Checking in

Poor little blog. So neglected.

I keep thinking I’ll be back into a regular routine ANY DAY NOW, but things crop up. The Big Move out of storage ran out of time and money to get everything. There are boxes piled as high as my head in most of the house. Aiden is being a psychopath, regressing both with regards to potty training and his behavior. And I’m sick.

And yet when I’m looking around at this marvelous neighborhood we’ve found, when I’m driving down the winding Pennsylvania roads shrouded in lush green, when I think of the possibilities and the plans for this house, my heart is full to bursting with joy. It’s good, it really is – but I have too much on my plate right now, and this blog is suffering. I’ll be back…. soon. I hope.

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Reboot complete. All processes running nominally.

As of this morning, the kid is back in school full-time, allowing me the space, time, and physical energy to have a care for things beyond keeping us fed, rested, and marginally cordial to one another. I’ve not done any art whatsoever in two months – not since we got the news that we had to whirlwind-quick pack up our life and transfer it from St. Louis to Pittsburgh – and my soul is feeling the ache.

So today I rounded up the source images I’ll be using for my next piece (the one I talk about here and here) and am shifting back into active-artist mode, with no small amount of gladness and relief. (Though I do have to say, just arranging the source images and knowing what I plan, this one will be…. intense. I will have to be very careful when and how I work on this.)

We also now have a wonderful new house, now named The Abbey – a 130-year-old 6-bedroom Victorian on Observatory Hill, half a block from 300 acres of park and 5 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. We have great plans for the place, and a fair bit of my time will be spent not just unpacking but making this into the home we’ve dreamed of for years.

I have an appointment with a local pain management doctor next month. I hate this part – there’s so much background to cover, gaps to leap, before even determining if this is a decent doctor. The biggest worry is that the medication I depend on most to enable me to have a life outside of bed is hydrocodone, which thanks to addiction scaremongering most doctors are terrified to prescribe at all for chronic pain. You got something better? I’d love to try it. But I probably already have, and have found it useless to me.

The upside, I suppose, is that at this point I do know what I need. I just need to resist Good Patient Syndrome for long enough to find it again, even if it gets me labeled a bitch, an addict, or a hypochondriac.

I’ll leave you with a brief link roundup.

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Here we are.

So. Here we are. In Pittsburgh.

It’s very surreal to be here, really. It’s been nearly 10 years since I left. As I’ve been saying frequently, I couldn’t wait to escape then; but after a decade living in Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Saint Louis, I can say from experience rather than youthful provincialism that it really is a very nice city.

The city of Pittsburgh as seen from Mount Washington, an incline car in the foreground.

The city of Pittsburgh as seen from Mount Washington,
an incline car in the foreground.

Most places, you go back 10 years later and everything’s different. New developments, new stores, old beloved landmarks torn down. Pittsburgh, though, seems mostly unchanged. But not in the way of resisting change because it’s scary, but in the sense of “why fix what ain’t broke?” There are some changes, but mostly old run-down neighborhoods that seem a little brighter and cleaner. Even new stores that have moved in fit in rather than forcing their image on the place. The new Whole Foods in Friendship (a mile from where I lived when I was in college) feels like it’s always been there. The Science Center still has sinfully delicious onion rings, the best model trains ever, and their kids floor has been redone to be beyond amazing.

(My alma mater, Carnegie Mellon, does have this new sculpture thingy in front that’s mildly horrid. I can only hope it’s temporary.)

I imagine the suburbs have changed more, and if I go out to Greensburg to check out my childhood landmarks there may be more to come to grips with. But as it is, it’s comfortable. Startlingly so.

Anyway, for the moment we’re in this little 1-bedroom apartment in Brighton Heights, a forgotten little neighborhood on the non-scary part of the North Shore. It’s the first floor of a house with the very nice (Steelers fan!) landlady upstairs and good friends next door, including a 5-yr-old who’s getting along famously with Aiden. Over the weekend we saw a house not far from here that we are hoping will become our forever home – a six-bedroom Victorian at the entrance to a huge park. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but perfectly livable in the meantime, and the landlady is a sweetheart.

There’s a part of me that is mildly terrified about the house, because it is huge, three floors plus a basement. That’s a lot to take care of with my health issues. But the stairs are wide and stable; I could manage those even on a bad day, and I’ve had so few of those lately. It doesn’t have a huge amount of gardening space, but with 300 acres of park half a block away, who cares?! I feel at this juncture like I need to have faith in the future. I feel like I can have faith in the future, here. And that house has room for everything we need or want – studio, office, game room, temple space galore.

I’d forgotten how much life and personality houses have here. They breathe at night. The one we want to get feels lonely – it’s been sitting vacant for a year, waiting for the right people.

I do miss Saint Louis, especially our dear friends there. It was far harder to leave there than it’s been to leave anywhere else I’ve lived. But it seems it was the right thing. (I should mention that our new house will have plenty of room for out-of-town guests ;)

We’re in Pittsburgh.

It’s marvelous.

We’re home.

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Here we go again.

We arrived in St Louis on my husband’s birthday, a year ago tomorrow.

A few months ago he was laid off from the job we moved here for.

Today he got the offer for a new job. A good one, with a company that appears to be a bit more stable than the last.

It’s in Pittsburgh.

This is good and bad. We love St. Louis, against all expectations. We’ve made some dear friends-cum-family here. Aiden’s in a fantastic school. I have vital and useful work in the local OTO. We’d really hoped to be done moving for a while – but there were just no jobs in Andrei’s field here.

Pittsburgh, on the other hand – we both grew up there. (Which is in itself makes moving back both good and bad!) We have dear friends there. My dad, who I haven’t seen in years, lives an hour or so from there, and it’s closer to the rest of my family on the East Coast. There are some folk trying to get OTO started again there, so that’s not going away. When I left 10 years ago, I couldn’t wait to get out of my hometown; but now I can say with experience rather than provincialism that it really is a pretty nice city.

Plus there are slightly fewer scary right-wing fundies there than here. I’d looked forward to becoming more involved in local politics here, but it’s honestly pretty scary around here. And churches. Churches everywhere, like they’re staring at you. Gack. Anyway.

So yeah. Pittsburgh. We’re flying out the week of the 12th for house-hunting and such, then A. will telecommute for 3 weeks while we get stuff packed up, and then he starts work proper on May 10th. Going to be a crazy month or so. Obviously new art and other content here will be on the, um, sporadic side.

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Weeeeeeeee’re back!

The Seattle-to-Saint-Louis move has been accomplished, and the Fire Sea Studios server is back up.

On the down side, I’m sick as a dog, the house is in chaos, and the whole household is running on the ragged edge of exhaustion. So art is kind of not at the forefront of my mind at the moment. But we’re here, we’re alive, and at the very least I know where my art supplies are, even if I don’t have the energy to use them!

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Allllmost there….

The Great Moving Project is nearing its end! Tomorrow comes the big-ass truck, and Sunday afternoon we head out.

Among other things, this means that this blog will be down from sometime Saturday (3/28) until Friday or Saturday (4/3 or 4/4). I’m sure I’ll still be Twittering and maybe even LiveJournaling on the drive, but is hosted out of our house, and the server box will be, well, in a box!

I’m hoping to return to regular blogging starting Monday 4/6, and it might even be topical! See you all then.

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Still here! Still packing….

And we have a house in St. Louis! Ok, actually Ellisville, but nobody outside of Ellisville has heard of Ellisville, so St. Louis is close enough.

The house is beautiful. Four bedrooms, two fireplaces, gorgeous kitchen, a space to put a hot tub should we be crazy enough to get one, a well-lit basement for me to take over with art projects, a small but fully fenced back yard, and it’s TWO DOORS from a huge wooded park! The neighborhood has no sidewalks – because it doesn’t need them. There were backyard swingsets and kids playing everywhere. Sure, it’s suburbia – but it’s *pretty*, and a neighborhood I’d be really happy for Aiden to grow up in.

Oh, and while we’re renting now, the owner is favorable to selling to us in a year or so once we’re ready to buy.

Only issue is a minor angel infestation in Aiden’s room (cherub wallpaper border, obviously meant for an infant girl) that will have to be dealt with. I wonder if they make Wall-E or Doctor Who borders….

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Hola, campers!

Just to prove that I’ve not been completely move-obsessed, I have a new pen&ink to show you. She’s, I suppose, about 98% done – you’ll notice some unfinished-ness on the right side where I haven’t yet figured out how I want to frame the image.

This was modeled off of a photograph of a friend of mine, who can identify herself (and link to the photograph) if she likes :)


Serenity, by Heather Keith Freeman. A serene face framed in windswept hair.


Tomorrow it’s off to Saint Louis for house-hunting! Most of my online presence is concentrated in Twitter-length bursts right now, so I’ll be a bit scarce in blogland for a few weeks yet!


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