Friday, March 27, 2009

What's going on in Ballard

Male cats. That's what's going on around my house. A big long-haired lynx-point and a wiry short-hair orange cat are prowling the street, circling through my back yard several times a day. Sheba, the deaf white cat, seems indignant. Zoe, the big tabby, is eager to take them on. Kaylee, the little tabby, is manifestly unhappy, and now stays in at night. She takes shelter under the kitchen table and watches with incredulity as Zoe gallumphs down the back steps to check out the action.

I've been working like crazy, and have only recent caught up on the local blogs. Anchor Tattoo is now offering a tattoo design of Edith Macefield's house. She was the woman who refused to sell her house on NW 46th to developers, remaining in the tiny bungalow while a massive commercial building was constructed surrounding her place on three sides and towered over it. According to the My Ballard blog, seven or eight people have selected the design, including a Ballard barista.

Downtown Ballard has been hit by a string of burglaries and police may have caught one of the burglars — with two storage lockers full of loot.

The Tux Shop on Market has moved, and the word is that Buffalo Exchange (clothes for the 20-somethings) and a BECU branch will be moving in. Great timing, that, because I've been thinking of taking my savings out of WAMU-going-to-be-JP-Morgan-Chase and putting it into BECU.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

10 reasons why I'm not blogging as much

  1. I'm blogging for three clients' sites.
  2. I'm dealing with an unusual number of clients.
  3. I'm publishing some complex websites for friends using iWeb, while editing a friend's book on iWeb '09.
  4. I moved my professional blog to WordPress and am learning the ropes with that software; I'd describe it as powerful but surly.
  5. I've taken on a strange project that involves advising on the re-launch of a fairly large commercial website.
  6. I'm still trying to figure out what to do about getting out of organizing a Meetup I inherited.
  7. I've been going to science fiction and writing conventions on weekends.
  8. I've been going out to social activities.
  9. I twitter many of the smaller things I used to blog.
  10. I use Facebook at bit more often.

How about you? Do you blog as much as you used to?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Divorce, dim sum, and whirling felines

The two tabbies just brought in a moth from the back yard and are now pursuing it through the hallways. A few minutes ago, Sheba, the deaf white cat, stood on the tiptoes of all four paws, and chased her tail -- first clockwise, and then counterclockwise.

I'm tempted to join Sheba. My clients, apparently sensing that I'd like to spend my evenings writing fiction (trying to fix the story that got savaged in the workshop at Potlatch this past weekend) are deluging me with interesting work.

Other aspects of my life have been similarly active.

My mother has decided she wants to go into a continuing care community with her friends in Florida instead of the one she had planned to move into out here in Seattle. It makes sense. If she carries through on this, I'll be flying back East three or four times a year to visit. I realized that having her settle in Florida (rather than out here, near me) would make it easier for me to relocate to a warmer climate, which I'd like to do in a few years.

As some of you know, Zorg and I have been hammering out a separation agreement for the past six months. He signed it last week, and I signed today, realizing as I did that this was, essentially "it." In Washington state, the separation contract is the major legal event, going into great detail about division of property and setting forth various agreements. The dissolution of marriage paperwork, filed subsequently, is comparatively short and straightforward.

We've managed to get through things in a civilized fashion. To our friends, who have been supportive and diplomatic through it all: Thank you!

In the midst of all this, I flew down to the Bay Area last week for the Potlatch 18 science fiction convention. Each convention has its own personality, and Potlatch's is "unstructured." There was only one panel track, with very light programming, but lots of spontaneous get-togethers called Algonquins that get posted a few hours in advance on the bulletin board at registration. I missed the chance to go to the computer museum to see the Babbage machine in action, but got a small group to go to Lunatic Fringe (belly dancing supplies) and took the introductory jewelry-making class taught by Elise Matthiessen. The class was extraordinarily good (earrings and pendant in one hour!) and I discovered the craft is much more my style than knitting or sewing. Bead stores, here I come!

Potlatch is, of course, a literary convention. I was on a panel about Good Reads, talking about books that included Octavia Butler's Fledgling and Robert Charles Wilson's Spin. And I surived my first short-story critique -- discouraging but extremely useful.

The people at Potlatch were fascinating. It was difficult to get to anything scheduled in a timely fashion because I kept getting distracted by introductions and conversations. There were also some wonderful meals at nearby restaurants. Chelokababi's chicken with sour cherries (Albaloo polo) was the best dish of the weekend, though the dim sum at The Mayflower in Milpitas was the most entertaining meal. One member of our party used an iPhone app with pictures of dim sum (Yum Yum Dim Sum) to get us some arcane and amazing dishes.

Kindle for the iPhone

Just downloaded the (free) Kindle app for iPhone and am now downloading my first read, Andrea Camilleri's mystery The Voice of the Violin.

If I like reading on the iPhone as much as I've been enjoying playing quick Scrabble on it, this will be life-changing.