Tag Archives: unfocused life

Liveblogging the Block Party, Part 5.

Well, the cops finally shut the music down a few minutes ago. The Siren has to sing tomorrow morning, so we’re turning in. All in all, it was a great party.

Here are a few final pictures, of Unfocused Girl on a late night bike ride, and one of people dancing before the Man shut us down.

Liveblogging the Block Party, Part 4.

The kids are finally both in bed. Junior crashed first, with a meltdown when our guests went home around 10.  Unfocused Girl rode her bike in the dark for another hour, until I finally was able to catch her, at which point she promptly collapsed from exhaustion.  Now it’s grownup time – music for another hour or so (until the cops shut us down), then hanging around until exhaustion kicks in. Last year we ended up in one of the neighbor’s above-ground pool at 3am; I think we’ll probably cash out a little earlier tonight.

Liveblogging the Block Party, Part 3.

The silly string battle rocked, but the highlight was Junior’s mad science experiment, dropping Mentos into different kinds of diet soda.

Diet Coke worked best.  If you haven’t seen the videos of people doing this, I suggest you go to youtube and search “Diet Coke and Mentos.”

Up next: the giant slide!

Liveblogging the Block Party, Part 2

So far, so good. The slip ‘n’ slide has been well-used without excessive injury, the city jumping jack has been and gone, and the kids have played two cut-throat games of musical chairs. The adults play later.

Here are a few pictures:

Liveblogging the Block Party, Part 1.

Every summer, our block has the awesomest block party, and today is the day. The Unfocused Kids are beyond excited, and while we are still going to Taekwondo, Unfocused Girl has asked that we skip our weapons class afterwards to come back sooner.  The Siren has been up since god knows when getting a big ol’ brisket on the grill so that it will be ready for dinner.  The giant slip ‘n’ slide showed up at 8am, two hours early, we closed off the street a little early and things are getting started.

I’ll try and check in now and then during the day, maybe post some pictures.  I may not post much — the block party is pretty intense — but I’ll give it a shot.

Hope your Saturday is also filled with awesome.

Decrepitude Has Crept Up on Me.

I will no longer be able to quote the line from “When Harry Met Sally” — “and I’m going to be 40… someday!” — with any sense of irony at all.  I am 40 today, and so far I am totally nonplussed, mainly because I went to bed too late and now I’m sleepy.

Where did the time go?  How is it possible I’ve reached this age without having more answers?  Without being further along?

And where’s my goddamn jetpack?

Gaaa. I’m going for a run.

Friday. Finally.

This has been an exhausting week, and I will be delighted to put a bullet in it, roll the body into a shallow grave, kick some dirt and leaves onto it and leave it behind in the woods. But first I’ll spit on it.

Perhaps I exaggerate, just a bit.  After all, nothing bad happened. I got a boatload of work done, I continue to be not laid off, my paychecks continue to clear, everyone close to me is healthy.

And yet, so much of the last five days I’ve felt like I’ve had a finger stuck in an electrical outlet, with the current constantly running through my system, jangling my nerves and toasting my noggin. I think by the end of today, though, I’m going to be able to pull my finger out of that socket, at least for a little while, and breathe.

I think it turned around a little last night. I had to leave work early for the conference with Junior’s teacher (which went extremely well; my goofball boy has really started to bloom, academically speaking, in the last three months, like a switch flipped on), and then we all went out for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant we’d never tried before. Everyone got something special:  Unfocused Girl and I had the osso bucco, the Siren had some kind of fancy pasta dish (I was too intent on the lamb to notice what, but it was tossed at the table in a big bowl of parmesan), and Junior had (as usual) pizza, but it was a special handmade pizza. Then we went home, put the kids to bed, and I spent an hour finishing a project I’ve spent the last two weeks on and finally getting it to the client.  I’ve got a lot to do today, but I think I’m going to get most of it done, with a minimum of pain (HAH!), and get out of the office at a reasonable time (double HAH!), maybe. I see a glass of wine in my future. Maybe a bottle.

No actual writing so far. A little outlining, and re-reading parts of Meet the Larssons to determine which scenes are salvageable, and which just need to go. No writing this week (or last, or the one before that), but I’m starting to see how to get back into the rewrite.

If I can pull together 15 minutes over the weekend, though, I may try banging out the start to a short story on Write or Die, just to keep those muscles from atrophying completely.  Hat tip to Amy for the link, and to Dr. Wicked for the creation.

Writing and Getting Paid For It.

I’ve gotten very little done on any of my personal projects in recent weeks.  Really, since the AWP Conference in February, I don’t think I’ve gotten any further in the Manuscript Slog through Meet the Larssons.  I did outline more in Project Hometown — I now have a spreadsheet with the first 25 scenes laid out, which covers all of Act One, for those of you who believe in the three act novel structure — but haven’t touched it in a couple of weeks.

The primary reason for all this is that I’m working my ass off at the day job, which, as I’ve said before, is often a night and weekend job, too.  Ordinarily when I’m this busy, it’s because of one big project; this time, it’s because a number of projects have heated up at once.  I’m doing fine, but it has required a little more proactive time-management than I’ve needed the last couple of months.

So I’m doing plenty of writing.  I knocked out six pages of scintillating prose in less than two hours this morning, and I am 100% certain that my payment will be made by direct deposit on schedule.  I also talked through edits on a 40-page piece with a co-author, and made significant headway on the first draft of a more substantial work.  On the downside, it was all non-fiction (yes, I’m sure), and all of it is client work.  All of it will be paid for, it will all have my name on it (albeit at the end instead of the beginning), and at least some of it has the potential to end up with a slightly larger audience than the typical readership of this blog, so I don’t mean to complain.  I’m just offering it as an excuse, even though I suspect I’m the only one who thinks I need one. In any case, if I haven’t been commenting on your blog lately or you’ve been wondering where I’ve been or why my page and word-count meters in the sidebar haven’t budged in weeks, that’s why.

I’ve got a meeting of my novelists’ support discussion group on Sunday.  They already think I’m the least serious writer in the room (there’s a reason for that; but since I’m the only male in the group, I think they keep me around just to add a different perspective).  I hope I can spend enough time this weekend reviewing what I have done so that I sound like I at least have a WIP when we meet.

What else since the last time?  I think the only other writing-related news is that “Jimmies” got rejected again.  This time, though, the rejection was personal, with significant, easy-to-understand comments about the story and why the editor didn’t buy it (including that the editor thought it read like a YA story, which the ezine doesn’t publish).  Once I get through this patch at work, I’m going to reread the story with the rejection letter in mind.  I’ll try to edit with the comments in mind, and then I’m going to look for a YA short story market.  It’s worth a shot.

There’s still time to send me cookies (homemade chocolate chip or oatmeal scotchies are the best) or single malt scotch (I’m partial to The Macallan 12 y.o.) before I give out my allotted eight Proximidade Awards, although you should remember that the award is for those who do not seek self-aggrandizement, so be tactful.

Where Do I Start?

It’s been what, nine days since I’ve posted? I’ve missed two Winter Sunday Stats in a row, and except for the birthday post for Unfocused Girl, nothing at all since Feb. 22.

I’m not going to make it all up tonight, but I’ll try to post a few times this week, at least briefly.  Things have gotten very busy at work, with some planned and unplanned travel, and other stuff happening at home, and I’m getting over a nasty cold, all of which means I haven’t had much time or energy to write or run much, or even read other people’s blogs. Sorry for the silence. I’m going to be jammed for another couple of weeks, but I’ll try to be a little less absent from the blogosphere.

I intended to post Unfocused Girl’s menu from our dinner on her 8th birthday but didn’t get around to it.  Here it is:

  • 2 Shirley Temples
  • 1/2 order of escargots
  • marrow bones
  • 1/2 order of mussels cooked in beer
  • steak frites
  • one scoop of French vanilla ice cream

UG didn’t eat much of the marrow bones, but I think they were overcooked. I had to move pretty quickly to get my half of the mussels.  She was also a little full by the time her steak arrived, so she had the rest of it for lunch the next day. We had a wonderful evening; she’s a very nice dinner companion.  We brought home an entree and dessert for the Siren; she needed something, since she had spent the evening with Junior at a birthday party at Pump It Up, with about a million hyper little boys.

I won an award, which is always nice.  Thanks to Mike at Everything Under the Sun for the Proximidade Award:

Proximidade Award

“This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes of self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

In my next post, I’ll update on the writing. It will be brief, by necessity. I will also name the eight people I’m giving the award to, so if you think you deserve it, you have 24 hours to get me your bribes or clever comments.

Love the Weather, Hate the Cable Company.

Just a quick post while we temporarily have functioning internet access.  Chicago is enjoying 50+ weather this weekend, which is great in every way except that it is killing our internet access.  When Comcast ran the line from the pole to the house back in 2002, they connected it wrong at the pole — with a vertical connection instead of horizontal.  I can’t quite see what they’re talking about, but vertical means that rain and melting snow run into the

*** wait, it’s down again ***

Okay, I’m back.  Water runs into the connection box because they installed it wrong more than six years ago.  We’ve had innumerable service calls, they know what the problem is, but they’ve never fixed it.  Today, the Siren called and got someone nice, competent, apologetic, and (this is key) didn’t assume that the Siren was an idiot.  Since he actually believed she knew what she was talking about, she was spared all the usual nonsense (“Turn everything off, sit in the dark for an hour, then turn it back on and call us back!”) and he scheduled a “line cut.”  This means that Comcast will send someone out next week to disconnect the line and start over, this time connecting it to the pole the right way, which should solve the problem.

Then he suggested we sign up for their phone service, since we already have TV and internet.  The Siren is a much nicer person than I am, and didn’t laugh.

If I can’t post my Sunday Stats tomorrow, you’ll know why.