just keeping my head above water

Soooo. Hi. I’ve been a little absent. Not just here, but in my whole life!  A few weeks ago I was asked to take on an extra book project for work, on top of the three different books I was already working on. At first I said no. I really didn’t have time. So they sweetened the pot a bit and I just couldn’t refuse. It’s a huge rush job and well, that money will more than pay for our vacation AND BlogHer in August. So, yeah.

Here’s the thing, when you freelance it’s really hard to say no to work – you never know when the next project will come along (maybe months) and if they give this contract to someone else, well that someone else might just get asked first next time. Paranoid much? Yep. But sometimes I take on more than I can reasonably do. Oops.

Anyway, the lure of extra cash hooked me and now I’m working 12 hour days, including weekends, to keep up with it all. I don’t have a moment to spare for anything. Not groceries, not sleep, not cleaning, (oh, darn!) not even Words with Friends (gasp, I know!) I didn’t even go to that one day conference last week after all. I didn’t cancel the babysitter though, I basically paid her to play Monopoly with my kid while I put in headphones and pretended they weren’t there.

It’s going to be like this until the day we leave for vacation, it will be like this again starting the day we get back, and it will last until sometime near the end of May when all four projects come to a close. So if you don’t hear from me until then, you know why!

Oh, and this boy? He turned NINE almost 2 weeks ago and I didn’t even have time to tell you. Sheesh.

 

I can’t get away with another cat picture post can I?

I can probably answer that one for myself. No. So you’re getting a mommyblogger brain dump instead.

I don’t have writer’s block. I just don’t have any time. Right now I’m in a different stage of production on six different books. Four of them in super duper tight deadline mode. Arghhhhhh! I feel like I have a white rabbit running around the inside of my brain muttering I’m late, I’m late, I’m late….and I really hate being late!

Then there’s baseball. Why oh why did I talk Josh into playing baseball this year?? Because I knew he would love it dang it, and he does. And I would too if only I had time to go to all of it. Two games a week, one a week night and one always on Saturday, plus Sunday afternoon practices. My weekends are wicked fun.

Did I mention before that Josh won’t let me talk to him during games? Apparently I embarrass him or something…just like I used to do to my mother when I played softball. That? Would be karma, biting me very, very hard.

Sometimes coach asks me to be dugout mom, that is, keeping the kids from killing each other when they are waiting for their turn to bat. Back when Josh played t-ball that really was like herding very funny cats. Alas, they are cute little kitties kiddies no more. With first and second graders, it’s more like herding howler monkeys, they’re fast, loud, and are always trying to climb the fence.

Except they really are kinda cute. (Even though they all hate that word!) There’s just something about a seven year old wearing a batting glove:

Anyway. This is my life right now. Work interspersed with baseball. And very little sleep.

on contracts, composites, and covers

I rarely talk about work here, mostly because of the I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you confidentiality clause in my contracts. If I can’t actually talk about it, it’s hard to find much to say, you know? I can’t ever reveal much of anything I’m doing until the books are published, and by then they aren’t on my on radar anymore!

The thing is, if I never say anything about work, no one realizes that, well, yeah, I work. A lot! But that’s a whole post of it’s own…

Just to clarify, for those of you new here, I’m a freelance photo editor, working on children’s books for a large publisher. Mostly I work on science books, (animals and such,) and sometimes history books. In a nutshell, they give me a raw manuscript, and I find the photos that fit it best, and then do a bunch of paperwork to buy the rights to use it.

I love my job. It fits me and my life better than I ever could have hoped to find. It took me a long time and lots of grunt work in the industry to get here. But I worry. Will the work dry up? Will more contracts come easily or am I going to have to market myself? That kind of stuff. Every six months or so I wonder if pretty soon I’m going to have to look for a real job.

Well, a few weeks ago I got one contract offer that is more than I made on all of my combined contracts last year. On top of the other smaller contracts I already have going right now. This means I have twice as much work as I did last year, with twice as much time and effort that I’ll have to put into it! Scary! Where am I going to find the time??

This is a good thing though. This means I don’t have to worry again until about March of 2011. This means I don’t have to look for a real job, I have one. Okay, well, I had a real job all along. It’s just hard to believe it when I can do it in my pajamas living room, but whatever.

So, in the new contract is this one book that is making me want to throw my monitor through a window frustrating me right now. I’ve been trying to find the perfect cover image for it. The cover is what sells the book, and it has to be exactly right. This one photo, this elusive image that my editors are begging for, doesn’t seem to exist. ~sigh~

A couple of times now I’ve thought I’ve found it, only to discover it’s a composite image. Ugh! No! That means the photographer took two (or more) images and photoshopped them to look like one. Yuck, with an f. (Sorry Mom.)

Now this is a book publisher that prides itself on excellent images. We don’t do composites unless we absolutely have to. And if we have to we can do it ourselves! Yes, I am a photography snob. Heh.

(This post is starting to feel rambling and pointless. Hey, that’s like, my old groove back!)

Long story short, if you’re wondering what I’m doing at any given time, there’s a good bet I’m trying to find the holy grail of photos for whatever book (or four) I happen to be working on. Looking at pictures all day? Yeah, I know, it’s not a bad gig.

this should have just been a bullet post

I have spent all my time this week doing just a couple of things – healing, sleeping, and trying to catch up on work. Healing is going well, the other two? Meh.

I’m a stomach sleeper. Always have been. I hate, hate, hate sleeping on my back. Needless to say I can’t sleep on mah belly right now. Or even my side. So I don’t sleep much at all really. Kinda stinks since sleep is what I need the most right now.

Work is tough because I just feel so overwhelmed by how much I need to get done, and yet my brain, she cannot focus. Big bad cycle that is.

Thank god for good friends who have taken my boy for playdates a few days this week. Especially Kristen who had him from 8am to 5pm yesterday. I really needed that. Like desperately.

Speaking of desperation. Damon leaves for another business trip tomorrow. Early Saturday am to late Thursday pm. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage.

I can’t even drive yet but I’m hoping to feel up to it in the next couple of days. I’m off all the pain killers so I’m allowed, yet my stomach muscles just don’t feel right and I don’t know what my reaction time would be if I had to slam on the brakes or something.

I still have nothing (no really) to wear to BlogHer and shopping this weekend is out of the question. Next weekend my home girl Nicole is going to drive me around and carry my bags so I can at least get something cute to wear. That hopefully fits. (Good lord, Tim Gunn is going to be at BlogHer Saturday so I need one good outfit!)

My body is so strange right now. I’ve lost an additional 7 lbs due to my all-liquid-all-the-time diet in the hospital. (Not including the 15 lbs of IV fluid gain/loss too.) However, my stomach feels very swollen and I can’t yet button the size I was in before I went into the hospital. That really stinks. I’m hoping the swelling goes down before I need to try on clothes.

The good news is that extra 7 lbs – if it stays off – brings me to a grand total of 34 pounds lost. (Okay so yesterday I subtracted in my head and it was 39. I’m going with 34 but it might really be 39 – I’m losing track of where I started.)

Thirty freaking four pounds. I’ve never been this committed, not ever. Now I just have to get past this little gallbladder hurdle and get back on track. Well, in about five more weeks that is. I do worry that as I feel better my appetite will come back I will put some pounds back on while I can’t exercise. Worry, worry.

Sorry this post was so random! I just looked back and it’s just a jumble, but I’m going to leave it that way, because that’s just where my head is at this moment. I shoulda just done bullets.

xoxo

friday is always a good day for bullets

Apparently I’m a slacker, a blog slacker that is. The rest of my life is going at break neck pace. This calls for bullets!

checking in

Hey peeps! Here’s what I’m doing today:

Blog, work, work, wii fit, work, work, work, groceries, work, work, work, tweet, work, work, work, work, facebook, work, work, work, hug my neglected kid, work, work, work, work, ignore dishes in the sink, work, work, work, work, work, work, do dishes right before hubby gets home, work, work, work, bed.

I did find a few minutes recently to write a new post for GNM Parents – I hope you’ll go check it out!

What are you doing this fine sunny Monday?

busy days

I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to blog! The mummies are gonna kill me. No I’m not watching horror movies or having terrible nightmares. It’s a new book and it’s kicking my a$$. Mummy pictures are not pretty, or apparently very well photographed.

The other thing keeping me busy? Well let’s just say that Wii tennis is kicking my a$$ too. Ouch.

I’ll be back soon!

my fear, in focus

There aren’t many things in this world I’m actually afraid of. Spiders don’t bother me, small spaces are cozy, storms are exciting, the dark just puts me to sleep, and flying is fun. Public speaking is, well, okay, I don’t really like public speaking. I don’t fear mice, or dogs, or insects, frogs, elevators, heights, being alone or being in a crowd. You get the idea. The things that scare many people don’t scare me. Except one thing.

Black snake in Virginia, LOC

Image credit: Library of Congress

When I was a little kid I would lay in bed with my arms tucked in as tight as could be. I was afraid that if my hand hung over the bed that snakes would get me. Seriously. I was convinced there were snakes living under the bed, in the toilet, the the trees, in the basement, in the garage, under the shed, etc. I lived in Maine people. There are barely any snakes in Maine, and certainly no poisonous ones.

Even as a grown-up I still hate snakes. I don’t have nightmares anymore but there is no way on earth I would ever willingly touch one, or even be in a room with one. When we lived in Virgina there was a nasty big black snake that lived under our front steps. I found out when I found a freshly shed skin on the walk one morning. I freaked. The neighbor said that there was one under every porch on the block and to leave it alone – it was good because it ate mice. I said that’s why I have a cat. I desperately wanted to move. And we did just a few months later. Heh, if you ask my husband we moved for a job, if you ask me, we moved to get away from the snake.

Anyway. All this just to say, guess what I’m working on right now? Yeah. A book about snakes. You know what my job is by now right? I’m a photo editor. I get the photos for the book. Yeah. Lots and lots of pictures of snakes. Images of snakes hissing, and slithering, and birthing, showing fangs, and hatching, and eating, and squeezing and…oh my god. Images that are now burned into my brain. Let me tell you something right now, me looking for pictures of ‘pythons constricting large animals’ right before bed, is not a good idea.

PS. I need a slap on the hand for not keep you all up to date on the goings on at ChapterBytes. We have two new chapters up, Chapter 17 written by Karen, and Chapter 18 by B. This story is really moving along and I’m so impressed with the writers! Would you like to write a chapter but you’re being shy about it? Send me an email, let’s talk! catnip35 at gmail dot com.

friday blah

It’s Friday, blah blah blah. I’m trying to pull another post out of my butt thin air, blah blah blah.

Blah.

Why the blahs? Cause every single day I do the same things:

Get up,

take a shower,

trip over the cat,

make coffee,

pack snacks for the boy,

put the boy on the bus,

avoid cleaning,

work frantically,

drop everything to pick the boy up,

feed him lunch,

forget to make my lunch,

work frantically,

realize I never drank my coffee,

realize am dehydrated,

work frantically,

avoid cleaning,

blog,

throw snacks at boy,

twitter,

realize it’s time to defrost something,

anything,

work frantically,

oops – can’t cook until I clean kitchen,

trip over the cat,

cook dinner,

twitter,

realize I never finished my coffee,

am dehydrated again,

throw snacks at the boy,

read to boy,

boy goes to bed,

twitter,

look at stats,

want a drink,

only have water,

avoid cleaning,

watch tv,

read blogs,

try not to snack,

twitter,

realize twitter only gets good after my bedtime,

go to bed too late,

pee three times before I can sleep since I drank all that water at the end of the day.

Blah.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The regular variations are the occasional load of laundry, cleaning up cat puke/poop, and forking over wads of cash at the dang grocery store/target/wal-mart.

Seriously, yesterday at 4:30pm I went to defrost turkey sausage to make a quick spaghetti sauce with, and in the microwave I found the water I had boiled for the stupid cup o’ ramen I was going to have for lunch because I didn’t have time for anything else. Apparently I didn’t have time for that either.

Blah.

I need a life. I need a cure for my twitter addiction. And I’m not nearly as funny as the voices in my head think I am.

who cares about a title, it’s just bullets today

Have a great weekend, mwah!

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