michaeldthomas: (content)
I did pretty well with last year's goals. Here are some goals for 2011:

1- Try to be a good father, husband, and friend.

2- Try to take better care of myself. I'm becoming sedentary in my middle age. The scale hasn't changed much in ten years, but I look thicker in the middle. My family has a history of heart disease and my daughter isn't getting any smaller. Therefore, it's time to start exercising each day for at least 30 minutes. I have the time; I just need to do it.

If anybody has any suggestions for a good at-home routine, feel free to leave a link. Right now I'm just doing the stretching and calisthenics I remember from high school gym class.

3- Here are my writing goals:

Revise my short story "Virus."
Submit "Virus" and continue submitting "Pediatric Wards" and "Nostalgia Trips" until they get published or I exhaust all of the markets.
Revise The Scarlet Queen (this will include sending it to readers and a second set of revisions).
Query agents for The Scarlet Queen.
Write at least two new short stories.
Begin writing the new novel.
Work on the new nonfiction project.

4- Continue my work as [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne's PA.

That seems like a reasonable list. Wish me luck! :-)
michaeldthomas: (Cait)
How the hell is it 2011 already?!?! Seriously, it feels like we just did that whole Millennium thing. I am not a fan of this whole time-moving-quicker-as-I-get-older thing.

We had a quiet evening last night. Caitlin spent most of the morning crying every 20 minutes due to cramping and soreness. Thankfully, she felt better by the afternoon. Lynne and I "celebrated" New Year's Eve with Chinese food and awful television. At least we were together and not in a hospital. We should have friends stopping by today and tomorrow. That will be nice.

2010 was a phenomenal year for us. Like any year, it had highs and lows.

The bad:

1- My grandfather passed away.
2- Caitlin's hip surgery.
3- My big nonfiction commission was put on indefinite hiatus.
4- I didn't write anything good enough for publication.

The wonderful:

1- Caitlin stayed healthy and had a successful surgery.
2- We continued to have amazing friendships and met some new wonderful people.
3- Chicks Dig Time Lords was a major success for Lynne and Tara, leading to book signings, our first Gallifrey One convention, fanart, fanvids, interviews, convention guest invitations, and fantastic reviews. We even impressed a few famous people who worked on the show. It's been an phenomenal ride.
4- I met all of my writing goals and completed another novel.
5- Lynne and Deb finished Whedonistas.
6- The NIU SF collection grew and Lynne was even interviewed for Locus.
7- Caitlin rocked her communication device and had a smooth transition to a new school.
8- We went on an amazing Make-A-Wish trip.
9- Lynne started two SEEKRIT PROJECTS that will be big deals in the next couple of months.

2010 was a magical year for us. Let's hope 2011 continues this trend.

We couldn't have done it without all of you. Thank you for your love and support last year. You made us feel like the richest people in Bedford Falls. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Default)
After all of last weekend's insanity, we're talking a break. As a family, we have accomplished almost nothing all weekend. It's a wonderful thing. :-)

So what have we done with our weekend off? We've read comics and watched Buffy and Doctor Who DVDs. We almost feel like fans again. ;-)

Caitlin remains a major Sarah Jane fangirl. She watched The Monster of Peladon and The Masque of Mandragora for the first time and squeed every time Sarah did something cool. Like you do.

I'm probably going to work this afternoon on some critiques I owe. If I'm feeling virtuous, I might sneak out to the coffeehouse for another round of writing.
michaeldthomas: (Me!)
Happy Fathers' Day to all of my fellow fathers out there. :-)

This will be a strange one for me. It's the first without my grandfather. I miss him.

My father passed away 11 years ago last weekend, so this is pretty much a solo holiday now. It's kind of weird to not have to make any phone calls.

Our plans involve eating pancakes, watching DVDs, and packing for the next couple of days of hospital/airport shenanigans.
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 09)
1- Caitlin is home for Spring Break. She can use the vacation. So far, she's been dealing well with her grief about Pa's passing. I'm still not quite sure how she processes those emotions.

We all survived the Dynavox Communication Device training session this week. There's A LOT to learn. The machine is capable of billions of things. One of the important things discussed at the training is how learning to use a communication device is like learning a foreign language. It takes time and patience. It's unreasonable to think that a person can jump on a device and start communicating. We need to use it in about 80% of Cait's daily activities. So far, she's responding well to it. Cait really needs to improve her targeting, but that's not a surprise. It's going to take a ton of coordination between her entire team to make this work.

Today, Caitlin was able to use her device to tell me she wanted to watch The Lion King. My heart almost leapt out of my chest. :-D

2- I'm doing okay. My amazing friends and wonderful family have been very supportive with phone calls, emails, and condolence cards. I can't thank you all enough. I even inspired a blog post from my friend [livejournal.com profile] kellymccullough. Somehow I managed a little bit of writing this week.

3- Most of my attention has been on the Chicks Dig Time Lords mania. Retailers can't keep it in stock. :-) Here's a nice review from Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell (Father's Day, Human Nature).

4- I'm reading a copy of the Vworp Vworp! Doctor Who fanzine. Good stuff. It's probably the slickest fanzine I've ever seen.
michaeldthomas: (Me!)
Very early this morning, my grandfather Hugh passed away. Everything good about me as a man I learned for him. He was always there for me and my family. He was kind, loyal, honorable, funny, and loving.

I have a million good memories of him. I can't think of a bad one.

A world without him doesn't make sense.

I love you, Pa. Thank you for being such a big part of my life.


Mar. 8th, 2010 09:20 am
michaeldthomas: (Wha?)
We spent the weekend at the hospital. My grandfather was in acute pain on Saturday, but I got to talk to him a bit. On Sunday, they increased his pain meds to the point where he's fairly out of it. He didn't talk much, but he recognized me and held my hand.

My uncle and his family are now in town. It was nice to see them.

The doctor doesn't think that Pa will make it through the week. Even though I always knew this day would come (he's 86), it's like learning that the moon will disappear forever next week.
michaeldthomas: (Wha?)
We were having THE BEST WEEK EVER. The Gallifrey One Convention was fantastic, Caitlin received her communication device, the early buzz about Chicks Dig Time Lords has been amazing, and we had a wonderful time with [livejournal.com profile] mirrorthaw and [livejournal.com profile] truepenny during their stay in DeKalb for an author event.

Well, that's over.

My grandfather's bladder cancer took a turn for the worse. He's in excruciating pain. The doctors say there is nothing left to do for him other than heavy drugs and hospice.

My grandfather has been like a father to me. He's a phenomenal man. Even though he's 86, none of us are ready for this. It's especially hard to have his razor-sharp brain dulled in his final days.

Please keep him and my family in your thoughts and prayers.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
1- Yes, we had an earthquake this morning in Northern Illinois. It was a 3.8 magnitude quake with an epicenter about 18 miles from our house. It woke us up at about 4 am. [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne thought a semi passed our house. I suspected that it was either an earthquake or an explosion. Our lazy cat stayed asleep. The only damage was to an Ood action figure that got knocked off of a bookcase.

2- The snowstorm dropped about 10 inches over 36 hours. Caitlin spent the day watching TV. She preferred that to school.

3- [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne, [livejournal.com profile] taraoshea , and contributor Carole Barrowman (co-author with brother John Barrowman of Anything Goes and I Am What I Am ) will be at A Room Of One's Own  (Madison, WI) signing copies of Chicks Dig Time Lords on April 25th at 2pm. Some of the other contributors are also probably attending.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Apparently, [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne liked my Christmas present. :D

I can't thank [livejournal.com profile] jigglykat enough for letting us give her amazing Torchwood nesting dolls a good home.

Lynne gave me The Black Guardian Trilogy and a Davros figure. All is good in the world.

The ice storm is over. We were very lucky. Unlike 5,800 other households in DeKalb, we kept our power. The falling tree limbs also only fell onto the street. It's now above freezing, so all of the ice should be gone by Christmas.

Today is our traditional watch a lot of holiday television day. Tomorrow, we're off to my aunt's house for Christmas with my family.

I hope that everybody who celebrates has a wonderful holiday. If you don't celebrate, I hope that you at least have a nice couple of days off. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Default)
The whole family is on vacation this week. Once we remember how to relax, we should manage to have some fun. There's not much news around here. Our plans don't get much more complex than some shopping, Christmas with my family, and watching too many DVDs. If some things pan out, perhaps a few friends will visit our home on the prairie.

There are a couple of writing rants I wanted to make, but the kerfuffles have already passed. Perhaps I'll get on my soapbox later this week.

Here's a little something to get my Doctor Who friends ready for the big Christmas Special:
michaeldthomas: (Default)
I'm writing this during our last lull for the next few days. We'll soon be with my family, and then Chicago TARDIS unofficially starts with the arrival at our house of the Mad Norwegian and [livejournal.com profile] christapolis. The action won't stop until we collapse here on Sunday night.

As always, I have a lot to be thankful for this year:

1- My grandfather made it to his 86th birthday this week. He's not doing well, but we should get at least one more holiday season with him.

2- Lynne's career is amazing. Two books! 40 SF/F authors already archiving at NIU (30 more on the way)! She's unstoppable. *g* I'm so proud of my wife.

3- Our house hasn't fallen to the ground.

4- I'm a better writer than I was a year ago. I started sending out short stories in January, and I've received six personalized rejections so far (one talked about how the editor almost accepted the story). I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer.

5- Caitlin is thriving. She's never been healthier and happier (9 months seizure free). She's reading, doing math, and making friends in her first grade class.

6- We have the best friends and family in the world. We couldn't do it without all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!
michaeldthomas: (Default)
We had a nice, long weekend. Unfortunately, I think I left my brain at one of our stops. Here are the highlights from the last few days:

1- On Friday we finished watching Torchwood: Children of Earth. It was a masterpiece of SF television. Period.

2- We finally got to meet [livejournal.com profile] eeknight and [profile] chats_noirs's sprog. He's positively adorable. We played with the baby, ate delicious homemade pies, and watched Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. I can't recommend this show enough. I now want to be known as a "dreamweaver." ;-)

3- We had a nice time with my family at my mother's birthday party.

4- Sunday was the big BBQ at [livejournal.com profile] bifemmefatale and [livejournal.com profile] debunkshy's place. This time, we had the correct date. :-)
We met a bunch of wonderful people including [livejournal.com profile] ashnistrike and her spouse, and [livejournal.com profile] beatificdreams and her daughter. The food was excellent. My only regret is that we had to leave so early.

5- I didn't get any writing done today since Caitlin is still on summer break. Instead, I spent most of the day reading David Howe's The Target Book for research. It's a marvelous book. 

6- Caitlin had a very good session with her Speech Therapist today. Cait demonstrated that she can do addition and subtraction with single digits, and she managed four swallows on Crystal Light lemonade at nectar consistency. 

michaeldthomas: (Default)
As some of you may remember, my grandfather has been in poor health. He's been feeling awful recently, so my family finally convinced him to get checked out by his doctor. His blood work showed very low levels of hemoglobin, so they got him in for a CAT scan. They had suspected bladder cancer for some time, so nobody was surprised when they found a tumor.

My grandfather is 85 and lost my grandmother a year ago. He doesn't want any treatment, not even a blood transfusion to boost his hemoglobin levels.

This is very hard for me. I'm very close to my grandfather. He's pretty much my father figure. There was a time that I was seriously thinking about changing my last name to his.

In other sad news, we've decided that we need to bring Xander back to the shelter. He keeps attacking Caitlin. After he chewed through her feeding tubes, we decided that we would have to bring him back if he hurt Caitlin or her equipment again since Caitlin's safety obviously comes first.  He's decided that it's fun to gnaw on Cait's left ear. Caitlin can't defend her left side, so he ends up making her ear all red. Xander doesn't draw blood, but it does make her cry. During the day, I've been pulling him off and correcting him. Last night, Xander decided that this would be a fun game at 4am.  That's obviously unacceptable. He's also still chewing up any plastic that he can find. He bit right through a phone cord yesterday.

He can be such a sweet kitten. I really want to keep him, but we can't risk him seriously hurting Cait.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
I want to wish all of my fellow fathers a Happy Father's Day.

My big gift today is that [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne is on her way home. She'll be at O'Hare in a few hours. This is a Very Good Thing since I'm pretty much spent. As an additional Father's Day treat, Cait is taking me to Alien Entertainment to buy some Doctor Who stuff. I have a very thoughtful daughter. :)

After we pick up Lynne, we're going to stop and see my family. I'm glad that I'll have a chance to spend time with my grandfather today.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Ten years ago yesterday, my father passed away from lung cancer. He was 55. I wasn't with him at the end. At the time, I was going through a divorce and living in LA (he was in Illinois). I will always regret that I wasn't there for him and my sister in his final weeks of life.

My father and I had a complicated relationship. I will never know if we could have found common ground as adult men. I will never have a chance to fix those bridges now that I'm more patient and experienced. He never had a chance to meet Lynne or know his granddaughters. It's a shame.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Today is a blue day.

1- Caitlin was barfy last night. Luckily, it's only from her spring-allergy snot. I still kept her home from school.

2- I got a rejection from Strange Horizons. This time, it was personalized. I guess that's progress.

3- My grandfather apparently had a small heart attack last week. He's refusing to the go to the hospital since he doesn't want any treatment. He's 85, probably has bladder cancer, and misses my grandmother who passed away a year ago.

I'm still not ready to lose him.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Thanks to everybody for all of those anniversary congratulations. :)

It's been a quiet few days. [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne and I had a leisurely anniversary. We ate mediocre tapas, popped into small stores, and enjoyed having an afternoon to ourselves.

The rest of the weekend has involved errands and keeping our little girl from being too barfy. She has a nasty cold that caused some problems Friday night. Since then, everything has stayed down.

Like much of the geekiverse, we watched Dollhouse on Friday night.
Quick Review )
michaeldthomas: (Default)
In order to reverse my misery from the never-ending winter, I’m going to write some quick happy points

1- Lynne is back!

2- Caitlin is still doing well at school.

3- We’re going to Capricon in a couple of weeks. It will be nice to see some friends. It will also be nice to get away for our 9th Anniversary.

4- I solved the character problem in my second novel. I now have a second POV and a finished first chapter. :)

michaeldthomas: (Default)
I just found out from my sister that my Aunt Marie passed away. She was my late father's sister. Since she lived in Arkansas, I didn't really know her all that well. Still, she was a large part of my childhood vacations. Aunt Marie and her husband owned a rural general store and were the center of all of my Arkansas family activity. She was a sweet woman who was very much loved by all of her family.


michaeldthomas: (Default)

August 2011



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