Heading into autumn.

It’s been a bit of a long week (really, there is nothing like cats for being able to cause a sudden bolt to the emergency vet; he’s fine, bless and damn his furry little butt), but I had a really lovely day today. Think I finally figured out what I need to do to get the framing on a story working, and then got to go out. I don’t get out a lot, and I’m really glad I got to see people.

It looks like I’m going to be teaching again in the winter semester. I’m looking forward to that, and hopefully I’ll manage it a bit better the second time around; there was a bit of a learning curve last time and I think that slowed me done.

I’m going to try to focus on finishing edits for the rest of the year, rather than starting new stories. Surrey’s coming up next month, and there’s something specific I want to have ready for that, so that at least provides some structure to the pile.

Catching up, perpetually

I have recovered from April! Unfortunately, we’re over halfway through May, so.

The combination of “fiscal year end” and “end of term” was interesting. I really enjoyed the chance to teach, and from the (safely anonymized) student comments I didn’t do too badly?  I’d like to do it again (although as a part-time professor, I won’t get the chance until winter).

I’m currently looking for stories to recommend for a slightly updated version of the course. I’m largely trying to keep it to prose, and looking to the Hugos and Nebulas as a filter, but it’s still going to be a bit of work.

I went to TCAF this weekend past! It was honestly fantastic, and I had a great time. Came back with a few more books than I was expecting, but it was a great weekend, and the trip each way gave me a lot of time to read. I’m hoping to get some reviews up.

On a personal note, I just handed in my comments on the page proofs of a story that should be coming out later this year, and I’m generally feeling pleased with that.

Possibly spring

Well, we’ve had stretches of full thaw interrupted by days of below-zero temperatures and snow, but I’m pretty sure spring is going to actually show up shortly, and stick around.

Work (both jobs) seems to be going pretty well overall. I got an encouraging rejection recently, and I’m pausing to be glad for editors in the world who actually manage to deliver those kindly, because it was actually a really nice email to get. (Yes, the story’s been resubmitted.)

It occurred to me today that I’m looking at travelling to up to three cons this year–two conventions and a conference–and I’m thinking that should be about the most I plan for. I’m not sure I’ll make it to all three; I am sure, however, that planning for more than three is going to end up draining me before I get there, so none of that.

And in other news, Camp NaNoWriMo is being surprisingly motivating this year. I’m trying something new. (I’m also repeating every “fail faster” fragment of advice I’ve ever heard to myself. It seems to be helping.)

Recuperating

At some point, I’m really going to need to try going back to editing an electronic document. I like writing my edits on hardcopy and typing them up, but when you do that with a seventy-two page document, it results in hand cramps.

(I think I’m pretty happy with the end result, though.)

Anyway. The novella (I wrote a novella!) has been revised and is with my crit group for feedback. The new job has started, and having the extra five hours in the week is already making a difference. Mostly it’s making a difference in how much sleep I’m getting, and I am treasuring that.

I’m about a third of the way through the semester on the class I’m teaching, and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s fascinating to see other people’s takes on SF, and I’ve added several things to my list of works to check out. Since I’m slowly getting used to having free time again, too, I may actually get to do that sooner rather than later.

Finally, September.

So, “Late Night at the Low Road Diner” got a review in Apex Magazine’s “Words for Thought” column on Friday, and I spent most of that day and several hours so far in September grinning like a fool.

(The woman who wrote “In the End, It Always Turns Out the Same” and “Final Girl Theory” said nice things about my story. I squeaked.)

On a weather level, it’s been a hectic summer–the multiple tornado warnings were probably my ‘favourite’ part–and despite the fact that the long weekend has reverted to the kind of weather where stepping outside feels like trying to breathe a wet towel, it seems to be starting to break. I’m looking forward to rain, some grey days, and the option to open the windows at night without being unable to sleep because of the heat.

I finished a novelette draft, and gotten some decent feedback that I want to mull over in the back of my head for a few days before I start trying to write them. I’m also trying to figure out what work I should bring to my Blue Pencil session at SIWC in October. Unfortunately, crunch time at work is starting in a week and is expected to last into October, so I’m going to be low on time for the next little while.

Time assessment

Well, WorldCon was lovely, although I’m pretty sure that by the end of it I was running on half the sleep I should have been. Very glad I went and got to see and talk to everyone I did, although I wish I’d had more time.

(Also I have to say that the experience of singing the Stephen Universe theme song along with the members and attendees of a panel was a really sweet experience.)

Work wasn’t exactly difficult, but there was a pretty close deadline and I ended up doing a fair bit of overtime. I knew that I worked well with deadlines; I hadn’t specifically realized before how easy it was to let a work-set deadline override all the other deadlines I tried to set for myself. I feel like I lost a lot of August to that.

Anyway, moving forward, I had some luck finishing a draft with an outline and I’m hoping to get some revising done this weekend–the uninterrupted block of time should help.

Scheduling

On a writing note: I’ve been trying to start getting up early in the morning to write before work. Recently Cat Rambo suggested not allowing yourself to check your e-mail before you’d written 500 words, and adding in that parameter does seem to have helped a bit. Will see how things progress in the coming weeks; a two-day bump in word count is not a magic bullet, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

(I am also not a morning person. There is something of a learning curve associated with this “remembering to go to bed at an hour that takes the planned time of rising into account” thing.)

On a convention note: I am not going to WorldCon this year. I am not. I understand this, and have accepted it, but it makes me very sad. That said, I am hoping to be at at least one local con this fall.

On a work note: I am slowly settling into the idea of having vacation days. It’s interesting, in terms of potential. I’m very used to work with a definite end date, and the idea of definitely being able to take time off and come back after a break–a break I am allowed, no less–is something I’m looking forward to.

 

Into April.

More and more, I feel like I need to make decisions not on what I want to do, but on what I want to do most, and how much time I have.

Part of it’s the new job making me feel that way. I don’t think it’ll be bad; the worst thing about it is that it’s in a location I’d prefer not to work, and I can cope with that. I’m just feeling very tiredly adult about leaving a job that I was actively happy to work at for a pragmatically-better job where I might not be as happy.

(Plus I’m leaving my current position to take the new job, and I can’t actually recall the last time I left a work contract before it was due to end. I’ve refused a renewal in one case, but that’s it.)

Part of it’s that while my wrist and elbow are getting better, they’re still not all the way better; I was knitting a bit today, and I had to stop. I’ve got several projects I want to get done, and I’m at the point where I need to figure out what few I’m going to get down in 2015, and whether or not I need to frog some.

(Frogging is unwinding a piece of knitting. It’s called frogging because you “rip it” back–ribbit, get it? Similarly, unknitting more slowly is called tinking, because “tink” is “knit” backwards.)

((Thus is knitting vocabulary developed.))

Aside from that, I’m reading Beasts of Tabat and playing Below, both of which have come out this month and both of which I am really excited about. (I may have also spent the weekend watching Daredevil, which has put a crimp in my writing time.) I’ve been able to pick up a bit of knitting again, although I think I’ve over-extended myself.

Cheers.

Well, the bleaching and dyeing went well! My hair is now purple–mostly a blue-purple, some parts reddish-purple, and a few bits of bleached-but-not-dyed hair wisping around in front of my ears. The Vaseline got on them, it’s a resist, it happens. 🙂 I wasn’t sure using the two different dyes would actually make a difference, but it seems to’ve done so.

(In comparison to the other vegetable dyes I have used–Manic Panic and SFX–Punky Colour seems to bleed not at all. It comes out a little with shampoo, of course, and I had to use cleaner on the bathtub when I first rinsed it out. But it only comes out with shampoo, doesn’t stain the bathtub after the first rinse, and the first night I put a towel over my pillow and could not actually find anyplace my hair had stained it in the morning.)

(It also smells like Grape KoolAid, or at least the two purple dyes I used do. I have no idea if this is a nod to the old… tradition? method? …of dyeing hair bright colours by using KoolAid, but I would not be surprised.)

I’m feeling like a bit of an ass for waiting so long to do this again, to tell the truth. I keep thinking about an old joke about the woman who gets a nose job, feels great, takes a cruise, goes mountain-climbing, deep-sea diving, has a wonderful time. She runs into her plastic surgeon at a party or something several months later, he asks her how she’s doing, and she bursts into tears.

“What’s wrong?” he says, confused. “I thought you’d had a wonderful time since I saw you?”

“Oh yes, doctor,” she says. “But I could have done it all with my old nose, and I feel so stupid for waiting.”

(Let us not unpack why this is expected to be funny, I am in a good mood right now. But the waiting. The maybe-it-won’t-be-right, the bloody inertia. I get that.)

In other news, my work contract is done, and spring is here. I am contemplating shovelling some of the snow off the lawn–the pile is currently only four feet high or so, but it’ll melt down to the grass faster if I take off a little. And Elise has posted a tease of names for some of her earrings, so I expect to be able to see some lovely shinies within the week.

Unwell

I have a few words for people who come in to work when they are snorking and wheezing and letting out those ragged velvety coughs that just make sure you know that their lungs are laced with muck.

I am feeling polite, so I am not reproducing those words here.

I am also (for reasons which I feel are not completely unrelated to being exposed to the current office plague) at home feeling drained and exhausted and needing to give serious consideration to whether I am up to looking at a computer screen instead of napping on the couch.

(I was going to go with sleeping on the couch, but Angus abandoned me. Without him, the couch is just this padded expanse of old fabric instead of a warm and comforting dispenser of purrs, which is much less appealing.)

(…I’m still using it, mind. I’m just not dozing on it.)

It’s being an unproductive day. I am mostly making my peace with this, and trying to recover.