Friday, July 30, 2010

Mostly Up

An aside, before I get going: I was chatting with Matt last night about publicity for my book and I mentioned my writing website on LiveJournal. "You have a writing website?" he asked. I really thought I'd mentioned it here, but in case I hadn't, and you're curious, it's here. When I get a chance, I'll probably put a link to it in the sidebar, as well.


I was about halfway through the morning yesterday, working from home, when I got an email from my boss's boss, asking if we could burn a CD for him, put a nice label on it, and ship it.

Well, usually, except that I didn't have any of the necessary equipment (like blank CDs or CD labels) with me, and both of us who have the label-printing software were working from home, so I couldn't just ask someone already at the office to do it for me. So I resigned myself to going back into the office in the afternoon. So much for my plan to wander the neighborhood with my camera.


Then I got an email from my aunt, making sure I knew I was invited to my cousin's rehearsal dinner, and also letting me know that my grandmother's health has taken a big turn for the better in the last couple of weeks.


Now that I have my pictures from the Chicago trip all sorted and processed, I thought I'd use up some free print credits from Walgreens that I had lying around. I got the pics all uploaded and placed the order. I decided to pick them up in town, since I was going to have to go out later for my allergy shot and to go back to work anyway. That decision a) saved me shipping fees, and b) got the prints to me the same day. Win-win!

After I submitted the final order, I got the usual confirmation email, which said I would get another email when they were ready to be picked up. I got that second email all of half an hour later.


Just about then, I got a text message from Adin, celebrating having officially acquired her apartment here in Williamsburg. I cheered, and offered to take her to lunch. She said they were already on their way to lunch, so I should join them there.


And the lunch location turned out to be right next to the Walgreens where my prints were, too!


When I got to the office, I had been given some work to do (aside from the CD/label thing, which took all of ten minutes). It's pretty tedious and boring work, but it has a real charge number attached.


I'd gone in to work still in my t-shirt and shorts that I'd put on in the morning, in mild protest of having to go in when I was supposed to be working from home, forgetting that my office is usually freezing. Shorts instead of pants did not help that.


After work, I talked to my mom and she offered to take us all out to eat on Saturday.


And then I made some more fairly good writing progress and decided on a way to handle my file-transfer problems and the dual desire to a) write more stories to sell and b) write a few short standalone stories to post on my site as freebies.


Didn't get a lot of sleep, though... Penny woke me up at 2 to ask me to tuck her back into bed. And then Matt's work Blackberry went off at about 4:30. He didn't hear it, and I didn't recognize it immediately, so I wound up wandering around the house in the dark, trying to figure out what was making that stupid noise. Maybe I should've just put a pillow over my head -- once I'd found it, Matt had to get up and go work for an hour.


But overall... a very Up! day. I'm hoping for an equally Up! weekend. (But with more sleep. Where's my coffee...?)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Feeling a little scattered this morning, so I apologize in advance for the randomness of this post.

Vicki was nice enough to loan me her macro lens so I could play with it. I noodled around with it a bit yesterday. I took some random shots of assorted things in the yard, then wound up on our back porch, where I discovered that there were a solid dozen butterflies playing in the tree in the ditch. So I stood on the bench and tried to take pictures of them for half an hour or so. Some of them might have even turned out; we'll see. I may take a little walk at lunch today and see what other wildlife I can find in our neighborhood.

I also made up invitations for Penny's birthday party. Three went in the mail already and two have been hand-delivered. One of them is waiting on the girl's mom to call me back so I can get her address, and another will be delivered this weekend.

I did some writing last night -- or more precisely, I started stripping a story I want to rewrite/convert. The first part of it is going to stay pretty much unaltered, and then I've got half a plot to rip out and two new plots to splice in. It'll be a lot of work, but I think it'll be a pretty good story by the time I'm done, assuming I manage to finish it. I think I got some solid work done last night, at least, and it felt as good to stretch my disused writing brain as it had Monday when I went back to the gym to warm up my neglected body.

Speaking of writing, my book is just a smidge over two weeks from release! (It'll debut the same day as Penny's birthday party, actually. So at least for that day, I'll have something to keep me occupied and away from obsessing about the number of hits and downloads, eh?) I'll be posting cover art, blurbs, excerpts, and such during the week leading up to it, of course. You'll just have to bear with me.

Hey, it'll be a break from random slightly-blurry photos!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From Home

Matt and Penny made it home safely yesterday afternoon. Hooray! Of course, they got home to the realization that Matt's house key had been given to the neighbor feeding the cat, and then given back to me when Alex and I got home, so I'd tucked it safely away... inside the locked house. So they were home, but not in the house, when Alex and I got home. It's a good thing the weather was nice yesterday!

Anyway, it was great to all be back together and home and more or less back to our normal schedule. (A little less for Penny, who'd spent most of the day dozing in the car, so we let her stay up late. But she'll be back on track tonight. And hopefully her blood sugars will level out. They were actually fairly good while she and Matt were on the road, so I have high hopes.)

It occurred to me yesterday that I had absolutely no reason not to work from home for two or three days this week.

We're only delivering one document, and it's a small one that could easily be delivered from home.

I've only got two meetings to attend, and both of them are conference calls anyway, so I wouldn't be missing anything if I called into them from home.

And the actual work that I'm working on at the moment to justify my having a job would benefit from a lack of interruptions.

So: work from home it is! Today and tomorrow for certain, and possibly Friday as well, though I haven't decided on that one yet.

While I try to be relatively good about actually working when I'm working from home, this does give me the freedom to rearrange my schedule in ways that are convenient for me. Such as going to the gym immediately after dropping the kids off at daycare, instead of waiting until lunchtime. The gym is a little more crowded in the morning than at lunch, but then my metabolism's up for the whole day, and I've gotten it out of the way so it doesn't feel as much like an interruption and imposition on my time. (One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to fit an elliptical machine and a weight bench in my house so I don't have to take a whole hour and a half or more out of my day to get in a forty-five minute workout.)

Also, it's worlds more comfortable. I spend half my day at the office shivering. At home, I'm not cold, and I can get away with wearing shorts and a t-shirt. (It could even be a rude t-shirt, if I wanted. Though I don't think I own any rude or snarky t-shirts at the moment. The closest I have is one I just bought that says, "...and that's when I SNAPPED" and has a picture of a camera. Which is cute, but not really snarky.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Full Schedule

Matt and Penny are due home today! Possibly in time to pick Alex up from daycare, and certainly in time for dinner! I'm happy -- Alex and I have both missed both of them.

We're supposed to finally start our CSA deliveries this weekend, and this one will be the "deluxe" delivery, asn an apology for all the delays. I'm trying not to get too excited, since it's been pushed off and pushed off and pushed off!

Aside from eating delicious fresh local produce, this weekend has no specific plans, though my mom suggested that if Matt was recovered from his vacation and the drive home, we might have dinner with her at some point. Also, Adin is moving to Williamsburg on Sunday, and I'd promised to babysit for her so the kids wouldn't be underfoot while she's moving stuff, but I don't know if or when she'll take me up on it.

Next weekend, Penny has been invited to a sleepover birthday party on Friday night. I talked to the hosting mom last night, and it looks like we'll be able to work around the diabetic requirements -- they only live half a mile from us, so Matt or I will go over to their house to administer shots, and I'll provide an infosheet for schedule and interpreting BG checks. I told Penny about it last night (via iChat), and she's excited all to pieces.

And the weekend after that will be Penny's birthday party! (I need to get on the phone today and order a cake, and I need to get in gear with the invitations!) I'm actually quite looking forward to it -- the party Penny went to a few weeks ago was very loud, but she had a fantastic time. Also, the same day as Penny's party, my novella e-book will be released, which is damned exciting to me, anyway, even if it doesn't involve doing anything!

The next weekend doesn't (yet) have any plans, except Matt has his monthly-ish D&D game. Which probably makes it a good time to do the back-to-school shopping, if I haven't done it already.

And the weekend after that (the last weekend in August), I'm flying to Atlanta for my cousin's wedding. The whole family was invited, but my cousin told me that none of their friends or relatives have any kids, so mine would be the only ones there. It's an evening wedding, which means it'll run until well past the kids' bedtimes, and they won't have anyone to play with, so... rather than pay for four plane tickets so that the kids could be bored and/or sit in the hotel for most of an evening and then spend one day visiting family, I'm going by myself. (I should think of something fun to do Saturday before the wedding -- I'll have until mid-afternoon to amuse myself. I'm about half tempted to go back to the zoo or the aquarium again just so I can see all the stuff I got dragged past, last time, and take my time taking pictures. But then it kind of seems a waste to go somewhere I've already been. Ah, well, I've got a month to think about it.)

Then it'll be the last weekend before school starts back up, and probably also the weekend we celebrate my mom's, brother's, and Sam's birthdays. (Sam's birthday is in July, but since she and John were in Montana all month, and my parents are in Cancun for most of August, we'll have a delayed party.)

Whew. I'm tired -- but excited -- already, just thinking about it!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quick Recap

I'd be here all day if I tried to talk about the whole trip in detail, much as I'd love to. Feel free to peruse the pictures I've posted (they start here), though, and by all means ask me about it via email or in person if you're interested in more. Plenty of anecdotes to share, but I've been away from work for a week and change and there's a full Inbox that needs sorting, so this is just the briefest of summaries. But with pictures!

Alex and I flew to Chicago on Friday (the 16th). I must say travel worked out really well: since Matt and Penny had driven, they took all our luggage, and I fit all the stuff for Alex and I into a single backpack (filled mostly with Alex's blanket and stuffies.) Matt and Penny picked us up at the airport, and then we waded through Chicago traffic back to Jill's house. Rachael (Matt's sister) and her daughter Celia were visiting, so I finally got to meet my niece!

Friday night, Matt went to the rehearsal for the wedding we were there to attend while I stayed behind at Jill's with the kids. (We were all invited, but Matt and I decided to split up. That way the kids could go to bed at a reasonable hour and be relatively fresh and chipper at the actual wedding, and he could stay out with his friends later. Win-win.) There were some hilarious goofs with the rehearsal and post-dinner socializing -- apply to Matt for details.

Saturday (the 17th) was the wedding. I finally got to meet Matt's old friend Ted and Ted's wife Mindy, who I've been chatting with on Facebook and via e-mail for ages, and their utterly adorable baby Elaine. I also met another old friend of Matt's, Mike, and his wife Kish. And of course I got to see the Pojes again, since we were there for Jason's wedding. Tristan didn't recognize me at all until he spotted the kids.

The plan for Sunday afternoon had been to take the train into Chicago to meet up with Rachael and Rimas and Celia and go see a... giant puppet show... thingy... at Millennium Park. (I don't know how to describe it, but it sounded really cool. I was also looking forward to seeing the iconic Bean. Alas, the kids took long/late naps, and by the time Jill realized we were going to miss the train, it was too late. So we went to the library instead, and the kids got to run around in the kids' area and play. I was disappointed to miss the show (and the Bean) but after the late-evening excitement of the wedding, a slower day is probably just what the kids needed.

On Monday (the 19th), Jill had to go to work, so Matt and I met up with our friend Rachel (not to be confused with his sister Rachael) for lunch -- we hadn't seen her in person since Penny was a little baby, so it was great to get some face-time and hang out!

After that (and the kids' naps) we went to Matt's grandparents for dinner, where Penny was thrilled to play with their dog, Otto.

Tuesday (the 20th), Jill took us into Chicago to see the Field Museum. The kids got to travel by car, by train, by foot, and on bus -- quite the journey! We met up with Rachael and Celia at the museum, and since both Penny and Alex were excited about the notion of dinosaurs, we stopped in the lobby to see Sue, then took them through the Evolution exhibit, which has at its core a huge room of dinosaurs.

Wednesday (the 21st) was another slower day -- Jill had plans to meet a friend for the Cubs game, so Matt took the kids to the bookstore in the morning, and then we all went over to Matt's dad's house that evening for dinner. Once again, Rachael and Celia joined us. (I was disappointed that I didn't get to see Rach's husband Rimas for the whole trip, but he was working like crazy. I'm glad the kids got so much play-time with their cousin, though! Alex is still talking about her, and it's utterly adorable.)

And then Thursday (the 22nd), Alex and I flew home. Jill had brought Cubs hats for both kids from her game, and Alex was enchanted with his -- he insisted on wearing it pretty much the whole time he was at the airport.

Friday, I took a rest day. Well, sort of. My car's Check Engine light came on while I was taking Alex to daycare, so I spent a couple of hours sitting at the repair shop while they checked it out and replaced the doohickey that had stopped working and was causing a couple of cylinders to misfire. I spent the rest of the day in a leisurely pursuit of normalcy -- I did laundry and shopped for groceries, sorted through mail and petted the cat. KT came up and we went out to lunch at a fancy French restaurant I've been wanting to try for a couple of years, now.

Saturday I decided I'd take Alex up to Richmond to see the Children's Museum. We had the most weirdly horrible traffic all the way up (and half the way back), but the museum itself was a blast. Alex had a fantastic time! (Next time, though, I'll remember to bring his bathing suit and a change of clothes -- they have a huge water-play area, and he got soaked -- and I didn't even take him to the outdoor fountain to play!)

And finally, Sunday afternoon, I took Alex over to Braz's, to hang out with him and Adin and the kids. It was noisy but fun, and the kids were all fantastic. Moments of supercute: Alex saying to Henry, "You're my friend!" and also, "Are you two? I'm two, too!" Additionally: Ripley climbing into my lap and announcing that she loved me (this made Alex mildly jealous, but he was content as long as he could be on my lap, too), and Emma sitting on the arm of the chair I was in to snuggle (though she may have simply been after my chips).

(Adin is moving down here to Williamsburg next weekend, and I'm thrilled! They're going to be just a couple of miles from us!)

And that was my vacation, in very brief... Now I'm back to work. I only had 75 emails waiting for me this morning, which is ridiculously few considering I was gone for more than a week, so I guess things were quiet. I'm willing to bet there's plenty of paperwork to catch up on, though!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Here We Go

One more day, and then tomorrow morning after breakfast, Alex and I are off into the wild blue yonder. Not to mention Chicago.

My primary computer access will be my iPhone, so I probably won't be posting here -- the keyboard is just too small for writing more than a couple of lines at a time. I'll probably check in via Twitter, though, from time to time.

Note to self: Call Dad sometime today and let him know the lens filters I ordered for him have arrived.

Note to self: Remember to write up instructions for the neighbor feeding the cat.

Note to self: Don't forget to load and run the dishwasher tonight.

Note to self: Figure out what it is that I'm forgetting.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two Down

Matt and I spent last night in the quiet frenzy of packing. Three suitcases of clothes and other assorted stuff, the carrycase for Alex's mini-tent/cot thingy, my camera bag, a bag of books and crafts for Penny, a bag for her diabetes supplies, Matt's laptop bag, and a present for our niece. Plus whatever else they might decide to put in the car at the last minute. If they haven't left already, it will be soon. Matt went out last night to get some cash from the ATM and top up his gas tank.

I'm not sure where they're stopping tonight, but I don't expect they'll get there until dinnertime or later. I hope it all goes smoothly. Matt was talking about trying to set up a video chat if the hotel's internet connection is stable enough.

Penny's insanely excited; she was up at 5:30 this morning. I'm hoping that will help her be able to take a nap in the car during the drive. I didn't think to ask Matt if he had any kid-friendly movies ripped to his iPod or on his laptop.

When I took Alex to daycare this morning, several of the kids in his class wanted to know where Penny was -- our morning ritual includes Penny coming with me to drop Alex off and to give him hugs and kisses, and three or four of the other two-year-olds beg hugs from Penny, as well. I thought it was cute that they missed her.

So Alex and I are on our own for the rest of today and tomorrow, and then Friday morning I'll pack a bag with my wallet and phone and a few things for Alex, and then we'll head to the airport to rejoin Matt and Penny in Chicago for a week.

I expect Friday and Saturday will both be slightly crazy -- one of Matt's best friends is getting married, and Matt's in the wedding, so there's the rehearsal dinner on Friday and then the wedding/reception on Saturday. But the rest of the trip should be fairly relaxed and fun.

Just a quick addendum, since I don't really know where else to mention it: the layoffs hit my office, finally, after more than a week of breath-holding. We lost four people for certain, and three more got put on furlough (unpaid vacation) for the next month or so, in the hope we'll get work in soon.

Seriously, if we don't get some sizable new contracts soon, the whole office might fold.

...I keep waffling on whether that would really be a bad thing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Tomorrow morning, Matt and Penny are heading out for Chicago. They're driving, which will be cheaper and (Matt hopes) less of a pain in the ass than flying. I hope it works out for him. Personally, I'd rather deal with the bigger pain for a shorter period. Yeah, I'm a rip-the-bandaid-off kind of girl.

But since I can't really take a whole two weeks off work, and since Alex is too young to easily entertain himself in the car for any length of time (his attention span for TV/movies is only about 45 minutes) we decided that Matt and Penny would make the drive, and I would fly out with Alex separately. (Matt originally suggested that he take both kids, giving me a mini solo vacation as well, but a few days of lovely quiet and calm doesn't do me much good if, at the end of it, I'm confronted with a gibbering insane spouse.)

I've tried to help him out as much as I can -- I consulted with a friend at work who routinely goes on long car rides with her two young boys. She suggested such strategies as: bringing a portable DVD player with a car-port adapter; stopping religiously every 2 hours to hit the bathroom and make the kids run around a little; making sure to stay at a hotel with a pool, so everyone can work out some excess energy before bed; "forgetting" about bedtimes, because the kids are going to get extra sleep in the car anyway.

The bright spot of this, for Alex and I, is that since Matt and Penny are driving, I can pack up the vast majority of our luggage and tuck it into the car. It won't be any extra effort for Matt and Penny to transport it, and then Alex and I can breeze through our flight with a minimum of carryon -- really just his diaper bag with enough gear in it for the day, and my wallet and phone.

Which means I need to hit Target, do a load of laundry, and pack today.

And then tomorrow, Thursday, and until we get to Chicago on Friday, I'm a "single" parent. (But I'll have only a single kid, so it balances out.)

Then we'll all be in Chicago together for about a week, and next Thursday, Alex and I will leave most of our stuff in Matt's car and fly home, to be single together for a few more days until Matt and Penny get home the following Tuesday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bash and Dash

The summer bash was loads of fun. Once I got to it, anyway.

Matt and I decided that he would take Penny down in the morning so she could maximize her play-time with Jess, and that I would stay home with Alex until he'd had his nap.

Which was fine. Alex and I ate lunch, and I put him down for his nap, and he went to sleep fairly quickly. Eventually, he woke up, and I got him up and changed and loaded the car and off we went.

The first thing that happened was that I got on the interstate and found myself in a parking lot. The hell? Luckily, that particular on-ramp doesn't force a merge -- the lane sticks around and becomes the off-ramp for the next exit. So I got back off the interstate and decided I'd take back roads a little further down.

Somewhere in here, I got a text message from Matt that the picnic had been rained out and they were de-camping to KT and Kevin's place while they tried to figure out what else to do. I let him know I was thick in traffic and asked him to keep me posted.

By the time I got to the next exit, I could see that traffic was moving on the interstate again, so I got back on. Which was a mistake, as it promptly turned into a parking lot again, and this time when I couldn't conveniently get back off. We creeped along, and eventually it got better. Not good, but better. I thought, obviously if ever there was a day to take the alternate tunnel, this was it.

Two miles from the tunnel, when it was too late (again) to turn around, there was a sign: one-mile backup at the tunnel. Well, fiddlesticks.

Though the traffic thickened and slowed, but never actually stopped, so that was okay. Traffic remained heavy and sluggish, and then as I merged onto the last bit of interstate I'd have to travel, they had signs: there was an accident on the drawbridge and the right lane was closed. Well... bugger. And I'm not familiar enough with that side of town to get off the interstate and take back roads.

I wish I'd just done it anyway. I could've pulled over and looked up the route on Google Maps or had the semi-GPS app guide me, and it could not possibly have been any slower -- I wound up sitting in that traffic, behinda tractor trailer truck, for almost 45 minutes. The accident turned out to be a three-car pileup right smack at the top of the drawbridge.

Finally it cleared and I was able to get through the last couple of miles. Just as I was getting off the interstate, I got a text message from Matt letting me know that everyone was moving to the mall that's between the interstate and KT's place, which was handy, as I was just about to pass it. So I pulled in and found the food court and Alex and I tromped up there.

The mall has a fantastic play area for little kids, a walled in area with lots of stuff to climb on, right by the food court. We secured a bunch of tables near the play area entrance and soon enough there were bunches of us there. Penny and Jess dove right into the play area, and Alex took an hour or two to warm up, but eventually started climbing and playing with everyone else.

I met the people I hadn't met before, and we all sat around and talked, and ate dinner, and watched the kids play. It wasn't quite as good as a picnic, but it was still lots of fun.

(click on the picture to see my whole Flickr set for the bash)

Around 7 or so, it was decided to head out. Since I'd arrived so late, Matt agreed to take Alex home and put him to bed so I could have some extra social time. So I took Penny over to KT and Kevin's. Penny and Jess played, and the adults talked more, and had fun flustering KT and Kevin's friend Serge. Penny and I didn't leave until nearly 9:30, though given KT's pictures of the rest of the evening, I wish I could've stuck around!

Sunday afternoon, KT and Kevin and Jess and Jeff and Karen came over, and then a bit later saw the arrival of Braz and Adin and their collected kids. We grilled chicken and vegetables for everyone, and had strawberry shortcake for dessert, and continued with the talking and socializing. (Except for poor Kevin, who was apparently fighting off a migraine. And poor Adin, whose kids were not really feeling too good, so she had to give up and head home early.)

Everyone went home around 8:30, and we cleaned up and got Penny put to bed, and did the rest of our chores, and then settled in to watch Leverage, which was a nice, relaxing way to end the weekend.

So, stupid traffic aside, it was a great weekend, if entirely entirely too short.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Good Things

Yesterday was, quite unexpectedly, a day of good things. Nothing really major, but lots of cool goodness.

I got an email around mid-morning from our CSA, reminding us that our (first!) delivery is today, and telling us some of what would be in it. Which was especially good, because I usually do the next week's menu and grocery planning on Thursday afternoons, so a Thursday morning email telling me what to expect in the way of produce gave me a leg-up on that chore. I'm so looking forward to it -- fresh tomatoes and peppers and potatoes and squash, mm! Also, there will be cantaloupe, which is not my favorite, but Matt and Penny both like it, and Alex probably will, too, so it's certainly not going to waste.

Later in the afternoon, I got an email from my editor at Torquere, giving me the thumbs-up on the marketing write-up I'd turned in a couple of weeks go, and sending me a high-res image of my book's cover art. I like the picture but admit to being slightly nonplussed by the font the artist chose -- it almost makes it look like a horror story, which it's not. But it's still pretty danged exciting to see my title and my name in print (well, e-print, anyway) like that! And having gotten the thumbs-up, I can finally share the blurb along with it!

Has telepathy really ruined romance? Jereth Collier has always thought so, but after years of fruitless searching, he's finally driven by loneliness and an inexpressible hunger to the mysterious priests of the Goddess to find his destined mate and one true love. Unfortunately, Jereth's mate is not the woman of his dreams -- in fact, Jereth's mate isn't a woman at all!

Caris Meghlin is trapped in a net of poverty, fear, and abuse by his violent and criminal half-brother, but he yearns desperately for escape. Just as he thinks his wildest dreams are coming true, his long-awaited soul mate Jereth rejects him, crushing his last hopes of rescue and breaking his heart. Jereth must learn to master his fears and open his heart and mind to Caris before Caris' brutish brother can complete his destruction and Jereth himself is left forever alone.
So that was pretty exciting! (As Vicki said on twitter: Ahhh!  It's the cover of a book! It's a book cover! Your name is on it and everything!!! )

Then, when I got home, I found Penny's new diabetes bag had finally arrived. I ordered it for her just in time, or even just a smidge too late -- it's been looking nasty and ratty for a long time, but in the last couple of days, the zipper has started to fall apart on us, and we've been transporting her kit in grocery bags to keep everything from getting lost.

So it was high time for her to get a new one, and that would've been a good, if unexceptional thing, all by itself. But the new kit is freaking adorable. Closed, it's shaped like a heart, and when you open it up, it's a little butterfly!

It has a couple of minor downsides -- there's no shoulder strap, so Penny will have to get used to hand-carrying it; it's a bit smaller than her old kit, so it won't hold the carbcount book at all, and you have to arrange everything in it just perfectly to get it to close; and getting the zipper around the bump in the heart requires a little extra effort. But these are all things we can learn to live with, I think, especially for a kit that Penny can get excited about.

Add to all that the mounting excitement of this weekend -- which is the Summer Bash! Jeff made it to town last night, and Karen arrived verrrrry early this morning! Tonight, Matt and I will do a grocery run and make cookies and possibly prepare some produce for a veggie tray, and tomorrow will be Fun in the Sun with our friends! Yay!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Hold

Right at the end of the work day yesterday, I got word that another one of our projects has been put on hold. This one accounts for about a third of my charging time -- given that I split my time between about ten projects, a third is a huge chunk to suddenly lose.

It's even bigger for some of the other people in my office, who were charging half or three-quarters of their time to it.

And bigger still for our partner office up in DC that was on this, because those folks were all on this project full-time. Word is that those folks were "encouraged" to take the rest of this week off as vacation.

The project isn't canceled, but the customer has completely re-evaluated what it is they actually want us to do for them, so they've put us on hold (with no funding, naturally) while they re-write the Statement of Work. They've promised to get us that in "2 to 90 days". What the hell kind of timeframe is that, anyway? Two days wouldn't be so bad, but if it goes three months, then I can guarantee most of the DC office will have found new jobs before it comes back!

And knowing this customer and the huge pile o' delays that they've heaped on us before... it'll be closer to 90 days than 2. And quite probably more like 180 days.

No one in my office was on that project full-time, but it amounted to about three peoples' worth of employment, altogether. So that's another big hit on top of the proposal we lost last week. I still haven't heard anything about layoffs, but it doesn't look good.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Little Off The Top

I've got a long-overdue haircut on the schedule today, for me and for Penny. It's smack in the middle of the day (the end-of-day and Saturday appointments were all booked straight into August) so I'll be leaving work around lunchtime to go pick Penny up, and if we're done before 4, she'll just come back to work with me.

So this morning, while I was doing my Wii Fit workout, I was contemplating both the correct time to leave to pick Penny up and considering how to adjust my workout at the YMCA (because I've got a pull or something making my back hurt). Which... if I'm getting my hair cut over lunch, I'm not going to the gym.

Sigh. I cannot brain today. I have the dumb.

Or maybe I can blame it on the dream I had around 2am, involving swirling purple-black clouds in the sky and a tornado that reached down out of the sky and slammed into the hood of the car Penny and I were in with the devastating impact of a cartoon superhero's fists. I sat bolt upright, and for a good ten minutes afterward my heart was pounding so hard I thought it would wake Matt up.

(I wish they'd go ahead and announce the layoffs so the worst can be over.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Fireworks

That's what Penny greeted everyone with on Sunday: "Happy Fireworks!"

Long weekends totally rock.

I went home a smidge early on Friday (the office was dead, anyway) and spent the evening relaxing.

I discovered through the city twitter feed that a new farmer's market/organic food store was having a grand opening in Williamsburg on Saturday. I needed some tomatoes and berries for Sunday's dinner, so I tacked that onto Saturday's list of errands. We went to the bank, the farmer's market (which is not actually new, it turned out, but a new/added location for the roadside stand that's up by the Pottery -- this one is oodles more convenient for us, though, so yay!) and to Target for assorted stuff. And then after lunch, Matt took Penny back out to go to the library, where she got signed up for the summer reading program.

After lunch and Alex's nap, we went back into town to meet up with Adin and Braz and Braz's girls at the movie theater to see Toy Story 3. That was almost a disaster -- Penny'd brought her diabetes kit with her, of course, but somehow she'd missed putting the glucose testing kit inside it -- so we had no idea what her starting sugars were before trying to dose her for the popcorn. Well, Matt and I didn't want to miss the movie, so we just dosed her based on the popcorn alone (she got her very own small popcorn, and a matching 3.5-unit shot). Partway through the movie, she complained to me that she was shivering uncontrollably, and I worried that I'd overdosed her, but she said she didn't feel low.

Alex was pretty danged good for the movie, considering he's two: he wanted to get down a few times, and he switched back and forth between Matt and I quite a bit, but he never got so squirmy or talky that we had to take him out -- so Matt and I both got to watch the entire movie, whoo-hoo!

The movie itself... Well, you have to accept from the very beginning that the Toy Story movies are not actually movies for kids with adult interest built in, but instead movies for adults with kid interest built in. They're all about toy nostalgia, which kids don't really get. So I think Penny was vaguely lukewarm on them -- but she was excited to get to hang out with Emma and have her own popcorn, so that made up for a movie that wasn't actually geared for her. For Matt and I, it was great. We laughed our asses off, and then we cried like little babies. Braz and Adin admitted to the same reaction. Which is pretty much the best you can ask for from the movie experience, right?

After it was over, Matt took Alex back to Braz's while I ran Penny home for the rest of her kit. (We'd taken two cars because Matt had his monthly D&D game that evening, so the original plan was for me to take both kids to Braz's while he went straight on to the game, but with Penny's kit issues, it turned out to be a good thing.) I had Penny do a sugar check while we were home, and she came up at 180 -- with insulin still in her system processing the popcorn, that was pretty great, so I felt good about my estimate on the popcorn. Then we dropped by the grocery store to pick up some ice cream and diet soda, and then headed back to Braz's.

Matt headed off to his D&D game, Penny whisked off into the girls' room to play with them, and Alex wandered aimlessly around Braz's living room while I watched Adin play Super Mario Brothers on the Wii and Braz made dinner. (Adin's kids were with their dad -- I think Alex was a little confused not to see his new buddy Henry.) We had chicken and rice and green beans and some raw veggies with dip for dinner, and then ice cream for dessert, and as near as I can tell, everyone had a fantastic time. We didn't leave until nearly 8:30, so Alex got to stay up most of an hour past his bedtime, and Penny was up a good half-hour late.

Which did not stop them from popping up at the usual time Sunday morning.

We did the usual errands and chores Sunday morning, and then my parents came over around mid-afternoon. (Alex woke up from his nap and was slightly cranky, so I thought I'd put a movie in to help him make the transition to being awake. While I was still deciding, my folks called to let us know they were on their way over, so I pulled out one of Matt's Muppet Show DVDs, since those are short episodes. When Alex saw my pic, he immediately began to shriek with excitement: "MUPPETS! MUPPETS! MUPPETSHOW! MUPPETSHOW!" So Matt may be proud that he's successfully passed that love on to at least one of his offspring.)

We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, and my mom brought her potato salad, which I love more than any other potato salad in the universe (and which I could happily eat until I'm back to being the size of a house -- dangerous stuff!) and we had an angelfood cake, blueberry, and cherry parfait for dessert. (Penny got to put the whipped cream on top of the parfaits, which excited her to no end. Sometimes, it's the little things.)

Not too long after my folks left and Alex got put to bed, Penny and I packed up and headed out to our Sooper Seekrit fireworks-watching location. We got there about an hour before the fireworks were due to start, and there were only a handful of other people there. (One group was a huge family that had obviously been there for most of the day -- they had a portable hibachi and a few large coolers of food.)

Penny got more and more excited as it got darker and darker, and then finally (surprisingly right on time) the fireworks started!

By the way, an open note to the woman who was sitting right behind us: while I'm sure you're absolutely right that having seen the Macy's fireworks display in New York City sort of dulls the thrill of most other shows, did you really need to spend the entire twenty minutes talking about it and ruining things for the rest of us? Geez. What the heck ever happened to the old "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" rule?

At least, thanks to our Sooper Seekrit fireworks-watching location, it only took Penny and I about twenty minutes to get home (most of that was spent on the first mile). Of course, since they didn't even get started until 9:15, she was up almost two hours past her usual bedtime.

I took about 125 pictures of fireworks, and only about 25 had to be deleted for being too blurry or showing too much camera shake. Of the remainder, 40 were good enough to be worth a second look, and about half of those were nice enough that I cropped and cleaned and posted them to my Flickr account.

I also posted this picture of Alex:

which reminded me strongly of this old picture of Penny:

Monday, knowing the kids would get completely stir-crazy if we tried to stay home with them all day, we packed up and went down to Chesapeake to visit KT and Kevin and Jess. I was braced for mild disaster -- Alex fell asleep in the car and got all of about 10 minutes' worth of a nap, which was just enough that he didn't want to nap after we got there. But though he was obviously in a "delicate" mood, he didn't completely lose his cool, and we managed to eat lunch and then sit and chat until around 4 while Penny and Jess played in Jess' room.

Both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home -- Alex within the first fifteen minutes, and Penny about twenty minutes from home. This, naturally, gave both of them the energy to not fall asleep until quite late. Three days in a row of going to sleep late -- it's going to be a fun week trying to get them back on schedule!

But it's a short week, and the Summer Bash is Saturday! I'm getting excited!

And I should probably figure out what I'm going to make for it. Aheh.

Friday, July 2, 2010


A long weekend is on the horizon! Salvation lurks!

I wonder how long it will take for the office to empty out entirely today. I'm strongly considering a "work from home" afternoon, myself.

Plans for the weekend?

Let's see. We're going to see Toy Story 3 on Saturday with Braz and Adin and Braz's girls (Penny hadn't wanted to see it until they invited us to join them... Apparently Penny's willing to see just about any movie as long as she gets to see it with cool people. By whom I mean Emma, of course.) And we'll very likely continue to hang out with them for the rest of the day, though nothing's been stated.

We don't currently have any plans for the 4th, though I'm going to call my parents today and see if they want to get together at some point. And it's my turn to take Penny to see the fireworks at our Sooper Seekrit stealth fireworks-watching location. (Which I need to drive by on Saturday, just to be sure I know how to get to it.) I'll take my camera and try to get some shots. I don't make any promises, though, since it's not like I get to practice fireworks photography very often. (I need to find my manual for the darned camera so I can look up how to adjust the settings on full-auto mode.)

Monday's the holiday from work and school, of course, but aside from dropping my car off to get the tires replaced (feel the excitement) we don't have any plans for that, either, yet. We'll want to avoid the obvious tourist spots like the beach or Busch Gardens, since they'll be swamped. Another movie? Visit a local museum? Take the kids to the park? No idea. We Shall See What Emerges.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book 'Em!

It's only Thursday? Seriously? This week has gone on long enough already, don't you think? Sheesh. And Penny forgot to bring her swimsuit for camp today, so I'm going to have to run it up to her during lunch. Though maybe that gives me an excuse to go out for lunch. Hmm.

At least the weather is nice. After the record-breaking highs of last week, this morning it was a blissful 68, with a high for the day of only 85. Ahhh. It's probably too much to hope for that this will linger through the weekend.

I went to book club last night. There were only five of us this time -- everyone else had commitments and unexpected delays. And of the five of us, two hadn't even started reading the book, so we didn't talk about it much. But we had a good time, anyway. We got a bit punchy toward the end, as we were planning out the next few books. After we'd done a few, we decided to start assigning various absent members hosting duties... and then we started matching them up with some wonderfully awful, bizarre, or just plain weird books.

...That's all I got.