Such a Year is 2016

I’ve been in a reflective mood these past few weeks. This year has been something else and I’ve still been trying to wrap my mind around it. So, in the spirit of introspection, I’ve been trying to figure where I’ve been and where I want to go.

introspection

From a career, or day job, perspective, I worked a major project for most of the last year that went live early this year. The project was very successful and it established me as an expert in my area which, as my father rightly put it, is a double-edged sword. There are days I can hardly do my job for people wanting to tap into my expertise. Not to mention there have been headcount changes and increased responsibilities. I am finally reaching a place where I can feel like I am no longer excessively behind, but it has been stressful. My eagerness to head into work every day has dimmed to an extent.

Also new this year, all of the kids are officially in school as of this August. Which is exciting and terrifying at the same time. It means a different chapter in our lives, but it also means there is more maturity in all the children to an extent. This is my one year where everyone is in the same school before Kidlet One heads to junior high next year. But Kindergarten is a busy time so it requires more time commitment. So this often keeps me on my toes.

At some point, I can only guess it was the stress and exhaustion, I inexplicably gained 20 pounds and experienced fatigue so deep I could barely function.My creative well dried up and the thought of writing anything was just overwhelming. I was in a cesspool of unhappiness.

After a few months, I decided I could no longer live like that. I spent some time outside, taking advantage of our unseasonably warm weather. I started on the ketogenic diet, and after a few starts and stops, I can successfully say I am now losing weight and have loads more energy to get through the day.

And while my creative well is not quite flowing anew, it does contain a few droplets. I figured rambling along on some blog posts with regularity might be just what the inner creative ordered. I have a few things to go about over the next few weeks, and my goal is to get back to writing fiction again with some consistency.

Look for more in the coming days and I am excited to be back!

These Days

Things have been really busy around these parts the last few months. I’m still trying to get a grip on things and smooth out life a little. I’ve found it a little annoying lately that something always has to go wrong on the weekends.
This last weekend, for example, I wanted to get a lot of cleaning done because we are having the birthday party for the youngest next weekend. My back has decided that now is an awesome time to hurt. Lots. So it limits what I can accomplish at a time.
I’m also trying to get so many things done that I can’t figure out where to start and what to tackle first. The biggest thing there is to just pick something and go after it. So, I am thinking that I might test a few freezer cooking recipes to see if we like them before I make several of them to feed us. Soccer season is fast approaching. I definitely report back what we’ve tried and how it works for us.
What’s going on with you?

Chaos Uncontrolled

Last week, I was on vacation. It was the first full week the kids have all been out of school. And it was insane. I had all these big plans for what I wanted to get done. Very little of that happened.

I am totally ready for a break from them and some peace and quiet. That never happened. I almost look forward to returning to work. This is not the kind of chaos I want for our house. It has a very negative energy and nobody is happy. I am hoping balance returns soon.

Front Yard

 

Here is a pic of our front yard. My brother was playing with the kidlets. I was standing in the driveway. Still lots of things to clean up/fix, but all that room for playing is awesome.

A shout-out to some interesting things:

My online friend AJ Clarkson was nominated for a PARSEC award for her audio drama Fortuna. She just launched her blog, ClarksonPunk.

My other friend Joshua Roots has a new book, Summoned Chaos, coming out soon. The first one, Undead Chaos, was pretty entertaining.

And to round things out, a snippet from Abigail Quinn #2:

My mother’s face filled the mirror as she waved furiously. Only my mother. When technology wouldn’t let her in, she used all sorts of magical means.

“Mom, can you turn for a minute while I get my robe, please?”

“Oh, of course.”

She promptly moved out of sight, and I grabbed my robe from the hook by the door. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I said, “Okay, Mom, I’m ready to talk now.”

A little white lie never hurt anything. I needed a pot of coffee and a hot shower to deal with her on a good day.

Change is Good, Bad, and Ugly (But Mostly Good!)

2014 has been crazy so far in ways both good and bad. We moved to a new place on December 28 and rang in the new year trying to get things set up to be functional enough to survive. The move was great for us though. We now have more room and a few acres, complete with a big front yard and a small bit of woods in the back. We also have an abundance of doors and a certain youngest child who likes to escape whenever he deems the weather nice enough to ride scooters on the back patio.
New Year’s Day was a sad in that my husband’s stepfather lost his battle with cancer. And after a few weeks, another relative of his was in a serious car accident. If the other driver hadn’t been paying attention, he likely would have died.
Now we are settling into a new routine. Kidlet 1 loves to ride the bus, so thanks to a flexible work schedule, I was able to shift things around so she can ride in the mornings. I think her sister looks forward to riding with her when she starts Kindergarten next year.

Then the news came that we are losing my mother as childcare at the end of this summer. I understand the reasons, but it doesn’t make the finding of a new care provider and the associated costs easier. I do look forward to my mother being able to the “grandparent things” which means it might be possible for my kidlets to stay the night on occasion, which would let the hubs and I have some time together. So it’s not the most awesome thing, but it’s not the most terrible.

I challenged myself to do the 2013-2014 Sekrit Solstice SFF Story Swap, affectionately dubbed the SSSFFSS, over at Absolute Write. I was given a prompt to write a story of indeterminate length. Then polish and give to a fellow writer. I’ve not done something like that, and I’ve not shared anything really before, so it was a new and boundary-pushing experience for me. I enjoyed it, and my giftee seemed to enjoy the story, so I was pleased with the overall experience. I’m challenging myself to write more this year, and I’ve opened up a whole new world with my short that makes me look forward to writing.

I’m trying something new where I dedicate a section to each post of something interesting in the writing arena, especially writer folks with an upcoming book or intriguing blog post. So, look no further, writer shout outs are below.

Several of my online writerly buddies have upcoming works:

Anna Zabo has new book coming out in August. Takeover looks mighty intriguing and the cover is gorgeous. You might remember I featured Anna and hosted a book giveaway when Close Quarter came out.

Tiffany Allee just had a book come out. Don’t Blackmail the Vampire is a delicious tale you can really sink your teeth into. (Don’t mind me, I’m just a dork.)

One of my favorite author teams has a THE mega book in the series coming out later this year. Ilona Andrews has the next Kate Daniels book coming out in July. Magic Breaks is the pivotal book in the series. Can’t wait! There is also a new series coming out in October, the first book titled Burn for Me. Also, the lovely duo has picked back up with the second book in their free serial, Sweep in Peace.

What new things do you have going on?

Falling Through Fall

This fall has been a crazy time for us. I was all set to write during NaNoWriMo, with vacation days scheduled and everything. Then we decided we were going to put in an offer for my husband’s aunt and uncle’s house. This is actually where he lived when we met back in high school.

So I decided to forgo NaNo in lieu of preparing to buy this house. We send documents in, waited, scrambled to send more documents and held our breath. This past week, the appraisal report was released and we learned that in order to have our loan approved some things needed to be done to the residence, namely the roof being replaced.

We also learned that the husband’s aunt and uncle did not want to replace the roof, so we were faced with a decision to make. Did we still want the house bad enough to make a new roof happen or were we going to give up on the house?

We’ve discussed our options the last few days and have come to the conclusion that we do want the house still and are currently researching and getting estimates so we can get the roof repaired.

So I am not in such a hurry to pack now, and I’m taken on something else to do that I’m going to talk about soon, which I really hope has an impact on what I’m doing every day. Things have been  stressful for me in general lately and I’m hoping to break the cycle.

House of Ick! And Gross!

2013 has proved to be an interesting year. New job. New schedule. More activities. And a buttload of illness. For a house that rarely gets sick, we’ve been rocking the Sickness Salute since Christmas. Every week seems to bring something new. Stomach bugs. Colds. What appears to have been a mild flu. Sinus infections. Either a new illness strikes or a new family member gets it. I’m exhausted. Because nothing says awesome like waking up at 2 am to clean puke off the floor.

New job is going well. I am getting home earlier, but lately I have been battling exhaustion in the evening and I’m not nearly as productive as I had hoped to be. Perhaps when spring comes with some sunshine and warmer weather, things will ease up a bit. Sunshine is always good. My days at work are busy, but I stay just this side of panic about task overload. The hours sure fly by and the people are fun to work with. I like this company. Every time I’ve worked there (intern, 2 temp gigs, & now full-time employee), I feel right at home with these people.

The kids are getting busier than ever. Soccer will start up soon. I’m kind of disappointed that Kidlet One wanted to take a break as she seems to have a bit of natural talent. However, Kidlet Two is super excited to be big enough to play this year in the preschooler group. I am also trying to round up other activities and opportunities for the kids, even if it means I’m exhausted. Kidlet One has Girl Scouts, which always seems to be busy.

On the writing front, my novels (yes, that is plural) call out to me, mocking me about my lack of attention to their causes. Every time I sit down to write, it seems something comes up with the kids demanding my attention and I end up so exhausted it is hard to think once I finally sit down again. I am hoping some of this clears up with the warmer weather. I’ve also made efforts to get to bed earlier so I can get up earlier. This morning I got up a littler earlier, but so did Kidlet Three and he woke his oldest sister in the process, so I don’t quite call it a success. More like yet another work in progress. But isn’t all of life?

In the meantime, I keep trying to make progress, including a complete declutter of the house. It’s time to purge a great many things. I’ll keep trucking after my goals and get there eventually, including blogging more. I do enjoy it.

2013: Year of Many Things

At one point I was going to write all these delightful goals for 2013. Things I was going to do, all these wonderful things I was going to accomplish. But alas, life has a way of taking all of my plans and scattering them to the four corners of the earth. So, let’s recap a bit.

Thanksgiving holiday I was as sick as a dog. The week I had off between Christmas and New Year’s, I was sick as a dog. I’ve started a new job. The past week I started fully into my new job and my brain is mushy, full of new things. It will all sort itself eventually though. I’ve also had a horrid headache for the last two days.

So let’s just say that for 2013, these are the things on my plate:

  • Settle in to my new job
  • Write more
  • Get the house decluttered & hold a garage sale
  • Save a significant amount toward a Disney vacation
  • Focus on eating right including more real, whole foods
  • Make regular exercise a thing for me
  • Pay off some debt

That seems to be plenty. Some of it is simple. Some of it repeats from last year. And some of it is new to a public list but has been on my mind for quite a time.

I am excited to get back into the writing seat. I am also grateful for a new job that allows me more time with my family and involves working with a great group of people. I get home much earlier than I have in years and my commute is cut in half. Score!

If you are a urban fantasy fan, Ilona Andrews is putting out the Innkeeper Chronicles. Book One is called Clean Sweep. The link takes you the beginning. I find it awesome.

Some of my friends are out in an anthology called A Spank in Time! Way to go, folks!

I think that’s about all I have for now. I am currently reading Tiffany Allee’s Lycan Unleashed. Just started. Somewhere I need to keep a list of books I’ve read this year.