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apparently, anyway :)

I don’t know what I’m doing instead of blogging, since I’m on the computer all the damn time. (That’s not true. I know what I’m doing instead of blogging: watching the fall of the American nation in real time.)

We had a college friend visit in early May. We had a wonderful time with her. We saw a steam train in Dublin, and went to the zoo (where, as we were lecturing/answering Indy on some topic, switching back and forth with providing information, and ending by saying exactly the same words, together, I was reminded of going to a concert with her when we were in college and somebody telling us what a cute couple we were (we said thank you), and I said to her, “You remember that? Those same people listening to us right now would be delighted we were still such a cute couple,” and she laughed :)), and ate fudge (“This,” she said, in raptures, “this is like the chocolate in a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven,” which she knows about because one of her superpowers, thanks to growing up in a bakery, is an ability to eat chocolate chip cookies while molten. She can literally eat them straight out of the oven. “NOOOOOOOO!” she tells other people as she shoves cookies out of the oven and into her mouth, “YOU’LL MELT YOUR MOUTH INTO A CAVE OF BURNING PAIN!”

“Pah!” say other people. “YOU’RE eating them, they must be fiOH GOD OH GOD MY MOUTH IS A CAVE OF BURNING PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN”) and she struggled with Irish bread bag “twist ties” (which are not twist ties, but stickers that you wrap around the closed neck of the bread bag), so I showed her how to open them and she muttered, “We need never speak of this again,” and I said, “Sure, by which I mean, I’m totally posting it online,” and she told me about Amish superhumans and she and Ted went out to dinner at our favourite restaurant, the Lebanese one in Dublin, where, when Ted came in with another woman, they were like “ER WHAT’S GOING ON HERE WHERE’S CATIE?” and Ted was like “Catie made the reservations! SHE KNOWS I’M OUT WITH ANOTHER WOMAN!” and this was a very long sentence which I feel touches on how much fun we had. :)

Then Trump fired Comey and I didn’t blog any of this because (see above, re: fall of American nation).

And then Trump revealed classified information to the Russians and I (see above).

After that it was our anniversary and we got to go to a movie together for the first time we could remember in at least a year and possibly almost three years (the last movie we’re SURE we saw together was GotG1). We went to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword which was better than I expected it to be. It had roughly as much to do with the Arthurian legend as Disney’s Pocahontas had to do with Pocahontas, but it did a couple of REALLY nice things with the sword-in-the-stone aspect of the story, and the magic was really quite good. Also–don’t get me wrong, I loved the bad guy’s design, but–every time it came on screen I thought “So Guy Ritchie spent his formative years staring at Frank Frazatta paintings and thinking I totally want to make one of these a bad guy in a big movie someday,” and he by god did. I could have done with a bit more explanation in a couple places and about, mmm, fifteen minutes less movie overall, but by the end of it I was like, “Yeah, I’d go watch another one of these,” so it’s too bad it’s made absolutely no money. :)

And then some asshole blew up a concert in Manchester and etc.

That pretty much brings us to this week. I’ve been going to the gym, more or less. I wanted to be able to bike there, so I was looking for a second-hand bike, and a friend said “lo, I have one!” so I collected it last night and now I have a bike! ♥! I saw the PT yesterday who crunckled and twisted and tugged and pushed on me and it was great and amazing. I went to Colossal, which is a pretty good movie that is *not* what it says on the tin. I’ve gotten all the ATLANTIS FALLEN Kickstarter rewards sent out, and I’ve sent BEWITCHING BENEDICT to the editor for line edits and I’ve gotten line edits for REDEEMER back from her, so things are moving along there.

So how have you been? O.O

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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A couple of weeks ago Indy and I went out to a restaurant here in town and Indy asked them if we could have a window seat. But they brought us to what he considered the wrong one, and he said, “No, that one please,” and pointed to the front window, which had obviously just been vacated and not cleared yet. I was saying words to the effect of “oh my god indy don’t make their lives difficult” when the host suddenly said, “Oh, now I know you! You usually come in with your father!” to Indy, and swept off to clear the table and seat us at it.

I was appalled and spluttering and Indy said, “No, it’s *okay*, Mommy! They know me here! They think I’m charming and delightful, just like the people at the hot chocolate shop do!” Which was clearly true, although I told him we don’t generallyask people to go to more trouble than is necessary for us.

So last night Dad came to babysit and Ted and I got to go OUT TO DINNER on our OWN for an anniversary dinner. We went to this same restaurant, we were seated, the waiter came over…

…and said, “Where is your son?!”

It was 9:05pm and I said, “We hope he’s at home asleep!”

The waiter left and Ted, amused, said, “What are we, chopped liver? We pay for the meal!”

We had dinner, which was delicious, and went to pay.

The host said to us, “How was your dinner? Where is the little one?!”

We started laughing, and the host started telling us what a well-spoken and intelligent child our son was, and how he came across as much older and more experienced than his years, and went on being complimentary until we’d left. *throws hands in air* :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I’ve just gotten the most useful rejection letter of my life, from a publisher who is pretty clearly enthusiastic about working with me but we’re stumbling around a little in finding the right project. It’d be for a historical YA book/series.

They really loved what I sent them, but it didn’t quite (to summarize wildly) tie in enough with how they sell a lot of their books. So the editor I’ve been talking with *apologized* for pulling me in all sorts of directions (which they haven’t been) and sent a list of like 15 historical events/periods that they AND THE MARKETING TEAM had put together as good spaces for them to be able to work with.

I cannot *tell* you how amazing it is to get this kind of feedback from a publisher. My experience has mostly been “We’ll know what we want when we see it,” which is rather difficult to tailor anything to (she said dryly). And the thing is, 9 times out of 10, I can write what somebody’s looking for–more importantly, perhaps, I can *enjoy* writing what somebody’s looking for–if I know what they want. I cannot, though (to my never-ending irritation), read minds. So now I’ve got this LIST and have no need to try to read minds and I’m genuinely thrilled to be able to sit down and work up a proposal for them.

And you know, of course, there’s always the possibility it won’t work out. I won’t write the right thing, or they won’t have the window for publishing that they need–things that are simply part of the industry. But for the moment, I’m just really delighted and looking forward to doing this. I love developing new ideas. It’s the shiny part! :)

(Also I have this pretty kick-ass proposal I wrote that I could potentially sell to somebody else at some point, so overall, there’s no bad here. :))

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I just haven’t gotten my act together enough to blog about other stuff, like our college friend’s visit, and movies I’ve seen, and…stuff… :)

I have effectively not gone to the gym in almost two weeks. Well. No, it’s not Friday, is it. Only Wednesday. Okay, a week and a half. Anyway, I went today and I did…most…of the workout they gave me.

I dropped the crosstrainer and the squats, because I would never do either voluntarily and just the idea of them was apparently sucking the fun out of going to the gym. (I actually like working out, generally speaking.) Instead I did my 10-12 minute dance barre warmup, 10 minutes on the bike, and cut another 20 seconds off my 1K row even though I was, honestly, only half-assing it half the time.

I did the lat lifts, which I can now do 3×15 of but I don’t think I can do more than 5 with the next weight up so IDK. I did the bodyweight lat extension things, although I did them … like 10, 8, 6, because I was feeling weenie. Did the chest press and I need to add a shoulder press if I’m dropping the squats because…reasons…but I didn’t even look for the shoulder press machine today. (I could just do them free weights, but I didn’t think of it.)

I did the 3×15/150 leg press pretty casually, even at basically the end of the workout. I was going slowly enough that it was effortful, but not really difficult. I’ll up it by 20lbs next time and see what effect that has. (Well. Perhaps I should wait to see if I can walk tomorrow, first. :))

I also stopped and did a few hip ab/adductors just to amuse myself. I used light weight and only did a half set of each, or so, in hopes of not totally crippling myself, but basically I just enjoy those. AND. I *did* do the plank (Josie & the Pussycats’ Pretend to be Nice was a good song to do plank to) AND I did the horrible godawful plank variation 3×2 (Kevin Kline’s Blow, Gabriel, Blow from DeLovely turned out to be really good for it!) and only fell over on the last EIGHTH which is roughly a 175% improvement although I make no guarantees I can do that again next time.

Here, though, is the important thing about today’s workout: I enjoyed it. Or, at least, I enjoyed having done it, which I have not with the previous few I’ve done. It could be that I just adapted a bit to the exercise, but I think it’s the actual workout. Changing the things I, y’know, didn’t like…made me like it a lot more! Go figure!

I also went an hour earlier than I’ve been going, and I think that helped psychologically for some reason. The bus is hourly and I haven’t yet gotten the workout done/changed clothes etc in an hour (nor, actually, do I necessarily expect to), which means it’s 2 hours between arriving there and catching the next bus, and the whole afternoon is gone if I don’t get home until just before 6.

I was gonna say something else but I stopped for dinner and don’t remember what it was, so I’m going to post this and…totally go eat some cookies or something. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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So I hurt my back while carrying books on Wednesday morning and thought it was the better part of valor to not go to the gym. (It was, too.) I had not been looking forward to going at all, but once I couldn’t I was really annoyed, so that’s…perverse.

Friday the bus ran so late that by the time I got to the gym it was time to leave again, pretty much. I mean, in between arriving and going I had my first follow-up consultation about how the workout was working for me, but basically I didn’t work out.

Gym review consultation lady: So one of your goals is stress relief?
Me: Yeah, but let’s face it, I’m not gonna get anywhere on that as long as Trump is in office.
Lady: O.O

I did tell the nice lady who consulted with me that the walking lunges were not working for me, and that I wanted to give leg extensions a try to strengthen my left quad. She wanted me to do leg press, too, and since I’ll do leg press all day long any day of the week, I was down with that.

She took me over to the leg press machine and put it on 50 pounds. I began to object, but realized she was showing me the ropes and thought ‘well okay’. Then it turned out the foot plate stays still and the chair moves, so it appears you’re also moving body weight, so I was a bit more like “well okay,” but also said we’ll need to move that down for me, 50 pounds is not going to be enough.

She put it at 70. I was like “–okay,” and sat down and did a few reps to show her that I could, in fact, just about literally do that all day long. “So we’ll need to move it down some more,” she said, obviously a little surprised even though I’d told her we’d need more weight, and started to move it to 90. I was like, “Put it at 150, we’ll start there.”

She gaped, honestly, but did as she was told and I did a set of 15 reps while she continued to gape. I might not be so phlegmatic at the end of a leg-heavy workout, but really, I used to make the big dudes at the weight room gawk at my leg press, and while I’m way the hell off *that* game, my legs are still stronger than your average bear’s. And frankly, I’ll be embarrassed if I can’t do 3×15 even at the end of a workout, although if I’m right about the body weight being included I’m moving, uh, well over 300 pounds there. And if I’m wrong about that I’m completely humiliated by my wimpy legs.

The leg extensions were not so cool, actually. I mean, I can do the weight and all, but there’s some uncomfortable grinding going on around the outside of my kneecap, in a totally different place from the walking lunge pain. I was somewhat disappointed by that, because while I don’t like leg extensions I didn’t expect them to be borderline painful to the joint, and I’ll have to consider how to go forward there. (Yes, E, I will talk to the PT about it when I see her next.)

Anyway, so that’s basically all the exercise I’ve done since Monday, so I’m afraid whenever I go back (probably Monday again) I’ll be starting all over again with the AAAAAAAGONY cycle, which sucks.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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So going to the gym on Friday was definitely a good move. Today, after yesterday’s 3rd gym session, I feel stiff but not really sore, whereas I’d have been crippled if I’d started all over again.

That said, I didn’t really cover myself with glory in yesterday’s session. My left knee (and obviously quads, because the knee bone connected to the etc) really is MUCH weaker than my left. I’ve obviously been compensating with my right leg ever since I fell off the sidewalk in Y2K and screwed up my left knee and back incredibly badly. Now that I’m aware of it I’m making an effort to make sure my left leg is pulling its weight (as it were) in the workouts, but there’s clearly some work to be done there.

Point is I dropped weight on the walking lunge on Friday because I couldn’t keep form with the heavier weight, and today I couldn’t even do half a set without actual pain. My left knee just won’t take it. So I’m going to ask for a different exercise. I see some leg extensions and curls in my future.

I also just collapsed trying to do the up-down plank thing. I’m allowed, if necessary, to use my knees to help try to get up and down, but I find collapsing more efficient. :) Anyway, IDK if I just gained five pounds over the weekend (I’ve been eating steadily since Thursday) and can’t handle my own body weight or if I was just having an incompetent day, but resistance-workout-wise, it was not the best workout.

OTOH my cardio improved visibly. I managed, with only a minor degree of difficulty, to get the machines set properly, and did 10 minutes on the frigging crosstrainer without quite dying. (I brought my own music and did most of it with my eyes closed, which I found helped.) The cycling was fine, and I remembered to put the resistance on the rowing machine up to 10, supposing it would slow me back down again. Except I cut another 15 seconds off my 1K time instead, so that was a sort of nice surprise.

(evidence of eating steadily since Thursday: I was out to lunch with my dad and sister on Thursday and ordered potato soup, “To make up for my plan to eat an entire pizza later today,” I said to my sister. “Um,” she said, “how does that make up for it…?”

Me: IDK but

)

Oh, also on a triumphant note, I’ve actually walked 10K+ steps every day for the past 7 days. And my shoes are on their last legs (as it were) and I’m feeling it in a not-good way, but I did it, and I’m pleased about that. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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It turned out re-reading HANDS OF FLAME was somehow slightly less weird than re-reading HOUSE OF CARDS, although it was ALSO full of things I either barely remembered, didn’t remember at all until it came to the moment of it happening, or remembered when something else triggered the memory but it turned out I was wrong about when it happened.

This is just full of spoilers, obviously, and so I’ll cut this entry here instead of letting most of it dangle out like I’ve done with the last two.

Read the rest of this entry » )

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I was not as sore as I expected to be, after the first workout. Whether the trainer really accurately judged my physical capabilities, or if I knew when to stop, or some happy combination thereof, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Which isn’t to say I haven’t spent the past three days whimpering and groaning and staggering. Once I get moving I’m okay but my thighs have lodged a Strong Protest, and sitting down has become something of a matter of faith that the chair isn’t going to move in any way because this is not a controlled fall I’m doing here. :)

Despite having a guest, I thought it would be wisest to get myself to the gym on Friday, so that I wouldn’t have to start all over again on Monday with New Fresh Pain. Fortunately, said guest was willing to go to the gym herself (“I have regrets,” she said later), and so off we went.

In retrospect, I suspect the fact that I was able to do some of the full 3×15 sets during the first workout is probably not entirely unrelated to the fact that I had taken some ibuprofen before I went to the gym, because I already had a headache.

For Day Two I warmed up with some barre and floor exercises, because obviously my thighs needed more agony.

I’m not good at setting crosstrainer and cycling programs, because they expect you to start moving to activate the machine and then push the buttons. I mostly start moving and then start panicking at all the flashing buttons and can’t remember what I’m supposed to do, and by the time I’ve remembered/figured it out, 3 minutes in, keying it in resets the timers that were going on their merry way just assuming you knew what you were doing. Consequently my time on the bike and crosstrainer was less structured/accurate/difficult than it might otherwise have been. Also I’m pretty sure I was supposed to set the rowing machine difficulty to 10, because otherwise I improved my time by 25 seconds between one session and the next, which isn’t impossible but probably isn’t really likely either.

I don’t think I did a single one of the weights to to a 3×15. I did a lot of 15, 12, 10 reps, and I switched to lighter weights for the walking lunge because by the end of the second set I could barely call what I was doing a lunge at all. I probably COULD have pushed myself to a 3×15 on everything, but that would have been stupid and I’m enthusiastically not into gym stupidity anymore. (I was never IN to it, I just didn’t gauge my fitness level well enough and would consequently overdo it.)

The thing that surprised me, though, was that the You Have Got To Be Fucking Kidding Me plank (which involves starting in ‘full plank’, which to me is ‘start of a push-up’ mode. Go down on your elbows, one side at a time, then up again, starting on the same side you put down first. Repeat 3x as often as possible. In my case, the first go was 3×1 and I fell over on the last one.) WAS MUCH EASIER on just the SECOND workout. I increased my reps by 2/3rds, succeeding with 2 reps once and 1.5 reps the second two times.

Either I gained some kind of magic strength or I’d gone enough easier on myself through the whole workout that I could do just a little more. But it was pretty satisfying either way. :)

(My sister, the one whom I’d muttered, “My sister could do this,” at the trainer about, made one of her yoga students do the YHGTBFKM plank on Thursday, “because my sister had to do them yesterday!” #justice? :))

If houseguest & I are particularly splendid we may go back to the gym again tomorrow. Otherwise I’ll go Monday, which is probably soon enough.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I went, more than somewhat trepidatiously, to the first trainer-dictated workout. Actually, no, trepidatiously is putting it too kindly. I was just not looking forward to it at all.

The workout went something like this:
12 minutes of This Will Probably Make You Puke (crosstrainer, I only lasted 8 minutes because I didn’t want to puke)

8 minutes of I Can Do This One Forever (cycling)

6.5 minutes of This Wouldn’t Be So Bad If I Had Any Back Muscles At All But I Don’t So It Hurts (rowing)

Then the weights:
3×15 reps of I’m Actually Good At This One But It Requires All Of My Concentration Because I Default to Pliés (squats)

3×10 reps of My Left Knee Is A Lot Weaker Than I Think It Is (walking lunge)

3×15 reps of Oh Thank God Bodyweight I Can Deal With Bodyweight (shoulder/lats/chest pull thing)

3×15 reps of If I Used A Higher Weight I Couldn’t Do This But This Isn’t Too Bad (lateral lifts)

3×15 reps of I Have Never Been So Grateful For A Weight Machine (chest press)

3×1 reps Of I Can Only Do This For 15 Seconds, Take It Or Leave It (plank)

Improbable Number Of You Have Got To Be Fucking Kidding Me (inhumanly awful variation on the plank. my sister could probably do 12,000 of them. i can almost do one. i’m supposed to do…more than one.)

It is, I would say, a pretty good workout. I hate the crosstrainer but I’ll give it a go for a while. Perhaps until I can do 12 minutes of it. :p Many of the other things I can’t do 3×15 reps of. More like 1×15, 1×12, 1×10, but that’ll do.

I was not in pain when I left. No, no, I was *numb*. Possibly I wasn’t in pain because I had a headache before going to the gym, so took some ibuprofen, which has since been topped up because I don’t want to be in pain. o.o

I did, however, sit at the dinner table staring so vacantly out the window that Ted laughed at me, and I suspect that Thursday (I’m writing this Wednesday evening) is going to be full of (perhaps hilarious) agony.

Anyway, so the trainer guy says “we’ll start with squats” after the cardio and I was like “crap, squats, ok, they’re very, very hard for me to do because I grew up dancing and it’s completely unnatural and wrong to stick my butt out in what should to me be a plié.” So I concentrated Really Hard, which honestly involves standing there struggling to override muscle memory and staring at the wall for about half a minute until I’m pretty sure I’ve remembered how to do the squat, and did my reps.

Trainer guy was like, “…okay, after your explanation I was sure I was going to have to correct your form, but that was like Olympic-quality squat form there.”

I was like, yeah, no, I can *do* them, I just have to concentrate REALLY HARD. :)

“I wasn’t mean, and didn’t give you triceps,” he told me cheerfully, “because I figured you might want to be able to move your arms a LITTLE bit tomorrow.” But let me tell you, brothers and sisters, what I’ve done was quite enough for my triceps to wonder what the hell I thought I was doing.

I won’t be going to the gym Thursday but I think I’d *better* go on Friday to shake some of the anticipated pain out of my limbs, even though we’ll have a visitor. Oi.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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So I had a great and terrible desire for these artist’s models and although I don’t really draw enough to justify them, it so happened that my great and terrible desire aligned with the Irish date for Mother’s Day, so Ted got ’em for me as a mother’s day gift.

They arrived yesterday (just in time for American Mother’s Day!) and I just spent an hour or more fiddling with them.

Conceptually they’re pretty damn terrific. The articulation is as good as it looks. They have nifty little boxes for all the extra hands and weapons and stuff so you don’t lose them, which is very handy. The boxes also double as a base for the yokes that hold them, so it’s a well thought out design for all of that.

However.

I don’t know if the female figure I got is actually defective or just considerably more poorly made than the male figure. It is, without question, more poorly made: the knees, which are probably equally well articulated, are also covered with a single piece from the hip to the kneecap. Presumably this was done to make it Prettier. Well, it’s not prettier, but it does make the knees tend to twist inward, and the thing is I’m afraid that knock-kneed aspect is intended to be a deliberate feature. I knew when I ordered them the female figure had thigh gap, but I figured I could work with that. The knock-knee-endess, though, is just not cool.

All of her joints are looser, too, making it more difficult to fix her in a pose than the male figure. Again, I can’t tell if this is deliberate or if I’ve got a defective figure, but if it’s purposeful it’s a terrible design choice.

But to make up for those flaws, the small hole in her back where you’re supposed to be able to fix her onto the yoke…is mis-shapen. I can’t get the peg in far enough for the yoke’s most basic mode to work for her at all. As you can see, on the male figure it’s a good round hole, but on the female, it’s an oval. And the yoke pegs are not ovals. So that’s a real pain in the ass, and I don’t know if it’s that mine is actually defective or if the smaller waist/rib size has made a hash out of the support hole because they don’t care enough to have done it right. I’ll be contacting them to find out.




And then there’s the yokes themselves.

First off, the kit does not come with a screwdriver, which I found necessary to tighten up the yokes for both figures enough to hold them in place. Despite my best efforts, though, it was still not entirely successful, and elevating them at any kind of angle besides Straight Up is basically impossible; they simply fall. (Their product page demonstrates how it’s supposed to be able to work, but mine do not work that way.)

There are two kinds of yokes, as shown in the picture below. One is Y-shaped and holds the figure on 3 points; the female figure is being held by that one. The male figure is being held by the 2 point yoke, because his 3 point yoke just falls off the strut it’s meant to fix snugly onto. It required a pair of pliers to get the arms onto the 2-point yoke (there’s only one pair of arms, interchangeable between the 2 and 3 point stems).




The straight, unadulterated stem (to which both the yokes attach) works nicely on the male figure (except the strut’s balance is questionable), but, again, doesn’t fit into the female figure’s mis-shapen spine hole. This picture has her balanced precariously on the stem, but if I move her even a millimeter that’s all she wrote.




I would say that between the two sets I have almost one wholly functioning yoke, which is slightly less than half as many as I might expect.

So. It’s a mixed bag. I love the figures but am disappointed with many aspects of the quality, and will be contacting the vendors to see if they can provide me with, you know. Things that work better.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I went to the gym for my Consultation today. That sounds very impressive, doesn’t it, a Consultation? Very impressive.

I was not looking forward to it at all. I have never been Consulted at a gym before. It turned out to be fine. My strong opinions were not swept away by Somebody Who Knows Better, so, y’know. It was fine. (“Okay, cardio,” the guy says. “What kind of cardio are you interested in?”

“I will not run for you,” I said flatly. “I’ll swim, cycle, row, whatever, but I will not run.”

He wrote down “no running.” Good Consultant. Have a cookie.)

Anyway, I was Consulted and Weighed and Measured and as Ted said, “They weighed me in kilograms, but at least they didn’t have to use metric tonnes,” and I told Consultation Guy I was interested in having the arm and waist and thigh etc measurements but not in knowing what they were, because I’m genuinely not interested in the actual number. But I’ve often thought, after several months of working out, “I should have measured to see where I started,” and so now I have a record to look back on sometime, which is potentially interesting. Consultation Guy was fine with that.

What, he wanted to know, were my goals. Stress relief, primarily (“hard job?” he asked, and I didn’t have the wit to say “PARENT, SO YEAH” because mostly I was thinking “more like afraid we’re all going to die in a nuclear holocaust, actually”) but core strengthening and weight loss would be nice too. Free weights or machines, “Free weights,” I said, and then I went out and prodded at the machines and was like “dang I’m gonna need a primer on using these things because they’ve gotten a lot fancier since I used them regularly, ai.” And he asked a couple other, well, he asked a bunch of other things but anyway that was the gist of all that Consultation.

And the result is that he’ll work up a workout for me (one that will not, I presume, involve running) and I get to try it tomorrow.

In the meantime I did a smol exercise on my own. I did about ten minutes of dance floor exercise, poked at a couple machines, and did ten or twelve minutes on a stationary bike. I’m sure I’ll feel it tomorrow, but I’m sure it’ll be nothing like the anticipated crippling agony on Thursday or Friday….

I’m going to need a gym icon if I blog about this much more. Should I blog about it more?

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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So this is the book I had to rip 2/3rds of out & rewrite and revise what was left in 6 weeks.

It turns out I’d forgotten a LOT of what happens in it. I actually got seriously invested in finding out what happens! That was weird! :)

Like, I had no idea Margrit got involved with the selkies so fast in it. Not that I could tell you when I *thought* she had, but…definitely not that fast. And although in the actual descriptions, Kaimana is meant to be shorter and bulkier than most of the other Old Races leaders, I was reading his introductory stuff and I thought OH MY GOD KAIMANA IS DUANE JOHNSON and now I’m totally in love with that idea. *laughs*

And then Margrit’s off to face down Daisani, right? Around chapter 10 or so? And Daisani’s all shocked she’s there that morning, “under the circumstances,” and I tell you what, although I remembered what The Circumstances were as soon as I read that sentence, I had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN that Those Circumstances HAPPENED. And then I spent the rest of the book NOT SURE who had PERPETRATED Those Circumstances! I forgot whodunnit! In my own book!

Also there’s a bit in the book where Margrit describes the perfect ice cream as “chocolate with pralines and a caramel swirl,” which Haagen Dazs went on to make for several years. I’m not saying somebody was reading the Negotiator Trilogy, but I’m not sayin’ they weren’t, either! (It really was stupendously good ice cream, and tragically, they’ve discontinued it. #woe)

Oh, god, the ball. All I can really remember about the ball is that trying to get the timeline to work for this book/that scene was MURDEROUS. I remember having to compress the whole damn thing so it would work and just augh. It was awful. It worked out fine in the end, even I can’t tell that it was horrific to write, but seriously, I started reading the ballroom scene and I was like AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH NOOOOOOO THIS WAS SOOOOO BAAAAAAAAAAAD TO WRIIIIIIIIIITE :)

I’d totally forgotten about the tango, which…didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. I mean, it did, but also it didn’t. So I wonder how I might choose to write that now, except, y’know, I’m not gonna rewrite it so it doesn’t matter. :)

MARGRIT AND BIALI AT THE BALL! “You’re all right, for what you are.” AUGH! BIALI! MY HEART!

I liked the quorum scene, though. I actually didn’t know how the last vote was going to go. I was sitting there counting the characters and the votes on my fingers and trying to remember what would happen. I wonder if it was different in an earlier version of the manuscript, or if I just couldn’t remember. :)

If you’d asked me, I’d have said the scene with Rebecca at Trinity Church happened in the 3rd book, and that the (apparently upcoming) scene where Cam finds out The Truth About Alban was in this one. I would have been wrong. O.O (I’m quite impressed with myself for Cole’s characterization. It seems like there may have been some Editorial Disagreement over Cole’s level of flip-out/hatred/fear/anger, because he’s basically a decent guy, but re-reading it I think I wrote him right, and well. I said modestly. :))

Ok, my last observation falls more into spoiler territory so I’ll put it behind a cut….

Read the rest of this entry » )

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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We found a gym we can get to on the bus, and in a moment of daring, got memberships.

The guy helping us was from Miami. He was fit and slim and gorgeous like he’s always been 190lbs. Says he was 240, 2 years ago.

(This commentary paused while Ted and I have an argument about how much the dude weighed. THE POINT IS HE LOST FIFTY POUNDS AND DOESN’T LOOK LIKE HE WAS EVER OVERWEIGHT.)

Anyway, the paperwork we filled out had a number of questions that Ted and I perhaps didn’t take quite seriously enough:

Gym form: what’s your current fitness level
Me (I actually wrote this): PPPFFFLLLBBBBTTT
Gym guy: lol, Irish trainers are gonna be like WTF?

Gym form: what have you been doing lately
Ted: eating my weight in Cheetos
Gym guy: not since moving here!
Ted: no, we found them here at–
Gym guy: DON’T TELL ME

A passionate discussion of love for ham-and-cheeto sandwiches ensued. :)

Anyway, the membership comes with a 1/w meeting with a PT for 6 weeks, and then bimonthly follow-ups, which is pretty cool. They also have (get this) a monthly social club and a bunch of other kinds of, like, actively community-building stuff, and warned us flat-out that if we start missing time at the gym they’ll call us up and be like “so, uh, what’s the deal, everything okay?”, which is awesome if true.

“You gonna start today?” asked our new Miami friend, who ended up in Ireland because he met a red-headed, blue-eyed Irish girl in Miami and followed her back to Ireland. They’ve been married 7 years and he’s lived here for 8. Also his sister moved to Anchorage a while ago and got married in Girdwood last summer and so he spent a week there and said he kept going on REALLY LONG runs without noticing it because he was gazing at the scenery and he’d be like “crap i’ve gone 10k already i better turn around” and he’s from a swamp but he never met mosquitoes like those ones before, jeez! :)

“No,” we said, “our son’s birthday party is tomorrow and then the buses don’t run so we’ll be on on the 2nd.”

“Great!” he said. “You can get it all out of your systems, eat cake and cheetohs, then come in and start new! Oooh. Except that’s right before Cinco de Mayo! Oh no! The tequila!”

“Nooo,” Ted said. “Oooh, nooo.”

We’re gonna bring him a little bag of Cheetohs for Cinco de Mayo, tho. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I am ALMOST DONE with revisions on BEWITCHING BENEDICT, my little Regency that’s the first of the Lovelorn Lads romance series. It’s a charming, funny little comedy of manners that I genuinely believe anybody who likes my stuff will really enjoy, even though it (*looks furitive, whispers*) hasn’t got any fantasy aspects to it.

The Lovelorn Lads are something of a cross between Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and PG Wodehouse conceptually, in that there are seven Lads who are close friends, and the central character amongst them has a valet who is not only adept at, but necessary to, steering them out of bad marriages and into good ones.

I have *rarely* had as much fun writing a first draft as I did with BEWITCHING BENEDICT, and that’s saying something, because I’m one of those writers who loves writing the first draft and thinks the rest of it is necessary tedium. I’m genuinely looking forward to writing more and I hope everybody’s going to like them as much as I do.

Anyway, with the revisions nearly done, and me with the cover art in my hot little hands, I decided I couldn’t stand to wait another minute and had to show it off. The cover is by Cora Graphics, and the book will be out in…soon! O.O (I want to say June, but that’s probably too ambitious. Probably.)

Cover art: Bewitching Benedict
Young Charles Dalton returns from the Peninsular War with the fond desire to settle back into the bachelor life, but his hopes are upended as the dire news comes that Benedict, one of his favored cadre, must marry at once or lose his inheritance. At the same time, Dalton’s socially conscious cousin Claire comes to London for a Season—but Benedict has already mortally insulted her, and Claire casts her lot with another, leaving Dalton’s beleaguered valet to guide them both into good marriages.

BEWITCHING BENEDICT will be available soon!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I’m re-reading the Negotiator Trilogy, which I haven’t done since (before) they were published. I’m doing this so I can write KISS OF ANGELS, which is set (at least partially) after the trilogy, and in some ways I have only a vague idea of what the books are about. I mean, obviously I know what they’re about, but…

Some of you may know that the reason I haven’t written more book-length Old Races stories is that writing the Negotiator Trilogy was…awful. Just awful. Like, I had a small nervous breakdown, writing the third one. The Negotiator Trilogy is 375K long; I wrote well over a million words trying to get there. (For reference, the complete Walker Papers series, including “Banshee Cries” and the NO DOMINION collection, is just under 1.1 million words.)

The first book went through six major, massive revisions before publication.

The second book got an edit letter 6 months late that said “please insert a plot into this book” (that’s not really what it said at all, but that was the solution to what it DID say). It had to be torn apart and a plot forcibly inserted, which required throwing out and completely rewriting about 2/3rds of the book…during the time I was supposed to be writing the third book.

Because the revision letter for book 2 was so late, I’d started WRITING the third book, but because book 2 had no plot, and because there was a character I really desperately wanted to introduce in book 3 who it turned out didn’t belong there, I could not get book 3 written. I wrote between 200-300 pages six times before I got it right, and by that time I doubted myself so much I literally brought the manuscript, in tears, to my husband and said “please tell me if this works at all.”

On top of all that, the copy editor didn’t like my writing style and rewrote huge chunks of my sentences, leaving me to struggle with correcting them (this was before copy edits were done electronically) and leaving errors that remain in the books to this day.

It was an *awful* experience, and it’s why I’ve only ever written short stories and novellas in the world again. Even so it took me years to even consider that.

So! I know what happens in the books, but…not very clearly, because so many versions live in my head, and besides that, it’s been ten years. To write KISS OF ANGELS requires some revisiting of the old material.

I have never, ever (due to the reasons ennumerated above) wanted to re-read the Negotiator Trilogy. I’ve been hoping that they’d turn out to be good enough that, a decade after the fact, they could at least draw me in a little and make a re-read a modestly enjoyable task instead of a sisyphean one.

I’ve just finished HEART OF STONE, and it turns out they are!

In fact, there have been sentences and phrases that, if another author had written them, I would have been envious of the skill and wordcraft there! (That’s a real moment of cognitive dissonance, lemme tell you. :))

Nothing in the story has really *surprised* me, but there have been a number of times where I’ve gone, “Oh yes, this is the thing that happens here, I remember that,” and also, “OH I SEE WHAT I DID THERE, MAYBE NOBODY ELSE EVER SAW IT BUT I SEE WHAT I DID THERE I’M SO FUNNY AHAHAHAH” because I’m a great big dork. *laughs*

One of the things that is *particularly* interesting to me is that I had to work very hard to write Romancy Sensual Sexy Reactions stuff in that book, and I felt like, god, SO heavy-handed, SO awkward, SO awful. But re-reading it? It’s really not any of those things. Which is just fascinating. I mean, I was, like, embarrassed at the heavy-handedness of it all, when I wrote it. (Yes, yes, this from the same woman who wrote THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, but that book didn’t go through the evolution that HEART OF STONE did. TQB was (almost) always supposed to be full of smut. :))

Another thing that I kind of knew but which is much more obvious on re-reading is that holy cats, the short stories have different versions–sometimes MUCH different versions–of the backstory mentioned in the book. Like, there’s stuff in the book that’s just plain wrong, if the short stories are to be believed. Which, IMHO as the author, they are. :)

The nice thing is I’m totally okay with that. I figure two things: One, all of these characters are at least hundreds and often thousands upon thousands of years old, and one can hardly expect anybody to remember the truth accurately over that period of time.

Second, and much more importantly, many of these characters are inveterate liars anyway, and should never be assumed to ever be telling you the truth. (I mean, seriously. You wouldn’t trust Janx or Daisani, would you? You *shouldn’t*, anyway.) :)

Anyway, so now I’m on to reading HOUSE OF CARDS, and I’ll blog about that while I’m finishing it! <3 -Catie

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Indy’s on Easter holidays, which is 2 weeks off, and I’ve basically been convinced it’s the weekend since the 8th of April.

Strangely enough, it has not been the weekend since the 8th of April, which has led to some deep confusion on my part. I suppose I’ll get back in the swing of things when school starts up again, but this bodes ill for my brain over summer vacation.

We went down to Fota Island for a day, and I took some pictures.

Indy was thrilled beyond comprehension to see REAL! CHEETAHS!



He raced the cheetah. The cheetah chased him, in a desultory fashion. :)



Just some pretty flowers.



The white-handed gibbons were in fine form, giving out to one another…



…singing…



…and playing…



Indy making a wish at the wishing well. (He wished Fota Island would have 130 cheetahs. They apparently ALREADY have THIRTY-NINE!)





(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

mizkit: (Default)

I did not mean for that last post about the big break to be the last post for two weeks, but I temporarily forgot my password and couldn’t log in. Heh. :)

I defied my cold (and probably common sense) and went out to dinner with friends last night. I managed to be late because I stopped to do my makeup and missed the train, so I was pretty annoyed with myself. OTOH, it did provide the pretty amusing moments where, as I approached the table, one of the two women facing me looked straight at me and didn’t recognize me due to my haircut, and the other one noticed my fabulous lipstick but didn’t recognize the face it was stuck to because I so rarely wear makeup. :)

me, expressing irritation that my makeup made me late

The third of our party who had arrived on time knew it was me because she had her back to me and all the confusion had been sorted out by the time she turned to face me. :) But she got as much of a laugh from watching their faces as I did, so that was fun. :) (I had dinner with another friend last week who was standing outside the restaurant, looking down the street right at me, and apparently thinking, “Oh, Catie got her hair cut, I wonder if I’ll recognize her when I see her!” Spoiler: she did not. :))

We had a lovely evening, and I was extremely glad I went. At the end of the evening we asked the waiter to take a picture of us, which he did, and then he started zipping around like a fashion photographer, more or less yelling, “Work it, ladies, work it,” and we burst out laughing and that, although it’s blurry, was my favourite picture of the evening:

However, due to it being a bank holiday, there were no convienently timed trains to come home on, so it was at about 12:25am that I called the cab company to collect me from the train station.

“*Cate*?!,” said the dispatcher, who knows my voice, incredulously. “Is that you out this late?!”

Me: it is

Them: my god, we’ll be there to get you in a minute

Shortly thereafter the cabbie picked me up and said, “It’s past your bedtime,” which I wearily but amusedly agreed with. :)

(And then at 1am I took the Irish equivalent of Nyquil, except theirs actually works, and got to sleep at 2am, which meant I was basically ruined for the day because that stuff tends to obliterate me for about 14 hours. I woke up several times this morning going “i could probably get up except i literally can’t move” *SNXXXT* and eventually choked on snot at 11:24am and that alarmed me enough to lurch into something resembling wakefulness, but it’s now nearly 6pm and it’s only in the past hour or so that I’ve started to feel awake. And that’s *with* having resorted to a caffinated beverage, without which I’d probably be passed out on the couch. O.O)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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All right, this is it, the big break.

Livejournal has updated its user terms and conditions with an expectation of complying with Russian (I almost typed Soviet, oi) law, including their anti-LGBTQ and freedom of speech laws, which is more than the camel can bear. It’s not like LJ’s had a lot of activity the past, uh, well, several, years, but many of us who have been holding out…no longer are.

I’ll be here on mizkit.com, of course, but I’ll be crossposting this journal to mizkit.dreamwidth.org from here on out, too. (And, y’know, to everywhere else it automagically crossposts.)

If you’re on Dreamwidth, you now know where to find me. If you’re on it with a different name than you use on LJ, let me know, or it may take me years to figure out who you are! :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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