ksmith: (coffee cup)
Everything has imported from LJ according to DW, so I am here now. I won't be crossposting over there, and am working up the nerve to delete what's left behind. Feels strange, because I was there for so long.

An unseasonably warm weekend--high 60s yesterday and 70s today. Grass is greening fast. I spread the corn gluten fertilizer/weed suppressant yesterday, and am hoping that I see some improvement in the creeping Charlie control in the backyard. It's going to take a few years to hit the 80% control level that organic stuff usually reaches, but this is Year 2 and so I am hoping.

First daffodils opened today. They'll pick up as the crocuses wind down. It's supposed to drop back to the 50s for a few days, but I don't really mind. As long as the trend is up.
ksmith: (Default)

I’m in the midst of a slam dance here. Articles and an interview due over on the Alex Gordon side of the street. Reformatting Contact Imminent in preparation for ebook conversion and proofreading.

Adjusting to the fact that 2016 is almost 1/6 over.

NE Illinois will get a taste of Spring this weekend. Sunny. Highs in the 50s. Then Winter returns because this is the Midwest in March that we’re talking about.

Just finished breakfast. Time to take Gaby to puppy playcare, then settle in and get some work done.

Later!

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

A Tuesday

Feb. 16th, 2016 09:29 am
ksmith: (Default)

Still in a post-con mindset, catching up on emails and wondering what I missed. Working on Alex Gordon interview questions, LAW OF SURVIVAL prep, counting down to the JERICHO release, and pondering new work. I need to fit taxes in there somewhere. And oh look, it’s already mid-February.

Capricon was fun. Saw a few folks I hadn’t talked to in years, and met some folks I had to that point known only online. The panels went well, too, with much good discussion about the purposes of SF (should it be predictive, or extrapolation, or commentary, or AOTA*), and about new technologies that may help overcome antibiotic resistance.

The con weekend did start out rocky on Friday morning when I rushed out to the car only to find one of my month-old tires had gone flat. Tried to fill it using my little garage compressor, but no go. Luckily, the tire place was on the way–they took the car right in, and fixed the tire. Turns out that I had run over a leveling bolt from a stove or refrigerator. Yup, hit it just right. So yes, the tire was fixed, and I made it to the con with 20 minutes to spare. But it irks me that my BRAND NEW TIRE already has a patch.

Next up–C2E2! Alex Gordon me has a panel; I’ll post all the info when I have it.

Cold and quiet outside today. Gaby is at the vet’s getting her teeth cleaned, so I’ll take advantage of the stillness and get an early start on work….

*All Of The Above

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (fireplace)

Hope everyone had a good holiday. Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! Tonight it will be 27 years since the fire that my dad had going in the fireplace licked through gaps in the mortar and set the rear of the house on fire. I had just closed on the place two weeks prior–another five minutes, and I’d have lost it. Instead, I had insurance company hassles–no-name insurance, just don’t do it–and major outlay for a new, BUILT TO CODE, fireplace.

27 years. Some events always seem…more recent. And always will.

One week until GIDEON hits the shelves–the Alex Gordon half of this one-person writing team will be busy. Check over there for details and appearances etc if you’re interested. The next few months will be spent working on JERICHO, the follow-up to GIDEON, as well as comic┬ácon appearances and working on getting the Jani Kilian books into ebook format and cleaning out the house as part of the long-term move-across-the-country prep. General everyday life will get tucked into the spaces.

I thought that after I left the day job I would have all this extra time. Ha.

2015 is almost here. The time, does it ever fly.

 

 

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (me)

Damn, but it’s been a while.

Almost a year since I retired from the day job, and I don’t miss it a bit. I’ve been dealing with house repairs, though not as quickly as I would like. The worst job, going through all the worldly goods and disposing of what I no longer want or need, has been a slow go. I did get rid of a mess o’ unwanted weed killer, non-organic lawn care stuff, and acrylic paint a couple of months ago, but clothes, books, collectibles, furniture and assorted junk remain unsorted. Last summer I said I would do it during the winter, and during the winter I said I would attack it in the spring. Now, July is winding down. I did schedule some decks repairs–the guy who started the work last fall never finished and wouldn’t return my calls, so I needed to find someone else. That contractor will also be doing some work on my cupboards so I can finally get a dishwasher installed, which will be cause for much excitement in the realm.

As for the junk, it will get sorted. It has to. But I’m not looking forward to it.

Seven years today since my mom passed. I am not an anniversary/memorial person as a rule, for whatever that says about me. But today I had to do a lot of running around in the area around the hospital where mom was treated and the hospice in which she passed, and it got to me. Memories of driving from hospital to hospital to pick up records or to restaurants to pick up treats that she said she wanted and then wouldn’t eat–the spirit was willing, but the appetite was no longer there.

A restless day.

No updates concerning Jani e-bbok conversions. I thought I had something set up, but that may have fallen through. I may need to simply buckle down and do it myself.

Currently playing in the background is an old episode of Rick Steve’s Europe. Tuscany and Umbria. So gorgeous.

Someday….

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Cold

Jan. 23rd, 2014 01:19 pm
ksmith: (snowsuit)

That’s pretty much the update. It’s COLD, with occasional light snow. I am very much looking forward to spring.

Gaby, however, doesn’t seem to mind the chill. She lurks under the bird feeder and waits for squirrels.

Tax forms are showing up in the mail, so I will be working on things financial over the next few weeks. Annual physical stuff, which I hate but has to be done.

Not much else happening, so I will close with the news headline of the year, courtesy of writer Liz Williams over on the Facebook:

Ghost ship full of cannibal rats could be about to crash into Devon coast.


There are fears a ghost ship full of diseased cannibal rats could be about to crash into the coast of Devon or Cornwall.
The abandoned Lyubov Orlova has been missing since it cut adrift while being towed from Canada nearly a year ago. The 40-year-old liner has been driven across the Atlantic by high winds and is thought close to the UK shore. Based on emergency beacons activated last year aboard the ship, it is feared the 40-year-old Yugoslavian liner registered to Russia could crash into the shore of Devon, Cornwall, Ireland or Scotland.

Those searching for the ship say there are likely to be thousands of disease-ridden rats on board with no source of food except each other, according to The Sun.

Belgian-based searcher Pim de Rhoodes said: “She is floating around there somewhere. There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other.”

Shades of James, Stoker, and Benson.

Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Ghost-ship-cannibal-rats-crash-Devon-coast/story-20487193-detail/story.html#ixzz2rFbSk8u4

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (celebrate)

The snow’s started, fine crystals that will fall through the night. Just a few hours left in 2013.

It was a year. I lost King. Retired from the day job. Pondered and planned. Hit some speed bumps. Struggled to adjust to having All The Time In The World, because it seemed to zip past even more quickly than it did when I didn’t. Lollygagged a little too much–I need to stop that. I’ve heard from several writers that it takes a year to adjust to being a full-timer, and I believe it. So that’s one big item on the 2014 agenda. Adjust.

I cannot complain. I’m very lucky that I was able to do what I’ve done. In the coming year, I need to make the most of the opportunity. Push myself. Take chances.

I hope you all get the chance to do something you always wanted to do. Have a plan come to fruition. Take that first step down a winding, overgrown path, one that doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

To the new year!

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (dr_chris3)

Not feeling grumpy, for the first time in years.

It’s the little weirdnesses. Like the fact that some of my fave shirts are no longer “work clothes,” and I can wear them anytime. Or that I can plan yardwork for a weekday morning. That I can get away from my desk by walking outside, maybe pulling a few weeds.

In other news, just saw the new Dr Who reveal. Looks like they’ve gone with older David Tennant, but won’t know for sure until the first eps.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (celebrate)

I am in you.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Monday

Jul. 22nd, 2013 06:06 pm
ksmith: (Default)

Still a week and a half to go–6.5 working days–but I cleaned out my desk at the day job today. Photos. The dinosaur figures. The bust of Spike. The wildlife and GSD puppy calendars. The personal effects of 26 years, stuck in a box small enough to tuck under my arm.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (shirley)

A subset of “they know when you have money.”

I had a feeling this was going to happen. Sometimes, you just know.

Primary laptop was a late 2007 MacBook. It had topped out wrt some software updates–couldn’t run the latest OS, struggled with Firefox and every other browser, frankly. Labored when running even a short video.

First kernel panic–the Mac version of “Dive! Dive!”–occurred about 10 days ago, resulting in a frozen system requiring a cold boot. Second kp occurred the day before yesterday. Third one occurred yesterday. Notice the pattern? Yeah, me too.

Suffice to say, I really, really, REALLY needed a reliable system, esp for the next week.

2am, I am 1) hunting for my ancient PowerBook to make sure it still worked, and 2) making an appt with the Genius Bar to check MacBook. Not all kps are system-related–sometimes, peripherals/network problems are the issue. But I wanted to make sure.

Long story short. Hardware issue. Could it be fixed? Probably. Do I have time to deal with this now? NO.

In addition, I learned that I can no longer read MacMail on my PowerBook because the OS is so old that it no longer works with current software. Plus, it had issues in the past that techs suspected were related to a motherboard nearing the end of its life.

So.

I am soon to be the somewhat relieved owner of a 13″ MacAir. Solid state. I will pick it up either this evening or first thing tomorrow, with all the stuff from the MacBook ported over. When I have time, MacBook will be repaired. It’s still a decent system, but the internet is passing it by.

The sweet young things at the Apple Store goggled over the PowerBook. “Wow, look–it has a place for a phone jack.”

Meanwhile, funny smell emanating from under hood of car. No smoke. No dash lights. No apparent leaking. Taking it to the shop for a check on Monday morning, but I have a little bit of driving to do between now and then. Suffice to say that I really didn’t need this now, either.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (war kittens)

Spam has been negligible ever since I closed posts to comments after a couple of days. I still get some attaching to photos like ticks to a dog, and I haven’t figured out a way to stop that. But 2 spam messages in a week as opposed to, say, 200 in a day? Not that big an ish. Besides, I don’t want to shut down comments completely. So, we’ll see how it goes.

Moved up retirement to 31 July because I ran the numbers and saw that I could. I wanted to enjoy some summer months. So, I am taking the plunge. 40 more days, give or take a few hours. Not that I’m counting….

Came home to find laptop, an 5yo MacBook, displaying Gray Screen of Death. Second kernel panic in a week and a half. I rebooted with no issues. External hardware is sometimes the reason, and I have a new cable modem that needs to be installed b/c old one is out of date, but I won’t have time to do that for at least a week, so. Activated Dropbox to save wips every ten minutes. Backed up everything after the first panic attack. And I have the 9yo iBook as back-up in case the MacBook fails.

I suspect a new laptop may be in my future, tho damned if I want the expense right now. A new Apple laptop=new countertops/backsplash in kitchen. I may check Small Dog for rebuilts. Not enough of a gadgeteer to care whether I have the latest and greatest or not.

Retiring in 40 days–did I mention?

Time to cut the lawn.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (brollie)

Vacay day day. IT STOPPED RAINING! Took Gaby for a walk, which consisted of her sniffing and marking and sniffing some more because the ground has released All The Smells thanks to the rain and the thaw. Saturday errands–groceries, etc–will be run today. Soon. In the next few minutes, in fact.

2.3 inches of rain over the last 2-3 days, according to the hummingbird gauge. To my amazement, the ground is taking it up rather quickly. The backyard is still sodden, but the lake is gone. Seems to be gone. Not inclined to walk out there and check lest I get sucked into the mire.

The mesclun is finally popping up in the raised bed, almost two weeks after seeding. Yes, it has been cold, but I thought lettuces liked that. In any case, I will probably plant another row this weekend, keep the crop going.

In web news, spam is showing up in the filter again. So spammers have started registering? I will shorten the comment time, and see if that helps. It’s not a lot of spam–nothing like before. It’s just the principle of the thing. Don’t like giving them a toehold, not even a little one.

In life news…barring global financial meltdown, I will be retiring from the day job in September. Going to give the writing life a good shot. Going to give life in general a better shot.

Something about King’s illness triggered it. Not getting any younger. It’s time.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (cloud dream)

Over on Facebook, I posted a link to a Roger Ebert essay on life, death, and things learned in between. I think it a courageous piece by someone who was staring mortality in the face. Lovely, in places. One line in particular stood out for me, a quote by van Gogh. “Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.”

I’m not ready for the stars. I hope to put off that journey for a long time. But it’s a promise to ponder. Something to take out of my back pocket and examine, every so often.

That said, there has been altogether too much bad health news lately, touching people I know and people I’ve only heard of and read about. April has been living up to its reputation as the cruelest month, and it can stop it anytime now.

Gaby seems to be okay. Still not eating at pre-King levels. I had to take her to the vet’s on Monday for an inflamed foot; she was weighed, and looks to have lost a couple of pounds. 43.1, as opposed to the 45.0 she weighed back in August. Vet is not too concerned yet. Gaby could still afford to lose a little more weight–40 lbs would be a good weight for her. She’s playful, acting normally. I take her back in a month for a teeth-cleaning, and if she’s still off her feed and/or has lost too much weight, there will be blood tests, etc. Trying not to think about anything being wrong. She has been through a lot of change lately, and I honestly believe that she ate more when King was around because she knew that if she didn’t eat it, he would. She’s not a food-driven dog–she will eat when she’s hungry and not before, and if the food isn’t to her liking, she will pick. It could be that she’s tiring of the duck & sweet potato, and I will need to find her something else. Not looking forward to the possibility, but if I have to, I guess I will have to.

It’s still chilly, but the Time of Freeze seems to have passed, she said hopefully. Crocuses have bloomed, a little cluster of purple amid the brown. Lawn is greening here and there. Indoors, the sprouts are coming along. Tomatoes are an inch or so high. Basil, a bit shorter. No signs of life yet from the mesclun in the raised bed, but it has only been a week since I planted the seeds.

Looking forward to a long weekend in Chicago at month’s end. I will be spending a day at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. Not on any panels–attendee only. It will be my first comics convention. No idea what to expect, but I will wear comfy shoes and bring my camera.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (red_wine)

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is playing in the background. The story is meh, but I get a bit of a kick from seeing an actor like Bill Nighy in costumed over-the-top. Yes, I liked seeing Sir Derek Jacobi in Underworld: Evolution, too. I’m guessing it’s fun, and a decent paycheck besides.

A mildly irritating week, during which I needed to keep reminding myself that compared to some, I have no problems, only options that require some work on my part to turn into reality. Could be some very interesting changes this year. Challenging. A little scary. We’ll see how things go.

Still getting hit with spam. I changed settings so that comments close after 7 days–that keeps spam comments from attaching to posts, but not to the photos that I sometimes insert and which show up on separate pages. Can I remove the comments option from those pages? If anyone knows, please let me know. Akismet snags 99% of the crap, but I would like to prevent it from attaching in the first place.

Salad for dinner, with tuna, roasted red pepper, grapefruit, greens. Lovely dressing of walnut dijon mustard with olive oil, cabernet vinegar, a clove of garlic, salt, pepper, capers. Since I started making my own vinaigrettes, I stopped buying bottled dressings. They can’t compare.

After a couple of days of thaw, the chill has returned. Parts of the backyard are covered in ice. Gonna be fun when it melts and muddies up. Until then, I walk very, very carefully. That Midwestern ice toddle.

King continues okay.

I am sitting on the couch. Gaby is lying next to me, the top of her head pressed against my side. She has the hottest little head. It’s like sitting next to a lightbulb.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (snowsuit)

Looks like we got a couple of inches. Still falling lightly. Could get occasional fallage over the next few days, which means that we will have something that approximates snowpack.

Oh well. This is the Midwest in February. I knew the snowfree state couldn’t last.

I am at the garage, getting Kuro’s ::check engine:: situation sorted out and getting a new side mirror installed (to replace the one that got clipped/broken by a passing jerk last week). The drive wasn’t near as bad as I feared–main roads were just wet, with a little mushy churn at the intersections. After I get out of here, to the grocery store I will hie. Then to home.

King had his monthly check-up on Thursday. Still maintaining.

Pasta of some sort for dinner, I think. It’s a red sauce and meatballs kinda day.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Monday

Dec. 10th, 2012 10:09 pm
ksmith: (gimme a break)

Other things I forgot to take out of Kuro before I left him at the repair shop? My day job ID card, which lets me into my building. The keys to my desk.

Temporary ID was supposed to be coded to let me into my building, but it apparently wasn’t, so it didn’t. I had to wait until someone came by to let me in.

Kuro is supposed to be ready tomorrow. Please, please, please….

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (lil black car)

A bit early, but the hell with it.

So. I had been hearing Kuro’s brakes emit the odd squeal for the last few weeks. Nothing persistent, just an occasional *eek*. I hadn’t noticed any drips from the undercarriage, but older Subarus are known to have head gasket issues–I talked to the service manager last year, and he said it’s about a 1 in 3 chance that an older model will have a problem.

Guess the odds weren’t ever in my favor.

What I’m trying to say is, shock, maybe, but not a surprise. It’s been a few years since Kuro’s brakes were looked at, so they were due. As for the head gasket, let’s just say I had a feeling.

None of this was URGENT–REPAIR IMMEDIATELY. But winter is coming, and brakes help ya get through it. That, and the fact that as the service manager was telling me that I could nurse things along if I wished, I had visions of breaking down during a blizzard. The thing is, I have developed an aversion to nursing things along with house and car repairs. I grew up driving used beaters that would behave for a year or so, then begin their passage through the many stages of junkdom on the way to that Big Scrapyard in the Sky. Every month or so, something else would break and the repairs would become more and more expensive, until I reached the point where I would scrap the old car and get a new used one. Lather, rinse, repeat.

After decades of this, I finally dug deep, first buying Harrison the Ford in 1997, then Kuroshinju The Forester in 2002. I have found that I like new vehicles. All the buttons and switches work, I don’t need to break out the rosaries and holy water on cold mornings, and I keep them long enough that I smooth out the NEW CAR financial hit.

But, when I know something is wrong, I get very edgy. Flashes from the past, bright as strobes. I can’t nurse. I have to fix.

I did catch a bit of a break. I suspected that I might need brake repair, so I arranged for a loaner vehicle ahead of time. Lucky thing, as they usually don’t give loaners on weekends.

Plus, I had a 15% off coupon for repair work. Not a big deal when I thought I was only looking at a bill of a couple of hundred bucks for PM and winterizing. Now? It’s huge.

So. The day goes on. Even though things worked out, I was still a little rattled. The loaner is a perfectly decent car, a silver Suzuki Kizashi 4-door sedan with push-button start and satellite radio. But after years of driving a 2002 Forester, one of the last “greenhouse” models, I feel very closed-in in a regular car. I have to take extra care because the visibility isn’t as good–so many blind spots. And of course, thanks to flusterment I managed to leave a few little things behind in Kuro–the second garage door opener, both pairs of sunglasses. All the reusable grocery bags.

Home now. Grocery shopping is done. I was happy to find some favorite whole grain rolls that I hadn’t seen in months. After I unpacked the groceries and fed the pups, I treated myself to one of the rolls with some herbed goat cheese. Sliced apple. Glass of white–a sauvignon blanc-semillon blend. Bright. Fresh-tasting.

Rained last night. Today is cloudy and chilly. The sun peeks out every so often, but not for long. Gaby is outside, barking at Life. King is inside, dozing. As is usual in situations of disquiet, I cleaned a bit. Washed down the kitchen counters, and cleaned out the foil/plastic wrap drawer of enough old twist ties to fill a gallon plastic bag. Cleared some cups and glasses out of the cupboard. Tossed old corn starch, baking powder and soda, and replaced with fresh. If I had the spare time, I’d do more, but I don’t. There’s writing to do.

Fresh cup of coffee. I do have time for that.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (lil black car)

Head gasket.

Brakes.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (gimme a break)

I had just started replenishing the emergency savings, which were wiped out by King’s surgery etc.

Early this week, the thermostat conked out. Had it replaced today.

Kuro’s brakes have started squealing intermittently. I made the appointment with the garage for a week from Saturday.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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