topaz119: (treelights)
If my father had not already passed away from that heart attack a couple of years ago, I am telling you that the price tag on the Christmas tree I just bought would have bumped him right off.

(um, it is entirely possible that I am overcompensating for the general insanity of this last month, but I won't tell if you won't. and I will try for better pictures this year.)
topaz119: (it's a bookworm thing)
The refrigerator is still not really working, sigh. Fortunately, I have a coach for a husband, and he has a ridiculous number of big coolers that he uses during summer camps and practices, so the boys hosed them all out and I have everything packed out in them. Also fortunately, the freezer attached to the sad fridge is still working so I haven't had to find space for all of that stuff, too. I'm being super-creative and trying to use up everything I can, which is at least saving the money I'd usually spend at the store/restaurants this week. (Yeah, if the blasted thing needs replaced, that's a drop in the bucket, but every little thing helps, right? argh.)

Let's talk about books...

The Winter Sea, Susanna Kearsley -- yes, STILL. I finally broke down and put it on 1.25 speed on the Audible app, in hopes of getting through it, Scottish accents be damned. I'm not sure why I don't just ditch it, but for whatever reason, I keep coming back to it. It's not that I'm loving it all that much (the present day heroine is acting like a teenage ninny, not a 30ish successful novelist, which is really my sticking point, I think. I keep trying to re-frame it as a NA romance, but then there's the part about how she's done this all before, and that's before I keep muttering about how, NO, DNA DOES NO WORK THAT WAY.) Like I said, I really don't know why I haven't bailed, but here we are...

Magnate, Joanna Shupe -- Historical romance set in early 20th C New York, for a change. Rough and ready industrialist and sekrit!financial whiz daughter of Old Money. Marriage-by-blackmail! Overheard conversations! Insta!attraction! In other words, all kinds of tropey goodness in a surprisingly well-done historical environment.

Royally Screwed, Emma Chase -- You guys know I love me a well-done Common Girl/Boy Marries The Prince story, and this one definitely falls into that well-done category (also, the Girl category), with bonus points for how much I really liked the supporting characters and how they gradually revealed themselves as the H/H got to know them. Warnings for alternating first-person narratives and this definitely falls more toward the erotic romance category b/c there is a lot ("") of sex.

I dunno... I still have the next Black Widow book (Red Vengeance) and my hold for Eligible, the latest of the P&P cottage industry, just pinged up, so... On the other hand, I have way too many things hanging around waiting to be read...
topaz119: (let the wild rumpus begin)
We adopted a new dog! Wonder!Dog is getting older now and we didn’t want a new dog to have to fight the Replacement syndrome, plus we are hoping that a more active companion will be helpful for #2Son’s (slow, so slow I can’t even tell you, but it’s actually happening) advances against his anxiety and depression. So, we’ve been stalking several rescue organizations and finally went and met a few of their pooches in person over the weekend. #2 & I took Wonder!Dog up to the kennel on Saturday and ended up liking one dude who was everything we didn’t think we wanted, but who wormed his way into our heads (and to a lesser extent our hearts, at least that day.) He was big and youngish and not either of the dogs #2 had seen and liked. But we decided to go back on Sunday with BabyBoy and D in tow and, yeah, our guy came out and gave #2 a hug (literally—he jumps up and puts his paws around you, which, yes, we need to break him of the habit of just doing it, but it’s also super-sweet if you know it’s coming and are braced for it, so the command to learn is ‘give me some lovin’.’)

D loves big dogs, and this guy is (as best we can tell) 65 pounds (29 kg) of lab/border collie mix, gray and black and white, with the size and head of a lab and the color and markings (and feathery ears) of a border collie. He’s like a big gray wolf. BB wanted a lap dog for snuggles, so he was holding out until the dog basically climbed in his lap and sprawled out for a belly rub. All 65 pounds of him. Wonder!Dog was pretty chill about it all, just wandering around the meeting area and ignoring the youngster, so after another little while of the dog draping himself over people, and #2 getting attached, we said okay and started signing paperwork. #2 was super-good at getting him in the car, because the poor guy did *not* like the look of my SHIELD van and only got in after sitting on #2 and edging closer to the car every few minutes, which seems like a win in more ways than one.

Now, we just have to figure out what to name him. We have various geeky names under consideration:
  • Grey Wind (GoT) – A little too obvious with his coloring + all the direwolves die so horribly. I hate to saddle the poor dog with that karma
  • Oliver (Wood, HP) – D is *rolling* his eyes at this one, but I swear, the dog is the canine equivalent of that sweet, dumb Quidditch player. We eliminated Cedric (Diggory) b/c, hi, dead; also D might die with a dog named Cedric even before he got to the source.
  • Orome (the Valar of the Hunt, LOTR) – Oro is… okay as a call name? Maybe? D might not be able to survive explaining the origin of the name, though.
  • Shadow (Gaiman, American Gods) – Again, maybe a little too obvious with his coloring and we’re fighting off the Sonic gaming associations
  • Maximus (the dog that’s part of the Roman army at the beginning of Gladiator isn’t named, but he runs into battle with Maximus) – D is totally fine with Max, and we can all see this dog running flat out with horses, but BabyBoy feels it’s too boring. Also, I somehow doubt the dog survived Commodus’ rage, so again with the bad karma.
  • Strider (also LOTR) – Again, D might choke on explaining the name
  • Mouse (the Dresden Files) – He (the dog) does not particularly look like a Mouse, but we were grasping at straws.

    For non-geeky names:
  • Beauregard - I have mentioned that I married a good ol’ boy, right? Beau isn’t too bad of a call name, though. I guess. The kids are less excited.
  • Harry (not Potter) – Yesterday was the 950th anniversary of some pre-Battle of Hastings battle and Harold was the king at that point. D actually doesn’t mind this.
  • Viking - We were mourning that Odin’s wolves had names that nobody liked & D suggested just plain Viking.
  • Indy - #2Son offered that we could just keep calling him ND (New Dog), which slurs very easily into Indy, but I don’t know what D thinks of that.

    And finally, since he’s part Border Collie, if you look up the Gaelic clan name that D’s family is a sept of, you get a mouthful that could easily be shortened to Mac. That might sidestep BB’s ‘but it’s boring’ argument.

    Okay, there’s more stuff, but this is the big news and I think I’ve gone on long enough. I will be back with the name decision and some pictures (if we can get the dog to stay still long enough.)
  • topaz119: (Pike)
    let's see...

    1. I'm on the Imzy train--no idea what I'm doing there yet, but I'm topaz119 there, too, and I have a zillion invites if anyone would like one.

    2. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on the phone with Disney World tech support this past week -- as a software development professional, I am qualified to say that they got their Happy Path right (which is what 99.9% of you all will be doing should you ever decide to go & stay there for a while and it's really very nice) but more than half the time we do a trip, we are not on said path and it always takes a call (or 3) to sort things out. At this point, I am officially OVER the Food & Wine trip wrangling and will have Oldest use BabyBoy's Magic Band and FP+ schedule as it looks like BB will not be going and (of course) all of his stuff went through on the first try while Oldest somehow got dropped from the room reservation (which means I can't do his FP reservations for another month.)

    (Please don't take this as an indication of oh-this-is-too-hard, because, really, I'm trying to coordinate 16 people across 3 different Disney master accounts with a DVC reservation + a resort package w/the Dining Plan and a mad combination of 1-Day tix, APs & the package tix. Kudos to the people on the phone with me trying to sort it all out.)

    I can't wait to do this for NYE. /sarcasm

    3. DragonCon is less than a week away! Preliminary schedule planning is in progress and I am on a quest for the spare cell phone batteries. I know I have 4 or 5 of them but they are totally not where I think they should be.

    4. We have reached the conclusion that it is time to add a new furkid to our household and have been visiting with local rescue organizations and reviewing websites daily. BB wants a pug, my good-old-boy husband needs him something not-small and yappy, and I, of course, have fallen in love with a Shi-Tzu mix. Please stay tuned for further developments.

    5. I wrote something! (points to icon) Well, I'm almost always writing something, so I guess the proper verb is: I finished something! Except, not really? I got Part 1 of 2 done, but it's better than 400 words here and another 200 somewhere else, rinse, repeat with different files the next day.

    Anyway! When I went to see Star Trek Beyond, it was pretty clear (at least to me) that they'd mostly just ignored whatever the hell that mess was with Into Darkness, so my brain just skipped right over that one and started in on a sequel to my Kirk/Pike Trek Big Bang, Shining On The Quay, and it got longer and a little more involved than I expected, but there is definitely more to come.

    So, yeah, \o/:

    Starlit Wave, Kirk/Pike, ~3600 words (so far) of angsty schmoop, roughly summarized as Space!Husbands on R&R--sexy!times to follow.
    topaz119: (somanybooks)
    So, I got all the way to Sunday evening at home, but then Oldest's car died on the side of the interstate and by the time we dealt with that and got everyone and everything where they/it needed to be, I didn't get to bed until 1 a.m. and the final laundry/cleaning/cooking didn't happen. :(

    Plus, the car is mostly dead (the timing belt blew and it'll take ~900 USD to even see what else got damaged when it went) and not worth fixing, so now I'm on a blitz to find the kid a new car so he can get back from his late classes, which means I've got another weekend of back-and-forthing coming up.

    Also, my aunt and uncle live in San Bernadino and he's a semi-retired fire chief and yeah, did that situation blow up overnight or what? I know there are several of my fandom friends who are affected by this situation, too, and I am hoping everyone is safe. ::hugs::

    But, since adulting means you better learn to let go of the crap when you can, so the non-crap can sustain you when you can't, here's the Wednesday book meme--

    The Royal Nanny, Karen Harper – a fictionalized biography of the nanny who raised Edward VII and George V and their siblings, including their youngest brother, John, who died as a teenager of complications due to epilepsy. I picked this up less because of David and Bertie and more because you almost never see mention of Johnnie in any book about the royals of this era. Despite my general dislike of fictional biographies, this worked well enough on most levels for me. I did appreciate the bibliography the author included, just for the ability to fact-check the narrative.

    What Angels Fear, C. S. Harris – You know I love me some Regency crack, especially when we’re dealing with the post-Napoleonic years, no matter the genre, but this one was extra helpings of catnip for me, what with the lone-wolf, PTSD-suffering, badass viscount of a main character. I really should have gotten to this series sooner—my mom had been talking about it for the last year of our daily ‘whatcha reading?’ chats—but now I’m on it. (Also, I would like to raise my hand for a ship with the calm, rational, plain, do-gooding daughter of the morally-ambiguous advisor to Prinny. Just sayin’.)

    Mr. and Mr. Smith, HelenKay Dimon—m/m novella of the secret agent variety. I could have gone for it being a little bit longer (I get the appeal of jumping right in, in media res, but if you’re going to give me flashbacks/dreams of happier times anyway, maybe give me a little base to build my worry on?) On the plus side: remember when m/m pro-fic was just atrociously bad? Yeah, this isn’t that. Definitely worth my amazon credits.

    Veil of Lies, Jeri Westerson – DNF, though I think it was b/c I wanted more Regency investigations (see above) and I couldn’t quite make the jump back in time to the Black Prince and Chaucer. I’m placing this on the Try Again pile.

    Turn Coat, Jim Butcher – More Dresden, still audiobooking the series (thank you, James Marsters), still rolling my eyes over Dresden’s particular form of idiocy. So far in this one, we have Thomas and Murphy and Molly involved, so my Found Family button is safely mashed. I’m beginning to worry about who really might be leading the Black Council, but I’ll just leave it at that.

    More of the aforementioned badass Regency viscount sleuthing around, I think.
    topaz119: (hanging on)
    The first part of this is all really boring stuff, but it's stressing me out, almost to the point of my not being able to function, and certainly past the point where I can enjoy much of anything, so here's my checklist and where I stand on getting through it. Read more... )

    On the good side of things, I added another little bit to the Darcy/Sam fic I started last winter, loving you whether whether. This is looking like it's going to be a bunch of snapshot-type chapters, with no real giant plot arc, just Darcy and Sam finding their way together. I am pretty okay with this.
    topaz119: (let the wild rumpus begin)
    For [profile] jenna_thorne: The House of Boys – Thoughts on being a woman with sons.

    The short version? I love it until I don’t.

    I mean, partially it’s that I’ve never been a particularly girly girl. I wasn’t exactly a tomboy (that implies much more athleticism and love of the outdoors than I had) but I didn’t get into the stuff that’s deemed ‘feminine’ by our particular culture. And I’ve also really been around boys/men disproportionately all my life. My undergrad degree is in electrical engineering, which, yeah, if women are under-represented in technical fields now, I invite you to contemplate the ratios in the 80s.

    It also helps that I truly always have been into comic books and sci fi, and am conversant enough in several sports for all of that to not be totally boring dinner table talk.

    Though I have to say that Oldest was home with his girlfriend today and we (she and I) got into this in-depth discussion of ballet, which was glorious and something I usually don’t get to indulge in while running kids around to the dentist and Costco and Target.

    I think the hardest part is how that cultural expectation of the wife being super-supportive of her man gets amplified with the boy children, too. I’m definitely talking external expectations, not from the guys in my actual house. I do live in the South and while we’re in the big city, the rest of D’s family definitely isn’t and I think they’re a little taken aback when I don’t go to watch the games he coaches or anything. That, plus the idea that boys should grow apart from their mother—it’s okay for girls to be ‘best friends’ with their mothers, but if that happens with boys, they’re ‘Mama’s boys’, aka a fate worse than death. I’m ‘ruining’ them if I want to talk to them more than once a week. Ugh. Have I mentioned how much I hate cultural expectations?

    I do think one of my proudest moments as a geek woman was when they independently turned to me and said, ‘Seriously? Padme died from a broken heart? Way to trash that character, George.’ You have to take your teachable moments wherever you find them, right? (Also, at some point #2Son linked me to this bit of fan theory which I have now accepted as canon and lalala, can’t hearrrr your counter-arguments.)

    So I do love it most of the time, but I really fight hard against how things are 'supposed' to be, which is really tiresome but worth it.
    topaz119: (merry christmas happy holidays)
    Hello, hello, happy day to you all!

    I'm sneaking away to tell you all about my holiday because I'm sort of laughing helplessly at how it's going so far and I can share with you all with much less blowback than on fb or Twitter, etc.

    Okay, so first off, WonderDog ended up with the thing where his stomach was folded back on itself (this happened last week) and had very speedy (and expensive, omg) surgery. He's been wandering around with his Cone of Shame bumping into walls and stairs and being very perplexed about his lot in life. He's doing okay, but just really started back eating food yesterday.

    Then, the weather has freaked out and is hot and humid and raining like Noah, et al will be by any second.

    Now, putting this all together, #2Son was home with WD when the bad stuff started happening and though he handled it very well, it triggered a pretty serious anxiety attack (bad enough that he actually took a Xanax, which he hates.) This is mostly okay, except that it's really hard for him to go see D's family even in good times, so he ended up not going with us last night. (He was fine by himself, but I was vaguely worried about him all day and we never quite connected on FaceTime during the evening, as was planned.) So that stressed me out (on top of the regular holiday stress) and I was worn out by the time we got home last night/this morning and it was late by the time I crawled out of bed to find that all the ridiculous amounts of rain meant we had standing water in the playroom/storage room in the basement.

    Sooo, we dragged everything out of the affected area, hauled the throw rugs up to the garage to drip in peace, threw down the gazillion beach towels we have from Beach Week to mop up the water and got fans going in the affected rooms. (Wet vac tomorrow morning when the shop is open.)

    And then WonderDog is whining pathetically so BabyBoy takes him out to do his business (he's not allowed to go out on his own now as he can get over/under fences and likes to eat trash and other nasty things, which contributed to the stomach issue.) So I'm making cinnamon rolls and the other boys are building me a fire in the fireplace (and yes, I did turn the AC on so we wouldn't die of heat exhaustion) when BB texts me words to the effect that he NEEDS MORE POOP BAGS RIGHT NOW. So we dispatch Oldest to go to his aide and they come back and fill us in on how WD's digestive system is once again functional, which is *charming* information to go along with the handmade cinnamon roll breakfast I'm sweating over.

    But, you know, yay that the dog is recovering b/c we did just spend a small fortune on his medical needs (and we lub him, too, sigh) and we move off to finally open presents. Before we get too far along though, it turns out that I Santa mis-read the packaging and so the water pistols in everyone's stocking (to be used to keep the cat out of the tree/off the table/etc) turned out to be cap guns and we took a brief detour from Peace On Earth to re-enact the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

    Gifts were finally opened and we ended up buying each other 2 sets of the Star Wars Planetary Glasses (a complete surprise as no one realized the other set of shopping teams had gotten it) and despite there being a brand new laptop unwrapped, people spent lots of time on LED flashlights, the aforementioned cap guns, and a set of little Lego Star Wars vehicles (that shoot even littler bits of Lego ammunition.)

    It's been a little bonkers and I'm on my 3rd laundry load of nasty smelling towels from the basement, but everyone was laughing and having a good time while things were going wrong, and I kinda wanted to share that.

    So, yes, a happy day to you all! (A, your Enough J2 is going to be a bit delayed, I'm so sorry!)
    topaz119: (teatime)
    [ profile] wendy asked me how I take my coffee, and the short answer is: tea. :D.

    I really don’t drink coffee at all—I occasionally go for a good coffee-flavored ice cream to counter-balance some serious chocolate (and I have a recipe for a Baked Alaska using coffee ice cream for which I’m trying to find a suitable occasion) but I usually don't even like mocha candy.

    Tea, on the other hand, is a big thing around my house. I have one of those over-the-door shoe organizers (with the clear plastic pockets, right?) on my pantry door and that’s where all my little boxes of tea live in the kitchen. I usually do Earl Grey in the morning (no milk, just a bit of lemon, which is all kinds of wrong, I know, but I like what I like) and I’ll end the day with something herbal (and decaf!), usually a Lemon/Red Zinger or a Peppermint (chamomile makes me feel like I’m drinking the proverbial ‘hot leaf juice’ and let’s just not talk about green tea at all.) If I’m feeling bored (or if the boys have used up the last of my EG), I have some jasmine tea to mix things up a bit. I used to do the fancy blends from Teavana, etc, but in one of our ever-present reorganizations at the office, I ended up on the same team as two fabulous Indian women who have shared with me with their own custom chai blends (I think their mothers make them up in bulk) and so I will do at least one chai latte every afternoon. My go-to Starbucks order is an iced passion tea if the weather is hot, or I’ll do the seasonal syrup in a hot chai (er, not the peppermint stuff—that goes in hot chocolate, but the gingerbread syrup is pretty tasty in their chai.)

    So, yeah, tl;dr: How I take my coffee is TEA. ♥
    topaz119: (Laura)
    Checking in to say hellooooo and wish the USians a belated Happy Turkey Day. I have yet to actually do the traditional feast as plans changed and I ended up at my mom’s house with Oldest and BabyBoy, while D and #2Son were at home/running down to see D’s father again. Since my mom doesn’t/can’t eat (and her mom’s stuffing recipe is one of the few things she actually misses eating and that would be hard for her to see/smell and not have) and Oldest doesn’t like anything of a standard T-giving dinner, I opted for a spaghetti feast, with homemade meatballs and garlic bread. Fun, and well-received, but not at all traditional. We’re going back home later today, though, and I’m planning on the whole involved deal later this weekend. Of course, every time I say that, people rush to tell me that I don’t have to go to all that trouble and I’m seriously starting to develop a few cracks in my Pleasant Fuck-Off ReplyTM. Normally I’m better at doing the semi-polite bitchslap to shut down people’s super-wrong assumptions about my life (because, let’s be real, you all know I’m looking forward to pulling together the whole feast, especially in my own kitchen, where all the knives are sharp and the herbs and spices are fresh, and I only know you from the internet--you'd think people who see me on a daily basis might have figured that out, too) but there are too many competing issues going on here (#2’s anxiety disorder, Mom’s health, my father-in-law’s health) and being polite to idiots is pretty far down on the list of things to spend my energy on.


    In more fun news, I managed to finish up another part of the Barton farm backstory I seem to be writing:

    your hand in mine, we walk the miles, Laura/Clint (obvs), with guest starring roles by Cooper Barton and Nick Fury.

    So, yeah, that’s a nice thing to have checked off the WiP list (I’m not done here--my brain has at least 3 more ideas percolating, including the origin story of Black Widow’s arrow necklace--but any little step forward is good by me.) Also, I went out and hunted down an icon for Laura since this seems to be something I'll be revisiting and I hate being unprepared for posting purposes. :D

    Are we doing the December talking meme again this year? That was fun last year even if I had to bail two-thirds of the way through and finish up in January. Should I put up a list of dates? You know I like to hold forth and share my opinions about Things…
    topaz119: (path through the woods)
    In news of the random, we finally broke down and bought a new (to us) car: a 2011 Toyota Sienna, which is one of the bigger minivans out there. It’s all black, with tinted back windows--it is in desperate need of a SHIELD logo for the back window. Nothing too flashy, just something textured and black. =D Unfortunately, it did not come with Melinda May to drive it (or Mack to keep it running.) Back in the real world, it has bluetooth! My podcasts/audiobooks never sounded so good. What I’m really excited about, though, is not having to juggle rentals for when we go somewhere long-distance with everyone. (I think it even has enough outlets for everyone to be able to run their electronics w/o killing their batteries, \o/.)

    It was a quiet weekend—D’s father is still not back up to his usual strength, so D took BabyBoy down to help out w/farm-related stuff. There was homework to make up and I messed around in the kitchen enough to trash it a couple of times, but other than that, um… I bought a lot of candles? (Yankee Candle had a sale, even at their outlets, which just barely gets them into the realm of what I’m willing to pay for burning wax. I might have gone a little nuts, like 3 bags worth of nuts. But, sale!)

    Also, I am still going with [ profile] mini_wrimo and in the process, posted a short little start to a Darcy/Sam romance. I have no idea where I’m going with it, but sometimes that’s the most fun—when I’m just writing and seeing what’s coming up next. Anyway:
    loving you whether whether, MCU, Darcy/Sam, PG-rated (for now.)


    Nov. 12th, 2015 02:49 pm
    topaz119: (bats!)
    I mentioned this briefly in my last post, but in my eternal quest not to fall into my usual winter blues, I’m trying to immerse myself in seasonally appropriate things that make me happy. I sort of got the idea from a study I saw somewhere online about why/how there is less depression in Scandinavia than researchers expected, due in part, they theorize, by how the population frames the long winter months as a chance to burrow in and be cozy/enjoy winter activities, etc. We’ll see how well it works in the depths of February, (I do have that Russian/Polish background working, where their method of dealing with the winter has more to do with vodka than enjoying coziness) but I started the plan with autumn and Halloween.

    I haven’t baked a pumpkin pie yet (saving that for Thanksgiving), but I did coordinate my viewing / listening with the season.

    On the viewing side of things, I hauled out the old favorites of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and Rocky Horror, which were all very comforting in their familiarity. Plus, I stumbled across Only Lovers Left Alive, which fit the theme well enough, even if it’d also fit in with Valentine’s Day. I’m always fascinated by Tilda Swinton’s characters, but this one was surprisingly… sweet, for lack of a better word. And Hiddleston was sort of adorable for a depressed, lonely blood-drinker. So, that was fun.

    I already had Dead Beat going as an audiobook, which is set at Halloween and features the King of the Wild Hunt and assorted zombies, which kept my workouts and commutes on theme for most of the month. And then, I found that I’d downloaded an audio version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow narrated by Tom Mison, which was rather perfect for messing around in the kitchen making vampire cupcakes.

    So that, plus a big fire in the fireplace on Halloween night (viewable from the street through our leaded glass front doors) were my early autumn efforts toward making the most of the season.
    topaz119: (Darcy)
    It was my turn for a Muggle weekend, as the highlights of the last few days include such exciting entries as getting the oil changed in the car, letting the professionals get it clean, getting my hair cut, 11 loads of laundry (!!), and multiple trips to grocery stores, Costco, and the famers market. I meant to do some serious baking, as we are out of the good stuff for snacks and lunches, but my body decided it had had enough of the crazy schedule of the last month and surrendered to a drippy little cold, so I shoved all the butter and chocolate into the fridge and took myself off for extended showers and naps.

    All very exciting.

    It wasn't completely mundane stuff, though, as I managed to finally finish off the next part of the Clint/Darcy fic, the part I've been working on since last November. It almost had a birthday, and I was beginning to think I wasn't ever going to finish it, but once I stopped trying to write what I thought I was going to write and started paying attention to what I should have been writing, I got them to the point they needed to be at, and got it posted.

    in deep with you darling (part 3 is the latest update)

    also, ugh, I let comments to that languish for a shamefully long time, really very embarrassing on my part, so I made myself sit down and answer them (all of them, I hope), which was has been a very satisfying line to draw through my to-do list. (Am I the only person who uses a strikethrough font for their online to-do list? I mean, evernote holds all my lists and notes and whatnot, and I actually have a note for completed tasks, where I move things that are done, but first I have to change the font to strikethrough, for maximum aesthetics, I guess. And then I take the strikethrough off when I move the line item to the Done note. I don't ask my brain for explanations these days; I'm happy enough that it's still functioning.)

    We move offices at the end of the week, which means I have to be packed up by Friday, which means I will be packing during all my conference calls. Thank goodness for wireless headsets.
    topaz119: (it's a bookworm thing)
    Sorry for the disappearing act -- between my mom's health going off the rails and DragonCon, I have not been home on the weekend for a month, which pitches the rest of my life into a tailspin...

    The meme going around seemed to be just the ticket for catching back up (and introducing myself to everyone who's been so kind as to add me in the most recent friending memes, hello!)

    What have you been up to? Major life changes? Same old same old?
    Mostly the usual--kids, work, school, etc, but with some variations on the basic flavor. #2Son has finished high school (he was the home/online school kid with serious anxiety/depression issues) which is a huge relief, though now he's thinking about community college, so that's new things to figure out. Oldest ended up withdrawing from classes last semester, which was no fun. BabyBoy is teetering on complete disengagement with school, also no fun. We're about to move physical office locations (swank new building (\o/), on the other side of the city (/o\) so all is madness on the work front. Mom's health is always such a house of cards and once it starts teetering, it's a mad rush, which, now that my dad is gone means my brother and I are doing a lot of talking to utterly bewildered doctors (well, mostly we're saying things like, NO. DO NOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL YOU TALK TO THE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL. SHE'S ONLY IN *YOUR* HOSPITAL BECAUSE THEY'RE SLAMMED AND HAVE NO BEDS. DO NOT STOP ANYTHING. DO NOT START ANYTHING NEW. WE DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR OPINION OF [INSERT TREATMENT PLAN] IS. YOU ARE FIVE YEARS BEHIND THE CURVE HERE.) 
    So, yeah, it's been fun.

    What fandom are you in/do you spend most of your time in?
    Still MCU. From the size of my WiP folder and the speed at which I'm writing (and the way the 616 Hawkeyes keep butting their heads in), it's going to be a while before I clear all that.

    Where do you hang out online?
    LJ/DW, tumblr, pinboard (same fandom name.) Tumblr is where I work out that Renner thing--looooots of reblogs of him/his various roles (well, I mean, there's other stuff, too, but you can expect at least one JR reblog every day.) Pinboard has all my history of fic recs (800+), which I am about to start updating again. Twitter and Pinterest are my real name. I'm super-boring on twitter and pretty domestic on pinterest. Goodreads is partly my real name and I don't really keep it to review books, per se--more to keep track of what I've read and what I have stashed on my kindle, b/c I never can remember that sort of stuff. I'm happy to add you wherever you'd like to engage. 

    What are you reading?
    The same jumbled mix of romance, fantasy, cozy mysteries and business/science/history nonfiction that I've read most of my life. I should get back in the habit of the Wednesday book meme--I finish books just slowly enough that weekly posts seem like overkill, but just quickly enough that if I miss more than a few weeks, there's enough of a backlog that it feels like a chore to write it all up. 

    tl;dr -- my favorite books of the last six months have been Uprooted, Naomi Novik (loved the Eastern European folk tale overlay, so much of what my great-grandparents used to tell me); The Bollywood Affair, Sonali Dev (it had the perfect amount of Bollywood feels for me, plus, the fooooood); As You Wish, Carey Elwes (the PB feels were strong with this one.) 

    What are you watching?
    Working my way through Daredevil -- the boys watched it all in one go, but I can only take the dark/violence one ep at at time. Poldark -- I watched/loved the original back in the 70s (yes, I'm old) and I am rationing this most recent version. (Team Demelza, all the way, btw.) 

    What are you making?
    In the office move, we're losing our super-subsidized breakfast/lunch cafe, sadface, so I am gearing up to make my own lunch for the first time in a decade, which is actually kind of fun in this new post-Pinterest world. I think we've just come to the conclusion that the 3 Hobbit movies are not worth doing a marathon complete with food, like we did for LOTR. I am toying with the idea of a weekend of Harry Potter + food. Also, I am tryyyyying to write, but that's been very slow going this year, for everything, be it personal, professional, or fannish. 

    What are you squeeing about today?
    I am honestly still in that post-DragonCon headspace of fannish love and haven't really come down off the high of answering Edward James Olmos's So say we all with several thousand of my bestest buddies. That, and there are nice new pictures of JR from that education telethon last weekend!

    If you could rope old fandom friends into a new fandom, it would be...
    Oh, you're all still here and putting up with my comics thing, that's really what counts!

    I should really watch/read/dive into _______ and then come talk to you about it!
    The big giant event-thing (Secret Wars?) that Marvel just did, so I can sort out wtf is going on now. (Or, y'know, not, and just wait until the next reboot.) 

    What else is on your mind?
  • Disney World (1 quick trip for the Food & Wine Festival in October. A long weekend over New Year's Eve. Contemplating a proper trip with just D & kids, either in April or June. )
  • Star Wars (I keep telling myself to remember the horror of the prequels, but every little thing is making me squee internally. This was not helped by meeting Peter Mayhew at DC.)
  • My house is a wreck and I'm tired of it being that way. The boys all need to get drivers licenses. There are outstanding invoices in both my freelance writing and D's coaching/consulting concerns, and I am getting a little aggravated with these people.  The car decision looms. 
  • good times

    Jul. 17th, 2014 09:32 pm
    topaz119: (ow fuck)
    It was a beautiful day on the river yesterday (the Chattooga, right on the border of Georgia & South Carolina, also known as where they filmed Deliverance.) D & I have rafted a lot of different rivers over the years--the New and the Gauley in West Virginia, the Youghiogheney in Maryland/Pennsylvania, the Snake in Wyoming, etc) and in all the years we've done it, I've only been out of the raft once (Iron Ring on the Gauley, which is a Class V rapid and one that you *really* don't want to be out of the boat on, but we hit it wrong one year and I backflipped out, hit the water, and came up right alongside the raft as we all finished the rapid. It was pretty painless for a 'your life is in danger if you're in the water' kind of a rapid.)

    Yesterday, I was out of the raft TWICE. The first one was a stupid little dip that I didn't get my lean away started early enough, but the second was Corkscrew, which is a Class IV and I went out on the high side and got to take the last 2/3rds of the damn drop on my own. blech. Our guide threw me a rope really fast (bless him) and then hauled me back in at the bottom (though I think he had to tell me 4 or 5 times that it was okay to let go of the line because by god, all my brain knew was that I HAD THE LINE AND I WASN'T GOING ANYWHERE.) He was pretty freaking adorable. At some point in there, I lost my paddle, Oldest's paddle (because the kid held it out to me but wasn't braced to take the torque of the current and wisely let go) and my pants.

    Now, granted I was wearing swim shorts under my cargo pants, so it's not like I was flashing anybody, but it made for a great story, and an even better one when the above-mentioned adorable guide snagged them off a rock further downriver. :D

    There are pictures of my Corkscrew debacle, which I got to commemorate the occasion (and D's birthday.) Unfortunately, they were having issues with their burner so they're mailing things out, but I will share when the CD arrives.

    (I may possibly be getting too old for this shit, but I hurt less today than I did after the zip lines in Costa Rica a few years ago, so the weight training might be helping? maybe?)
    topaz119: (Default)
    It was gorgeous this weekend -- warm (70s/20s) with no humidity and a nice breeze. I got the boys to clear off the deck (pollen and tree seeds are killer around here) and then I cleaned off the furniture (or at least a table and a chair) so I could eat lunch there while I read. I meant to be out there in the evening, too, but I did something to my hip and then sitting out on a patio for dinner in a metal chair aggravated it, so I ended up taking to my bed for the night, boo.

    Maybe tonight? The fire bowl looks lonely.

    Fannishly speaking, breakfast discussions of Game of Thrones are becoming The Thing around here, as I crash before the boys watch on Sunday night, and then we have to hash it all out in the morning. It is a hell of a way to start off the week. I am blackly amused with how the 'read with your kids! teach them to appreciate books!' has devolved into my needing to call time-out for blood, mayhem and death at the breakfast table. One more in the never-ending list of Things They Don't Tell You About Parenthood...

    Also with the fandom stuff, amazon is attempting to bribe former comixology app users into not bitching about not being able to buy in-app now (god forbid amazon have to share profits with apple/google) by handing out $5 credits. I'm still bitching, but I was happy to take their money and pick up an on-sale compilation or two... (Old stuff, Bendis's New Avengers Breakout, which is somewhere in the house in TPB, but which is now happily added to my ipad.)

    I am boooooooored with everything I've been cooking lately, so I'm trying to consciously incorporate different things into my routine and I figured I could share any successes. This isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but it's cheap and easy and not outrageously unhealthy -- Broccoli & Cheddar Mashed Potato Cakes. (That's an actual recipe, though it works pretty well to just throw an egg into leftover mashed potatoes, then chop up some broccoli & cheese and mix it all together before coating the cakes in panko and frying them until they're all crunchy on the outside.) #2Son & I didn't even eat any of the chicken that was the rest of the meal.

    ::squints:: okay, I think that's it for today, ciao, bellas
    topaz119: (cartoon!me)
    I used to have an intro post, but it is long lost to the un-tagged history and it was old, too, so here's a new shiny one for everyone I friended last month:

    10 things you'll probably see here )

    I also spend some time at [ profile] topaz119 & I love to interact wherever!
    topaz119: (wdw)
    I haven't fallen off the edge of the world or anything, I'm just really behind on everything fannish and am trying desperately to avoid spoilers in multiple fandoms.

    But! we're back from spring break and I have plans to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier this weekend, so that should alleviate some of the craziness. (I'm seriously not checking in anywhere, not even fb.)

    Anyway. Disney World is still there and for the Disney-philes on my flist/circle, I will add that the new Festival of Fantasy parade at MK is fabulous (semi-decent pictures here and here on tumblr; having lunch with an Imagineer is pretty cool even before you add in good food at the Brown Derby; and Morgan Freeman now narrates the updated, actually-bearable Hall of Presidents presentation. No naps were taken! This trip turned into the restaurant tour, which you all know is not ever going to make me sad, so that was fun, too. (It's hard to top a window seat at the California Grill on a clear evening, but Be Our Guest gave it some good competition. I'll never eat at the Castle again. Also, the Kobe burger at Yak & Yeti is seriously awesome--yes, D orders burgers everywhere, but you knew this already. I think I have to give the lowest marks to Le Cellier, which was not bad, just didn't knock it out of the park food-wise and had nothing atmospheric going for it.)

    Alsoalso, the third-party vacation club broker worked out perfectly, which let us snag a savannah view studio at Kidani Village for approximately the price of a moderate-resort room. Many thumbs up and I'll be happy to provide links if somebody is thinking about taking the plunge.

    Actual fannish content to follow soon, promise!

    Ciao, bellas!


    Mar. 10th, 2014 12:03 pm
    topaz119: (earthrise)
    You know you work for a geeky place when you overhear 3 separate conversations gushing about Cosmos on your way to get your first Diet Coke of the morning.  (For the record, I watched it live last night and then again this morning alongside BabyBoy while getting ready for the day.)
    In other news, I could swear I posted at some point in March, but apparently I’m composing and posting in my dreams. So, to update: nothing terribly exciting is going on. Work, kids’ schools, life… you know. D is in the middle of baseball season so he’s barely around. The weather has maybe stopped with the cold stuff? The daffodils are blooming, at least. 26 days and counting until spring break. I managed to post a chapter so I only have 3 more to go and I’ll actually be finished with the Agents of SHIELD/MCU/Hawkeye Clint/Coulson. Crossing my fingers that I can keep this mad canon meld going long enough to get to a happy ending, because my brain is screaming for it now.
    How are you all?

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