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I remember when Missouri finally felt like home.

As I mentioned in my last post, we moved around a lot when I was a kid. Probably roughly once a year. There were a few times we stayed in one place for two years, and I would always get stir-crazy after a year.

The longest I ever lived in one place was the eight year stretch that Josh and I lived in Leicester, NC (and, honestly, I don't remember the last year; I always seem to think we only lived there seven years, but no, it was eight). I did get stir-crazy after a year, but soon we fell pregnant and things changed dramatically anyway. I liked having a home for my children. We had the best yard in our trailer park. It wasn't where I'd always wanted to live by any stretch, and it was 'far' enough out that few people ever visited us (I scoff about that now...), but the home was ours if not the land, and we were happy.

Everything suddenly seemed weird when we moved to MO. I didn't notice it when we first moved, being busy carting things and overflowing with excitement. Our dear friend Tracy kept the girls while we did most of the major move, and then we went back to NC to drop off the truck and pick up the kids. It was night when we arrived, and they were of course out of it as they were roused, but I beamed and threw my arms out, promising, “This is home!”

And everything shifted. I looked up at the night sky and got the most intense sense of vertigo that I'd ever felt. The sky was wrong. I felt like I was falling, and I may have even had to grab Josh to steady myself. It was all so foreign, so alien. It wasn't right.

I'd never lived in one place long enough to get so very used to it, but now that I had, it was so odd. I now lived under the wrong sky. I'd never realized how accustomed I'd grown to our Leicester sky, but I realized now – and I remember the times Josh and I stood in our driveway with our arms around each other, watching meteor showers, and I remembered all the times I sat outside doing so many reiki ceremonies. That night sky had become an anchoring part of me without ever realizing it.

Shocked as I was in that moment, I felt like a woman drowning. I flailed around, seeking some familiar sight. I looked for my “itsy-bitsy-teeny-tiny-tornado” that had always been my anchor point back in NC. I'd always thought of it as such growing up, and I gave it my own silly kid-name without ever knowing what it was, but I suspect it's probably the Pleiades. I grew increasingly concerned when I couldn't find it, and I spun around on my sidewalk and then in my yard until I found it. Far off in the whole wrong place! It was so heavy and noticeable, this weird sky change.

And I remember the exact instance when I came home one evening, probably 3 or more years later, and the world shifted again, at least for my mind. I was hurrying in to join the family, probably had an armload of groceries or something, and I noticed the sky out of the corner of my eye – and everything stopped. I cartoon-scooted to a stop myself, surprised by the sudden stillness in time, and just tilted my head back to look up at the sky that suddenly looked so right.

I'd been out all day and was so glad to be home, but I thought of 'home' as my family. That evening, I realized this place, our Grateful Stead, had really and truly become home for me. I can't remember the day, the season, or even the year this happened, but I remember that very distinct moment when the world stopped me and told me my home was here. When nothing seemed off, awkward, foreign, or far away anymore. The house, the four acres of yard I work so hard to keep up with, my family within...and this gorgeous, sparkling view from above. All were right, comfy, and safe.

I hope I never forget that moment. I don't think I've ever had such a strong feeling of home as I did that night.
I've always been a bit 'scatter-brained', but my memory has gotten consistently worse since my mom's death in 2008. I remember that entire week so very vividly...and then maybe a handful of moments from the next few years. I started having blood pressure issues after having Maya in 2011, and while they're under control now (off the meds, even!), I still wonder if I didn't have a stroke a few years back when I lost all of my words one afternoon. For considering myself something of a writer, that was especially scary. If there's one thing I've always had, it's words.

At this point, I reckon that I can't remember at least half of my life, probably way more, and new memories seem very hard to make. Since I used to have a damn near perfect memory as a child, this is particularly frustrating for me. Most of my memories are from age 2-8, especially the years I lived in Illinois near my family. I know my clinging to that huge batch of memories is due to my abusive upbringing. My mom met my stepdad when I was eight, and I used to long for and obsess over the time when our lives were so free and happy. And yet while I did block out most of the abuse except for the really bad ones (in theory...more on that later) that stick out, I used to have a good recollection of the happy times I had as a kid. I don't have many of those anymore, and since I especially yearn for memories of my Momma, that hurts. While I know logically that we moved around a lot, and I lived -here- and -here- in third grade, -here- in fourth and fifth, -there- in sixth, etc., I maybe have one or two actual memories per year anymore.

I do remember a lot more from my late teens and twenties, when I was finally living on my own. This is why I figured it was probably abuse related and not a physical cause like stroke. There's one particular instance when I was given a good dose of morphine in the hospital, was taken home by Josh, and then lost my shit as I relived a very scary repressed memory, this one involving my mom rather than stepdad. What really freaked me out about that particular time was that once I remembered it, I knew it clearly & realized that it had only happened 3 or 4 years earlier. The fact that it was so recent and I just la-de-da'd around the two people who did know about it, and I hadn't, really freaked me out. I wondered how much more of those things I had lost and how bad they were (I always thought I had more emotional/mental abuse than physical, but what if I'd just pushed the worst physical ones away?), but I actually didn't want to know. Incidentally, I also list that I'm allergic to morphine now on my medical records, because I will never get near that stuff again.

Not that I didn't do my share of drugs at some point. I won't lie about that; I'd always been such a goody-goody my whole life (definite self-preservation), so I'd fully enjoyed my 'party year'. It had only been a year, maybe year and a half, and I knew a lot of people who did that for many years without seeming to have any memory issues. Now, I did some really good stuff and a couple really bad ones before becoming a bit more discerning. Perhaps it's that spunion phase catching up with me a half century earlier than expected.

My mom had started fretting a bit about her own memory before she died. I seem to recall her grumbling about possible early-onset dementia and buying less snacks and exercising more. I believe she's the one who first mentioned crosswords being helpful, and she started doing those at night. I don't know if she had actual medical problems or was just worried about aging, because to me, she had always seemed overly concerned with how she was aging. There's a lot I wish I could ask her about her and my grandma & great-grandma's medical histories. I know a bit, but I think maybe not enough.

For me, it's gone far beyond simple forgetfulness anymore. I literally cannot remember anything if I don't write it down, and I have a great many notebooks and often forget where I put which one. There were a couple of times that I ran late picking up the kids from summer camp because I actually forgot. My kids are my world, and they're what I'm able to focus on the most. Plus, you know, it's not like the house isn't incredibly, vastly, noticeably different when the three of them aren't here. While those two times were just embarrassing, I've recently had some scarier instances of driving down the road and not knowing where I'm going. Usually it's just, “Whoops, what am I doing again?”, but I turned the wrong way once and had to check the time to figure out where I was supposed to be going, confirm I actually was headed elsewhere, and turn myself back the right way. The galling part is that I wasn't on “driver auto-pilot” or going by some kind of daydreaming muscle memory, because I'd actually turned the opposite way from where I usually turn. And I wasn't quite sure why I wasn't home.

So, yeah, it's gotten scarier. The doctor whom I thought I really liked & who would help me through both physical and mental health issues actually ended up turning super-crappy and willfully made both worse. I'm still fuming over our last few encounters, which are some of those so charged as to be vividly recalled, but she's left the practice and good riddance. I swapped to two other health centers (still in the same network) and don't mind the extra drive to get people who will actually help me. I now see a nurse-practitioner, which Josh seemed to initially be doubtful about after my experience with Dr. Evil. He doesn't like doctors anyway. I pointed out that nurses are the ones who actually do things, so I was optimistic. And so far, so good! Within our first meeting, I had my necessary meds back and an appointment for a CT scan. Which came back normal. I do have an appointment for an MRI, but they can't get me in before late November.

I've been trying to research and do things on my own to get better. I've picked up some word searches, though no crosswords yet. And I haven't done them yet, but I will. I'm attempting to start a 'memory palace'. I know we're supposed to use a place that we know well, but I have an actual castle that I'm trying to learn exceptionally well for my novel, so I'm trying to memorize that. I know my entry area fairly well but only recently sat down to design a whole, huge, crazy magical castle and grounds. I need to learn the insides and outsides of it...but my notebook isn't where I usually put it, and I can't recall where else I might have put it. I'm working on that, too. I'm also trying to eat better, eat more fish or take fish oil, exercise more, learn new skills, cut back on caffeine, have a screen-free hour before bed (that's still on the missier side of hit-or-miss), read more books again, be fully present during conversations, consciously try to make memories of wonderful moments, get out with friends (also more miss than hit, but at least I'm trying), manage my depression better, and get more organized. Yes, I had to check my list because I couldn't remember all of it. These things are supposed to help. I was doing a couple apps for a while, but I didn't really keep up with them. I guess I should start again, if I can make room for them on my cheapo phone.

I've also decided that I'm going to attempt to remember my happiest, favorite memories and log them here. It bothers me that it's so hard to make new memories of my beautiful family. This is the happy part of my life, with a family I love. I don't know why I'm struggling so hard now, when I did so well during the bad time! I don't want to lose these great moments, so I'm going to revisit them and start a new 'Memories' tag here on lj (different from the memories feature on our profile pages). I will read them and read them and read them so that I don't lose them. And if I do keep losing them anyway, or losing myself, which I am greatly fearing these days, I'll still have them here to revisit.

Drums of Autumn, by Diana Gabaldon

The Drums of Autumn, by Diana Gabaldon, is another TBR book for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge.


Drums of Autumn


I'm astounded at the gushing praise. This is the worst book of the series yet. I wish I'd never picked up book 2 (which I loved) and got sucked in. I'm already invested in finding out what happens, fighting at first the grotesqueness of Gabaldon's continuous rape anthology (4 for 4 – called it, and this one wholly unneeded and ruining the whole premise/book, imo) and now just general crap writing. WHAT HAPPENED? And how inconvenient to discuss without major spoilers!

I give it two stars only because there was still some glimmer of good writing in there. A passage or two caught my throat or made me tear up. The rest...well, I was tearing up all right, but mostly in rage and incomprehension. And this one should have been a good one!

I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed the Brianna/Roger passages and anxiously looked forward to them – kept me up at night, even. My excited all-nighter soon turned to horror at the literary trainwreck I could not unsee.

Every single character quickly careened so far OOC that I was confused as to who was saying what and whose passage I was reading – because POV switches are separated by passages, not necessarily chapters. This was not helped at all by shoddy editing. Rather than keeping one character's dialogue in a paragraph together, as is usually the case, we would often start with a quote, follow with some description or inner monologue, and the next paragraph appears to start a new person speaking, but no, it was constantly just a continuation of the previous speaker, with no dialogue tags or obvious clarity. I was constantly rereading, which sucks when a book is nearly 1k pages. For instance:

~


“Say, I sure feel like doing something totally stupid and completely out of character.” I contemplated the weight of that statement, gazing at everybody's gleaming russet/amber/orange/roan hair. What would it be like, to lose myself so completely that readers are unsure if this is even the same series?

“How about we get naked and ride yon cedar to the moon? I hear it's great fishing this time of year. We could maybe polka. No? Here, a bit of whiskey. How about tango? Foxtrot?” Jaime blinked at me in surprise, not because what I said was so astounding, but because he'd thought this had been his paragraph until this very second.

~


Plus, characters were actually using the verbatim dialogue of each other. I wasn't sure is this was purposeful, to try to highlight how much we're all alike/not so different after all, or if she just didn't realize that (possibly hyperbole, but likely not) sixteen characters shared the same line, three folks from different cultures share a few others, and that would-be lovers using Daddy's pick-up lines is really skeevy and detracts from everyone's sexiness. Side characters were so similar as to be indistinguishable most of the time.

This whole book suffers from my worst nemesis and greatest fear – Middle Book Syndrome. You know the one; the entire plot focuses on Giant, Obvious, Idiotically OOC Misunderstandings, plural. Had anybody actually talked to each other, well, I reckon the story would have been more enjoyable even at only 12 pages.

Claire and Jaime didn't sound nor act like themselves, except for the ever-passionate love-making. Roger sounded more like Jaime than Jaime did, and Brianna was happy as Ma to yell and stomp her feet at any man, only everything she did (right down to foot stomping) was exceptionally toddlerish, ill-thought, and, yes, dangerous. Everybody makes bad decisions that they never would have in the other books (or even the beginning of this one, really), and I spent most the time yelling, “Och, ye wee idiot! That shite was as obvious 782 pages ago as it is now!” Even the good parts were ruined by our competent, strong, intelligent heroes and heroines...being totally not.

Verra disappointing. But the story...I have to know. It's a good premise with characters that, until now, I'd felt very invested in. Including Fergus, who not only didn't get much screen-time but was relegated to side character indistinguishable from any other if not for his hook. If only I could go back and warn her: More Fergus, less rape, and don't forget who everyone is. Oh, and try to make it sound less like the mountains of NC are just a quick jaunt from Wilmington for everybody, especially by wagon and no roads. Double-especially when making jokes about Europeans just not understanding how vast America is!

Voyager, by Diana Gabaldon

Voyager, by Diana Gabaldon, is a 'To Be Read' book for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge, and I'm also counting it as the 'book with a love triangle' in my yet-unfinished 50 Book Challenge. This thing is over 1000 pages and should definitely count where I can.


Voyager


I have mixed feelings about this. I'd felt kind of 'meh' about Outlander (liked the story more than the execution) but was blown away by Dragonfly in Amber. I really wanted to love Voyager. I ended up liking it despite myself.

There may be mild spoilers, but nothing too major. Some is necessary content warning, imo.

I'm okay with a whole lot of writers' license and even a great dash of craziness in fiction. I don't usually care for the 'One True Love' trope, but this one works – and adds depth to a great speculative story, focusing on a love so strong it can transcend time and more. Not my usual thing, but I like it here. I like magic, so I have no problem with the juxtaposition of penicillin and scientific inquiry with voudoun and magical inquiry. I've seen a fair bit of craziness myself, and fiction can go ahead and go long with it.

But there were so many things that would have been deal-breakers if the story itself wasn't so good – and of course Jamie. I'm not in love with him so much as I think his dialogue is brilliant from a writing point of view. And I usually hate heavy-handed written dialect, so that's a huge accomplishment for me and nearly worth a whole star in and of itself. I love so many elements, some to my surprise...but the stuff that didn't work, man, it was bad.

Most benign was the long and awkward rebuttal – I mean, conversation – about why good authors often need and produce hugely-long works wherein each word is absolutely vital to the storyline. I can grudgingly admit that this is true, if extremely rare, but it definitely doesn't apply here. There was a whole 'surprise twist' plot that seemed totally out of character for every single person involved, though I saw later why that particular choice was made. I could have given her a pass for all that if this had wowed like Dragonfly, and if she hadn't added about 800 pages of sheer WTF-ery.

Much, much (oh so very much) worse were the many, many instances of racial stereotype and exploitation. Not 'real and gritty' exploitation of the times, but what this author wrote for her story. Perhaps for talk or publicity? Or is she really okay exploiting these concepts so easily herself? The rapiness of each novel is bad enough (and people should be warned that it is indeed each novel so far), but a whole character and his several storylines were like a giant parody, but I don't think they were meant to be. Definitely not vital – or what aspects might have been vital could have been done much, much more respectfully. If she wanted to show the realness of the times, she could have broken out of that 'yellow Chinaman/mindless n---r' mentality herself, yet she revels in it instead, and the story seriously suffers for it. Show the slave market if you must to show Claire's righteous indignation and how it may be more complicated than it seems, but there's a way to do that and a way not to, and this is about ten klicks past 'way not to'.

I wished I could have stopped reading, but the story does have me by now, especially since the show is so good. I'm sad and disgusted that I do end up giving her a pass, because I'm still itching to press on to the next book and find out what happens. I like the books, the good parts are so well done, and I want to really love them, but there's legitimate criticism around this book that I sincerely hope she listened to in the next. I'll even happily deal with thousands of pages and let her preen all she wants if they can stop being filled with unnecessary disrespect and continuous rape.
Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones, by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, is my 'collection of essays' book for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge.


Decoding Your Dog


This was nowhere near as awesome as I had hoped. A lot of it was really basic stuff, but I guess that's helpful for people who have never had a dog before. My biggest issue is that it was just so repetitive. Not just the 'basic rehash' portion at the end of the chapters, and not entirely the fact that chapters were written by different experts (that particular repetitiveness – a word they felt compelled to define, btw – should have been fixed by the editors)...most chapters themselves were constantly repeating the same thing. Had it been more succinct, it might have been a third as long.

Granted, the book itself can be boiled down to “More exercise/routine”, “Feed from a puzzle toy”, “Rule out medical issues”, and “Hire a veterinary behaviorists”. The latter isn't surprising given who wrote it, but they are definitely needed in some cases. Still, I had hoped for more understanding of dog behavior myself, which this book didn't really provide.

I did learn a lot about different medical issues that could be the culprit for issues we may initially believe are behavior issues. There are a few tips for troubleshooting problems that I may use in the future.

They mention “swatting” as punishment early on, and I initially thought they were suggesting such a thing. I nearly stopped reading there. It was later in the book where they started discussing how physical punishment has most often made things worse and should be avoided. All in all, I think these are some good essays by experts, but the editors should have done a much better job. The title is misleading, imo,as this didn't really teach much about 'decoding' behaviors. The 'prevent & change' portion of the subtitle is right on, I guess. For new pet owners (who have never read a single dog book before) or people looking to troubleshoot issues, this would be great. For people wanting to learn more about animal behavior and communication, I feel this misses the mark.

Amish Proverbs


Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life, by Suzanne Woods Fisher, is a simple, sweet, and inspiring read.

While I don't share their beliefs, I certainly appreciate the wisdom of the Amish. This collection of lovely proverbs covers topics such as Time, Money, Faith, Children & Family, Work Ethic, and more. While many are serious and faith-based, more are simply steeped in good old fashioned common sense, subtle humor, and fun wordplay.

Regardless of religion, certain virtues shine in all of us. This fun read helps us remember what's important. The lovely photos and chapter intros sharing snippets of Amish life kept it varied and interesting. I enjoyed it a lot.
Again, this doesn't really fit this year's book prompts, but since I seem to be on a Cesar Millan kick, I'll use Cesar's Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog , by Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier, as the 'book based on a TV show' in the 50 Book Challenge since he talks about Dog Whisperer cases quite a bit.


Cesar"s Rules


I became interested in Cesar Millan after recently reading some criticisms. I'd seen the first season of Dog Whisperer, and that's about it. This is the second book of Cesar's that I've since read, and this is where I became a fan. His passion, dedication, and knowledge shines through. He collaborated with a variety of well-known dog trainers & behaviorists, many who use different methods and have even criticized Millan's. He speaks freely about his desire to learn from every master of the craft, and he encourages tailoring the training to the individual dogs and their owners and being open-minded, researching your options, and do what is right for your unique situation.

He first lays out his 'basics' for a balanced dog, good pack behavior, and the walk (as most know, the most important tool in Cesar's arsenal). He checks in with a number of leading experts including Dr. Ian Dunbar, Bob Bailey, Mark Hardin and discusses research from others like Temple Grandin and Karen Pryor. Training advice and many great examples are given from experts in their fields, covering various methods such as clicker training, on-leash (many kinds), off-leash, hand signals, and more.

We also learn quite a bit about the history and evolution of dogs and the dog-human dynamic. Recent research is shared and referenced. The many trainers involved also go into some detail about the unique needs of individual breeds and individuals like puppies, shelter dogs, and senior dogs.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. I came away with a deeper understanding of dog behavior, human behavior, how to start off successfully with a new dog, and how to correct & help rehabilitate current dogs. In addition to the information that this book imparted, I also came away with a detailed reference bibliography and suggestions for further reading. Definitely recommend.

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, by David Miller, is another personal research book that doesn't really fit my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge, but it does fill in the “book with bad reviews” prompt of my yet-unfinished 50 Book Challenge from last year.


AWOL on the AT


There are quite a few negative reviews on this, and some of their points are valid. I enjoyed the book a lot, though I'm only giving it 3 stars. I'm a huge thru-hiking/AT fan in general though. Non-hiker friends might enjoy it much less, but I do hope folks will give it a chance.

That he wrote articles for the local newspaper is evident. This is not a self-introspective walk in the woods or the Tao of Thru-Hiking. This is a trail journal: 'Hiked so-many miles, such-&-such elevation, met [insert trail name], stayed at [insert shelter or trail town]'. As an aspiring AT thru-hiker (and someone who hiked many portions in my hometown), I quite enjoyed it, and I also enjoyed Miller's (trail name 'AWOL') sense of humor, though it seems some reviewers missed that. Easy to do in the litany of facts, and, honestly, most of his personal introspection seemed snarky &/or just plain passive-aggressive (such as hanging around day hikers while bemoaning his difficulties to try to 'encourage' trail magic or ride offers...very distasteful, but then I'm more of an active-aggressive gal myself), so that did overwhelm the subtle and rarer jokes.

Still, enjoyable and realistic sharing of life on the trail. I do wish that he'd been a bit clearer with dates/seasons, but I imagine much of this is gleaned from his weekly newspaper articles, which would have been dated. I agree with some crits that I'd hoped for much more description of life 'off-grid', or at least more personal introspection/growth. Sadly, all we really see of ~who AWOL really is inside~ is a disgruntled computer programmer with a hate-on for the tax-man. That portion was especially distasteful since he was hiking national parks which are supported by our tax dollars, bemoaning his money woes while eating out and staying at hotels in nearly every town passed.

My other gripe is that this is obviously not edited by a professional editor, a huge peeve of mine when it comes to self-pub. I've seen articles applauding his writing prowess because he wrote for papers, I guess, but there are plenty of errors. Most of them are misused or missing commas, though certainly not as bad as many self-pubbed books, but the biggest peeve for me was his clinging to the double-space after sentences. Yes, I'm old too, and I was taught that way in school, but a computer programmer should know the reasons for double space (type-setting on type-writers vs. more even setting on computers, originally used to make reading easier on the eyes), and anyone publishing a book should be aware of publishing conventions. Seeing such type gaps was extremely distracting for me. Heck, had he searched-&-replaced with a single space, he might have saved enough money on extra printing costs to be able to offer us color, or at least better quality, pictures.

I think it could have been a much stronger book with an editor, especially helping with continuity and grammar issues, but I still found it to be an excellent read. Unfortunately, I fear it will only speak to people already interested in the subject. While it is a somewhat clinical approach to telling the story, he still does so with skill and kept my interest for the course of the book. It will definitely be a helpful resource once I make my own thru-hike. I thought it was a great read that left me with just a small handful of nit-picks.
First Look and Find: Disney Winnie the Pooh, by John Kurtz, is my choice for the 'Read a children's book aloud to someone else' prompt in my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge.


Winnie the Pooh L&F


First, this is NOT the 'Happy Halloween' version listed on Goodreads. The actual version (seen in my blog post) is not listed on GR, and the Halloween version comes up when I type in the proper ISBNs found on this book. So, with that out of the way...

I read many books to my toddler, but I'm reviewing this because she loves it. She may be biased since 'House at Pooh Corner'/'Return to Pooh Corner' is a favorite, special lullaby in our family.

However, I like that there are two versions of the book. You read through a normal 'look and find' board book – which, let's face it, is never overly exciting to parents – and then there is a back 'appendix'-like section that allows you to go back through and find other items. So even if you're reading it over and over, it breaks the monotony at least a tiny bit.

Hello, Friends.

I guess I've gone dark for quite a while. I haven't posted anything but book reviews here on LJ for the longest time, and I haven't been on facebook at all. I had to step away from social media pretty much entirely. I meant to step away from the internet, but I've actually been doing a lot of research as part of my self-care, so I've been on the comp more than I meant to.

Well, things have been rough. Mostly health issues for all of us, one after another. Josh was hurt at work (someone else cut his finger to the bone), so things got tight when he missed work. Plus he has to go all the way out to Rolla...as does Eden, who now visits the same doc after breaking her arm. 13 yrs before a break isn't too bad. She was learning to rollerblade. Unfortunately, it happened right after she had maybe one or two games in her last Little League season. So she missed out on that, and she's too old for camp this year. Ivy & Maya are going, and funds are always short during camp time of the year.

The garden is slowly starting to produce, and I'm working on my price matching + couponing skills again, and I'm going to give Whole30 another try. I have a friend or two who may do it with me. Anyone want to join us? I always see great health benefits when I do that, and I need to since I've been struggling with tons of illness lately. I've got some freezer meals planned out thanks to Once A Month Meals, and having easy-grab food made ahead seems to be the key to me sticking with it. I just get tired of cooking all the time, so I'm going to start making some meals ahead and maybe start in a week or two.

I'm supposed to be doing Camp NaNoWriMo and finally finishing my NaNo WonderSaga project, but I've been unable to write for the past couple of months. I'm not sure why it's so hard right now. I've been trying to read more and get more exercise, as that often helps when nothing will work/flow for me, but I'm still struggling.

I've fallen off the Habitica (formerly HabitRPG) wagon, and I'm working on that. It's been months since I was active, and I need to get back into the habit – any habit, really – again. I'm cleaning up my task lists and challenges and working on giving myself a fresh start there. The house is a wreck again, as it always gets when I struggle, but I'm going to take what I learned long ago from flylady and at least make a point to do 15 mins a day. If I can do that, it'll start to snowball. Hopefully. I've been doing pieces on the garden whenever I can, and I'm slowly (so, so slowly) reclaiming that, so I can do it with the house and rest of life too.

I have some other things going on that I don't want to jinx. They're pretty important to me though, so I'd appreciate any good thoughts, prayers, & vibes my way. I'll share more when I have something concrete and positive to share.

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