Aug 31


(Hurricane evacuation and vacation. Thanks to my brother-in-law for the term!)

Well, we’re up in D.C., safe from the storm, though we’re still obsessively checking the track of the storm and stressing a bit about what we’ll be coming home to (and when.) But I’m trying hard to be Zen about the whole thing. We’re all safe, Jack and I will both have jobs no matter what happens, and we have insurance. There’s nothing in the house that we absolutely couldn’t bear to lose, and the cats have enough food and water for damn near a month.

Our trip up here was easier than we expected. We encountered very little traffic on the way to the airport, and there was no line at the US Airways counter (a stark contrast to the lines at several other airlines that were miles long.) But US Airways doesn’t have too many flights out of New Orleans, so I guess there weren’t that many people who wanted to go where they were going. Dunno. I’m not complaining. It was a direct flight, which made it a lot easier on Anna. This was her first time flying, and she seemed to enjoy it, but I think a longer flight would have been pushing our luck with the boredom level of a four year old.

We made it to our hotel with no issues, got checked in, found food, went through Madame Tussauds, walked down to the Museum of Natural History, walked around there until we were all ready to drop, then returned to the hotel and dropped. I woke up early this morning, and grabbed my laptop and went down to the lobby to work on my revisions. In a few minutes I’ll go back upstairs to see about rousing everyone for brekkie.

I hope everyone along the Gulf Coast is staying safe.

Jun 24

Zeus: Best. Dog. Ever.

I got Zeus from the pound shortly after my divorce. He was wonderful and smart and fierce and loving. After Anna was born I had to find him another home, but I always had visitation rights, and his owners always kept me posted on how he was doing. Yesterday I received a call telling me that Zeus wasn’t eating anymore and wasn’t walking much either.

This morning I picked him up from the elderly couple who’d been caring for him for the past few years and took him to the vet. After she examined him and determined that he had what appeared to be advanced cancer, she gave him mercy while I held him and cried like a baby.

Good boy, Zeus. You were the best.

Jun 10

Busy and happy

Funny how my days have become incredibly busy now that I’m not working the “day job” anymore. But the cool thing is that I’m busy with stuff that I’ve been wanting/needing to do for a long time. Including writing!

It took me about a week to find my groove as far as my daily schedule, but by the second week I was able to establish a pretty good routine which gives me several hours a day to write, as well as time to take care of my house, run errands, and spend more time with my family.

In other words, this totally ROCKS!

May 20

The last few days

The problem with having free time in fits and starts is that when I decide to sit down and post an entry I tend to get partway through it before being interrupted by something else, at which time I save my entry-in-progress as a draft. Then, the next time I have free time, I read through the draft and decide that it’s all hopelessly dated and not interesting anymore, so I ditch it and start a new one. Lather rinse repeat.

Anyway, yes I gave notice at my full-time job, and my last day is this Friday, May 23rd. It’s been pretty interesting to see the various reactions to this decision. First are the ones who say, “Ohmygod don’t you know that the very first rule of selling a novel is ‘Don’t quit your day job?’”

I can understand this kneejerk reaction. The basic concept is that it’s foolish to throw away a steady income/health insurance because of a tenuous foothold in the publishing industry. Sure, if I was single there’d be no way I’d be able to quit. But I’m extremely fortunate to have a partner who makes good money and has good insurance.

What’s in short supply in my life is time. Holy crap, but free time is so very rare and fleeting in my current schedule. What free time I do manage to carve out for writing is usually stolen from either my family or my sleep. Essentially, something has to give, and when given the choice between sleep, family, writing, and the day job, guess which one had the least to offer? :)

On the other hand, there’ve been an impressive number of people who get it and who’ve been nothing but encouraging about taking this step.

But what has really surprised me (and at times left me utterly flabbergasted) are the number of people who say something along the lines of, “Oh, how nice that you won’t have to put Anna in daycare anymore.”

Ummm. WTF? Since when does “Working from home” equal “stay-at-home mom”??? And how the bloody heck would I be able to write with a four-year-old running around? No, sorry to disappoint the traditionalists, but Anna will be staying in daycare and will be starting pre-K in the fall.

Then there was the person who asked if, now that I was quitting my job, Jack and I were going to have another baby. (FWIW, I’m fairly certain that the query was mostly in jest, however my response was a Quite Forceful Negative.)

So now I’m just winding down this last week at work. Unfortunately I’m kinda bored out of my skull since I’ve wrapped up my projects, and they have yet to hire a replacement so I don’t even have the distraction of training someone. Who knows, you might even see TWO blog entries this week!

Mar 25

Paradigm shift

I’m going through an odd shift in my entire way of looking at things. I’ve been in the I want to be a writer/I’m working hard to be a writer/I want to get published mode for so long, that now that my mode has abruptly shifted to I am a writer and I’m going to be published by people with checkbooks I find myself having to adjust my entire way of thinking. Now I can seriously consider hiring a part-time babysitter to pick my daughter up from daycare—which would buy me another 45 of writing time without cutting too drastically into quality time with her. Now I don’t feel quite so insane for starting my day at 4:30am to take care of exercise/house cleaning/laundry so that I have free time later in the day. Now my husband and I can have a serious and thoughtful talk about time vs. money and make plans for when it might be prudent to adjust my work hours to give me more time for writing.

I know, I know, I’ve heard, “Don’t quit your day job!” ad nauseum, but there comes a point where time is a far more valuable commodity than money. I’d rather cut back financially then cut out time with my family.

Feb 24

The rest of the house

Yes, I posted plenty of pictures of the Writing Lair (and yes, I DO intend to have some sort of poll or contest to come up with a proper name,) but in fact, we really did buy an entire house that sits between the Lair and the street.

It’s actually an incredibly nice house too! It’s a little over 30 years old, with only one owner in that entire time. (Okay, it started out with two owners, but the husband died several years ago, so there was only one owner by the time we got to see it.) Anyway, everyone in the neighborhood has described the former owner as “an incredibly elegant woman” who worked tirelessly to keep the house in immaculate condition. And boy-o did she ever! This house is immaculate, and I don’t think that there was a single thing put into this house that was purchased at a store that ended in “mart.”

So, here’s the front of the house.

Here’s an inside detail of the plantation shutters that came with the house. I priced plantation shutters recently. I doubt I will ever feel wealthy enough to pay what it would cost to put plantation shutters on all of the windows (including the fricking garage!) I deeply appreciate that the former owner was wealthy enough to do so. Because they really do look awfully nice.

This is part of the living room. As you can see, she didn’t skimp on the window treatments in the rest of the house either.

Here’s a shot of the kitchen. About the only negative about the house is the size (or lack thereof) of the kitchen. But then again, neither of us do a lot of cooking, and it’s insanely easy to keep clean at this size!

I’ll post more pictures later on, including the three-sided fireplace and the view from the back patio.

Feb 5

The Writing Lair

Here are some more pictures of the Lair:

Another view of the Lair, showing the side door and the doors on the end. The hoist at the end of the building is pretty much the only way to get anything larger than a person to the upstairs.

Yet another view.

This is the strange and probably quite dangerous elevator (at least to children.) I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with it, but I’m leaning quite heavily to taking it out completely. We have a tentative plan to build out some sort of “deck” where the hoist is, with proper stairs, but that sort of project would have to be approved by the homeowners association. If it’s denied, then I would probably have a spiral staircase put in where the elevator is.

And this is the only other way to get to the upstairs at this point. It definitely makes for privacy, but I wonder about getting
stuff up and down.

This is the downstairs, still, looking in from the side door. Since the place already has plumbing, I’d like to have a proper little bathroom put int.

More of the downstairs.

This is the upstairs, looking toward the hoist end from the ladder.

Another view of the strange and probably quite dangerous elevator, this time from the top.

Looking out toward the ‘front.’ There’s a fan set into the floor of the upstairs, so I’m guessing it gets pretty hot during the summer.

And, this is the view out the upstairs window. That’s actually the third fairway of the golf course. (No, I don’t play golf!)

Feb 1


We are in the new house. It was a hellish road getting here, which included moving and cleaning with the flu, plus three closings in four days. The last closing, which was the purchase of this house we’re in now, had to be relocated at the last minute to the other end of the parish (30 miles away) because a Mardi Gras parade had been rescheduled due to weather and was due to go right past the original closing location–which would have trapped us there until about 10pm. As it was we didn’t finish the closing until almost 8pm. I then had to race back across the parish to deliver the keys to my husband who–along with four hired strapping-young-lads–had unpacked two of the three trucks onto the front lawn and into the garage and the back patio. By midnight the trucks were empty, the house was full of stuff, and we were near dead from exhaustion.

As I mentioned before, this is not the house we were originally going to buy. That deal blew up in our face, which sent us scrambling for another option. However, the more we look at it, we think that this house is going to prove to be superior, especially since I NEVER WANT TO MOVE AGAIN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.


Anyway, it’s nowhere near the bargain that the other house was (as far as the sheer dollar amount of equity we would have walked into upon closing,) but it’s still a really great deal and, frankly, a better house and better location.

But this is the feature that I am the most excited about:

This is a building behind the house. I have claimed the upstairs as MINE ALL MINE for my writing space. Exceedingly Awesome.

Jan 23

Dear Universe, please cut it out

I’m having an extremely crapolicious week, nicely topped off by the contract on the new house that has blown up in our faces, thus forcing us to do a commando house hunting session last Saturday. (No, we were not “going commando” during the house hunting. We were fully clothed the entire time.) We did find a house, (nice house in the same neighborhood, but we won’t be getting the huge bargain that we were getting on the other one) however it looks like the chances of us being able to close on it before we have to vacate our current premises are somewhere between are-you-f**king-kidding and what-are-you-smoking.

There is still a nightmarish amount of work to be done with packing/cleaning/tossing all of our possessions, all of which needs to be finished before Sunday so that i have time to clean this place before handing the keys to the new owners. I am also extremely fed up with the guy doing our loan, but at this point it’s too late to start over with someone else. I am more stressed out than I think I have ever been in my life. Yesterday I had a thirty minute crying jag in the car on the way home. I need some stability NOW.

And, on top of all that fun, a friendly little head cold decided to come by for a visit yesterday. Gee thanks.

Oh yeah, got a bounce on a short story in the mail yesterday. Sigh.

Dec 31

The End

So, now I’m supposed to write some sort of meaningful and thought-provoking end-of-the-year post, one that sums up 2007 and all of its ups and downs, and one that reveals my hopes and dreams for the coming year.

Screw that.

December 2007 has been busy and stressful. Okay, so in the great grand and glorious scheme of things it hasn’t been all that horrifically busy and stressful, I suppose, because it’s been good and productive, but some time ago I read an article about managing stress, and one thing stuck with me: Good stress is still stress. Life can be going exactly how you want it, family can be wonderful, job thoroughly satisfying, etc, but if your day is crammed full and scheduled to the hilt, you’re still going to feel the effects of stress.

This month:
we got an offer on our house after six months on the market
the people who had offered to buy our buyer’s house pulled out
we stressed about losing the buyer
the buyer decided to suck up two house notes and go ahead with buying our house
we got the engineering report back on a house we were interested in. Major foundation repair needed. Nuff said.
shopped for a house
shopped for a house
every fricking afternoon after work and every weekend shopped for a house
found a house we LOVED
found out it was a pre-foreclosure which meant that it would be a short sale which meant that we had to get things done FAST
found out that since it was a pre-foreclosure that the buyer was desperate to get anything he could get which meant that he wasn’t going to counter on our already low offer
started the process of getting our house cleaned up and packed up
worked on edits of Blood of the Demon
oh yeah, had Christmas in there as well with five stepkids, five stepgrandkids, one mother, one sister, one brother-in-law, one niece, one nephew, one husband, and one daughter
missed four Holidailies entries (I think it was only four? Maybe five?)
continued to work my ass off sorting through and packing all of our acquired crap
said goodbye to 2007, which was actually a pretty darn good year overall

See y’all on the other side of the turning of the year. I hope that those of you who came here because of Holidailies will continue to check in every now and then. I have a feeling 2008 is going to rock pretty damn hard.

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