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.


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.


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 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.


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


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.


Any --
-- thing

on how

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.