One Word Goal for 2015: Ambition

hanging out at bidwell pool
I get all kinds of junk mail, and a good number of the self help variety. I hardly read of these emails, but I leave them in my inbox, just in case. And every once in a great while, one or two get read.

For example, Why You Need a Word for Your Year. Actually, I remember last year’s post too. I can’t say I found it particularly meaningful, but this time I liked the idea. Especially when the word “ambition” came to mind.

Ambitious is not one of my personality traits. I am a settled sort of person. So by ambition, I mean the drive to actually stick to some of my bigger goals. Like respecting my writing by 1) writing, and even better 2) keeping up with my writer’s group/buddies, even if I’m not as good as they are. Or like sticking with the exercise and good eating that was actually getting me somewhere.

If I do respect my writing, it may even show up here. Not because the audience for it is here, necessarily, but for the idea of an audience. Maybe there will be more blogging in general too, but it’s not really up there yet. If I get everything together…

So I’ll post my four most important resolutions early (is it really custom to only decide/share tomorrow?)

1: Respect the writing (write a real draft of last year’s NaNo manuscript)

2: Take care physically (eat right, keep exercise goals)

3: Actively manage budget (maybe get a downpayment started? after separate emergency fund)

4: Keep clean! (that means I want a proper closet organizing system and to not let clutter take over again, like it did this past month—the UFYH app already has started on that one. I look forward to a grown up sort of space instead of the one room and constantly moving I’ve had since starting college.

Off to a Start

I’ve survived the first month of January, and I’ve made some progress. That whole “health” thing is progressing will (runkeeper and sparkpeople.com make the cell phone actually worth carrying).

But at the same time… I’ve finished one book this month. I mean, I started at least five others, but my usual reading rate is something like 8 to 10 books a month, so that’s not good.  Especially since I haven’t been writing either.

And that probably explains why my mood has been so dramatically up and down this month, because there hasn’t really been a chance to keep up with myself.

I’m trying to figure out where that time went.

I completed a few pattern repeats of a “dickie” I started three months ago! But I still haven’t finished. And my mom took me fabric shopping to make my own dress—which can’t be started until at least tomorrow. I’m not keeping up with any television shows.

I haven’t even been playing with my new phone. I know, because I apparently get insanely long battery life.

Whatever, I’m weigh less than I have in at least two years. Balance will come with practice and attention.

And I’ve been noticing a lot of misogyny/bigotry in the world. So there’s that.

A Sorry State of Affairs

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

And not simply in how remiss I’ve been in updating this blog, or how little writing I’ve done in general since finishing NaNo last year.

But when trying on clothes a week ago, I looked in the three-way mirror and did not think I looked awful. 

Actually, I thought: I look good.

Not these jeans make my butt look smaller—because they didn’t, not this trouser line lengthens my stumpy legs—which they did, but also showed off my panty lines. No, I just thought Hey, I look good. 

And I’ve never thought that before. No about me. Maybe my eyes, my hair or sometime my waist. Never before a great deal of effort.

That says something very sad, especially since I’ve never been the one concerned about materially improving my appearance. I almost wrote “concerned about my appearance,” except that’s never been true, even when I refused to make any effort. I only refused the effort because it didn’t seem like it would do any good. After all, I’m not conventionally attractive, and I never will be. For that past few years, I’ve been okay with that part, because I figured making myself look as best I could was enough.

I’ve never actually thought I looked good.

So now I have, and I can look at pictures of myself and not be actively repulsed. This is a strange new world, I admit. Now what will I obsess over? Hopefully, nothing more than books, and writing. Maybe the world I see will be more honest.

An Unexpected Day Off

I called into work this morning to find out if I’d be coming in at noon again, and found out I could stay home. Well, the extra money might be missed, but at least I enjoyed the first snow day of the season.

In fact, by the time I woke up, the overnight snow still dusted the foothills, and it continued to snow off an on. Late morning, the wind came up, making me very glad for  insulation and double-paned windows. Hearing trees whip and the occasional apple blown into the siding was fun, but I can’t imagine the days when the cold would have slipped right through the window frame and eaves.

And there’s something about the weight of a snowstorm, with the wind and the mist, that not only makes me happy to stay inside, but have a productive inside day. Well, after I finished dawdling online—though I did get the three books I finished this weekend, unless you count Thursday, which would make it four.

reading mitt

If I hadn’t had to update the program, you could have seen the bread too! I ate it instead.

So I put on my finished reading mitts, and got into The Man from Beijing, which is…interesting, in a word: the prose is spare, and I imagine in Swedish, probably artless; but the social issues behind the plot are so simplistic, it’s making it hard to read. And yay! after clearing out the freezer, we found the yeast, and I made bread. Yes, homemade bread.

Well—strictly speaking, bread made from scratch, because I did use the bread machine. I have made homemade bread from scratch without that device, all the way from hand-kneading to oven. But with it’s “super rapid” setting, it finished in just two hours. I want.

Fresh bread, lemon-ginger tea with honey, internet, and a book, all while watching the snow fall from in front of the fire?  Best October-weather-change day ever!

Sick Days

Well, my brother finally finished his blog post on how the ‘nice guy syndrome’ is as bad for men as it is for women, but he’s disappeared again, and we never got him set up to post here.

Oh well. I’m sick, it started last night, although I didn’t recognize until after I’d posted. I knew subbing was dangerous.

And yet, it was a fairly productive day. I walked myself over to Rite Aid and found cold medicine—there are so many—and managed a reasonable budget for lunch. Still got my cookie though. I finished the first wrist warmer, though I haven’t yet started the second; I’ll cast on after finishing this post. And at work, after my boss left, a woman came in fundraising for an international student’s program and I got a very nice necklace and made a donation. My last roommate was an international student, too.That made me happy.

After I got home from work, I went on a nice long walk. Only half an hour, but considering I hadn’t expected to walk much at all, and had barely been able to focus at work, it went pretty well. It was sunset, with gold-edged clouds streaked across the sky, which meant most of the time I wasn’t walking with the sun in my eyes. Also, the sun just hit the mountain pass, leaving the rest of the range in shadow. The odometer has been a worthy investment.

Finished one of my books, too. And it was a library book, so I don’t have to worry about running out of time. It was Blackout, by Connie Willis, and a really interesting time-travel historical novel. Unfortunately it less ends than stops, because it’s part of a two-parter, and the second book isn’t offered by the digital library or the local library and I’m not sure I want to pay $11 for an ebook, and I don’t have any more room on my shelves.

Oh well. Even if I didn’t finish The Invention of Solitude in time for the book group, I enjoyed it, and it was worth buying. And we had some fantastic tangents in the discussion.

Meanwhile, I want to kill the rest of the time until my next allowed dosage by not thinking, as I have to do when writing, so I’m going to watch more White Collar and starting on that mitt. Something nice and simple but will keep my fingers busy. Let’s hope this cold doesn’t hang on.

Bear Baiting

Sorry for the late post, but for most of the day I’ve had a big, bulky bandage on my thumb and it felt strange to type with.

 

You see, when we went to the wedding, both dad and brother decided to go with formal cowboy hats, rather than civilized wear. Mom and I did our best, but they wouldn’t be persuaded otherwise. Even the extended family now refers to us as ‘the clan’.

On the way home, we had to ensure we had the proper credentials to don such attire.

Therefore we stopped to wrestle bears.

As I’m sure you know, such things are highly regulated, even for rednecks and there is no significant risk to either human or bear. Lots of behind-the-scenes choreography, you might say. You may have guessed this isn’t my kind of thing, but given it was wrestle or walk home, I was nevertheless compelled.

So annoying.

Despite everything, I managed to get my thumb caught on one of the claws. He (the bear) did offer his apologies, which I told him were entirely unnecessary, given I hadn’t wanted to wrestle any bears in the first place and so let myself be rather careless.

Before you worry, no one else even got a scratch, and I’ve already graduated to your standard band-aid. We all made it home, and the guys got to keep their cowboy hats.

what is this I don’t even

Warning—Digression Ahead

I should write a real post.

It’s not as though I lack material. Aside from all my saved drafts, all ready for whenever I actually feel like giving them proper attention, I also have a bookmark folder titled “Blog Topics” where I save every site I feel like I could talk about, and I don’t even want to think about how many are there—I don’t know that I’ve ever reviewed it.

But despite coming up with at least three possible posts today, I just distracted myself and can’t do more than an aside.

I've also been known to paint...

I’ve also been known to paint… (Photo credit: Debbie Ramone)

Because I fired up my old computer: the laptop my parents gave me for high school graduation. And while I’m not ashamed of giving away my real age in general, thinking about how long ago that was is just too depressing to think about.

Anyway, the old brick still works. It still works nicely after about five or ten minutes of loading, and it does get hot, and the pointer keys are ridiculously loud and loose.

Also? All the keys are worn smooth. It feels so strange, so warm and soft like a living thing.

Kinda creepy. I’m emotionally attached to it, so I’m not giving it up (even though my brother just informed my there’s enough dust in the average keyboard* to grow marigolds) and therefore I hope it won’t eat me with technology goes sentient.

*no citation given