It’s (Officially) Autumn!

When I woke up this morning, the temperature in the apartment was just shy of what our a/c is set at, WHICH MEANS the outside temp had to be significantly cooler. I tested the air out the front door – you know, opening it just enough to stick a hand out and wiggle said hand, but not enough that any neighbors could actually see me – and it felt cool. So I threw open all the windows, tossed back my head, and cackled.

Okay, maybe not the last part so much. But the windows: yes, very.

Ah, but it’s finally autumn here. Some of the trees are even getting confused and changing their leaves. The bike ride to work was actually almost too chilly – 60 degrees sure is brisk when you have a headwind. The clouds disappeared and the humidity dropped from a sweaty 75% to a mere 36%. In another week, we’ll start seeing sparks when we pet the cats.

I fed my pumpkin spice coffee addiction this morning to celebrate. Bruegger’s has a surprisingly good version of it, with just the right blend of cinnamon and other spices without being cloying or having that strange mouthfeel flavored coffee usually has. And this, by the way, is all coming from a verified coffee snob. I wish they sold the beans somewhere, but they probably make more money off of people like me coming in to get my fix drip.

Aah, autumn. Now, of course, this being the desert, it will be back up to 90 degrees by this afternoon, but that doesn’t make the mornings any less grand. Ooh, also the stargazing – now that the clouds are gone (for the rest of the year), we are greeted by a great deal of constellations when we go for our morning walks. The sky is so incredibly clear here – I could wax poetic about that fact alone. I used to think shooting stars were incredibly rare occurrences, then I moved to Arizona.

It’s almost worth the 110+ summers.

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Fuck YOLO

I sat down and began mapping out the next few months this weekend. I made a beautiful graph that will get me to 100,000 words… by December 20th. Oh god, that seems so very far away, but at the same time, so close. I can’t write much faster than 1k a day right now without compromising quality, and since I’m also supposed to be querying… well.

I have to remind myself that this is a process, and that anything worth doing takes time. Still, I started this particular project in July and I highly doubt it will be done by next July.

I was struck recently by a blog post I read about how to choose what to do with your life. Seven Strange Questions appears to be circulating everywhere right now, and for good reason: it takes that typical “what should I do?” question and reframes it really well. I like it overall, but one part struck a nasty chord with me and won’t stop resonating like a poorly tuned piano in my head: “If you knew you were going to die one year from today, what would you do and how would you want to be remembered?”

The first time I read a variation of the “if you knew you’d die tomorrow” question, it felt deep. The second and third time, not so much. The seventy-fifth time: it’s just trite and lazy. No one will ever answer it honestly, because you can’t until you’re actually face to face with that situation. Sure, it’s a good question to consider, but if I were actually going to die in a year, I would eat so much cheesecake I’d turn into one, and then I would quit my job and use what savings we have to spend all my time doing fun shit. That’s not even remotely helpful.

All that YOLO shit, while in the right vein, still bugs me. Planning for the future is just as important as living in the moment, and those questions simply devalue anything that takes longer than a day, a month, a year to come to fruition. Like – for an example that most of my current blogging community will resonate with – TTC. If you knew you were going to die in a year, would you still go through with TTC? Does that make the endeavor any less valid?

That’s what I thought.

I think it’s far better – and fairer – to ask someone to imagine that they’re seventy-five and on death’s door and to think back and go over every single thing they would regret. We all know we could die at any moment, that our mortality is always only a few heartbeats away, but that doesn’t invalidate the things we’re doing that will take longer to bear fruit. Sure, we should strive to be happy with the moment, search for peace in the process, and be content with the day-to-day, always attempting to change what we have control over or accepting the situation with grace, but dreams come from hard, daily work. I should hope your dream and your legacy will take more than just a year to achieve.

 

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WIP Updates

I finished the edits on GW last night and duly celebrated with a glass of wine. God, I love wine. GW was the story that was out to betas over the summer, and I received their feedback in August. It’s a(n urban?) fantasy with faeries and gingerbread and a bus driving MC who is the epitome of a reluctant heroine. It’s a story I’ve been trying to write right since college.

I completely rehauled the plot in the spring after some really good advice from a friend, but I was too close to the story still when I sent it out to betas to really gauge whether I’d succeeded. So I spent a lot of time while waiting for feedback figuratively biting my nails. I also busied myself with another WIP. Always a good idea, by the way.

The first feedback I got wasn’t so good. But it was true. And it took me some time to figure out how to make it work. Then I got more feedback and I realized this was going to work. And it wouldn’t require a major overhaul! Which is fantastic, because that wasn’t going to happen. If it’d needed major reworking, I would have simply shoved GW into a dark corner and forgotten about it.

I spent the majority of September working on those edits inspired by my betas’ feedback, both big and small. And I finished the last edit yesterday with some small satisfaction. This story works. It’s not perfect – it will never be perfect – and fuck if I know whether or not it’s marketable, but it works.

Writing is such a long, arduous, lonely process. There aren’t many clean breaks between processes, and certainly little to no clear stopping points. So I’ll take what I can get. This story is Done, with a capital D.

Now, the hard part. Writing a synopsis. Writing a query. Researching agents. Plugging away with queries day after day. I hate this part because it takes away from the time I could be writing, from the time I could be creating, but it’s a necessary evil. Nothing you love is ever going to be sparkles and unicorns 100% of the time. Besides, only a successful query and agentation will allow me to have more time for writing in the future.

October will be my official Querying Month. Then when that’s done and over, I can finally start rewriting the epic lesbian desert story from this summer. That should get me through the end of this year.

TL;DR: Edits done! October = querying. November/December = rewrite new WIP. January = ???, February = Profit!

(Cross-posted to KA Doore)

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The Great Chocolate Experiment: Weeks Two & Three

Spoilers: The results so far are still inconclusive.

For the second week, I doubled my dose of chocolate, going from two pieces of dark chocolate in one day to four pieces over two days. And I noticed… well, not very much. What little I did notice could have easily been attributed to other factors. I was in class for work all week, which completely threw off my routine while giving me plenty of time to be bored out of my skull. Because class was held on the other side of town, I neither biked like usual nor went to the gym, so I ended up getting far less exercise.

So I was, reasonably, lethargic and grumpy last week. But nothing out of the ordinary considering the circumstances. I also went down to two meals a day, which I’m sure didn’t help with the moodiness, and I started a new cycle.

Basically, waaay too many variables. But, strangely, with all that going on, I would have expected a more pronounced moodiness, even without chocolate, than what I ended up with. I was a mostly reasonable, if a bit tired, human being all last week. Quite contrary to my hypothesis!

This week, however…

Well, for one, I fucked it up. I got the dark chocolate and I had a piece on Friday, and a piece on Saturday. Then I snarfed down several handfuls of chocolate chips that were intended for pumpkin cookies. I have no excuse except for poor planning on my part – little to no food in the house and me without a meal for waaay too long, plus my willpower had been all used up during the previous week, and I was making allowances for the weekend. In short, a recipe for chocolate chip snarfing.

Monday morning was awful. I didn’t cry, but that bleak despair returned and I couldn’t get past it all morning. By the evening, it was better, but Tuesday morning was pretty bleak too. Today I’m feeling much better, much more normal. I also didn’t snarf chocolate chips last night. Correlation? Sure. Causation? Not so fast…

The poor eating over the weekend could have done it – I had gluten-tastic burgers and a beer. The lack of exercise the week before could have too. Hormones is always a good guess.

Basically, I fucked up enough that this week is a wash, experiment-wise. I’m not going to call it either way, but I am going to clean up my act and try again next week. I’m back at work and my usual schedule, so it’ll be a lot easier to keep the variables relatively low.

I’m also fudging around with my diet. I realized when I was depressed on Monday that the two meal a day thing was becoming a problem. It’s not that I can’t do it – it’s that I start pushing back mealtimes to prove how well I can do it, and then start thinking about trying to eat even less, and – well, that’s not a safe space for me to be in. I think the Whole30 and the AIP worked so well for me because they don’t restrict when and how much I can eat, only what, so I don’t have flashbacks to freshman year of high school and eating only rice cakes and diet soda and counting calories and believing deeply that less is better. If 1200 calories was enough to lose weight, then 1000 was even better! 800 most best!

I still believe in the heart of the WP+, though, but I’m going to tweak it some more to avoid spiraling down that path. Eating more fat and less protein has been the most important change for me, and the best financially, so I’m sticking to that. But I’m going to start eating breakfast again, instead of pushing my first meal back to 10, sometimes 11am. To avoid adding too many calories, I’ll just make my first meal a little larger, then split it in two. I was having a difficult time eating everything I needed in just two sittings, anyway.

This means less emphasis on IF and WP+ and more of an emphasis on a high-fat paleo diet, which helps me incorporate my ethics without pressing my neuroses buttons. We’ll see how this goes. I may have to ditch the notion of losing weight all together if I can’t keep my head about this. :)

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Filed under chocolate, depression, diet, paleo, progress, weight loss

One Lovely Blog Award

one-blog-lovely-award

Thank you so much to Hello, My Name is Tubeless and Lez B Vegan Moms both for nominating me & my blog for the OLBA award! Tubeless has had a shit ton of hurdles thrown in the way of her journey towards motherhood but she has so recently had success! Keeping fingers crossed and gods implored that the shit is over for her. The duo behind Lez B Vegan moms is also semi-recently pregnant, and I’ve been enjoying watching their journey, especially all the growth-fruit related recipes.

Now, for the rules:

  1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Include 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.
  5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

 

We’ve got two down!

(Very True and Irrefutable) Facts:

  1. Sailor Moon and its online community was highly influential on me when I was growing up. The recent resurgence in interest, along with the reboot (Sailor Moon Crystal!), has brought my inner fangirl out in the most ridiculous ways. The biggest difference between then and now? Now I’m no longer ashamed to admit I like Sailor Moon.
  2. I wrote fanfic – so much fanfic – back in the day. I wrote three whole novels worth in one universe, and a ton of short stories in another. It was all horribly, painfully written, but I don’t regret a single word. The nights I spent writing page after page filled with poor grammar and bad dialogue helped me get a ton of experience writing and the fanfic community encouraged me to keep going. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without fanfic.
  3. I started drinking coffee in sixth grade. You could blame my parents, but considering even then I was waking up before them and making it myself, there’s nothing they could have done. By high school I was drinking four shots of espresso every morning. This may have been related to the late nights writing.
  4. I was an exchange student in Germany for a year in high school, and spent three months studying Russian in St Petersburg in college. I love to travel and took my wife to England for our honeymoon. Basically, any extra income we have = travel.
  5. Thank goodness I love travel because my family lives everywhere. My parents are in Maryland, my brother is in Texas, my mother-in-law is in California, my father-in-law (& sister- & brother-in-law) are in Minnesota, one grandma is in Illinois, the other is in Georgia, I have uncles (& aunts) in Florida, Alabama, and Nebraska, and a cousin (& second cousin) in Belgium. It makes getting together for family events a wee bit convoluted.
  6. I worked in the foreclosure industry once. Never again. I lost all respect for big banks.
  7. It is my dream to be a published author who lives in a tiny house on a big, co-op style farm with my wife, some friends, and a gaggle of goats and children.

I’m going to riff off Epidemic’s OLBA post and not nominate anyone because I’m fairly certain everyone I follow has already been nominated. I was in class when the award was going around, so I’m not 100% certain of that, but if you have NOT been nominated and would like to be, I hereby nominate you. Yes, you. You are awesome. <3

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Two Years

Sunday marked two years since we got married. Two years since we rounded up our friends and family and lugged them all the way out to Minnesota for a fall wedding and contra dance party. Two years since someone said upon disagreeing about a decoration or a time or what have you, in that tone, “well, it’s your wedding.”

Damn right it was. And it was (almost, 99%) perfect. Two years later, I don’t even remember what the last 1% was. So now it’s just 100% perfect.

It didn’t change much. We’d been together for seven years when we finally got married. We’d been living together for five. We had two cats and a shared bank account.

Yet it changed a lot. How we present ourselves to the world. How our families perceive us. Calling Lady my wife is just right in so many ways that girlfriend, spouse, or partner never were.

This is our first anniversary, though, where we are also quite legally married. And, just as I had hoped and suspected, it doesn’t feel any more genuine than last year. Legal marriage is nice and all, and sometimes I feel a twinge of annoyance that if we’d just waited a year, we could have had a fully legal ceremony in MN, but what really mattered was the public commitment, and having all our close friends and family there. I learned a lot about both groups then – that our friends are amazing, loving people, and that (most of) our family is the same. I also, unfortunately, learned some things about the rest of my family that I had long suspected. But that’s for the best – I no longer waste my time and energy on them.

We celebrated like only we can celebrate, by going to JoAnn’s, looking at fabric, having hard cider, and then going to the mall to sniff candles. We slept in and went for a bike ride, we pet cats and dug up grubs for our chickens. We cleaned the fridge and washed lettuce, baked cookies and made granola. We watched the new Sailor Moon with a friend, went to the farmer’s market, and caught the bats as they swarmed out from beneath the Campbell bridge.

It was, all in all, a very normal weekend. But all the more special because I have her. <3

Photos by the delightful and highly-recommended KNG Sommers.

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“Tropical Storm Conditions Possible”

tropicalwarning

That’s not something you see every day. At least, not in the desert.

Perfect timing, considering I’ll be at a class all week and therefore this blog will be in (mostly) radio silence. I’ll try to keep up with ya’ll, but will have fairly limited internet for the duration. So stay safe!

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