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i did some things

This week's accomplishments (so far!):

• 1/3 through final lettering of SAO Fairy Dance final volume (due Friday, but at this rate I could finish early!)

• finished transplanting all the perennials brought over from my old house while the temperatures are still in the teens (my desktop temperature thingy has been set to Celsius for Extra Learning Opportunity since spring, and starting on Wednesday every day has a predicted high of 1º *sigh*)

• also, put all yard tools and gardening supplies away in ramshackle shed, where they will be slightly sheltered from upcoming winter

• lost patience with convoluted, eventual plan for building bookcases (first, tear down paneling from walls. second, repair cracking plaster and glue marks from walls underneath paneling. third, repaint walls. fourth, build bookcases out of bricks and shelf boards I already have (with help from family/friends)) and moved one of the pre-made bookcases I didn't get rid of upstairs to office, organized Hana to Yume book collection on it
they all fit on one shelving unit! amazing.Collapse )
(realized I maybe never finished collecting the I Hate You♥ kanzenban??? (also just noticed Okini is not there, but I was rereading it recently so I know it's around...))

• in process of finding space for bookshelf, also lost patience with still having bed in same room as office, and dragged my mattress into the other room (the "office" has a big, hard-to-dismantle bed frame the previous owner left behind, and when my family helped me move, they just stuck my mattress in the frame, but it doesn't actually fit right (twin in a full(?) size frame) and I wanted a separate room for my office for tax-writeoff purposes (among other reasons), so I intended to move the mattress into a different room whenever someone could help me maneuver them. but the "someone else" kept not happening.)

something I have not yet accomplished today:
• eat a proper meal that is not a piece of fruit + sunflower butter (um, how am I still functioning right now? ...I ate a lot yesterday, and right before bed too, so that's probably why I haven't fainted into a heap on the floor.)

I'll miss you, September...

Hi friends! It's time for me to make a post for the month, since it's the last day I can still do so.

First, I bought a house! Let's see... my last post here was the weekend before I closed on it, in August; my offer was accepted at the end of June... it was a long process. But now (as of the Saturday before this last) I am moved into it! And it's a happy thing! Today I had several friends over for a Bible study I'm in because our usual host just had a baby a week ago. So I could offer them tea and show them around a bit and stuff! Such excitement!! And while everyone was over we discovered a leak in the ceiling directly under the upstairs toilet. Such excitement. But the seller provided a home warranty that hopefully will cover whatever needs to be done. I get to call about that tomorrow.

Other things I've done with the house so far:
1. tear out all the carpet with the help of several good friends
2. have a new (phone/internet) line run directly from the outside source because the wiring in the house is silly, because the previous owner probably did it all himself and was not particular about doing things well.
3. get the locks replaced and doorknobs put in because the previous owner had weird security issues and did not have doorknobs on his front/back door (just deadbolts and the like)
And stuff like tearing down some ugly curtains, scrubbing down the kitchen grime, disposing of the pile of junk and furniture and half-eaten food the previous owner had left behind because he don't care, he was flying back to Lebanon...

Overall, I'm happy about it :) The cats are getting settled in too!

Work's busy too. But it's all good! Last week was intense because I had to catch up with what I'd fallen behind on during moving (and packing and cleaning and tearing out carpet), and because everyone loves to scream all the time in Barakamon (so it's more work to letter). But I also discovered that the characters who yell and scream the most are my favourites, so that helps maybe. Or shows what a glutton for punishment I am. (i think it's just that the artist draws such comical freaking-out faces :D ) double_dear, have you watched any of Barakamon? You should, maybe :) Everyone should! For sure read the manga, because that's the best, but there are some great moments in the anime, so it's worth it! And a couple characters are voiced by actual small children, and they're just precious!!)

happy july!

Happy my birthday!!!!!

Adding to my celebratory feelings, this week I've been lettering my very first Hakusensha title!!! Yaaaay!! No, I didn't start working for Viz. I hope it may be the first of many! But even if it's not, I'm still happy because this book is the cuuuuuuuuuutest thing everrrrrrrrrrrrrr. It's really unbelievable how cute it is. I hope everyone buys it when it's published :D Even better (for me), it's fairly light on text and the text is all fairly basic formatting; the files have to be cleaned but the screentone's so simple that retouch is no problem and the characters tend to do their thinking/narrating in boxes and bubbles: such well-behaved children. So it's quick work. The perfect job!! (and a relief after spending the last week/weekend cleaning pages of another series that uses scans, and has a character who (of course) is always thinking her thoughts on top of her long flowy occasionally screentoned hair. ugh and then she has these freak-out moments with marble swirly screentone background and her outline is a DIFFERENT screentone overlapping it. ugh ugh. this happened like 5 or 6 times in the two books I cleaned... and I have two more to go. calm down, girl!)

Anyway. Happy happy Hakusensha manga.

ALSO I finally bought (am in the process of buying) a house!!! Whoooooaaa!! Closing is sometime next week probably (it was supposed to be yesterday but the guy handling my loan at the bank took off on vacation and never told me and ugh but okay whatever i can deal) and then I have to wait another 30 days after that before I can move in (the seller's an older man, moving either to Florida or Lebanon, depending who you ask. either way it's a big move and he's lived there for years, so I understand he needs extra time... but that doesn't stop me feeling impatient!)

Not to sound all complainy about happy awesome things happening. I am really excited for it :D To tear up carpet and paint and decorate (and move boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of books) and explore all the yard and garden space...! There are fruit trees growing there currently, and grapevines!!! And the yard gets good sun so I can have happy vegetables!!

AND okay, I have to brag about my cat Finny. A couple weeks ago he gave me great distress (I mentioned it on facebook, but if you didn't see it there, here's the story: "I spent some hours this afternoon in a crisis after Finny got outside and hid himself away in a twisty, narrow, rocky crevice between a brick garage and a falling-down cinderblock retaining wall, and refused to come out. Even for cat treats, catnip, a rattled food dish, calling, crying, dumping water down the crevice from above... I didn't know if he was stuck, or sick and waiting to die, or maybe ate a poisonous leaf, or got bit by a spider, or or or... and I kept imagining him wasting away to bones in a tiny space I could see but not reach and I'd never get to hold him again. Finally around 8:30 he came out while I was shaking his food dish nearby, after my parents were on their way with a flashlight and a can of tuna." The happy end.) So I don't know if this is to make up for that or just his whim (who can say, with cats?) but for the last several mornings I've been waking up to find him curled against me sooooo sweetly and contentedly, and while I'm working he frequently winds up laying on the bottom part of the desk by (sometimes on) my feet. Awwww!! It's hard to make myself get out of bed when he's so snuggly and adorable... And it's extra surprising because this is, y'know, summer, and it's not like I've got AC that he needs a heat source (though it hasn't been a particularly hot summer so far, it's still reasonably warm).

In other news... I'm sewing a quilt! Woohoo! A few ladies at church got together and started a class/group to meet throughout this month and offer help and advice and good company to others wishing to learn a new skill. I chose a simple design with nice large-sized pieces for my first quilt. It's really exciting, seeing it come together! And I could get addicted to shopping for fabrics and delighting in all the colours and patterns and how they look together...

Well, that about sums up my month! See you in August!

done with everything! (until tomorrow)

I'm taking this moment and this post to write that I have absolutely no work that I need to be doing right this second (oh wait, except a couple illustration sketches. gah! forget that, for the sake of this post). Glorious feeling!! I still have upcoming things to be done (soon) on my calendar, but I don't have materials for any of them at this moment, so I can't possibly work on them even if I want to, so there!!

By the way, the newest chapter of SoreMachi will be going up tonight (5pm PST) so go see, go see!! I liked the last two chapters but this one is a more typical example as far as showing just why I love the series and the characters so much. So I hope any of you who read it will enjoy it!

(also after lettering the chapter yesterday, I decided this morning to do an experiment for breakfast with oatmeal and an apple. It was as delicious and gooey as I hoped! Thanks, Anastasia!)

one-handed typing post (part-way)

Oh no! What shall I do? My right hand has been rendered unusable because a fuzzy sweet cat has fallen asleep on it! (I am absolutely bragging, yes.)

Josie's turned into a complete lap-cat within the last week or so, despite all my expectations and to my great pleasure. So I must give thanks for the cold weather that most likely brought about the change. It's snowed!! And that snow is still on the ground! I am surrounding myself with blankets and knitting and cats and enjoying the view from a cozy distance.

I just freed my other hand, which woke her and set off some purrs. *love*

I haven't written about anything in a while, but I can't think of anything significant that needs telling. Work is at a normal level of busyness. The last project I finished had me in tears a couple times (the tears were for good reasons, not bad). Look forward to the omnibus release, out next March! :D Now I'm working on WataMote and alternately feeling bad for Tomoko's loneliness and getting mad at her for her utter lack of consideration for anyone other than herself, with the occasional freak-out about how to fit all the background sign text into a skinny note margin.

I'm also in the middle of way too many knitting projects, because I keep thinking of Things and haven't the self-control to resist starting them. Currently:
-a dishcloth (my first one!! how thrilling. I'm doing a basket-weave design.)
-a baby blanket (our knitting group at church is making things for a local pregnancy resource center.)
-a stuffed elephant (I got the head done but needed a contrast colour to continue. now I have that, I can't find the needles I need to continue.)
-socks for SIL (I started one months ago but not on the right needles, so I pulled it out. this is more of an "I need to start those soon" project.)
-the beekeeper's quilt (still. I've got 350+ puffs, and 161 are bound together! It covers my lap now!)
-a lacy scarf (started this summer and I probably won't pick it up again for a little while now because it's not a very wintery project.)
I've been teaching my mum to knit too, and she's doing quite well! She's making an adorable baby hat with a bit of a lace design for her first project!! :D

Oh. Last thing. This Saturday is my 10 year high school reunion. Yeek!! I really don't know what to expect, but I'm going because why not (also because all summer I hadn't heard anything about a reunion and was mildly miffed that Whoever was in charge of these things hadn't planned one, so now that they had it seemed hypocritical to skip). I think like... two... of my friends from that time (who I've since mostly failed to keep in contact with, other than reading their occasional facebook posts) will be there. I have to get ready to tell people I'm a Professional Comic Book Letterer (I don't mention Japanese unless I need to explain further, because otherwise people jump right to "do you translate too?") and Sometimes Children's Book Illustrator. I'll probably bring along my knitting. (It's not like I'm going to dance or drink "adult beverages." Peh.)

garden thrills

I have accomplished just SO many things today! Not all of them should be counted as accomplishments, probably (like painting my toenails "iridescent beetle" shade (I came up with that myself—you layer iridescent turquoise-y polish over black, and it is beautiful), or sampling new(!!) non-dairy frozen yogurt flavours at the local froyo-fad place, or buying a ton of cute clothes at my favourite second-hand shop) but they contribute to my happy state of mind, so they feel like accomplishments in some sense. More legitimate accomplishments include getting some more work done (25 pages left to finish SFX-ing for this volume!) and acquiring, then planting, a bunch of ferns. They were free!!

I was having breakfast at some friends' house, and then we were out in the yard and I was just looking at their lovely great ferns thinking it'd be neat to have some like them in my yard, and I looked over and they had a big yard-waste bag full of them!! They'd just dug up a bunch last night! So these sweet friends let me have some of the ones that still had roots intact, and even dropped them off at my house since I couldn't find a good way to transport them on my bike (they're really big ferns). Since it was a warm day, I wasted no time in planting them!!

Some of the spots where I wanted to plant them were pretty annoying. Like, along one side of my house is this area that only gets sun in the morning so I thought perfect! It's woodsy and cool, just what ferns like. But the ground is like... a little dirt mixed with almost solid gravel, and tons of roots from like everything. Big roots, little roots but tons of them and tough. And then once you get past that somehow, there's this plastic. And then maybe there's some dirt underneath that all, but it's hard to tell because the gravelrootsplastic-dirt keeps falling into the hole you just dug. Ugh. No wonder nothing but weeds grows back there. I had the genius idea of using my plastic strainer compost basket to sift the gravel out and leave just dirt, so I did that for a while. I think it helped.

I planted another fern in a gap in the retaining wall that retains the yard above ours (our yard is very interesting. one of the ways it's interesting is that there is a yard that is like 6 feet higher than our yard right next door). Some of the chunks of concrete that make up the wall had fallen down because a giant tree stump was growing out of it (well, a giant tree was growing there, but it's a stump now), so I repaired it a little and added some dirt and stuck the fern clump in the hole. I made a whole lot of ants mad doing that (because I picked up some of the fallen concrete chunks to fill in the gap, and those had their tunnels and precious baby ant-grubs underneath). I wasn't trying to be cruel, but I needed that concrete! Hopefully they enjoyed the opportunity to reorganize and do some home improvement of their own.

NOW! I need to go dig up some feverfew for my grandma before it is too dark. And then I should make something for the last-day-of-Sunday-School party tomorrow, and something else for the Third Sunday family gathering also tomorrow. All kinds of accomplishments!!

Oh yeah, this isn't my own accomplishment (well, it was last year when I did my part) but, so, last year I dug up a plant that looked like a clematis (a perennial vine/flower, not particularly a take-over-the-earth type) that was growing in the middle of my lawn somehow. And I planted it. And now it's growing and sending out happy little vining twining tendrils up the fence! Aww, hooray little plant!! It's so exciting. I wonder if it will have purple flowers like the one farther down the alley does (I'm guessing a seed from that one planted itself in our lawn) or if it cross pollinated with something else. Oh, the anticipation!! I love plants.

Okay, feverfew now. Hurry lys!!

weekend excursion

My mum and I went to a pottery sale this weekend!! It was great fun. I went home with a cute pair of matching bowls, and these neat little Celtic-knot-design earrings. My mum got two more matching bowls, and a pretty ikebana vase from a potter who had all these creative, interesting designs (my favourite was a big rectangle, like a shallow box without a top, and a leaf spread out in one corner, and the leaf had a hole in it with the frog (needle-pointed thing you stick stems into) underneath. So all together it looked like a mini rectangle pond with the arrangement coming out of the leaf in the corner). There were some fiber/yarn folks there too, and I got this really cool hand-dyed cotton yarn. It's variegated, but like all speckled-y so that when you knit it up it doesn't go in bands of colour but is all random and pretty. It had an email address on the tag, and I got the impression that the artist was local, so I mustered up some courage courage and sent them an email inquiry... only to have the email returned as undeliverable. It was an aol.com address, which made me a little suspicious to begin with (who still uses aol??). I'll have to do my own investigation of the local yarn shops to see if I can find any more traces of the mysterious yarn dyer.

We also went to the art museum, where they had a one-weekend exhibit of cut-flower arrangements based on pieces of art there. That was super cool too!! Here are some pictures of the exhibit.Collapse )

I can say now that I am finally, FINALLY completely through with all of my scary-urgent-rush projects. I turned in the Heroes A2Z cover (after getting the text for the back cover from the authors on Sunday) this morning. My next deadline isn't until May!!! (I know there'll be more things that come along before then, but still!!! This feels great.)
I was out tonight for a dinner with folks from church ("Saltshaker Dinner," which we do something like yearly? people sign up and then are randomly divided into groups and meet at people's homes and it's fun since you get to spend time with folks you might not normally talk to). When I returned home and opened the door, Josie quickly met me there. I hadn't turned on the light yet, but I could see her dark form in front of me... and something else? It turned out she had brought her favourite toy (the knitted hexapuff I sacrificed for her amusement) to me so we could play fetch. Ohhh, cutest kitten!!!!! So I had to brag :)

Our hosts for the night had a huge dog. I guess it's a labradoodle? I will always prefer cats, but Other People's dogs are alright, and of those I like big dogs best. And he was really gorgeous. And he wasn't stinky or drool-y. All good things. The family has a cat too, which also added to the dog's acceptability. (I spent a little while petting the cat, but one of the other guests was allergic to cats, and this particular cat was inclined to shed, so I thought it wise to refrain after a bit.)

Last thing. I've been trying out music through NoiseTrade for a while now (I guess it's close to a year, since I first discovered it when searching for a song someone at church sang around Lent last year...) and I've found some lovely artists that way. This week I got an email linking to The Gray Havens (I'd like to spell that "Grey"... but anyway). And I love, love, love!!! them. Like, oh my goodness so much. Wow. When I previewed a couple songs (the "preview" lets you listen to the whole song) I wasn't paying much attention, but I downloaded the album anyway and then I listened to the lyrics more closely, and I was hooked. Vivid imagery, a wonderful message, and imagination-stirring... and on top of all that, there's some Tolkien and CS Lewis influence in there. So my point is, you should listen!

Dramatic Turnaround!!!!!

So that book cover illustration I've been agonizing about! I had a very sudden and unexpected inspiration yesterday when I sat down with my original sketch, looked at it with some disdain, and turned over to another page. Bam!! I could do that... and put that there... and ooh, how about... And now I've got a start on a cover that I'm really excited for!!! Like, more excited than I've been for any of the last few book covers. Part of the excitement is that it's a rather unconventional(?) idea and somewhat different from all the previous 13 books in the series. Buuuuut the way it's different fits this story's theme! And it looks cool! And it makes me happy! So I'm waiting a little anxiously to hear what the authors think of it. On the one hand, they're usually fine leaving me to my flights of fancy. On the other hand, it is different...

Aside from the cover, I'm hitting that point where I finished all the big projects and just don't wanna do anything else ever again (for a couple days). But there are those pesky odds and ends still waiting for me. So I really should do them. I'd rather be reading a book or eating food, but that's not responsible. Sighhhhhh... I guess I'll finish reading the manga I'm in the middle of (I started rereading Dengeki Daisy the other day. So addictive. Too bad the next volume isn't out till May; bad timing, lys.) and then get back to my to-do list.
In order of how much I have to say on the subject:

1. I got my little Christmas tree plugged in! It was already strung with lights and decorated since a few days ago, but I had no extension cord. I asked my brother today, and he had one! and wasn't using it! So now my tree is lit. Except the lights on the top and some of one side don't work (probably a loose bulb somewhere; I remember one strand being touchy last year) so it's not perfect. Good enough.

2. I have (some) storm windows in, and baseboards in the kitchen!! And a new battery in the downstairs smoke alarm! It only took two years (since I moved in) for those things to happen—the result of a forgetful, if sweet, landlady and an unmotivated tenant (me, I mean). But my landlady stopped by today, and I remembered to mention those things, and she talked to her son-in-law (Finny's former owner; they moved back to MI at some point) and he and his friend stopped over this very day! and put a baseboard in under the cupboards (and another board between my dishwasherawesome dish drying rack and the wall), where there had been a gaping gap ever since I moved in, which mice could sneak in and out through, and which Jo batted at least one toy mouse under, and which also almost ate one of my paring knives until the guys who came by today found it for me. I feel like I'm living in a real fancy place now. And the windows, there were some I thought were stuck closed but it turned out they just had an old-fashioned locking pin that you had to pull out while pushing up on the window. So my sweet landlady did that for me too, and now I can look forward to having open windows next summer! There are still a couple windows with no storm windows though. But progress!
2.5: I got some more house-tidying done in anticipation of landlady stopping by. A good thing, since I have friends coming over tomorrow. Still need to do more though.

3. Most of the day was spent on work... and it was good to be reminded that spending the entire day on work is not so bad when I love and adore the project I'm working on. And now it's almost done too, except for a more pages I need to clean and some special text formatting stuff. Chat log screenshots! (can you guess the series? :D if you need a hint, see my tags.) With the text at all these crazy perspectives, which means I'll probably need to paste it into Photoshop. But that also means the text is harder for the editor to edit, and there are a couple consistency-related issues about these particular lines, so I want to talk it over with her tomorrow. I've been using the new secret art text-masking technique in InDesign for, like, everything I'm working on, all the time, ever since learning it back whenever that was *looks* a month ago. It's immensely satisfying.

Uh oh. I thought I had the most to say on this subject, but it looks like baseboards and windows are winning. Whatever. A kitten just curled up in my lap and broke out into loud purrs. I have no complaints.

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