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Yes, Virginia…and all the other states and countries…

It lives.

Sorry to be so flipping silent this year. It’s been a little crazy. I haven’t even kept up with pictures, so I can’t even tell you what all I’ve been doing. I just know…the year has disappeareded. I’m not even going to edit this thing, so…beware! Likely lots of wordsalad ahead.

Right now, I’m sitting here, scanning old documents that we can’t just toss because of the seven year limit on tax stuff. Suffice to say, I’m bored out of my mind. I’d much rather be pulling carpet or ripping out a wall in the bathroom, or pulling weeds, or doing a Wiishu slideshow, or better than everything, working with Carolyn on the latest Bren book.

But I’ve got to do some of all the above each day, because somehow, I’ve got to get ahead of this pile of stuff. I can make excuses all day for never having done this, but the boredom is right at the top of the list. I did, finally, find a scanner I can live with. It’s a little thing called a “doxiego” that sits in front of my keyboard. I can feed stuff through bunches at a time, from statements to contracts to sales-slips, then import the ocr’d images into my computer edit and save with appropriate names, and with connected images “stapled” and saved into the same pdf.

Mind you, I could do all that before, but our scanner was a big scanner/printer, fax that sits on the far side of the office, with a really snarky document feeder. Each item had to be individually scanned, then saved before moving onto the next. Can you say…tedious? Anyway, I think this is going to work well, and with so many statements and such now downloadable…keeping up with new stuff should be pretty straight forward.

It’s all this old stuff that’s a pain. But…we’ll get there. Thank goodness most of it can be recycled. Talk about landfill!

Work on the next Bren book is going really well. After Visitor was finished, CJC and I took a roadtrip and just discussed where the series needed to go from there…and what this book needed to do in specific. We got to Brother Chip’s, our destination, and CJ was right onto the computer taking notes. By the time we got home, she had a solid outline.

You never know quite how a book is going to happen…well, we don’t. What the formula writers do is beyond my experience. But this time, there are two parallel storylines and Carolyn attacked one while I did some basic bones work on the other. When she had a solid scene or three on hers, she’d send it over to me for editing while I sent her those bare bones and let her turn it into actual story. This way, we’re both “up” on what’s happening and insights into the story happen on a daily basis. It’s a whole lot like when she was writing Cyteen, and is a superfun working relationship.

It’s been working really well, and it looks like that end of October deadline will be met with at least a very solid, well beyond first draft, if not ready to go manuscript.

And you’re going to love it.

As soon as it goes in, I’m taking a break and putting Homecoming Games together. It’ll be available soon, if the cover is nothing more than a starfield with typeface!

And then…there’s B Brown. Phone calls several times a day now. Never knew it could be so satisfying to hear the phone ring once before “blocked” showed up to silence it. Wheeeeeee!

Long overdue Wiishu/Miike slideshow soon!

hugs to all.

26 comments to Yes, Virginia…and all the other states and countries…

  • good to know you’re still around….we were getting worried that maybe we’d have to find a way to get you out of cryostorage, or something……

    Do me a favor on the 24th, look for an email from me….or at least, it’ll have my name on the subject line….;)

  • Hanneke

    Hey, hooray, you’re back! Glad to hear from you!
    I’ve got to go to sleep, I need to get up extra-early tomorrow and it’s late so I can’t chat long right now, but it’s good that you’re up to talking with us again.

    I’m happy to hear how you can work on this book together, that way of working probably gives you a much better chance of making the short deadline. It’s also good that it keeps you in storybuilding mode as well, keeping your creative muscles exercised and enriching the story (certainly compared to if CJ had to build the whole thing alone in one-third her usual time).
    You’re very lucky that you can make such a great team together on the writing front as well as in the rest of life.

    Once you get done with clearing out the carpets and all the old paper, I’m hoping you’ll feel a real improvement in ease of breathing and less stuffed noses and such, and maybe less irritated eyes as well. It is a very worthwhile effort, even if it’boring, and extra dusty while you’re doing it.

    Small question: what’s B Brown?

    • B brown phone calls: http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-646-378-4183

      Tbey’ve been driving us crazy. We have caller ID and if the phone doesn’t recognize the call, we wait for it to go to voice If they don’t leave a voice mail, they must not be someone we want to talk to anyway. This particular “yack” as we call these unwanted callers has to do with some investment vote coming up, probably having to do with some mutual fund that’s in our (tiny) investment package, and they’re trying to get all those who haven’t voted to hand over their votes to them as proxy. Ain’t gonna happen. Don’t know anything about it, really, not even if we actually own any of the stock in question, except that anyone stupid enough to call me five times a day, getting ignored every time, and not smart enough or polite enough to leave a message regarding their purpose in ringing my phone off the hook is going to handle any vote of mine. I’m not kidding: five times a day.



      The carpet isn’t really that old…probably put in just year or so before we bought the place, but we’d just as soon have hard floors. Right now,just getting rid of the carpet is hard enough. We’ve got just a tiny garbage can for city pickup, so putting a little in it each week. Fortunately, there’s little garbage we produce that can’t be recycled other than this carpet, so it’s not too bad.

  • I’m getting calls from people who claim they can lower my mortgage rate (I doubt it….it’s pretty low already, and it’s a VA loan, to boot), offer me pain medications (seriously? I’ve got a whole pharmacy of pain medications that I get for free at the Air Force Medical Center), and then the ubiquitous “Send us money so we can…..” When I cancelled my subscription to DISH Network, the calls were incessant, although I didn’t answer them. Same thing for the newspaper that I had just cancelled, although I did mistakenly answer one of those calls, and politely declined the offer from the salesperson.

    Some numbers I recognize, others don’t come up on the caller ID, so I don’t pick up. Even the numbers I recognize, if it’s someone I don’t want to hear, I let it go to voice mail.

    As much as I appreciate my college education(s), asking me for money is not going to be a good thing. I have a limited income, I’m a 50% VA-rated disabled veteran (so work is a questionable venture), and there isn’t a lot of money coming in. I know college tuition is through the roof, I paid as much for an entire year of college in 1970 as I paid for one quarter in 1999.

    I’m not even going to give them the excuse that I’m still in mourning, they don’t need to know that, and I really just do not want to talk to them, period. If they think it’s important enough, they can put it to voice mail, and then if I decide it’s important enough, I’ll return the call. Otherwise, they need to get the message that I don’t want to talk to them.

  • chondrite

    If the call comes in from a number we don’t recognize, my default is to let it go to voicemail. DH likes to play with the Microsoft scammers/spammers, and has been known to keep them on the phone for an hour while backtracing their ISP. We had a virtual machine set up on our print server to watch their attempts to take it over; the first iteration was not as fun because the scammer couldn’t make any of his tricks work on a Windows 98 machine 😀

    There are also a handful of clients from DH’s business that are so odious they are redirected to a special mailbox on the home phone (DEVNULL). Rather than reading off the phone number from Caller ID, the phone says “Don’t pick up the phone!!”

  • Walt

    Once upon a time, I read Up the Organization by Robert Townsend, the guy who turned around Avis. He opined that records were entirely a negative. Keep them as long as you need to by law, no longer. If you get audited and you have no records, what’s IRS going to do? Make stuff up? Charge you under the federal Tidy Records Act? Are they paying you to keep records? Are you cashing an IRS paycheck? Can you take a tax credit for your time? (You could deduct if you hired a tax accountant to deal with your records, but it’s a deduction, not a credit–so, no, hell no, they aren’t paying for your time.)

    I get 1099 revisions in April! My local PO loses so much first class mail it’s ridiculous. The vast majority of my mail, probably 99% by weight, is ads and scams and people I’ve told to shut the frak up and leave me alone. I’m lucky to find essential documents like new driver’s licenses. Anyone who really wants to talk to me had better make it past my email filters. Or leave a message on my answerer that cannot be from a phisher. The Do Not Call list is a joke–or maybe I should find a young, hungry lawyer and start suing; $500 a pop plus lawyers fees, IIRC. Are lawyers ever hungry? I doubt it.

    So, what do I do about taxes? My tax guy files an extension (which I’d need anyway because of the late 1099s). I over-withhold a bit or just pay the modest penalties. I might pay 10% on $200, which compared to the effort…let’s see, 10% of $200 is $20, divided by roughly infinity…is $0.00 per hour. My time and sanity are worth more. Am I sounding like Jayne?

    About September, my tax guy calls IRS, and we file my taxes based on IRS numbers, plus a few things I pull from online records. They can audit their own damn numbers if they want.

    I use a calendar to remind me of insurance and property taxes and such. They send emails, anyway. The little “cards” (paper) that the insurance co. sends me as “proof of insurance” are proof of billing; I print out the email receipt I get for the actual payment. Everything else is on automatic payment…which I’m going to have wholesale revisions on once I get my chip-card. (For those not in the US, we’re finally going to chip credit cards in the US; but no PINs. Not Near Field Communications [NFC] I think, which I’d hate to have to wrap my cards in tin foil.)

    Jane: It’s been that kind of year for me, too. 🙁 It’s very good to “talk” to you (ahem! and not Wiishu–I seem to be missing the cute gene). Or maybe it’s the pack of Chithulhuthulhus next door, yapping at oh-dark-thirty, clearly elder dogs of dyslexia, if you’re familiar with the Cthulhu mythos. (Maybe I could get some bacon-flavored peanut butter to silence them, “Mmmk! Mmmk! Mmmk!”)

    Hanneke: Well said!

    Joe: I so know the charity boomerang! You send them anything trackable, and it’s like blood in the water. I only donate anonymously now.

    Chondrite: I know! I only bother to answer the phone if I’m right on top of it, and if they aren’t ready to talk or I hear the background of a call center–click! If it’s really important, they’ll call back immediately or leave a message. I had to turn off my fax due to junk faxes, “Please find attached our 500 page catalog of fax paper and ink products!”


    • chondrite

      To shut up dogs, Elder and non-: equal parts peanut butter and hamburger. Roll into small balls and feed to critter. Peanut butter sticks to roof of dog’s mouth; dog is now rendered incapable of doing anything but attempting to swallow wad of gumminess and lick its chops for several minutes.

      Trying to keep track of DH’s business paperwork is one of Dante’s circles of Hell, especially determining what can be shredded and what should be kept. We still have paperwork from when we sold our condo back in 2003; I think those documents can be shredded, but haven’t been able to find a definitive answer. Our tax CPA just retired this past year, after yeoman service for over a decade. He will be missed; already the IRS is beginning to sniff for weaknesses in the body Corporate, despite our strict adherence to all relevant laws.

    • I like that philosophy.

      And Wiishu isn’t even posting his stories. Sigh. I really need to get back to actually writing blog posts. It’s not that I don’t have, like, actual thoughts, but putting them together for consumption is more of a brain commitment than I seem to be able to muster right now. First thing, after the book goes in, is going to be the not-so-yearly purge of records older than 7 years. I’ll have a better feeling for that round tuit after that. We haven’t done it for a couple of years…

      I’m trying to get as much as possible in the form of pdf downloads.

      • Walt

        Anent the tax philosophy, I’ve been doing this for over a decade, I think. However, tax accountants have a special IRS 800 number. I don’t know if an individual taxpayer can get the same info faxed to him. I haven’t had a need to try it.

        I know what you mean about stringing thought together. I needed to leave a detailed message on another matter, and I couldn’t wrap my head around everything I needed to say. I ended up writing a script for the message and just reading it. But, that nicely gives me a record of the message.

        • It’s really a problem for me because I usually edit and edit and edit. My comments on anything remotely controversial have been taken wrong so many times I’m incredibly gunshy. I get frustrated at people determined to misunderstand, and I’m a bit pathological at times about being understood. I don’t know if this is embarrassment or a desire to take thick skulls and beat them against a wall! 😀 Neither is a pleasant self-analysis. I think in some ways that’s why I kind of retreated behind Wiishu. 😀 Who can get mad at that face and happy go lucky attitude.

          OTOH…I TRY to always keep in mind a comment made by the former national buyer for B&N regarding my concerns for GroundTies (I paraphrase): there will always be someone determined to be offended by anything worth saying. I’d rather blame my lack of online presence as a lack of time and energy. I’ve finally gotten another wakeup call and started laying out vitamins every morning. I’m slowly starting to regain energy.

  • Hanneke

    Happy birthday, Jane! Are you planning something nice, like dinner with friends?

  • Happy Birthday, Jane! Please check your email. 😉

  • BGrandrath

    Happy Birthday!!!! Take some time to relax and enjoy your day.

  • Kroyd

    Happy birthday, Jane! One hopes Wiishu has been enthusiastic…about your birthday. 🙂

    • He was just glad to get up and join us for dinner! He’s been doing a lot of sleeping.

      I’ve realized that ever since I decided to use the backup “adventure face” I’ve been less inclined to take him out. I really need to get up to Autumn’s place and invest in his real adventure face. This one I got from Fairyland is darling, but it’s just not him…probably because I have this commitment to “finding him” in a blank. But I’m also a little scared that it won’t work…so all the other roundtuits are getting in the way.

      Isn’t psychology wunnerfo! 😀

  • ready4more

    Jane, As you could probably tell, I’ve been in a depressed mood for months now. I’m having to force myself to do all the bookkeeping, etc. that has devolved onto me after retirement. I’m lucky I even open my mail at this point and I have been avoiding social media for the last three weeks. I just wanted to tell you that I empathize on the paperwork drill. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been called for jury duty tomorrow, I’d crawl back into my shell and spend another three months in hibernation…

    On a brighter note I hope youe birthday dinner was fun.

    • Oh, nooooo! I’m so sorry. Is it all the retirement stuff? That’s a yucky transition, mentally and spiritually.

      I don’t know that I’m depressed, but I’ve just not been up online for months. And Wiishu hasn’t been awake most of that time. It just seems like the round tuits are piling up rather than going away. One day…it’s pulling carpet. Then it’s ripping out cupboards in order to get the new fridge in. Another day, it’s planning the attack on the kitchen, which will be an extended bit of careful demo (I really want to move as many of these cupboards downstairs as I can), ditching a lot of stuff we don’t need/use, finding a spot downstairs for what will go back into cupboards…

      All so I can get the wall cleaned and mudded and painted. Got a lot of uuuuuugly white tile to pull, and that means repairing the drywall…Then we repaint, pull the old floor—which reminds me, I need to pull that vinyl edging and repair the wall under it…lay new…oh…and we need to build the little pantry…then we put in the new cupboards. Most we can do ourselves, but it’s going to take time.

      sigh…it’ll be fun, in a weird way, something I’ve always wanted to try…and at least we now know how these cupboards were put up…

  • Oh, my dear friends. Life moves apace! I had a lovely birthday. CJ and I killed baddies in the Mad King’s Labyrinth in the AM, I finally got the tulip bulbs in in the afternoon, then we went and ate too much at the Swinging Doors (they give you a free steak on your birthday!) then went home and vegged in front of the TV. My real present this year is the book that’s ALMOST DONE!

    Prezzies were nicely modest…unless you count the new fridge arriving day after tomorrow! And the new expansion on GW2…which came out the day before my bday. 😀 A lovely box with a kitteh on it and a great “Toothless” tshirt. My sis gave me and Wiishu a super cool thingy that will be the subject of a photostory soon!

  • CJ

    15 comments to Jane’s birthday.

    October 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm · Reply · Edit

    ask her to check her email for a message from jacquelawson.com…it’s a birthday card that I sent….

    Happy Birthday, Jane! (if she’s reading this over your shoulder… ? )
    October 24, 2015 at 4:25 pm · Reply · Edit

    Happy birthday to Jane, and have a nice dinner.
    October 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm · Reply · Edit

    Hey, Jane! Happy birthday! Dinner sounds fantastic.
    October 24, 2015 at 5:52 pm · Reply · Edit

    Have a wonderful time and Happy Birthday!
    J. C. Salomon
    October 24, 2015 at 6:06 pm · Reply · Edit

    That’s the one you mentioned a while ago, with a sauce made from the can’s syrup, extra brown sugar, and cinnamon & nutmeg & cloves, yes? Last time you mentioned it you couldn’t remember the proportions; if you re-derive them, would you please post them here?
    October 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm · Reply · Edit

    It came out pretty well.
    Slice raw chicken breast, put in pan with olive oil or butter, (lid advised) brown sugar, tsp cinnamon, dash of allspice, can of mandarin oranges with syrup, dash of white wine optional. Lid and cook, while in small saucepan heat 2 cans (small) of mandarin oranges in syrup, with cinnamon, brown sugar.

    When done, and quite hot, serve over rice, top with the saucepan contents, should serve 2. Or one really hungry person. We served ours with a side of buttered broccoli.
    October 24, 2015 at 7:01 pm · Reply · Edit

    Many happy returns, Jane!
    October 24, 2015 at 7:09 pm · Reply · Edit

    Happy birthday Jane!
    October 24, 2015 at 8:01 pm · Reply · Edit

    Happy birthday, your Janeness!
    October 24, 2015 at 8:49 pm · Reply · Edit

    I wish you the happiest of birthdays, Jane!
    October 24, 2015 at 10:51 pm · Reply · Edit

    Best wishes.

    Perhaps we should have figured out I was an Aspie way much earlier, for instance because after I became an adult birthday celebrations seemed, well, nonsensical. Seemed to me that mothers ought to be the focus of any such celebration.
    October 24, 2015 at 11:25 pm · Reply · Edit

    Happy Birthday to You Jane!
    October 25, 2015 at 1:25 am · Reply · Edit

    Many happy orbits around the solar primary!
    October 25, 2015 at 4:41 am · Reply · Edit

    Congratulations on the conquest of another year!
    October 26, 2015 at 12:45 pm · Reply · Edit

    I hope your birthday was grand!

  • Hanneke

    Congatulations on getting the book done, and sent in before the end of October!
    I’m glad that your teamwork has worked so well.
    Now it’s time to take some time for yourselves, and then I’m really looking forward to Homecoming Games.

    • Hanneke

      Oy, sorry, I just noticed that the word-counter on CJ’s site which said “being read at the publishers” was the count for Visitor, the next book we’re going to see published; and not for Convergence, the one you two are working on now.
      Sorry for the confusion and premature congratulations, though I’m still happy the work is going well.

      • thank you! Looks like it will get sent tomorrow which is a whole lot better than a lot of writers do with their deadlines, so we’re pretty happy. And it’s tight. Usually “deadlines” assume a certain amount of time for edits that this shouldn’t need. (fingers crossed)

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