Category Archives: Yes I Can!

40 Before 40 – Final Progress Report

I will be forty in 23 days. TWENTY-THREE. DAYS.

There are days that I feel old, but most of the time I have trouble reconciling the number forty with how I feel.

The last thirteen months have been some of the hardest of my life. Between separation, divorce, job loss, and no job found…it’s been stressful to say the least.

I didn’t get through my list of 40. Some of that is due to financial constraints (I shot my wad on the big one – going to Iceland) and some is due to the inability to do things because of depression and anxiety.

You know what, though? I don’t care. There were some stretch goals on there. I’m not going to rehash everything I didn’t do, but I’m going to show you what I did do.

  1. Attend a live concert
  2. Climb a tree
  3. Go to the local nude beach
  4. Go to the opera
  5. Sing a new song at karaoke
  6. Take a barre class
  7. Take a cooking class
  8. Funky hair color
  9. Try hot yoga
  10. Volunteer
  11. Do a fun thing with Bean every day of his summer vacation
  12. Rosé in the garden in July
  13. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday
  14. [Redacted]
  15. Become passable in Swedish (I’m still doing lessons!)
  16. Develop a habit of meditation
  17. Get back into my DIY habits –bread, stock, cheese, jam, etc.
  18. Perfect the homemade pie crust.
  19. Take a good photo
  20. Try 12 new cheeses
  21. Drink a bottle of expensive champagne
  22. Get a stamp in my passport
  23. Meet three ‘in the computer friends’ in real life. (Still waiting on my PSM)
  24. Publish my first book – this should happen this month or very soon after depending on how long it takes me to format stuff. (If anyone is interested in an ARC, let me know!)

So – twenty-four of forty things. That’s not a great success rate, but I’m really happy about how much I managed to do even when I was so anxious I could barely leave the house. I don’t plan on hitting any of the missing 16 items in the next 23 days. My primary goals for February are to get my book out and find a goddamn job. Oh – and to turn 40. Of course.

Don’t worry – I have a whole list of things I’m planning on accomplishing in the next year (although maybe not 41 things…). Stay tuned for all the ways I’m going to be awesome next year.

2016 – The Wrap-Up

I’m just going to pretend that this year is over. I really can’t take any  more 2016. The next couple of days are interstitial days – they belong to no year and nothing that you do on those days matters. This is a new rule I just made up, but I’m keeping it.

Fuck you, 2016!

This year was tough. My marriage ended. I moved into my own place. I got officially divorced. My job ended. I have been – as yet – unable to find a new job. A lot of celebrities I especially liked died. A celebrity  I don’t particularly like not only lived, but was elected president. Money is tight and anxiety and depression are high. My kidlet is stressed out. I’ve had persistent shoulder issues that have prevented me from doing as much as I’d like.

Lots of shit.

Lots.

(Sometimes, literally.  Motherhood is rewarding AF.)

Seriously. Fuck you.

But you know what? It wasn’t all bad, was it?

I’m in a fantastic relationship. I have a great kidlet (even if he is not only a four-and-a-half-year-old, but also the source of that literal shit I have to deal with from time to time). I really got some quality time with a lot of wonderful friends – and made some new wonderful friends, to boot!

Being four is serious business

There was a lot of good travel this year – I was in Vegas in April for the RT conference where I got to meet IRL my friend Elizabeth Hunter as well as make new writerly friends! In May, I went to Bend for the weekend with the Beer Guy. I was in Seattle a couple of times (July and November). In August, I was able to take the Bean to South Dakota to meet my grandmother (his great) for the first time (and not incidentally got to sing karaoke with my three bestest besties from the good ol’ college days!).

Me & my marshmallow goo proving that being 39 is also very serious business.

AND – I was able to go to Iceland. ALL BY MYSELF. Sometimes I remind myself that if I could do that (which required a lot of overcoming of my anxiety issues), I can do almost anything.

I waited patiently in Bifrost for a divine visit, but unfortunately, the gods overlooked me this year.

I got to meet some other personal goals as well. I’ve really reconnected with my domestic badassery – my garden wasn’t much to talk about this year, but I made jam, and just canned festive simple syrups, and made some pies, and started baking bread again. Also – cheese. I made a cheese. Soon, we will know if that cheese is delicious. CROSS YOUR FINGERS!

Parmesan!!!

I finished writing two books and a novella, completed edits on one book that’s currently in the last look-through by my editor on its path to publication.

I found out that I really, really enjoy being a writer, and if someone would actually pay me, I’d be okay doing this for a living. (What I need is some freelance editing/proofreading work to supplement my as-yet non-existent writing income. Apparently there’s no six-figure advance for self-publishing.)

SAY MY NAME, BITCHES!

I’ve worked through a lot of things this year and I hope that I’m coming out on the other side stronger than I went in. I lived on my own. I single-mommed. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve stopped procrastinating and started achieving my dreams. I’ve traveled internationally alone.

All of the things I thought would be the hardest have been the easiest. The only thing that makes this year still shite is that pesky lack of funding issue. (I am open to paid companion positions, all eligible sugar daddies reading my blog…I’m sure there are a ton of you out there. Call me.)

(Seriously. Call me.)

The emotional stuff has been hard, but I feel like I’ve been tempered this year.

A year ago, I declared that 2016 would be the year of me. When I wrote that, I had two very specific goals in mind. I wanted to end the year not married and not in the job in which I started the year. Both of those things have come to pass, albeit not exactly as I’d planned. (Maybe I should be a little more careful with what I put out in the universe.)

I don’t know everything that 2017 will bring. There are a few things of which I’m certain:

  1. I’ll (again) move houses, but this time into a more permanent situation (less than a month now!)
  2. I’ll start a new job
  3. I will publish two books
  4. I will turn 40 and there will be a unicorn piñata (the party is the day after my birthday – Saturday, 2/25 – you’re totally invited)
  5. I will do some travel, even if only a little bit
  6. My Bean will turn 5 (FIVE YEARS OLD!)
  7. I’ll have a great garden and do more canning (I’m out of salsa and it is a travesty)
  8. I’ll keep writing
  9. That crazy Bean will start kindergarten
  10. I’ll keep moving…yoga and walking are where it’s at right now, but I’d like to – just maybe – start running again
  11. I will drink delightful gin cocktails on the back patio in the summer with the people I love best
  12. I will laugh and love and live just a little bit more

 

40 Before 40 – Update the Eighth

Eighth is a weird word. It’s not autocorrecting, so I must be spelling it right. But weird, right?

ANYWAY – we’re reaching the home stretch. Due to  my current unemployment and my desire to not live in a box, some of the things are going to be postponed until I have more disposable income. But still – I have made a bit more progress.

Things that I did in the last month…

I went to the local nude beach. I did a volunteer cleanup there. I saw lots of naked people and too many snakes to make me want to be one of those naked people. BUT – because I love you, I bring you photographic evidence. Boobs and pussy.

img_0187

Heh. It’s a cat.

 

I made jam. Lots of jam. I’ve been cooking more, too (yay for the instant pot!). So, the DIY stuff is coming along nicely.

All the fig jam...

All the fig jam…

I also climbed a tree. A fig tree. To make fig jam. It was a little scary, but it’s done! (Sorry – no photos of this!)

That takes me to 17 of 40 things finished…but there are some things that will be done!

  1. [Redacted]
  2. Photo framing – just need to shell out the $$ to get that done
  3. Cheese trying – this is currently on hold (fortunately, I’d probably tried nearly 12 cheeses in the first 7 months, so I can probably declare this a win…).
  4. Publish my first book – I have the cover art mockup – just need to finalize fonts; and I should get first edits back from my editor at the end of this week.
  5. Perfect pie crust – I made pie earlier this week, and although it was good, it wasn’t perfect. Yet. I’ll try a new crust recipe for the second go.
  6. Meet three computer friends IRL. DAMMIT, Cat! Just come visit for the weekend. Mel – wanna go cheese shopping or something? I’d buy you a beer.
  7. Ice skating. I will go. I will fall down. People will laugh, but it will be done.
  8. Regular exercise.
  9. Self care (I’m mostly sleeping better and I’m starting to eat a little better now, too…)
Pecan pie. I served it with whiskey hard sauce. It was amazing.

Pecan pie. I served it with whiskey hard sauce. It was amazing.

 

 

Words. So Many Words.

I’ve been plugging away at the writing project. I’m about 1/4 of the way done with the book in progress (which is #4 in a series I’m writing). It’s been fits and starts and it’s generally taking me a lot longer to get the words down than I would’ve predicted. I’m not as efficient a writer when I’ve got all day, apparently.

I do need to get better at that, though. I have just over a week to make final changes to my first book before the editor starts working on it. She has three readers who took a look at it and got their comments back. Two of the readers had some good critique, but overall liked it. The third did not so much like it. For some reason, that person’s opinion holds much greater weight than the other five people who’ve read and said they enjoyed. Not sure why the rating system is weighted that way… In real life, shouldn’t five positives > one negative?

 

ANYWAY – I have a cover artist. I have a content editor and a proofreader. I should have a book published by the end of the year if all goes well.

And then people should give me money and not tell me if they don’t like it. If you want, we can even skip the part where you read the book. Just buy it and forget about it.

So – goals for the next few weeks – tighten up the first 1/3 of Eleanor’s first book and get to the editor.

Finish up the fourth book in the series. Start a second draft of the second book in the series.

And then – the other series…I have two scenes left to write in the first book and I’m ready to start the second!

So much writing. So much editing. And I should probably try to find a new job that will pay me in cash money since I’m guessing that I’m not going to sell a million copies of my book in the first week of being a published novelist.

Life goals

Life goals

Today, however, I’m making fig jam and listening to my #ginforthewin playlist.

gin-is-awesome

 

 

IT’S OCTOBER!

For five days now. I know.

It’s been such a busy few days. There was a lot of good and some not so good.

Thursday evening I decided I really, really needed to make apple cider sangria. And so I did. And lo! It was delicious.

2015-10-01 19.44.05

The sister wife and I hung out with the architect all evening until I got tired (or drank too much sangria) and had to go to bed.

Friday started out kinda shitty. It’s not my story to tell, but I would like to go on record as being pro-gun-regulation. I tried to get my Zen on, but was unsuccessful.

Two things that usually make me happy.

Two things that usually make me happy.

After the tense was over, I headed over to a nearby storage facility to sign a contract on a storage unit. It was not creepy at all.

(Mis)quoting a friend, "I'm not saying there's been a chalk outline there, but..."

(Mis)quoting a friend, “I’m not saying there’s been a chalk outline there, but…”

After paying money for that lovely space, I went home and found the sister wife waiting for me. We exchanged one of Satan’s handshakes.

hugs

and then went to lunch.

That evening, the Bean and I met the architect for dinner at Ecliptic then went home to see how the cider sangria had fared after sitting for 24 hours.

It fared well. So good.

I did my best to decimate the remaining supply.

I did my best to decimate the remaining supply.

 

Saturday, the sister-wife, the architect & the Bean went on a great train adventure. The best part of the adventure is that I did not have to go along!

2015-10-03 18.32.52

 

Instead, I finished another chapter and a half on my book, and spent most of the day hanging out with a friend. There was tasty food AND delicious beverages involved.

Porter and Thai Curry

Porter and Thai Curry

Sunday was moving day. But first, we feast!

Bloodies with tomato juice from the garden, cheesy grits, and egg clouds. And bacon. Obviously.

Bloodies with tomato juice from the garden, cheesy grits, and egg clouds. And bacon. Obviously.

We moved a few things into the storage unit, including a big-ass shelf thing. Our living room looks rather bare now, but we no longer live in a box palace and I feel comfortable having the house cleaner come back!

After the exciting storage moving (there was police action! Storage units are the best!), the sister wife, the architect & I (with occasional help from the Bean) cleared the garden of tomatoes. SW (sister-wife) and I headed to her house for jars and the the rest of the day was spent canning tomatoes (me) and finishing the deck (SW & the architect).

TOMATOES!

TOMATOES!

I was supervising. With wine. (I may have also antiqued the deck. With wine.)

I was supervising. With wine. (I may have also antiqued the deck. With wine.)

I mosied down to the local food cart pod to get the hard workers food and beer. I fell on the way because I INSIST on wearing this very cute pair of shoes that I have never yet worn without falling over.

I’m bruised on the shin, in the chest region, one hand, and a little swollen on the chin. It was awesome.

Imagine this (these are box carrying bruises), but all over my body. Yeah. It's SO sexy.

Imagine this (these are box carrying bruises), but all over my body. Yeah. It’s SO sexy.

Because I am awesome, I went to the food carts in aforementioned shitty shoes, but also my Mitmunk pink bionic leggings and a unicorn shirt.

So cool.

So cool.

I carried my Marie Laveau bag, too, because (a) I needed a way to get all the food and beverage home and (b) I am that awesome.

2015-10-04 18.45.05

After the deck was finished (and it is, except for fastening the stairs to the deck), we celebrated with food and beverage and fire!

 

It was no trip to NOLA, but I sure did have a delightful weekend. Wonderful people really do make for a lovely weekend.

sister wives