Tag Archives: office

Office Space

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My office is finally done! Okay, it’s not 100% done – my curtains still need to be made and I’ll probably be decorating it in dribs and drabs for a long time to come, but all of my stuff is moved in and I am now working in here instead of in the living room.

This was honestly one pain in the ass of a project. Mostly because it was the first room we renovated and we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. Everything we did took five times longer than we’d planned on it taking (and we weren’t being unrealistic with our time frames to begin with) and every time we thought we were done, some new issue reared its ugly head.

My gorgeous new desk.

My gorgeous new desk.

My desktop.

My desktop.

View from by the window

View from by the window

View from the doorway

View from the doorway

Creative altar

Creative altar

Bookshelf for research books with chair.

Bookshelf for research books with chair.

 

And, just to give you an idea of before and after, this is what the room looked like before we tore the walls down:

The '70's orange and brown plaid porn-set wallpaper.

The ’70’s orange and brown plaid porn-set wallpaper.

And this is what that same wall looks like now:

The curved wall looks so much better in burgundy than in brown and orange plaid.

The curved wall looks so much better in burgundy than in brown and orange plaid.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Wrap-up and a Snippet

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My husband and I were supposed to spend this weekend working on house projects, but mostly we ended up doing a whole lot of lounging around. We did get the next room on our renovation list gutted. Well, mostly gutted. We’re keeping the wall that has the mural on it so we’ve ripped down the plaster on three walls and the closet. Today we clean out the plaster and lathes we tore down and then begin construction on a retaining wall around the back edge of the driveway.

This week we finally get the outlets in my office grounded so that I can get everything moved in there and my computer plugged in without having to worry. YAY! I’ll post pictures as soon as I’ve got everything settled in there.

We had friends over yesterday to watch some football. Boy was that a disappointing loss by the Patriots to the Jets. Oh well… our season is going better than expected considering the number of injured players we have.

The current project is flowing along nicely and my writing partners are certainly enjoying it. Have a little snippet from it and let me know what you think.

“You’re not exactly what I was expecting for a god.”

He eyed me for a long moment, his gaze piercing and knowing, and then he smiled. It was a slow lazy smile that spoke volumes yet said nothing.

“And what,” he asked, his voice low and purring, “were you expecting?”

He was suddenly standing right in front of me. He was so close I could feel his body heat radiating out from under his clothes. My mouth was suddenly dry with fear and I couldn’t force the words from my throat.

“A hulking Norse barbarian perhaps?”

Before he’d even stopped speaking his features had morphed into a hard, chiseled face with flowing reddish-blonde hair. His shoulders and chest bulked up, straining against the fabric of his shirt. There was something cruel and twisted about this face and I shrank even further away from him.

“Or perhaps a movie star?” His hair darkened and his face and body narrowed and softened and in less than a second I was staring at the comic-book movie version of Loki. Even his voice changed. Except for his eyes, those were the same striking green.

This time my mouth was dry for a completely different reason.

“You like this aspect of me, don’t you? I see it in your eyes.” He leaned in close and whispered the words in my ear.  “And it is one of my aspects. Enough of you humans believed in it with such passion that it has become a part of me. Would you like me to remain in this form; this tortured, jealous soul who would seek to rule you?”

He leaned in closer, his lips just a hair’s breadth from brushing my ear.

“Would you kneel for me?”

A Look Back At 2012

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2012 has come and gone. Thank the Gods.

It’s not that it was necessarily a bad year for my husband and me, there were the usual ups and downs of life and finances, sure, but nothing devastating. But it was a bad year on a global scale and for a number of people we care about which greatly reduced our enjoyment of things.

Some of the highlights of the year:

My family was blessed with three more babies. I now have a new niece, a new nephew, and a new second cousin bringing the total number of children in my family who are under the age of 18 to 19. As I was making out the To Buy For list for the holidays, I realized that (except for one year) for the last decade there’s been at least one new baby born every year. That’s a lot of kids. So many in fact that we ended up buying presents just for the kids and our parents. Everyone else got homemade cookies.

My husband bought a new truck. This was both a good and a bad thing. A good thing because his Mustang which he’d had for close to eleven years was on its last legs and it would cost more to repair it than it was worth. A bad thing because we were supposed to buy me a new vehicle this year. My last car died right before we bought the house in 2010 and, since we were going to be buying a house, we didn’t buy me a new one then because it would have messed with our debt to income ratio. This year we could finally afford to buy me a car and the Mustang decided to crap out on us. Boo… Hopefully this year we can get me a nice used car since I’m getting really sick and tired of having to rely on others to take me where I want to go.

We got a whole heck of a lot further on my office renovation. It’s still not done, but it’s at about 75% done. Most of the delay right now is because one of corners is a curve instead of a 90 degree angle and it’s taking a lot longer than expected to get it to curve like it should. I’d rather take the time to get the curve right than simply square it off because the curved walls are one of the things I love about this house. BUT! We’re going to be sanding the floor this week and we’ve already got the paint colors chosen, so we’re basically just waiting on that curve to be done and then I’m going to commission one of my husband’s employees to make me some curtains for the windows. And then it’s down to simply getting furniture in there and decorating.

As I talked about before, my best friend and I had started sword training with her mentor. Unfortunately, once summer arrived, her life sort of went downhill and she wasn’t able to make it to practice for several months. As mentioned above, I don’t have a vehicle of my own, so that meant that I couldn’t make it to practice either. By the time her life calmed down and she had the time and mental/emotional/physical spoons to start going again, our teacher had already filled in that time with other activities. So, alas, there is no more sword training for me. I’m pretty sure our teacher was a bit put out by it. I really do feel bad because we were all enjoying it very much and I wish like hell I could have continued it.

I also attempted to go shampoo free last year by using apple cider vinegar and baking soda to wash my hair. That worked quite well for a few months, but then I started to notice that my hair was becoming very straw-like and brittle. So, I am back to using shampoo, but only sparingly and I’m searching for a good organic shampoo that isn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg. In other hair news, I still have a bit of a purple tint to my hair from when I dyed it purple to go to Vegas back in August of 2011. I keep threatening to go have it professionally colored at a salon, but I never seem to find the time. Just a word of warning — Splat Lusty Lavender Hair Dye is not as temporary as they say it is. I’m not sure if it’s staying in my hair because I didn’t bleach the color out of it first or what.

And an interesting factoid relating to the above — the majority of search terms that led to this blog last year relate to people searching for information on Splat Lusty Lavender or No Poo.

The search for a publisher for Lost Souls isn’t going as well as I’d hoped. A person can only hear/read “This is really good, you’ll definitely find a home for it somewhere, but unfortunately not with us” so many times before it gets absolutely depressing. And it doesn’t help when every one of them cites a different reason for passing. It means that there’s nothing to fix and it’s all just personal preference and the slowing Urban Fantasy market driving the rejections. So, I’m working on a story in a completely different genre and hope that when it’s finished the market for that type of book hasn’t passed me by like it did with Urban Fantasy. It really pains me to set Alex, Ryuu, and Vic aside, but I’m hoping that the UF market will see a resurgence in a few years so that I can whip them back out and try again.

Last year I only read 50 books which makes me quite ashamed of myself. I usually read between 75 and 100 books a year. There were a few times where I went for weeks without reading anything. I’m hoping to do better this year and I’m hoping to expand my repertoire a bit more. Most of the books I read last year were fantasy or urban fantasy. This year I want to read more non-fiction relating to history and science. So, if anyone has any favorite non-fiction books, feel free to rec them to me!

And finally, the blogging group I’d been blogging with for the last year and a half has decided to close down. Black Ink, White Paper‘s final blog post was last Monday. It’s both sad and a bit of a relief for me. I barely find time to post here, so trying to come up with good blog posts for over there was starting to get a bit stressful, but I’m so glad to have been a part of the group because it allowed me to meet a number of very wonderful and talented writers.

And that’s about it for last year. There were other things that happened, but I’ve either already talked about them or I don’t feel comfortable talking about them here.

So, it’s out with the old year, in with the new, and here’s hoping it plays out better than before.

ETA: Oh, and I forgot to mention that political differences cost me one of my dearest friends from high school. She’s a dyed in the wool conservative Catholic and I’m a liberal-leaning independent Pagan. Apparently, the religious differences were fine, but discussing politics from the opposite end of the political spectrum equals deterioration. *shrugs* I’m still a bit upset over it even though it happened in March. What made it even worse was that we saw her in public just a few months ago and she tried to make like nothing had even happened. I’m not against reconciling with her and re-starting the friendship since she was the one who ended it, but I do get cranky when somebody tries to make nice in a public setting with other people around even though they haven’t once tried contacting me privately.

Tuesday Ten

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1. I went out for a Girl’s Night Out last night with two of my best friends. We went to this great little Mexican restaurant for drinks and desserts.

2. I really needed that intelligent, adult interaction with other people who are not my husband.

3. Even still, I didn’t sleep well last night and woke up cranky and in a stabby mood. Not a good mood to be in the morning after a Presidential debate. I just want to bitch-slap the stupid out of people.

4. To make up for that, I saw the first trailer for Iron Man 3!

5. As awesome as the movie looks, I am extremely disappointed with their decision to whitewash Mandarin. Ben Kingsley may be a phenomenal actor, but are there really no Chinese actors who are just as phenomenal?

6. I am making sesame ginger marinated steak for dinner tonight.

7. I just started watching David Tennant‘s run as Doctor Who after buying the giant Tenth Doctor set of DVDs on Amazon. I really do need to get with the program when it comes to watching really good television when it actually comes out instead of years later.

8. My office is getting closer to being done every day. This makes me extremely excited.

9. This post on Murderati made me sniffle a bit because I’ve definitely been feeling like continuing to write is a pointless endeavor.

10. I really don’t have a ten. So, instead, have some pictures of a cat in wigs via The Bloggess.

 

Adventures in Office Renovation

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As I may have mentioned on here before, my husband and I have been renovating the room that is to become my office. It’s been a very long process that is fast coming to an end. When we started this project we were just going to sand the layers of paint off the beautiful woodwork and refinish the floors. The walls we were going to leave as they were because,  I really liked what everyone else called the ’70’s orange and brown plaid porn-set wallpaper.

The picture really doesn’t do it justice. Honest!

I know what you’re all thinking – “That’s absolutely hideous!” I know that’s what you’re thinking because I had the same exact reaction when I saw the pictures up on the real estate listing. However, the first time we went to look at the house, I walked into this room and fell in love with the wallpaper. The sunlight coming in through the window really brightened the colors to make it very cheery and comfy.

It was supposed to be a very fast and easy project since we were just going to strip all the pain from the woodwork and stain it. HA! The top layer of paint was more like a layer of plastic instead of paint so we couldn’t sand it or we’d just gum up the sander with the paint. We tried using noxious chemicals to peel the paint off, but it would strip the top layers, but not touch the bottom layers no matter how many times we applied it. We ended up resorting to a heat gun and scraping the paint off by hand. As I’m sure you can guess, that was a very labor intensive, time-consuming endeavor.
We started this project in early winter of 2010 not too long after we moved in. We’d be all gung-ho about it for several days in a row and get a bunch of work done and then not do anything on it for weeks and even months at a time because we were so sick of scraping hot, bubbling paint. This past spring we finally got it to the point where we just needed to sand the last bits off and we could call it good. Except, when we took the baseboards off to make it easier to sand them, the plaster wall began to crumble into dust.

That was NOT supposed to happen.

 

It was decided that we’d just go ahead and tear the plaster and lath walls down, put insulation in, update the wiring, and throw up drywall like we’re planning on doing with the rest of the house. As we began tearing down the plaster, we noticed insulation already behind the lath even though we were told there was no insulation in the walls. We at first thought it had simply settled down the walls from when they’d blown it into the attic, so we sent a bit of it out for testing to make sure there was no asbestos in it. We got the results back in about a week with a report of no asbestos, so we set to work tearing all of that out as well.

We made a bit of a mess…

 

Oh the little treasures we found buried in the insulation. There was a long, cardboard box which looks like the types of boxes used by florists for roses, a children’s math primer from 1877, a publication called Cottage Hearth (with instructions on how to “skeletonize” flowers for Midsummer) from an unknown date, a newspaper from 1883, and a complete mouse skeleton. I saw the tail of the mouse skeleton sticking out of a clump of insulation and it looked like a length of plastic, so I pulled it out only to find that it was in fact a skeleton. I admit, I made a bit of an EEP sound out of sheer surprise. I knew we were going to find some neat and interesting things in the walls, but all of this in just one room was awesome. I now can’t wait to tackle the rest of the rooms to see what we find.

When we got all of the insulation out, I noticed round plugs between each of the studs and realized that at some point there *had* been insulation blown into the walls at some point, but there was no record of it having been done. Ah well, the insulation wasn’t working so well anyway and needed to be replaced. I’m also really glad we were forced to tear the plaster down because the studs in some places are covered in mold (as was the insulation) from the who knows how many years the roof leaked. Now I can clean those up and not worry about it spreading and aggravating my husband’s allergies.

My brother-in-law who is a professional drywaller will be over sometime this week to let us know what we’re going to need and if there’s anything else we need to do in order to get the room ready for the new wiring and drywall. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m hoping this project is almost done. *crosses fingers*

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year to you all! May the coming year be filled with light, love, and laughter for you.

I’m not making any resolutions for the new year because if I want to make a change in my life, I’m going to make it whether it’s a resolution or not. And I’m not necessarily going to keep to a resolution just because it’s a resolution.

Yesterday, our neighbors across the street hosted a Victorian First Day of 2012 Feast. I was not aware until yesterday that they’re Civil War era re-enactors with a passion for all things Victorian. I know who I’m talking to if I ever get the urge to write a steampunk novel! 😉 It was a very fun event that included enough food to feed a platoon of soldiers and some very cool people. I can honestly say that buying this house was the best decision we’ve ever made.

One of my husband’s gifts to me was a flat screen monitor, so now I’m not getting headaches and blurry eyes after being on the computer for too long. It took a while for me to get the brightness and contrast settings to a comfortable balance, but now that I have them set I’m loving it. Which means I can finally get caught up on the beta reading I need to do.

He also got me Skyrim which I’ve vowed not to begin playing until I’ve beaten Dragon Age Origins. Which means I need to write faster because playing Dragon Age is my reward for getting my writing quota done for the day.

We’re starting to clean up the house and put decorations away. The house is looking extremely bare and forlorn. I’m thinking that we need to paint and finally put up curtains at least in the living room. We’ve been putting it off because we need to tear down the old, crumbly plaster and put up new drywall, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening any time this year. We’re also getting our butts in gear and finishing up my office. I want to be completely moved in there before Spring.

Things to do while waiting for my agent to email

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I’m still waiting to hear back from Cameron on my revisions. For the first few weeks I was able to wait patiently because I had both the trip to Vegas and the trip to my aunt’s house to look forward to. Now that both of those are over with, I’m starting to get a bit antsy and am looking for things to distract me so I don’t go completely insane.

1. Work on new material. This one’s a given – you should always be working on something whether it’s writing a new piece or tinkering with an old one. Right now I’m working on book 2 of the series, When Demons Cry.

2. Garden. It’s getting to be time for end of summer maintenance work on my gardens. There are dead and dying plants to be cut back, weeds to be pulled, and areas that need tilling.

3. Work on the house. My office still isn’t done. The floor in the front entranceway needs to be sanded, buffed, waxed, coated with polyurethane, and whatever else goes into refurbishing a hardwood floor. We need to get a plumber in to take out some extraneous pipes and fixtures (but I think that’s going to be  hubby’s project since I got the contractor for the roof and windows).

4. Clean the house. With all of the running around we’ve been doing, the housework has been woefully neglected. From piles of clean laundry to be put away to tumbleweeds of cat hair skittering across the floor, my house is a disaster.