The New Normal, Creativity & Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut - fermentin'  away.

Sauerkraut – fermentin’ away.

I know…the Monday post has been all about dogs lately, because I tend to hyper-focus on whatever happens to be top billing in my life at the moment. And dogs have been such an important part of my everyday life since I was…12 or so, that losing one or adopting one is a pretty major life event. I can’t really move on from losing one until I adopt another one – I prefer to always have two dogs for a variety of reasons. And then there’s a new family dynamic to work out when another, different personality moves in.

But now we’ve more or less reached the new “normal”, so these posts will more often feature non-dog topics again, and you can find the weekly dog updates on Friday in the new “Gone to the Dogs” feature, as told by Murphy & Mica. Kind of a fun way for people who want to keep up with the dogs to do so, and a great creative writing exercise for me. Win-win! I’ll get the “Friday Only” subscription put up again by Friday, for those who might prefer to only hear from the dogs (hey, I understand!).

Speaking of creativity, I’ve been struggling with writing much of anything since early last December (maybe even late November). I don’t deal with long term stress or change all that well (which is something I should work on). But in the last week or so, since Murphy’s been settling in and we’ve been maintaining the status quo, I’ve finally been getting some of that writing “spark” back. The habit is still dead, unfortunately, but I’m working on that too. If you’re interested in how, there are more details on my writing blog.

It’s not just my writing that’s been affected – it’s all areas of my life, and as I sit here mulling it over, I’m kind of amazed at just how much I sort of “shut down” when dealing with core life changes so I can keep up with what I *have* to while I wait for everything to settle back down. I have a crochet project that should/could have been done weeks ago, I just haven’t had the motivation or energy to finish it (it will be done and out the door this week). There’s a jigsaw puzzle on my dining room table with barely any progress – it’s been there for a good month now. I’m behind on my postcard swaps (way behind), and my comic book reading (again)…it’s actually a bit crazy how much stuff I automatically just drop in times of stress or change. It’s just my personality, but it’s a little unsettling, because…life is change.

Needless to say, I’m relieved that my head is clearing up enough for me to pursue those “extra-curricular-activities” again. I’m a very logical, rational person at my core and that’s the part that takes over in times of stress, because that’s what I’m best at. But I really need those creative activities and hobbies to keep myself rounded and give myself an emotional outlet that I can’t really get any other way. We all need creative outlets, I think…a way to express ourselves that doesn’t require naked vulnerability.

Another creative outlet I’m getting back to is some weekend food prep – stuff I wouldn’t normally mess with during the week due to time constraints. Like making sauerkraut. I was getting into it several months ago and made a few nice batches, and then bought a crock, and…every batch I’ve tried to make using the crock has failed miserably. So this past Saturday, I got out a couple of glass jars and started some plain sauerkraut that already looks far better than anything I tried in the crock did (hence the picture – red and green cabbage make pink sauerkraut, by the way). I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see the liquid come up above the cabbage (like it’s supposed to) and bubbles forming on top…it’s gonna be really good.

My year got off to a really bad start, but between Murphy settling in here with far less trouble than expected, the creative part of my brain kicking back in, and now my sauerkraut looking good…I think the rest of the year has some really great things in store.

Of course, I still have to do our taxes…