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Of Couches & Habits & Things That Are Old

A week ago last Saturday, I ordered a new couch (sofa, whatever). I like couches. Recliners never seem to fit me well, and I like being able to have my dogs laying with me when they want to. A good couch and ottoman are my “necessities” for comfort in the living room.

When we got married and moved into this house nearly 13 yrs ago, we bought a couch and loveseat, but we each had a bunch of other furniture to “merge” as well. So the couch got put downstairs in the “TV/Workout room” (where it still resides) the loveseat was mine, and we had a couple of extra chairs in the living room. The one chair that survived all those years is my reclining armchair, which my parents bought for me when I first moved out of their house. I love it, and now it’s my “reading chair” in the office.

The thing about a loveseat is, there’s really only room for me and one dog. Or one dog stretched out. It was never really an issue before, because I had dogs that never really wanted to be on the couch at the same time, or were only up there together when I wasn’t so they could look out the window. Now I have two dogs who would both be happy cuddling with me on the couch in the evenings…and who get jealous of each other if one is up and the other is not.

So, I decided a sectional would both solve that problem and make the room look a little more “put together” than the mis-matched pieces we’ve had for all these years. Hubby still has his recliner, of course (needs a new one, actually…soon), and we got an old worn out couch free from one of the neighbors last month just to make sure having a sectional wouldn’t make the room look weird/too small. When the new sectional couch comes in, both my old loveseat and that old couch will head to the dump. It’s pretty exciting, really, considering how long we tend to keep furniture. I can’t wait until it gets here…later this week, perhaps?

In other news, breaking my scrolling habit has been…difficult. I need to refine the times I’m allowed to to scroll, because the times I set just really aren’t working for actual interaction, and part of the goal is to be productive while I’m online – not just on Facebook, but on Instagram and Twitter too. I need to set aside time when I can scroll *and participate*, not just scroll. The scrolling is the time-wasting part. So that will be this week’s goal – to find the best time to do that.

As for the “Things That Are Old” part of the title, well, it’s my husband’s birthday today, and he’s 11 yrs older than I am, which makes him “Old(TM)”. LOL And I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind him occasionally throughout the day/year. Because that’s what good wives do. Or what this one does, anyways.

I love older men – I always have, and this one especially (of course). Happy 53rd to the most important man in my life. Like a puerh tea-cake, you’re aging to perfection!

High-Low Tech

So…busy weekends lately, which is why posting is kind of hit and miss at the moment. The nicer weather has our schedules all wonky, and I’m also trying to find a good routine for my business hours late Friday night, which means the BSB blog post sometimes isn’t getting done until Sunday night, which leaves me no time to get a post done for this site. All of which to say…posts may be spotty until I can get my summer routine a little more stable. It’s not you, it’s me (but that seems rather obvious…).

It’s not like you’re waiting anxiously on my every post, right? 😉

In any case, I’m in kind of a weird spot right now where I want to use the latest and greatest in tech, but am also really seeing the value in slowing down and maybe using lower-tech options for certain things, or mixing the two for the “highest low-tech” option available. Reading that back, I realize it sounds convoluted, and it is, but such is life in my brain. Or part of it. I mean, I keep a lot of stuff to myself. Because if you think I’m weird now…well. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, as the saying goes.

Ahem. Back on topic, my first high-low tech conundrum this spring came when I started using my 3-year old Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet to write poetry last month. One of the best things about the Galaxy Note line is, obviously, Samsung Notes, wherein you can write on the screen with a stylus (high tech!), and use a device just like a notebook. I have been enamored with this feature ever since it came out, and I absolutely love the fact that I can erase my digital handwriting, which means my “pages” are less messy/more legible (I have horrible handwriting).

This is kind of a “best of both worlds” thing for me, because handwriting (low-tech) forces me to slow down and pay more attention to what I’m writing, so I think I do better work that way. Computers haven’t quite figured out how to *read* my handwriting yet (not holding out much hope for that one), which means I have to type everything I write on the screen by hand back into my writing program (currently Shaxpir). And that forces me to do an editing/revision pass, as I’m always finding ways to improve whatever I’ve hand-written as I type it back in.

So, I’m kind of loving this new-to-me writing “process”, and my tablet decides it needs to update to the Kit-Kat version of Android (it came with Jelly Bean). What harm can an update do, right? As it turns out, updating to Kit-Kat on these tablets makes them think they’re overheating even when they aren’t, and the only solution (from internet-land) seems to be to pull the battery and reset the bios.

Fun times.

I am a software girl, not a hardware girl. I don’t like messing with hardware one little bit – I just want it to work. But at some point in time this week, I’m going to have to get all my notes off of that tablet, pry the back off, take the battery out, and hope it resets like it’s supposed to. *sigh* Was going to do that this past weekend, but just didn’t get time.

Until then, I’ll use the notes function on my Galaxy Note 5 (cell) for my high-low tech solution, since the only other real options are to use paper/pen, or type directly into the laptop – neither of which seem to work as well for me.

I know. Special snowflake, and all that. Writers do tend to be a bit neurotic about…all sorts of stuff.

Another, slightly more fun example of high-low tech is the new bicycles my husband and I bought this past weekend. One of the simplest low-tech methods of transportation ever invented, but these new bikes have some pretty amazing technology now in braking and gear-switching. I find it somewhat ironic that so much technological invention has been put into these things, and yet somehow, they decided bikes don’t need kickstands anymore. What the heck is *that* all about? Does no one want to just park their bike in the driveway for a few minutes anymore? Weird.

I should probably mention that it’s been nearly 30 years since I’ve been on a bicycle…or it had been until last Saturday when I test-rode the one I bought (thank goodness you never forget!). That’s probably long enough to give up the grudge I developed when I fell off my 10 speed and shattered my right hand/wrist when I was 15, right? In any case, riding a bike is fun, it’s good exercise, and it’s something my husband and I can do together. I have friends who like to bike (okay, one, but still), and my mom would be happy to have company on her occasional excursions as well. I might even be able to sneak off on my own here and there. I used to love using a good long bike ride to clear my head.

So, investment in both my health and social life. Not a bad use for my annual longevity check, eh?

And finally – a high-tech solution for a low-tech problem failed me this week, and I had to remedy that ASAP, which is the other reason this blog post is a day late. If you know me at all, you know I’m a heavy tea-drinker. And to make tea, you need warm to hot water, depending on what you’re brewing. And if you want hot water fast, you don’t make it over a fire or on the stove, you plug in a handy dandy electric kettle.

Last week, my electric kettle started sounding more like R2D2 than a kettle, and while I gave it a good scrubbing this weekend to get all the hard mineral deposits out, it’s still not acting right. I haven’t used a thermometer yet, but I suspect it’s not heating up to temp anymore, judging by the taste of my tea.

*big sigh*

So, instead of getting this post done late Sunday night, I was reading the reviews for a ton of different electric kettles as potential replacements. I mean, I could just get another Cuisinart – this one’s done well for quite a few years, but there are so many fun options (even though I will never be able to quite justify the $250 Breville automatic tea kettle, dammit)…

In any case, I decided on a KitchenAid kettle with 6 temp settings and a very cool-looking steeper basket around 1am, and that was largely because I really, really had to sleep so I could work Monday (today).

And now it’s nearly midnight *again* (how did that happen so quickly?!), and I need sleep *again*. Seriously. Needing sleep is so inconvenient…

Just a Few Things…

…because I’m dead tired, it’s later than I’d like it to be on Sunday night/early Mon. morning, and I have to be up and getting ready for work in 5 hours.

  • National Poetry Month is over – yay! I love poetry, really, but man, that whole poem-a-day thing was much harder than expected. A good exercise, but not one I’ll care to repeat anytime soon.
  • Amazon sent me an email advertising their new Prime “Sweets” program. Apparently you can order a button to put in your house, and whenever you press it, Amazon will send you a box of goodies. Um…does Pavlov’s estate know about this? And why do I suddenly want cheese?
  • I got a new tattoo last Wednesday – continuing on my Victorian/steampunk/dark story arm. I should post pics here, and will eventually, but for now, visit my Instagram or Twitter pages to see, or friend me on Facebook. It’s another skull cameo, in a top hat this time, and my artist added a monocle which I think just really completes the whole tattoo. It’s awesome. I love it. Next up – poison bottles.
  • This coming Saturday is Free Comic Book Day – yay! Hit up your local comic shop and/or bookstore to get a nice stack of free comic books. My local comic shop is The Splash Page, and I’ll definitely be stopping in sometime Saturday morning.

That’s it for now – gotta get some sleep so I can function on this predicted-to-be-rainy Monday.

Post-Concert Late Night Musings

This will be quickish, because as the title says, it’s a late, post-concert (Adelita’s Way) Sunday night (nearly 1am), and this is the last thing I’m doing while drinking a cup of tea before bed.

It’s been a kind of chaotic/abnormal weekend, and I’m going to pay for it first thing tomorrow when I have to drag a laundry basket up from the basement so my husband has socks to wear to work. I still have another load of laundry in the washer that I’ll transfer to the dryer after work tomorrow night, and I need to take the garbage out too. The consequences of not getting household chores done over the weekend. *sigh*

I spent a good chunk of Saturday writing for the weekly BSB prompt story, and my little fairy tale turned out very well, methinks. Naturally, there are other things I should have been doing with that time (like the load of laundry I’ll have to dry tomorrow night), but it was fun to just sit and write most of the day.

Sunday I was just lazy…so I have no excuse. And we went to the concert tonight, which was okay, but the sound really wasn’t good. They really need to turn the volume down in smaller venues like the one we were at – it was so loud you can hear everything…including the feedback and monitor buzzing and all that, and it’s just a total assault on the ears so you can’t actually hear anything in the chaos. I’m glad we didn’t pay much for those tickets.

We did find a spot in the back to sit down briefly, and while people watching, I made a few observations:

  •  I still don’t have any clue why people want sparkly things on their butts. Nor do I think that would be comfortable to sit on.
  • Louis Vuitton looks awkward at a rock concert.
  • Youngsters don’t seem to care how the music sounds, as long as they can drink and dance
  • I’m not 20 anymore, and neither is my husband. We did okay, but between my still-kinked neck (pinched nerve) and his gout flare-up, we were quite the pair.

Now, it’s time to get some sleep…largely due to that last observation. You know. Adults, work, etc. Mundane, but pays the bills so I can do fun things like buy my first archery bow on Tuesday.

I hope your weekend was far more exciting (and less painful) than mine!

Self-Sufficiency in a Loom

Last weekend, I went to a Fiber Festival here in town (the first one I’ve ever heard of). No, it didn’t feature prunes, beans and high-fiber foods…we’re talking textile fibers. Alpaca, yak, sheep and various blends of wool, plus silk, bamboo and other fibers that people who work with yarn like to turn into clothes, blankets, bags and other fun stuff.

In any case, there was an overwhelming amount of beautiful handspun and dyed fiber there (and raw fiber too, for those who spin), and I brought home several skeins of wool and one of cotton, and left a silk and bamboo blend one there that I really wish I’d picked up too. But it was expensive, so probably just as well I didn’t nab it. *sigh*

Anyways, at one of the booths where I bought some wonderfully thick and soft black handspun, the woman had a small “lap” weaving loom for sale. I thought about it, and thought about it some more, and ultimately decided not to buy it. And then I kicked myself for leaving it there the whole rest of the weekend. I even mentioned to my spinning/knitting friend at work that I couldn’t stop thinking about this loom, and how much fun it might be for the thinner lace-weight yarns I have but don’t want to knit or crochet with (I prefer thicker yarns – the small hooks/needles hurt my fingers).

As it turned out, my friend knew the woman selling the loom, and contacted her to see if it was still available. It was, and long story short, I sent a check, and the loom was delivered to my house this past Saturday. An hour, maybe 90 minutes later, I’d learned a whole bunch of terms I didn’t know before, and had woven my first inch or so of fabric from some recycled silk yarn I had in the closet.

My first weaving project - some recycled silk fingering-weight yarn.

My first weaving project – some recycled silk fingering-weight yarn.

I was actually kind of surprised, to be honest. The method described in the instructions made the motions far less tedious than I thought they might be, and I found the whole experience very relaxing. I spent another hour weaving another couple of inches yesterday, and again, found it a very calm and restful activity. It does take a lot of time, especially with the thin yarn I’m using, but it’s relatively mindless, and will result in a gorgeous piece of fabric.

While I ran the threads back and forth, I thought about why I was so drawn to get the loom and learn to weave. Or why I’m interested in any of the fiber arts I take part in – crochet and knitting, mainly. I mean, I do them because I enjoy the work, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not only do I feel a sense of connection to the past when I do these types of crafts with my hands, but it also gives me a feeling of self-sufficiency.

I’ve always been a very independent person (too independent, says my mom), and I’ve also always been interested in homesteader-type activities. Crochet was one of the first hobbies I learned as a child, and it feels good to know that I can make both warm and useful things with just some yarn (or whatever) and a hook. I started knitting just because I think knit stitches are better for clothing (tighter), and weaving will broaden what I can make even more, in terms of household items and possibly even blankets and scarves.

Making things with my hands using simple tools gives me a sense of connection to the past that very few other things do. These crafts have been passed down for generations on to the next, and there’s just something that feels very important about keeping the hand-made version of them going as people cycle in and out of life. Not just because there’s value in knowing how to take care of ourselves without the technology of mass-production, but also because of that feeling of self-sufficiency that comes with knowing how to take raw materials and turn it into something useful and practical (as well as beautiful, in many cases). The more self-sufficient I feel, the more confidence I have, and that applies to all areas of my life, not just my homesteader-style hobbies.

Which is justification enough to learn how to spin my own yarn one of these days too, right? Although we may need a bigger house…

But I draw the line at raising sheep outside an actual apocalyptic-type situation. I helped a friend with 4-H sheep in high school. They’re cute, but stupid. I’m not a fan.

Alpacas have personality, though…

Patience, Grasshopper

Grasshopper_Ladybug

Patience isn’t an easy thing for most of us. When I was young (say, elementary school through high school), I always wanted time to move faster. I couldn’t wait to get out of high school and get to college. And then in college, when I realized I still couldn’t really relate to people my age for various reasons, I wanted *that* time to move faster, so I could move out of my parent’s house and get a single, glorious job that would cover all my bills and still leave me free in the evenings to…you know, watch TV and sleep. Then I graduated, and got the job, but had to stay with my parents for two more years before I finally had enough money saved up to buy a house. I got a better job on the same day I got the house, and life was finally good. I’d finally reached the point where I wasn’t constantly wishing things would hurry up and move faster.

Nowadays, I’m less impatient with time itself, and more impatient *with* myself. Every time I have to learn something or figure something new out for my job, I think I should just be able to automagically access the data and apply it like a pro – like a digital download to the brain, Matrix-style. And with writing, I feel like I should be able to learn new concepts and apply them perfectly right away, instead of constantly botching it up, trying again, getting a little better, trying again…etc.

Of course I can’t…I have to figure out what I need to learn, and then read about it, and then apply it, and fail, and try again, and fail, and go through the same process everyone else does. Which is absolutely logical/normal, but with writing especially, I wish I could grab those relatively abstract concepts and apply them without so much floundering. Database stuff is far more logical than writing (which surprises no one, I’m certain).

It’s all ego, of course – thinking I should be able to just learn new things with a simple “make it so” command. Knowing that doesn’t make me want it less though, and I’m constantly repeating the phrase from the old Kung Fu TV series to myself:

“Patience, grasshopper.”

Which reminds me, of course, that there are steps to learning, and no shortcuts, and the “journey” of learning something is often a lesson in and of itself. So might be said of the journey of simply waiting for something to happen – or to see if something will eventually happen.

Life itself is more about the journey than any particular destination, methinks.

And that is why I had a grasshopper tattooed on my forearm a little over a week ago. The ladybug is for luck, which…is a philosophical discussion for another day.


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A Memorial Day Writing Assignment

It’s Memorial Day here in the US, and last night, I looked up the origins of the holiday. Apparently Decoration Day was the day established after the civil war to remember those who had lost their lives in battle – literally fighting for freedom. It was the day to decorate graves and remember the ultimate sacrifice that so many paid for others to be free. I have no idea how that actually worked back then, as the Confederate soldiers were actually fighting *against* freedom for their slaves, but somehow the holiday was established and eventually morphed into Memorial Day. It’s kind of ironic that the government decided to move the date so it would always be a convenient three-day weekend, and there is a movement afoot to get that changed, so the holiday has a more proper “focus” (rather than just the long weekend that marks the official start of summer for so many). I’m sure it will never happen, because people do like their long weekends, but that would be a better way to put the focus on the holiday itself, rather than the BBQ’s that are so prevalent on this particular weekend…

In any case, I got to thinking about what it would be like to be “in the trenches” so to speak, and know that your last breath could be any moment now without some sort of miracle. Would you think about why you’re there, why you’re fighting? Would your life flash before your eyes? Would you pull out that picture in your pocket and say a quick goodbye? Would you even have the chance to think or process that you’re going to die?

Yes, I know, this is all very maudlin, but considering the people who have died (and continue to die) in service, it seems only right to explore those questions and try to empathize with what they might have been feeling, at least to some degree. We can never actually be in another person’s head, but we can imagine what it might be like if we spend some time in that head space. I think we owe them a little time thinking about it, in any case. They did give up their lives, after all.

In light of that, I’ve given myself a special writing assignment that will be in effect on all Memorial Days from here on out, starting today. I need to write a scene wherein an officer is near death while serving in some capacity. It doesn’t have to be a full story, but it does need to explore the head space that my fictional officer might be in given whatever circumstances he or she happens to end up in that will ultimately result in his/her death. This is how I explore things – how I learn what others might be experiencing or feeling – I create a character, and then let them tell me their story.

I may or may not share these with anyone – after all, it’s really more of an exercise in empathy for me. No two characters ever end up alike (I don’t script my characters…I let them tell me who they are, so it all comes from my subconscious, not my conscious mind), so it should be someone different in completely different circumstances every year.

This will be a challenge for me, as my conscious mind sort of rebels against military service, even though I understand the necessity and strategy behind the “machine”. But this is one of the big reasons why I write – because it helps me understand and empathize with viewpoints that are sometimes dramatically different than my own. A way to expand my perspective, so to speak.

And yes, we are having ribs for dinner. It is a holiday, after all…

Captain America, Miniatures, & Personal Libraries

My Geek Fuel box came on Saturday, and nestled among all the other geeky goodness was a sticker of Captain America’s shield. There was also a civil war (Avengers, not actual history) t-shirt (very cool, incidentally), which made me pause before I put the sticker on my laptop (yes, I’ve become one of “those” people).

I mean, I haven’t actually seen Civil War yet, so how do I know I’d be on Captain America’s side instead of Iron Man’s side? Then again, Captain America *is* Captain America after all, which is like…the ultimate boy scout, so of *course* I’m going to side with him over the hothead genius, right? Well…um…uh…

I finally did put the sticker on my laptop, but I kind of feel the need to balance it out with an Iron Man sticker now. Because while patriotic boy scouts are hot, I have to admit a definite affinity for hothead geniuses too. Call me fickle. Or maybe just well-rounded…

In other news, I had some time to kill between mailing stuff and getting my hair cut on Saturday, so I stopped into a place I’ve always wanted to visit that’s conveniently right around the corner from the post office. It’s called On a Smaller Scale, and it’s a miniatures & dollhouse store! I didn’t find what I was looking for (some stone-like lotuses for a book I’ll be working on very soon), but I did find a gift for someone, and by the time I left, my mind was swimming with ideas. Also, now I really want one of those big, cool dollhouses to decorate… *sigh*

So many adorably tiny little things, and tiny furniture and food and garden stuff and…well, I could have spent all afternoon there, easily. As it is, I’ve been trying to rearrange my office in my head to accommodate both a Victorian-style dollhouse, and a re-purposed aquarium turned on its side and divided into “rooms” for a “plot box” to use with miniatures when I’m plotting out certain scenes in my books. Wouldn’t that be fun?

I’ll be going back soon, that’s for sure. I want to create some scenes for displaying my Smurfs, and a lot of the smaller dollhouse stuff will work perfectly for that. It was a fun half hour or so, browsing the store and chatting with the owner.

Naturally, when I started trying to figure out where I’d fit more stuff, I started thinking about stuff I could get rid of. I have so many books, and I always think that I should offload the ones I haven’t touched in forever, but I just…can’t. I mean, what if someday down the road my tastes swing back to those sweet romances? Or what if something does happen to civilization as we know it? Would those seriously outdated World Book Encyclopedias come in handy? I’m certainly not getting rid of my antique books. but there are so very many I haven’t looked at in well over ten years, and probably won’t look at in the next ten either, but…I just cannot bring myself to get rid of books. I mean…they’re books. I need them. Collectively, they contain the world (even fiction), and how can I possibly just get rid of that?

Yes, I realize I have a slight problem in this regard. It’s just stuff, everything’s digital now, and odds aren’t that great on the grid blowing up anytime soon. Sure, there are certainly books on my shelves I could live without, but taking the time to weed through just seems…well, like a waste, when I could be doing other things. It’s gonna have to happen some time, because we keep buying new books and our space isn’t unlimited. But not just yet.

Speaking of which, I think I need to make a trip to Hastings soon…

On Loss, Health & Moving On…

**This will be somewhat long, and kind of maudlin, but as of next week, I’ll be using a different format for these posts that will be more interesting/varied and hopefully provide something useful in the form of links and quotes and such. Stay tuned…**

Rest in Peace, Lucy.

                   Rest in Peace, Lucy.

As you may have guessed, things did not keep going well after Lucy’s surgery. Last week, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Mast Cell Cancer, and given around 3 months to live. Rather than getting better, she kept getting worse, and we made the decision to euthanize her this past Saturday because we simply couldn’t keep her comfortable any longer (the diabetes made giving her pain medication complicated). She’s the fifth dog I’ve made that decision for, and it really never does get any easier. And then there’s that huge hole in your life they leave behind when they’re gone…

In Lucy’s case, she left behind a bit more of a tangible footprint than most dogs, simply due to the special needs her chronic conditions required. For the past six years, my kitchen has been organized largely to accommodate making her meals ahead of time (and her raw food for many of those). For the past seven months, I’ve had her glucose meter and strips, plus insulin syringes and a record book in one of my utensil drawers (near where I prepped her meals). I have extra dishes and pill boxes and utensils just for her, along with an entire shelf in the fridge and a section of fridge door specifically for storing her food, supplements & extra insulin. Every time I use the kitchen, her things are right there, right where they should be. Waiting.

My morning, evening and late-night routines all revolve(d) around her care. I got up early to feed and medicate her, and that’s the first thing I did when I got home from work. I set up the routine to clean the kitchen at 10pm specifically to go with mixing and incubating her food for the next day (and a third meal for both dogs up until just last summer). Due to her insulin and mealtime needs, there was little flexibility in our routines, which makes her absence that much more evident.

I will eventually adjust, and so will my routines, but it’s going to take some time.

The thing about the death of a pet is, I’m inevitably left wondering if there was anything I could have done differently to prevent whatever escalated and prolong their life. Heck, when Lucy was diagnosed with EPI years ago, I wondered if it was something I did, and when she went blind from diabetes last summer I felt insanely guilty for not having read the signs earlier and gotten her help before things got so bad. I think that sort of thing is inevitable when you take on the responsibility for another living being. Everything that goes wrong is a guilt-inducing event, whether it should be or not.

The fact is, there’s no real point in beating myself up about whatever I didn’t do (and there’s a genetic element that might very well have trumped everything anyways), but there is some value, I think, in trying to do better going forward.

In light of that, and that many of her issues had a basis in the immune system, and also the fact that one of the best and easiest things to do in order to keep the immune system functioning well is to *move*, I took Mica-dog for a walk yesterday.

We have a large backyard, and a neighborhood wherein the few times I’ve walked my dogs, it seems like we always run into at least one dog that’s escaped or allowed to just roam loose. This is a problem, as it’s likely one of the dogs will get hurt (last time, Lucy pinned a little French bulldog who ran up wanting to start a fight – luckily she didn’t hurt him, but she could have, easily). So to avoid both stress and liability/potential vet bills, I’ve eschewed walking the dogs, and opted to just let them get their exercise in our yard & playing in the house. As you might imagine, that apparently works about as well for dogs as it does for humans (maybe better for small dogs, I suppose).

So one of the things I want to work into our new routines is a daily walk. We’ll have to work up to it, since we’re relatively out of shape, but it’ll be good for us both, and hopefully strengthen our immune systems by getting the lymph flowing once a day or so. I’ll also have to find a time when we’re least-likely to run into loose dogs.

Yes, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to loss, but in this case, it can’t hurt, and may help. Right now I’m in the perfect mindset to make it a habit before time passes and I inevitably fall back into a more complacent, comfortable place, so I’m going to take advantage of that.

Now I just need to focus on finding a new “normal”…

2015 in Review

Normally today’s post is when I’d go back to my 2015 resolutions and see how I did (okay, normally I’d have done that Monday, but last weekend got away from me yet again – funny how they do that). I’m posting the link there so you can go back if you want, but the year got derailed almost as quickly as it started, and just spiraled right out of control from then on out. I had challenges in pretty much every part of my life, and I’m annoyed but not too proud to admit that I didn’t deal with them nearly as well as I should have. In any case, I’m not going to go back point by point on last year’s resolutions, because it seems…pointless, given the year I’ve had.

But, water under the bridge. I learned a lot, made some pretty significant changes, and kept going, which is ultimately all any of us can really do.

I also started three serial novels in newsletters that are not, and will not be finished. To those who may have actually been reading along, I apologize for that. It was a great idea, poorly timed, that got caught up in an existential writing crisis of sorts, and while I could go ahead and force myself to finish those stories, I’m not going to. In fact, I’m leaving behind serialization altogether in the new year, as well as several other writing projects that I was working on for the wrong reasons.

As a matter of fact, I don’t plan to publish any of the stories I wrote in 2015. They weren’t wasted, by any means – in fact, all three are very significant in the fact that each of them revealed something very important to me about myself as a writer and the direction I want to move in as far as storytelling goes. Some hard decisions came with those realizations, but I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I kicked off last year with a new tattoo – my first in 13 yrs or so. You wouldn’t think you could learn much from getting an image inked into your skin, but I got two more tattoos as the year went on, and I actually did learn a lot about myself, and who I have been vs. who I want to be in the process. The last one especially was very…defining for me, and even a relief, in a way.

My job has changed over the past year too – “evolved”, if you will. I make a point not to talk much about specifics of my job or the people I work with online (for obvious reasons), but as difficult as it was there for awhile, I end the year very contented/satisfied with what I’m doing and the environment I’m in.

In my personal life, I did a lot of things wrong last year. But the biggest “sin” was putting my obligations (most often self-appointed) above my personal needs. I spent a lot of time resenting all sorts of different things, and way too much time trying to decide how to deal with it all rather than just…well, dealing with it all. It took a week-long “vacation” just this past month to get my head screwed back on straight, and as annoyingly enlightening as it was, it really clarified things for me and allowed me the “reset” I desperately needed. Hopefully I can carry those lessons through the next year and not let things get so mentally “out of hand” again.

Surprisingly, the key to prioritizing/managing my personal life has simplified itself through the menu “plan/system” I adopted this past fall (the only one I’ve ever managed to follow for more than a week or so). Odd how inspiration comes from the strangest of places, isn’t it?

In any case, the year is basically over, and I’m ready for the new one to start. Onward to 2016!