the kids got sick. Really, it's better than us all being sick at once. I guess. Poor sad feverish toddler got to watch a lot of Thomas the Train and Winnie the Pooh (AKA "honey movie!"). Poor sad feverish infant had a lot of trouble sleeping and woke up several times in the night (all the nights). I also now know what Theia's "whiskey face" looks like, because that's how she reacts to infant acetaminophen. It looks a lot like mine, actually! Complete with the full body shiver.

I did eventually escape the house this week! On Wednesday (?), I went out to watch a movie with Electra. Our first plan of seeing Robocop was changed because her car has started smoking, so the first plan of driving on the interstate to get to a theatre seemed like a bad idea (because as everybody knows, smoking totally destroys the stamina). Instead, we went to the much-closer Lagoon in Uptown, where we saw The Grand Budapest Hotel. In the end, I decided that I did not like the movie, in part because it threw in unnecessary downer postludes that kinda ruined it for me, and in part because there were a handful of jarringly brutal moments in it. Animal cruelty, I am not a fan of you. BUT! I also learned that the Lagoon sells vegan, dairy-free, soy-free chocolate cookies! SO excited by that.

On Tuesday, Phil and I celebrated our 13-year wedding anniversary by staying home and having a quietly romantic day while taking care of our poor sick kids. He came home early, bringing me tulips and salmon and Udi's double chocolate muffins that are allergen-free. Salmon is a really unusual thing to find in our house, so we stared at the instructions on the packaging and succeeded in making a special dinner out of it. Afterwards, Phil sat on the couch and looked through our wedding album with Cassius, who Phil says, "liked seeing pictures of his younger, skinnier parents." Given the people near and dear to us who we've lost since then, our wedding album is a bit of a tear-jerker. Later we danced to our wedding song--"Standing (Still)" by VNV Nation. Cassius wanted to dance, too. :)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
This weekend (for a fairly flexible definition of weekend that stretches from Thursday night through early Monday morning) we attended 4th Street Fantasy Convention 2012 en famille.

4th Street is single-track programming, so there are a whole bunch of panels in a row with breaks in-between. It's not quite like, say, CONvergence, where there are a ton of things going on at once and you sort of pick and choose whether you want to go to a panel or watch a movie or go to a craft room or play games and then you take a nap at some point and circle around all the themed parties in the evening. 4th Street is all about the panels, and attendees are at least 80% writer-related: editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers.

This year, Phil and the baby also went to the hotel and we got a room. During panels AKA all day long, Phil took care of the baby. I would sneak back during breaks to feed the baby, and I had my tablet with me so that Phil could email me updates like, "Baby asleep. Do not come back to the room and risk waking him up," and "Baby awake and fussing. Will hold the fort until the break," and "Oh God. Baby super-pooped. We may need a new room." I would feed baby at the beginning and the end of the meal breaks, and go out to dine with people in the middle. In the evenings, sometimes I wandered out to socialize on my own (this may seem like a contradiction, but it is a sadly accurate reflection of the way I socialize in large groups--I am more of a drifter than a joiner), sometimes I took care of the baby in the hotel room so Phil could have a break, and sometimes I wandered out to socialize and took the baby with me. It was a good dry run for WorldCon, and I'm feeling more confident about doing these things with Phil and baby in tow.

I had a good 4th Street. The panels sparked shiny thoughts. I have more story ideas to add to the list. I have new aspects of the writing craft to explore. I talked to some people, if not as many people as I would have liked. There were things different from previous years, and some of them were good, and some of them were not so much. I did not (I hope) say anything to an editor that will forever blight my writing career. (Phil: "Because you didn't talk to them. Cojones mas pequeño.")

Enjoyable things to remember:

* Seeing Mary Robinette Kowal give her introduction in both "the phone sex voice" and "the gnome voice." Yes, that is what the next two pictures are of.



* Ellen Klages auctioning things off with the authority vested in her by the finger-tentacles.

* Delicious frosted sugar cookies shaped like computers and books and cauldrons and dragons and swords and Minnesota.

* Mary Robinette Kowal, puppeteer extraordinaire, manipulating a shoe that seemed to have a complex relationship with Scott Lynch (to illustrate a point regarding body language and movement in the writer's workshop). "What did you say?"

* Seeing Cassius meet Connor, who is about four months older. Cassius: "It is a person my size! I must follow him! Mama, let me hold your fingers so I can walk after him!" Babies do not understand the idea of personal space. Cassius stalked Connor the entire time. I did have to explain that we do not strangle other babies upon first meeting them, however. (If you think about it, when reaching out to another person, the neck is a convenient place to grab!)

* Getting photographs of people sitting in the seats lit by spotlights. I usually have a camera with me, but at 4th Street I swap that out for a writing notebook, and it has always felt strange to attend such an enjoyable event and end up with no pictures! This year I have pictures. On the other hand, wanting to take pictures did slightly distract me from musing on writingy things, so I think it is not a thing that I should plan on doing for more than a couple of panels. But I am happy I did it. Even if I did forget the low-light telephoto lens I wanted to use (grr).

* Trying dim sum for the first time! I had always supposed it was another type of Chinese food, instead of a serving method for trying lots of different types of Chinese food. Variety-seeker that I am, I liked it very much.

* Sitting on the edge of the pool with Cassius and watching him kick his feet furiously to make the water go splash.

* Discovering that Phil left our front door at home unlocked and open for a couple of days while we were at the hotel, but nothing bad happened because of it! We also forgot to take the trash out when we left (Would-be burglar: "Ugh! What's that smell? Is there a dead body in there?"). The cats enjoyed spending time in our covered front porch (WBB: "Those cats look really well-fed. They've been eating the dead body! I'm outta here!").

* Boggling at the variety of options at the buffet that ate three other buffets (Golden Moon something-or-other?) and trying new foods like snails (They were crunchy! What?!) and frog (pretty tasty).

* Seeing Janet Grouchy in the auctioned-off golden-cream shawl that the 4th Street attendees as a whole bought for her.


* Sipping scotch and learning that (you guessed it) MRK has somehow gotten John Scalzi to agree to wearing a regency dress (possibly with bonnet) at WorldCon if certain fundraising conditions are met. There was also talk of Scalzi and Cory Doctorow doing a Rocky Horror Picture Show dress-up. This was when Phil came out to get me because the baby had woken up fussy (did I mention he was teething?) and needed Mama. Phil took the scotch; I took the baby. Phil may have gotten the better end of that bargain....

* Hearing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" (okay, but why is everyone acting like they're in agony?) and then seeing the video (brain processing overload! does not compute!).

(All my 2012 4th Street posts, of which this is the first.)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Just finished multi-day day job work project! I should write! But today is Sunday! Sunday is submissions day! But I haven't written in days! I need to record the next Circus of Brass and Bone episode, which has been sitting around for a week waiting for me to get a chance to record it! But the baby is napping, so I can't record audio now! The next most urgent thing is editing the next 3 written episodes of Circus of Brass and Bone, especially since my husband (and alpha reader) just stuck his thumb on the ending and said, "This is crap. It feels like you're wrapping up all your loose ends for the end of the series, and why do you need this revelation here anyway?" But I want to write! But I may have to restructure those three episodes and that might change what should get written next. I should process my writing to-dos, and especially update my submissions and manuscripts spreadsheets before I forget and everything gets all bollixed! But today's my 11-year wedding anniversary (yes, we got married April Fools' Day)! I should spend time with my husband! That means not locking myself away in my study. I could work on editing or submissions on my ridiculously obsolete laptop, and be in the same room! But the baby's napping, so I should be using this undisturbed time to write! But what I need to write might change depending on what editing I have to do! And I just wasted writing time writing a blog post! Aaaaaaaaaaagggghhhh!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (tender)
Right, so I'm going to say Phil beats all y'all on the Valentine's Day front. He assembled a four-course dinner: blue cheese, cherry, almond, and spinach salad*, paired with a Crispin cider; pesto-parmesan artisan bread with a balsamic vinegar dipping sauce; pan-fried steaks** with mushrooms and onions, and a side of Italian vegetables, paired with a malbec; and chocolate mini-eclairs.

He also gave me roses, an Amazon gift certificate for a large amount that is about a quarter of what he's been awarded in attaboy gift certificates from work***, and a bottle of _chocolate wine_.

That's right, boys and girls. It exists, and it is AMAZING.

* Salad kits are awesome. I did not know they existed, but now I'm a big fan.
** He called his mother to find out how to make steak indoors. Now he won't tell me how to duplicate his success. I'll just have to talk him into making me steak every so often. Oh noes.
*** Now I have to decide if I should spend it on one large thing that would otherwise be out of reach, or six smaller things that are more basic necessity type things but which money has been too tight to get.

People have been talking about their V-Day "traditions." I never though of creating traditions before, but I think I could get behind this....
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Poor Phil is sick. He started feeling sickly on Saturday, yesterday was particularly bad, and today he's staying home from work--we'll see how long this lasts. It started out as just a cough, but now he's coughing and hacking and running a fever. The latter is particularly bad. If babies less than 3 months old get sick enough to run a fever, they're generally hospitalized. So we really, really, really don't want Cassius to get sick--or me, since I'm in such constant contact with the baby that he'd surely catch it from me.

Phil has quarantined himself. He is now essentially living in the attic--sleeping, eating, and staying up there day and night. With, you know, the television, his laptop, and the gaming system. Poor guy. Although it is also the *hottest* room in the house, so it's not all fun and games.

But we really, truly, fingers-crossed hope the baby doesn't get sick. Phil did take care of the baby on Saturday, including giving him a bottle, but hopefully the baby didn't catch it then.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Some days, Phil earns his bread as a writer's spouse. Today, there was brainstorming on how to fix a beginning--where "brainstorming" equals "pointing out the horrible flaws in my first three ideas for a fix." And, I suppose, helping figure out what the final beginning is.

It sucks when the story really starts to work and hook the reader--two pages in. And there's stuff and foreshadowing I wanted to keep in that first part, but it's stiff and awkward and does not work as a beginning.

But! Now I have a solution. I will sleep on it tonight, and tomorrow there will be writing.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (tender)
Mom's heartwarming post about writing wedding present thank-yous 30+ years later:

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
State of the Abra Incubator
The sprogling and I are doing well. I think he's going through a growth spurt right now--my belly certainly is! At this point, I'm a bit worried I may outgrow some of my maternity shirts. Medically, everything's going along fine--as of the last checkup, baby's a little ahead of the growth curve, and I'm a little ahead of my target weight gain, but these things go in spurts and I'm not surprised by it. Also, you can see my belly move when he kicks. It's a little alienish, but feeling it is reassuring, not weird/creepy.

Pregnancy's treating me pretty well. At this point, I have no nausea and very little discomfort. When I walk, it's somewhat uncomfortable, and I was getting round ligament pain if I walked more than a block. This feels like somebody is stabbing a knife into my crotch. So I've avoided walking and haven't had that problem--but now I'm beginning to think I need to test it again to see if it's gone away (as many pregnancy symptoms do). I'm still pretty active anyway, with biking and "maternity" exercise vids. Hrm. The big things are that I need a couple more hours of sleep a day, so I get irrationally tired around 9 pm unless I've gotten a nap that day, and I need to eat something every two hours to keep my blood sugar from plummeting and leaving me all shaky (pre-pregnancy, this used to be a 4- to 5-hour thing). I do have pregnancy brain/forgetting things issues. Not things I try to remember, but things I usually don't have to try and remember. And I have to do this weird frog-squat thing to pick things up off the floor without getting dizzy. I think that's about it. Pregnancy is one of those "anything can be a symptom, the weirdest things are normal for somebody, and nothing's entirely predictable" things.

Read more--Phil, cancer, work, socializing, getting stuff done )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Phil and I)
Phil and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary this weekend. I think this is pretty fantastic, and I attribute it to us both being extraordinarily stubborn individuals.

On our actual anniversary, April 1st, Phil brought home ten roses (1) and then we took each other out to dinner (2) at Crave (3).

(1) They were actually selling roses by the 10-pack. We can only guess that they needed to increase profits but didn't want to raise prices for a bouquet--so they took two roses out of the classic dozen. But it made it the perfect number!

(2) He chose the restaurant, and it was a surprise, but we paid with the credit card, so I'll eventually end up paying for it. Ah, well. It feels like I haven't gone out in ages.

(3) Yes, the restaurant in the Mall of America. It is possible that there was some, "Wait, you actually want to go out on our anniversary?" on the day of. Also some issue with his work blocking most restaurants' websites, making the figuring out of a restaurant and a reservation difficult. So a coworker recommended it.

The overall ambiance was not so great. We got seated out on the balcony area, which meant we were basically eating in the mall, but it was a lot less noisy than inside the restaurant, so we were able to talk at all. Pluses and minuses! Some of the food was fantastic. We split a bunch of orders. The rosemary herb bread? Amazing! The hand-cut fries with truffle butter? Crack-tastic! Worth a special trip. The grilled Caesar salad? The grilled flavor was interesting, but I think I'd prefer a more classic Caesar. The pasta with wild mushrooms, bacon, and chicken? Should have had more mushrooms, less chicken, and any bacon. Not that it wasn't good--it was fine, it just wasn't amazing. The chai creme brulee? I was too full to try. Sorrow. Phil had a fizzy bottle of pink sake, and I had a virgin mojito with blueberries. I gotta say--these days I'm really happy with any menu that actually includes interesting non-alcoholic drinks.

On Saturday afternoon, we had the first BBQ of the season to celebrate with friends. The weather cooperated with a pretty nice sunny 50 degree+ day. It made me happy to have a chance to hang out and talk with a couple dozen friends. There were burgers and chips and pretzel thingies and cinnamon rolls and pasta salad and pickles and Izzy soda and other wonderful things. And a hammock and bocce ball! (Phil thinks he can fix the Xmas lights pretty easily by reconnecting the string in a different order.) Things wound up around 2 and wound down around 7, as it started to get cold out. And now Phil has a cooler full of beer(4) and we have burgers and veggie burgers for grilling for later in the summer(5).

(4) Which he can't just drink. He's still taking pretty heavy daily doses of ibuprofen to deal with the swelling and joint pain of Mystery Illness, so he's not supposed to tax his liver with booze.

(5) And we can store them in our new deep freeze! That was our Christmas/anniversary gift from the in-laws. I don't really know what to do with it, but I'm excited to have it.

There was a mad scramble to clean before the party (and after), particularly since I had to work all morning at the senior sitting job. By all morning, I mean beginning at 7 AM that Saturday. I am still amazed that I did not fall asleep at my own party.

I've pretty much been working regular hours, meaning 40+, between NgithOwl and the senior sitting. I have to leave NgithOwl early on Thursdays to get to the senior sitting job, but it balances out with the usual weekend work. But there was no weekend work needed at NgithOwl on our anniversary! And on the days when there is no NgithOwl work but I need to get to the senior center, I can just bike up to Bryant, which is a nice short bike ride and very convenient. (I figured out that I can't bus and bike to NgithOwl as I usually do in the summers, because my bike weighs much too much for me to be allowed to lift it, and putting a bike on the bus bike racks involves real lifting. Sadness. But then again, that's the crazier part of town to bike in, so I'm probably safer not doing it anyway.)

It might be quieter at NgithOwl now, but I've earned enough to pull us most of the way out of the financial hole that no work for four months put us in.

I've also been wrastling with paperwork (including figuring out that a toaster oven warranty was not worth using, because it would cost us lots just to send the darn thing in and get it back, and there was no guarantee of fixing or replacement--stupid fake warranty--so no toaster for us), and setting up stuff for my baby showers (one in Minnesota, one in Wisconsin).

Between working on writingy stuff at the senior sitting job and my hour of writing minimum, the writing proceeds apace.

Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log


Episode 11

And Episode 11 is complete! Thanks to a convenient ending hook that I hadn't planned in advance.

New words: 1,900
Total words: 67,390
Overused word: Doom
Gratuitous hardware: Colt Navy revolver
Type of scene: a hive of scum and villainy
Challenge(s): Not getting in my own way when I'm feeling a scene.
Which line is it anyways?He didn't know of any ladies who filed their teeth like that!
Researched: tooth sharpening (gah! too many junk links on the internets!), sailing ships, major arteries in the human body, Civil War-era weaponry
Notes: An interesting side-benefit of the daily no-matter-what writing hour seems to be that my story is "living" more in my mind, even when I'm not writing. This can be distracting and frustrating when I'm not in circumstances to write when a scene starts playing, but it's also good for figuring out plot kinks ahead of time.
Other writingy stuff:
* Posted last writing log and freewriting
* 10 Ways to Start Your Story Better:
* A great wrap-up of “how to live” advice for artists:
* Finished redmarking The Iron Dragon Dilemma, and figured out how to fix the plot. Probably another 1,000 words of writing in there. Gah. Story will be so loooong.
* Modern handgun basics for writers:
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (beauty)
I am so delighted that Spring seems to be making inroads into Minnesota! At last! Enough snow has melted that we can open the back gate again. Soon it will be warm enough to start planting things. Our CSA will start soon!

Today I am wearing a buttercup-yellow skirt. Yay, Spring!

This week I have been getting things done, I just haven't been as good about writing down what I have, because, you know, documenting takes away from doing time! Most of the week has gone to day job work and to getting a couple of overdue writingy projects out the door.

I've been working full-time all week, mostly at NgithOwl, but also starting the new companion job. NgithOwl is the same as usual--a huge rush to get projects out the door, all due on the same day. It was very good to have the weekend off, though many people did work overtime on the weekend. I wasn't asked--not sure why, though we didn't have enough computer stations, but I don't mind having the break after working some of last weekend too. I've been writing longhand in my notebook while taking the bus, so the work transit has also given me some extra pages on my letter-game side project, Platinadar.

The elder-sitter job is okay. I've gotten to work on writing stuff while I'm there, which is ++good. And it's pretty straightforward. I'm a little concerned about what happens if the old lady needs more physical help getting out of bed, etc., since I'm not allowed to lift human-sized things at this point. The son stopped by to make sure I wasn't some suspicious character who would steal the silverware, which is him being a good son. ;) How long she'll need this (minor) level of care and when she'll need more than I could provide are questions that nobody knows the answer to.

And Saturday night, I got to and socialize over at [ profile] half_double and LtS's house. Socializing is good, even if people did get a bit over-excited about the whole baby-naming thing (still not naming him Glaxo-Kline or Montana). No, but really it was great to see old acquaintances and chat with current friends and eat some delicious salsa.

Phil did not go, as his joints were hurting him again. He has spent most of this weekend on the couch to keep the inflammation from flaring back up to severe levels. However, basketball's on, so I don't think he minds too much! Hopefully this will go away soon--we're all ready for him to be healthy again.

Aside from that, between rededicating myself to "writing comes first" and what I've been able to do at the elder-sitter job, I've done pretty well for writingy stuff this week. Most of my time went to polishing off this last episode of Circus of Brass and Bone and getting my writing market list out.

Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log


Episode 11

Other writingy stuff:
* Writing on a Platinadar letter on the bus to work, got a number of pages done.
* Marked up Circus of Brass and Bone Episode 10, made editing changes, recorded podcast, and loaded it up.
* Updated market list from Ralan newsletter.
* Nine Ways to Give a Better Reading:
* Cleaned out old market listings, uploading new market spreadsheet, wrote newsletter and sent it out/posted it.
* Began revising "Charity from a Thief." My old problem with beginnings struck again in this story, but I think I've figured out a fix.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Phil and I)
Phil may no longer be feverish, but he's been having severe arthritic pain and swelling in his joints since the fever went away, and it isn't getting better. It's bad enough that he can't do some things and he's being woken up in the middle of the night by the pain when the painkiller wears off. This is Not Good. Husband is broken, and that is unacceptable. Worried Abra is worried. He has a doctor's appointment for tomorrow, where hopefully they will either figure out and treat what's going on or at least give him Flintstones chewable morphine.

Aside from that small detail, it's been a pretty good few days. I got the companion job, I got a lead on a good-paying temp job, and I worked some overtime hours this weekend, so finances are vastly less worrying than they were a couple of weeks ago. I finished the phone info part of the HARP refinance application, and we have the documents to sign and send in. Once that's done, it's just a waiting game.

The in-laws drove up from Wisconsin with a truckload of baby things, including a crib, a high-chair, a changing table, and even more second-hand baby clothes (we already had like six bags in the attic--like I said, they subscribe to the cargo cult theory of new babies). Oh, and a love seat that matches our current couch, inherited from the grandparents when they moved into assisted living.

So on Saturday afternoon, after I worked my overtime hours, they picked me up from work and we drove off to Home Depot, where they bought us an upright deep freeze as a combination Christmas/10-year-anniversary present (yes, it's been that long). They were also introduced to the joys of chain LeeAnn Chin Chinese food (they liked it).

The Joint

Saturday night, we went to the new Psycho Suzi's, a locally owned, tiki-themed bar and restaurant that just moved into vastly expanded quarters. Now they have a reception area with an indoor waterfall behind it, four theme bars, and a separate floor for the eating area. The indoors roughly quadruples the total space of the old place, including the patio. Outside, tiki torches flame alongside the Mississippi River. They were packed. The bar area is seat-yourself and only has appetizers available, so if you want real food, you have to get on the list and wait for seating in the dining area (which is less interestingly decorated, but does have the full menu, so, you know, trade-offs). The in-laws had a great time, and I think my m-i-l is planning on bringing the ladies of her card club there when they road trip to see the new baby. Apparently this is a tradition among them.

Sunday morning I fed them my fabulous yogurt-blueberry pancakes and we sent them on their way. Then I bussed to the Seward Cafe for [ profile] birdfigment's birthday brunch. There were hangings-out and tasty foods and then running to catch my bus to Uptown to join my writing group (partway through the meeting, but that's what happens when you do multiple things in a day). I got my mic back after the presentation portion was finished (we do a podcast now!) and delivered variously harsh critiques during the workshop section.

Then I came home and went thud. Well, after selling some CDs to Cheapo, mostly for the shelf space because CDs are selling for $.50 apiece today. Apparently, everybody and their brother is switching to digital and selling the physical, so it's not such a profitable thing to do.

After Phil woke me up by assembling the crib (which is large, sturdy, and roughly the size of couch), I made bean burgers for dinner and then did my hour of writing.

3/8/11, Tuesday, through 3/13/11, Sunday

Circus of Brass and Bone Combined Writing Log


Episode X

New words: 1,019
Total words: 62,814
Overused word: monkey
Gratuitous word: pineapple
Type of scene: How they figure out where to go next.
Challenge(s): Keeping it interesting without getting too zany.
Which line is it anyways?Wind whistled a counterpoint down the alley.
Researched: Elephant feet, "devolve"
Notes: It may be too zany. Or have too much dialog.
Other writingy stuff:
* Shamed by Sherilyn Kennyon’s 8 hrs of writing plus other hours of writingy stuff (the woman only sleeps 4 hrs a day, which is totally NOT an option for me), began the 1-hr of writing no matter what experiment (if I feel totally wasted, Ican work on non-primary writing project).
* Various freewriting warmups.
* MinnSpec critiques.
* Attended MinnSpec writing group meeting--well, at least the crit portion.
* Recorded intro for MinnSpec podcast, episode 3.
* Wrote four pages longhand on Platinadar while traveling to and from work.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Phil is no longer feverish! Huzzah! This doesn't mean he's well, precisely, but it does mean he's going in to work today. Although the fever's gone, the joint pain and swelling remain. We're going to give it a couple of days and then make a doctor's appointment if that symptom doesn't go away too.

This meant I didn't have to make a doctor's appointment for him yesterday, after all. So I had a pretty routine day, with work all day and then coming home and blueberry yogurt pancakes for dinner (so delicious, so easy, so my favorite) and dishes and laundry.

I also listed Dichroic Mirror's Nocturnal Garden CD on ebay. It's kind of classical goth music, so if you're into that sort of thing, you should check it out:

Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log Total

3/7/12, Monday, full work
* Posted writing log and freewriting.
* Worked on MinnSpec crits.
* A shnibblet of writing on CoBB.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Phil is still sick. He's doing a better job juggling acetaminophen and ibuprofen to keep the fever down, but whenever he waits too long, it goes right back up. Yesterday his hands swelled up like an arthritic old man's--a quite common effect of having a fever. If he's still ill tomorrow, it's back to the doctor for him! Because Phil does the grocery shopping, we are running out of staples. I've picked up a few things from Target on my way home, but it's still quite ingenuity-testing. Tonight's dinner will be chili, because chili = beans + [just about anything].

Worked. Came home from work and climbed upstairs and fell asleep, not even eating first. That last bit says a lot. The sprogling demands SLEEP. After I woke up, I made dinner, prepped dinner for tomorrow (got things marinating), did laundry, dishes, and a snippet of writing.

Worked. Can't remember what else I did, but writing appears to not have been involved.

The day began unfortunately, when I remembered to check the bus schedule (which changed that day), but forgot to check the Saturday section instead of the default Monday through Friday section. So there was waiting outside in the cold for an extra twenty minutes for my bus. And then I discovered I'd forgotten the post-it note with the door codes written on it (on the weekends, building doors are locked and you need the code to get in), but fortunately I was able to remember it. Otherwise I would have been sitting outside hoping somebody took a smoke break soon.

Worked until 1. Then I left to go to a job interview for being the companion to an elderly woman. Ten hours a week and I could work on other things while there, but I was competing with a couple dozen college students, so we'll see how that goes. They thought they'd be making their decision yesterday, but I haven't heard anything, so my hopes are not up.

ES&TS decided to host "coffee shop" at their house that Saturday, so then I bused over to their place (Saturday involved a whole lot of transit). There, there were wondrous things like tea! and chai! and cookies! and black bean salsa! and people to talk to! There was much socializing, and some editing of CoBB. It is always hard for me not to just chatter away at people when I haven't seen them for a while (like since, say, yesterday), but at least I fixed the opening, which Phil had diagnosed as crap, and which I had had severe problems trying to figure out how to fix when I first made the attempt a couple of days ago. So that was good (but the black bean salsa was better).

The "coffee shop at home" idea is a lovely one, and generally cost-saving. Also, then we could invite people more in advance. And once ES and I have our sproglings, well, public coffee shops become slightly more of a hassle. Although it also would mean losing the "somewhere else!" of it all. And I'm definitely a fan of novelty-seeking behavior. Hrm. Pondering. I suppose the two would not need to be mutually exclusive.

Circus of Brass and Bone Total

Combined Writing Log
* Various smidges of writing on CoBB.
* Assorted freewritings.
* Edited CoBB episode opener.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Phil and I)
Phil is still quite ill with fever, though he doesn't have any other symptoms. He had a doctor's appointment yesterday, at which it was ascertained that yes, he has a fever, and no, he doesn't have any other warning symptoms. Turns out that when they say to go see the doctor if you've had a fever for three days, what they really mean is that the doctor just checks to see if anything else is going on and then sends you home without treating you, telling you to come back in a week if you've still got a fever. I disapprove! He doesn't have a backache, so it's probably not meningitis (If he gets a backache, he's supposed to go to the ER and get a spinal tap. You can guess how popular that suggestion was.). He's pretty sure it isn't an STD (i.e. that I haven't been cheating on him), so penicillin will do nothing. Lots of annoying questions, no treatment. Got back his bloodwork today, and his white blood cell and platelet counts are too low, so now he's supposed to get bloodwork done again two weeks after the fever goes away. And if the fever is still there next week, he's supposed to go back in.

Also, we know his judgment is impaired because he decided to drive to the doctor in downtown instead of taking a bus, despite having previously agreed that driving was a bad idea if he was running a fever. The doctor lectured him, I lectured him...and I don't trust him not to do something similar again.

Me, I worked a bunch. On the way home, I stopped at Target and picked up a couple of grocery-type things. I paid using the last of the Target giftcard NgithOwl gave me for Christmas.

It will be good to have hours in my paycheck again.

Dinner was cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Then there was lots and lots of laundry folding as I watched Criminal Minds. And some writing (not while watching TV--I can't do that, though I've heard of writers who can).

Circus of Brass and Bone Total

3/2/11, Wednesday, full day of work
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* A snippet of writing.
* Listened to writing podcasts at work.


Mar. 2nd, 2011 06:27 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (dark mirror)
Worked a full day yesterday and was exhausted at the end of it, so not a whole lot else got done.

I went in to do a one-day data entry project, but while I was there we found out that a client who never allows us to take their documents off-site had, in fact, sent them all over to NgithOwl. This is sort of good, but on a personal level it will mean fewer work hours, since I was going to be in the group of four or so who went over to the on-site. Instead, all three shifts will be working around the clock on the project (since we're all starved for hours). But it will probably still be enough work for a week and a half. That paycheck will be most welcome.

Especially since the large data entry project that we bid on, we didn't get. So those hypothetical hours went *poof*.

I came home, managed to scrounge up a pretty tasty Greek pasta salad out of what was in the fridge and the pantry (recipe later), paid bills, posted my diary entry (like this one), did a smidge of writing, and because sick husband is needy and wanted me in the same room, watched the Charlie Sheen interview. Spoiler: He wins at CRAZY. No, really, it's totally worth watching. There's no crazy like famous megalomaniac seize-the-day crazy.

Circus of Brass and Bone Total

3/1/11, Tuesday, full day of work
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* Smidge of writing on CoBB
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
Monday was--why can't I remember Monday? Alas, the mindwipe drugs have--

Oh. Wait. There it is.

Phil was still home sick and still feverish. Much like today. Don't worry, though, I have made him a doctor's appointment for tomorrow. Turns out it's the first time in two years he's been to the doctor...that whole "routine appointments" thing does not apply. Guess I need to add that to my to-do list. His temperature seems to stay in the range between 100.5 and 102.5, which is worrisomely high. I tried to keep him full of fluids and acetaminophen and to encourage him to take his temperature regularly. Without actually entering the infectious zone, you understand.

Despite the husband-pandering, I still got lots of miscellaneous things done:
* listed ATI TV Wonder on amazon, craigslist, etc.
* finally ordered RAM upgrade for computer (should have done that months ago)
* basic cleaning
* continued sorting books (this will go on *forever*--not even through one bookshelf yet)
* balanced bank account ::wince::
* finally put away miscellaneous Christmas stuff (a couple of items of which I had just fixed! yay, craft afternoon!)
* pandered to ill husband

In the evening, I got to go play bridge at [ profile] susanofstohelit’s, where I was reintroduced to all the basic concepts since it was the first time I'd made a game since before Christmas. Good hangings-out (and tasty molasses cookies) were had.

The writing I had less success with. I only managed to write a snippet, and when I tried to edit the episode my brain just wasn't working that way. Very frustrating--editor-brain is usually quite easy for me to locate.

Circus of Brass and Bone Total

2/28/11, Monday
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* Sent out a recorded snippet as a PodCastle narrator audition. I have audio equipment; I should use it, right?
* Wrote a snippet on CoBB
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
Overall, a productive day. Aside from the writing stuff, I also managed to do dishes, including handwash dishes, to do laundry, to change the bed sheets, to run the Roomba, to set up the birdfeeder my parents got Phil for Christmas, to update my resume, and to cook dinner. So that was good.

2/15/11, Tuesday
* Posted writing log and freewriting.
* Sent the next episode of CoBB live.
* Brainstormed CoBB plotting.
* Read Ralan newsletter and 3 Duotrope newsletters and updated market list from them.
* Cleaned out old market list entries, wrote newsletter, and posted around.
* Updated “A Phoenix By Any Other Name”’s post-publication status, now that the exclusive rights have expired. Oh goody, another reprint to try and sell. ::facepalm:: Well, maybe I can honorably retire the older, lower-level stories that have successfully been published.
* Sketched out a little 100-word scene that came to me while I was brainstorming.
* Hunted for and failed to find a critique that I remember at least partially finishing--emailed critiquee.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
It has been a good week. But first, let me tell you about the banishing of evil spirits from NgithOwl.

Recently, I got the first "yes, we have bananas work," phone call I've gotten in too long to think about. So I go in, and there's work, and that's a good thing. Maybe I won't have to do the temp thing after all (for now-obvious reasons, I'm not looking for a permanent job at the moment). I'm on my break in the dead-end break hallway (we don't have a break room, we have a hallway that dead-ends just past the restrooms), when I smell something--herbal.

"Who's burning incense?" I ask.

"Oh," says a salesperson, "they burned sage everywhere yesterday."

"To drive out evil spirits?" I say, half-joking.

"Oh, you're familiar with the practice!"

Yes, boys and girls, after a two-month work slowdown (as happens sometimes) at NgithOwl, the owner decided to smudge sage through the offices and the production floor. When I asked the minion designated to the task about this, she said, "Well, you know, when there isn't work for a while, employee morale gets low, and there's just this icky, funky feeling in the air."

Apparently, the solution to low worker morale is to smudge sage. You heard it here first.

And--it does seem to have worked! The next day, there was work, and there's been work on-and-off all week. The face-shatteringly (yes, this is my new favorite adjective) cold weather, combined with bus schedule changes resulting in a fifteen minute walk as part of my commute, meant that I've gotten rides into work from Phil a couple of times. The timing is such that I usually need to leave about five minutes before I would have gotten on a bus, and I get to work half-an-hour early. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

So my next paycheck should help our financial situation immensely. And on one of the days when there wasn't, I was able to bus over to Mixed Blood theatre and get the paperwork filled out so I can get paid for some sewing/set construction work I did for them. Which was interesting, and yay money!

As I said, it has been a good week. The nausea's steadily fading. I've been tired a lot, but that's because my body's been busy knitting. (What is it knitting this week? PLACENTA!)

Work pretty much tires me out, so then I come home and sleep, but I've managed to get a little cleaning and a little writing stuff done, and today I finished my overdue market list, and I hope there will be actual writing in a bit.

Yesterday there was socializing. Chad came over with his goyle, he ordered us all Pizza Luce (their Margarita Pizza was ridiculously peppery), and we hung out and chatted and then he foolishly revealed that he hasn't really watched Bollywood movies. So we watched the first hour and a half of Welcome (it's funny, with ridiculous plot twists you only see in Bollywood--and available on Netflix streaming). He seemed to enjoy, and it reminded me that we should go back to that movie theatre that shows current Bollywood movies again sometime soon.

And today looks like it will be a good day. I'm getting my (belated, as everything these days is) market list out, Phil is making lunch, and then there will be foraging for maternity clothes and soup fixings, and then there will be planned socializing (over soup and wearing slippers, which seems an entirely ideal combination to me).


cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Abra Staffin-Wiebe

March 2019

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