Articles By Jamie DeBree

Reading Aloud

As an introvert, most of my cohesive thoughts happen quietly, in my head. I don’t process auditory information well, and while I can impart thoughts and ideas verbally, it’s not my best or favorite way to communicate.

No, this isn’t a “millennial” issue – I’m solidly Gen X. This is just a “that’s how my brain works” thing, and along with that, I don’t listen to music while doing anything I need my brain for. I can do rote tasks and listen, but nothing mentally engaging. Needless to say, audio books don’t really work for me – I have to work harder to process what I’m hearing, so I can’t do anything else while listening to one, which sort of defeats the purpose (especially since I could just be reading the book).

I know several people who are exactly the opposite. They process everything more easily if they can hear it, rather than trying to read and comprehend. A couple of them are dyslexic, so of course it’s going to be much harder for them to make sense of words on a page than sound in their ears. It’s amazing (and kind of fascinating, really) how differently our brains work to process information. At work especially, I’ve found it’s good to have a balance of people who process things better in different ways, because we each catch things the other misses while processing info using our own strengths.

I remember doing the edits for my first book, and reading it aloud just to force myself to process it in an entirely different way (reading aloud is yet another set of processes, I find – both reading and hearing at the same time). I think it made the book stronger, but it also drove me a little nuts, both in trying to find time alone to read (I didn’t really want to read aloud to my husband), and also just the “noise” aspect of it.

And listening to my own audiobooks once they’ve been recorded (by someone else) is a very interesting thing as well. It requires a lot of focus to get through, but it is kind of surreal listening to someone entirely different read my stories aloud.

Given all this, you might be surprised that I’m still curious about dictation for writing. More specifically, I’m curious as to whether I could learn to be okay with speaking and storytelling aloud enough to eventually dictate part or all of my first drafts to a digital recorder/transcription service. This requires something I am already abysmally low on though, which is time to myself. I am generally either at work, at home with my husband, or out walking the dogs. And while I know there are authors who dictate while dog walking, I’m really not sure I can do that. Too self-conscious.

But if I could, that would be an excellent way to get a lot of words down in a short amount of time. Or even just a good way to get blog posts “written”. I’m generally out walking for half an hour or more, so plenty of time, as long as Athena doesn’t mind me yammering on while we walk.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do fiction this way, but I may well try dictating a few blog posts. And I have a couple of book samples for training yourself to speak aloud that I plan on reading and buying if they seem worth it. Nothing to lose, and everything to gain (or at least another tool for the writing box), right?

Do you dictate and/or read aloud? Are you comfortable composing stories or other things vocally? Or are you generally the quiet, write-it-down type, like me? Inquiring minds…


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2019 Goals Check-Up

As a reminder, these were my three goals elevated to “Resolution Status” this year:

1) Pay off one major and 2 minor lines of credit
2) Institute a one-paycheck waiting period for all unnecessary, un-budgeted purchases
3) Publish two books

The first one is nearly done, and it would already be done if not for some unexpected expenses that came up this summer. I’ve paid off two minor credit lines, and the third will be done in October. I was actually really hoping to pay down more on several larger credit lines, but…well, we do what we can. As a side-goal to this, I’ve been paying very close attention to my finances and budgeting every single week. It’s been a little tough here and there, but overall, I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to pay down the outstanding debts faster, and start saving a decent chunk every month as well.

The second resolution has been more difficult, mostly just because several things came up that were time-sensitive right at the start of the year, and…well, I needed to act quickly, or forgo whatever it was. I opted to “do the things”, and they were fun, but they did cut into the budget and set me back, which was the whole reason for the “rule” in the first place (to avoid being set back). And then of course I had several un-budgeted but necessary things come up this summer, so…yeah. The finance thing isn’t going as well as I’d hoped, but it is still moving in the right direction. I am trying to stick to the resolution for the rest of the year, but we’ll see how well I do budgeting ahead of time for things like Christmas gifts. I should start thinking about that…well, yesterday. Hmm.

As for the third thing…so far, it’s a complete and total bust. I keep trying to reclaim my writing time, and life just…happens. I really have no guaranteed quiet time at home until after midnight, and then it’s almost too late (depending on whether I want time to read as well, which is important – you really do have to be a reader to write, and I haven’t been reading nearly enough lately). As far as working on edits and rewrites and all the various stuff that goes with actually publishing (formatting, cover art, etc)…wow. I’ve not been making the time I need to for that, and given the time it takes to publish one book (much less two), I’m not sure I’m going to make it. Which is, frankly, quite depressing.

I do have a plan for more writing, and that started today. I’ve got some new routines in place that should help, and some new “rules” for myself that will hopefully reset my priorities to “writing before fun” in my off-day-job hours. I don’t really know what to do about the publishing side of things yet, but…getting back to a very regular writing routine would help a great deal on the writing side.

I do have a couple of books that are published in ebook format, but not in print yet. I think I’ll work on getting the print copies of those done and out first, and then maybe that will be enough to establish routines for getting those types of tasks done. Both books are good Halloween/creepy type stories, so those would be good to have available by October. A tight time frame, but maybe that’s exactly what I need.

There are four months left in the year. *sigh* Writing and publishing are definitely going to be my top priorities for that time. Even if I don’t make the goal, I want to put as much effort into it as possible. So…onward.


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Housekeeping?!

No, this isn’t a resolution check-in. We’ll do that next week. I’ve got housekeeping on the brain at the moment. Probably because I just cleaned the toilet for the first time in…well, I’m not going to say. Let’s just leave it at “it’s been too long”.

I’ve admitted my housekeeping shortcomings here quite often, but somehow, it never ceases to amaze me at just how lazy I am about this one thing, and also, that other people manage to keep their house far cleaner than mine on a regular basis and still have a “life”. How does one do that, exactly? Because honestly, I have no idea.

I spent time both this past weekend and the one before trying to get our bathroom cleaned up. Granted, it wasn’t a lot of time – probably a couple of hours each Sunday, but that seems like a lot of time to spend on one room just cleaning. And it’s still not “done”. The floor needs steam-mopping, the ceilings need to be cleaned, the rugs need to be washed and the curtains need to be…well, replaced, honestly. So what did I spend all that time on? The tub mostly, and trying to get soap scum and other grime off both the porcelain and plastic surfaces.

It’s still not done. It looks a lot better, and the hubby re-caulked the surround (it needs to be replaced, but we didn’t have time to go that far this weekend), but there’s still a thin layer of scum everywhere. We need to figure out a different way to deal with the soap, too, because the shower caddy over the shower head is just not working – soap drippings go through the caddy and down the wall, causing serious soap-scrum build-up and eventually mold.

We replaced the rusty shower curtain rod (it’s downstairs – I think we can clean it up and reuse it), and both the curtain liner and the curtain. Once I find a new caddy I like (I’m thinking a corner one on a tension rod, maybe), I’ll get that and some bonefide soap dishes to keep the soap drippings from going everywhere.

One more weekend and I should have it in much better shape…but then I need to figure out how to keep it that way.

And there’s also the matter of my dusty blinds (all over the house), the dining room table/storage area for misc junk, my makeup vanity in the bedroom…the laundry room…needless to say, it’s somewhat overwhelming.

I used to use Flylady’s cleaning method, but the last thing I feel like doing after work is cleaning something. I’m generally doing really well to clean the kitchen before I get ready for bed, and that’s thanks to the Lucy-dog, who needed her meals mixed up with enzymes in advance. Her special needs “trained” me to clean the kitchen last thing at night, and I still do it to this day, even though she’s been gone three and a half years now. Still, it could use a monthly cabinet wipe-down and floor mopping.

I need a plan. A new routine. A list to follow. Something that will work for me, and keep the house cleaner in spite of my best efforts to just let the dust-bunnies proliferate.

Are you a good housekeeper who keeps everything dust-and-dirt free? If so, what’s your secret/routine?

If not…solidarity! I’ll let you know when I figure out a plan/routine/magic spell that doesn’t require me to clean all weekend long.

Why don’t we have self-cleaning bathrooms by now, anyways? I mean…it is nearly 2020…


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Introducing Athena & A New Keyboard

Wow. I’ve been trying to get a post written for nearly a month now, and things have just been so busy that every time I start working on it, it’s late and I’m tired and I just don’t have the energy to finish, much less post. Which really just goes to show you how routine-driven I am, and what happens when those routines are disrupted for an extended period of time, as they have been this summer. July and August have been busy months, and I’m just now (as in, for one whole week) getting back into my regular routines without random sidetracks and distractions throwing me off.

Although there’s another disruption coming, as we have to replace our shower surround this weekend. Hopefully it will only take one day though, and we can still have a “normal” weekend with Labor Day tacked onto the end.

The biggest news since my last post is that we adopted a boxer puppy (2-3 yrs old) named Athena. She’s adorable and spunky and was obviously mistreated at some point in her young life, but she’s brave and curious and has made herself right at home with us. She’s also white, and shedding like crazy at the moment – getting rid of an old, malnourished coat and growing in a much thicker, healthier one. So, we have little white hairs all over everything, including ourselves. I ordered lint rollers last night, along with a shedding glove, and am going to get some conditioning shampoo for dear Athena this weekend. I just can’t make myself buy lighter clothing. LOL

In any case, Athena is young and full of energy, and she’s already getting the Murph off the couch more often (I don’t think he necessarily appreciates that, but it’s good for him) and he’s walking a tad bit farther with her at his side. Of course she needs a much longer hike than he does, which means we go with him, take him home, and then Athena and I go for part two, which is a good half-mile to a mile at the moment, and we’ll work up to a couple miles most nights in moderate weather. So I’m getting more exercise too, which is perfect (and much needed). It’s always easier to walk with a buddy, IMO.

Writing has been hit or miss, a lot more “miss” unfortunately, but as the routines get back to normal and I don’t have to think so much about every little thing I do during the day, I have more energy and headspace available for creative endeavors. I have gotten a little lazy about using the Neo though – mostly because uploading to the laptop requires plugging the Neo in by cable and then transferring the keystrokes into my writing program (yWriter). I tried working directly on my laptop again, but between hating the keyboard and having distractions so readily available (I forgot to order this! I need to post that! Was that an important email that just came in?) it just doesn’t work for my flighty brain.

So last week, I ordered a bluetooth keyboard (full-sized, with scissor switches) to pair with my cell, and I can use that to write directly into yWriter from my lap. The size of the phone screen really doesn’t lend itself to switching apps often (so less distractions) and my yWriter files live in my Dropbox account, so I can get to them from both my phone and my laptop – no transfer needed.

I think it’ll be a good solution…we’ll find out at the end of this week. The keyboard I really wanted with Cherry MX switches and a really nice “typewriter” look was two hundred bucks, the one I got was thirty. Maybe I’ll splurge on the nicer one if the solution works well enough to finish a novel by Christmas.

So, moving along. Getting back on track. Putting the things I can back on auto-pilot, so I can focus more on things like writing. It feels good. I hope things will stabilize for awhile now. My brain could use the rest.

Next week…a resolution check-in.


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Music, Books, & Creativity

It’s Monday as I write this, and it’s been…oh goodness, has it been three weeks? Wow. Things have been a bit crazy/busy around here, and my mind has obviously been elsewhere. I think we’re finally due for a settling-down period though, which is nice. I’m on the last day of a five-day vacation (okay, two last week and one this week) that has helped a lot with the whole mental recovery/reset thing.

We just did two concerts in three days…I tell you what – I may be getting a bit old for that. Interestingly, even though all four bands were headliner status, the first bands on each night were just mediocre (Marilyn Manson & Pop Evil), while the second bands were incredible (Rob Zombie & Disturbed). Which is too bad, because I’ve seen Pop Evil before, and they were really, really good…but they fell flat last night. In their case, I think it was because they were trying to be creative with their arrangements, and changed up a lot of their old songs. It just didn’t work. Manson just phoned it in – it felt like he wasn’t even trying, honestly.

In any case, all that made me think about entertaining and creativity and performing and writing. And how readers are often disappointed when a writer decides to change direction when they’ve been doing one thing well. On the flip side of that coin, ongoing creativity requires change and growth and…something different. Doing what you’ve always done just because you do it well is…boring. But there are ways to use that to your advantage without losing your fan base, as evidenced by Zombie and Disturbed – both of whom have grown and changed over the years (musically and otherwise), but they’ve retained enough of what makes them who they are at the base layer that their fans are happy to come along for the ride.

If I ever get to the point of cultivating an actual “fan base”, I want to remember that. That, it would seem, is the secret to making success last. That, and not getting worse as you get older. Thank goodness writing doesn’t depend on the quality of my physical voice!

I have been thinking a lot about my writing lately, especially given that our local bookstore will be featuring my romance books sometime next month. I’m a little torn by that, honestly. I haven’t published a romance novel (okay, any novels, but let’s focus) in several years, and while I am working on one at the moment, it’s somewhat different than what I was writing earlier. Much like erotica, I’ve sort of lost a lot of my desire to write them. I feel more drawn to the thriller and “alternate reality” genres at this point in my life – that’s what I’m excited about and currently working on. I think my future probably lies more in those realms than in the romance arena, honestly. And that’s okay, I think…but it does make for an odd feeling when my romance books suddenly start getting a little attention.

As I said, I do have another romance in the works, and it’s holding my interest well enough so far. But one of my thriller ideas currently has me by the throat, so to speak, and I’m anxious to keep working on it while the desire is there.

We’ll see, but I suspect my “own name” novels will be taking a back-seat to Alex’s thriller novels for the foreseeable future.

Aside from that, I’ve cut down on games again – only playing Wizards Unite on rare occasions to help a friend with battles, and uninstalled Jurassic World Alive (I was enjoying it, but…just don’t need that many games going at once). So now just Pokemon Go, Pokemon Let’s Go, and Animal Crossing. Occasionally Batman: Arkham Asylum on the PlayStation. Much like…well, anything, games can take up too much head-space too. I need to remember to leave myself space to just think, dream, and ultimately, write.

Fifty words per day. That’s my new minimum for fiction.

Now if I could just remember to change my sheets. Think I’ll set myself a reminder before I go to bed. It’s the little things.


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Stress, Death, & Sleep

Good to rest after a nice walk in the rain…

It’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it? If I remember correctly, two weeks ago I was busy wallowing in writerly self-pity over not making/taking/finding the time to do all I want to do on the writing side. So then instead of writing a blog post, I tried to work on my fiction, and ended up coming up with a plan to work in some sort fiction, which failed miserably in the first week (keep reading).

Then last week, there was a problem at work that required quite a bit of extra troubleshooting hours, which pretty much tanked both the ultra-fun weekend I had planned and bled over into the week. Such is life, sometimes, and at those particular times, life sucks.

But not nearly as much as when you have to say goodbye to a furry friend, as I did last Wednesday afternoon. I had our vet come to the house and put my quirky Mica-dog to sleep after watching him decline rather quickly over the week or so before that. He was older, around 10 or 12 (hard to say for sure with a rescue), and had many tumors and some other health problems that finally made it so he couldn’t leave the property (not that he’d get in a car…he’d refused to do that for the past few years, but he loved to go for walks), and while I wrestled hard with the decision for three days after scheduling the appointment, I knew it was ultimately the right choice when I looked into his eyes that day.

Mica-dog…on guard!

I sat on the floor of our living room with the vet and the nurse, and held his head as he closed his eyes for the last time. It never gets easier (and it shouldn’t), but unlike a few of the other five times I’ve done this, I don’t think I’ll have any lasting guilt or agonizing over whether I made the choice either too soon or too late. This is one of the few times I’ve been at peace with the timing after the fact (it’s never going to be a peaceful process to get to that decision, and again, it shouldn’t be). So there’s that, I guess. I still miss him – he was loud and demanding and persnickety and sometimes really annoying, but he was also the best couch-cuddle-buddy and one of those dogs who just wanted to be with his people and keep his “pack” in eyesight.

*sigh*

So. Throughout all the pity-party and work stress and losing-a-best-buddy stress, one thing was very, very noticeable to me. I wasn’t sleeping much, and not only did that not help, it created even more problems, from digestive issues to being hungry all the time (and subsequently making poor food choices), and then also not performing as well as I sometimes can, and also not communicating as well as usual. Stress is a killer, and certainly no fun to deal with, but when you haven’t gotten a decent 6 hours of sleep in nearly two weeks…yeah. Things start to slip. The body starts expressing displeasure. And while sleep can’t fix everything, it sure can go a long way toward helping you deal with whatever’s stressing you out. Especially when it comes to making good food choices (what and how much to eat, specifically).

I’d always read that sleep was that important, but it was never so evident to me as during these last few weeks, mostly because I’ve just been hungry *all the damn time*. I was doing so well at maintaining a lower weight and even moving down on the scale here and there…and I’m on the cusp of being seriously derailed all because I didn’t go to bed (and this past Sunday night, just because I couldn’t sleep for some reason – nothing on my mind, even, just…no sleep).

In any case, I have one more night with less-than-optimal sleep to go (gotta be at work an hour earlier on Tuesdays), but after that, the only thing stopping me from a solid 6 hours is…me, choosing not to go to bed on time. So often I don’t make the right choice there, because I don’t want to lose any of my precious alone-time at the end of the night, but…sleep is important. Rest and mental rejuvenation is important. I need to make better choices when it comes to getting enough sleep.

Rest well if you can, dear readers. And for my Mica-dog…rest in peace, buddy.


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Putting Myself in the Corner

The place where it all happens.

Last week, I took Friday off work with the express purpose of rearranging my (our) home office/library. I’ve been having trouble writing lately – due to several different factors, but one in particular has been driving me nutty. Drastic steps were needed, so last Friday, I took them. And I think it’s going to help, though time will tell.

I have a hard time focusing when I try to write on the computer, like many writers do. Some power through and use internet-blocking apps, some set up a completely separate writing computer with no connectivity, and others (like me) use old-style word processors to get the words down and a first draft written. My current device of choice is the Alphasmart Neo, which I got for somewhere around thirty bucks on ebay. It’s a great little machine that consists of a small screen with no backlighting whatsoever and a nice, big, comfy keyboard that clicks rather satisfyingly when I’m typing along.

The Neo is pretty light, but it does have one downfall in that it’s hard to use at a table due to the thickness and no wrist-rest. The “desk” I have is actually an old restaurant booth from our local Red Robin after it was remodeled, so the seats are somewhat lower than a normal chair/desk setup. My laptop is thin with a wide wrist rest area, which allows me to use it somewhat comfortably at the desk, but the Neo just works better sitting on my lap in my writing chair.

The problem, then, wasn’t a lack of furniture (the green chair is my writing chair). It was that my writing chair was situated with a view straight out the office door, which meant sound traveled directly down the hall from the living room. My husband likes to watch videos on his laptop before bed, and my dogs wander in and out, so closing the door really isn’t an option (I wouldn’t want to lock them out – I like having them close).

Hubby has earbuds and headphones, and never remembers to use them. He tells me to remind him, but I’m not the sort of person who wants to nag on anyone for anything – I’m his wife, not his mother. The sound was driving me crazy though and fracturing my focus while I tried to write, so something had to be done.

We have an entire wall of books thanks to the beautiful floor-to-ceiling bookshelves he built, and books are incredibly insulating. I decided that the best place for my writing chair was in the back corner away from the door and in front of the bookshelves. Out of the line of sight for the door, and back where our books could double as sound dampeners.

I decided the desk/booth would turn and sit in the other far back corner for when I’m writing blog posts (*ahem*), editing, or whatever. While I was at it, I decided to move the secretary out from behind Murphy’s dog bed so I could use that as well when I wanted to. I have a lot of stamp stuff in there, plus some comic books that need to be cataloged and it’s a nice desk to work at when I’m working on things like that.

Murphy sez: Moving stuff around is hard work!I’m working on those two things.

I have to say, I like the new arrangement a lot. I went through a period where I wanted to be out of the flow of things, but still connected, so with the old arrangement, all of my seating faced the door and had at least a partial view out into the hall. Now, all of my seating is on the back wall of the office, and the view into the hall is obstructed by bookshelves and…well…walls. Even tonight (Monday), just writing this post, it was easier to stay focused and not get distracted (yes, I write posts on the laptop, so in my booth). Tomorrow night I’ll be in my writing chair, with my Neo on my lap, working on one of my drafts-in-progress. I suspect that this arrangement is going to work swimmingly for the “isolationist” period I’m in now. With any luck, I’ll actually start finishing some stories again. It’s been far too long since I did that.


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Jumpin’ on (and off) the Bed

About three weeks ago, we bought a new mattress. We did that last year too, and it sucked all year long. That firm mattress never softened up, and caused us both some serious physical pain, which I suppose is what happens when you cheap out on such things. I honestly thought it would “break in” and get softer, but…no. We weren’t sleeping well, and as everyone knows, not sleeping well affects your entire day-to-day life.

So this year, we decided to get a *good* mattress. One that would be supportive but cozy for our side-sleeping ways. One that wouldn’t leave us with sore shoulders, hips, ribs, and twisted backs. We went to Denver Mattress, tried out a few, and took home the most expensive, coziest one we tried. We also ordered a new, medieval-looking bed frame just ’cause the hubby liked it better than the sleigh bed frame I picked out last year. It’s a good thing, too. Read on…

The new mattress was/is insanely heavy, and that along with the box spring is so thick I had to literally climb up onto it. The first two weeks on it were okay, because we had the old heated mattress pad on top, which is somewhat padded. But then the new bed frame came in, and I replaced the heated mattress pad with a new one (the old one was shot). A new one without actual padding. And then the pain set in.

The new mattress was still better than the old one, but once again, we weren’t sleeping well, and rather disillusioned with the whole thing (but also determined to get something cozy like the one we *thought* we’d gotten, we went back to the store and asked about an exchange. Because when you spend the kind of money we did on a mattress, you want something comfortable.

The sales guy/manager was very nice and sympathetic, but he did point out that we’d only had the mattress for two weeks, and that it takes at least a month to break them in. He said we could start the exchange process after 30 days if we still wanted to, but encouraged us to lay on the floor model of the mattress we’d purchased again, and pointed out that ours would feel like that too once it was broken in. It was still cozy, and the guy suggested we walk on our mattress to soften it up, and maybe think about a mattress pad. We had a thick mattress pad we’d used with the old mattress, so we agreed to try that. No one wants to move the mattress we bought again…

On the way home, we stopped to see about a thinner mattress pad, but of course the one we liked was sold out. So, new quilt set in hand, we headed home, walked on the mattress, and slept on it one more night before adding the old thick memory foam topper.

Which made the bed two inches higher yet. I literally have to step on the siderail to get into bed now. LOL

The good news is, unlike the last mattress, this new one feels seriously cushy with the topper on it, so I feel like that’s a good sign. We’ve slept great since putting that on, and as an added bonus, the bed is so high that any monsters underneath it will give up long before they can reach us. So there’s that.

And that’s why it’s good we got the new frame. It has a much taller headboard than the old frame, so it still looks fine with the monster bed. I think maybe it’s time the mirror that’s been over the bed since we moved in was replaced with a couple of nice foam battle axes. And we bought drinking horns to hang off each corner of the headboard. Because we’re creative like that.

I think in a couple weeks, after our thirty days are up, I may go see if we can get one of the thinner mattress pads and maybe we can lose an inch or two of height that way. It’s either that, or put up a bonefide chain mail canopy and embrace the rather amusing and somewhat ridiculous height of the bed we’ve got going on. Maybe get a nice wooden step stool too.

But for now, I’m just happy to have a soft, cozy bed finally. Now if my weekends would just settle down so I could have a proper sleep-in, for once (not until next Sunday, dammit). *sigh*


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Not Right Now

I talk (whine, whatever) a lot here about things I want and can’t have. The list is actually a pretty short one – fewer than five items, really. But what keeps me from those things is a pretty short list too, and my own name is at the top of that list.

I hate it when people say things like:

  • You are your own worst enemy
  • If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen
  • If you’re not getting what you want, your priorities need to change

I hate it mostly because it’s all true. The reasons I don’t have the things on my “short list” are mainly self-imposed restrictions and rules that I’m hell-bent on following mainly because I feel that’s the “right thing to do”. Priorities that I could change, but won’t. And obviously I don’t want any of those short-listed items enough to “make them happen”. The personal cost is too high, or so I perceive it to be.

Some days, I really wish I were that person. That I could just change my priorities, drop everything holding me back or slowing me down, and run get the things I want with wild abandon. But I’m not, and I can’t. So I struggle with things daily, trying to make room in an already full life for just one or three more things that will not fit, no matter how badly I want them to.

This mostly ends up with me feeling defeated and beat-down, resigned to leaving those things on the short list unresolved. I’m tired of trying to shoehorn things in where they don’t fit, fighting all the external things that seem to be actively fighting against my best efforts, and the only thing that keeps me going is one minuscule sliver of hope:

What if these things are meant to happen in the future, instead of “right now”?

Looking back, there are a lot of things in my life I’ve had to wait a lot longer for than I’d have liked. Some of them I even gave up on while I was waiting, resigning myself to the fact that they were never going to happen, and learning to be okay with that. When they finally did, I could see why I needed to wait, how the base was being established during that time period, and how things fell into place how, and more importantly, when, they were supposed to. Like fate, or karma, or magic, or whatever you want to call it. They couldn’t be forced. They had to happen organically, in their time, not mine.

There are a lot of things I’ve wanted and never gotten too, of course. And that’s just life – often for the better (though not always). But maybe I just need to stop trying to force my short list to happen, and resign myself to the fact that if an when those things are supposed to do something, they will. Until then, I need to be patient, and work at building the foundations that need to be in place first. Having a good foundation never hurts, even if nothing is ever built on top.

It’s so annoyingly slow though. Decades, in some cases. *sigh*

I guess only time will tell. Patience is, indeed, a virtue, I suppose.


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On Fragrance & Pheromones

Man, the last couple of weeks have been *busy*! Crazy at work, and a bit chaotic at home too. I’ve been trying to figure out new routines for my weekends, easier mornings, and my late-night writing time with little success. And I switched up my vitamins in the middle of all that, which was an incredibly stupid thing to do (although in my defense, I didn’t know all that was going to happen just then).

One new thing I did try that seems to be having a positive effect is to plug in a diffuser with feel-good doggie pheromones for the Murph. These have been around for a long, long time, and several studies have shown them to be moderately to highly effective in a decent percentage of test subjects, so I thought I’d take a chance. The pheromones emitted are like the ones a mother dog would give off around her puppies – calming and comforting. And it does really seem to make him less anxious and less prone to licking his legs…for a surprisingly long period of time. Combined with the CBD oil and flower essences, we might have stumbled on a winning combination for getting his legs to heal. Fingers crossed!

I’ll admit to using pheromones to my own advantage occasionally as well. We all know at least a few people who can make us feel good just by being in the same room with them (closer is better, obviously, but a few feet works fine), without any interaction whatsoever. That would be a pheromone-driven oxytocin “hit” to the brain, and it’s good stuff. When I need a hit, I’ll intentionally seek one of those people out, just for a few seconds of semi-nearness. I have no idea how my own pheromones affects them, but I figure as long as they’re not running away screaming, it’s probably not all bad for them either. LOL

Pheromones are odd things in that we sense and process them through smell, but they’re so subtle that we can’t really label them with a specific fragrance. But man, I tell you what. It’s springtime, and the flowering trees are in full bloom around here, and I have such a bittersweet relationship with them it’s not even funny.

I love the smell of tree blossoms of all types. Our Sand Cherries don’t smell at all during the day, but at night? Oh man. So sweet and thick in the backyard…it’s beautiful wafting through the darkness.

And the ornamental trees that are in more and more places throughout the city, including right in front of my parking spot at work? *sigh* The fragrance walking the two blocks to and from my office is intoxicating. I could sit out there under one of those trees, breathe in that perfume and probably get high if you left me there long enough.

I’m not a fan of flowers indoors, perfumes on people, or fragrances in room sprays and such. All that just plugs me up and makes me sneeze. But I do so love the flowering trees and the delightfully sweet scent they put out. It’s even worth a few sneezes just for the happiness and peace it brings me.

They’re almost, but not quite, as good as a good pheromone hit. 😉


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