Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And a general malaise struck him by surprise

This has been a strange couple of weeks. Some good things, but some very bad things too. My Auntie Dot died. She had been fighting cancer for over a year, so it wasn't unexpected, but it was still a blow. She was really a driving force in the family and it is hard to imagine the family without her. And then this Saturday, Tony's Aunt Teresa died unexpectedly. She was only 47 and one of the sweetest, nicest people you could ever meet.

Tony drove over for the funeral (it's tomorrow), but I couldn't go since Mom & Watson & Pam are arriving by plane tomorrow for Thanksgiving (and, for the record, no, mom, I don't need Watson to drive). Just such a crazy time. And meanwhile, the baby has been kicking away, doing the rumba or swimming laps or something like that. Little reminders of life and wonder amid the sadness of death.

And I'm still all stuffed up, though my cold or whatever it is hasn't gotten any worse. It just hasn't gotten any better. I imagine it would be rather comforting right now to be a bear and go into hibernation for a little while.

But first I need to finish washing the sheets and towels and cleaning out the refrigerator before everyone gets here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Chilly Sunday

Well, I'm definitely coming down with something, since I'm a regular snot monster again. I guess I'll call the doctor tomorrow, since I don't want to follow the normal progression down to bronchitis or anything like that.

Yesterday was Jill's birthday party / road rally (i.e. scavenger hunt). It was a lot of fun, even though I wasn't a huge amount of help. Tony's team actually won bragging rights. Mine came in the middle of the pack, which was better than coming in dead last. :-)

Tony's birthday is coming up this week. We're going to try and get together a Big Night celebration for next Saturday. We haven't made a timpano in a while.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sunny Fall

It's actually been quite sunny here, though the temperature has dropped into the 50's...and sometimes 40's during the day. Yesterday was a bit gray, but today we're once again sunny but chilly. I actually like weather like this a lot. It's the stuff that comes later that I'm not completely sure about.

I think I'm coming down with a cold, so I'm trying to stave it off with tea and vitamin C and things like that. Especially since I'm not really supposed to take OTC stuff. Mostly it's just a tickly throat and a bad headache (which I've had anyway, some kind of pregnancy thing). The headache part is actually worse than the rest.

I'm thinking about firing up the fireplace in the front living room. We haven't used that one yet. It's wood-burning, but with a gas hookup too. Maybe I'll camp out in there all day. Cool weather is a great excuse for a fire. And it will make Harley really happy. He's a little kitty pyro.

Oh, and on the plus side (heh, literally) I might have actually gained a pound! Whoo-hoo!

Yeesh, who knew I'd ever cheer about that.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Eh, whatever

I'm having one of those tired, wintry grey and unmotivated days. I've gotten a few things done, but not as much as I'd like (ok, actually, like I ever get done everything I want to). I just really want to sleep or veg or totally crash out.

Pretty quiet day today.

Though Gracie did half fall into the toilet today.

And tried to play it off like she "meant to do that." Unsuccessfully.

I have some writing stuff I really need to get to, if I can just wake myself up enough to do it. And tons more books to mail out. I need to find a little cart that will fit in my car because I'm getting to the point I can't carry too much heavy stuff at once. Belly gets in the way.

And scale is still staying on the same bloody spot. Grrrr. Still haven't gained an ounce since my last Dr. appointment.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Where's the beef??

I can't seem to *&@!#@!# gain any weight! And trust me, I have never, ever had this problem before in my entire life. When I was super-skinny (a way long time ago in the distant past) it was because I wasn't eating much. Pretty much since I met Tony, it's been a slow climb uphill. And now, now that I actually need to gain some weight, I can't seem to. It's kind of frustrating.

I feel like I am eating enough. Or rather, I feel like I can't really eat any more than I'm eating.

Oh, but the belly. The belly keeps getting bigger and bigger. I realized yesterday I couldn't zip up the jacket I was wearing. And my belly button, which was never super deep, is now getting pretty flat. It hasn't popped up yet like a meat thermometer/timer, but I can see it coming.

Oh well. I'm off to go eat some more.

Letters & Packages to "Any Solider"

I got a forwarded email today from my MIL about sending out Christmas Cards to "Any Wounded Solider" at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and thought it sounded like a great idea. But being the suspicous Internet user that I am, I looked it up and I found out that such packages can no longer be delivered and, apparently, have been tossed out since 2001 (!!). There's a press release about it at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center site. I'm going to reproduce part of it here in the hopes that this will do something to combat the hundreds of wrong messages out there (when I put my search in google, a ton of hits came up; all of them saying what a good idea it was to do this...which it obviously isn't, not anymore). So feel free to pass this on (which is something I would normally not ever ask someone to do).

Walter Reed Army Medical Center officials want to remind those individuals who want to show their appreciation through mail to include packages, letters, and holiday cards addressed to 'Any Wounded Soldier' or 'A Recovering American Soldier' that Walter Reed cannot accept these packages in support of the decision by then Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Transportation Policy in 2001. This decision was made to ensure the safety and well being of patients and staff at medical centers throughout the Department of Defense.

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service is no longer accepting "Any Service Member" or "A Recovering American Soldier" letters or packages. Mail to "Any Service Member" that is deposited into a collection box will not be delivered.

Instead of sending an “Any Wounded Soldier” letter or package to Walter Reed, please consider making a donation to one of the more than 300 nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping our troops and their families listed on the "America Supports You" website, http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/

Other organizations that offer means of showing your support for our troops or assist wounded servicemembers and their families include:
http://www.usocares.org/
http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/tooursoldiers/
http://www.redcross.org/


As an add on to this, I just found this site: AnySolider.com which allows you to send a package intended for "Any Solider" but to a specific contact, so that the package will be distributed.

Friday, November 02, 2007

20 Week Baby Photos

Well, it's a boy, as we found out on Monday. I figured it had to be, since I have no idea what to do with a boy. After all, the kid is bound to be as stubborn and persnickety as his dad. I just hope he's taller than me. :-)

Here's one of the funky 3D scans. The baby's still a little skeletal looking at this stage, but hey, he's only 12 ounces right now and about 9 inches long. He's got his arm up by his head, if you can't tell.

Here's the proof of boyhood, with a handy arrow as placed by the ultrasound technician. I guess it's a "butt up" kind of view.
Here's a pretty good scan of as much baby as will fit in one image frame now. The tech counted up fingers and toes and measured everything and everything looks good. All the stuff that's supposed to be there is there and everything is about the size it's supposed to be.
Here's a little bitty foot.
And a little bitty fist. It didn't look like he was shaking it. We did see him yawn on screen though and he might have been sucking his thumb at one point. He's a definite wiggler. I think the nickname might have to go from "peanut" to "squirmy."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weightiness

Well, for the first time ever in my life, I've had a doctor tell me I need to gain weight. ;-) Seems I'm gaining a bit slow. We're officially at 20 weeks right now and I've just gained a total of 4 pounds so far. We're half way. I can hardly believe it.

We had the 20 week ultrasound today. Got some good pictures. We've got a real wiggler. The ultrasound tech was surprised I haven't been able to feel the baby yet, considering how much movement was going on. But it's about the time when I should start feeling it soon.

Well. Off to eat something. Gotta keep up my end of the deal.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Soap, soap, soap

I made soap yesterday with Erin, one of our neighbors. She's also at home during the day and she was interested in learning how. We had a lot of fun. It's more fun to do projects with someone than alone. She'll be back today this afternoon when it is time to cut the soap.

She's a nice lady and just unloaded a bunch of maternity clothes on me, which was nice. I don't think I'll have to buy much now. She's close to my height (a bit taller) and has two young boys. Real cuties.

We made two batches of soap. One has shea butter and rose hip oil (and cinnamon fragrance and red kaolin clay) as the non-standard ingredients (by non-standard, I mean not one of the base oils I use: castor, palm, olive, coconut, etc.) and the other was Illipe butter and tea tree oil. Hopefully they all come out alright.

I should make up another batch or two to use up some more of the oils I have. They don't last indefinitely. In a "it's a small world" note, Erin's husband is a chemist and he works for the same company that I'd bought most of the oils from. Bizarre.

Memories

Having some trouble sleeping lately. Partly it is the can't-get-comfortable thing and partly it's the terrible-pregnancy-heartburn thing. What is up with that? And then when I do get to sleep I either wake up because a) I have to pee again or b) I was having a really funky weird dream (and I'm not even mentioning when Harley, Grace and Tony start snoring in unison).

The dreams are really weird. And very random. Last night I had like 3 dreams about a guy I used to go to middle school with. We were friends, but not close friends (I was really more friends with his sister Colleen) and it wasn't like I ever had a crush on him or anything. So it's really weird to have dreams about someone I haven't thought about in years. The brain is very random.

So I attempted to look the guy up this morning, just to see what he was up to. I don't know that I actually want to contact him (after all, we haven't talked in literally at least 20 years), but it doesn't seem like I have to worry about it either way since he's got one of those names (William Wickham) that makes it impossible to find the person you want. Seems there was a famous William Wickham back in England, some years ago. And there's no way I'm combing through 2 million web pages to find the William I'm looking for.

But, in wandering around looking, I came across http://www.gradfinder.com/ which is a free service similar to classmates.com and reunion.com. So I registered and found another blast from the past -- a guy I went to Prom with in the 10th grade (or maybe 9th?) (Derek Gage). We weren't dating, but most of my friends were seniors and I wanted to go (and, presumably, they wanted me to go too) and celebrate with them. I hung out with a bunch of the artsy people (like Laura DePuy, who I ran into again in St. Pete years later -- actually went to her wedding...she's now Laura Martin and even has her own WikiPedia page...she's a colorist for graphic novels...man, I'm terrible at keeping in touch with people, I don't think I've talked to her since then). Derek was one of them and he volunteered to take me along. Actually, I don't know that he volunteered - maybe he was volunteered. Hard to say at this point.

Now I'm trying to remember the names of the other people we all hung out with. There was Mike, who worked at Pizza Hut (and absolutely refused to eat the pizza) and who always wore an old army jacket. Geez, what was his last name? Maybe I'll have to drag out my yearbook.

I moved to Mississippi not long after that (after dad died and the icky bad period started up) and lost track of a lot of people.

You know a funny thing? I actually went to 6 different Proms in high school. That makes me sound like some really popular girl, but that really wasn't the case. Though, looking back, I probably could have been (if it hadn't been for my terrible self-image, etc. etc.). Geez, was I skinny and I always thought I was so fat. I think I might have been borderline anorexic back then. I was a size 0. Of course, I was also 4' 11". Not that I'm any taller now and I'm w-a-y out of a size 0.

Hmmmm. I looked up another old Prom date of mine, who also happened to be an artist. Kris Meadows. Looks like he's doing pretty well too (though he didn't quite look like that in high school but heck, I sure don't look like I did in high school either). We actually met when I sat as a model for an art class at CFCC in Ocala (my mom did too; I have no idea how we got into that...I think she had a friend in the class and they thought it would be cool to have some "Asian" chicks in to model). Not nude or anything. :-) I actually still have the portrait Kris did of me. And now he's a fairly well-known portrait artist. Go figure.

I don't actually remember much of that Prom, but I do remember what happened on the way there -- we passed a dead body in the middle of the road. You don't forget something like that, especially in the days before cell phones.

Gah, who did I even go to the other Proms with? One was with Stephen DuBose (he was a nice guy -- that was in Mississippi...wait, maybe that was two with him...his and mine?). There was that Shane guy...what was his last name? Though his friend Viktor, the Swedish exchange student, was much nicer. And maybe one was just by myself, junior year. Or maybe I went with someone. I don't remember. I just remember the horrible pink dress with the crazy shoulder wing-things. The 80's. *sigh*

Anyway, now that my brain has spewed and the heartburn has died down a little, maybe I can actually get to sleep now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Scattergories

(Got this from Janet)

SCATTERGORIES...it's harder than it looks!
Erase my answers , enter yours, send it on, including to the person who sent it to you.
*Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following...
*They have to be real places, names, things..nothing made up!
Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial.
You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question

WHAT IS YOUR NAME........Kimberly
VEHICLE: ........................... Kia (I can't think of any others that start with K)
TV SHOW: ............................ King of the Hill
CITY IN TEXAS:.................... Kerrville (had to cheat and look one up...why Texas?)
BOY NAME: .......................... Kane
GIRL NAME: ......................... Kristen
OCCUPATION: ...................... Knight (well, it used to be)
CELEBRITY: ......................... Keira Knightley
FOOD: ................................. Kefir
SOMETHING FOUND IN A BATHROOM: ..... Kleenex
REASON FOR BEING LATE: ...................... Kleptomania
CARTOON CHARACTER:........... Kim Possible (isn't that a cartoon?)
SOMETHING YOU SHOUT: ....................... Keep it on the road!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Nothing, really

When people hear that you've sold a book (and by people here I'm referring to non-writers, since I can't imagine a writer would say this) and that it is a book for kids/teens, the first thing they seem to say nowadays is "Wow, is it going to be the next Harry Potter??" or something to that effect.

Honestly, that's really annoying.

It's not that I wouldn't like for my book(s) to make me a multi-millionaire. But the chances of that are so slim it would be like winning the lottery. Maybe not quite that bad, since there are other things involved than luck, but still.

There are hundreds of talented authors out there and the vast majority of them are still working at another job while writing. Even for those lucky enough to "just" be an author, most still rely at least partly on the income of a spouse. You don't become a writer because you want to be a millionaire. You become a writer because you can't imagine doing anything else.

Of course, there are the big huge names like Rowling and King and others. But they are exceptions to the rule, not the standard. And it is a bit of a self-perpetrating thing...once you reach that upper echelon (through whatever combination of luck and talent), publishers put more effort into advertising you, and your books show up on the NY Times Bestseller list and people buy the books because they see them there, or maybe Oprah pitched the book on her show...

I guess what I'm saying is that my goal is to be a writer; it isn't to be a household-name-mega-millionaire. Not that I would turn that down, should it become an option. :-) But it isn't what I'm thinking or dreaming about. I'll be really happy if enough of my book(s) sell that I can continue writing them. I'll be really happy if there are people out there who like to read them.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Vote for my fat cat Grace

I'm not even sure why I did, but I entered my cat fat cat Grace in the Cat Connection Cat of the Month contest. So, hey, go vote for her :)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tired and random

I suppose part of it is the pregnancy thing and part of it is I just stayed up way too late last night, but I'm just desperately tired. Like a wrung-out washcloth. Like a celebutante at 7 AM the next day. Like...well, like Paris Hilton. But I guess that's a different kind of tired.

Actually, I shouldn't harp on poor Paris. I don't know anything about her, really. Who knows, maybe she's a really nice person.

Heh.

Anyway.

Pam is all excited about her upcoming nupital celebration (why does no one use that word?). She's already planned out most of it, even though she's got a long way to go. But she's a planner.

Lisa still thinks I'm the weird one in the family (and truth be told, given the alternative, I'm perfectly okay with that). She was asking me about whether we'd started looking at baby stuff already (not really, just a little) and her direct quote was "You're going to get all weird stuff, aren't you?" I'm not even sure what kind of weird stuff she's talking about. But my idea of weird and her idea of weird are vastly different. I remember she visited one time and wouldn't drink my organic milk.

Mom, on the other hand, doesn't usually comment on my supposed "weirdness" but she didn't sound all that enthused on our possible girl name (Dessie, Tony's grandmother's name). She's like "Oh. That's different." But I'd rather have something a little different (but not totally out there; don't want to traumatize the kid) than one of the "top 10 baby names for 2008." I remember being in the fifth grade and being one of 5 Kimberlys. And I can't tell you how many Emily and Ryan kiddos I've seen running around.

I'd kind of like the middle name to be Coraline, but I'm not sure about that. I like it, but probably like in the book, everyone would just mispronounce it as Caroline.

Tony is doing good. He's cranking along on his blog and going all international (well, at least Greek. Some Greek blogger liked his chicken cacciatore recipe).

Harley is still doing his Darth Vader cat thing, but we can't get him to take allergy pills. He foams at the mouth when you try it. If I could get him a little Darth kitty costume for Halloween (and actually get him to wear it), it'd be perfect.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

So, here's the little peanut

This was at 9 weeks. I'm at 16 weeks now (at least, according to the scale that doctor's use, which I think is about 2 weeks off).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Isn't this cool?

My editor sent me a link to this blog, where La Gringa picked my book as her "best title of the week." Cool, eh?

And bonus...I'll have to go through her blog now 'cause she listens to some great music.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Update, update, where's yer update

The big reason I hadn't written in this blog for a while (notwithstanding any exhortations from my sister) is that we'd decided not to tell anyone about the whole pregnancy / baby thing until we'd hit the 3 month mark and gotten all the test results back. And it felt really weird to NOT write about something so big in our lives...like a 10,000 pound white elephant in the room (though, yegods, if the baby is anywhere near elephant size I'm going to be screaming bloody murder).

But we've officially come out of the pregnancy closet, so hopefully I can get myself back in the habit again.

So...let's see.

First off, the whole book thing is great. My editor, Nina, is great. The revisions were pretty painless. There wasn't anything she brought up that I didn't agree with and I think the book is better now than it was. I think they are treating me fairly and I haven't had any issues with the process at all.

Yay!

And, I got a ping from a production company interested in possibly picking up the tv/film rights. I'm not getting all worked up about that, since I've heard so many horror stories from different people, but it would be cool. I actually think Sucks to Be Me would make a great TV show. I think you'd want to go a little more over the top than I did in the book, but it could easily be adapted and it'd be funny show. Turn the whole vampire-genre on tv thing upside down.

So we'll see what happens with all of that.

And on the baby front...all the tests were all good, no matter that they keep telling me I'm of "advanced maternal age" (poo on them) since I'll be 35 by the time the baby gets here. I really haven't gained any weight yet, but I have got a small little tummy going. Which means I'm mostly already out of my pants (sadly, I was already kinda in my fat pants). At this point, I'd actually rather be wearing the maternity stuff. That way, it at least looks like you're pregnant vs. looking like you had way too much for lunch.

Tony was there for the first ultrasound. It's kinda funny. The baby's like this little kewpie doll, waving it's little arms and legs around. Little peanut. They also have this 3D ultrasound thingy that's almost kind of freaky. I'll have to scan it in and post it sometime.

As for the family, everyone seems to be excited. Actually, I think some of them are more excited than we are. Tony and I just aren't, you know, screamers. We're pretty calm people. We don't squeal. I have a really hard time cheering at sporting events (okay, there's a lot of reasons there, probably, but still). I thought Lisa was practically going to keel over.

Of course, right after that, she proceeded to tell me a horror story about when she was pregnant and didn't make it to the bathroom on time once. Thanks, sis.

Book Meme

I was tagged by Cheryl for a book meme. I hadn't done one in a while (heck, I haven't updated my blog in a while), so I thought I'd do it. And hey, I finished off the final revisions on my book, so I had no excuses anyway.

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?
Hardcover if I plan on keeping it. But then, I really love old paperbacks too. I have a whole collection of old sci-fi paperbacks and they're fun in a way that a HB can't quite be. So...I guess my real answer is "I don't care; I just like books."

2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it…
You'd think I'd have a good title all prepared. Huh. Maybe "Down the Rabbit Hole"? Kind of a double meaning there -- there's the Alice in Wonderland reference and the whole thought of losing yourself in something new and fantastic. Of course, I guess you could also get a drug reference out of it too, but let's not go there. Follow the White Rabbit and all that.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…
“Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.”–Lazarus Long (Robert. A. Heinlein)

I think that's from The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

And there's this, from Henry Rollins, of all people:
"If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you."

I'm not sure where that's from though. Has he written a book? Probably...maybe. I dunno.

4. The author (alive or diseased) I would love to have lunch with would be ….
Robert A. Heinlein
Harry Harrison (had dinner with him once; would love to see him again - he's awesome)
Douglas Adams
P. L. Travers

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except from the SAS survival guide, it would be…
Could I cheat and say a set of Encyclopedias? That's kind of like one big book, right?

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that….
...was like a hand-held scanner and you could just point it at a bunch of books on the shelf and it would catalog them all to your computer.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of….
happiness

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be….
I think I've read too many books to answer this. Maybe Coraline, if I had to pick one. She's brave and plucky and she's got her whole life ahead of her. It would really depend. And besides, for a book to be good, there's got to be conflict. Take poor Harry, for instance. Would you really want to go through everything he did? Of course, I wouldn't really want to go through what Coraline did either...

9. The most overestimated book of all times is….
Ulysses. I'm sorry, but it's really almost impossible to read. I understand that what Joyce did was amazing and there's even other stuff of his I like okay, but Ulysses...just...ugh.

10. I hate it when a book….
Has a lot of typos. A minor thing, I suppose, but it always takes me out of the story. There are other things, but typos are consistently annoying.

So, I suppose I should tag someone back. I'll say Pam and Jeffy. Not that I think Jeffy has a blog, but I'd be curious to hear his answers (and he might actually read this).

Friday, August 10, 2007

well, then...

I think I can say something now, since I've officially signed the contract....I sold my first book (the vampire one) to Mirrorstone and it'll be coming out in Fall 2008.

Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance! :-)

More details as they come :-)

In other news, I actually did make a start on a new book...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Whuppity Stourie

Good good good news on the writing front, but I'd rather not say a whole lot until stuff is final. Actually, all kind of news all the way around. And family stuff - saw cousin Doug this past weekend with his partner Theo (pronounced Teo, kinda like Tea Leoni, but with an "o"). Pam and Mom and Watston are coming for Thanksgiving. And Pam and Mike are coming for her birthday in October. That's all that I'll say for now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Down to....

I'm finally down to 214 items in my inbox. Whew. But there's no way I'm getting to the post office today, so I guess the next Prize Book mailing will have to be Monday or Tuesday. At least I got some books out to reviewers this week.

Walked around the lake with Jill today too...boy, I need to exercise more.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter Tag

Alyssa tagged me and I'm finally getting around to it (I still haven't gotten through all my emails...ack! It isn't so much the 1000 or so that piled up while I was gone, it's all the 100+ new ones I get every day on top of that!):

1. Butterbeer or pumpkin juice?

Hmmmm, I think Butterbeer. It sounds intriguing to me.

2. What House would you most likely (or want to) be in in Hogwarts?

Probably Ravenclaw, I think.

3. If you were an animagus, what animal would you turn into?

I'd have to say a cat...I'd probably be like my cat Grace...fat and sleepy.

4. What character do you empathize with, or resemble best?

Hermione.

5. What position do you play at Quidditch?

Er...spectator. I suck at sports.

6. Which teacher is your favorite?

Professor McGonagal. Or whathisname Mad Eye or something like that.

7. Any Harry Potter 7 predictions?

No...other than that I don't think Harry dies.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Daddy Dance Off

You can vote in the Daddy Dance Off until noon today. This gave me quite a giggle this morning. My favorites were Denver (this is who I voted for), Tampa (my old home town!), and then Houston (he had style).

I can't imagine what the competitions were like. Most of the dads that I know do the "white man dance" ... though Tony's dad can really dance. Nobody did any old school dancing though.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sleepless

Can't get my brain to shut up tonight...not that it wants to think about anything big or grand or important. Just trivial nonsense things. Garden plots. Ebay auctions. Cleaning out the closet.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I suppose...and that's where all the trouble started

I suppose I should mention that I sold a short story. Another crime fiction-y piece. Strangely enough, I was just getting ready to revise it for Hardboiled when a magazine that I'd sent it to over a year ago emailed me and asked if it was still available. So it'll be out in Shred of Evidence soon. It wasn't a big sale -- teeny, actually -- but still, a sale. There's just not a huge market for that type of short fiction. Well, at least not one that really pays anything. But that's okay. It was a story I wrote because I had this image in my head. I didn't think it was going to be all that marketable even when I wrote it.

Have had another short fiction fantasy piece floating around in there too. I need to get it down on paper.

And now that I have at least part of my office (my books are unpacked! my books are unpacked!) put together now, I feel like I've got a real workspace.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Kismet

No one can tell me that Tony and I don't have some weird kind of connection. We're always doing things like finishing a sentence or thought or bringing up something from years ago when both of us - for some unknown reason - think of it on the same day. Today I emailed him asking what he wanted to go with his buffalo chicken and he emailed back tater-tots (which we haven't had in ages), but I didn't get his email until after I got back from the store...with tater-tots. Kinda funny.

Things are going well here. I really ought to update the Chicago blog. Lots going on.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blechiness

I've been having a cold coming on for the last few days. It's pretty much taken up residence now. The funny thing is, it always seems to start with Tony. First he complained of a sore throat and then I had one. Then, after a day of feeling a little icky, he seems to be back to feeling fine and I'm on to buying extra boxes of kleenex. How exactly does this always work out this way??

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Knitting news...

In further knitted cephalopod news, Sherry Weller wrote in to share the lovely knitted nautiloids from her online Nautie Knit-Along.

That's from one of today's spam in my inbox. It makes me laugh. How in the world do they come up with this stuff?

Actually...I randomly did a search and I think I found where it might have originated. Sorta.

That actually makes me laugh even more, in a way. What a crazy world--a world where people knit nautiloids and other people lift that idea to add to spam messages.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Name Game (MEME)

1. What are your siblings' names? Are your names related by a theme?
Lisa and Pamela. Well, maybe. Supposedly, my name came from Kimbees diapers made by Kimberly Clark and Pam's was from Pampers. I don't know if that's really true or one of those things that your parents tell you to embarass you.

2. What are your pets' names?
Harley and Grace.

3. Do you give pet/nick names to your car (or other large posession)?
I call my car "car". Does that count?

4. What meaning does your surname have?

Hmmmm. Well, "Carr" means "marsh, wet ground overgrown with brushwood." which is close to my maiden name of "Karr." Can't find anything for Pauley.

5. If you could name your own country or island, what would you call it?

Ohhhhhhhh. Er, hmmm. I'll have to think about that one.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Digging

For some reason as I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep and rubbing Gracie's belly (it's very relaxing, rubbing her big soft furry tummy), I had an idea about my old old old manuscript. The kind of traditional fantasy one that I haven't worked on in ages and keep thinking I ought to pick up again. So I got up to write down some notes. That done, now I'm just sitting here, stewing.

I've really got to decide what to work on next. My next major project. I'm not touching the vampire novel for now, even though I did think of a way to make it into a non-vampire novel, because I just heard back from the publisher again that they are still looking at it.

So, do I work on...

...the traditional fantasy with the kind of classic "unlikely hero takes on evil" coming-of-age/epic journey thing and the kick-butt heroine sidekick/romantic interest?
...the used to be middle grade fantasy where the girl finds out she's next in line to be queen of the fairies that I have to turn into something else because the whole fairy queen thing is completely overdone (not to mention the fairy thing in general)?
...the new(er) idea involving the son of Death (i.e. death-in-training) who falls in love with a dying girl who doesn't believe in death (funnier than it sounds, honest)?
...the super freaks with the stupid powers who discover they aren't useless after all (though this does have the issue of the recent influx of super-power kids)?
...the adult chick lit featuring Earlene, a bra factory in Georgia, an unwilling bra model, and a possibly stolen pick up truck?
...the probably middle grade, slightly tongue-in-cheek Serious McElvoy story about a boy genius who dies an untimely and rather messy death to become an angel fifth class?

Those are just the most viable bits. I've got other WIPs but I'm trying not to even think of those now. There's one that does sound viable...but every time I try to write on it I just don't like the character and I drop it. So it isn't going anywhere.

The traditional fantasy is probably the most along, even though the Abigail fairy-queen one is probably longer...but I definitely need to go back to the drawing board on it. I've thought about just making it a more straightforward "girl's grandmother dies and she refuses to accept it and goes into Death to get her back" but that doesn't much sound like a middle grade kind of story, now does it? What about just making it a fairies kidnap grandmother one? Except that makes no sense...they only do changelings for babies...grrrrr.

And the short bit I have of Sylvie...but I have no idea where that is going. It's just an interesting bit. Maybe I'll try shipping it out as a short story. Ack.

Which reminds me that I need to finish the re-write on the short story about Hildie-with-the-bloody-hand-in-her-purse and get it back out to the magazine that asked for it a while back. After all, we actually do have a stable address again. I have no excuse not to get it out the door again.

But I really need to pick a full length thing to work on. Which will it be?? Anyone want to read too many first chapters? Ha.

[slightly later]

And I just found a couple of chapters of a story I'd completely forgotten about. Rather promising, though it is another adult chick lit type of thing and I keep thinking I ought to just stick with what I know...YA. But it is kind of a fun piece. "Starting Tomorrow"

Monday, April 30, 2007

Mystery Magazines

For some reason unknown to me, I have two magazine subscriptions that I did not order and don't know of anyone ordering for me. I have no idea why they are coming. The Wired one has actually been going on for quite a while, with a brief (also unexplained) hiatus. The New York magazine one just started. Don't get me wrong, I like the magazines. I just have no idea why I'm getting them. And when I log in to their websites, it tells me I'm paid up all the way into next year.

Isn't that weird? Did someone get me a subscription and not tell me? And, if so, why did they get me the New York magazine, which is all about stuff happening in a city I don't live in? Not that it isn't interesting, but it's not like I can just pop over there any time I want. I dunno. It's just another random bit of world weirdness.

The tops of the trees

I just got one of the strangest spam messages ever, I think:

Subject: The tops of the trees were now engulfed in the fog and now struggling above it.

Message: They can get into your body, you know.

And that was it. No embedded image, nothing. It's a mystery to me. Maybe someone is having an existential crisis of some sort.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Movieland

We've been watching a lot of movies lately, probably due to the whole actually having a TV room thing. Last night we watched The Fifth Element, one of my favorites. Then I went to Best Buy today (had to bring my Gateway PC in...long story and one I'm rather too embarassed to tell, computer geek that I am) and there's a new Fifth Element out with over 2 hours of special interviews and what not. I hate it when they do that. I want all that stuff, but I've already got one copy, darn it!!

Pam, you want a copy of the Fifth Element? ;-)

Night before we watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I still just love that movie. I hope they never remake that one. It would be a shame. Remakes are almost never as good. (side note...why was Mia Sara the only one who didn't do a cast interview for the new release? everyone else did...it was interesting to see how they'd all aged...though I already knew about Jennifer Grey's nose job.)

Night before that was Ocean's Eleven. Thought it was about time, since Ocean's Thirteen is coming up. It was actually good. I was kind of surprised. In general, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the amount of A-list actors in a movie as compared to the quality of said movie. Take Ready to Wear as an example (shudder -- Oh, the horror).

So tonight will be Ocean's Twelve. Hopefully it is as good as the first one.

Movies are good when you are studiously trying to ignore the news. It's bad enough reading the depressing stuff; I don't want to see it too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Start making sense

I've been mad before. I've been depressed before. I've probably even jokingly said that I wanted to kill someone. But I can't imagine actually doing it. What makes a person snap and take the lives of others? I just can't grasp it. I don't understand.

I was reading some of the articles about the professor who gave his life to save his students. And bios of some of the dead. It depresses me to read about it but somehow I feel like I owe them that much. I may never have met them in life and likely wouldn't have if they'd lived, but the small thing I can do for them now is remember them.

Still -- it's just craziness. What a mad, mad world indeed.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday, busy Monday

Had an electrician out this morning and a flooring guy this afternoon. And the first visit from the cleaning people. Sadly, my alarm didn't go off so I had to answer the door in my bathrobe for the electrician. Lovely hair. Not.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Freaked out

I'd whittled myself down to just one pain pill a day (generally taken at night) a while back, with brief upsurges when the back/leg pain got unbearable (had a few really bad days while moving/packing/unpacking). I really just want to get off of it completely. I don't like what it does to me and I don't care what they say about it causing euphoria...that's not one of the side effects that I get. Mostly it just makes me sleepy and sometimes kind of addled and fuzzy. I sleep well and badly at the same time. Always have a hard time getting up.

So last night I didn't have a lot of pain so (I guess I can call it last night, even though I haven't slept much of it) I thought I'd see how I'd do skipping the pill completely. Well, let's just say that the withdrawal symptoms didn't hit right away, but by 5 AM, they were driving me crazy. I thought I'd been doing pretty good, getting down to just the one pill. I didn't think skipping it one night would be that bad.

I finally went and took a pill about 5:15 AM. But they take a little bit to kick in, so I went to the laptop (my true drug of choice, I suppose) to look up hydrocodone and withdrawal symptoms and what not. Maybe some hints on the best way to get off of it, no matter that the dr. prescribes it for my pain. I'm hoping that it could be something that I could just take when the pain gets really bad and not on a daily basis. After all, the pain is much, much better now than it was before when I could hardly walk or move. It's pretty light to moderate on a normal day, though I can still have a bad day now and then for no apparent reason.

To make a long story short, the information I find on it scares the bejesus out of me. The dr. definitely never covered this stuff as much as I think he should have.

This I pretty much knew:

Hydrocodone is a semi synthetic opioid (narcotic) derived from two of the naturally occurring opiates, codeine and thebaine. Hydrocodone is prescribed for the relief of moderate to moderately severe pain. It is taken orally as an active narcotic analgesic (pain killer) and an anti tussive (cough suppresant). The pain relief by hydrocodone is thought to involve peripheral and central actions but the exact mechanism(s) remains unknown. Because the drug acts on the brain, its major side effects are central and include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, euphoria, lightheadedness and confusion.

I can certainly testify to the lightheadedness, the dizziness, the drowsiness, and the confusion.

This I didn't know:

Hydrocodone may also affect the center that controls respiratory rhythm, and may produce irregular and shallow breathing.

Sometimes I get that choke-y feeling of not being able to get enough air. It's freaky.

And it goes on to say:

Repeated hydrocodone use can lead to habitual craving and lead to both physical and psychological dependence. In those individuals who take hydrocodone for prolonged periods, sudden stoppage of the medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms. These may include extreme anxiety, difficulty breathing, vomiting, sweating, palpitations, lack of concentration and an intense craving for the drug.

The dr. had started me on tramadol first, back in early 2005. But he put me on hydrocodone that same year, at first having me take 2 pills at a time, 4 times a day. When I took that many, I just really couldn't function. I went down to 3 times a day, even when he was still recommending 4. At any rate, I've been on some dosage of it for over a year. Yeesh, drawing close to 2 years. Is it any wonder that I haven't finished my second novel? That's an excuse, but I think a valid one.

Anyway, getting back to the withdrawal symptoms. The only ones I didn't have this morning by 5 AM are the vomiting and the intense craving. Well, I suppose it equates to a craving, even though mentally I really *don't* want to take it. As mentioned on a different website, I also have some other symptoms (that I didn't even realize were symptoms): a runny nose, restless legs (that's the one that really drives me crazy), crying for no reason (I get this quite a bit, actually...a particularly beautiful song playing on the radio makes me want to cry sometimes).

And more:

The time period of drug consumption which leads to dependence is variable but may range anywhere from 6-12 months of continued use. Dependence and addiction to this drug is usually treated with slow withdrawal of the drug, use of methadone, psychological and supportive therapy through an effective drug rehab program.

Methadone?? Frigging methadone?? I just...I don't even know what to say to that.

Others report similar issues to me:

I find that I am constantly tired and have none of my normal ambition. I sleep 9-11 hours per night and still never feel rested.

Tony gets on me sometimes for how long I seem to sleep. It's not that I want to sleep 11 hours a day. Or 10 or whatever. Even when I do, I feel like I haven't slept at all. I guess it's just good to see that I'm not alone in this.

And at least there's this:

Physical dependance is not the same thing as mental addiction though. Some folks are able to take narcotics for pain, appropriately and as prescribed, without ever abusing them.

I don't feel like I abuse them. I generally try not to take them, except when the pain is bad. My prescription is still technically for 3 a day. I almost never take that. Usually I just do the one pill at night. By the end of the day is usually when the pain kicks in.

And this is kinda hopeful:

Question: After taking this medication for a year with back pain what is the best way to stop taking it without withdrawal symptoms?
Answer: It depends on the dosage and the time you have been on the drug. In general, cut the dosage about 20% every week. Once you get to 20% cut 5% a week until it is gone.


I guess what I need to do is start chopping the pills in half for a while instead of going from 1 to none. Some other forums seem to suggest this too. And there are some other drugs you can go on to alleviate the withdrawal, but I kind of hate to do that. That just seems like trading one problem for another.

My big worry, I suppose, is what do I do when the pain gets really bad? The steroid treatment I did late last year really really helped, but it was a one time thing and I've had some bad days since then. I don't have too many bad days any more, but they are still there. If I get completely off of this stuff, is it safe to take a pill every now and then when the pain is really bad?

I guess I need to find a doctor up here now. Not that so far the doctors haven't seemed concerned with how long they've had me on this stuff. But I don't like anything controlling part of my life.

Information taken from:

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just how nerdy am I?

I took a nerd test after Pam posted her results. Seems I'm a bit nerdier than I might have thought...not! Could be worse, I suppose. It probably would have been higher in college when I was using IRC...

I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!
I'm sitting outside even though it is cold because Grace has been dying to go outside for ages. I can see that our front porch is going to be great once it is warmer. There's even already a plug I can plug my laptop into! Whoo-hoo! Hmmm, I guess that's kind of proving the nerd score there, isn't it?
We'll also have the patio in the back (once it is built). We're thinking of having a fire pit in it too. Think that would be cool. Anyway, back to work!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Curious and curiouser

My childhood wasn't a "normal" one (not that I think there's any such thing as a normal childhood) by any stretch, but it was nothing compared to Augusten Burroughs. Just watched Running with Scissors. I'll have to pick up the book now. Just...wow.

Makes my childhood look downright white picket fence. Well, maybe not exactly, but somewhat. I tend to shy away from writing about it, but maybe I should someday. It's not the big things, though, but the little ones. Ah, memories.

I woke up today with a lot of back and leg pain. Not sure why, since I really took it easy yesterday. So I took a pill and went back to sleep after the patio guy was here. Feel a bit better now, but now I need to get some stuff done. Not that I've gotten nothing done today...I have gotten a few things knocked out. But nothing that really shows. I think I'll work on the guest room now.

Tony is out at dinner with a new person who just started. Someone on his team, I think. Maybe someone who works for him. Wasn't clear on that part. He should be home soon. He took the train in today and was all excited since it took him 40 minutes from leaving the house to sitting at his desk. Not too bad.

Me, I'm listening to Muddy Waters. Had mac & cheese with tuna for dinner.

That sounds sadder than it actually was.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Yay! And, oh no!

First: the Yay!

Tony made it back from Toronto and is right now on his way here from the airport. He missed the train by 7 minutes (ugh!) so he's taking American Taxi.

Then: The Oh No!

I got a fair amount done while he was gone but not everything that I had planned on. Surprise. Hoo-wah.

All of my (current) orphan boxes are gone though and the garage is a lot more spacious; seems that everyone needs free boxes. I'll have more soon after I unpack some more stuff. As in books.

Today was probably the least productive day...my back was bothering me for most of it. I finally broke down and took one of my pills but that, as you can probably guess, is not conducive to actually getting anything done. It is, however, very handy if you want to take a nap with the cats. Harley makes an excellent fur blanket and Grace makes a plump pillow.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

On bullet holes...

This, by the way, is what a bullet hole in the back of your Mercedes looks like. Well, after you'd (obviously) been driving around in snow & salt. My poor car is now happy to be whole again and living in a place where no one will shoot it and where it has a nice little garage to sleep in.


Just thought I'd share. We're past the stage where the situation horrified and scared us. Now, I'm at that place where I can look back and laugh...kind of.

All legal again

I went today and (after two wrong turns...which is funny if you understand that I shouldn't have turned AT ALL) got my Illinois drivers license and got my car registered. So I'm all legal again. I was kinda illegal because I should have gotten my car registered in January (my birthday month) but didn't because a) at first, we thought we were going to move to an apartment up here while we looked for a house and then b) my car got shot and I couldn't drive it anyway and c) I didn't want to give Kentucky any more of my stinkin' money. It all worked out okay. I'm all registered up now.

They actually make you take the vision test and a written exam here when you move in from another state. Kentucky didn't make you do any of that. I don't think Florida did either. I got my first license in Mississippi...not going to think about how long ago that was...

I actually missed one question on the test. Ack! But it wasn't because I didn't know the answer. I just didn't get how they were wording the questions. I guess they didn't care anyway, since they gave me the license. :-) I still felt like a dork for missing it though. It was on the shape of the sign warning you that kids are around and to be careful. LOL so I suppose all those kiddos in the neighborhood ought to watch out for me.

Let's see...other than that...everything is going okay. The dresser arrived yesterday. Also the table and chairs, but the hardware was missing on those, so they are Fed-Ex'ing the rest to us and I'm supposed to call the delivery company once we've got it so they can set it all up. No biggee. Just need to find out when the couches are going to get here. Right now we've got one wicker chair and the La-Z-Boy in the family room (which, of course, means that you can often find Harley there, if he isn't burrowed into the bed).

In other news...I think I should ban myself from watching Law & Order or CSI (and all the clones thereof). We've got cable again...actually, we've got super-cable now. Tony went ahead and got whatever the big package is. We figured we'd cancel things we didn't use. It's got DVR, On Demand, all kinds of stuff. I've determined that there's an episode of L&O or CSI on at any given time of day. I like the show but a) they can be real downers and b) I don't need to be watching that much TV. Shoot, I've still got a bazillion books to unpack. And a bazillion reviews to write up. If I can just work around my Spring Allergy headache (the sniffly sneezy head-going-to-explode headache).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Caught up...

I think I've finally caught up with blog posting. Mostly. I've posted about all the new places we've been in our Chicago blog.

Things are going well. Nothing too disappointing, though I have given up on not wearing ear plugs to bed. Noises just wake me up. Here is nowhere near as bad as our last house though! Not even close! There are no crazy UPS planes dive bombing the house here and no gaggles of sorority girls stumbling home drunk at 4 AM.

There are trains, but they are fewer and farther between (and not quite as noisy and much more useful; Tony will be taking one to the office and to the airport). The worst thing is actually these two attic vents on the outside of the house that someone had the crazy idea of locating outside the master bedroom. When the wind picks up (and it does that a lot around here, so far as I can tell), they rattle. We're going to see if there's a way to reduce the rattling. If there is, then I probably won't even need the ear plugs anymore. That'd be nice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tomorrow...

Tomorrow I need to get a lot of things done. Shoot, I needed to get a lot done today. So far today I've closed out my PO Box, gotten my car title fixed, picked up more cat food & confirmed that the food I have is not part of the recall (same plant but different date ranges), had lunch, and picked up some additional U-Haul boxes. Also did the whole email/phone call thing with our realtor, the buyer's realtor, our realtor up in Illinois, our cleaning lady, and the closing title lady down here. And some packing and laundry. More packing to do later tonight. And get a check from the buyers for the furniture they bought.

Tomorrow I need to:
  • get a key to Missy
  • take care of a bunch of banking stuff
  • drop off a load of stuff to Goodwill
  • possibly drop by the dr. to authorize a copy of my records
  • wash the last load of clothes

And, of course, finish up any last minute packing. I hope that's it. It always seems like there is something more. Oh yeah, need to go by the store and buy some more cat litter, I think.

Right now I just might take a wee bit of a nap.

blogerator

I keep debating about starting up a new blog -- a private one. Blogger has that feature now where you can block your blog or just allow only certain people to view it (they have to log on). Sometimes there are things I want to kvetch about and I don't really want to do it in a public place. Sometimes I'll write about them in my offline journal -- a real, honest-to-goodness diary. But I never remember to write happy stuff in it, so then it just winds up being a really depressing thing to thumb through. I dunno.

I think I am going to start a new blog for our move to Chicago though. Kind of like what we did with our Louisville blog. It was really handy -- people/family could keep up with what we were up to and we could use it as a reference to all the places we'd discovered. I had been thinking about just adding that stuff to this blog, but it doesn't really go somehow. I can move the few entries that I made about restaurants to the new blog.

Esp. since I want to be more structured and consistent with my writing once we move. This is kind of my writing / hopes / dreams / fears blog. Maybe I'll go really crazy and post my word totals for the day. Then people can yell at me when I don't write. heh.

Yikes. Kind of crazy, isn't it? Maybe I should just go back to the whole paper & pen thing and not worry about keeping this stuff online at all.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rain, rain

It's very nasty out today. I was going to go take care of my title (the state screwed it up) today, but I don't really want to venture out. So I'm taking it easy and just doing some more packing. I think I might need to go out tomorrow and get a few more boxes. I'm not sure yet. I have about 4 half-full boxes, but I'm not sure yet what the heck I can fit in the top half. We're down to weird-shaped stuff.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Counting down...

We're definitely at the counting down stage. And the "oh-geez-where-do-I-put-all-this-miscellaneous-junk-that-won't-fit-in-a-box" stage.

We have a lot of stuff.

Too much stuff.

We've purged some and we really ought to purge some more. I have a whole car load of stuff to take over to Goodwill. Need to find out where I can donate old eyeglasses too. I know there's got to be a place somewhere I can donate them. And old cell phones. Though I don't know if I should leave my old one in my car for when we sell it, since it works with it. A junker cell phone though, it's pretty much seen its last call.

Did have a pleasant surprise today. A guy came by to buy our old air filter / purifier. I'd had it listed on Craigslist for $100. They sell new for $399 or up. He gave me $120 for it and I ran after him to tell him he gave me too much and he told me he did it on purpose and to keep it. Wasn't that nice? It was a good deal, but still. That's rare for someone to pay you more than you were asking for something. And nice, especially since a different guy was supposed to have come at 10 AM today for it and didn't show at all, no phone call, nothing. So I'm glad this guy got it instead. He had a cute little daughter.

The kitties are definitely freaking out. They are running out of places to sit, what with us selling furniture and moving stuff around. Grace is sticking to me like glue, yowling her head off for attention. Harley just looks at me accusingly, like he's saying "What have you done with all of my stuff??"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Packing, packing, and more packing

We have a lot of stuff. We're getting rid of quite a bit, but we're actually to the point now where some of it I'm just packing to deal with later. That means 3 boxes marked "Misc. Crap -- Stuff to File Later." The third floor is just about done though, including the attic space. Just need another box or two to finish it off. And I'll pack up the desktop computer sometime next week.

On the second floor, not too much to do at all. Just the bathroom stuff (next week) and two mantle's worth of knick-knacks. I'd packed up just about all the clothes earlier when we thought we'd be moving to a temporary apartment.

Been getting rid of stuff via Craigslist too -- some for sale, some for free. I posted up free magazines and was amazed at how many people responded to that. Wound up giving them out to 3 different people, including, coincidentally enough, the wife of a guy that actually got up all our leaves this past winter. Small world.

May be selling the file cabinet and fountain too. Someone should be coming tomorrow for the file cabinet. Not sure about the lady for the fountain. She emailed asking if I'd take $130 and then haven't heard back since I responded to her.

Kicking up all the dust has been killing my allergies. And my back is getting worn down every day. Taking a pill during the day now too, not just one at night. But trying to hold off until I need to take one. Trying not to move too much, but just stacking boxes and and moving stuff around is getting to me. Doesn't take a lot these days. I'm broken. But mostly it is going okay.

Hopefully the car will be done soon. Kind of one funny thing -- they'd put the wrong car model number on the new trunk lid. So it said SLK 230 instead of SLK 320. I was like...uh...that'll be a problem whenever we want to sell it or trade it in, dontcha think?

The house is officially sold to Cartus, so we should have the equity check very soon. The rest of the relocation money we don't want paid out until after we move --- KY taxes are killer. Illinois is much better. I'm guessing it is better all the way around, so far as I can tell.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Cat Pictures. Just Because.

Gracie about to go medieval on somebody. Or, at least, it looks that way. It was probably just her getting up and leaving because Harley wanted the pillow and she didn't want to fight. She's a lover, not a fighter.


And here's the two of them in their belly-up, worshipping the fire pose. They love to lay down in front of the fire. Note the two separate quilts for them to lie on. I made both of those and I guess they assume I made them for them.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I miss my car

I miss my car. Poor thing. It's still in the shop. They called to get authorization to work on it today. But it will probably take at least a week or two before I get it back. Meanwhile, I have some smelly Pontiac to run around town in. It has horrible blind spots (for me). May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the arm pits of whoever killed my car.

Tony is actually in town today. He was supposed to leave Sunday for Toronto and I even took him to the airport, but his flight was canceled. He tried again this morning, same result. So he's actually working in the Louisville office today. Probably just as well; he can water his poor plants. I wonder if they are still alive. He hasn't been there in ages.

I posted some additional items for sale on Craigslist today and cross-posted them to our Louisville blog. We'll see what happens. Tony really wants to sell the armoires. Have a few more things to possibly post, but waiting until after Wednesday since the people buying the house might be interested in some of it. I'll give them first crack at it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

UnTruth in Advertising.

Well. I have to say that I was disappointed in the cheesey bites pizza. Definitely not as good as they'd have you believe from the commerical. It was just okay. Though Harley did seem to like the sausage.

Freewriting exercise...

There was a room in a house. A very quiet room. A lonely room. It held a desk, pushed up against a drab green wall and a chair, threadbare, pushed up against the desk. There was nothing else in the room except for dust motes floating carelessly in the small rays of sunshine coming through a window.

The door was kept locked at all times, which made it that much more mysterious when letters began appearing, nicely folded and smelling vaguely of lavendar, on the desk. A new letter every week.

You might call them love letters; the room certainly did. And it waited for days and weeks and months and years for someone to come read them.

That was the thing about the room. It was very lonely, but it was infinitely patient. It did not note the passing of time in anything except the slow dance of sunlight back and forth across the room and the occassional patter of rain drops against the window. Once, a mouse ventured in, but soon retreated, leaving behind only a small gap between the baseboard and the floor to show it had ever been.

The house around the room was lively, though, and thick with laughter and tears and all of the things that go with people. Three children, grown and raised, had moved through the halls, passing every day by the room and never once giving it a thought. And the room never thought about them. They were nice enough people, surely, but not the right kind of people. They were just your every day soccer mom car pooling cookie sales family over for the holidays send the kids off to school and always remember to leave milk for Santa kind of people. Not at all the kind of people the room was waiting for.

Second Life and Pizza Hut

I'd read about Second Life somewhere and thought I would check it out. Looks like it might be kind of cool, but I think our Internet connection here is just too spotty. Keeps crashing. Maybe I'll check it out again once we move. After all, I created an avatar called Lirael Widdershins. Man, I love that name. Widdershins. Always loved that.

Still sick today. Feel drained. Like a carrot left behind by Bunnicula.

Haha. See, I can't get away from ya and kiddie lit. It's just a part of me. I have more useless knowledge and connections floating around in my head than you can shake a stick at.

Anywho...

I have been a victim of television advertising. I just ordered a Pizza Hut cheesey bites pizza online. Never had one before, definitely don't really need one, but have been craving one because of all the stupid commercials. I've been watching more TV since I've been sick. I'd normally read or something like that, but my head has been so fogged up from being sick that I've just been vegging in front of the TV instead. Though we only get like 3 channels, so I don't have a lot to pick from. Only getting 3 channels also means you see a lot of the same commercials over and over again. Hence the cheesey bites pizza.

Though I have to admit it kind of cracks me up to see Jessica Simpson or whatever her name is bunny-hopping into a limo.

And in my first life..

Got a copy of the estimate on fixing the car. Thank heavens for car insurance.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stuffed up

Still sick. Feeling really blah. Would like to hook up a vacuum hose to my sinuses.

There's another showing of the house tomorrow. Guess Don wants to bring someone by around 2 PM. Chris told him we had a verbal agreement, but I guess since nothing is final yet, people can still come by. Don't know if this is the same person Don brought by before or someone else. No idea.

I'm not sure if I'll exit the house or not for the showing. I'll definitely stay out of the way, but I'm hoping I'll feel good enought tomorrow to actually get some work done. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I need to start doing free writing exercises or something. Something creative. Have been stewing on some book ideas too. But my head feels too stuffed up and groggy to do any real writing. I suppose that's just an excuse, though.

What I really feel like doing is taking out my charcoal and a drawing pad. Or painting. But I don't really want to make a mess in the house right now. Not to mention I need to pack all that stuff up.

Watched Howl's Moving Castle yesterday. I thought it was kind of strange that, other than the note "based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones" at the very beginning, she was never mentioned again. All the interviews, etc. all talked about the Japanese fellow that first animated it. Talking about his wonderful imagination, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. What about DWJ? It was her story first.

Great story too. I'll have to pick up the book sometime. And don't get me wrong, the animation was great. Wonderfully inventive. But, in my opinion, he was the one adding to a story. The central seed of it was planted by DWJ.

Am also very excited to see that they are making a movie of Neil Gaiman's Coraline. One of my very favorite books. One of the only perfect books out there -- I wouldn't change a word in it.

Grace-apy

Thank heaven for Gracie and Harley. I can't hardly wait until we move. This only having Tony on weekends really stinks. Especially when I'm feeling sick. There's nothing more pathetic than being all sniffly by yourself.

If it weren't for our furry kids, I'd be really stir crazy.

I tried calling a couple of antique shops today about the armoires. Tony'd really like to sell them. I'm wondering if it might be better to try and sell them once we've moved. Bigger market up there. Maybe I'll put them on Craigslist up there. Dunno. Maybe I'll try and Ebay it. Agh.

I've been debating about selling our nightstand too. I found one almost just like it online except ours is actually in better shape (no cracks in the marble) and even prettier (more carving). The one online is on sale for $550. I think the lady buying the house had mentioned to her realtor that the nightstand was one of the pieces she was thinking about buying. I dunno. I like the piece, but it doesn't really go with anything else we have. But it is a nice stand.

I dunno, I just feel so up in the air right now. I'm not even sure why. Actually, I know why. Tony kind of centers and grounds me. When he's gone, I feel all discombobulated.

Isn't that a great word?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Of scrotums & librarians

I am so glad to be moving out of Kentucky. I know that stupid, small-minded people are everywhere, but Kentucky seems to have quite their share. One of which is a local Louisville librarian named Wendy Stolls who is one of the librarians who has chosen not to stock a Newberry Award winning book called The Higher Power of Lucky because it includes the word scrotum (but not even a person's scrotum...it is a dog that gets bit by a snake).

The discussion has been going on about this in the local MidSouth SCBWI list, but also on blogs all over (like Neil Gaiman's).

I am just disgusted. It's bad enough that books are challenged for stupid reasons (I mean, come on -- just using the word scrotum??) but for librarians to be censoring books because they are too scared to actually teach children is just...AGH. The most common reasoning from those who aren't stocking it? Something along the lines of "Geez, I don't want to be the one to explain what that is to a kid!"

Excuse me, but isn't teaching children part of your job if you are a teacher or librarian? Isn't that exactly the thing you are supposed to be doing?? There's nothing dirty about body parts. But there is something wrong with librarians who don't want to teach kids and who effectively censor books.

Just another thing that makes me glad to be moving out of the state.

Gaaaaaaaaah

Oh the humanity...I was feeling almost human yesterday, but today my nose won't stop running and I can't stop coughing and hacking. Gah. All I want to do is sleep. Good thing we still have like a month to pack, 'cause I don't think I'm getting much done today.

And the house...Think the negotiations have come to a close and we seem to have an offer on the table. Everything should be finalized on Friday. I guess the people who are buying the house are surgeons and they have crazy surgery schedules or something so they can't get everything back until then. That's ok. It's no big rush.

Good deed of the day...Gave away an old printer today. Had posted it on Craigslist. Our old HP Photosmart P1000. He came by to pick it up today and got a ticket in the 3 minutes he was here. Had to call the Parking people to get that sorted out, since we do have a visitor's permit. Crazy. They don't normally swoop down like vultures as soon as people park. He was just unlucky.

And that's all she wrote...going to call Tafel back about my poor car now and see how it is doing.

Friends with Money

Just finished watching a movie: Friends with Money (Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Aniston). Pretty good. Kind of one of those movies where there's not exactly a plot...more like a slice of life kind of thing. Definitely departure for both Cusack and Aniston, IMO...Joan plays someone really normal & adjusted and Jennifer plays a pothead down on her luck.

Still sick with whatever it is that Tony gave me. Still going through kleenex, though not at quite as alarming a rate as I was.

Still in negotiation with the realtors over the house. Too bad the people that came yesterday haven't made an offer. I imagine it was too soon for them, since I think they just started looking. They seemed to like the house and they were nice. Of course, I guess they still could make an offer. We haven't signed anything yet. I imagine the people making the offer are nice too, though. Just haven't met them. I just hope whoever buys it will take care of it. We put a lot of time & money & love into this house. I'd hate for it to go to waste. Man, I wish I hadn't had those custom bookshelves put in. I love those. I don't want to leave them. Ah, well.

There was another showing today. It was a good thing I left early since they got here early -- I left a little after 4 and noticed them coming in when I drove by. They were supposed to have been here at 4:45. It was just one younger looking guy and the realtor. Don't know anything about them other than they left muddy footprints in the bathroom and left the linen closet door open.

Oh - anyone notice the pictures I added to the side of the blog? I love that picture of Gracie. Though, honestly, not sure anyone reads this other than Pam (hey, Pam). So, if some complete stranger happens upon this, hey, take a look at my fat cat. Isn't she funny?

I wish I could shake this illness. I really need to start packing. Also have lots of work I need to do on the website AND I really need to get the tax stuff together before Tony gets home. Not to mention...I'm completely SICK of snot.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Some additional pictures...

I put up all the photos I'd taken of the new house from the first showing. I think Tony has taken some more from the inspection, so I'll add those later.

Crazy evil cats

So I heard a noise a few minutes ago and got up to investigate. Turns out it was a cat in the backyard. I watched in disbelief as it ambled up to one of our potted outdoor plants (a salvia, I think), hopped up on it, and preceeded to relieve itself in the plant. Geez. It can't just go in the yard? Or in a corner? Or in the dirt? No, it has to go poop in my plant. Good thing the strawberries really never came in this year.

Busy, busy bee

Today was a busy day. Guy and his girlfriend came over to buy the 3rd floor desk and wound up buying the office chair too (she asked if I was going to sell it too and I was like "eh, why not?"). So then I spent a while rearranging the space up there and cleaning up (dusty under the desk!) because there was a showing later in the afternoon. Got it all looking ok.

Then borrowed a digital camera from Rich since Tony took ours with him to Deerfield this trip to do the house inspection. Someone responded to the Craigslist ad for the armoires asking for more pictures and the dimensions. Measured those, took pics, emailed them back. Then a lady came by to buy the TV.

Was feeling a bit peaked (still sick with the flu or whatever it is I've got), so I laid down for a bit and woke up when people came to see the house (thought they were supposed to be here at 4:30 and they got here at 3:45). Scrambled and made the bed. Gave them some house history.

Then got a fax from Chris with an offer on the house from the people who were here on Saturday. Talked with Tony about it and gave Chris our counter. So waiting to hear back from that now. We'll see what happens.

Tony said the inspection just found 3 things -- a gas leak in the basement (ack!), no maintenance lables on the furnace (so looks like it may never have been cleaned), and something really weird with the garbage disposal -- no switch on it. The guess is that the island wasn't originally supposed to have one, so when they added it, they just used it by plugging it in and unplugging it. Weird. So I guess he's going back and asking about all of those things.

I guess that's about it. Had my soup, going to veg for a while and go to sleep. Cheers.

In the meantime, still going through kleenex like there's no tomorrow.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Almost human

I'm feeling almost human today. Better than yesterday, definitely, but by no means good. But better.

I posted some stuff on Craigslist last night. Wow! If you ever want to get rid of stuff, give it a shot. Inexpensive stuff, anyway. We gave away our old mattress and sold a CD rack. Both of those are already out of the house. And may have sold a TV and TV stand (waiting to hear back on that) and someone is coming tomorrow to look at the desk on the 3rd floor.

Not sure if anyone will bite on the antiques, though the guy who bought the CD rack might be interested in them. I'm like...hey, what else can I stick up there?

Last night we watched two very different movies: Idiocracy and The Illusionist. The first is a Mike Judge (Beavis & Butthead guy) film staring one of the Wilson brothers (the brown haired one with the more earnest look). The scary thing about that film is how true some of it is -- and how true it could be. Basically, if you don't know anything about it, it's about how a normal average Joe winds up in a cryogenic sleep for 500 years and wakes up to find out that everyone has dumbed down because (in part) the smart people were having fewer and fewer children while Jerry Springer wannabes were busy popping them out right and left. When average Joe wakes up, suddenly he's the smartest guy on the planet. You can imagine how it goes from there. Fairly funny movie with lots of gross-out, juvenile behavior. The scary thing, like I said, is how plausible it is in many ways. I mean, the people who go on Jerry Springer scare the bejesus out of me.

The Illusionist is an Edward Norton film. Always like him. Interesting guy. He plays Eisenheim, an illusionist who loves a baroness named Sophie, but she's supposed to be marrying a real jerk who happens to be royal (how come royalty are always either complete jerks or Prince Charming?). Don't really want to say much about the film since I don't want to give any spoilers. It was good. Go see it. Or rather, go rent it. Has some suspense, some romance, some mystery. And Edward Norton playing "intense."

And the front of the house...


Finally found the picture of the front of the house we're buying in Grayslake. 1329 Coneflower Road. Here it is, without further ado. It's really quite charming, I think. You can see both fireplaces in this shot. It has a nice front porch.
Did I mention it was cold when we were up there?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Free-lance-a-lot

One of my big goals with moving is to get in a better groove with freelance work and into a better schedule with my novel-working too. The big thing is to learn to say NO to anyone asking me to volunteer for anything. That was my big mistake in Louisville. The art show was like a part-time job the last two years (and sometimes, more like full-time). I'm not doing that anymore. No way. No how. No, No, No. Now that my health issues have leveled out (save for this bout with the flu), I'm really rarin' to go.

I found a few interesting freelance and/or part-time things up in the Chicago area on Craigslist and I'm starting to send out some feelers about those. I don't want anything full-time, but I'd love to do some editing or freelance work.

And I've figured out how to fix my Abigail book (sadly enough, it involves trashing much of what I wrote on it last year). Had a cute idea for a picture book that I need to write up, and also some new thoughts on the Super Freaks series. So I kinda can't wait to move to get started.

In the meantime, this month is going to be spent packing. And more packing.

I have a lot of books.

No, scratch that. Libraries have a lot of books. I have a BOATLOAD of books.

But I'm not going to worry about that until next week, when I will hopefully have stopped sneezing my brains out my nose and will no longer sound like an eighty-year old woman with a smoking problem. No matter what kind of sick I get, I always sound the same way.

If it weren't for that horse...

If it weren't for Mucinex and Sudafed, my head would have imploded by now. Tony had the flu or whatever it is first and then he gave it to me. Yesterday was probably the quietest Valentine's Day we've ever had. In between the sneezing and the coughing. We have our own individual boxes of Kleenex. All we did was watch two Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movies: You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle.

In house news, we've lowered the price on the house in Louisville to $335,000. And everything is going swimmingly with the purchase of the house in Grayslake. I guess things do get easier with repetition. The first time you buy a house, everything is so confusing. I have to do what when and with who for how much?? But this time everything seems to be going well.

And now I'm going back to bed. Dizzy. Sneezy. Achey. I've got all seven dwarves living in my head (and a few more to boot).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

All systems go

Well, it looks like all systems are go on the house. After some negotiating among the realtors (I could never be one; that's one gene I didn't inherit from Mom), we're all settled. And Tony's talked to mortgage people and got that all set up too. Next week, Tony goes up and he'll do the inspection then. If all goes well, we'll be closing around March 23rd.

So I've got me some packing to do.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wish us luck....

Well, we're making an offer on the house in Prairie Crossing. Just finished faxing all of the forms to our realtor up there. ACK! Wish us luck. We hope to close next month. Here's the info on the Century 21 site. You'll have to click through from the search page. We couldn't find a way to do a direct link. And here's a few more pictures that I took of the house. (Kitchen, family room, and guest bathroom).



Sunday, February 11, 2007

Woman driving, man sleeping

Just like the Eel's song and a sure-tell sign that Tony is truly sick. In fact, he said "I'm going to let you drive." which translates to "Uhhhhnngg, I'm too sick to drive. Do you think you could?" So I drove us back from Chicago yesterday. About 4 1/2 hours, give or take. At least it wasn't snowing. It wasn't that bad, except when you stopped for gas and had to get out of the car. COLD.

He was starting to feel it part way through our trip to Chicago-land, and it really hit him hard on Friday. He only went into work for about an hour and then came back to the room and slept the rest of the day. We ate popcorn and cheezeits. That was about it. A little TV.

Saturday we went to see the narrowed down list of houses and further narrowed it down to 2: one in Prairie Crossing and one in Gurney. Ultimately, we're thinking we want to make an offer on the one in PC. The striking house that I didn't have a picture of the front of in the last post.

It's a really lovely house and the neighborhood really sounds appealing to us. You have to pay a neighborhood association fee, but you get access to acres of trails, a 22 acre lake (fishing. boating. swimming. ice skating.), 24 hour exercise facility, and there's an organic farm on property. Lots of cool very-us kind of stuff. Not that I own a pair of Birkenstocks or anything like that. ;-)

We need to talk to finance people on Monday and see what's up. Not sure how long it will take to sell our house in Louisville (c'mon people, doesn't anyone out there want to buy a beautiful old Victorian? You know you do. 7 Fireplaces. Original hardwood floors. Stained glass windows. C'mon.).

I'm thinking I need to maybe get a part time or maybe even a full time (for a while) job, especially if we wind up doing the two mortgage thing for a while. Rather than just relying on freelance work and the site. Not sure yet. Definitely things are a lot tighter with family situations and things. We were thinking about taking a hardship withdrawl from my 401(k), but since I'm not an active employee anymore (never moved it), you either have to take all or nothing. Don't really want to do that.

And I haven't planned anything for Valentine's Day yet. But I did read this week's PostSecret. Everyone should. Some good V-Day themed ones.

Woman Driving, Man Sleeping by the Eels, Souljacker

Woman driving, man sleeping
With a suitcase on the rack
White lines shooting by
On the pavement like the sky
Looking straight ahead into the black

Woman driving, man sleeping
There's no radio to play
Sitting with the map
Laying crumpled on her lap
Looking for the toll money to pay

Man sleeping is man dreaming
In a large apartment house
Walking and knocking on doors

Woman driving, man sleeping
Passing all the other cars
Searching in the black
But never turning to look back
A little metal box under the stars

Man sleeping is man dreaming
In a large apartment house
Walking and knocking on doors

Woman driving, man sleeping

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Houses Currently in the Running...

These are all vastly different from our current house, but are all nice in their own way.

This one is in Prairie Crossing in Grayslake. It's the really charming one. Issues: a small master bedroom and no fireplace. Has a great loft area though.


Another Prairie Crossing house. This one is the really nice one right off of the park, across from the Gazebo. Tony doesn't like the outside of it as much as the others, but he hasn't seen the inside yet.

This house is in Gurnee. It's a nice house all the way around, just has too much carpet. The owner is being transferred to Atlanta. Issues: too much carpet; no hardwood. And it is a "snout" house (i.e. garage sticks out in front).

This house is in Prairie Crossing. I somehow missed taking a picture of the front of the house. It's white. Pretty cute. It is the only one story house we're considering, though it does have a two story foyer. Issues: really only 2 bedrooms. They list a 3rd, but it is really a den space with no doors. Really striking house though, with beautiful dark hardwood floors and two fireplaces.

Anything

Any --
-- thing
can
be
a
poem
...

It
just
depends
on how
you
look
at
it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Poem being published

I sent some poetry to The Aroostook Review last March and just heard back from them that they want to publish one of my poems: Stultifying. I'd honestly forgotten that I'd even sent it in. So that was some nice news. It's a publication from the University of Maine. Unpaid, but what the heck. I only write poetry for me.

Michael Thomas Salon and Day Spa

Michael Thomas Salon and Day Spa: 346 Half Day Road, Woodland Commons, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
(847) 913-5555

I didn't have any houses to see today, so I thought I'd drive around some and maybe get my hair cut (I'm wwwwaaaaayyyyy overdue). So I left Deerfield driving north on Waukegan Road (not that I realized at the time that I was going north, but that's another story). That got boring, so I turned around and then went west on Half Day Road. That was a construction nightmare.

I randomly stopped at a shopping center (Woodland Commons) that I saw had a salon. According to their website, they were voted #1 by NorthShore Magazine readers (not that I know what that is either).

They had an immediate opening, so I went ahead and got my hair cut. It's my first "real" haircut since we moved from Florida, I think. A real salon cut -- get your hair washed, get a little head massage, get a real stylist... Martha washed my hair (they have separate staff to do that stuff) and Melissa cut it. She did a good job and was friendly and she has fun hair -- kind of short and spiky with a shot of blue in the bangs. She chatted easily and gave me the scoop on some restaurants and neighborhoods. I'll have to check out Dundee Road; she mentioned a few things off of there, including a good pancake place.

The salon looks like it offers a bit of everything -- massages, facials, what have you. A little pricey, but not too bad. Though after having had my hair cut at Jay's Campus Cuts for like $10 bucks a pop for the last two years, it felt like a hit on the wallet. But it was nice to actually feel pampered.

Simon Lin's Asian Bistro

Simon Lin's Asian Bistro: 410 Milwaukee Avenue, Lincolnshire, IL 60069
(847) 478-8883

We went to Simon Lin's last night for dinner (Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2006). We just ate sushi, but the menu includes both Chinese and Japanese dishes -- and some "fusion" ones as well. The sushi was pretty good; not the best we've ever had, but not the worst either -- and, for the most part, definitely better and more authentic than you can get in Kentucky.

I'd say it definitely caters to non-Asians primarily -- we had to ask for chopsticks (the table was set with a normal place setting) and also for regular sodium soy sauce (they only brought out low sodium to the table: the green lid, not the red one). But, the service was good and attentive. I think he started to figure out after awhile that we actually know about real Asian food -- like decent sake instead of the cheap stuff warmed up.

One notable thing -- after we'd kind of chatted with the fellow through dinner, we got to dessert. I asked him what he liked and he said the chocolate wasabi mousse, which wasn't on the menu. So we got that and it was really quite yum. The wasabi gave just the right hint of fire to the chocolate. Probably the best thing of the night, as far as I'm concerned. It always pays to talk to people and ask questions.

The atmosphere was nice; kind of understated and fairly elegant. Really pretty, artsy bathrooms. All in all, I think I'd go there again. Tony's been before, on previous business trips.

Negative weather!

I've never been somewhere so cold before that when you walk outside, your nose hairs freeze. Seriously. As soon as you go outside and breathe in through your nose -- crackle! Frozen nose hairs! It hit about -7 one day. NEGATIVE! Today it is a balmy 12. Everyone up here is saying "don't worry, it isn't normally this cold in Chicago" but I dunno. It's pretty darn chilly. The snow is really pretty though.

We drove up on Saturday and spent the weekend kind of wandering around neighborhoods. We found an interesting one called Prairie Crossing. It's a "conservation community." There are two condo buildings, but most of it is 359 single family homes. They are really quaint -- though a bit Disney-ish (kind of like Celebration, FL). There's an organic farm on the land, as well as a lake and a lot of trails.

So Monday I went out with our realtor, Nancy Abzug. We checked out a bunch of houses in Mundelein and in Grayslake (Prairie Crossing). Liked three of the ones in PC. One is really charming, one is really striking, and one is just quite nice. On Tuesday, we went out to Gurnee and checked out houses there. Found three that were good: one that I've since stricken for not having a fireplace, one with a MONSTER kitchen, and one that was a nice all-around house other than the lack of hardwood floors (mostly carpet and tile).

Today I've just been mostly hanging out (more in some other posts). Tomorrow I go back out again with Nancy. And either Friday or Saturday we'll see about getting Tony a look into the whittled down list of houses.

It was definitely an adventure yesterday. It snowed pretty much all day. There were two major pile ups -- one with 19 cars and another with 30. It was slow going. I don't think anyone could believe we were out seeing houses. Very adventurous. And cold.