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23 July 2015 @ 03:32 pm

We’re now entering week two of No Internet (it has to do with regulations here, and I’m in the process of trying to circumvent those to the greatest degree possible, but as far as I can tell we’ll either get net access by the end of the week or not until like mid-August. Mrgahgngngl. (eta, since i’m still without net three days after starting to write this: this week is not looking good. maybe next week, but i’m not counting on that either. this sucks.)

Anyway, I’d meant to post lots of pictures with that last post, but I ran out of time/forgot, and since I still don’t have access and have no idea when I’m posting this, well, maybe eventually I’ll do a Picture Post of the things that have been completed around the house. And stuff.

Last week on Wednesday friends I hadn’t seen in…a very, very long time…were in Dublin, so Indy and I went to town and met them at the zoo, where we had a lovely afternoon despite the fact that poor Indy was barely over the chicken pox and not *really* in any condition to be having such a Big Day Out. He did exceedingly well, given his level of malaise, and it was so great to see our friends again. We all went out for pizza together, and Ted was able to join us and see them, too, so that was lovely.

Then we had a Dublin Day on Saturday (when I posted last) to go to the movies, as we’re too attached to our magic Get Into All The Movies for €22/m cards to give them up without a fight. We all went to the Irish animated film Song of the Sea, which was beautiful, both visually and as a story. Ted went to Ant-Man, which is the first Marvel movie I’ve had no interest in seeing at all, while I took Indy back to my parents’ house and then spent a frantic 40 minutes or so working on my part of the (overdue) collaborative short story so Kat could have a chance at it. @.@

Finished that up (well, my bit, anyway, the story’s not done and I expect I’ll have another go at it before we’re done), and dashed off to see Terminator: Genysis with Ted. I liked it quite a lot more than I expected to. It had *constant* nods to the first two movies (and maybe even some to the Sarah Connor Chronicles), and there was a single line regarding Sarah, Kyle and John that I was especially happy with, as it gave a gloss to the inherent impossibility of their timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly-ness. I’ll be perfectly happy if they make more. :)

(I also really hope that James Cameron makes another Terminator movie—at least one—when the rights revert to him in 2020. It’s apparently the first time in Hollywood history that the rights to a film world will revert to the original holder, and I not only want to see what he’d do after 30 years of thinking, “Oh, that’s interesting, but I would have…” but also on general principles I want the original holder of the intellectual properties to act on it once the rights have reverted in order to set a precedent of that happening.)

We made the mistake of stopping at Chapters and accidentally got three new books to help bulk up our TBR shelf that’s tragically anemic (not really) after a whole week of having to read instead of looking at the internets. I have a whole list of books to buy in e-book as soon as I have net connection back, as I’ve read a bunch of first-in-series now and have been thwarted in my ability to just dash out and buy the next ones. :)

I bounced off two of the books I’ve tried to read: one, a SF novel I’d been looking forward to, proved to have the Scots-descended characters all written in dialect all the time, and I’ve yet to get through a book written that way. Another was a fantasy novel that I’d thought was SF, and it…was probably fine, in the sense of it seemed readable enough, and if I was picking it up in an airport it would no doubt do the trick for a flight, but it wasn’t what I wanted and so I didn’t continue to read it.

To my aggravation, it turned out I was missing the 3rd book in the Haunted Guesthouse mysteries that I started reading a while ago, but eventually I decided I might as well read the 4th, which I had. I didn’t seem to miss much between book 2 and 4 except the character who was 4 months pregnant in book 2 now had a 4 month old baby. Otherwise it was okay to read them out of order.

However, I’m also missing Faith Hunter’s short story collections about Jane Yellowrock, and it appears that I missed some Significant Developments in HAVE STAKES WILL TRAVEL, which fits between the 4th and 5th books. I read the first few pages of book 5 and came across TWO things that were presented as fait accompli that were pretty significant changes from the end of book 4, so I went AGH and put it down, but I still don’t have internet and can’t download the short story collections. #sob

I wish I’d thought/had time to download my revision letter for MAGIC & MANNERS, which I’ve had since the end of March or something and which has been stalled out since then thanks to Life. There’s sure been a lot of Life these past few months. :} But either I’ll get net this week or I’ll be going into town to use Mom and Dad’s, so if I have any recall at all, I’ll get that downloaded. My poor patient patrons.

I have a list as long as my arm of things I’d like to do around here. Get the shelves sorted out. Get a love seat/bed for the library. Get a hutch for the library. Get a bookcase for Indy’s room. Get a bookcase for the office. Get a (probably single) seat/bed for the office. Get a landscaper in to rip out the nettles and plant raspberries & blackberries. Get ALL the undergrowth cleared out up to the property edge in the back and extend the garden by 30%, because it clearly needs that. :) Get somebody in who knows how to trim apple trees properly. So on and so forth…although at this point, I’d really just like to GET THE INTERNET BACK.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

18 July 2015 @ 01:40 pm

I wrote this on like …Monday. Or Tuesday. It’s Saturday now. I don’t have time to do a secondary update right now, so this’ll do.

We’re on an Unintended Internet Hiatus, as our broadband stopped working for some reason that no doubt has to do with moving and not having been able to get it sorted out because of things beyond our control.

Not having internet is making an impact on the TBR shelf, though. Ted just accused me of having orchestrated the interruption in order to clear out some of those books. :)

Friday I got the dining room end of the Long Room pretty well sorted out, and got most of the remaining DVDs into binders. The library books are alphabetized, and all of the gaming & graphic novels are unpacked. They fit (just) into the giant bookcase in the sun room; we can’t buy any more of either, or we’ll run out of room. That’s realistic, right?

So now I need to deal with the office, which is more difficult than one might hope because we moved the office bookshelf into the library so the library could be finished, and I haven’t yet been able to find a replacement. Once the office is done I’m going to have to do something about the kitchen shelves and then getting all the stuff out of the garage and unpacked. I fear there’s an awful lot out there to unpack. #sigh

Young Indiana is pretty much over the chicken pox, from which he did not suffer too horribly. He’s catching up on his sleep now, so things are slowly returning to some degree of normal.

I had, as best I could tell, been pretty much housebound from the 1st of July through the 10th, excepting a couple of excursions to the nearest convenience store for a few items. Ted gave me the 11th off, and I got up much earlier than one would expect on a Day Off, and went into Dublin.

There, I brought books to Chapters, picked up the latest Kim Stanley Robinson novel, and went out to the Botanic Gardens to sit quietly and serenely until I got too cold to do that anymore.

Upon returning to city centre, I meandered through the Disney Store (which has just slightly better than squat-all for boys (or non-princess-obsessed girls)) and was asked by an employee if I liked Frozen, which didn’t seem an unreasonable question, since I was singing along to the full-blast-playing Let It Go. I said, “Sure, who doesn’t?” and he said, “Well, you’ve got a kind of Elsa thing going on with your hair…” Evidently a blonde widow’s peak = Elsa, which isn’t dreadful by any means, but I said, “No, actually, that’s Rogue,” and he looked mortified, which I hadn’t intended.

I had lunch at the Saturday Market, and was treated to the least-good version of my regular dish there that I’ve ever had. It wasn’t exactly bad, but it was certainly the least good. It was made up for somewhat, though, by having really excellent lemon curd cheesecake for dessert, and a bottle of the very nice apple juice that one of the sellers has.

Post-lunch I got a massage, then went looking for bookcases, which was a bust. I returned to city centre to get my ear re-pierced, as a few weeks ago I found all my earrings and couldn’t managed to shove one through my 2nd ear hole. I went in and said I needed my ear re-pierced, and yer wan asked how long it had been closed up for (a year or so) and how long I’d had it open before that (25 years), then said, “We should be able to just re-open it!”

Five minutes of stabbing later: “It looks like you need your ear re-pierced!” It was just a very thin layer of skin, but stubborn as hell. And my poor ear got all bruised up from the attempts at stabbing through it. But now it’s got a new stud in and isn’t as traumatized as the last hole I had re-pierced was, so it’s all okay.

The guy who did it had just gotten a new tattoo, which he apparently—despite lecturing people on this every day—hadn’t been taking very good care of. He said, “It’s not like it’s my first tattoo, I should know better, I guess it’s not like riding a bike,” and I said, dryly, “Even when you get back on a bike, you have to pay attention,” which made him laugh, and when we exited the piercing room he was still laughing. The young woman also working there looked at me in astonishment and said, “He’s never this cheerful, what did you say, we’re keeping you around!” I said honestly, all I’d been doing was giving him grief, and he laughed again and admitted that was indeed exactly what I was doing. :)

Having emerged with a new hole in my head (or a more complete one, anyway), I went to see Magic Mike XXL with a (male) friend who’d kind of wanted to see it but whose wife didn’t really want to, so I was providing him with an excuse to go. We had a great time. Like the first Magic Mike movie, it had a great deal more story than I would expect from a movie about male strippers (which basically I would expect to be a sorry excuse of a clothesline, its purpose being nothing more than to string together scenes of beautiful men taking their clothes off, although actually all three movies I’ve now seen about male strippers have pretty good storylines, so perhaps I should adjust my expectations!), but it was a lot more fun than the first one.

Then I dashed out to my parents’ house to pick up the Tardis/Starry Nights quilt my amazing mother in law made for me, and dashed back to catch the train home. I was totally exhausted at the end of the day, but it was really nice to get out for a long time and be responsible for no one but myself.

While I was gone, Ted and Indy got the swingset finished. I don’t know who was more pleased—Ted was so pleased he posted on Facebook, which he never ever does!–but Indy is just *thrilled* with it, which is great. And Ted mowed the extensive front gardens yesterday while I…didn’t… :) and today I finished unpacking the sun room so I could give all the boxes to my sister, who is moving this week, and she and her youngest dropped by for an hour or so to chat, play, and eat the cookies I’d made for their arrival. :)

It’s been very busy, and very tiring, in other words. I wonder when we’ll get internet access back….

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

09 July 2015 @ 04:39 pm

Young Indiana’s room is pretty well sorted out now. I unpacked the toys a few days ago, and today went grimly to tackle the task of lining the new curtains with blackout liners. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and after about two hours I had big dramatic red curtains hung.





Nana (Ted’s mom) made the terrific superheroes quilt on his bed. :) (Grandma, my mom, went forth into Dublin to find those curtains, after I totally failed to find any after checking every shop in Drogheda. Indy’s room is a joint effort. :))

Also, last night I apparently just couldn’t stand it, and dealt with the Junk Bookcase after all. At this point I can do nothing more with the library until I get a sofabed and a desk/dresser/shelf/thingy, the latter of which, assuming we NEVER GET ANY MORE BOOKS, could conceivably replace one of the bookcases now in the library…


I had ambitions to finish sorting out the Long Room today, but I don’t see it happening. Still, if I manage it tomorrow, that’s the downstairs dealt with (save the kitchen stuff I still don’t have shelves for) and mostly I’ll just have the office left…

Maybe there’s hope of doing some actual work next week. Not house work. Work-work. WRITING work. Do you remember that that’s my job? :}

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

08 July 2015 @ 04:31 pm

The spotty child is on the road to recovery. There weren’t any new spots yesterday, just old ones increasing in awfulness, and today they are slightly fewer in number.

Last night he was smoothing his hair down, and I said, “Stop rubbing.”

He, greatly offended, said, “I’m NOT rubbing! I’m trying to look cooler! So the girls will notice when they walk by!”

*dies of laughter*

Unrelatedly, the other day we were all out in the back garden tossing an (American) football around, and Indy wanted me to do something–I no longer recall what, something Ted had done–and I said, “No, honey, football isn’t really my game.”

Then I threw what was, judging from Ted’s expression, an excellent pass to him, and he caught the ball and sort of stared at me and then said to Indy, “Just imagine if it *was* her game…!” #laughs

#groans I am stuck in the endless circle of hell that is “it’s not possible to have too many books” and “WE HAVE TOO GODDAMN MANY BOOKS.”

We’ve moved the last bookcase we own into the library. I need more bookcases. I need–I need a kitchen/dining room bookcase for the cookbooks. I need a Not Books bookcase for photo albums and games. I need a new bookcase for my office, since we just moved the one out. That…

…that might come pretty close to doing the trick. It is certainly the bare minimum number of bookcases I need. @.@

(three hours later, having not posted this when I typed the above…)

I have made Great Strides with the library. I did this in part by moving all the cookbooks (3.5 shelves’ worth) onto the shelves in the dining room that were holding placemats and napkins, and putting the placemats & napkins into the smaller cabinet I hadn’t yet figured out what to do with. I removed a shelf’s worth of Books Written By CE Murphy from the library shelves. They are currently, unfortunately, on the library floor, which is not ideal, but oh well. Soon they’ll go upstairs to be on the office desk, which is also not ideal, but at least they’ll be off the floor.

I managed to re-establish my Brag Shelf in a place of prominence, hooked the new stereo up on a newly emptied shelf, got the TBR shelf all on one bookcase (or, okay, well, no, it’s not, but that’s because I put the Brag Shelf where the top row of TBR books would’ve been), and for the first time in many years, the Books We’re Keeping shelves are no longer double-stacked.

I am not even *vaguely* convinced we need to keep all of the Books We’re Keeping. Furthermore, with all due respect to my high school and college friends, I’m even less convinced I have any real need to keep yearbooks and other mementos of that era. As far as I can tell a yearbook’s primary duty is to amuse your children with old pictures of yourself, and I have plenty of other old pictures to do that with. :p

I still have a bookcase that is simply piled with Random Crap that needs to be dealt with. Some of it is photography equipment. Some of it is boxed photos and correspondence that are part of the Great Photo Archive Project. Some of it is absolutely random crap that just needs to be dealt with in some fashion. It must have some value that’s prevented it from being thrown out so far, although that value may primarily be “I ran out of time to deal with it.”

It’s *possible* I only need one bookcase and some kind of storage unit/desk/shelving/thing at this juncture. For books, I mean. The kitchen, f’rex, still hasn’t gotten its necessary shelves.

I meant to make people take home copies of books I’d written, from the housewarming party. I only succeeded with a couple of people, which didn’t make much of a dent. Maybe next time. Or perhaps every time someone comes over to visit…

Okay. I’m going to go stare sadly at the library some more, and perhaps cause tidiness through the power of my sorrow. But probably not.

(another hour later)

Okay, this is as good as it’s gonna get for the time being:




Just ignore that one loaded with crap…

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

07 July 2015 @ 06:11 pm

I’ve read the four available books in Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter’s Long Earth series in the past couple weeks, going so far as to break my “no e-books over €9.99″ rule, which appears to have held right up until the point that I wanted something that cost more than that. :)

I’ve found them pretty satisfying, obviously, or I wouldn’t have read four of them in…mostly a week. They’re about the discovery, or rather, the consequences of the discovery, of parallel earths (referred to collectively as The Long Earth) that can be “stepped” to, mostly by use of a homemade device powered by a potato. Build a device, flick a switch on it, and you can step either ‘East’ or ‘West’, to infinity and beyond; humans have only developed on Datum Earth, so it’s all unspoiled territory, although it gets stranger the farther away from Datum you go.

Book One, THE LONG EARTH, is the most satisfying of them, and not just for the observation that Jim Steinman’s For Crying Out Loud is probably one of the most holy songs every recorded. :) The next three, including THE LONG WAR, but particularly THE LONG MARS, and THE LONG UTOPIA, don’t…really follow through on the promise of their titles, or at least not in any way that resounded with me. Many, many threads have been cast; each sequel is essentially a thread of its own, plus all the carrying-through subplots, but there’s no real sense of them all drawing back together in a satisfactory manner.

They may yet, of course; Pratchett & Baxter had contracted for 5 books and, given that the books are (according to a reviewer, but also fairly clearly to anybody who’s read Pratchett) more in Baxter’s style than Pratchett’s, I assume that Baxter will be completing at least the contracted books without Pratchett, with whom he had presumably mapped out the upcoming territory.

Anyway, I feel like there’s vast potential that’s not quite being approached correctly in the books, but I’ve basically enjoyed them and I’ll certainly read the next one when it’s out. And the fact that I’ve enjoyed them bodes well for the Baxter book I got at EasterCon and haven’t yet read (although I may do so promptly, now).

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

06 July 2015 @ 01:11 pm

Yesterday was a pajama day. After all the moving and the party and the pox we were exhausted, and then our silly child got up at 6:20 in the morning. I got up with him and tried to read while he watched tv, but about 9am I fell asleep reading and crawled onto the couch and pulled a pillow over my head and only woke up enough to mumble, “Yes, you can watch that,” every time he asked about something (once it was something I hadn’t let him watch before but I was too tired to argue, and he said, “REALLY!?” :)), until 12:30, when I only got up because I planned to go to sleep in the real bed, but 12:30 seemed a little late so I didn’t.

Poor Ted had to get dressed because he had to get more cement to set the swingset in (and bring the wretched broken bookcase back), but Indy and I remained in our PJs all day.

Poor kid is really being a trooper, with the pox. “Mommy,” he said to me sadly yesterday, “when the chicken pox are gone will I be able to scratch again?” Today he’s had a baking soda bath, which he thought was fairly wonderful. (“Mommy! The stinging is gone!”) I think there may be another one in his future even on this very day.

I recognize that there are many, many things I should be doing today. I’m having a hard time actually doing any of them, but the list is as long as my arm. And probably the most important bit is working on Spite House, the crossover story with Kat Richardson, as it’s due in ten days. (It’s also, fortunately, more than halfway done, but Kat and I have both just had a series of hits that just keep on coming, and it’s now much closer to the wire than either of us would like. @.@)

I also need to, and none of these are tasks insurmountable for the day if I can get out of the chair and go do them, do the following:

unpack Indy’s room/put away toys
– finish putting laundry away
– do laundry
– put the DVDs away
clean the kitchen

The laundry’s already underway, and Indy’s room won’t take very long, probably, and it would mean another room in the house is basically Done. So I should get up and go do those. She said, looking rather tired and pathetic. :)

Tomorrow I’ve really got to remember to look in to rubbish collection around here, too…

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

05 July 2015 @ 07:23 pm

The housewarming party went really well yesterday. Most people were able to attend despite the poxy child, and in a fortuitous combination of good weather and me just not being up to trying to otherwise entertain said poxy child, basically the adults spent the entire afternoon and evening outside in the vast, beautiful back garden while the kids alternated between watching TV, running around, and reading graphic novels. Normally I wouldn’t let them have the TV on, but…yeah. This time they got to, and so basically the Long Room was theirs and the rest of the house was ours. :)

Adults outside:

One of the kids (the child of a librarian) came to me and said, in horror, “You know those graphic novels you used to have on top of the bookcase that are now on three shelves? They’re OUT OF ORDER!!!”

I told him he could put them in order and he lit right up in undisguised joy, and later reported, happily, that they were all in order now. :)

A great deal of heavy lifting was accomplished by big strong handsome men, and now everything that was intended to be taken out of the upstairs has been, and beds have been switched around, and there’s at least some room to continue unpacking.

The engineer in attendance was delighted to hear there was a swingset to build, and took over the construction and supervision of construction of said swingset. Many people stood around and observed, with the occasional intervention for heavy lifting.

Other people, distressed that I had been in the kitchen preparing food in one fashion or another the entire time they were there, took over the kitchen-cleaning duties after all the food was gone, and left the whole place much more manageable than I had expected it to be.

Mom gave everybody tours of the house, and people asked when it was exactly I’d met with the devil to sign away my soul, and said things like, “I’m going to take a turn down to the end of the garden; I’ll be back in an hour or so,” and sat around on picnic blankets conversing and eating and generally seeming to have a lovely time. I certainly did.

For all of their hard work, people were rewarded with sheets of brownies to take home with them, as well as, of course, the actual barbeque stuff, which all turned out nicely. Burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, homemade lemonade (which was REALLY good and had to be rationed because when it was gone, it was gone!), salad, crisps, soda, and hot fudge brownie sundaes at the end of it all.

Slightly funky panoramic of descending upon the feast. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

04 July 2015 @ 11:13 am

To top it all off, Young Indiana has come down with the chicken pox. @.@

I had been certain he’d been immunized against it, but the HSE website says they don’t habitually use the chicken pox vaccine in Ireland. Ted was getting him ready for a shower this morning and said, “Caaaatie? Indy has spots…” And yes. Yes he did. Ten or fifteen of them. Many just looked like bug bites or something, perhaps, but there was one in particular that looked very chicken poxy. We asked if he was itchy, and he said nope!, but a bit later he said “I was itchy yesterday but I scratched!”

Oh dear.

Anyway, Ted whisked him off to the doctor, who verified that yep, that’s chicken pox all right!

Our housewarming party guests have been warned as best I can warn them, but we may stand at the door and shout, “THIS IS A HOUSE OF PLAGUE!” as people approach, just to be sure they got the message. That’s a problem with using Facebook; no certain way to know if people saw information or not. @.@

But the show is going on, because most adults have had chicken pox, and so far the one adult who as far as she knows hasn’t, has been made aware and is detouring to another location instead of coming up. Which is sad, but better than getting chicken pox at forty.

To top it all off, after a week of relentlessly beautiful weather, it’s raining!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

03 July 2015 @ 09:59 pm

You know how in the last blog post I said there was insult added to injury regarding the bookcase?

It got worse.

I thought, well, I can’t possibly finish anything if I don’t put the new bookcase together, so I got ready to do that and I opened the first box and…both the long sides were broken clean through, a foot from the end.

I had noticed when we collected it at the store that one end of the box was floppy, but c’mon, it’s flat-pack. There’s weird packing in flat-pack all the time. I just figured it was a couple of short boards or something. But no. It was broken. Completely, irreparably, totally broken.

I was pretty well ready to cry at that point. But Dad came up from Dublin to help me, and instead of trying to find places to put things away he very sensibly said we should just clean up and put things into the garage if they didn’t have a place right now, because that way the house could be beautiful for the party and the rest could wait on shelving.

I literally would not, could not, have thought of that, because I’ve been trying *so hard* to just get all the boxes emptied. So that’s what we did, and I’m just so grateful, because the house looks nice now and I just wouldn’t have managed it on my own.

And the library (which is not wonky shaped, it’s just I took another panorama) is done in rough draft form:


I have ambitions of a love seat that folds out into a bed on the wall where the rocking chair currently is, and (obviously, she said with a tired sigh) at least one more bookcase in there, but I’m *particularly* pleased with how the day bed, which used to be Young Indiana’s bed (by way of Mom, who’d had it in her sewing room and who made the cool brightly colored cover for it!), fits into the bay window. There’s a radiator under the window, so it needed something not-too-close-but-close-enough, and something that would let heat pass through, and the day bed is just perfect. That, at least, really worked out.

And with the room emptied out–with all of the rooms tidied, if not entirely put together yet–I can again see how beautiful it’s going to be, and what wonderful spaces they’ll be, and that makes me a little happier too. So it’s getting there, bit by bit.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

03 July 2015 @ 02:02 pm

I give up.

So the whole saga is that I’m trying to get boards cut for shelves for the new house. I called a place yesterday to see if they had any, but the ones they had on the website were only available in the UK. “But!” the young woman I spoke to said, “we can cut them for you!”

I said, “You *do* that?” and she said “Yes!” and so last night I made a pattern for the complicated one and got measurements for the others and we all went out to the shop, where a lady looked terribly dismayed and said that the cutters only worked 9-4 and nobody was there to do it.

Well, okay. That was incredibly frustrating, but okay. So this morning Young Indiana and I took a taxi out to the store. I went to the back corner where they do the cutting. There was a sign that said “if we’re not with you in 2 minutes, you get 10% off!”

Five minutes later I went up to the front and said I needed a board cut. The woman there looked at me like I’d grown a second head and said “We don’t do that anymore. The whole thing’s broken down.”

I said, somewhat incredulously, “Yesterday I was told you did. Twice.”

She said, “Well, we don’t.”

Shortly thereafter an ‘out of order’ sign appeared back there.

I just give up.

To add insult to injury I thought well at least I can get a bookcase because we don’t have enough, and I went to Argos and got one and upon arriving home found that the radiator that’s totally hidden behind boxes and therefore was forgotten about is in the way of where I was going to put it, and probably none of the others will fit there either.

There’s a wall it, or one of them, anyway, will fit on, but it’s different from the others and I just wanted it put over on one side so it could be different on its own and I just give up.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)