Retrospect and Resolutions

523898_427143540690691_680257817_nIt’s that time again when we look back at the year past and ahead to the year approaching. This year has been rough. Honestly, the past two years haven’t been easy at all. However, there have been some bright spots that kept me going. I really don’t want to spend too much time looking back. 2018 is almost finished and for good or bad I am done.

(I am writing this to Just Take My Heart by Mr. Big. I blame my friend Hillary. She shared a video and now I am listening to a playlist. It seems fitting though. Shine, also by Mr. Big, was the ending theme for the anime Hellsing just fyi. What? You guys know by now I am a geek.)

I  also don’t really make resolutions for New Years. I would like to focus more on my writing and get my finances better balanced but those are ongoing goals. I think I am optimistically working toward those things. Speaking of writing, I have stuff to work on. I am thinking about putting out a collection of short stories. I have quite a few just lounging in limbo with no one but me to enjoy them. We will see how it goes. *shrug* More on that in 2019. 😉dream time

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Christmas Cards

cards-2052053_1920Today I filled out 18 Christmas cards. My hand hates me.  I don’t usually do that much writing by hand. I type because it is easier on the joints. I am proud of those 18 cards. I filled out addresses and applied stamps and everything. The next step is to actually get them mailed. It only took me two and a half weeks to get this far, maybe I manage to get the cards out in time for Chrismas.

Though my hand is complaining about filling out 18 cards I am certainly glad it wasn’t 18 letters. About a hundred and seventy-five years ago, Christmas letters were what you sent instead of cards. It is all thanks to one guy in England that really didn’t feel like writing a ton of letters to all his kith and kin, that we have Christmas cards at all. This enterprising fellow instead had an artist draw a festive season sketch with the words Merry Christmas and Happy New Year already written on it. Then he had the thing copied and sent those out instead of the traditional Christmas letter.  It took a while before they caught on and someone realized there was money to be made.goblet-3564507_1920

Now, Christmas cards are a tradition that many embrace, though sending a card through the mail has become a bit old fashioned, much like Christmas letters. Now we send a Merry Christmas text message or a mass greeting on facebook. However, I like to still send cards when I can.

I think when you take time to sit down and actually scribble out a sentence or two, or even just “Merry Christmas” in a card and then actually mail it to a person it shows that the person you sent the card to matters to you. It is certainly easier and cheaper to text or email. Stamps are ten dollars for a book of twenty and the cards cost money too. Then there is the time spent digging up actual mailing addresses and trying to produce writing that is legible enough that another human can read it. Christmas cards take effort. If you put forth effort for something like that it is because you care for the person receiving it. It’s like sending a long distance hug.

Maybe other people don’t see it like that. Maybe that is just my point of view. However, I am still thrilled by every card I receive and I hang them on the back of the front door where I can easily see them. I hope that people that receive cards from me feel the love I shove into the envelope along with the brightly pictured piece of cardboard.

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Happy Thanksgiving

I am listing to pleasant instrumental music as I sit here. The turkey is in the oven and the pumpkin pie is cooling. In another couple of hours, I will sit down with my children at the table and enjoy the feast.

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My brother should be at my mom’s soon with my sister-in-law and his friend Bud in tow. I love whenever he brings Bud over. Bud is an elderly gentleman in his 90’s. He fought in WWII and often shares his memories of that time as well as how things were when he was growing up. This first-hand look at the past through the eyes of someone who has lived it is always a blessing.

Normally I would have baked a couple of pies and headed over to my mom’s by now too. However, my mother reminded me that kids grow fast. She said that sometimes it is important to slow down and savor these holiday moments while I have them. I am of course welcome to join her, my dad, and the rest. I may even stop by later just to visit but I am also taking her advice.

Often we get caught up in obligation and rushing from one place to the next that we don’t get to enjoy the holiday. We get wound up and stressed out from travel logistics and traffic. This is a time for reflection. It is a time to count your blessings. Yes, it is a time for families to come together as well but love doesn’t care about miles. It is there between people if they live in the same house or in another state. Love stretches great distances.

My love for my family is always there. So while I might not be part of the busy bustle at my mom’s table in person, my heart is there with everyone and it is also here at my home with my children. That’s another thing about love, it can be in multiple places at once. It’s not limited to Thanksgiving dinner.  And that is something to be thankful for.

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A Wednesday Reminder

A friend and mentor posted this on Facebook and I really needed to see it. I am tired and both kids have appointments today. My awesome neighbors decorated their house for Halloween and gave me their left over spiderwebs so I kind of want to decorate too. Yesterday started out okay at work but ended rough. It was a real struggle to not just clock out and leave. I made it through though I am still exausted from the effort.

Last week we had a company picnic and our big boss kept getting interrupted by trains going by. Our office is near a railroad track but we usually only get maybe two trains a day. When she was giving her speech we had four in the space of fifteen minutes. No one really heard all the things she planned to say but we did catch “that damn train” along with her closing remarks. I think the laugh she gave us expressing her honest exasperation and her closing remarks were better than whatever she had prepared to say. She said, “If you are going through Hell, just keep walking…”

Meaning that if life isn’t going great, don’t just stop and wallow in the misery. It may be hard. You may want to give up but if you keep pressing forward you will find yourself in a better situation.

There are many days I just want to give up. Depression doesn’t help. I just have to remind myself to keep walking and when I want to give up, don’t.

My Dad

daddyHappy Birthday today to my awesome father. The man who originally gave me the inspiration to write. Without his example, I wouldn’t have realized how amazing it is to create your own worlds and to put your thoughts down in words. I wouldn’t have known it was possible.

When I was a kid I always saw my father reading in his spare time. We had Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, Popular Mechanics, and a variety of books scattered here and there. My mother would sometimes get the chance to read, she loved it too but was often too busy with the responsibilities of tending to our family. I watched my father read and knew this was a good thing. I watched my father write and I knew that this was also a good thing. I watched Doctor Who and NOVA late into the night with him and learned about science. I watched the Dark Crystal and The Last Star Fighter and learned about dreams and fiction and possibilities.

I may have been laughed at by my peers when I answered a question in class with outlandish answers, but that was because they hadn’t been taught to look beyond the now. (I still get a bit of satisfaction from the fact that we do sometimes use robots to help clear minefields now. They laughed at me then but I was right in the end.) My dad has been one of the greatest role models of my life. I wouldn’t be who I am without him.

Happy Birthday Daddy! I love you.

Days like this

I don’t want to write today. I’m tired. I was up at 4 A.M. giving the dog a bath. (Trust me, he needed it.) It is nice outside today temperature wise and there is a steady breeze blowing, even if the overcast sky promises rain.

I think I would rather read and ignored the rest of the world. I had to people yesterday. There were not many, but I still entertained three other adults at my house. (Okay, so one was my mom and another was my brother but they still count.) It was my son’s birthday party so there was decorating and cleaning to be done beforehand and clean up afterward.

I have yet to wake up fully today and it is almost 5 in the afternoon. Maybe I should just go take a nap. I needed to get at least a blog post done, though it was very tempting just to skip this week. You guys came very close to getting ten ways to kill or protect against Vampires, rather than this post of me whining. I’m trying to save that for the book I am working on. (Or at least October so that it can be a sort of Halloween post.)

Anyway, I showed up and put words down on the page. That is the important part. You guys keep doing what you do and I will keep plodding along too. Have a good week.

Tired Brain

I worked a lot this weekend but not at my day job. I paid bills, ran errands, and wrote. I am tired but I am not complaining. I am just happy I was able to get some stuff done. I will probably go to bed after writing this though.

Some of the work I got done was on one of my works in progress. I managed to finish one entire section and make a good start on the next. I have plans to finish the entire book by mid September and have it edited and ready to release by the first week in October.

I stayed up too late last night so my thoughts aren’t currently not very coherent. I thought about putting off posting until tomorrow but I am trying to be good. I am a known procrastinator. My goal for this blog when I picked it back up after graduation was to post at least once a week. I started posting on Saturdays but that slowly transformed into Sundays. I have to stick to my schedule or I will fall back into old patterns. I want to stick to my schedule and actually make progress with my writing. Posting my blog on time is a tiny step in that direction.