What’s been keeping me so busy; or: what I’ve been doing this weekend (with photos!)

I just realized that I never wrote a post yesterday, which just goes to show you how busy I’ve been this weekend. So for those who are wondering what has been keeping me so buys; or for those just looking for some new content, here following (with pictures!) some of the things keeping busy since Friday evening.

1. Getting haircuts. It doesn’t sound like much, but I took the Little Man first thing Saturday morning to get a haircut–which he desperately needed. He was beginning to resemble Art Garfunkel back in the day when he had a substantial head of hair. And since we were at the barber shop, I figured it was as good a time as any to get myself a haircut as well.

2. Boo at the Zoo. We took the Little Man and Little Miss to “Boo at the Zoo” which is an annual Halloween event held at the National Zoo. Both kids dressed up in costumes. The Little Man dressed up as Superman. The Little Lady was, naturally, a Lady Bug. The event opens at 5:30 and we made it an adventure for the Little Man by taking the Metro there. (He loves trains.) Of couse, doing so meant two strollers on the Metro, using elevators instead of escalators, and all of that lengthened the trip. Kelly packed sandwiches for us and despite the long train ride, it was a success. Throughout the zoo are stations where the kids can collect treats. I was certain the Little Man would want to stop at every one, but he just kept asking, “See more animals?” We saw zebras and elephants and gorillas and orangutans and cows and other animals (many, of course, had gone to sleep for the night). We also managed to collect a fair amount of treats. It was a lot of fun.

3. Sprucing up the front yard. Recall back in early September, we had the bushes in front of our house removed. Our plan had been do improve the landscaping there. This morning, while Kelly took the kids out, I went over to Home Depot and got the supplies I needed (including 9 bags of mulch) and then got my hands dirty “landscaping” the front yard. I started wearing gloves, but then decided I wanted to feel the soil on my hands and did most of the work gloveless. What started out like this:

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Eventually turned into this:

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The mulch itself is a reddish hue and I really like the way it turned out. Here is a better view from a closer angle:

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I added the fence to make it look nice and I think it worked pretty well. Kelly seems happy with it and when I drove back up the street later in the day, I still thought it looked good. We plan to put some plants in, but we’re not sure what we want to plant yet. Eventually, we’ll get over to a nearby nursery and look around. In any case, all this work probably consumed 3 hours (during which time I listened to the American Top 40 countdown for this week in 1975 on Sirius XM 70s on 7).

4. Replacing our shredder. I killed our shredder a month or so ago. And a shredder is a critical tool to have if you live a paperless lifestyle. So today, I finally got around to replacing it. That pile of paper unbalancing my desk can now be dealt with. What a relief!

5. Writing guest posts for blogs. I have had a spate of requests lately to do guest posts for various blogs. There were a bunch that finally appeared last week. And in the next week or two, they’ll be two or three more. I’ll point them out to you one they are online, never fear.

6. Rewatching The Lord of the Rings. I’ll admit that I did this, despite not really having time for it. I really enjoy those movies, however, and I don’t get to see them very often. Over the last several days (mostly at night when the Little Man is going to bed) I have managed to watch the extended version of all three films. That time could have probably been much better spent reading, or even writing some fiction. But we all have our guilty pleasures with which we distract ourselves and this was my distraction this weekend.

7. Reading stories for critique. My small writers group has a critique session coming up on Tuesday (hosted at my house this time) and I have been reading stories in preparation for that. I have a story up for critique as well, a very short one. We’ll see how that goes.

8. Golden Age reading. I normally spread my reading of Astounding over 2 weeks, which amounts to roughly 11 pages each day. However, we head up to New England for a wedding later this week and I wanted to be done with the reading and have the post written and scheduled to go before we leave for our trip, so that I don’t have to stress about it going out on time while I am away. To that end, I’ve been doing a good job (until yesterday) staying ahead of the curve. I’m spending the late part of the afternoon today catching up, making up what I missed yesterday and then doing today’s portion as well. The post should be written and scheduled by Wednesday evening. Of course, it won’t appear on the blog until Sunday evening, one week from today.

9. Medication. Taking the various medicines for the little bug I’ve got hasn’t really consumed much time, but the effect of the medication has. The antivirals make me drowsy, which I combat with energy drinks to keep going. The pain medication makes me feel a little loopy–about what you’d imagine rapidly drinking a 6-pack of beer would do to someone of my size and weight. That makes it a little more challenging to do things like read and write (and thus explains part of the reason for watching movies). On the other hand, the medicine seems to be working. Much of the pain that lingered throughout the day is gone and is only bad in the mornings and evenings. I am feeling better.

10. Fiction writing. I’ve been neglecting this but I’ve gotten back into it this weekend. I’ve tricked myself back into it, really, by trying my hand at two short pieces, both of which are different for the same reason: both are fantasies. One of them I think of as a humorous contemporary fantasy. My goal with this story is to try and crack the Daily SF market, the stories of which I have been studying closely. The second one is my attempt at a more traditional fantasy story involving wizards and dragons in what I think is a rather untraditional way. My first love is and always will be science fiction, but sometimes it is nice to branch out, particularly when the science fiction is slow-going. I’ve also been trying out a new approach to fiction writing, but as this post has already grown about twice as long as I’d planned, I’ll save that for another time.

So that is what’s been keeping me busy, in case you were wondering. No such thing as a lazy weekend around the Rubin household, though I wish there was. What have you been doing with your weekend?