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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ambassador to the Norms

That's what I did this weekend at Norwescon 36.

It's not an official title. But I forgot my minimal costuming gear (I had a lightstrip and a zipper and first aid tape in a flesh tone so I could go as a Raxacoricofallapatorian in a human suit - a Slitheen.). And so I looked completely non-threatening, as I don't have fur or a bumpy Klingon head or bat wings or an Imperial Trooper helmet or even a fez and a bowtie. Just a red tank top and jeans, like one of them. The mundanes who congregate at any hotel near an airport.

And between my Associate of Arts degree (which I will finish tomorrow) and the learning curve at my new job, my brain is full. I did not go to a single workshop or panel. I didn't want to learn anything else; I just wanted to socialize and shop this year. I convinced several mundanes to visit areas that are open to the public without a convention badge, like the art show and the dealers' room. Go me.

She's the TARDIS, and she's a woman.
He wished really hard.
There are always fabulous outfits at these things, and this year was no exception. I saw a realistic Xena and a tiny Rainbow Brite, and a giant Totoro, and the YipYip Martians were back. But there was one costume that I felt was so perfectly done it deserved special mention. And a photo. You see, she's Sexy. I mean, she's the Doctor Who character known as "Sexy" (but only when they're alone).

Oh dear, it is too long. I will sum up. For those of my readers who are unfamiliar with Who, let me just give you the summary. The Doctor is a humanoid alien known as a Time Lord. He travels in a ship called the TARDIS (that stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space). The TARDIS is a living being, and in one episode (The Doctor's Wife) her mind / soul gets sucked out of the TARDIS machinery and into a human body. From the waist up this con-goer is Idris - the human woman with a TARDIS mind in her head - and from the waist down she's the TARDIS flight console (with working levers and dials!). With a couple of her Doctors - Two and Five.

A good time was had by all. And I'm going to bed. I still have a paper to polish before tomorrow night, and I have Con Hangover (no booze, just too little water and sleep, and too much walking and new shoes).

PS: For those of you still at the convention, Pamela (Raven) is further down the hallway than usual. It's a bigger and quieter space but some people are having trouble finding her. Don't miss her, because remember... "if you think you need a massage, you do!"

I sure did.

Twice.

ETA: Easter brunch at mom's was fabulous as usual, a good time was had by all, and my loving family also treated it as an occasion to give Jenn congratulatory gifts for graduating with an Associate of Arts in Communications (assuming I finish editing this paper - should take me another hour or so... just in time for Lizzy to go to bed and Abby and I to watch the new episode of Doctor Who)

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Respite of Sorts

Between training at my new job, finishing my Associates degree on Easter Sunday, celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary ditto (and Easter brunch), Norwescon this weekend, +Laston Kirkland's book publishing, children's plays and cookie sales and school and projects and Mom-where's-my-green-sweater-so-I-don't-get-pinched and egg hunts and google-only-knows, and the repeated depredations of colds and pinkeye, March has been... exciting.

And about as full-tilt, run-on as that sentence just above, links included.

But our main tool is offline at the moment, so it's a good time to catch up.

A few real screamers this week, one from Abby: "But I can't go to bed! I need to kill a cow so I can plant another one and make room for more ocelots!"

One from Lizzy: "Mommy, don't ever go to the moon. I want you to keep loving me." When asked why a lunar adventure would preclude parental love, she said, in that eye-rolling teenage way she's picked up from her older sisters, "Because, mom, the book says the mommy loves the baby to the moon and back, so if you never go, you won't stop loving me. Duh."

Indeed.

And one from a barista; she asked me what my plans for the weekend are and I told her I was graduating with my AA. She said, "Um. I thought AA was like a lifetime thing. I didn't know you could graduate from it. Congratulations!

Um, no. Not that AA. An Associate of Arts. In communications. Which I apparently did not do well with you... communicate, I mean.

And tonight after work I go to Norwescon! My parents have paid for a room as a graduation gift, and my fairy godmother gave me some cash ditto, which I intend to spend on the services of this wonderful lady, there at the con.

Add in the usual Norwescon fare, and polishing up these papers, and I'll be dead dog tired but happy by the end of Sunday.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Isn't it Beautiful?

My husband is a published author. You all knew that.

But look at this. Isn't it lovely? +Laston Kirkland's writing and +Nadica Boskovska's cover art combined.

$2.99 (US) on Kindle.

I've read several rough drafts - I'm the front line editor - but I have yet to read the finished work. I'm so excited!

A few things I have learned... yes, it is available on amazon.co.uk and amazon.ca. I also tried the Spanish store (amazon.es) and it is available, but it has not been translated; it's still in American English there. I have not tried the other amazon stores.

It is now searchable in all the amazon stores I've tried it on.

It's Young Adult Science Fiction - call it rated T-for-Teen.

And most importantly, it's written by my husband, and dedicated to the three daughters we share. And published in time for Norwescon.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Two-Week Hiatus This Time

Well, most likely.

Two more weeks until I am officially a college graduate, with my Associate of Arts in Communications. On Easter Sunday. Which also happens to be my anniversary this year and (as is usual) the last day of Norwescon. As a rule, we go for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and then spend Sunday doing Easter with my family. Busy busy. Then I have a break for a week and a half (just a couple three-day workshops, ungraded) before I start my Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Communications. Somewhere in there I also have to apply for extra grants because any student loans I don't have to pay back are a bonus.

Image Editing (aka Photoshop 101) isn't difficult, but as I am doing it on the school's virtual desktop, it's super time-consuming. Citrix is all well and good, and I'm thrilled we don't have to buy Photoshop for the class, but it takes forever to do anything.

Mass Communications is a great class, and I love it. Rather more challenging than the other Comm classes though. And there's always the amusement factor of, "Jenn! Did you say Ass Communications? I don't even know what that is!" from the 12yo stepdaughter (who then blushed about ten shades of red and apologized for saying "that adult word that means butt." Poor baby; she was so sure she'd be in trouble for that, but it was an honestly misheard word.)

And then there's work. Work! Work work work! I heart it. I'm having a little trouble with the learning curve, because watching someone else demonstrate how something works does not suit my learning style. But the minute we have practice time and I can just ask questions about those things I didn't soak up in the demonstration part of the day, I do okay. Not the best of the bunch, but not the worst either.

Marvelous and fantastic,
mystic and delightful
Oompa Loompa Abby
Girl Scout Cookie season is almost over (just a couple more people to deliver to, and money to give to the Cookie Lady for our troop). We had a fun time, and I think Abby sold considerably more cookies to support GSWW and Operation Cookie Drop this year than last.

The school play Abby was in went super well (if a bit too quiet for lack of enough mikes), both Thursday and Friday nights, and maybe since those two things are over I'll actually get some sleep, which should help the learning curve at work as well.

Oh, and did I mention I have pinkeye? Again? I seem to have reinfected myself. Lovely.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

She's an Original

It's been quite a week.

I started a new job (yay! I love it, aside from the commute), Lizzy was sick (just like the last time I started a new job; I think they do it on purpose), Abby is over pinkeye, I got over pinkeye, I'm a little behind on my school work, we went our Annual No-Spouses-No-Kids play, (this year we had Trouble, my friends, right here in River City. Really well-done Trouble), it's cookie season, Abby's in the school play so there are rehearsals every night after school. And I caught Lizzy's cold. At the moment I sound like a foghorn.

When I am working, the Hubs steps up, although it takes him a few days to adjust to the carer role. At the moment, he's on a cleaning kick, which the kids interpret as "daddy's going to throw away our stuff." This does not exactly match the actuality, which is "find a place for this to go that is not the floor or the dining room table, or I will throw it away." But that's how they see it, so there's some angst involved. He's so very in the Daddy role right now that the neighbor's baby crying woke him up last night; I didn't even hear it.

So my plan for today was laundry and homework and preparing easy-to-cook things for the upcoming week so we can crockpot and go. Good, I can sleep in.

Except that Lizzy wants to chat, and she crawls into bed with me and starts babbling away about what they're learning about at her preschool, which is Australia (and thank google she has mostly outgrown the Elmer Fudd Rs).

"We are learning about Australia. Australia has kangaroos and koalas and they say g'day mate for good morning and it's on the other side of the planet but we learned about planets last month, remember?" (Here she takes a deep breath). "And the first people there are called Aboriginals and is that 'cause they're the original people? And platypuses are from Australia and they draw funny pictures for some of their writing like a campfire looks like a target without a dot in the middle and they have x-ray art."

My eyes weren't even open yet. I was lying there wondering how the platypuses draw funny pictures and whether the kangaroos and koalas are greeting each other with g'day mate.

Organized she's not. But she retains well.

And my brain hurts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

School Daze

Leanna is sitting at our dining room table, doing her math. She's good at math, but this is harder than it might seem, because we have three kids and 1100 square feet. However, there is a TV moratorium during homework, so it's only other children's homework distracting her.

Abby is rummaging in the kitchen for recipes to read, because March Madness in the fourth grade equals one reading activity for each day of the month. Today she has read a recipe, directions on how to make something, a silly poem, and a picture book to a younger child (and Fox in Socks is perhaps a bit ambitious for her). She's working ahead because between the school play rehearsals and Cookie Sales Season, she doesn't have a lot of free time. And her grade has a concert tomorrow night as well.

Lizzy is thrilled because she got to stay at her Montessori school for Kindergarten today and she gets to tomorrow as well. This is because my new job was going to start today and my mom (my child care provider) is out of town. So she was going to stay late, and when the new job moved up to a Wednesday start date, she was sorely disappointed that she might not be able to stay. So stay, great, gives me a chance to do my school work without interruption.

Right. My school work. A visual person I am not. I pretty much make Crop and Red-eye Reduction my tools of choice. But the Image Editing class is required for an AA in Communications. I'm getting there, but I am slow and not particularly good at it.

And the Hubs is writing a story, having another one edited, teaching himself Blender and SketchUp and AutoCAD 123D, and generally living to learn. It's what he does, and at the moment his focus is on learning the tools.

Oof.