January tried to kill me (and it failed)

I started my 2020 off with two bottles of very nice $6 wine. It’s a sweet white, and I love it. Not very high alcohol content, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy two bottles. But very nice. I enjoyed myself.

I suppose you could also look at that as the end of my 2019, also, since I finished both bottles before midnight hit. That’s probably actually a better way to think of it, to be perfectly frank. Ending my year with celebration, instead of starting my year on a bender? Yes. Yes, very nice.

On the 3rd I celebrated my Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, Universe, and Everything birthday. If you’ve read the book, you now know how old I am. I didn’t do much to celebrate, honestly. I think I got my favorite pizza from the local pizza shop, delivered to me by someone who gets paid for such things. It was delicious.

On the 7th I flew to Ft. Myers, Florida for a personal development conference. I saw the sunset over some water (might have been a bay, might have been the Gulf, I am uncertain about this detail), danced (and I don’t dance!), cried, laughed, met some wonderful women, made some new friends, and generally had a lovely time. It was an intense trip, though. The three days of the conference I didn’t get a lot of sleep (early days that ended late), and then we had a super early flight back home the day after that took us through four airports (Ft. Myers, Atlanta, Chicago Midway, then Philly).

On the 14th I went back to work for nearly four hours before I went home. I had a cough, I had a fever, and I felt like poo. The next morning, I felt worse. The morning after that I was still pretty out of commission. It wasn’t until that afternoon that I thought to myself, “Self, perhaps you should search the Internet for the symptoms of the flu?” So I did.

After a bazillion phone calls, I found someplace my insurance would pay for me to go find out if I had the flu, and after a giant swab got shoved up my nose and a ten minute test, yep. I had the flu. I got my prescription, and went home to be miserable.

On the 20th, I was cleared to go back to work! It was perfect timing, because there was a lot of work to get caught up on. I still had a cough, but no more fever, and I was just about finished with my Flu meds. That afternoon there was a rash starting on the back of my neck, but I figured it was hives or something. Just a reaction to all the DayQuil and Mucinex DM I’d been taking. (I’d been taking as much as I was allowed per the directions on the containers, because man, that cough!)

The next day, the rash was spreading more. There was a spot on my neck, and I scratched it before I realized that it had been a blister. Huh. That was weird. But I went to work. At work, someone noticed. “Don’t itch it,” they warned me. “Oh, it doesn’t itch. It hurts,” I replied.

“Oh,” they said, ominously.

“No,” I replied. “You think?” How we were able to communicate without words that she thought I had shingles of all things, just after getting over the flu?

But sure enough. The 22nd I went to the same clinic that diagnosed me with the flu, and the first thing out of the Nurse Practitioner’s mouth when I showed her the rash, was, “Oh, my God! I’m pregnant!”

Yep. I got shingles and I exposed a pregnant woman in an attempt to get diagnosed. She shuffled me off to another location (“I was just thinking I needed to tell my boss. I really need to tell him!” Uh, yeah…I think you do) where I was formally diagnosed and prescribed yet another week’s worth of medication (anti-viral, this time) for my new illness.

It’s now the 30th. Thankfully my shingles was just annoying, not as truly debilitatingly painful as it is for some people. I still have some healing to do, but I am now over the flu, I am over the shingles, and January did not actually manage to kill me!


I am in the first month of my 1 million word year challenge, and I am devestatingly behind. I should be at 81,967, and I am 59,780 words behind at 22,187. First, I was behind because I was going to be in Florida. I wrote some words there, but not many. Then I fell further behind because I got the flu. Makes sense. All I did was sleep for five days, essentially. And then I fell further behind because A) shingles, but then also, B) lack of motivation.

I have fallen off the wagon, my friends. Writing so many words in the year is hard anyway, but to have fallen so far behind, it feels hopeless.

Of course, it isn’t hopeless. Not really. I expected to fall behind like this at some point, due to things like the things that actually happened. I didn’t expect them to all happen in sequence like that, of course, but they did. I have fallen down.

But I’m also trying to pull myself back up. I am giving myself a little bit more time to get back to 100%. Right now I’m telling people I feel good, I’m almost better, but the truth is, at the end of the day, I’m still wiped. Work is taking everything out of me. Even though work is taking everything out of me, making dinner and dealing with the cats is taking even more.

It’s a struggle.

January tried to kill me.

But it failed.

CRAFT, sleep, lack of caffeine, and other things flying through my head at a million miles an hour

How much of that blog title will make it into the site URL, I wonder?

I need to craft something. Usually I get this urge in December after writing hard during November, but it’s here now. I want to cross stitch or embroider (I don’t know how to do that, by the way), or maybe figure out perler beads.

Painting would even do it at this point.

I’ve not been drinking caffeine lately, and I feel amazing. Here’s what happened:

I gave up caffeine. I went to bed at 9pm every night, woke at 6-ish. Felt pretty good.

But then I was doing laundry and the mini-fridge was stocked with Mtn Dew, so I grabbed one. And we had a bunch at home, so I had another. I brought one for lunch, I had one to wake up on the weekend, and I was feeling tired, and groggy, and so darn sleepy in the afternoon.

So I connected the dots (again – this is not the first time, but it is the first time it feels easy) and decided I liked feeling good in the mornings and I liked not yawning away my afternoons and I like how I feel when I’m not drinking the soda (specifically Mtn Dew, but any caffeinated soda will do).

So I stopped. Again

Maybe for good? It’s hard to tell with me.

I worry that I only write because I think it’ll be some big money windfall and that’s never going to happen, so why am I doing this again? I posted something on Twitter about it yesterday.

Ali clearly wasn’t talking about me in her thread, but OMG – what if that’s why I write? What if the only reason I keep trying to write is because I have it in my head that with hard work and constant publication, I too can get some of that giant cash wad? What if I don’t actually like it?

I have had this argument with myself about other things that I don’t think I have conviction with. It’s a thing.

I haven’t been writing lately, I’ve been playing a lot of Minecraft – Skyblock on Wabbit – and having a whole lot of fun there, so I’m going to ride it as long as it lasts. At some point I’ll get tired of it and move on to something else.

Like crafting. I need to f*ing craft something.

Header cow photo from freestocks.org by Pexels via Canva

Create, Clean, Connect

My weekend was nice enough, although hot and humid enough that wearing a damn t-shirt so I could be presentable out of the house was enough to make me melt. This is not my favorite weather, and I really hope Summer moderates itself soon.

Last week I watched a video on YouTube by MuchelleB about doing a mid-year review. I am familiar with such things around the end of the year but seeing everyone post about how amazing the first half of 2019 was for them, I was jealous.

Yep. I don’t particularly have the cares in me to improve on my own, but I apparently have enough cares to compete.

So I did the review, but I did it quickly. Maybe I half-assed it, but half-assed is better than no-assed right now. I’m kind of glad I can recognize that.

After the “figure out what you want” portion, I did the audit/review, but I’ll be honest. I got a hell of a lot more out of the “what do I want” bit, and the review had negligible benefits. What I have is three things that I want in my life, and I know there are a zillion ways to get these things, and so I am not so fluffed about not having a plan, because what I really have is a backup.

When I’m sad, or depressed, or in a dark place with no sign of light, I have three options.

I can Create,

For some reason I really want to paint lately, and that’s probably due to the flood of abstract art videos on my YouTube home page. I also want to write, because writing can help pay bills, and I know that when I’m writing I get more creative and that feels good.

You know, eventually.

I could also knit, cross stitch, art journal, or try to make something from the abundance of art supplies I keep in the house that I’ll probably never use. Whatever.

I just know creating makes me feel better. So I can do that.

I can Connect,

And by “connect” I mean “do things with people I like.” I don’t especially like to connect if I’m honest. I like to skulk in my space and not talk to people or interact. But I haul myself out of the house once a week to hang with friends, and these friends (and even a coworker) keep inviting me out to Things that would involve even more people.

Even though I don’t like connecting (and I have a real problem with spaces, occasions, and crowds I’m unfamiliar with), I know it’s good for me. It’s kind of like walking. I know I should do more of it For My Own Good, but it’s not always fun until you’re there or it’s over.


and I can Clean.

It’s just recently that I’ve put the dots together that clutter in my space adds anxiety, sadness, dark clouds of doom, and general unease to my life. There is so much that needs cleaning, tidying, uncluttering, etc in my home that it is absolutely overwhelming. But if I’m wallowing in some dark space, cleaning something else might not exactly help that moment, but it will help Future Nicki.

The garage was like that. What kind of immediate benefit did it have? I was tired at the end, sweaty, dirty, but the pictures were nice. But the real benefit is that now I think about the garage and I’m not afraid to go in there. I’m not afraid that there are things rotting inside. I don’t sweat about not being able to reach the bicycles that aren’t even put together, or the air compressor that I adopted from my parents when they moved getting ruined because it’s sitting next to spilled oil.

Because now the bikes are put back together, and the air compressor is A) easy to reach, B) near an outlet, and C) off the floor. All the rotting cardboard boxes have been removed, and the remaining boxes are easy to reach and off the ground. There’s nothing in there (dead shelving units) that needs to be taken to the trash (because the trash already picked them up).

Future Nicki is happy.

So that’s the result. I have Words for the rest of the year, Words I really shouldn’t tattoo on myself but kind of want to (don’t worry, I realize how bad of an idea that is), Words I will try to put it absolutely everywhere else so I kind of have to simmer in it (ooh, I have Sharpies).

Many thanks to MuchelleB for the timely information on this, because otherwise I might not have pulled my shit together enough for it. If you’re into some minimalist motivation that’s not going to make you tear your hair out or shove seriously misinformed information down your throat, so far, MuchelleB is doing pretty well and you may want to give her a shot.