Thursday, March 26, 2015
It’s strange, frightening, and weirdly liberating to be unemployed. Being unemployed this time was not of my choosing. I did enjoy my job very much. I was incredibly lucky in that my job involved working at home, on a computer supplied by the publishing company, and I could more or less make my own hours. If Mighty Mite had to miss school for any reason, it wasn’t a big deal at all – I was already home, and most of the time I didn’t have to excuse myself from my job. It was IDEAL for a working mom.
However, publishing has always been a volatile and fickle business. As has happened many times throughout my career, the company was purchased (by a corporation named after a Greek god, ironically enough) and the new owners decided to “trim the fat.” Whenever something like this happens, departments responsible for things like quality control are usually to first the go -- because they’re responsible for things that are generally impossible to track in budget and balance sheets. That’s what happened to me.
It hasn’t been all bad. After all, I did try to escape the publishing industry once before -- though I'd be lying if I claimed I didn't miss it. We’re lucky in that Mr. Sea loves his job and makes enough money to cover bills and living expenses, though I’d be lying if I said we didn’t miss the cash I’d been bringing in. At least now there’s always someone home to take care of emergencies, which is a VERY good thing. Best of all, I finally have time to do little things like painting the house and, at long last, WRITING.
It’s been nearly a decade since Herald was first published. I do have many more books in the works (so far consisting of notes and notes and more notes ...), and I’ve been sitting on the half-finished followup to Herald for quite some time. Since the beginning of the year, though, I’ve been writing like crazy, and I’m confident that the followup (it’s not really a sequel) to Herald will be published before the end of this year. I don’t want to make promises, though. Don’t want to jinx myself.
The best thing about writing is that it’s still work and it’s still at home. So, I guess I really am employed, at least in a way.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
It's weird how age really does make time seem to go by faster. Perhaps it's because as we age, we get used to certain things happening on a regular basis, so they all kind of start blurring together …? Also, I think that as we get older and gain more experience and exposure to a wide variety of things, it becomes more difficult to surprise us – so, fewer incidents really stand out for us. I must admit, as an older parent with a kid in grade school, it’s rather nice to not be fazed by half the things that Mighty Mite does – or by half the things that Mr. Sea does, come to think of it.
Anyway, I haven’t blogged in ages, and it’s been five years since my last inane personal questionnaire. For the purpose of self-inventory, I think I should fill out one of these things now, just to see if anything has changed. Here goes:
1. What time did you get up this morning?
6:00. Perfect example of something that happens on a regular basis, day after day, year after year ...
2. Diamonds or pearls?
Still amethysts – and really well-carved intaglios. I have an intaglio of Athena carved in amethyst. GORGEOUS.
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Big Hero Six with Mighty Mite. I used to love going to the movies on opening days, but now I’d rather stay home and wait for them to show up for downloading on Amazon or the PSN – or even wait for Netflix. The sense of urgency seems to be gone. Either that or I've seen so many movies that they just aren’t very exciting anymore. Ah, the curse of the jaded old fogey! To think I once thought of being a film critic. Thank goodness THAT didn't happen.
4. What is your favorite TV show?
I’ve been a Doctor Who fan since the Tom Baker days, and I also enjoy Sherlock, but via Netflix. Really, the only broadcast television I watch on a regular basis anymore is whatever Mighty Mite is watching, usually on PBS. (Let’s hear it for Wild Kratts and Odd Squad!) Also, it’s really hard to beat MeTV’s SciFi Saturday Nights. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, (classic) Star Trek, and then Svengoolie? That HAS to be one of the greatest broadcast TV lineups of all time.
5. What do you usually have for breakfast?
A cup of coffee and a fistful of vitamins -- and maybe a bagel before lunchtime.
6. What is your favorite Pixar character?
Anton Ego from Ratatouille.
7. What food do you dislike?
Mostly fish -- the exception being a very well-made blackened grouper sandwich.
8. What is your favorite album at the moment?
9. What kind of car do you drive?
Still driving Black Beauty, my black Dodge Caliber. Hey, she's paid for!
10. Favorite sandwich?
A really good Reuben.
11. What characteristic do you despise?
Still abusive behavior -- physical, vocal or virtual.
12. Favorite item of clothing?
Uhhhh ... Don't really have one at the moment. That is, I don't have a FAVORITE item of clothing. I do have plenty of clothing!
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
London in the middle of winter.
14. Favorite brand of clothing?
Still don’t have one.
15. Where would you retire to?
I still love Indianapolis. I will never leave it.
16. What was your most memorable birthday?
Still the infamous Bambi birthday. Turning 50 really wasn't a big deal.
17. Favorite sport to watch?
Still Colts football and the Indianapolis 500.
18. Favorite weather?
Either early-to-mid spring or early-to-mid fall weather -- a light wind right before the temperature starts to get warm or starts to get cold. I'd be happy with 65 degrees F. year-round, but without sacrificing snow or thunderstorms.
19. Favorite painting?
Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.
20. When is your birthday?
Still New Year’s Eve!
21. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Sort of a mid-morning person.
22. What is your shoe size?
Still 8-1/2. I understand shoe sizes can change as you age.
Still have my crazy Shiba Inu, plus a goldfish named Bubbles. I am DONE with cichlids and other tropical fish.
24. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with us?
Er, nothing really exciting. I am unemployed again, thanks to my company being bought out and my division being closed, which happens to publishing companies all the time. There are two things I can do about it -- I can LOOK, and I can WRITE.
25. What do you want to do when you grow up?
Finish writing and publishing more books.
26. How are you today?
Fine! Healthier than I've been in years -- no more colds! A little gloomy today because it's raining; otherwise, just fine.
27. What is your favorite candy?
Chocolate mint truffles from Shakolad. Mmmmmm ...
28. What is your favorite flower?
29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
Nothing at the moment. Don't have any specific plans, which is a luxury of sorts.
30. What's your full name?
Still anonymous, thank you.
31. What are you listening to right now?
Listening to my dog snore!
32. What was the last thing you ate?
A hard-boiled egg.
33. Do you wish on stars?
Yes, still -- when I get to see them.
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
35. How is the weather right now?
AGAIN rainy. Gray. Gloomy. Cold.
36. What is your natural hair color?
Still brown! I only have two gray hairs and they're BOTH on my right eyebrow. Weird.
37. Favorite soft drink?
Diet Sierra Mist.
38. Favorite restaurant?
Still Smee’s Place, Indianapolis. Even still have the same waitress!
39. Favorite color of nail polish?
#160 Mauve It, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. It's all Mighty Mite's fault.
40. What was your favorite drink as a child?
41. Something you’ve taken from a spouse/friend/significant other that you really should return?
Mr. Sea’s flash drive.
42. Hugs or kisses?
Hugs are for everyone.
43. Chocolate or Vanilla?
44. Coffee or tea?
45. Favorite culinary guilty pleasure?
46. When was the last time you cried?
When I watched Alfonso Cuaron’s A Little Princess with Mighty Mite the other night.
47. What is under your bed?
Nothing, but there'll probably be a dismantled DeLonghi heater stored under there soon.
48. What did you do last night?
Went to bed early after reading a ton of notes on Antoninus Liberalis.
49. What are you afraid of?
Anything bad happening to Mr. Sea or Mighty Mite.
50. Favorite video game?
Recently? Dragon Age: Inquisition. Of all time? It's a tie between Skyrim and the old, original Atari Adventure game. I think Adventure must have been the very first "sword-and-board" video game ...? I still play DC Universe Online occasionally. I wish they would do away with the “grind” factor. I’ve played Marvel Heroes, too. Great game, but I had to delete it because it was hogging WAY too much space on my computer. Wish they’d make it available via PlayStation.
51. How many keys on your key ring?
Down to one key ring and 14 keys!
52. How many years at your current job?
Currently and magnificently unemployed.
53. Favorite day of the week?
Weirdly enough, Monday.
54. How many towns have you lived in?
Still only four: Indianapolis, Indiana; Fishers, Indiana; Bloomington, Indiana (college); and (sorta) Dunedin, Florida.
55. Do you make friends easily?
Depends on where I am and what mood I'm in!