Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wait, it's New Year Already...?

It just hit me a bit ago that I completely zoned on doing an Anthology Markets post this month. My husband and I were in Seattle on our househunting trip on the tenth, which is when I've been doing it, and although I could've done it from there, I just didn't think about it at all. :/ Well, no one's working over the holidays, right...? [hides under keyboard] The Antho Market listings will be back in January, and my apologies for the gap.

Seriously, though, Christmas just sort of came and went, and New Year will be marked with a bottle of Martinelli's and not much else. We have holes in our ceiling from where the plumbers fixed a leak, holes in our walls from where other repair guys worked on yet another gas leak (more jackhammers a few days ago -- I'm going to miss them when we move, or maybe not) plus the huge hole dug (yet again) in our concrete patio outside from where they replaced a chunk of said gas line. The gas guys will fix the patio in a day or two, but the guy who does drywall was called out of the country on a family emergency and will be back on the fourth. I'm keeping a set of virtual fingers crossed that everyone's okay and he gets back on time.

There are boxes and piles all over -- more than usual -- because even though the moving guys are coming over (for an estimated two days) to pack for us, we have to go through things ourselves to sort and dispose, get things in order, and pack certain fragile things ourselves. Plus my husband has been packing books just... I don't know, I guess because he's been feeling antsy and wants to do something. Or something. Whatever. [pets frazzled husband] I spent yesterday going through the closet and dresser and some cupboards bagging up clothes and shoes for Goodwill; I have more stacks of clothes in corners and such around the bedroom to go through, but I stopped when my back went from griping to yelling. More of that tomorrow.

I've been practicing intermittent fasting -- eating only every other day -- since January, with one unplanned hiatus in March for a horrible attack of gastritis (during the first week of which I wasn't eating anything anyway) and a few planned hiatuses for trips. There's about thirty pounds less of me than there was a year ago, even though I flaked out on an exercise program over the summer after being faithful to it for several months, so all around I've been doing well on that. I'd rather be thirty pounds down after a year, than thirty pounds down after three months and then fifty pounds up after a second three months, which is the more usual pattern when weight loss is fast, so slow is just fine with me. Christmas finally defeated me, though -- a bazillion cookies, plus my mom's homemade almond roca and leftover prime rib forced an executive decision that the last seven days of the year I'd eat every day. I'll be paying for that starting tomorrow, but whatever; the fasting works, and I'll be back on track soon. If there's another thirty pounds less of me at this time next year, I'll be happy. It's all about results, not following a routine slavishly.

Every year at this time I do the usual Writing Goals thing. For 2009 I promised myself I'd finish and submit a novel and I did that -- I signed the contract on December 19th, and am waiting for edits. That's a huge milestone and I'm proud of it, so Go 2009! for that chunk of it. I always include some sort of productivity goal as well, though, and I've never managed to keep it. I mean, a thousand words a day should be incredibly easy -- there are certainly writers who do a lot more, and have for years or decades -- but apparently not. :/ This year I'm trying something different: since the product goal worked better in '09 than the wordcount goal, I'm going with that. So for 2010, I want to finish another novel, plus half a dozen short stories, with the caveat that the fanfic novel which is just a few chapters from being done doesn't count; the official goal is for another commercial, submittable-for-publication novel. (I still have to finish the fanfic novel, though, 'cause my readers on that side of the fence were incredibly patient while I set it aside to finish Hidden Magic.)

What else? Keep up on the fasting, and exercise more. Even my walking's fallen off in the last month or so, which I'm sure is why my weight has plateaued during that time. Hopefully being in a new area after the move will get me doing more walking outside. I know I can now; I haven't had an OMG-I-absolutely-HAVE-to-sit-down-NOW!! incident while walking in a while. (My joints and tendons and such tended to lock up or start screaming at random while I walked, and were keeping me housebound for quite a few years. I've been walking back and forth at home, where I'm never more than a few steps from a place to sit, for the last several years. It's boring but it works, and you can put on some serious mileage in a small space if you're determined.) Since I haven't had to sit in the middle of walking for a while, though, that means I can actually go out for walks again, and feel secure that I won't suddenly have to find a seat on some stranger's retaining wall or front steps or on the curb. (And let me tell you, when you weigh what I do and have arthritis and various other joint-and-tendon problems, getting up off a seat on the curb is slow, difficult and painful.) So being able to go out walking again is something to look forward to. And hey, if we get the townhouse we made an offer on, there'll be a Barnes and Noble in a shopping center right across the street -- wow, incentive to go out and walk at least that far! :D

I can think of a bunch of other things I'd like to do, but I think this'll be enough to commit to. One of the things I tend to do when making plans is way over-commit, then get depressed when I fail. I'd like to commit to not doing that anymore. :) We'll see if it works out.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year, and a great 2010. [wave/hugz]


Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Funny

So I'm flying back up to Reno to spend a little over a week with my mom for Christmas, yay.

A funny thing -- about ten or twelve years ago, we were at Mom's for Christmas and a family friend named Linda was supposed to come over. So I got her a couple of glass candle holders as a gift; they were popular at the time, with a narrow well in the middle you filled with water and then floated a taper in, the idea being that as it burned down, it'd get lighter and float higher in the water, keeping the flame at about the same level. I thought they were pretty, so anyway.

Well, Linda didn't come after all, so I had these two candles in boxes like twenty inches long by six square, which I took home. I figured I'd use them or something, so when I got home I unwrapped them and stuck them on top of a bookcase. We're not really into decorative stuff, though, so I never did use them, and they've been sitting there ever since, collecting dust on their boxes. We've been trying to figure out what to do with them recently, with the move coming up and all.

Then we got a note from Mom a couple of days ago, saying that her friend Linda's going to be coming up for Christmas. :D Hey, I've got a present for her already! LOL! Too bad I unwrapped them back then....


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moving Stuff

We're home now and mostly recovered, I think. Of course, I'm getting back on a plane on Sunday to go up to my mom's for Christmas, and I have to admit the timing of all this could've been better.

We put in an offer on a condo, and the counter-offer was decent. Now it's a matter of working out all financing details; we have enough money, but apparently it's not distributed in the right pots, so the husband is working on getting it shuffled around into a configuration the banks will approve of. We'll see if that comes through. If not, we're still not really behind; we weren't actually expecting to find anything on this trip; it was more to scout neighborhoods and such.

I'm not jumping up and down about the condo itself, although it's not a bad place at all. It's only a little bigger than what we have now, and I was hoping for something significantly larger. That six-bedroom house I mentioned in the previous post (four of the bedrooms plus one bathroom were part of a basement remodel, but it was done very nicely) would've been great, assuming it could've passed a home inspection. That's the problem with remodels, of course; the house itself was about fifty years old, so who knows what was behind the drywall. It was on almost half an acre, which was also very cool. Unfortunately the nearest store of any kind was half a mile away, and that was just one grocery; other necessities were farther. Good (potentially) house, less than great location for folks who don't drive. :/

The condo is new, so we don't have to worry about booby traps, and our real estate guy managed to rustle up a home inspector the very next day. He found that the place is in good shape, with just a few little things which would be easy to fix. The big selling point, though, was the location -- it's right across the street from the back of a shopping center with a grocery store, a Barnes and Noble, a Target, a post office, a bunch of low- to mid-level restaurants, plus some other stuff, AND it was near two bus lines which would take Jim downtown to work within half an hour or less. There's really nothing more we could ask of the location, and I'm willing to stay packed into something that's really too small to be comfortable in for the next few years, until Jim retires. After that, we can find a cheaper area all together and get a bigger place with a nice yard (the condo has a little bit of fenced yard, just enough for a smallish dog, which will satisfy me for now) and a good location without having to scrape change out from under the seat cushions to pay for it.

Aside from the location, which is fantastic, it's not what I was hoping. I can deal with the rest, though, and we can get something which suits us better in a few years, when Jim's retired and we're not locked into a particular location because of his work.

I have to admit, though, that having a big bookstore a two minute walk away would be very nice. Dangerous, but very nice. :)


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seattle Ho!

I've been mostly away from the internets for a while, so I thought I'd post an update. The spousal unit and I are up in Seattle, house-hunting. He's changing jobs and due to report for work up here in mid-January, so we're trying to figure out where we're going to live. It's been up and down so far.

First, it's been freaking cold up here all week. :/ They've been having record lows for the last few days, imported from the Arctic especially for us, I'm sure. I still need to buy a coat one of these days. Actually, there are times when I'd like to pile about half the hotel room furniture in the middle of the floor and start a bonfire, but that's probably not practical. [cough] But it's heating back up! It's actually supposed to be above freezing here at some point today -- might actually be above freezing now, I'm not sure. But wow, thirty-four degrees -- heat wave! [eyeroll/shiver]

On the house hunting front, we've actually had some good luck today. One older house with a very nice recent remodel is looking promising. It's also on a relatively huge lot, with a bit of a flat side yard which has been done up in some skinny raised beds all ready for annuals in the spring, plus a huge back end on a slope with some trees and berry canes and ivy. I could see putting some more fruit trees up there. And it's on this hill with a wonderful view of the valley and the mountains beyond, and there's a golf course across the road so it won't be built up. Jim and I both like it a lot. There are a few questions to ask, but it's looking like a distinct possibility.

We also saw two very nice newer houses, just a year or two old each, a bit bigger than the older one but the locations don't work in either case. One was up a VERY steep hill, which we'd have to hike up/down to get anywhere unless we took a taxi. (Neither Jim nor I drive, and I have an arthritic knee. I get around fine in general, but slopes are hard.) The other one had just a bit of a hill about a block or so long from the main drag, not too bad at all, but then a hike from there to the actual house which looked like it might be too long, even flat; the place is back in kind of a semi-rural looking neighborhood with a lot of mixed older houses (many not terribly well maintained) on larger lots, with little clusters of newer, smaller places crammed onto smaller spaces. We were looking at a newer house in a row of three with no front yard and a small back yard, but it'd be enough for us. Basically I want enough backyard space for a dog; anything else is gravy. But that long hike, especially for Jim twice a day to get to the bus to and from work, is making it really iffy.

We did like the first one, though, so we're hopeful. We saw a three other houses yesterday, all older, and we were both rather dismayed. :/ Lots of yuck, and at the end of the day it was like, "Okay, which one sucks the least?" which really isn't what you want to be considering when you're in the process of moving a thousand miles and spending 99% of your assets, you know? So today made us feel a lot better, just seeing that yeah, there are some good options out there.

In general, Seattle is a lot hillier than we'd realized. I haven't visited since I was a kid, and Jim almost the same; neither of us remembered the topography. We knew in advance that location -- being reasonably near a grocery store, and close to public transit such that Jim can get to work in less than an hour and without too many transfers -- would be an issue. We didn't realize ahead of time that we'd be crossing houses off the list for reasons of steepness, though. It's one more limitation, but our real estate guy is really good and he's starting to get the full ramifications of the "no car" thing a lot better than many folks who drive. More tomorrow.

Our hotel is downtown, four or five blocks from the Pike Place market. We wandered down there on Sunday, and it's pretty awesome. :) Aside from all the quirky little shops (and we've still seen less than half of it) it's sort of like a farmer's (and fisherman's) market, with great produce, seafood, mushrooms, cheeses, honey and preserves -- all kinds of fresh stuff. I'd love to have something like that within walking distance on a regular basis and be able to head down there just whenever to pick up fresh things for dinner. It's the kind of produce etc. they use on the cooking shows, you know? Also, there's this tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery that makes awesome espresso brownies; we got a couple of those when we were there. Massive yum. :)

There's an art museum about halfway between the market and the hotel, which has a Michaelangelo exhibit we want to get to while we're here. I don't think it's huge, mainly a collection of lesser-known sketches and such, but still that'd be cool, and I'm sure they have other things worth seeing. In general, though, we're not major nightlife people and haven't been going out doing a lot of touristy things. We'll probably be staying somewhere downtown for a couple of months after we move up here in January -- we get that much temporary housing paid for -- so unless we fall in love with a house this week and make an offer and it all goes through immediately, we'll probably be back here for a month or two and we can do more touristy things on weekends then. And hopefully it won't be so freaking cold.

Angie, trying to stay warm