[personal profile] unforth
When I last wrote, it was the Sunday morning of Con on the Cob. I can't believe that was only two weeks ago. I feel like it was ages. Before any more time passes, it's update time!

I've been super busy the last few weeks, mostly working on getting to be awesome and doing all the things I want to be doing with my time, which, as I believe I mentioned in my last post, is basically:
Work (minimum 4 hours)
Crafts (minimum 2 hours)
Drums (minimum 30 minutes)
Writing/Research (minimum 30 minutes)
...on a daily basis. That, of course, is in addition to taking care of the dog (about an hour a day), going to the gym (about an hour a day) and screwing around on the internet (like writing long rambly LJ posts). So far, I can't say I've QUITE pulled this schedule off, but if you average it, I actually think I more or less am.

Sunday two weeks ago, I hung out at Con on the Cob with folks until about noon on Sunday, did a little shopping, and then hopped in the car and drove home. If memory serves, the drive went pretty smoothly except for right at the end, when I heard there was three miles of stopped traffic on 80, so I took a detour. I have no idea if my meandering alternate root actually saved me time, but at least I was moving the entire way, which is far less irritating than sitting in traffic wishing I was home.

The week that followed that involved a lot of running around, very little of which I can think of just now. Over the weekend, I finally took a couple days "off" to catch up with things I needed to do, which in practice just meant that instead of 2 hours of crafts, I did about 10 hours of crafts each day - on Saturday last weekend, I did some work in the morning, then went to the New York Botanical Gardens to take some pictures of fall, ostensibly as my entry to the Hive Creative Challenge for the fall. Some of these pics turned out pretty well - if you want to see, I wrote a post about them over in the craft blog. While this was very nice - the weather was gorgeous, the Gardens were amazing, the roses were still blooming, the colors were fantastic - I had an unfortunate incident while I was there. In the interest of networking, I've Facebook friended some of the folks from the Hive, and this finally bit me in the butt, as one of these people noted that I was a Democrat and an agnostic, and decided to post a very inappropriate comment about this on my wall. It's the first time I've ever just unfriended someone. I was pretty ticked off, and it really took out of my nice happy in the gardens vibe. On the flip side, I just sat down, worked it through, let it pass, and then went back to my nice day, so it could have been worse. :)

On Sunday, I had planned to work, but instead I ended up working on the alot (a commission for [livejournal.com profile] nekomata) which turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. Then, I sewed my Halloween costume. Then, then, I started working on a doll for my dad for Christmas. Long day.

Monday to Thursday of this past week were very busy as I tried to deal with feeling burnt out, finish the doll, finish my Halloween costume, and do a ton of work. Oh, and there was the day that I completely went through the crates in the closet and then put them all back. And I cleaned the whole house. And on one of the burned out afternoons, I went for a five mile walk through Van Cortlandt park taking more pictures of fall. And I jogged 9.55 miles one of the mornings. I more or less managed it all, and after working on Thursday morning, I headed out on the long drive out to Columbus for World Fantasy.

I really debated going to World Fantasy. The main pro was pretty obvious - see some friends I rarely see other times, like [livejournal.com profile] swan_tower, [livejournal.com profile] akashiver, [livejournal.com profile] ombriel, [livejournal.com profile] fireun, and [livejournal.com profile] ninja_tower. The secondary pro also seemed easy - meet some new friends! To these pros was the simple cons that I really didn't have the time, didn't want to drive to OH twice in one month, and was worried about the cost of going. However, when I got confirmation that K. would also be available for hanging out, and my brother mentioned the awesome Halloween festival, the scales tipped, and I decided to go. I'm glad I did. Added to the pros already listed was one that I had thought of and hadn't really dared hope for, namely that I'd leave feeling more inspired to work on my writing. And that has definitely happened (indeed, it happened while I was there as I trailed [livejournal.com profile] fireun around the Dealer's Room and ordered four books I need for research...)

So! What happened? I arrived in Columbus at 10 PM pretty much completely exalted to an empty house, as B. was out watching the Crew game. The only real down side of the trip out was right on the end, when I scrapped my fender badly trying to pull into my parking spot. I was definitely too tired to be behind the wheel at that point! I headed to bed on the comfy couch, only to sleep incredibly badly (oddly enough, as far as I can tell this was mostly because of the blue LED on my brothers lap top, as I slept much better after I shoved a pillow over it - just wish I'd figured that out before 2 AM).

Being me, I of course woke up at 6:30 that morning, which gave me the time to get a little work done for the day job before heading to breakfast with fireun and her friend T. One of the nicest things about WFC? Getting to meet friend's friends, which somehow felt a lot easier than meeting total strangers, maybe because you already know you've got at least one thing in common, this third person. As with most of the conversations over the next few days, this breakfast chat was a funny combination of personal history, shared history ("I met this person this way, how about you?") and writing talk. And there were pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon butter and cream cheese icing. Just saying. :)

Next step was to get my badge, which initially looked like it would be a disaster ("didn't you read the small print about onsite registration?") - was told I needed $225 cash - but right after I had acquired this, and headed back to pay, it turned out that they were able to sell me the badge of a no-show, with the result that instead I only spent $125 to get in. It felt like a major win. I was able to use the other hundred on a pair of lovely ear cuffs, which was my only non-food expenditure of the trip (other than, ya know, gas). Yes, I'm proud to say I resisted ALL of the books. Well, maybe proud is the wrong word. Anyway! There was a lot of hanging out with folks while wandering the dealer's room and the art room, and Jeni's ice cream, and all kinds of other stuff, most of which has blurred together, but the common theme of which was meeting people and talking, cause that's what you do there. In the evening I headed to the signing, managed to make an ass of myself in front of Dennis McKiernan, and hung out with swan_tower and her table mate, before finally heading back to B.'s at around 10 pm, to go right to bed (and again not sleep that well.)

Up again at 7 the next morning (Saturday), at which point I frantically sewed together the center seam on my Halloween costume, but I wasn't very happy with it, so I decided not to wear it all day; instead I just wore the corset and peasant shirt with a regular skirt. Again, there was much talking, a little shopping, a lot of hanging out, some bouncing ideas off of people, some shredded frosted mini-wheats, a rather absurd amount of tea, loud talking in the bar, more Jeni's ice cream, and before I knew it it was time to head out to the Halloween show and meet up with my bro and a few of his friends. I went back to his place, discovered I was (thankfully) much happier with the costume once I was wearing it, and walked up to the street festival. It wasn't quite what I expected, but I had a nice time and I was glad I went. I took lots of pics of people in their costumes, and the fashion show - which is a highlight - was pretty cool. Each year, 10 local designers are asked to do participate in a Runway show for whcih they have created a custom, couture Halloween costume. The 10 looks were pretty good, a couple were amazing, and I think the best people won (it was rated, Project Runway style, of course!). I got a couple really awesome pictures, too (should be uploaded later today). From there, I headed back to WFC because I had been promised cheese party. And I'm glad I did. While it wasn't really a party (it was more of a social) there was definitely wonderful, delicious, amazing cheese. Which I found out they sell at Zabar's, which I'll definitely be buying, probably on Wednesday, when I'm next in that neck of the woods. There was lots more chatting of course, and I learned more about how cheese was made. ;) Then, it was down to the Tor party, where I was saved having to come up with the energy to meet more people by getting into an awesome conversation with [livejournal.com profile] swan_tower and her writing crit buddy [livejournal.com profile] zunger. I got to flex my history brain, which I think more than anything has me really happy to come home and get serious about the research for the Civil War novel.

On Sunday morning, I met up with K. for breakfast at North Star, which was very nice, even if it felt - much like in June - like we could have met at 10 and talked til 10 that night. Unfortunately, unlike Origins, I didn't have til 10 at night, so we parted at about 11. Returning back with the intention of leaving immediately, I instead ended up chatting with B. for the better part of an hour. It happens, really. But then I had to get going. The drive ended up being fine until nearly the end, when I hit stopped traffic outside the GWB, and ended up for the first time ever engaging in some of the traffic behavior that makes me want to eviscerate others when they do it, but it was after 8, and I was exhausted, and I had less than a quarter tank of gas, and so I decided to be an ass and just live with it. And ya know what? Life does go on - for all that I really do prefer to be a person who acts as I would have others act around me. And then I got super lucky with a parking spot, and got the dog home, and all was well...except that I randomly slept terribly and woke up at 4:30 am (instead of 5:15). I've rarely been so close to just saying "screw it" and going to bed immediately as I am right now, but I'm going to try and stay awake, if only because I want some football redemption in the form of the Colts powning the Texans (though given that I have another 5:15 morning tomorrow, there's no change I can see much of the game...)

In general, things are pretty good right now. I'm very busy with work, but I'm getting a lot done, and it seems decently likely that once all the contracts are in place and the money actually gets disbursed, I might get a raise (possibly even a fairly large one), which would obviously be totally awesome. It's not even that I need the money, cause right now I really don't, but I know that in four years or so I'll be making considerably less, and I REALLY want to clear my student loans before then (and as much of my two other debt sources as I can - one, the painting, I'll have paid off either way probably Jan. or Feb. of this year, and the other of which is the mortgage and still has 96k on it....my god, I've been paying my mortgage for a year...fourteen to go...).

Speaking of the mortgage, last week was the one year anniversary of my closing on the apartment. Looking back, it's been a good year, and I can hardly believe it. My Washington Heights debacles still seem so recent (and granted weren't actually done until the end of November last year) but I've been sleeping in this house, on that air mattress, for one year now, and it's glorious. It's the longest I've lived in one place since I moved in June, 2005. Wow. On similar lines, next week is the one year anniversary of my going to the gym regularly, but that's an entirely different story, and if all goes as planned, its own post.

Crafting is going well. Sales remain low, but I'm pretty happy with things anyway. I'm making some friends in the business, and I'm continuing to make things some of which are suitable for sales, and I know in my heart that if I keep at it, I can grow this business. It's nice to have the leisure to wait for success to come, since it's not like I need the money. Oh! Speaking of the money, while I was at Con on the Cob was when the crafting business finally entered the green! As of right now, I've managed to earn a profit of a whopping $17.45 more than I've spent on it. Yes, I AM excited about this. ;) As of my last sale, I've made $200 from the crafts since I started selling stuff in February. I know, that's a pretty pathetic rate, but I'm still happy with it. I've got a new pattern coming out soon, and plans for some more, but I'm not going to keep talking about that here, because if folks are interested in the crafting they should read my craft blog! ;)

Exercise is good. I'll write more about that when the time comes.

I'm not practicing quite as much drums as I want, but I've finally got the electronic drum kit fully up and running - I had it all hooked up, then took a month to get around to plugging it in, only to discover that I needed a different type of headphones than I had, which I have now purchased. Unless I randomly fall asleep, I should get to practice my bosa nova beats on it tonight!

Writing has been slow of late. Early August I started in earnest to try to get started, only to have my communications with the Ohio Historical Society take so long that they didn't get out the facsimile I needed until I had left for Italy in September. But it was there waiting for me when I got back, and I read it almost immediately (the history of the 1st OVI is only about 60 pages, and half of that is the roster of the members of the unit). As I had feared, it has almost no information of any useful character, in that it wasn't written until 1918 when there were very few survivors left, and so most of the accounts are general and vague. Furthermore, it focuses on the three year unit, when the first novel is about the volunteer unit (the second novel will be about the three year unit, which has some but not near all of the same people) and as such there is almost no info about the 1st OVI at Bull Run in there. Since then, I've been reading a book about the battle, though, and now I can answer this question - it's because they don't really do anything. They're part of a brigade that ends up waiting to do an advance on a bridge that just never really happens. The OVI has a few casualties, though, including 1 reported fatality. That one is so mine. ;) More than the actual research is the crystallization of what I want to do. Now I know what format I want it to be. I know some of my characters. I've made some important decisions, like how to handle using real names (or not). I spent a lot of the drive yesterday just letting my mind wander, and I feel like I've got ideas that I like. I'm on my first in-depth description of the battle, and it's a good book, contains a lot of useful information in a general sense with enough specifics that I can now basically trace the movement of my 1st OVI over the course of about two months, including during the battle. Everything so far fits with what I already wanted to do, which is good - I wasn't sure what to expect, because on the list of battles I know about, Bull Run is way, way down near the bottom (or at least it was - now I'd have to say Murfreesboro is at the bottom, but that won't last either, cause the 1st OVI is at Murfreesboro, too. ;) ) Anyway, I feel like I could write a lot more about this, because I AM thinking about it, and I do have ideas, but for now I'm not going to keep going, only to say that thanks to WFC I feel way better about it than I have, I'm looking forward to getting the research books I ordered from Amazon, and I already know at least one other book that I really need to get my hands on. ;) I'm also thinking seriously about the need for a trip to Bull Run - I don't want to wait til next July, though, so I'm debating how advantageous a totally out of season trip will actually be, as places look and feel very different in January than they do in July...

So...I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but that's okay. November looks much calmer than October has been. There's a decent chance I'll be going to a football game and Cooperstown with Kreiner on Nov. 13, and the following Friday will probably be a day trip to Binghamton for the Penguin book sale. B. and I will both be going to my dad's for Thanksgiving, and if the weather doesn't totally blow I'll also go to the Parade, but other than that, I've only got work stuff. To me, this is a singularly uneventful month in comparison to most of my recent ones, so I'm glad for that.

Will you be writing Christmas cards? I will be creating custom Christmas cards based on my photography - lovely fall or winter photos on the outside (of your choice, from my collection) on a gray card, blank on the inside. Cards are $1.75 each, or $15 for 10/$20 for 15. If this is something that would of interest to any of you, comment or e-mail me or what not, and we can start picking out photos! Tell your friends! Just need to know soonish, as the prints need to be made before I can cut the cards. :)

And don't forget the doll commission option, either! ;)
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