wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
The news today had a story of a beautiful house that burned. The local police chief said the fire was hottest in an area where there was a TV and computers, and he is ruling it an accidental electrical fire.

It feels like the shadow of a personal alternate history at the moment.

You see, when I woke up, the snakes' terrarium was dark. This isn't good--reptiles are cold-blooded, and we use heat lamps to avoid burning their skin since they don't have the reflexes to get off the nice warm spot if it gets too hot. My first thought was that a fuse had blown. Several trips up and down the stairs from second floor to basement and consulting the "map" for what's on which circuit convinced us that wasn't the case. But there was no power to anything plugged into the surge suppressor.

The next hypothesis was that the surge suppressor had blown. I'd put the surge suppressor there because the terrarium is way too big to let us access the outlet without moving it away from the wall, and with a couple of nails I could plug things in off to the side of the terrarium. Much more convenient! And it's an old house. A little extra isolation between my electronics and the house might be a good thing during a thunderstorm, right?

So we pulled the terrarium away from the wall and put a different surge suppressor (one I'd been using as an extension cord in my office) there. We started plugging things in and cheered--they worked. Well, all but one. Ok, we have replacement bulbs. That didn't help. OK, the lamp itself was dead;they're designed to screw together around a satellite-dish-shaped metal shade, to aim the heat into the enclosure. I unscrewed the parts and found that the had suffered a catastrophic failure, hot enough to turn the modern insulation in the ceramic bit to ash.

I am very glad indeed that I was using a surge suppressor there instead of a simple extension cord. All we lost was the doomed lamp and one surge suppressor--and a surge suppressor's highest honor is to die in the line of duty. The still perfect-looking shade is in the cabinet until we buy a new heat lamp for it, the plastic terrarium is quite unscorched, the snakes were more disturbed by us moving their home around than the potential disaster, and the electric lines in the house were protected from the surge.

So, I'm feeling lucky. Also, the clouds cleared so we could watch the eclipse and the Cubs' season isn't over yet. Maybe we'll get to read how Harry Dresden banished the curse on the Cubs this year! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
wyld_dandelyon: (Rainbow Margay Mage)
I know, this is my space, I can do whatever I want here, as much or as little, and so on and so forth. But I do value this space, this connection with other thinking, creating people. And I am not using it as much as I want to.

On the other hand, I'm doing more of window repairs, wall repairs, bathroom repairs, painting and plastering (well, that one's in the wrong order), errands, and stuff like dishes and mopping than I want to be. To say nothing of arranging for things like fixing squirrel damage or cutting down the old dying rowan tree before it falls on my car or somebody's house or garage. Somehow, when I get to the computer I'm tired. It takes a while to get into writing mode and I then try to turn first to fiction, and I rarely get focused for Live Journal after that. (And I won't even mention trips to the dentist.)

I know I will appreciate windows that have been tended prior to winter, and walls that look whole and pleasing, and bathrooms that don't leak, and not having my sparkly purple car crushed, and not having holes in my teeth, etc. Those are all good things, but they're not enough.

Maybe I can change that--at least, the not posting much part. Here's hoping.

In the meantime,

"Hi out there! I'm still here, and glad to see you."
wyld_dandelyon: (cat is ready)
Thank goodness. Despite me moving at little more than an idle, neither my brakes nor my steering were overcoming the slight downhill cant of the road to bring me to a stop. Finally, I managed to veer toward the middle of the road, and came to a stop partially on top of the snow-covered median. The driver backed back into the driveway he'd come out of, parked, and came running to repeatedly apologize and push me back off median, and apologize again, telling me that he barely got his heavy truck to stop before hitting me (thank goodness I had room to dodge). Once he got me free of the median, he stood there to tell traffic to wait so I could get back into my lane and drive away.

I slowed down more.

The SUV driver who just had to make a left turn in front of me to go to the casino a few seconds sooner didn't collide with me either, but I had to dodge him as well. Once again, I was headed downhill. Once again, the best I could do was veer toward oncoming traffic, this time in the hope that the SUV driver was going fast enough for me to go around him. Thank goodness the other casino-goers in the left turn lane wanted to bet on cards or dice or slot machines, not on road conditions. I went around the SUV's tail end and proceeded on my way.

I tested the brakes on the open grid section of the bridge. They worked fine--there, where the new-fallen snow had been able to keep falling. Nothing to do but keep on driving, though.

The impatient sports-car driver who gave in to the urge to pass me on the right even though I had my turn signal on and was moving in that direction didn't manage to side-swipe me, though I don't know how. He didn't even get far for his trouble, since only three or four car lengths ahead in that lane was a city bus.

Finally, the bus moved and I could turn off 6th Street, and my ride became less eventful, though not less slippery. I'm home safe, and I still have a sparkly purple car, though right now it is a car of indeterminate color, covered with sparkly, fluffy, beautiful new snow.

It can continue to look like that until morning. I am *NOT* going to Walgreens for my prescription or to the store for groceries or anywhere else until the snow isn't so pretty

and new


wyld_dandelyon: (cat is ready)
northern lights tomato i think
northernlights closer

These "northern lights" tomatoes were very good on pizza this week.
wyld_dandelyon: (cat is ready)
You can be too busy to think, distracted by grief and worry, dreams and plans, errands and chores, and more, and if you don't deprive them of basics like dirt and water and light, they do their thing:

3 indoor tomatoes
1 indoor tomato

These are some of the tomatoes that were on my upstairs front porch during the summer.  Yes, there's more than one variety; the colors actually are different, that's not just an artifact of taking pictures with a cell phone--though, on reflection, I also realize that the second picture's colors are affected by having a glowing grow light sitting there just barely out of the frame.  I turned off the grow light that's near the grouping of three.

This just goes to show that sometimes you have to rearrange things to achieve your goals.  Indoor tomato plants, actually bearing fruit.  I am pleased!

I'm working on rearranging other things in my life too; refinancing the mortgage, sorting through clothes (and other stuff) and designating some for donating and some for trash, trying to help the docs figure out how to get My Angel healthier, and more.  It's more and more clear to me that I need a writing/arting office, and I've known for some time that I need more time and space to be creative.  I think I will be able to make some big changes soon.  I hope.  Keep your fingers crossed for me while I work on making room and rearranging things.

In other news, the moon in the clouds was beautiful tonight. The pictures taken before I messed with the camera settings were stained pink by the color of my phone cover, but these two came out pretty well, I think:

novembermoon2013 novembermoon2013--

Happy Full Moon, everyone!
wyld_dandelyon: (cat is ready)
When we moved in, we realized that the plumbing in the downstairs bathroom had a bad leak -- the sink and bathtub drains leaked right onto one of the beams that holds up the house. When we got into the basement and reached up, I found I could put all four fingers into that pipe. A couple years back, after opening up the wall on the other side, we fixed that. I still have a six-inch segment of pipe we removed, that basically lacks an inch-wide segment completely along its whole length.

Not long after that, the allergies informed me that there was some mold behind the plastic tile. Now, mind you, this is inevitable, that's why they don't let you use plastic tile on bathroom walls any more. But that meant tearing it out, which (since it had been glued to the plaster) left me with four walls that needed extensive plastering. I am very excited that the walls are now almost done. I've even put some paint on parts; I'll buy a waterproofing paint for the top layer, so we can use the shower down there if we want to.

So we've been discussing bathroom decor.

A long time ago, I picked up one of those sun-moon-and-stars shower curtains at rummage. More recently, friends gifted us with a whole set of bathroom things on that theme, including an identical shower curtain (read here "window drape" since the window is above the tub).

So I went online to find some suitable towel racks. Instead, I found shower curtain hooks. Bonus! But the towel rods were all unsuitable or boring.

Then I found two of these:


Now, the color isn't great, but I figured I could fix that. So, last night we watched Babylon 5 while I painted. This one is probably almost done:


And here she is with her sister, who still has some resin showing through:


Slowly, we're getting to the point where the first floor bathroom will finally not be an ongoing project!
wyld_dandelyon: (cat is ready)
So, I've been meaning to take a picture of the second floor of my front porch, which is currently home to all but one of the biggest tomato plants I've got this year. (I got two planted out in the yard; only one of those has survived.)

Anyway, Milwaukee is currently engulfed in a heat wave, so I've been going out every day to water the upstairs tomatoes, and I finally remembered to take some pictures.

vertical pic of tomatoes on the porch

They're still awfully young for the time of year, but being in pots means I can bring them inside when frost threatens.

The pots all have pumice rocks on top of the dirt because our kitties are allowed out on the porch, and they're perfectly happy to dig in just about any dirt.  Rough-textured rocks, on the other hand, aren't so much fun.

The other feature worth mentioning is that I can indulge in garden decorations that would, sadly, be stolen if I put them out in the yard.  Yay for purple butterflies!

tomato with metal butterfly and bauble

So, here's hoping the bees are fertilizing my tiny flowers, and I will have tomatoes!
wyld_dandelyon: (Disintegrations and Defenestrations! by)
After far too long (life has been uncooperative), my singing partner came over today so we could practice. I'd been at work for a half-day and came back to tend seedlings briefly then try to set up the living room for music. I ended up picking up some cat mess and then went to open windows for cross-ventilation and to make it less likely that my ever-present allergies would affect my voice.

That was more challenging than it should have been, since our "halfway" (the storage area between the first floor and the basement) is still in the process of being painted, so tools, nails, sand paper, etc. etc. etc. are in the living room, scattered across the tables I normally use for selling stuff at festivals, blocking off access to one wall. But I managed to wiggle the tables enough to squeeze past and open the window.

Then I ran into a totally unexpected problem--the chair that my friend always sits in was missing.  It's true that we have more than one chair, but most of them have arms or are otherwise unsuitable for him to use for music practice.

I searched the first floor and second floor several times before heading down into the basement. Climbing dusty stairs is not the best thing for my lungs or my knees. I could not find the chair that had been in the living room, nor the other one like it. Finally the homeless guy living at my house overheard enough to volunteer that he'd taken the chair and put it in his room. When I protested that he had not asked about moving the chair, he gave me a pointed look and said, "but no one was using it."

I told him that wasn't the point.

He repeated, louder and slower, "Deirdre, no one was using it!"

As if that justified him taking something that wasn't his without so much as informing me he was using it, and hiding it away in the area we have been treating as his private space.

I told him that the point was it wasn't his and he didn't ask. I admitted that if he had asked, I would doubtless have said yes, but he should have asked. He left the house soon thereafter.

I really would like this to work--My Angel and I both have chronic illnesses, and having someone else around to do some of the chores and just be another adult around in case Angel falls again is welcome.

But I didn't offer him a free room, I observed that he'd been saying he was desperate to find a place to move to and I had a big house that had space and that needed work, and we might be able to work something out that would benefit both of us.  So far, he has done some chores, but not a lot.  Certainly not enough to make up for not paying rent or utilities.

More and more I am feeling deliberately disrespected.  This chair thing isn't the first time I've felt a lack of respect for me personally or as the owner of the property.  It's mostly little things, for instance, when we're talking about things that need doing, he's very unwilling to risk disturbing my stuff--but if he wants to cook, he'll ask things like,  "Do we have such-and-such a spice?"   Not that I object to sharing my spices, but they are my spices (or my-and-Angel's spices).  He didn't buy or grow any of them.

I don't think I'm out of line in believing he should be respectful of our things, and not just use them as if he's entitled to them because he doesn't think we're using them.  I also don't think it's out of line to think that he should act like he appreciates the gift of a warm safe place to stay.

I know I haven't been perfect in this situation--with the asthma, allergies, and sleep apnea, to say nothing of a very challenging day job, it is far too often all I can do to worry about my family; dealing with this situation is often well beyond the number of spoons I have had left by the time I got off work and find out that My Angel isn't up to even cooking dinner, much less going shopping, taking out trash, or anything else useful.  I have too often been grumpy and uncommunicative.  I have to do better, one way or the other.

But the goal was to let me have fewer worries and more time, if not eventually money to use on house repairs or something else useful to me.  And I've not gotten that.

Instead, here I am, using time I might use for writing or music or art and instead am thinking over whether it's worth the effort to try to fix this situation or whether I'd do better to do things like find someone in the neighborhood to hire for snow shoveling. Not that I know who in this neighborhood I can trust. The neighborhood seemed to be moving in a good direction when and  right after we moved in, but the "great" economy squashed all progress.


At least the music practice was good, once I put aside being distracted by the matter of the missing chair.

Here, have another lilac picture:

wyld_dandelyon: (Scientist Geek Magician)
Fractals for dinner anyone?



And I have leftovers...
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
I did some writing and some submitting this year, though not as much as I hoped.

Like last year, I had some months where I exceeded my goal of 10 submissions per month; some months where I made some submissions, but not 10; and a few months where life got away from me and the stories that needed submitting sat on my computer, waiting for me to have some time and energy to send them out.

I have a vision for the future, some time when I no longer need a day job, that each working day will include some office hours — time to answer emails, make submissions, proofread completed work, even things like learning to convert files to mobi and other epub formats. But it's clear I need that now, maybe not every day, but every week.

I did not get as much writing done in 2012 as I had hoped — nowhere near as much as I had dreamed, certainly, but also not as much as I thought was a realistic goal. Admittedly, I did have some unplanned health crises that took up quite a bit of my time and energy, starting with My Angel falling in February, and nearly bleeding to death.

But back to office hours, the question is "When?"  I need some de-stressing and refocusing time after work, even when work and health issues don't leave me really too tired for anything else. And weekends, well, weekends are all different. Catching up on sleep, catching up on errands, catching up on laundry, sometimes going to parties or conventions or housefilks — scheduling office hours for weekends seems doomed. But I've got to figure out something.

I suppose that's got to be the first goal for 2013: Figure out some non-doomed time for office hours.

I'm going to renew my 2012 goal of at least 10 submissions per month. I think if I can set up office hours that will be doable. At least I hope so.

And writing. I want to do more writing. I wrote some short stories and poems, and started even more.  I both started and finished the Wild Snowy Chase prequel this year, and added many words to Wild Snowy Chase itself, and the end of that story is in sight. If I hadn't got sick this month, I think I'd have finished it already. Next, of course, is getting Dini and Lalya married off properly. This weekend's Muse Fusion got me too short stories, and one poem closer to that goal already. I also have several things I'm working on that aren't set in Torn World.  I'd like to finish Clockwork Dragon and my shifter mystery.

I think Camp NaNoWriMo is scheduled to happen in March this year, which, if I don't get sick, is a much more likely month for me to make 50,000 words than November. I've always said November is terrible, though even so I managed to win one year. I have solid hopes for March.  I'd like to think of myself as totally self-sufficient, but I do find having companions of this writing journey, and truth be told, having people to compete with (no matter how nominal the competition) has helped keep me focused and writing.

I have other goals too, of course. I'd like to do a few sketches for every Sketch Fest. That's really making a difference in my drawing skill. And I want to do more music. (I won't be doing the coffeehouse talent contest this year, as once again the finals conflict with Capricon.) I'd also like to get the house in better shape. Sadly, all of these things take time, and I don't have any way to squeeze more hours into the day. I guess in the new year, I just have to keep on doing as much as I can, keep dreaming big, and living up to as many of my dreams as possible.

I also started exercising more days than not in 2012, which has made my knees stronger and happier, and even started my weight creeping downward very slowly.  That's something I need to continue. 

Overall, 2012 wasn't bad.  I kept the day job, paid bills, started exercising, dealt with disasters big and small, and didn't stop writing, drawing, singing, and living.  If I didn't do everything I'd hoped to do, well, I always dream big and plan optimistically.  I figure I may never meet all my goals that way, but I'm sure I get more done than if I planned small.  So, here's to 2012 and to 2013.

I hope we all have a safe, wonderful, creative, and happy New Year.

wyld_dandelyon: (Frazzled Moth Artist)
So why do I get "rewarded" with illness? I have told you I hate my allergies, right?

Though, to be fair, there are enough sick people at work that I can't blame house cleaning with certainty. But work is a virtue too, isn't it? Either way, Karma baby, you're way off base. 

Despite spending my "lunch hour" on a trip to the doctor, and acquiring appropriate medications, I barely have enough brain cells to rub together to play stupid facebook games.


Where are the Brownies When You Need Them?
wyld_dandelyon: (Disintegrations and Defenestrations! by)
An unemployed friend has been staying in a place that has been getting, well, less and less comfortable. I don't know the people he's staying with, but I do know that sometimes perfectly nice, reasonable people are mutually much happier not trying to live in the same house, and this could be one of those situations.

On the other hand, I have chronic illnesses (including allergies that make house-upkeep problematic), a demanding full-time job, am trying to keep up with a writing career, and My Angel has not been well for some time. It has occurred to me that another person around to share some of chores (and, for that matter, another person in the house in case My Angel falls again and needs help when I'm not home) would not be a bad thing.

But maybe sometime suddenly became "as soon as possible", so I spent much of the weekend cleaning--first working on the TV room where Angel fell, and which has had too much dust and chaos for some time, and then once the friend showed up, working to clear and clean a room for him. I didn't get as much done as I wanted to and did end up stuffed up and headachy most of the weekend, but overall, I think we got at least the minimum needed so we can have a place for his bed and desk next weekend, including getting a much-needed layer of paint on a couple of walls.

We poured LOTS of dust down the toilet, trapped safely in soapy water. Of course, I also breathed in LOTS of allergens.

Writing time, though--not so much. I needed to pour water over myself and nap after he left.

Here's hoping that in the long run, this leads to more time for writing and less time immersed in dust and soapy water.


wyld_dandelyon: (Default)

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