lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 ...that went down the drain? THIS drain?

a snapped lead pipe on a dusty floor.

Magic works, people. Magic WORKS.


I think, at least, I reversed the spell soon enough that it won't cost us the full amount that I had written on the paper, but holy hell.

So, what happened? Well, Mason went to take his bath last night. A wash cloth fell behind the tub. He couldn't reach it, so he thought, "I'll shift the tub a little." The other pipes going into the tub are clearly flexible, so he didn't even consider the 110 year old lead pipe connecting the tub to the drain pipe. SNAP! And a, "Ummmm.... mom? Ima?"

He feels terrible, but we all talked about THAT SPELL, so no one is blaming him. Or me, for that matter. We're all pretty cranky with Llwellyn's spell proof reader, but you know... the truth is, if it snapped that easily, it was bound to happen. My reversal of the spell may have saved us from the "what if" of had Mason not noticed until it was time to drain his bath.  That might have cost us a new pipe, a new bathroom floor, and, as this is our second story bathroom, a new kitchen ceiling as well.

As we say here in Minnesota: Could be worse.

Today I was supposed to meet my friend Anna D. at the Science Museum, but that will be postponed until Friday, as I have to ADUT today and secure a plumber.  Fun times!
lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)
New Year's day is the day we take down our Christmas/Yule tree and pack away the decorations.

This year is no exception. Though we did start in on the process a little bit yesterday, since we knew any big undertaking all at once would be too much for us. Normally, I find this process a little sad and emptying, but, this time, it restored a small sense of order.

Partly because we often use our downstairs bathroom as a place to store all the boxes and bins that the Yule stuff comes out of. Normally, this is a temporary hassle that is tolerable and makes more sense than dragging everything back up to the attic, only to drag it all down and back up again in a matter of weeks. However, with the very much needed addition of an emergency downstairs litter box, it was impossible to keep the floor clean of litter bits and everything just felt chaotic any time I needed to change the box or even just didn't want to bother to go upstairs to do my own bathrooming.

The decoration bins are now staged to migrate upstairs over the next day or two and then be tucked back into their corner in the attic. The rocking chair is off the porch and back in its spot as the guest chair. It was never MEANT to only belong to guests, but... well, funny story about that:

I have a friend Theo, who, when they were buying a house for themselves, got really into the theory of interior decorating. They read a book that talked a lot about what your furniture and style choices say about you and your family's values. They took one look around our cozy little living room, the three overstuffed chairs pointed towards each other in an intimate circle, and the weird, almost out of place rocker and nodded and said, "This house is house for three."

And they are absolutely right.

We happily entertain others, but in the end of the day, this house is a house for three. Possibly three HOBBITS, given the amount of food around the house. We have little stacks of books at our feet and blankets (and snoozing cats) everywhere. The house often smells of something baking.

In fact, I took bread out of the oven only a few minutes ago. I have a French bread recipe I always make as an accompaniment to our traditional wild rice soup for New Year's day. Wild rice soup became the tradition because the recipe we have--from my late stepbrother Mark--calls for BOTH turkey and ham, and we always have leftovers of each in the freezer from the holidays.

We have a pagan ritual we do every morning of the new year, too. Last night, some time before midnight, we find a dime minted in the current year and add it to our collection of dimes that are wrapped in a gold silk square. We put this symbolic "silver and gold" outside of our house and then, in the morning, we bring it in over the threshold to symbolize the act of bringing fortune to us in the new year. This has been our good luck tradition for years (we could probably count the years, given the number of dimes. At least 20, at a guess. I can't remember if we were doing this when we lived in Uptown before we bought this house or not.)

Do you have something personal like that, something to bring you luck in the new year?

I have to say, this is the first year that I've even heard of the whole "rabbit, rabbit" thing. But, I had two FB friends discussing it this morning. Despite my surname, I'm clearly not British (or American?) enough for this whole tradition.

Quick cat update for those interested... )
lydamorehouse: (temporary incoherent rage)
 I mostly managed to stay off the internet today because I knew what was coming. 

Today was Mason's first day at his new job at the Science Museum. When I picked him up around 2 pm, there were a lot of other parents waiting out front in their cars. This program hired 80 students, I think. Most of what I know about what Mason will be doing is still fairly vague, but it seems like he's enjoying it. Today, apparently, they did a lot of getting to know you exercises and got a tour of the Science Museum (and the special employee tour which included the cheap, slightly broken vending machines.)

Shawn and I went to Menard's to pick up some plastic bins. We're continuing to deal with the fallout of Mason's reorganization of his room. He wanted a desk, which we bought for him some time ago, but moving the desk in meant moving OUT a bunch of books and disassembling (and selling) the top part of his bunk bed. A number of the books that got moved out will go to the little free library. But, there are also a lot of sentimental favorites that will be saved for the next generation of Morehouse-Rounds, and so those are getting put into bins and hauled up to the attic. (Which of course also necessitated a slight re-organization of the attic, because: of course.)

By the end of this we were all tired, cranky, and hangry. We ended up having a spat about dinner, which resulted in a drive through Culver's and a trip to Cafe Latte for gigantic pieces of PIE and CAKE because f*ck everything.

It seemed clear to me that we all had short fuses because we knew what had happened in the Senate.

It's been an awful week.

And we have only just begun to fight.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
Or something like that.  

I just spent two hours on my yard. Can you tell that I just spent two hours on my yard? Probably not.  Though, you might be able to tell that I mowed the boulevard, if only because the grass had gotten long enough to start to sprout seed heads. But, really, now our boulevard basically looks like everyone else's boulevard, so maybe not?

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in the world that struggles with basic yard work. 

Though, last night, Shawn and I took a walk around the neighborhood and I noticed that my immediate neighbors seemed to have as many bare patches and rough sections as I do. I do wonder that, given the shift in how my generation feels about going organic and chemical free, if we're going to see a lot more crappy lawns in general.  We're certainly not the only people in our immediate neighborhood to plant front yard gardens.  Several folks a block or so east have entirely shade/natural flower gardens for "lawns."

But, back to my original point, I also have to wonder if some of my frustration with yard work is that I'm kind a clumsy nerd at heart.  Just pulling out the lawn mower was a huge hassle of untangling the electric cord and hauling it around to the boulevard and THE WHOLE THING WAS JUST SO HARD.  Probably other people don't trip over the cords they're carrying. Gods, I do. And, then, like Pig Pen from "Peanuts" I end up tangled in the cords and completely immobilized. (At least that's how I feel.)

On the other hand, it's done now and the yard looks fairly passable. 

At least where most people can see it.

lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)
 I'm sitting on the porch because the weather is so nice.

It's 50 F / 10 C out, which probably doesn't really warrant wide open windows, but, after the last bit of winter we've had here, it's just what I need.

I spent a good portion of this morning cleaning.  Shawn is on her bi-annual or semiannual (or whichever word means twice yearly) fairly deep cleaning kick. I say "fairly" deep, because we are NOT the sorts to move the fridge to clean behind or anything of that magnitude. But, I scoot around on the floor and scrub-up bits of cat puke and dust that have become part of the decor over the past several months. Of course, the frustrating part is that when I'm finished with all of this no one will be able to tell that I've made a dent. Our house generates cat puke and dust spontaneously, I believe. Like, I bet if we moved everything out and hosed the place down, the very next day it would look Miss Havisham's.

I decided today would be a good day for housecleaning because, for reasons known only to the universe, I woke up incredibly sleepy.  It might have been the weird dream involving the sushi place that served their sushi with a bucket of live minnows and prawns, as well as a side of roe-encrusted nan.  Perhaps that wasn't restful. It seemed wise to take advantage of my sleepiness to do some mindless drudgery. 

Right, back to it!

lydamorehouse: (ichigo freaked)
 I went in for my cholesterol test this morning.  The only thing I hate about that is that they won't even let you have plain black coffee anymore. It used to be that you were fine, so long as you didn't have a froo-froo latte.  Now, they're banning even a regular cup of joe.

I thought I was gonna DIE.

Especially since, I could not immediately go get coffee. Instead, I had to wait for Shawn to finish her appointment. After THAT, we drove to the DMV to get her license renewed... it was only after that that we got coffee. The nice thing, actually, is that Shawn bought me breakfast. I love breakfast out. It is one of my most favorietest things in the whole, wide world.  We went to Day by Day Cafe. Just what the doctor ordered! Oh, no, wait, that was all the blood tests.

At least that's done now.

Normally today I would be at my coffee shop with 'the ladies,' hanging out and talking writing and life, today. But, Mason woke up with the beginnings of a cold. (I think I might be getting it, too, actually.)  Since he's at home, I decided to hang close. I'd been hoping to catch the guy who wants to do an inspection of our house for our new homeowner's insurance, but he texted (of course!) while we were at the doctors' this morning, so that will now have to wait until Monday.  No biggie, and in fact, it gives me a chance to clean around where the fuse box is (he's taking interior pictures of our heating system and electrical.)  The fuse box happens to be in the coal room, which is where we have all of our kitty litter boxes.  They need changing anyway, but now I don't have to dash out to the store RIGHT NOW. 

So, that's a silver lining, I guess.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some fannish things.  There's a bit of a community among the bloggers of anime/manga on WordPress and I've been reading and commenting over there a lot more than usual. That's has, in turn, inspired me to read (and review) a lot more manga so that I can have something of interest to add to the conversation.  

Likewise, someone on Tumblr has organized a "Renji Week" where fans are encouraged to post fan works of any variety on specific themes for a week, starting on April 1.  Since I'm a writer, I've been working ahead. I've got one theme piece "in the can" already, and ideas for at least one more. Now I just have to settle in and write.  Unfortunately, my late start on caffeine has me kind of staring blankly at the wall. Weirdly, because I am such a lark (opposite of 'night owl' = 'morning lark'), I actually faired better earlier.  Now that it's my natural lull time, I'm like: Eyes.. won't... stay..... ooooopen......


*snort* Wha?  Ugh. Maybe I'll try reading for a little while.  Hopefully, that will wake me up.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
In a minute I'm going to change into my painting clothes and go paint our fence.  It's already green, so I'm re-painting it green...which may seem like an odd choice.  I can't quite remember why we thought this was a good idea in the first place.  I do remember painting it the very first time many, many moons ago and our next door neighbor saying from her second story porch (just loud enough for me to hear), "Tsk, those Micks will paint anything green."  

This is not as random as it may seem.  

She apparently thought we were Irish due to the bumper sticker on my car at the time which read, "26 + 6 = 1" (which is a reference to the partition of Ireland and my personal politics.)  And you know, we painted our porch green too... so she might have had cause to think we had some kind of weird love of the color green. And, god knows, I might have been blasting Irish music while painting, too, so... not as odd an assumption as you might think, given that I'm Czech and Polish and German.  

When I was talking to Naomi about this last night at Wyrdsmiths, we stopped to wonder what a Czech or Polish or German person might paint a thing if they were feeling particularly patriotic.  Turns out, red would work for all of them.  But, I'm not painting everything red.  I mean, it DOES still kind of suit my politics, but you know., then the neighbors would have to be all, "Tsk, those Commies will paint anything red!"

In un-related news, I was going to see if I could find a Japanese language 'tape' to listen to while outside painting.  I may just have to listen to music (oh noz!) but it would be nice to reinforce my Japanese.... because, damn, I feel far too old to be starting a new language.  Though, as a bonus, I've been listening to my "John Learner" tapes in the car again.  What is funny is that, of course, what I remember best is the English and I find myself, not so much listening to learn the language, as making up crazy stories about the life and adventures of John Learner.

This is what I mean about too old.  The Japanese just bounces off me and I'm off in my imaginary world with fictitious John Learner.


Speaking of things Japanese, though, I signed Mason and I up for Anime Detour.  We are now officially attending together!  That should be great fun.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Okay, I should stop stalling.  There is a fence to paint!

lydamorehouse: (Default)
I just want to say a quick "hello" before going back to being head down over the keyboard. I'm trying to finish a fist draft of PRECINCT 13 this week so I can get it to beta readers and off to the publisher before we get into the "omg, so OVERDUE" part of the deadline missage.

I'm at a coffee shop this morning, however, because I have to head back up the hill to collect Shawn. She's got a doctor's appointment to get a vitamin B12 shot. This is suppose to be part of the cure for theright-side numbness that she had that sent us to the hospital all those months ago. Our big plan is, if the medicine doesn't make her sick, to have a lunch date afterwards.

We had a busy/not-busy weekend. We didn't have a lot on officially, but we did a lot of yardwork and we got the boxes of Halloween decorations out of the attic and STARTED putting those out/up. Halloween is one of our favorites, and I like to get creative. We built a garbage bag, leaf-stuffed spider for the front yard, and we started a scarecrow "victim" for her web. We're waiting to put up all the cobwebs until we get a new front door.

We've had a broken screen door for years. Part of the reason we haven't replaced it until now is that part of the issue is the when the spring broke, it took out part of the frame. I'm only SO handy and re-building door frames is out of my pay grade. But, we're going to see if Shawn's brother has the skill set. If nothing else, we're going to purchase the new door. We have a handyman on-call if we end up needing to pay someone.

Mason is taking swimming lessons again. He loves swimming, so it's a pleasant way to spend an hour or so on Saturday morning. I've been usuing the time to plot the novel and/or write to my pen pals (though I forgot to address the envelope this morning!)

That's about all the news fit to print. I had a great time on Friday going to the Occupy Minnesota demonstration at the "people's plaza" (formerly the government plaza) with Eleanor. We mostly did what Minnesotans do best -- stood around drinking coffee and chatting amiably. There was a little reading of declarations, but, generally, it was nice to be part of the movement in whatever small way I could. Because a nice woman gave me a sign that her daughter had made (the organize little fish eating the big one), a lot of people took pictures of my sign and I got interviewed by someone doing a "project" who wanted to know why I was there and what I hoped to get out of it. I said that what I'd like to see is more attention given to the middle class's' struggle by the media and politicians, and later Eleanor told me she was glad I answered that because she would have said, "REVOLUTION!"

I've also been enjoying the picture that's been going around Facebook of "Octopi Wall Street" because the day that Eleanor and I were there it was Cephlapod Appreciation Day.


Oct. 3rd, 2011 09:15 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I'm officially overdue on my WiP now. It took a lot longer to recover from the total computer crash than expected, but I *do* think that the revision has made this a much stronger book. I have about 30,000 words left to write, which, if I push things, I can do in 15 days.

I may be fairly absent here, though, because of that.

Not much to report over the weekend, anyway. It really feels like fall here in the Twin Cities, so we got a lot of around the house errands done. I tend to gear up, physically, this time of year. So, there is paint ready to be applied to fences and walls and all sorts of projects like that. I also made a lovely batch of roasted acorn squash soup that's quite delicious as well. I'll be having that for lunches for the next several days, I think.

Mason has started up a new swimming class. He's in level 2, and he loves it. Now that he's figured out how to float, he's really got a lot more confidence in the water. It's nice to see.

We were all set to have him start painting the back fence when his friend from across the street came over. As Shawn posted in her FB: fence painting can wait, childhood can't. I do love that we have that sort of thing going in our neighborhood right now, where there are kids who know they can come over, knock on the door, and have Mason come out to play. That reminds me of my own childhood.

For myself, I really need to figure out how to get to the gym in the mornings/afternoons, so that I can get into the habit before the snow flies.

Okay, enough of this for now. Must write.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today has turned into a very weird day for me. I knew we were meeting with an energy audit guy from Xcel, but I didn't count on how much I've gotten used to my morning routine of internet, coffee, etc. It's already 3:12 pm, and I'm only just now done checking my usual things. I feel completely out of whack.

On a more positive note, our 100 year old house is leaky, but not nearly so much as I'd have thought. Probably the biggest thing facing us is the fact that we NEED to get insulation in the attic floor. Because of our big roofing job, we now have vents in the roof, which are basically big holes for heat to escape (which is in fact why they were installed, but, well, this sort of thing works much better on a modern house in the winter.) But, the guy who came out was actually VERY good at reading us. He could tell from our conversation what we would entertain and what we would not.

I'm afraid I'm very adamant that air is a fine insulation for a house that was built 100 years ago. Despite what our energy auditor attempted to imply, people who constructed houses in 1912 did know how to insulate with the technology they had, and they did KNOW that houses built in Minnesota needed to stay warm in the winter.

However, I would definiately entertain the idea that now that roofers poked holes in our roof, the situation in the attic has changed.

Of course, the auditor tried to sell us an Xcel plan to fix all this, but he also offered other options and told us about a lot of little things we could easily do ourselves to help keep the house warmer and the gas prices down for the winter.

So, for $30, I think we got a good deal, honestly. We now know what we should be considering/saving up for, etc.

In other good news, my second Tate book has been finally officially accepted, so money should be coming shortly for that. Also, my editor sent along cover art, which I like well enough. I only have a .pdf of it right now, so I can't share it yet. I'd suggested a theatre mask be involved to hide part of Ana's face, but they decided not to go with that. Instead, they hide part of her face with her hair. It works okay, but it makes a little less visual sense to me. I'll let y'all decide when I post it. However, they're going with the same model, and the same font, and same basic style, so you know, it could be worse as we say here in Minnesota. She's a very striking woman, and she's looking straight out at us again, so it's very clean, visually.

I finally finished reading an illustrated novel called RAGGEDY CHAN by Camille Picott, Illustrated by Joey Manfre, which I'll be reviewing shortly for my ODDyssey gig (general note: thumbs up!). As part of that, I also recieved a book called IMMACULATE DECEPTION by Scott B. Pruden. You can perhaps see from the title why I thought it might be a good fit. I'm going to try to read it over the Thanksgiving break, since I won't be able to write much with Mason home any way. [ profile] naomikritzer also loaned me her daughter's copy of THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND by Jonathan Stroud, because I pretty much trust Naomi to know what I like in YA after several successful recommendations.

Other than that, my birthday is Thursday. I'll be 43. I already got my present, which is a year's membership to kuk sool wan, which I expect to enjoy twice a week. (Last night was once again made of awesome. I will not only be Captain America by 45, I expect to be Kung Fu Panda by 44!)

lydamorehouse: (Default)
If you missed listening to me blather live on KFAI's "Write On! Radio" you can catch it in the archived files:

Actually finding the file is kind of confusing. You have to click on the archive for 7/20/10, and accept the terms and conditions. Then it looks like you got nowhere because there's a list of all the guests, etc. BUT, if you scroll down past the announcements you'll find a tiny little header "Previous Shows" and a reddish button for either .mp3 stream or real audio. That's the show. I'm in the second half. As far as I know there's no good way to skip ahead, alas. I'd say I'm worth the wait, but I'm not sure that's true. (I felt like SUCH a dork.)

People who listened live said I did okay, but I felt stupid to the point of being giddy and I'm disappointed I didn't get a chance to mention my up-coming gig at Uncles or Resurrection Code by name.

Speaking of feeling like I'm all over the place, I've hit the ground running for the second day in a row. I had a couple of birthday related errands this morning (for the little boy, who won't be so little soon. On the 24th he turns 7!) One of which took me out to the Maul, which is always insane. Then I zipped home long enough to paint about four more slats of the neighbor's side of the fence. The white house to the south of us is under new management. The landlady is very nice, but has an inspector on her to improve the property (yay!). One of the things they wanted done was for the fence to be painted, and since it's technically ours we promised to do it. But, it's a bigger job that it sounds because sections are quite rotten (it was a fence we got second-hand -- one of our first big house projects and like a lot of our first jobs, we didn't really know what we were doing yet.) So I had to replace a few boards, prime them, etc. All in between bouts of torrental rain and the roofing trauma.

I'm making slow progress on that. Plus, I just got a call from Steve, our roof guy, and I need to run back home because I took the pictures of the roofing process off the front porch and he needs them to be there for the inspector. Oh, yeah, and the gutter guys come today.

As well as a photographer from the Pioneer Press.

The only time the photographer could come was 3:00, which is when I usually leave to pick up Mason. So I very cleverly arranged for a playdate for Mason with his friend Ava, and Ava's family is going to take them directly to their place. Normally, Mason would be over the moon at this sort of thing, but he's been going through that phase I remember clearly -- the one where you finally sort of realize for the first time that things DON'T ALWAYS WORK OUT. Suddenly, the world become full of horrible possibilites. What if while I'm at school the Russians drop a nuke? Will I see my parents again? (That was my big one.) But for him it's what if ima doesn't come to pick me up because she's in a car accident?? Or, more strange to us, what if ima and mama just decide to suddenly leave me alone and drive away and never come back?

This new phase first presented with the latter question, which baffled Shawn and me. I mean, what? Why would we abandon Mason and, what, fly off to the South of France? I don't know if he overheard us joking about that sort of thing when we thought he was asleep (which I will admit to likely having done) and took it seriously, or if, as I now suspect, it's all part of this bigger nebulous fear of THINGS GOING WRONG.

I used to have nighmares. Mason, so far, doesn't. I wonder if this is just the outward manifestation of what my subconcious tried to deal with.

Anyway, I have to run. More later.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today has not started out terribly well. I'm currently awaiting a plumber. We woke up this morning ridiculously early as Shawn is off to Seattle for a conference. About an hour into her morning getting-ready routine Shawn came and sat on the bed with a look of deep concern. She said, "Bad news. Really, really bad news. We have a leak."

Of course my immediate thought was, "Oh my god, the fish tanks!"

So, strangely, I was relieved to discover that it was only the kitchen ceiling.

Oh, wait. The kitchen ceiling?? That's not good. But, we have a remodeling/handyman service that we love, called Platnium Remodeling. They did our downstairs bathroom (which I still haven't finished repainting), but we couldn't have been more pleased with their work. So I called them. They had to foist us off to their sub-contractor plumber guy, but at least someone is coming TODAY.

I spent the morning moving furnature out of the kitchen, because it seems pretty obvious from the advancing water stains that they're going to have to take down much of the ceiling to replace the pipes.


Although, really, it could be worse, as we like to say in Minnesota. We do have another working toliet (thanks to Platnium's previous work) and, with Shawn out of town, the stress-to-zen ratio will be in favor of the zen. I haven't, so far, gotten a lot of work done on the novel today, but, again, with Shawn out-of-town I will have potentially more time tonight - depending on how cooperative Mason is at bed time. Still, I don't always sleep well when she's out of town and I may take advantage of that for writing.

In other, completely unrelated news, I may join Twitter after all. The compelling reason to came from a reader of Tate's who posted on her/my blog yesterday. The reader knew, for instance, the pub date for my young-adult novel, because she gets Anne Soward's twitter feed. *I* didn't even know that. (If you're curious Penguin is saying August 2010).


But one thing at a time, as they say. For now, I am "floating in space awaiting a rescue." (Anyone else a fan of Daniel Keys Moran?)

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