fivecats: (5 Long-Necked Blinking Cats)

Green Trail Marker
Raleighwood, March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. Powders
I don't remember seeing these up north when I was growing up, so maybe they're a Southern Thing. I'm not brand-name loyal to either BC or Goody's, I'll take whichever is the cheapest.

They're essentially a migraine headache med combination (Acetaminophen, Aspirin, and Caffeine) that do a fine job of relieving some neck and shoulder stress, along with waking me up nicely when it's turning into serious nap time during werk hours. Since they're in powder form they take a bit of getting used to, but they also get into my system faster.

2. Evening walks with Bonn.

3. Laying down and taking a nap with our cats is one of the simplest, happiest things I know of.
fivecats: (Default)

Outside Raleighwood
March 2013

Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. Yesterday I had lunch with a most remarkable man. Gene Lehman is a former UNC Professor whose life began in Hunan Province of China. Born of Methodist missionaries, he and his family escaped in the middle of the night to escape the Cultural Revolution. They landed in rural Kentucky where he grew up during the Great Depression. He's a lover of English history, biology, and laughter.

Last year one of my co-werkers (who interacts with Gene on a regular basis) asked me if I could help him with PDF issue he was having with the biology textbook he wrote and illustrated. The request was a simple one and took me about 10 minutes. A second project took longer, but was one I found fascinating. Since then he thinks I'm a computer genius and now, apparently, he even enjoys my company. Yesterday I took the chance to ask him about his life growing up. He has a very grounded sense of culture and history as he lived his life. I feel honored to have been able to speak with him.

2. Last night was one of those rare nights where Spring is holding on just enough to keep Summer's heat and humidity and mosquitos away. After grilling Bonn some chicken for dinner (and to take to her lynx today) we had a candlelight dinner outside on the upper porch to the barn, accompanied by a few cats eager to share Bonn's chicken.

3. It's a beautiful day outside & Bonn is picking me up early from werk so we can enjoy a bit more of it together. : )
fivecats: (Default)

Outside Raleighwood
March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. My boss 'recommended' I attend a lunch meeting put on by one of our vendors today. The presentation turned out to be not at all what we were expecting, but I did win a free laser printer. Since its a B&W, I'll be setting it up on Bonn's computer, making her very happy.

2. My body is finally not hurting (so much) from all of the yard work on Saturday. I remember being sore in the past after using the chainsaw, mowing the lawn, and weeding the garden, but not like this. After I stopped, I went inside, sat down on the living room couch, and curled up and slept for several hours.

3. It may be minor, but I think I finally have my head wrapped around how MediaWiki coding works. It's not all that complicated but it's a lot less direct than HTML.

...
fivecats: (5 Long-Necked Blinking Cats)

Outside Raleighwood
March 2013


Turns out there's been an unexpected hitch in my answer to [livejournal.com profile] examorata's "What Happens Next?" question about my manuscript.

Saturday night I received my agent's editorial comments. At the start of the email she wrote that earlier that day she had just read that day's edition of Publisher's Marketplace, an industry newsletter that lists all of the new deals announced by the major publishing houses. Among Saturday's deals was one that, on the surface, shared three key elements with my manuscript. (The setting and characteristics of two of my main characters.) The plot and tone of that book is quite different from mine, but the similarities might be enough to derail my book from getting published anytime soon.

As I've told people, after reading that I was too depressed to even consider drinking. So I just went to bed.

I'm honestly not sure what's going to happen with the book now. I suspect we'll shelve it, but I need to talk to my agent before making any decision.

Over the past few days I've all but resigned myself to this idea. I've put three years into The Book and I'm not eager to see that work collect pixel-dust for what could be five or six years. However, being realistic, I'm grateful that The Book was good enough to get me an agent*. And, as [livejournal.com profile] annastan wrote to me, "So much of this business is about timing, which is completely out of our control. The only thing we CAN control is our writing."

I've already started working in my head on another, completely unrelated story. I talked through the basic characters and plot with Bonn last night and she actually liked it, saying she saw lots of opportunities for humor.

So there's that.

...
fivecats: (Default)

Maggie
March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. Thanks to Good Friday and a Tom Thursday, I had a nice four-day weekend. Sleeping late followed by reading on the sunny barn porch made for great mornings. Some garden work did in my lower, but that's to be expected I suppose.

2. Sunday was Easter, and Easter was the day the original five cats were born. Regardless of the date, that's when we've celebrated their birthdays for the past sixteen years. Easters in the past were often celebrated with crab legs -- their all-time favorites. With Maggie being the lone survivor, Bonn baked a chicken and Maggie ate her fill and then slept soundly for the night.

3. Spring is still trying to take over from Winter. Yesterday we had temps in the 70ºs; today it will be in the 60ºs and tomorrow in the 50ºs. Supposedly, we'll get fully into Spring after that. Either way, the weather has given us a string of those rare, perfect days.
fivecats: (Default)
Processing Stories
Processing Stories
Chapel Thrill
March, 2013

Three Bits o' Gratitude for the Day

1. The times I get to work on an OS 9.2 Mac are few and far between. On the one hand, that's a good thing -- OS X, and the computers it runs on, make for faster processing. On the other hand, it's fun to see the old screens come up and mine my memory for how to do things. (At one point I did something through a keyboard command that I didn't even know I remembered.)

(One of the things I insist on, as an IT Manager, is that we keep in-house a machine that will run sold software. My workplace has been around for a long time and has files in older applications that have never been updated. My boss often scoffs at the idea of keeping older equipment around, but converting an old Quark jacket image into a readable InDesign file (InDesign 2.0 for any graphic geeks out there!) is exactly why I hoard away older equipment.)


2. My agent emailed me last night to say she was working on her editorial comments and was "having fun" re-reading my manuscript.


3. It turns out consciously expressing gratitude on a daily basis can change your outlook, and therefore the way your brain processes events in your life. I can't say for sure it's working quite as dramatically as

fivecats: (Default)

Outside Raleighwood
March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. Time spent with my Maggie in my lap. Time spent working on the sleeve of my chainmail shirt.

2. An anniversary dinner at a really fine Thai restaurant. Both the house red and Panag curries were mighty fine.

3. Going to Barnes & Noble and finding books I want to read -- and leaving a gap in the kid's section where my book will eventually go. : )
fivecats: (Default)

Downtown Raleighwood
March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for the Day

1. Old friend Ed Wenck introduced me to Jill Gleeson. She's a woman leading a charmed life -- one that currently has her in the town of Dingle in Ireland. I've been reading her blog, Go Pink Boots, for the better part of a year now. You should, too. (She's also on FB where you should Friend her and read her regular, brief updates.

2. Bonn's insistence that I drive to the park & ride for the bus across town this morning instead of walking down the road and catching the local bus. I didn't take her offer seriously until I saw it was only 25º when I woke up. It was hard enough to get moving without having to walk to the bus in that kind of cold.

3. A rare werk mention: I managed to get WAMP and MediaWiki installed and configured on my Win7 machine. It's a test to see if we can get it deployed for an in-house wiki. MAMP has given me problems in the past and I was relieved to find WAMP worked about as it should.
fivecats: (Default)

Twenty-two Years Ago Today
Rockville, MD 1991


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. It's our 22nd anniversary!
Bonn had told me she was bad with dates so I was determined to find an Event Day for us to use as our anniversary. The first day of Spring seemed perfect to me -- although Bonn frequently still forgets it. (I, however, get to earn Good Husband Points by being able to wish her a Happy Anniversary, Happy x+1/4 Year Anniversary, Happy x+1/2 Year Anniversary, and Happy x+3/4 Year Anniversary)

2. [livejournal.com profile] sakkijarvi calming influence at the wedding.
My parents came into the Rockville, MD courthouse fighting. My brother and his then-girlfriend came in fighting. Only [livejournal.com profile] sakkijarvi and Bonn's mother came in relatively calmly. They then sat and spoke about their mutual interest in Africa for a good while -- until Bonn realized she didn't have her copy of the receipt for the marriage license. That set off a good 15 minutes worth of panic where Bonn was allowed to go through the courthouse receipts and [livejournal.com profile] sakkijarvi and I walked back to the car to see if Bonn had left it there.

The courthouse chapel (such as it was) still had leftover decorations from St. Patrick's Day. [livejournal.com profile] sakkijarvi offered to appropriate one of the Hallmarkish leprechauns from the walls as a souvenir. His offer to steal from the local courthouse to commemorate our wedding day is something Bonn and I still remember fondly.

3. My agent emailed saying she had received both the signed contract (thus making it Officially Official!) and the hazelnut dark chocolate bar we sent to her for her birthday. My agent is now doubly happy she has me for a client!

Next Steps

Mar. 18th, 2013 03:45 pm
fivecats: (Default)

Downtown Raleighwood: Watch For Pedestrians
March 2013


[livejournal.com profile] examorata left a comment at the entry where I mentioned signing a contract with a literary agent. She said she wanted to read what happens next. If I didn't know what the process was, I'd be interested in knowing, too -- So I wrote it up

The long, hurry up and wait while surrounded by uncertainty explanation can be found by clicking on through to the other side… )

...
fivecats: (Default)

Downtown Raleighwood
March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. A nice weekend. There were long lie-ins, a good walk yesterday (in what felt more like Fall weather as opposed to Spring), and time just being happy together.

2. Having completed the cutting of links, one more time, for the chainmail shirt. I've already started in on the extensions for the sleeves.

3. Going to the chiropractor has been helping with my neck, shoulders and arms. I like my local chiropractor, but dang I wish I could crack my own neck the way he does.

...
fivecats: (Default)

Outside Raleighwood
March 10, 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. The interesting ending to the BBC series "Life on Mars" which still has me thinking.

2. David Bowie's "Hunky Dory" album. (Yes, album. Not CD, but vinyl album. Get over it.)

3. Starting the BBC series "Ashes to Ashes" tomorrow night to see what they do with the 80s.

...
fivecats: (Default)

Self-Portrait: Reliable
March 8, 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. Yesterday my contract came in the mail. I signed one of the copies and we put it back in the mail almost right away.

This means my children's writing is officially agented by Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency! After working on The Book and trying to get an agent for three years, it's finally happened. This means I'll go through another round of revisions with Caryn and then she'll start shopping it around to editors at various publishing houses.

It's still just settling in that I have an agent and might actually become a published author in a few years.

Wow.

2. The look on Bonn's face when I showed her the contract.

3. Last night I stumbled upon Iain Anderson's show on BBC Radio Scotland. Today I've managed to find a way to pull down those few shows that are still online and have been listening to them. (They're available online for about a week.) This show is likely to become standard listening at werk and at home.

To those of you in the UK: are there other BBC radio shows I should check out?
fivecats: (Default)

Self Portrait w/ Sliced Jalapeños and Vanilla Pudding
Downtown Raleighwood
March, 8 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. Today was one of those rare, perfect days weather-wise. Sunny but cool and just made for a walk. We took a picnic lunch and walked through the neighborhood to the local park and ate just off the main trail, away from the kids playing nearby. After lunch we followed the creek towards the nearby lake, finding beaver tracks and their lodge just where the creek and the lake joined.

2. After twenty-some-odd years I'm still able to make Bonn laugh. (Today it was from saying that the big family from NJ who have moved in a few doors down have managed to out-whitetrash anyone in the entire development.)

3. Orange cake and ice cream for breakfast; orange cake and ice cream for dinner. : )
fivecats: (Default)

Self Portrait, Double-Processed*
Clyde Cooper's Barbecue Alley
Downtown Raleighwood
March 8, 2013


1. Bonn made me a mighty fine Moroccan Orange Cake with Chocolate icing today for my birthday. Serious yum.

2. She also got me a new wedding ring to replace the old, thin gold band that broke well over a decade ago. This new one is titanium and gold with a celtic knot design. Very cool, indeed.

3. A good day spent sleeping late, driving around running errands, and ending with a salmon dinner. (And, of course, a big slice of orange cake with chocolate icing.)

__________________________________________
* The original shot was taken with, and the initial post-processing work done through Camera Awesome! on my iPhone 4. A second image, created off of the post-processed image, was created through AutoPainter. I layered the two in Photoshop (on my Mac) and brought up just enough detail so my face is somewhat recognizable. I'm rather pleased with the overall effect.
fivecats: (Default)

Downtown Raleighwood
March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. My boss left at noon for a week's vacation. This made many of us smile.

2. Finding an unexpected stash of Tommy Keene* music/videos on The YouTubes.

3. Making the best of missing the first bus from downtown Raleighwood to home and wandering around the area taking photographs with my iPhone. Nothing earth-shattering, but at least I kept active and engaged in my surroundings.

_____________________________________
* I was a HUGE Tommy Keene fan back in the early 80s. WHFS played his music and I went out and bought his first album, Strange Alliance, as soon as it was released. He put out a number of EPs after that -- all of which I bought as well -- before moving out to LA where he hoped to Make It Big.

One afternoon I was working at The Kite Site and, looking out the windows behind the counter, I saw him crossing the street with a friend. "THAT'S TOMMY KEENE!" I said. And while my co-werkers wondered what the heck I was on about, I rushed out of the store to meet my local progressive rock hero.

"You're Tommy Keene!" I shouted.

Keene and his friend turned around. He smiled in a slightly embarrassed way. His friend smiled in one of those "I bet you wish this was some hot chick instead of some geeky guy" kinda ways.

There was that split second where I realized I needed to say something else. Something intelligent. Something, you know, cool.

"I have all of your albums," I managed to blurt out.

I think he thanked me, but I was already slinking back to the safety of The Kite Site to continue beating myself up for being such a dorky idiot.
fivecats: (Default)

Downtown Raleighwood
March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. A great many birthday greetings on FB today, making me feel quite good.

2. The promise of chocolate-orange cake sometime this weekend.

3. I'm still smiling from yesterday's news… and trying hard not to let it freak me out.
fivecats: (Default)

Downtown Raleighwood
March 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for Today

1. An email (followed by a phone call) that I'll be able to talk about in a few days.

2. The way said email and phone call made Bonn smile and be so happy for me.

3. Early birthday wishes.
fivecats: (Default)

Downtown Raleighwood
March, 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for the Day

1. A nice drive from Pittsboro to Mebane up Hwy 87, thanks to Waze.

2. A quiet two hours in the Mebane Public Library spent working on The Book while Bonn went to CCI to visit her lynx.

3. A warm Maggie, curled up in my lap, and being very annoyed that I'm using my hands for typing right now instead of petting her.
fivecats: (Default)

Downtown Raleighwood
Early Morning, February 28, 2013


Three Bits o' Gratitude for the Day:

1. Bonn had a great time walking through the local park trails with a local friend. Neither of them are very outgoing when it comes to meeting new people or making new friends. I'm very happy that Bonn has found what appears to be a nearby, kindred spirit.

2. AnnaStan's second book, My Epic Fairy Tale Fail, came out today. She's been a big help in putting some well-focused polishing touches on The Book. The first book in this series was a fun read and one I'll recommend to people looking for an engaging, entertaining read to bring kids into the love of reading. I'm really happy for her that her second book is out.

3. Bonn drove downtown to pick me up this evening after the bus refused to let me on because it had left the station. (Don't get me started… seriously.)

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