Thursday, April 30, 2009

I call it Walden

When we were setting up the office Nathan was convinced we could fit his work desk, his computer desk and my desk all in the room, which is not that big, along with the printers, and file cabinet, bookcase, and garbage can.

I was more pessimistic and volunteered to have my desk upstairs in a corner of our bedroom. At first I didn't like it because it means when we are both on the computer, we are opposite ends of the house.

However, once we got it set up, I absolutely fell in love with it.
The books behind my desk are fantastic, I love being surrounded by books. There is a small bookcase next to my desk that the plant is sitting on that is filled with binders and notebooks that hold the fragments of ideas I've come up with over the years. The red paper in front of the big bookcases is my storyboard.

But I think my favorite part of the set up is the lamp over the desk. It used to hang over my Grandpa's chair in the den at their house.

This little corner of the room is my oasis, I call it Walden. I'm thinking of putting screens up to separate the two side of the room

Road Trip!

I have actually started research and plot planning on my next work of fiction. It came as an idea while I was at the writer's conference, then when I found out Elizabeth was going to go to school in Alton, IL and how incredible that town's history is, I thought I needed to check it out.

Fortunately, Elizabeth had to go to orientation last weekend, so I rode down with her. We got up at quarter to six and drove the four hours to Alton in Madison County.

Then, while Bella was at her meetings and campus tour, I drove around and took notes and looked at monuments, historical markers, and museums. It really is an amazing area.

This is all that remains of Illinois' very first state penitentiary. Founded in 1833 it was abandoned in 1860 only to be pressed back into service as a Union prison during the Civil War. It was kind of the Union Andersonville. This site is really what got my creative juices flowing.

This is Alton's National cemetery, created for the Union soldiers who died at the prison. It is still used as a military cemetery today. It is actually incorporated into the Alton cemetery. Usually I'm against taking pictures in cemeteries, but I thought it would be useful to have an image of this to help with the book. This cemetery also housed the monument to Elijah Lovejoy, America's first martyr to free press, who was killed by an angry mob for running abolitionist material in his newspaper so close to Missouri, which was a slave state.

I actually did a lot of research before leaving for Alton and I would mention something about the history of the area every now and then and eventually Elizabeth looked at me and said "You really did do a lot of research!"

Alton also has a mental hospital (which is actually what it is called) founded in 1913 or 1914.

Alton was also home to the tallest person whoever lived. His name was Robert Wadlow and I believe he died in the early 1930s. By the time he died, he was 8' 11". He was said to have been an ambassador for Alton and there is a life size statue of him on the dental school campus, as well as a full size replica of his chair.
Elizabeth and I hung out and we both got a lot done. It was a great trip!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Parking lot rose

One of Nathan's duties at his new job is to pick up the litter on campus.

So I came home last week to find a white rose sitting on the kitchen table with a Kit Kat bar.

This totally floored me. Not only did it mean Nathan had picked up on the fact that roses are the only flower I care about, but that white roses are my favorite. (It's a weird family-politics thing.) He also seemed to have remembered how much I love chocolate.

I picked up the rose and was all excited when Nathan came bounding into the room and said, "Hey, did you see what I found in the parking lot?!"


To his credit, the chocolate was great and the rose opened beautifully.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Long overdue

So, this post is more than a month overdue, but most of you would have heard about this anyway. Nathan got a job, just about a month after he lost his job at Panduit, he was hired as a temporary, part time assistant groundskeeper at Kishwaukee College.

While it would be nice for him to have something a bit more permanent full time, this job comes with other benefits. There is the possibility of free plants when Nathan remember our friends and family get mad when he turns things like that down. He also has lost weight gained at his desk job and already acquired a rather nice tan.

Go Nathan! I love you!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kitty update

Nathan took Hyperion to the vet today. Apparently he was just very constipated. However, because his fur is so long, his poops were getting suck to his butt. So his butt became infected and inflamed. They gave us a tuna-flavored kitty laxative to make sure it doesn't happen again. We also have butt cream so the swelling will go down and an antibiotic.

Other than that he seems fine. He's even walking around with his tail held up again, which I take as a good sign.

Thanks, Jules, for referring us to the vet, Nathan said he was good.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Poor Hyperion--Warning...disgusting content

This Saturday, Hyperion is one year old. At a year old, you're supposed to switch cats to cat food from kitten food. Hecate has been a year old since last August, but to save money we've been keeping her on kitten food until Hyperion was ready too.

Normally, the food switch is pretty academic. They get sick for a day or two but then they are okay. And it was really easy with Hecate. Hyperion, however, has a sensitive gastrointestinal tract and the switch has been very difficult for him.

He was sick and throwing up for a couple days and, I think because of his inactivity, he acquired a rather interesting odor. But, he started to look better on Sunday. He was moving around and playing and all kinds of things.

Then, suddenly and inexplicably, two days ago things took another bad turn. He started vomiting again and got a little lackadaisical. He also started smelling bad again.

Then, we found out why. His little butt was matted with catpoop. We did our best to clean it using paper towels, a wet washrag, scissors, Nathan's pocket knife, and even a partially filled lukewarm bathtub. We were able to remove most of the poop, but his little bumhole seemed stuck open and we don't know if that is just because he still has to poop or he is having serious trouble.

Our poor little guy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter news

For those who were concerned, which mostly means my immediate family, Hyperion seems to have come through the food switch just fine...if a little stinky.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, Hyperion will be a year old this week, so we switched to adult cat food this past week and Hyperion has a very sensitive little stomach. He became very sick. I wasn't sure he was going to make it. He threw up all over the house and other than that just laid around. For some reason this two days of inactivity gave him a really foul odor. But today he's been following us around and he seems to be feeling much better. Hecate was queezy for a couple hours, but not nearly as sick.

We hope you all had a good Easter, we spent the morning and early afternoon with my family having brunch in Oregon, like we do every year. Then we went to Nathan's parents', but Pam was working on hours of bookkeeping and we didn't want to distract her, so we went home and raked at least three years of leaves and burned some of them.

All in all a productive day.

While we were at Nathan's parents' we took advantage of being dressed up and having someone on hand with a good camera and Craig took a picture for us. We have so few of the two of us not from the wedding.

Moved in

I actually took the time today to take pictures of the evolution of our new home.

This is my work area in our bedroom. I like having my computer out of the way of the high-traffic areas of the house. It means I might actually get things done.
This is my favorite feature of our bedroom. I love those bookshelves. We have also been able to store larger holiday decorations in the cabinets under the shelves.

Our guest bedroom is a little sparse, but it works. I was able to set up the folding table and wrap birthday presents without feline interference.
This is looking into the sun room. We don't have enough furniture yet to use it, but I'm hoping to go second hand furniture shopping soon and find some things to make this room usable.
These are my favorite features of the sun room. This looks into the living room. There are more pictures of the living room and kitchen, but I will include them on a later post.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Settling in

We are more or less officially settled in.

We have a phone line, the Internet, a wireless connection (yay!), and clothes lines hung both outside and in the basement so I can do laundry on yucky days.

We are still coping without a stove. I'm getting to know my crockpot on a very profound level. I have discovered I cannot boil noodles in it and I also learned a tuna casserole without mayo should not cook in the slowcooker for seven hours.

Also, don't put pieces of porkchops in a soup with beef broth, and lasagna in a crockpot comes out beautifully.

I need to find a hook I can screw into the ceiling above my desk to hang a light, and we are still without a dryer, but the clothes lines work perfectly. Access bookcases can be used for movie storage. I never thought I would have access bookcases.

The Waterman library, at which my wonderful mother-in-law works, lends movies for free. Yay!

We have entertained friends and family and look forward to being able to host more.

We need to paint quite a bit and clean some more, but the house is definitely looking more like a house.

Do over...please?

I have failed at Lent this year...catastrophically.

Every Friday but two so far I have forgotten it was Lent and enjoyed something along the lines of a ham sandwich or pepperoni pizza.

As far as my Lenten resolutions go, to work harder on the book I'm finishing and the book I just started, moving and packing sort of took over.

I always planned to sit down and work on the book, but then I got home and stuff needed to be packed or unpacked or cleaned.

So, I respectfully request we all go back to Ash Wednesday and start all over. Maybe I should call Rome.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Feeling rejected

Nathan says this makes me an official author. Everyone else is saying it is a good sign and means I'm on the right track.

It just has me feeling depressed and rejected. I got my very first rejection letter for the book I'm working on.

It came from one of the people I spoke with at the writer's conference. She's the first person I have heard back from and she said she didn't want the book.

Everyone else may see it as a good thing, I just see it as a failure.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Quick Update

We've moved...still without a landline...still without the Internet...still at the library typing this.

But we get way more visitors now than we ever did before. A friend of Nathan's parents brought us homemade cinnamon rolls the other day. She's so nice.

We finally have groceries and after sweeping out the cabinet where the laundry chute dumps off (and an encounter with a dead mouse) I can use the laundry chute.

We still don't have a dryer or clothes line, though, so I can't actually do any laundry yet. We'll have a phone later this week and the Internet early next week.

Yay, progress!