autographedcat: (Dayna Larger)

For Larissa and me, 2012 was the year of stasis.  We had big plans, and we worked towards them diligently, but a great deal of it felt like marking time until we could pull the lever that would propel everything into motion.1

A year ago, we threw that lever and began the adventure.  Leaving our jobs, packing the car, and driving west to Seattle was a carefully orchestrated gamble, but a gamble nonetheless.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.
–Henry David Thoreau, Walden

2013 was the year of transitions.  We moved across the country and set up house with a dear friend who needed roommates.  Six months later, we introduced her to another dear friend, with whom she promptly fell in love and moved to Boston.  We left our landing spot in the suburbs and moved into the heart of the city, in the shadow of the Space Needle and just blocks from the scenic waterfront of Elliot Bay.

I found a new job.  Larissa found an old one.

One romantic relationship came to an abrupt end, to my dismay.  Another unexpectedly came into being, to my delight.

I left one podcast, and began the work of reviving another.

I wrote several new songs.  I performed a concert at OryCon.2  Just recently, I started taking guitar instruction for the first time in over 15 years.3

Darling, I’ve always tried to find the road not taken
From Monterey to Macon, two lanes have been my friends
Coastal highway, bayou byway, out and back again
But if you say you’re lonely, you know there’s only 40, 80, or 10
–Tanya Savory, “40, 80, or 10″

I drove the entire length of the country, from Georgia to California and up to Washington.4 I saw the Grand Canyon in all its glory, and traversed the Great Divide.  I travelled to destinations old and new:  Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, Canada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Columbus, OH.  I explored my new city and it’s surrounding lakes and mountains, the place I had chosen at long last, to call home.

Over the course of this year, I’ve not done some things as well as I would have liked.  I have been a terrible correspondent, relying much too heavily on social media to keep in touch.  I’ve done an even worse job reaching out to newly local friends.5 For various reasons, I’ve done very little podcast recording this past year, though that was almost entirely not by my choice.  This blog has been too too neglected, though I made a couple of efforts to remedy that, and I hope to do a better job in the coming year.  And it will probably take most of the next year for our finances to adequately recover from moving all the mountains we had to shift in order to make it to where we are.

But where we are, I have to say, is pretty damn good.  As the year draws to a close, we are finding a new equilibrium, and settling into new habits and routines.  There will always be change; the wheel will always turn.  But I feel as though the great transition we set in motion a year ago is complete.

We are home.

This is my ghost, this is my home — millions of miles my mind can’t own
No one’s seen it all; no one will
But I want to memorize it, every inch, want to remember where I’ve been
I bless these waves, I bless this wind, bless this grace & all my sins
–Marian Call, “Highway Five”


  1. I remarked to Kathleen Sloan in July of that year that I felt like we were turning our entire world upside down in slow motion. 

  2. Where I also was a program participant on a wide variety of panels. 

  3. Aside from a 12 week introductory group class in 1998, I’m entirely self taught.  Many of you are now nodding and thinking “Ah, that explains it…” 

  4. I’ve now driven pretty much the entire length of I-40, most of it on this one trip. 

  5. Social anxiety is awkward. I really do want to spend time with all of you.  I’m just really really bad at actually saying that. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

autographedcat: (Default)
Well, tonight was another total insomnia night. At least I actually made a virtue of it by getting things done that needed to be done.

I actually had an astoundingly productive day. I pretty much knocked off everything on my to-do list by lunchtime, so I rewarded myself with a bit of social frivolity in the afternoon.

Things are coming together nicely for Gafilk. Name badges are printed, hotel paperwork has been acquired and looked over, My Filk questions have been written, and various and sundry things have started to collect into a staging area for transporting. It's going to be another awesome year, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone who's coming.

Meanwhile, the last push of packing is underway. Both desks are completely clear, the closets are pretty much empty of everything that won't be going into a suitcase soon, and my fear that we're going to end up with a lot more than will fit in the car is subsiding.

In a couple of hours, I have my final appointment with my massage therapist, who I will miss tremendously, and then perhaps I'll ponder a nap.
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Or in my case, working through the weekend. We got a lot done the last two days, though I remain frustrated that every time we finish packing a box, I look around at it seems like there's 10% more than there was before. ([livejournal.com profile] hsifyppah suggests to me that this is because all the things that were packed in are all saying "Oh, that's better, there's space! *Streeeeeeeeetch!*" Little by little, though, we are getting things done.

Four boxes of clothing are stacked by the door. We will ship these, rather than make space in the car, because they're relatively light and we won't need them until we get to the other side of the journey anyway. Our washing machine and dryer, which were only six years old, have been given to a good home, along with a number of tools and other miscellany. The remaining books have been sorted into "the ones we're taking with us" (because we have to have SOME books, or it won't be home) and "the ones that go to storage).

Gafilk prep (which is happening simultaneous to all this) continues apace. I will check the mailbox one last time tomorrow before checking badges. And [livejournal.com profile] hawklady texted me earlier with a photo of the lovely cheeses that are being smoked for the con suite, which I passed on to Twitter:

"Sharp cheddar, 3yr cheddar, Gouda, Manchego, Pepperjack & Jarlsberg in smoker about to be turned #gafilk #consuiteprep http://pic.twitter.com/70EREJFH "

Between these two things, I have a long list of things to do tomorrow, but still quite a lot has been accomplished over the weekend! We celebrated by sitting down to watch two more episodes of Season 2 of Game of Thrones, which we had gotten sidetracked from earlier in the year and never gotten back to, and a very old episode of The Big Bang Theory to cleanse the palate afterwards. (I love GoT, but it's unrelentingly grim and there's only so much of it you can watch at a time before you need something light and cheerful to chase it with.)

How was your weekend?
autographedcat: (Default)
Earlier today in the #frogpants chat room, Malynor (my 19th favourite Canadian), asked how I was doing on my first real day of unemployment, and commented that planned unemployment was probably less stressful.

I said "Well, planned unemployment is slightly less stressful in that it's, well, planned and I have resources set aside to deal with it. But it's still weird for much the same reason skydiving is.

Because of your careful preparations and precautions, you have a strong belief that everything is going to work out fine at the end of the fall, but you still can't quite shake the fear that you just stepped out of a perfectly good aeroplane."
autographedcat: (Default)
...maybe this year will be better than the last.

To be honest, 2012 wasn't a bad year, as such. It was a slow and frustrating year. It was the year of holding still, the year of planning, the year of being restless and unable to proceed. And now, having run in place for so long, things are about to move very quickly, indeed.

As of today, I am a professional hobo. At least, for a time. I will be aggressively looking for new employment as soon as we get to Seattle, which we will do within the month, but for now, I am an agent without portfolio for the first time since 1996. I have no words to describe how utterly weird that is to me. Yesterday, I went out to lunch with my manager and those of my team who were in the office that day. I'm going to miss working with them (though I have a suspicion they will miss working with me more).

Over the next week, my primary focus will be on packing and shifting things to the storage unit, and planning how to pack what we're bringing with us. Because of the financial uncertainty brought about by not having our income locked down, we're choosing to leave most of what we'll eventually move in a storage unit here in Georgia, to be sent for when we know the money won't be needed for rent and food and such. After that, it's crunch time for Gafilk, and I have plenty to do in the leadup for that to keep me busy until we actually have the con and then we'll hit the road.

One of the things I'd like to try and do in the new year is write more, and in particular write more in this journal. For a variety of reasons, I stopped posting much a few years ago; primarily, it was because what was mostly on my mind at the time wasn't really for public reading, and then I fell out of the habit. But when I go back and re-read my journal from 1999-2006, I like how so much of what was going in my life was documented there, and I dislike the big empty silent place my journal turns into. Of course, it's harder due to the fact that fewer and fewer people are participating here, and I'm a comment-driven writer to a certain extent, but since I'm mostly writing for myself, I should be able to get up a regular schedule. Expect to see my prattle on a bit in the common weeks, and possibly live-blog our drive across country.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful turning of the year, and may your 2013 be full of health, magic, and prosperity.
autographedcat: (Default)
...maybe this year will be better than the last.

To be honest, 2012 wasn't a bad year, as such. It was a slow and frustrating year. It was the year of holding still, the year of planning, the year of being restless and unable to proceed. And now, having run in place for so long, things are about to move very quickly, indeed.

As of today, I am a professional hobo. At least, for a time. I will be aggressively looking for new employment as soon as we get to Seattle, which we will do within the month, but for now, I am an agent without portfolio for the first time since 1996. I have no words to describe how utterly weird that is to me. Yesterday, I went out to lunch with my manager and those of my team who were in the office that day. I'm going to miss working with them (though I have a suspicion they will miss working with me more).

Over the next week, my primary focus will be on packing and shifting things to the storage unit, and planning how to pack what we're bringing with us. Because of the financial uncertainty brought about by not having our income locked down, we're choosing to leave most of what we'll eventually move in a storage unit here in Georgia, to be sent for when we know the money won't be needed for rent and food and such. After that, it's crunch time for Gafilk, and I have plenty to do in the leadup for that to keep me busy until we actually have the con and then we'll hit the road.

One of the things I'd like to try and do in the new year is write more, and in particular write more in this journal. For a variety of reasons, I stopped posting much a few years ago; primarily, it was because what was mostly on my mind at the time wasn't really for public reading, and then I fell out of the habit. But when I go back and re-read my journal from 1999-2006, I like how so much of what was going in my life was documented there, and I dislike the big empty silent place my journal turns into. Of course, it's harder due to the fact that fewer and fewer people are participating here, and I'm a comment-driven writer to a certain extent, but since I'm mostly writing for myself, I should be able to get up a regular schedule. Expect to see my prattle on a bit in the common weeks, and possibly live-blog our drive across country.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful turning of the year, and may your 2013 be full of health, magic, and prosperity.
autographedcat: (Default)
Sometimes, you realise something about yourself so fundamentally obvious in hindsight that you're not sure how it took you so long for it to occur to you.

I've been struggling a bit with my depression in recent weeks. Given the amount of slow-motion change in my life right now, that's hardly surprising, but today, while thinking about a comment thread yesterday in [livejournal.com profile] osewalrus's Facebook page, something clicked in my brain that clarified to me why I've felt so unsettled.

I have two strong behavioural methods for temporarily punching up my mood: eating and buying things.

Neither of which I can really do right now.

I'm trying hard to get back on my fitness plan, which means I have a careful budget with regards to what and how much I can eat in a given day.

I'm saving up money to move across country in 3 months and need to be prepared to weather out a period of unemployment, so I can't really shop for much of anything I don't actually require.

It could be argued that neither of this are strictly healthy ways of dealing with stress and depression, but I've been me for a long time, and I know they both work, at least in the short term. And right now, for a variety for reasons, I'm denied their outlet.

Not sure what to do with this information presently, but there you have it.
autographedcat: (Default)
This weekend involved a great deal of unproductive productivity brought on by having a better idea after having already implemented the not-as-good-idea.

See, in addition to a great number of books, we have a great many DVDs. I like movies and TV and over the years I've accumulated a great many of these, and while it makes for a really cool shelf look, they take up a lot of space. Because there's no way we were going to watch the great majority of these between now and moving day, they were (along with the bulk of the library) the first things to get boxed up and moved into storage.

But then I got to thinking -- we don't know how long those are gonna have to stay in storage. And who knows what we'll want to watch once we're settled in. For at least a while, our entertainment options are going to be necessarily limited to cheap things, and "watching movies you already own" is as cheap as it gets.

So over the weekend, I initiated Project Recovery, which involved going to the storage unit, shifting through all the boxes to find the ones with DVDs in them. (Yes, it would have been helpful to have labelled them in the first place. Thanks for pointing that out.) My original plan was to go through each one there in the unit and move the actual discs into a very large binder I'd bought for the purpose. After one box of this, I decided this was a dumb idea, and loaded the remaining boxes of DVDs into the car and brought them home to complete this task in the air conditioning.

I still suspect there's a few discs floating about, since I can't find my dvd of "The Quantum of Solace" anywhere. But the vast majority of the DVDs have now been reduced from several banker-boxes worth of space into two enormous binders which together take up about the same amount of space as a piece of carry-on luggage. This will make it relatively trivial to bring all of them with us when we drive out in January.

(I also took the occasion to weed out some duplicates, including "Firefly" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, both of which have been upgraded to BluRay, and the first two seasons of M*A*S*H, made redundant when I gave [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi the "Medicine and Martinis" box set for Christmas a few years ago. I passed these on to Matt and Mary when they were here for dinner on Saturday.)

This is, I'm afraid, the limit of my useful productivity for the weekend, but I think it will reward us in a few months when we're wishing our movie collection was closer to hand. :)
autographedcat: (Default)
While we've not made a secret of our plans, neither had either [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi and I made any general announcement of our upcoming plans. Part of this was due to a great number of open questions that made it difficult to make concrete plans, but as we approach the launching of the plans, things are starting to fall into place. So here, in convenient FAQ form, is an announcement.

In January, we are moving to Seattle.

Wait...what?

Washington state, that is. Space needle...Eddie Vedder...[end gratuitous Todd Snider shoutout]

Why?

Well, that's a complicated question with a complicated answer. The truth is...Atlanta isn't the place I'd have chosen to live if I'd made an actual choice. I just sort of ended up here. I moved to Georgia originally to be closer to [livejournal.com profile] a_blue_moon_cat, who I was dating at the time. That relationship ended over ten years ago. As early as then I was evaluating whether I wanted to stay in Georgia for the long term. Then [personal profile] kitanzi moved down and we both had good jobs and it settled into a stasis.

But the truth is, I don't really like Georgia. I like a lot of the people here, but the actual place I don't like very much at all. So, in recent years, I started to think hard about where I'd rather be. Larissa only moved to Atlanta to move in with me, so she has no deep ties to the place, either. I had a list of cities that, based on my research, talking to people who lived there and my own travels, I felt would suit me better than here. And finally, after much deliberation and a lot of thought, we've decided where it is we want to live, and we're going to make that happen.

This is all so sudden...

It probably seems so, if you're learning about this from this post. But this is actually a decision several years in the making, and many months in the planning to actually go.

So, why Seattle?

It meets all my criteria for a place I'd want to live. It has a better climate to my tastes. (No, really.) It as an active filk and fannish community. The culture there is much more agreeable to us. And, as a bonus, it puts us substantially closer to a great many people we'd like to be substantially closer to. (It also puts us farther away from some people we'd rather not be farther away from, but that would be true of anywhere we moved, or even if we stood still. The algebra of our interpersonal relationships defies simple equations.)

Seattle was always in the top four or five places on our list. It moved to the top for a variety of reasons, but the simplest answer is, having visited on many occasions now, we just like the place, and it's the sort of place I can see myself living on purpose, rather than by accident.

Do you have jobs lined up?

Nothing firm, as yet, though there are irons being placed into fires. But we've been saving the last year, putting aside funds to allow us to pull ups stakes and move and weather a period of unemployment. I feel confident we'll be able to find something on the other side. (If you're in the area or have contacts in the area who might be looking for a good unix sysadmin with superb customer service skills, drop me a line.)

Are you insane?

Almost certainly.

But if you move, what happens to Gafilk?

Nothing happens to it. I will continue to chair the convention, and Larissa will continue to be the treasurer. I have people I trust that are here to handle such tasks that require a local person, and we have a fabulous relationship with our host hotel, so we don't need to scout new venues. There may come a time down the road where I hand off the reins to someone prepared to oversee Gafilk's third decade and settle into the same emeritus role that [livejournal.com profile] bedlamhouse currently enjoys, but that won't be soon, and in the meantime I plan to keep putting on the same con that we've all enjoyed for the last 15 years for as long as everyone keeps wanting to come to it.

So what's the plan?

The plan, currently, is that I will end my current employment at the end of the year, and we
will stay through Gafilk. Once Gafilk is wrapped up, we drive west. Most of our things are in storage, and the rest will be by the time the con happens. [personal profile] runnerwolf, who will be our housemate once we move, is coming for Thanksgiving, and will take the cat back with her. We are driving across country, likely taking the southern route and up the coast to avoid crossing the high plains and mountains in the middle of winter, and plan to arrive in Seattle just in time for Conflikt.

I don't know what will unfold over the first few months of 2013. I know it will be an adventure, and I'm looking forward to what the future will bring.

So....that's what's new with us.
autographedcat: (Default)
Having gotten our paperbacks out of their long period of bondage and onto shelves, our attention turned to....the remaining boxes of books, most of which were either hardbacks or oversize paperbacks.  Now, I could have built another set of shelving to house these, but you can buy shelving units designed for large books pretty easily.  On the other hand, I didn't want to spend a massive amount of money.  And you know what that means....Ikea!

Now, I've heard people from more metropolitan and urbane cities sing the praises of Ikea for years.  And I've heard Jonathan Coulton sing about it too....but that's another show.[1]  But my one trip to the land of flatpacks and meatballs was a frustrating and generally unhappy experience, because they'd only opened the giant store in Atlanta a few weeks prior and the novelty hadn't warn off.  It took us 45 minutes just to park, and by the time I got inside I was already tired and cranky.  As a result, I'd never bothered to go back.

However, having the entire day off by virtue of Larissa's oral surgery, I figured it was a good time to make a quick run over to get the shelves I had found on their website that looked just right.  It *was* a much more pleasant experience.  I had printed out the page with the item I wanted, asked the first employee I saw where to find it, and got directed straight to it.  Once there, another employee (who was absolutely gorgeous, apropos of nothing) explained to me how to locate the one I could take home downstairs, and off I went.  pulled the heavy boxes onto a cart, took them to the register, and out again.

One of the corollaries to Murphy's Law is "If everything appears to be going well, you are obviously overlooking something."[2]  Sure enough, when I got to my car, I found that the boxes did NOT fit neatly.  I had accounted for the length of the box, but not the angle at which it would need to slide through.   Argh.  Luckily, a nice gentleman helped me navigate two of the boxes into the car, leaving the third sticking a foot out the back.  I then carefully drove over to the loading area, where free twine was available to tie the trunk down and secure the box so it wouldn't slide backwards under any circumstance.  Those crafty Swedes, they think of everything.

Having gotten the shelves home, i took them out of the car and set them aside, as I had other things to do.  So today, I pulled them out of the box and began assembly.  Pretty much everything I'd ever heard about Ikea is true -- the stuff assembles easily and has very detailed instructions that are simple to follow.  We only ran into trouble getting the final piece fitted in, as it required lining up a great many pegs to holes, and it wanted to be difficult.  But after much sweating and swearing, two meltdowns and one brief marital spat, everything was connected and screwed down and we set it against the wall and affixed it there.

Of course, rather than sit and bask in the accomplishment, I started putting books on the shelves.   Guess which I ran out of first?

[livejournal.com profile] kitanzi has an LJ icon that reads "If you have enough shelf space for your books, you don't have enough books."  We have enough books, but a few boxes still.  I think I'm going to pull all the non-fiction off these shelves and make room for the fiction, and then we'll figure out where to but the *next* set of shelves which might finally complete the unpacking.

Pictures...of course there's pictures )

It's nice to see my books again.  I've been missing them.

[1] We've been watching a lot of Alton Brown lately.  It's infectious.
[2] One day I'll get this translated into Latin for use on a crest.

Shelves!

Feb. 26th, 2008 05:54 pm
autographedcat: (Default)
Ever since we moved to our new apartment in July, there's been one important thing missing from our otherwise perfect home:  our books.  Due to a lack of adequate shelving, our books were all out in the garage in boxes, which made me sad.  Unfortunately, when you have the number of paperbacks we do, shelving becomes a problem -- you simply can't buy bookcases designed to provide maximum paperback density.You either have to stack them two or three rows deep on big shelves designed for hardbacks, which offends my library-raised soul, or you can build them yourself.  But building shelves yourself is a four hand job, and I preferred to have an extra pair of hands that were good with tools and building things.  Fortunately, I know [livejournal.com profile] vila_resthal; unfortunately, just as I was asking him about helping me on this project, he was in an auto accident that left him with a broken collarbone.  So, we've been waiting until he healed up sufficiently to be able to tackle the construction.

Sunday, he and his wife [livejournal.com profile] lindsey_cita drove over from Athens, and while she and [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi visited, we made ourselves busy in the garage, turning 15 8' 1x6s and three boxes of 2" #8 wood screws into the most essential piece of furniture in the house.  And they do look lovely!

Pictures below the cut )

Of course, the books are currently on the shelves in no  particular order, which those of you familiar with my personal brand of OCD will realize that sooner rather than later I'm going to have to do a massive re-org.  But that is, for now, another day.

Shelves!!!
autographedcat: (Default)
Despite being a bit loopy from painkillers due to my recent fall, I managed to have a pretty fun weekend.

Saturday morning, [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi went out to do the weekly grocery shopping, and brought home a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This was pretty much how I picked up my copy of Half Blood Prince, too: avoid the midnight madness and grab a copy in passing at a non-book store. Unfortunately, I didn't get as much reading on it as I'd have liked, because the first time I tried to sit down with it I was having trouble concentrating. I'm currently about a third of the way through it, and actively avoiding spoiler discussions until I finish, hopefully tonight or tomorrow.

Early Saturday morning, our new washing machine and dryer arrived! I have to give major props to Best Buy, who made the entire transaction, from purchase to delivery to installation, about as painless as one could want. The new machine sure extremely spiffy, and have lots of features and functions that we're not yet exactly sure what they're really for, but I'm sure we'll have fun figuring them out. The first test for the washer was the pair of jeans that I got muddied up when I fell down the hill. They came out as good as new. We're officially impressed.

Saturday night, we went to [livejournal.com profile] joyeuse13 and [livejournal.com profile] abovenyquist's housefilk near Brookhaven. We hadn't seen them in far too long, so it was doubly nice that it was at their house. We also had some special guests from far away, with [livejournal.com profile] janeg and [livejournal.com profile] shaddyr both visiting from various parts of Canada, and our own [livejournal.com profile] bedlamhouse making a rare local appearance before shaking the Georgia clay from his boots en route to the Midwest. And of course, many of the usual suspects were there, including [livejournal.com profile] sffilk, [livejournal.com profile] filkferengi, [livejournal.com profile] mrpsyclops and his daughter, J., and [livejournal.com profile] spambrian. I was limited by not having my filkbooks with me (they're in a box somewhere), and I'm afraid I wasn't in very good form, but I did have a good time. I remember playing Richard Shindell's "The Next Best Western" and, during a run of Canadian folk/filk, Sam Baardman's "Down To The River", which I at least had memorized and thus didn't need to fumble for words to play. Oh, and I did my own "Sauron" during a small run of Tolkien filk, which was fun. We ended up leaving slightly early, around 11pm, because [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi was driving and wanted to get home before she was too tired to drive safely.

Sunday, we went over to the old apartment to get most of the last odds and ends out of the place. [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi packed stuff in the car while I set about the place with a can of Spackle, patching the holes in the drywall from where we'd mounted shelves. We'll be going back over this afternoon after work so I can sand them down, and we can haul the last of the trash down to the tip. The house cleaners will come in on Wednesday to give it the last polish, and then we'll turn the keys in and that will close the book on my time at The Wellington.

We spent most of the rest of the weekend at home. Watched the last of the season 3 Doctor Who Confidentials, chatted to folks on the Internet, and I played a fair amount of World of Warcraft, which was about as much attention span as I had for any one task, anyway. I just hit level 58 with my hunter, and made me first proper trip into the Outlands.

How was your weekend?

Whew!

Jul. 16th, 2007 11:40 am
autographedcat: (Default)
Moving Day was Friday! Whee!

Acat, Kitanzi, Two Men, and a Truck....coming this fall on NBC.. )

Keyed!

Jul. 10th, 2007 04:17 pm
autographedcat: (happy day - 10doc)
We have the keys to our new apartment. Moving day is Friday!

Wheee!

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