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Wishes & Talismans

Merry Christmas or Bah Humbug, whichever suits your mood better today…or Good Morning if neither of those quite fits.

Bet you didn’t think I’d post today, did you? And you’d probably be right, except I just gave one of the dogs (Mica) half of a probiotic treat in the hopes it would help his gassy stomach. With him, you pretty much never know what will help, and what will send him out to the backyard alternately throwing up and eating grass for the next twelve hours. I stopped taking him to the vet after the third time…and just accepted that he has an extremely sensitive stomach. Needless to say, we’re always very careful about what he eats, and apprehensive about letting him try new things. He can handle these probiotics, but not often and he’s never had one so far after his regular meal (he did just have a snack).

So, that’s why I’m still up on this very early Christmas morning (was the eve just 13 minutes ago). I was seriously considering bed, and then just knew that if I went now, Mica would need to go out about the time I was just falling asleep (and just as I wrote that, he had to go out…excellent timing). Now we’ll see how he does by the time I’m done with this post.

For those of you wondering, we managed to get a tiny bit of snow on Christmas Eve…and some really incredible fog to go with it as we were driving home. It doesn’t get foggy like that much here, so it’s kind of fun, especially with all the lights shining through the thick white cloud hanging low over everything. It’s still snowing a little, big, fluffy flakes that if they continue, could end up giving everything a slightly more white sheen, at least.

So, I got my Christmas wish, which is pretty amazing considering it’s not something that can be controlled.

We did Christmas Eve at the in-laws earlier – MIL likes to open presents early, rather than on Christmas Day. The gifts we gave went over well, and the ones we got were actually on point as well (and not so many, which is a nice change too). I only asked for one thing (MIL hounds us for a request), and she got me the cabinet I wanted for my spoon collection. There were a few other small things as well, but my favorite was a silver bracelet with many colored book spines all over it – like a bookshelf with books going every which way.

I haven’t worn bracelets in awhile, though I do like them quite a lot. This one feels like more of a talisman though. Something that when I look at it and feel it, I’m reminded of how much I love books, both reading and writing them. I think perhaps that’s the one gift I needed this year to send me into the next one with more focus.

Last year, a friend gave me a small, smooth stone with the word “Possibilities” (or Possibility – I can’t read it anymore – the color in the word has worn off) stamped into one side. I’ve carried that in my pocket nearly every day this past year, and whenever I feel it in my pocket, it reminds me to look for the possibilities in whatever situation I happen to be dealing with. So I suspect it will be with the bracelet this year. A wearable reminder of just how much “story” means to me, and a reminder to keep writing, daily.

I think perhaps next year I’ll look toward the small but ultra-meaningful gifts rather than the larger ones. Not everyone will appreciate that approach, but perhaps I’ll be able to find some things that speak to others the way these two tiny gifts have spoken to me.

Mica has gone to bed, and considering I have two more obligatory Christmas meals to attend tomorrow, I believe I’ll do so as well. Merry, happy or humbug, may this Tuesday be as mellow and carefree as you want it to be.

Pokemon, Guilt & Renewed Motivation

So, last week I was on “vacation” (in reality, I was liquidating vacation hours that I’d be forced to take before March anyways – still have one more week to go after Christmas). The Friday before that, I got paid, and instead of being the responsible, fiscally practical adult that I probably could be if I tried really hard, I ordered a Nintendo Switch console, and a copy of Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee.

I did buy a refurbished unit, straight from Nintendo itself, so that was a good $25 less than a new one, and about a hundred bucks less than the branded Pokemon console/game/accessory pack. So I wasn’t as irresponsible as I could have been.

Just sayin’.

Still, it’s the time of year to buy stuff for other people, not one’s self. And I also have been doing an insanely poor job of paying down debt this past year, despite a resolution to do just that. Needless to say, I spent the first four days of my vacation feeling incredibly guilty, budgeting tightly to cover the overspending, and watching YouTube videos on Pokemon Let’s Go game play.

Then the console showed up on Wednesday, and I spent the next three days spending whatever time I could (minus dog walks/drives & meals) playing that new game to the point where I could connect it with my mobile Pokemon Go game to get a special pokemon you can only get in that particular manner. I reached that point around 3am on Saturday morning, and felt a pretty distinct sense of accomplishment.

Then I put the switch down for the weekend, went out and played Pokemon Go for an hour or so on Saturday, and spent the rest of the weekend working on all the stuff I’d originally planned to finish that week. I actually did get a fair amount of it at least half to three-quarter’s done, which I was kind of impressed by, honestly. And when I was whining to my mom last week about feeling guilty for playing so much instead of getting stuff done, she reminded me that that’s what vacations are for: doing things we wouldn’t normally do to take our minds away from the normal “stuff”. So, there’s that.

But, I didn’t really treat it as a relaxing break. It was enjoyable, but the more I played the more I wanted to reach the goal before my vacation was over, so instead of just taking my time and working through it like a normal person would, I rushed, and took shortcuts, and raced through. Now that I’ve hit my goal, I fully plan on going back and taking the earlier parts slower this time. I was really enjoying it a lot before I got all goal-oriented and started rushing.

My guilt for spending the money now instead of after the holidays like I’d planned was probably part of that rush-rush feeling. Probably some sort of need to justify the purchase, though I’d already thought long and hard about it, and decided on that specific console due to more than just the Pokemon game (I have a list of games that will keep me busy for quite some time).

In any case, while I still feel bad for spending the money early, I’m happy I got the console and the game, and I managed to kept the budget balanced regardless, which feels like a pretty big win overall (especially considering I decided to switch the dog’s food up to a higher priced delivery service at the same time).

Friday is payday, and I’ll be solvent again, and I definitely have a renewed interest in working toward paying off debt next year with a vacation-away-from-home as a carrot/prize dangling out in front. So the new year will definitely see a new plan of attack when it comes to my finances.

One week to Christmas, and another to the New Year. It feels like this year has blown by like a big rig on the highway. Weird, since it felt excruciatingly long just last spring.

My only wish now is snow on Christmas eve & morning. It’s dry and brown, and it never feels like Christmas without snow, dang it.

Santa, are you listening?

Vacation Report, Entertainment & Free Books

Back to “normal” life today, after a nice week of alternate reality. I didn’t completely stick to the schedule I’d hoped to, but considering I had a couple of wrenches thrown in the works, as it were, I think I did pretty well. No writing toward the end of the week, but I got a fair amount done the first couple of days. Had a nice visit with my grandma (and a nice drive out and back), finished a crochet project for a friend and started a gift project (it’s half-done), and fixed our leaking bathtub faucet. I visited the tattoo shop and made an appointment for my birthday next month, and I attended my husband’s annual work holiday get-together.

I should have gotten a few more Christmasy things done, like…say…cards. But, it’s all good. I’ll mail a few out this week and maybe do better next year. I can’t believe Christmas is one week away! How the heck did that happen?

The rest of this week is going to be busy catching up at work, and busy frantically finishing last-minute gifts and shopping (I get paid Friday, so…yeah). So I guess calling it “normal” is kind of an overstatement. But I’m looking forward to the whole Christmas family thing being over (because…way too social for my tastes, thanks), and I always look forward to a new year beginning.

So really, two more weeks before things really get back to normal, I guess. Hopefully they go by fast.

I watched a lot of cheesy Christmas romance movies last week, and while it really is all the same basic plot, it’s nuts how acting and writing can make all the difference in the world. I’ve seen *so very many* really bad movies lately where either the acting or scripting or both were just completely horrible…and only a couple that I really enjoyed. I have to say, I’m really impressed with the quality of Netflix’s original movies this year. Amazon’s…not so much. And God save me from yet another Ion (new broadcast TV channel to us) romantic tragedy. Wow.

We did go see Justice League (hubby’s work Christmas thing), which was better than I thought it would be. I like Christopher Nolan films though. I also like Jason Momoa and Henry Cavill without shirts. So there’s that. I still don’t like Ben Affleck as Batman, because…seriously? No. Just no. He doesn’t do the suit justice, so to speak. Can we have Christian Bale back, please?

We’ve also been watching Godless on Netflix, which is really quite good (intense), and have not had time to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2 yet. Dang it.

And we did not get to go watch a late night showing of Die Hard at the Art House Cinema downtown this weekend, which I really wanted to do. *sigh* Next year, hopefully.

If you’re looking for a little reading respite for your holiday interlude, three of my holiday-themed short stories are free for the next couple of weeks over on the BSB site. One romance, one horror, and one erotica, so you can either download whichever alter-ego you’re most interested in, or the whole collection if you’re feeling a bit adventurous. Good for those short “disappearances” that are necessary to survive family functions.

No post next week, for obvious reasons, but resolutions posts will go up on Friday the 29th and Monday the 1st. I hope you’ll join me!

Happy Holidays!