masqthephlsphr: (glob)
Up until now, I've been slightly ahead of my schedule. Now, I'm right on. I am hoping a week off after Christmas will give me a boost so I don't get too far behind. However, life has gotten more complicated in the last week, and not in good ways (long story short: my older nephew got in a bad car accident over the weekend. My brother and mother are moving this coming weekend. Christmas will be an afterthought this year).

I am past the mid-point of the novel, now stepping into the parts I've spent a lot less time pre-writing or even thinking about. That makes it more interesting, but I also have to honor what I've written up to now. A balancing act.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 19
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Start chapter 20
This month's goal: Get at least party way into Chapter 21

In other news, I have a new telescope. So I also have to find time to learn how to use it to best effect.
masqthephlsphr: (sibs)
One day late, but not a dollar short.

Alas, life gets in the way, as it is bound to do this time of year. The holidays are being made even more complicated than usual this year by my recently-divorce brother moving to a new house, and my elderly mom moving out her retirement apartment to move in with him and his kids. They are each of them in a state of Total Chaos as their lives get packed away into boxes and transported from one place to another.

Between my assistance with that, and a few medical issues of my own that need attending to, and the girlfriend distracted by an upcoming art show she is preparing for, and Oh, Right, again... Christmas.... (have I shopped for anyone except my six-year-old grandnephew who is a small child and therefore easy to gift? Noooo.)

Oh, and on top of the online class I'm taking right now, I signed up for a one-week novel revision class--you know, the kind that always pops up in December to take advantage of the NaNo-ites. I didn't NaNo this year. My first draft isn't even due until the end of January, but I signed up for a revision class now anyway, 'cause this is when they all seem to pop up out of the woodwork.

I entirely blame my apparent success at reaching my weekly goals this week on the fact that the chapters due were already written in earlier classes from last summer.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 18
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 19
This month's goal: Get at least party way into Chapter 21


Jun. 1st, 2015 03:16 pm
masqthephlsphr: (gc)
Ugh, it's like the weather gods glanced at the calendar and decided today was the day to turn the temperature up to "furnace." After eight years of this, yes, I am used to it, but it's become my daily habit to take a walk at work to exercise my gimp knee and give my back a break from all the sitting. My walk has been pushed back earlier and earlier in the day. Soon, it may not be possible at all, except before dawn, before aforementioned knee and back actually need it.

The up part of the summer is Pluto, Ceres, and Light Sail, among other things. I am on vacation (yay!) in a couple weeks, and D and I plan to drive up to Flagstaff to visit Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was originally discovered, then perhaps venture up to the Grand Canyon where the yearly amateur telescope festival will be going on at the rim. Haven't been to either place (Flagstaff or the GC) since I was up there for our burnin' Buffy ATPo weekend--when? 2010? Eesh.

This is all assuming my back can put up with hours of car travel. Dry run trip to Prescott this weekend to deliver my nephew to summer camp.

Also, there will be writing this summer. I have about three short story WIPs in process, and it's indoor weather from here on out.

Here's some stories I wrote recently:

The Beast
The Book of Barry


Dec. 31st, 2014 07:17 am
masqthephlsphr: (astronomy)
Pretty typical holiday last week. Which is remarkable in itself, I suppose, given some recent personal and family travails. Short explanation, me: pain, and SIL has asked my brother for a divorce, but other than filing the petition and lawyers engaged, the marriage continues in an awkward steady-state for now. Personally, I think she'll find "freedom" more than she bargained for.

I have been on vacation, but that has been awkward due to see above: re pain, and orthopedic chair delayed in delivery. There hasn't been the usual sitting-around-writing or interneting volume I usually do on staycations due to that, because I can only sit for short periods. So I trade between sitting at the computer, doing piddly household things, occasional trips to the gym, errands, and laying about in bed watching TV. Want my new chair now, srsly, guyz.

As for the new year, I have dubbed 2015 "The Year of the Dwarf Planet." Two words: Ceres. Pluto. More on those later. Otherwise, this year, I am skipping my usual long-winded (long-typed?) resolutions. I know what I want to do. Instead, I am taking a page from Yoda's book: "Do, or do not, there is no Resolve to…."
masqthephlsphr: (robotsonmars)

This is a fascinating documentary, covering every aspect of the Apollo 11 mission and the science and technology that supported it. It also paints a layered portrait of the the world that was watching (not to mention a vintage glimpse at mid-century America. The business and restaurant signs! OMG!) Very human, poetic, philosophical, and informative at the same time. It brought tears to my eyes more than once.

I was too young to remember this event and the world it took place in. My mom tells me our family was like most others that day--glued to the television. At one point, my father took my older sister outside to look at the moon, but when there wasn't much to see you didn't normally see, she asked to be taken back inside to watch it on the television. Then she promptly got freaked out by the closeups of the astronaut's helmets, faces turned into black reflections.

I get very frustrated sometimes with the pace of humankind's exploration of space, but when I watch a documentary like this and reflect on what the world was like one hundred years ago, fifty years ago, I realize: I live in an amazing age.

Happy anniversary, Apollo 11.
masqthephlsphr: (alias will)
Good birthday weekend. Saturday, the Sculptor and I had our usual Saturday night dinner and teevee. We've been watching Alias, and had finally got to one of my favorite moments of Season 1, when Will finds out about Sydney's secret life. We also had a dry red wine from our Sonoita trip that has a distinctive taste of chocolate in it (Wilhelm Family Vineyards, Karyl's Creation, if you are curious).

I tried to spend most of Sunday relaxing since I am still not feeling one hundred percent, and stabbing at NaNo. I kept telling myself, "Take a break, it's your birthday," but NaNo is what it has always been--the poorly-timed writing marathon month that takes on a life of its own. It's no wonder I get flu-ey every November.

Sunday evening, D and I took my family to Top of The Rock, a Tempe restaurant built into the side of one of the Valley's many ant-hill rock "mountains". It has a fabulous view of the central Phoenix area outside the window and fancy (although simultaneously casual) food. I may regret the bit of over-indulgence later this week. ; )

There was an amazing full moon.

After dropping my mom back home (she is waiting for the DMV to process her doctor's sign-off on her vision and her license reinstated), I settled in for this week's OUAT, which was something of a game-changer. The show has me as "Hooked" as ever, which makes it frustrating that I am not bonding yet with OUAT: Wonderland, though I continue to watch it.
masqthephlsphr: (word)
My life since graduate school: I am a child in a candy store, the one who is told she cannot eat anything until she's finished her chores.

I have a job, but beyond that, few responsibilities. I am single and childless. I don't belong to any organizations (anymore, used to be a thing with me). I have a few family obligations, but nothing that taxes on a daily basis. My family (including my GF) gives me lots of space. Even in my job, I am left pretty much alone as long as I get the work done. Sure, sometimes that work is demanding.

But it is safe to say, that for the most part, I do what I want when I want.

Which means there is a candy store of experiences waiting for me to just try them. What's the candy? Sometimes, it's a wonderful television program. Sometimes, it's a fascinating place to visit. Sometimes, it's feathering this little nest I've built for myself. Sometimes, an interesting friend. Sometimes, it's literally a piece of candy.

But I'm not allowed these things until my chores are finished. So of course, I sneak off and I eat the candy, and then berate myself. No candy until your chores are done.

And what are my chores?

Writing. That's my chores. "The great American novel." That should be one of the pieces of candy, the most delicious, enticing candy in the store. Instead, it's the thing that the mom-voice in my head is telling me to finish before I can taste one little delicious piece of life.

So of course I'm always rebelling by watching TV, working on some personal project, or eating. And then berating myself, bitterly. In an endless cycle.

Self-beratement doesn't work. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. All it does is turn the best thing in my life into a cudgel I use to bludgeon myself with.


Jun. 25th, 2013 09:14 am
masqthephlsphr: (CrankyHarry)
That's me, officially hitting The Wall. The Wall of six plus months solid of work with only a couple three-day weekends, two plus months solid of taking care of my mom while she was in the hospital, rehab facility, and now in home healthcare, who-the-hell-knows how many years months solid of banging on a novel whose plot and World still continue to elude me in many ways and...

well, everything else.

I am sick, and I am tired.

I took one sick day earlier this month to "shake" this off, and then I had to do it again yesterday.

So totally, totally should have scheduled a real vacation earlier than I did. Of course, my idea of a "real" vacation is a two-week long staycation with a recliner and Netflix and a computer on my lap, still banging on that novel. I don't know how to take a break from it. I keep going back to it, whether the work I do on it is productive or not. I know it's my control freak tendencies. Which I get from my mother. And if I didn't know this before, I do now. She has been cut off from the usual avenues of daily life of late, and so she keeps needling me to take care of all the things she can't control--my elder nephew, a late bill that somehow didn't get paid, people she needs to contact, etc, etc.

And my vacation, when it comes, doesn't promise to be any sort of break from responsibility. There are trains to catch and tours to get to and most of that is left up to the Sculptor and me instead of a tour company. I think I have every detail worked out, 'cause that's what I do.

But right now? Stop the world, I want to get off for a bit.
masqthephlsphr: Halt and Catch Fire (girl geek)
Part II of the OUAT flashbacks in chronological order, featuring my boy Baelfire, Jiminy Cricket, and young Geppeto:

In other news, less than a month until my fab Netherlands/Germany/Switzerland vacation. The Sculptor and I are making plans with [profile] zargon10 for our Amsterdam jaunt.

In the mean time, I am having a brain-fried time at work, I am squeezing in daily hours on my novel, and I officially cancelled the lumbar medial branch block+radiofrequency ablation procedure, at least for now. I may revisit them in a year down the line, but I want to try just going on physical therapy exercises for time being.

Oh, and I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which I am wrestling with as I learn how to use it.

And my mom is being discharged from the extended care facility next Monday.

Moving on

May. 2nd, 2013 07:22 am
masqthephlsphr: (ms)
My mom was discharged from the hospital yesterday to an extended care facility she's stayed at before after one of her hip surgeries. She still has a way to go to heal--both with her GI tract (eating) and regaining what little mobility she had before this whole sleigh ride began.

Yesterday, I commented to the Sculptor, "I can't believe it's only been two weeks." Two weeks ago yesterday she went into the hospital in the first place for mysterious weakness and stomach aches. It feels a lot longer.

My morning writing practice continues, though some days I have to squeeze it in with everything else.

32155 / 100000 words. 32% done!
masqthephlsphr: (ms)
I visited mom in ICU yesterday morning and found her alert and asking to get caught up on the events of past week, both personal, family, and at her church conference, which was held over the weekend. I'm pushing fifty, but was joyfully thinking, "It's my mommy!" She's been so out of it up to now and unable to talk when she wasn't.

I came back after work and she was gone. They'd moved her back up to progressive care again without informing me. But it didn't take long to track her down. Here's hoping she's off the ICU-progressive care yo-yo and on the high road to the rehab facility.

No PT or early-morning mom visits this AM. So I plugged a bit on Nano.

23501 / 25000 words. 94% done!


Apr. 24th, 2013 06:30 am
masqthephlsphr: (word)
Woke up at 4 am this morning. PT at 7:45. I told my boss yesterday I was going to be late for work because I needed to visit my mother. ICU is closed down for the shift change between 7 and 8:30 anyway, so I could only see her after PT.

The goal today was to just get as many words out as possible, no matter how junky. There were a few words I liked, it wasn't all junky.

22447 / 25000 words. 90% done!


Apr. 23rd, 2013 12:56 pm
masqthephlsphr: (HP)
Just when I bragged about having a new writing practice in my daily routine, life threw a wrench in it. First off, I figured out that visiting my mom in the hospital is more fruitful first thing in the morning, when she's relatively alert. Second, for the next three weeks, I will have six sessions of physical therapy, also first thing in the morning. I'm an early riser, but I don't know if I can squeeze Nano, my mom, and PT into those mornings when the latter two are on the docket.

Anyway, no writing today, so I pulled out a bit of writing from earlier in the month I'd been saving for a rainy day and plopped it into the count:

20872 / 25000 words. 83% done!

And on

Apr. 20th, 2013 04:24 pm
masqthephlsphr: (lost6)
I did some writing today, between chair shopping (for work) and mom-visiting. She is in ICU now, on the bumpy road to recovery. Thanks for the good vibes and prayers, and keep 'em coming.

16321 / 20000 words. 82% done!

Mom news

Apr. 19th, 2013 05:25 pm
masqthephlsphr: (ms)
My mom is in surgery right now. They found a rather large hole in her GI tract they want to either sew up or bypass. Good thoughts and prayers appreciated.

ETA: Heck of a time for LJ not to be accepting cross posts.


Apr. 19th, 2013 07:03 am
masqthephlsphr: (science magic)
Just when I was thinking of upping my word count goal again, life got in the way. My mom has been experiencing nausea and general weakness for weeks now. Every time she tried to do common everyday tasks, her heart rate would accelerate. Turns out there is a logical, if unpleasant, explanation for this. She has multiple bleeding ulcers from her arthritis meds.

Between visits to her in the hospital and an early-morning start to my own physical therapy sessions (for arthritis, natch) yesterday, I did not get a chance to write. I pretty much came-home-and-crashed Weds and Thurs.

So it was difficult easing back into it this morning, especially since I woke way too early. But once I did get into it, I had some good stuff come out of it.

14752 / 20000 words. 74% done!


Apr. 17th, 2013 12:10 pm
masqthephlsphr: (ms)
My mom is in the hospital with anemia that is making her quite ill. Good thoughts would be appreciated.
masqthephlsphr: (muse)
A lot of people don't like doing New Years resolutions, and I don't blame them. Each year of our lives has a particular flow, and the flow we are in in one year is different than the one we veer into in the next, and therefore the expectations we develop from one may not apply to the other at all. We can't always control the way our lives flow.

But I think those of us privileged enough to have some semblance of control over at least part of our time ought to at least visualize how we'd like to spend that time, even if other stuff comes along to divert us from those visions. 2012 was a case-in-point year for that.

Read more... )

2012 had a lot to commend for it. And more than one place to improve.
masqthephlsphr: (A very Congel Christmas)
Just got back from dinner with the fam at the country club. Sounds more hoity-toity than it is. Lots of snow birds, actually, eating one of four dinner selections. A few of them were on the golf course.

This morning, the Sculptor and I were at my bro's house at 7 am for the gift-opening and Messiah sing-along. That was after hitting they hay after midnight. This year, my SIL had the idea of inviting the Sculptor and me to be fellow elves. I stored the kids' gifts at my place and then yesterday evening, we wrapped and assembled them at my place as well. We started at four pm, but one of the gifts was an art desk for David that took HOURS to assemble. I cursed and threw out my back bending over and lost more screws and tools in my dark red rug than actually went into the desk.

There was that big desk and an air hockey table to assemble and transport and only one SUV between the three of us, so we had to make two trips. Somehow, the Sculptor and I missed the freeway turn off on the second trip and were halfway to Tucson before we figured that out. We were on the Gila River reservation and had to turn around in the dark. So today, when we made our veiled references to last night in front of the kids, the euphemism for the evening was, "We all went to the casino." Got a lot of mileage out of that.

I'm resting up now, then I'm headed over to the Sculptor's to exchange our gifts for each other. Right now, though, I'm flat on the La-Z-Boy watch It's A Wonderful Life.

Hope everyone had a great holiday and/or dinner at the Chinese restaurant.
masqthephlsphr: (construction)
In the immortal words of Bill Murray:

"I'm alive, and so are you...!"

At least for the moment.

I really need to get to those Christmas movies soon. Scrooged is one of my favorites. Who says its dated?! The '80's is vintage now, people. Other faves are Scrooge '51 and of course the Rudolph and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town* puppet-mations.

* Although have you ever noticed how that movie just makes up sh@t about the story behind different Christmas traditions--both pagan and Christian, all of which there is an actual real reason for and some of which is therefore kind of sacrilegious?

Today is the last day of work before vaca. Won't be back until next year. NEED this rest, I am so burnt out right now.

In other news, I am still working on PlotWriMo. And discovering, to my dismay, that my novel draft just completed in Oct does not have a plot. Or, I'm having trouble finding it. I need to cut myself a break, I think. Firstly, I decided back in Oct that the novel is really at least three novels, and secondly, this month I discovered early on that the plot to the draft I wrote is really the plot of book two, not book one.

So there is work to be done, pulling the elements of book one out of the draft and giving them a proper structure.

Speaking of structures, my new living room patio door is being installed. They are having to do it in layers (frame, stucco, drywall/trim, painting) so it's still in progress. I am photo-documenting all the stages and will blog on it later.

Christmas is proceeding apace. Like last year, me and mine are all gathering at my brother's house to watch his son open up everyone's presents. Then we will listen to the Messiah and attempt to assemble aforementioned presents, then we will go to the country club for dinner.

The only diff this year--well, two diffs: The Sculptor is joining us for the morning gift opening portion, as well as the dinner portion (which she did with us last year). Also, The Sculptor and I have been drafted to help my SIL play Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, wrapping all the kids' gifts and assembling a few she wants set up under their tree.

In the past few days, I have been experimenting with my planned cable-free lifestyle, trying out various apps on my Google TV for keeping up with my current shows. You can't watch the latest episodes in some cases the night they air on regular TV, but you can still keep up, so I think this may work. The real challenge will be figuring out how to tell Cox I'm down-sizing to internet-only without them trying to bully me into accepting a simpler cable package.
masqthephlsphr: (dragonlord)
(1) Sick again. Cold and sore throat. This autumn is kicking my @$$. OTOH, it's Autumn, hellsyeah. And winter will be here shortly. My favorite time of year, for multiples of reasons.

(2) Finally am getting the Sculptor to watch Merlin. I knew she'd love it from the moment I started watching. She loves it. However, she has made me promise to stop watching Season 5 so we can watch the end together for the first time. Sigh, now I have to tip-toe through the spoiler-tips and not play "This week's episode round-up."

(3) Xmas list accomplished: elder nephew, Mom, younger nephew and niece (apparently? Their mom buys gifts, I decide which one 'is from me', pay for it and wrap it. Works.) And Bro and SIL are getting a Major Gift so it's for both of them. Technically. Need to get a card for my sister and a couple dozen doo-hickies for the Sculptor.

(4) SIL wants the Sculptor and I to play Santa Claus with her Xmas eve, wrapping presents and getting all the gifts ready under their tree for morning. Okay, sounds like what Christmas is all about. HOWEVER, she is a night owl. I am not. No 2 AM finish lines for this auntie where I'm expected to be back there at 7 am all bright-eyed and coffee-carrying.

(5) I am working through PlotWriMo. It's already helped me realized that 60% of my story is (1) exposition (people explaining things to other people, usually while sitting around doing nothing else), or (2) flashbacks/memories that provide background to current events. I clearly need to focus on present-day action in my new draft: rising action and suspense, and pick through what exposition and background stuff can stay or go, and if it stays, in what form.
masqthephlsphr: (nt)
(1) My home refinance is complete. A notary arrived at my house this AM to take me through the paper work. FINALLY! I originally contacted my mortgage company in early June, and was conditionally approved August 11th. WHUT is today? November 16th! It dragged on for so long they had to check all my financials a second time in case something had changed in the intervening three months since conditional approval. The only good thing about the delay is the value of my home went up and the interest rate I would have had on the refinance loan decreased by another 0.5%, giving me a 2.5% total drop in interest rate from my initial mortgage. I also have a shorter-term loan than before.

In the mean time, my finances were in a state of limbo for five months. Couldn't touch my nest egg because it was collateral, and had to put off my finance guy, who was trying to move forward on some investments we had discussed. Couldn't put too much on credit because it would effect my credit score. But I had to put things on credit because I didn't have enough cash for a few big purchases that I'd planned before this sleigh ride began.

(2) I was feeling under the weather in late Oct and early Nov, although in the past week, my strength has been returning. I was literally working from home in a horizontal position three weeks ago at this time. Not sure if it was the flu or the Autumn Icks I often get for no particular reason this time of year (stress, I guess; Fall is a busy time at my job.)

(3) I have been reading political news on the internet for the past week and a half. I'll stop, soon, as it goes from being entertaining to depressing again. There's definitely something wrong with me when I'm feeling too tired to write fiction and then find enough energy to read the Huff Post instead. Politics is so anti-Masq 99.9% of the time, I have to filter out my own brother on Facebook even though I agree with his positions on the issues.

(4) TV seems entirely lackluster this Fall, with just about every show I am watching. Nothing impressive, nothing that stands out as truly bad, either.

(5) I am going to San Francisco for Thanksgiving! Will see old friends and my nephew/grandnephew. Hopefully there will be pics. No, wait--my mother hath commanded me, "There WILL be pics!"

(6) I am plotting the next draft of my novel, although the burnt-out quotient is dragging that out. Keeping up the writing pace I did this summer through October was a lot of effort and part of the reason I started feeling under the weather. Mostly, I am putting together electronic "note cards" of story events and plot points that in short order I will attempt to organize into an actual PLOT.

At some point, though, I must balance out the "plotting" with actual writing. I don't want to force myself to write before I'm ready or I'll just over-rely on my first draft material and risk not "taking the story to the next level" as I want to. But as a Pantser, I also know my ideas often shift during the actual writing stage, negating well-intentioned attempts to "pre-plan."

But it occurs to me that in the second draft, I don't have to write in chronological order like I did the first draft--that is, chapter one first, chapter two second, etc. I did that for the benefit of my beta reader, so she'd have a consistent, unfolding story. But in the second draft, I can write whatever sections are inspiring me on a particular day.

So the tentative plan is to start writing on Jan 1st, regardless of where I am in the plotting process. I think it will be a NaNoWriYear of sorts, with a daily goal of 250-350 words. Maybe more if I don't want that draft to take me the entire year to write. And I will post little snippets in my journal if I think they're particularly interesting.
masqthephlsphr: (A very Congel Christmas)
I just realized I haven't posted at all since the 2nd when I was on the tail end of my Thanksgiving Merlin reviews. I am sort of wiped and burnt from NaNo and work. I have done very little writing since Nov 30th.

Plus, you know the Season is upon us. So I need to organize my gift-giving thoughts.

Bro - sprinkler. Seriously. He wants a special rotating eco-sprinkler for the little patch of Arizona desert he calls his backyard.
SIL - Renaissance Festival tickets for her and Nephew #2. They seemed to enjoy it last year.
Nephew#2 and Niece - My SIL went nuts in the Walmart kiddie clothes department on Black Friday, and now I have two 13-gallon trash bags of clothes to wrap up and tag "from Aunt Nancy".
Nephew #1 - Safeway gift card. Good gift for a young, struggling dad with a two-year-old, I figure, so now I get it for him every year.
Sculptor - various and sundry. Birthdays and Christmas seem to be excuses for shopping excess. So we exchanged Amazon wish lists. I have really, really tried to avoid buying those items on Amazon. 'Cause you know if you shop locally you can avoid the ten-day delivery wait. But sometimes you can't find something locally, and I will not go to ten stores looking for something. That's so 20th century.
Sister - a card. You know, we don't talk anymore.
Mom - also a card. She informed me a few weeks back that she and I would not exchange gifts this year, just pretend to. Not something you can really whine about.
masqthephlsphr: (sibs)
Good Thanksgiving. I've stayed home, unlike last year's exhausting trek to SF. Have been laying around like a lump, which I need.

Dinner was at the bro and sil's. I took the Sculptor with me this year to finally meet the fam (yes, we have only been dating for two years, shaddup). That was relatively painless--the food was great and the company was... my family. We argue and discuss history and swap old family legends. The kids mostly behaved (boastful fish tales and pouting quietly are behaving, right?). And the Sculptor and my SIL hit it off as predicted. They both have the personalities and interests of elementary school art teachers.

All in all, a cozy family affair.

Now I can finish NaNo and get back to my mindless television viewing.
masqthephlsphr: (sibs)
My brother's birthday is coming up, and what he really wants is a PDA/Smart phone, something like an iPhone or a Blackberry, but not necessarily one of those brands. I hopped on over to and was sort of stunned by the prices they were asking for them. So then I went over to, who I have my wireless service through, and saw you could get a nice refurbished PDA/Smart phone for a more reasonable price (and sometimes free) if you signed a contract with them.

My mom and I would like nothing better than for him to be with ATT 'cause we can call each other and other ATT folks without it adding to our minutes, but my brother has some kind of bundle for his wireless through Qwest/Verizon. The prices on the Qwest website for Smart-phones-with-contracts are semi-reasonable, so now the questions become, which brand should I get, and can I trust refurbished models? I'd ask my brother about the former question, but it is a birthday present, and hence a surprise.
masqthephlsphr: (HP)
Since I got a girlfriend, I don't blabble on in here as much as I used to about my daily trivia, I just relate my daily rants and raves to her and get on with my day. And so this journal has become a place where I post occasional fan-tidbits and my weekly writing update. And of course, keep up with everyone else.

So here is a brief synopsis of Masqishness:

(1) We are in the middle of software update season at work. Which is always a hell-time of late evenings and weekends, but at least this time it is highly organized and somewhat efficient. Only, one of my colleagues, a guy on my immediate "team" at work, got this bright idea to put in his two-week notice and go to another job right in the middle ofit. Leaving us with his updates, all his unfinished projects, and, oh, any other projects coming down the pipe that would have gone to him.

I don't know what the plans are to replace him, but hello, learning curve, it could be a while until that person is actually useful, and by then, the team leader herself will be gone for a while for maternity leave. Oh, joy, this Fall will be fun. It's already fun. Aforementioned team leader decided that I should end my Wednesday by dumping half of Leaving Colleagues' projects on me, most of which are not my area and I don't know what to do with, thereby guaranteeing my Wednesday night was the sleepless pits.

I sat down with Leaving Colleague Thursday morning to go over each of them and get any notes, tips, and hints he might have, just so I would stop feeling overwhelmed by it. One task at a time, that's how I will handle this. Don't get overwhelmed and don't skip time for yourself. Soon, the time will come when this turn of events will make you relieved and joyful, because you won't have to deal with Leaving Colleagues' abominable politics anymore.

(2) The MasqBro is coming on Sunday for a week. He's here for a short get-away-slash-to check out the area assuming he is able to sell his house. It's all a little nebulous right now as these things are, but he will be staying in my guest bedroom for a week, no kidlets in tow. It will give us a chance to catch up, but I dare say it won't slow down the pace of my life any.

(3) I went ahead and got the air conditioning upgrade and got my master bath skylight repaired. Two maintenance things to make me feel like I'm still working on my house even if it's not me doing the actual work. Two things that needed to be done before now that are done.

(4) Writing still happens. I have to squeeze it into the interstices, but it still happens.
masqthephlsphr: (Default)
Summer, happily, is passing quickly. Never was a big fan of summer, and living where I live gives me a perfectly legitimate-looking excuse for the hermit behavior I would exhibit this time of year regardless of where I lived. This season is also the vacation-before-the-storm time. There will be a two-month period between mid-August and mid-October when I won't be taking any time off at all.

Software update season. (::queue dramatically chilling music::)

That's when we all work overtime at my place of employment getting all our customer's systems up to date on everything we've been working on since our last software update.

So I had a long weekend in June for the Gathering, I have a four-day weekend coming up in a few days (yay!) when I was supposed to make my annual trek to Santa Cruz to go camping with my mom. She is still recovering from everything that happened post-surgery in May and June, and can't go this year. So I will spend it at home, probably writing. At the end of the month, I am venturing back up to Oak Creek Canyon for a couple days of snoozing in the woods with the Sculptor.

Software update season is going to allow me a good excuse to skip something that jumped up at me out of nowhere: Homecoming. It's been 25 years since I graduated from college. In some ways, that makes a lot of sense--so much has happened in those years--in other ways, I'm just WTF?? Bottom line is, I'm just not ready to go back there and catch up with those folks. much has happened in those years. Not to mention, most of my really good friends weren't in my year and won't be there anyway.

I am taking a three-day weekend to catch up on my sleep and television shows in mid-October after the software updates are over. Then I'm taking a couple days on either side of Thanksgiving to, hopefully, allow for an extended weekend in San Francisco to meet my grandnephew. The MasqMom and I were supposed to meet him this weekend, but since we are not going to Santa Cruz, and I have to roll my cancelled airline flight to something else, I thought I'd head on up to SF, see the nephews (grand and otherwise), and visit my buds up there. And hopefully take the MasqMom with as she will be more mobile by then.

Did I mention the office manager here at work decided I was going to get three weeks of vacation this year even though I technically shouldn't be eligible to even start earning them until mid-November when I will have been here three years? Not arguing, just scrambling to fit them all into the second half of the year since I've been budgeting time off the first half of 2010.

That leaves a week and a half at Christmas, in which I am planning to get fat.

Well, back to work now to earn all that time off.


Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:58 am
masqthephlsphr: (Default)
::Looks around:: Is it June yet? Oh, good. May was just...exhausting. I took the MasqMom in for hip surgery early on the morning of the 4th (no, the other hip). Her surgery went as expected, and the plan was that she would stay at the hospital for three days, then go to a rehab place for a week. The transfer occurred on schedule, and then I spent the next few days running over to her place to bring her things--her mail, moar books!1!, clean clothes, and hauling away already-read books and dirty laundry to wash at home. I also let her use my laptop to check her email and bank accounts. And she drowned her cell phone with a glass of water, so I had to get her a new one, complete with a new smart chip that had to be programmed with her old information.

Then Mom started getting sick, mostly with the yakking. She had responded poorly to morphine and anesthetic after her previous surgery, but it had been days since she'd had either this time around, so this was a bit puzzling. And as long as she wasn't feeling well, she wasn't up to physical therapy. So the physical therapist wanted her to stay an additional week to do that work. Which ended up being semi-pointless, as my mom just wasn't feeling any better.

She was scheduled to check out Saturday the 15th, but that became Saturday the 22nd. She had rented a special hospital bed, and I spent time getting everything set up so she could convalesce at home. She was also set up to have home health workers come by to help her with difficult tasks and do her physical therapy with her.

The rehab place got back to her with test results they'd been doing from earlier in the week and informed her she had a urinary tract infection--apparently something that could not be medicated with oral antibiotics, but required an IV. So Mom turned right back around and checked into the hospital again. I thought it was a bit strange she needed hospitalization for a minor infection, but then she blithely mentioned to me a day into the treatment that her infection was caused by e. coli.

What? Where did she pick *that* up? Well, between hospitals and rehab facilities, we can only guess.

Suffice it to say she was in the hospital again for several days, and got discharged yesterday. She is still wearing a pic line for continued antibiotics, and I guess her "physical therapy" now consists of just trying to get on with her daily life, with a short daily visit by the home health folks.

Oy and oy.

Oh yes, and on top of all this, my May also consisted of finishing my library cabinet doors and crown molding, a task I've been putting off for two years, attending the art opening of the Sculptor, who was showing on Roosevelt Row this month, and dealing with the annual fritzing of my laptop computer keyboard, which once again had to be replaced in its entirety.

My big plan for June is to relax already. If that's actually possible. I need to clean my house from top to bottom in preparation for [personal profile] midnightsjane and [profile] anomster's arrivals. But what really complicates the relaxation plans is the fact that I just don't know how to lie around doing nothing. I'm incapable of it. I spent most of the hours over my Memorial Day weekend that I wasn't helping Mom painting the trim in my bathroom. For real. What?
masqthephlsphr: (compgeek)
Okay, I've made it one of my primary missions in life to be woefully ignorant of personal computers that are not Macs, but my mom ::really:: needs to replace her desktop with a laptop. She needs something inexpensive and easy to use (she has an XP OS right now and doesn't want a huge learning curve).

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