I meant to write a bunch of long-delayed blog entries while on vacation last week, but it somehow never happened, so there was a nearly three-week gap in posts here.
Some general life updates:
After a long run of stress and travel and illness, things are finally settling down. There was a couple of months of stress about Sara's terminal illness, and then she died, and then I spent two weeks in the UK (attending WorldCon and then touristing); and then when I got home, I spent six weeks coughing. Then there was a bunch of work stuff going on, then I spent a week in Chicago visiting Mary Anne et alia. So this past week was the first week in a long time when I've been home and healthy and not super-stressed. I even biked to work a couple days, for the first time in months. (I've walked to work a few times lately, but biking tends to exacerbate my coughs, so I was avoiding it until the cough was gone.)
I had one glorious shining moment at work on the Friday afternoon before vacation when the number of urgent documentation reviews I needed to do dropped from three to zero, and when I noticed that my group, for the first time ever, has at least one writer assigned to every significant area that we work on. It's never enough writers, but it's closer to enough than it's ever been. Oh, and I'm officially the team lead now. I could probably become a manager if I wanted to, but I've been assiduously avoiding that for about twenty years now.
This week, there've been a couple of frustrating developments at work that have made me less optimistic/cheerful. But even so, I think overall the group is in a pretty good place.
And I'm more able to cope with life in general than I was for a while there. Sara's illness and death hit me hard, but I'm on a little more of an even keel now.
The week in Chicago was mostly really good. I'm sorry not to have seen most of y'all Chicagoans; I ended up mostly not leaving Mary Anne's place. I made a fair bit of novel progress, I got some time with Mary Anne and hung out with Kat a bit, I got some time with the kids. I also spent on the order of eight hours over the course of the week doing urgent day-job stuff (which wouldn't have been so urgent if I hadn't been at least a week behind on it), involving the new Terms of Service for our APIs; but that eventually worked out, and I took one less vacation day as a result.
I played the Robot Turtles intro-to-programming-concepts boardgame with the kids; more observations about that another time. Anand doesn't do boardgames, but the other three enjoyed it. I also played various Kindle and iPad games with them, and showed Kavi a couple of art apps that she seemed to really like (the Paper app and the GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine app), and helped take the kids trick-or-treating in the snow, and just generally hung out.
Back home, Kam and I have been watching Dr Who, which we're getting less and less happy with despite being lifelong fans, and Agents of SHIELD, which is a whole lot better than the first season, and Day Break. She hasn't seen that last one before; I have, but I'm enjoying the rewatch quite a bit. It's still among my top ten favorite TV series of all time. ...Oh, and I've been watching and enjoying Jane the Virgin.
I'm continuing to work on my novel every day. I had hoped to get the third draft (suitable for finally showing to more than one or two people) done by the end of October, but that didn't happen; I'm now aiming for the end of November. I'm not sure whether that'll happen, but it's plausible. I've been checking off a whole lot of to-do items.
During vacation week, I stayed almost completely off of Facebook, because it was starting to bother me that I was spending on the order of several hours a day on FB. That went fairly well, though I was tempted several times to open up FB to post that I was still staying off FB. I did post two or three quick tidbits, but each time didn't spend more than a few minutes looking at others' posts. This past week, I'm back on FB, but in a more limited way than usual; I'm only reading about 10%-25% of the posts in my notifications, rather than my usual insistence on reading 90+%. Unfortunately, in the past couple of days, links among that 10% have led me to pages that've resulted in literally hours of reading. But I continue to hope I can keep my FB time down to, oh, half an hour to an hour a day.
(To be clear: I still really like the lightweight-way-to-stay-in-touch-with-friends aspect of FB, and I still like most of what my friends post there. It's just that I have other things that I want to focus more on.)
Let's see, what else? A few assorted last tidbits before I end this entry: My Uncle Dobe just sent me a box full of old family papers; it'll be fun and interesting sorting through those. The weather here has been mostly very pleasant, although it feels weird to be enjoying that when it's part of the super-extreme awful drought that we're still immersed in. I don't like how early it's getting dark, but I realize many of y'all live north of me and therefore have it worse. I'm still having anxiety issues, and still putting off trying to address them. My movie-watching has slowed way down, but I'm still very close to being done rewatching all my Blu-rays. I've been reading a fair bit: Sturgeon stories, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Babel-17, a bit of Mallory Ortberg's new book, etc. I contacted someone on OKCupid, but haven't heard back. I continue, as always, to be way behind on email; I'm sorry about that. I bought a burr grinder to facilitate Kam having good coffee when she stays over. I'm taking very small steps toward a new publishing project. And so on.
So I guess all in all, things are pretty good, for the first time in quite a while.