A Month in Review: December 2017

Wasn’t it Thanksgiving just the other day?

As much as I love the holidays, it always seems to feel like they go by so fast. Maybe it’s just what happens when you get older and a month is less and less a significant fraction of your life. Maybe it’s that moving out but then coming back home to stay with my parents comes with its own special bouquet of irritation, frustration, and mild condescension. Maybe it’s just that drinking makes it go by faster.

Whatever it is, I keep finding myself sitting back and watching in puzzled amazement while life unfolds. That’s a large part of why my partner and I are planning to have a quiet New Years Eve — just a simple evening at home with the kitties.

Here’s all the other things I am currently:


… Todd’s story, still. I’m starting over on a fresh draft, but I think I’ve got a much better starting angle this time. The writing I did during NaNoWriMo gave me a lot more backstory to work with for the supporting characters, and I just need more of that right from the beginning.


… To lose weight. As soon as I get a job and can afford it, my partner and I are going to find a personal trainer.


… A new timeline for my novel. This year for November was the first time I really sat down and plotted the story out with a real structure in mind and didn’t lose interest in the story after I’d done so. That was in a Google Spreadsheet though, and while there are a lot of ways that worked for me, it got harder and harder to keep track of where I was in the outline, what had changed, what needed to be rearranged, and what no longer belonged. Now I’m going to experiment with making a timeline on my living room wall.

Pushpins, leftover Christmas ribbon, post its, and strips of extra wrapping paper to make attaching more post its even easier.


… New Year’s Eve! We’re not doing anything special. My brother might stop by and hang out, otherwise we will probably just snuggle down with a bottle of wine and the kitties. Maybe we’ll come up with some NYE games or do some sort of time capsule thing.


… Nothing in particular. I’m re-listening to Sabriel read by Tim Curry when I’m alone in the car.


… Rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my beau again. The regular debate about whether we should watch Angel as well (for the brief crossover bits that are missing from Buffy) or not has returned.


… Kind of aimless. I want to lose weight, I want to write my novel, I want to cook more, and I want a new job — but it’s like all these things are just pulling me in different directions and I end up standing still. Sometimes it’s all I can do just to meet my daily 5,000 step goal, which is laughably low compared to the suggested 10,000 steps a day.


… A job! I’ve been unemployed, admittedly by choice, since the end of August. I’ve been sending out resumes and had a handful of interviews, but so far nothing has quite gone all the way. It’s already gotten to the point where I never know what day it is anymore. Please, someone give me work to do.


… The weather. Which is weird, because I’m not a huge fan of winter and the cold, but after last year’s constant rain and flooding the sun and clear skies are kind of nice. Of course, it’s not great from a drought point of view, but for heavens sake, Sonoma County just had a major fire disasters. It’s a relief to not have flooding following right on the heels of that mess.


… Being an adult. It kind of blows. Ugh. But as soon as I’m employed and a productive member of society again (and able to pay my own bills rather than racking up debt to my parents) I’ll feel better about all that.


… That some of the applications I’ve sent out over the past few days will get me something. I already have one interview scheduled for January 3rd!


A Month in Review: November 2017

Christmas decorations went up as soon as the Thanksgiving dishes were done, or thereabouts.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been very distracted by life in general, but here I am!

As fall sets in, it’s been getting colder at night and I’m very grateful for the baseboard heater our landlord gave us when we moved in. It’s not super chilly during the day if the sun is out and it’s not very windy, but we live in one of the coolest climate areas in wine country. The morning fog either takes longer to burn off or solidifies into ice on the car windshield, or both. Daylight fades earlier but, between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and miscellaneous recipe experiments, my kitchen has never been warmer.

The last six months have been… intense. I quit my job, got my first tattoo, did some actual freelance work and got paid for it, started balancing my checkbook again like a responsible adult, and… won NaNoWriMo for the third year in a row!


Here’s all the other things I am currently:


nano-2017-winner-badge… Todd’s story, still, but at a significantly slower pace now that it’s no longer NaNoWriMo. First I thought that I wanted to aim for 100k words total by January, but I just don’t have the energy for that and job searching and Christmas coming up. So I downsized to 75k words by the end of 2017, which feels a lot easier to wrap my head around.

Even though I didn’t finish the story in 50k, I’m pleased with my progress and I think I like this draft a lot better than I liked the last one. I did such a good job plugging my brain back into being a writer again.


… To become more involved in the local LGBT scene, mostly by way of helping out with the Facebook page of a support group for partners of transgender individuals.


… Good progress on regularly meeting my daily water goals. Very healthy.


… Christmas! It’s a bit of a bummer that my aunt and her branch of the family is going to stay in Michigan for Christmas, and it’s a tender subject with my grandma especially, but other than that I’m looking forward to the caroling and the cookies and the warm family dinners and the driving around to see all the pretty light displays. My partner and I do that one every year. Last year I made a lights tour guide for Sonoma County (2016) that was published on a local family magazine website — it’s always fun to drive around and check everything out.


Serenity: Those Left Behind. I read it years ago on my computer, but I was shelving at the library and snagged the hardcopy version to check out.


… Friends, still. And we’re rewatching Buffy The Vampire Slayer, having just finished catching up on the most recent episodes of The Walking Dead.

And omg, I sobbed so hard when blank was cornered by blankers in the blank and was blanked while blank, unable to help due to an injured leg, had to be dragged away screaming. I buried my face in our oldest cat’s fur and cried until she got annoyed with me and left. TWD just kills me sometimes.


… Grateful. I know, it’s cheesily predictable to say I feel grateful in connection with November, but I am. We finally made some cool friends our own age who actually live in the same county, have even more pets than we do, and share some significant key interests.


… More sleep. I don’t know what it is about November, maybe it’s that my brain was constantly buzzing with thoughts about the novel I’m working on. Some nights I just could not settle, and that way leads to texting bad puns about shingles to a friend at 4am.


… How much snugglier the kitties get when the weather gets colder.


… All the sexual allegations that are flying around. First of all, why can’t all of these Hollywood men keep it in their damn pants?

Second, dammit Danny Masterson! That 70’s Show is one of our favorite tv series to play on repeat in the background. How do you reconcile loving a show with the fact that one of the cast members may or may not have violently raped a few people? It’s different with shows that are still ongoing — they can drop the actor like House of Cards did with Kevin Spacey. But with That 70’s Show, after the seventh season when Eric and Kelso take off, Hyde is the only interesting character left. I’m willing to boycott those later seasons because they’re just not as good, but is it bad to watch the earlier seasons? Does that imply support of that one cast member’s awful conduct in his personal life?


… that I can spend this last month of the year surrounded by love and light and all the people who bring joy to my life. (Shamelessly snagging that sentence from Zen & Pi, because it’s a good one.)

I’m not always the best at self-care. Sometimes I can be a workaholic, even when it comes to my hobbies, and I just can’t switch my brain off. At other times, I don’t have the self-confidence or momentum to get going.

Wild Fire – a review

This sounds like a really interesting series. I just added the first two to my To Read shelf on Goodreads! 😊

Druid Life

Wild Fire is the third book in Anna McKerrow’s awesome Greenworld trilogy. That’s a tricky reviewing setup right there, because reviewing the third book without spoilering the first two means I can’t talk about the story much at all. Further, you don’t want to start here, you want to start with Crow Moon which I reviewed here – eco-pagan-mythmaking/ and then read Red Witch – reviewed here ways-to-live-a-trio-of-reviews/

The Greenworld is in the southwest of the UK, a small country led by witches, hived off from the rest of the world as said rest of world plunges into fuel wars, environmental degradation and chaos. A little bit of utopia set against a very dark background. Except that, like most utopias, it is held together by things that don’t work so well for everyone. Book one – Crow Moon introduces us to the Greenworld through the eyes of Danny, and Danny…

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IWSG Post #12

DECEMBER QUESTION: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

When it comes to writing…

I could not be happier with my NaNoWriMo success this year. A lot of it was building on my momentum from last year, which is ultimately what I want to do. I need to just finish a project, and then I can go from there! And the way I want to get there is writing a little bit every day.

Planning ahead of time and getting a complete timeline worked out for the story really, really helped.

If I’d thought of it more ahead of time I might have spent more time researching baseball teams and all that. My main characters are happily bonding over things I know nothing about, haha.

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When it comes to everything else…

I would go back in time and start actively balancing my checkbook earlier in the year. At least that would have felt like the sky was falling all at once when financial disaster finally hit.

Most everything I would do differently has to do with how I’ve been spending money.

One of the things I wanted to do this year was get more into yoga, and it happened relatively late in the year but it has happened! We made a friend who is now hosting a yoga group in the loft of her house. I finally have a reason to dig out my yoga mat. Success!

I’ve been baking and cooking more lately. The only thing I would change about that would be to start doing it sooner. It’s been very therapeutic, creativity inspiring, and also a lot of fun to share the recipes here.

And I’m not going to lie, the only way that could have happened is if I’d quit my job earlier. It had just become a place I didn’t want to be anymore, and was running me into the ground.