Crack

I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone tonight, not for the first time. I logged out of it in Chrome, too. This doesn’t usually last for very long. Usually about a week before I log back in, and another couple days before the apps go back on my phone.

Why this time? Ah, it’s probably silly. A YouTuber posted an opinion that hit a little close to home, pointing out that in a situation I’m currently experiencing, women like me are…well, in the wrong.

And that’s no big deal. I can brush that kind of stuff off. But the shock was the sweeping statement of absolutes. This Thing is a Need. Period. An absolute for all.

But…air is an absolute. Food. Water. But this Thing? No. A variation on the Thing? Yes. But what was said was more similar to, “Meat is a Need,” when we really know that it’s “Protein,” and all of the vegans out there are going to fight you on that meat shit.

So yeah. I know it wasn’t directed at me, but I’m still hurt. And part of me is doubtful of my worth now because of it. And that sucks.

💔 Crack.

Prepping for 2021

If I was an organized person, I would probably have a 5 part series of how I get ready for the new year. Okay, no. I am an organized person sometimes. But I’m not planning this. How’s that for correcting negative self talk? TAKE THAT, INSECURITIES!

Oh, hey! That’s the entire gist of my post! So if you’re bored already, go ahead. Scroll on.

It’s okay. I don’t mind.

So as I posted in the twit, I’ve set up my tracking spreadsheet for the new year. I got the idea to track things from a friend, and smooshed it together with the concept of tracking your word count for NaNoWriMo. It’s been several years since I started, and this year, I’ve adjusted it yet again to suit what’s currently going on.

My first tab has always been for tracking daily word counts. This year I had intended to try to write 1,000,000 words throughout the year with the intent to publish the stories or books that resulted. A friend was doing the challenge with me. I’m not sure how they fared, but I fell off the wagon fairly early. You might feel safe assuming that happened about mid-March, but it was actually about a month earlier. Stress from illness brought me down, and then quarantine and family stress kept me there.

So this year, my first tab is actually for tracking Mood. This is something the friend who was doing that million word challenge with me started for a mutual friend, and I decided at the very least, I want to look back at the year and see my colors. The mutual friend uses it as a reminder that most days aren’t as bad as they remember, and I think that’s going to be helpful for me as well.

My second and third tabs are YouTube related. Currently I’m focusing so hard on just making it through the end of December without additional, manufactured obligations that I’m not considering YouTube a priority. I’m hoping to get back on some kind of track in the new year, but honestly, I may not do that, either. But there are tabs to track both video titles of existing videos (which I need to update), as well as ideas for future videos.

Finally my fourth tab is for tracking words written. I have all 365 days laid out and the spreadsheet will calculate total words for the week, the percentage of change between one week and the next, the expected word count goal for that 1,000,000 word challenge (which I may hide), and how many words I should write to keep on track with that goal (which I may also hide). It’s pretty intense, actually.

The fifth tab also relates to words, and it’s a summary of the weekly words written for the year. It also shows the percentage of change from one week to the next, and color codes the best days down to the worst in terms of words written. That tab was a lot of fun when I was writing regularly. Now that I’m not, I’m not sure I’ll want to look over there, but it’s set up anyway.

There’s another tab, the sixth, for monthly totals of word count along with a pie chart to remind me about that 1,000,000 word goal. I’m leaving it in because it’s easier to do that rather than to put it back in later.

My final tab, for now, is the one tab I’ve been carting around since I started this tracking, and that’s my Title Tank. I keep a list of book titles I love with the intent to write them someday. I’ve tried once or twice, but it’s never paid off. So it’s probably just a list of books I’ll never write. Oh well. I still love them.

And that’s all the planning I’ve been able to manage lately! I may talk about doing a Yearly Review in the coming days, because that’s something I’ve always liked the idea of but haven’t ever managed. I did keep a pretty regular date book this year, though, so I may flip through those and gather the highs and lows. To see where maybe I’d like to improve, where I need to cut myself some slack, and what I want to make sure happens this next year is a good thing — but only if it comes without the ridiculous amount of pressure I tend to put on myself when I make lists like that. Baby steps, you know?

Loves!

Advent 2020

I’ve always wanted to do more for Advent than I usually do, which you might find strange for an atheist. But my parents are retired ministers, we’ve generally been at least the Easter/Christmas crowd before then, and so Advent is a thing.

I miss the Advent hymns at church the most. Or perhaps it would be more honest to say I only miss the Advent hymns. I guess I kind of miss some of the other hymns, especially when you’ve got an organist that plays at a decent pace instead of a dirge. But when Christmas rolls around and I get morose (because that tends to happen to me around the holidays because of stress, I think), it’s because I never made time to get to the Advent services at the local church denomination when I grew up in.

Of course, this year church is not an option, and that actually relieves a bit of the guilt of not having made it to services. I have options, as I’m certain there are oodles upon oodles of Advent hymns on YouTube available for listening. Some churches will be doing online services, and I could make an effort to catch some of those. But I digress.

One of the things I’ve wanted to do for Advent (aside from attending church services to get my hymn fix) is to write a series of short stories, or perhaps even novellas, for Advent. In the style of the A-Z Blog challenge, my initial intent was to write A to Z titles around holiday themes. I even had a list at one point for topics, or maybe titles. I was going to have them ready to be gifts, and I really wanted to find a way to deliver them each gift wrapped individually. The idea was that each book would be opened on the correct day, and you’d have a story or book to read each day of Advent.

That hasn’t happened yet, and may not happen at all as I’ve explained it so far. We’ll see how far I get in future years when I have the mental and emotional energy to write again.

But something I had never thought to try before this year that I have managed to pull off was to create an Advent calendar type of gift series for the kids. I got the idea when watching someone do an unboxing of a high-end cosmetic Advent calendar. I liked that it wasn’t just 24 days of the same thing, but a variety of samples of the brand’s cosmetics and perfumes. So I went to Amazon to see if they had stuff like that, but of course when you look for that kind of thing you end up with 24 (or if you’re unlucky, 12) of the same theme. Twenty-four lego toys, or 12 different Minecraft minis, or 24 stickers, that kind of thing.

So I quickly stopped searching on Amazon. I ended up buying at a variety of different stores snacks, small toys, fidgety things, and a couple inexpensive gifts. I got a couple different gift bags I can write on, and a variety of tissue so I can change things up every week or so.

Thus far, it’s been a hit. A package of movie theater candy one day, a $5 bill the next, then a different kind of candy, maybe a chocolate covered marshmallow Santa, a fidgety Rubik’s cube kind of thing, and so on. Other ideas that didn’t quite make it were mini notebooks (I couldn’t find them in time), actual books, and gag gifts.

I even wrote out a calendar so I know what goes in each day, so I always have a good variety from day to day. And on Christmas Eve, because both kids have always wanted to open a gift before Christmas (we usually do all our gift exchanges on Christmas morning/day), I have an actual gift to wrap so they can get that achievement ticked off their life list.

I’m pleased with myself for all I’ve managed to pull together for this month. With the help of my husband and eldest child, we have lights and two small (nearly) cat-friendly trees in the living room. I’ve got our Christmas shopping done, and I’m just waiting on a couple of gifts that will arrive in the next couple of days. I plan to wrap next weekend (I had thought to do it today, but I only want to do it once, so I’ll wait until everything arrives).

I’m stringing as much holiday joy as I can out of this otherwise craptacular year.

And, as difficult as this is for someone who loves streaks, it’s all thanks to giving up on NaNoWriMo.

Yep. I’ve won every year since 2003, and this year it became very, very clear that I was putting myself through an incredible amount of stress and emotional suffering to get something written during November. I’ve known that this is a thing for some time, actually. NaNo stopped being fun for me my last year as Municipal Liaison several years ago, and when I made the difficult decision to step down, it was because it was too stressful to run on my own. I thought just giving that up would help, but it didn’t. It kind of got worse, with added guilt for wanting desperately to give up on an event that had previously brought me so much joy.

It’s been a rough year, but in spite of that, this is the most prepared I’ve been for the holidays yet. And even though I usually pull through November with a good in-process story to finish up by the new year, I’m so grateful I put the streak aside and just focused on myself and my family. The intent is to hopefully keep up that particular streak so that when next year’s shenanigans roll around, I’m more prepared to deal with them than I was this year’s.

Loves.

Productivity Defined

I’ve been very productive this holiday weekend, and I want to share how productive I’ve been because I took a week off recently and I was so anti-productive that week that I anti-productived myself into depression.

Well, to be fair, I was probably already depressed. Not diagnosed, of course, because getting myself to a person who could diagnose such a thing is not a thing I’ve managed to do thus far. But yes. I am struggling with a depressed mood. That much is certain.

At any rate! Here is a list of my recent productivity:

Wednesday

  • not actually productive

Thursday (aka Thanksgiving)

  • washed the dishes in the morning because they hadn’t been washed for several days
  • made lunch (but I don’t remember what)
  • emptied the drainer
  • washed the dishes again because I didn’t want DH to have to wash the dishes before making Thanksgiving dinner
  • ate Thanksgiving dinner
  • emptied the drainer
  • washed the dishes again because I was thankful that DH made Thanksgiving dinner and I didn’t need to do anything to help prepare the food

This list of how many times I washed the dishes is of note for several reasons. I shall list them:

  • There are only four of us in the house, and eight large plates and eight small plates and however many cups we have and the miscellany of pans we own usually last us a couple of days
  • I have two children of dish-washing age and often I don’t need to wash the dishes for a whole week
  • DH is able to work from home, and he also has a tendency to do dishes as soon as he gets home if he is working outside of the home, and he also usually gets home before me, so even if the kids aren’t doing dishes, DH is

What I’m getting at is that at most, I wash dishes once a week most of the time. To wash them three times in one day is literally unheard of.

Friday

  • JY found small worms encased in webs on a pair of leggings, which was gross as heck, and I peeled them off the leggings without squicking out
  • I discovered the worms were probably Indian Meal Moth larvae, and were probably attracted to the great amount of pet food stored in JY’s bedroom
  • I opened the box of OXO containers I’ve had under a table for a couple of months, and washed them
    • You have to remove the lids of these containers, then break the lids down into three pieces, then wash the three pieces
    • And because I don’t have enough drainer space, you have to wait for them to dry pretty much all day
    • So essentially, I just washed the lids
  • I took the vacuum and JY upstairs and we did a heavy-duty vacuum session which involved:
    • Examining every item of clothing or stuffed animal that sat in the same area as the pants for additional larvae
    • Moving the “safe” items
    • Vacuuming
    • Replacing the “safe” items
    • Repeating the process for the rest of the room
  • I helped JY clean one of the guinea pig cages
  • We stored the food off the ground

Saturday

  • I did laundry all day
  • I picked up a couple more Advent gifts
    • I’m putting together Advent gifts for my kids instead of a calendar, which involves a new bag (which at some point will be the previous day’s bag because the kids aren’t going to keep the bags) every morning with an Advent gift
    • The gifts will range from favored beverages, snacks, small gifts, a little bit of cash, etc.
  • I washed the container portion of the OXO containers
  • I watched a movie with JY which we both thoroughly enjoyed and laughed through and watched all of (which is a big deal because JY usually has a hard time sitting through a whole movie)
  • A Thing happened and it’s upsetting but not entirely surprising, and we dealt with it

Sunday

  • I did the grocery shopping before 10:30 am
  • I assembled the now-dry OXO containers
  • I vacuumed the first floor, the second floor hallway, bathroom, and master bedroom
  • I transferred all the critter food to OXO containers of appropriate size, and am now confident that if we get any more Indian Meal Moth larvae, our critter food will not be contaminated (or at least it will be contaminated more slowly, or restricted to the one container)
  • In response to Saturday’s Thing, I started cleaning a bookshelf, and I managed to sort through two shelves and one top of shelf
  • I paid a ticket that was not mine, but was my responsibility
  • I made headway on ordering EY’s class ring
  • I cleaned the guinea pig bedding
  • I paid the bills

To Summarize

I kicked ass this long holiday weekend. I didn’t do everything right (Saturday’s Thing was a direct result of my inaction in several areas of our family’s life), but I have to celebrate these wins because otherwise I’m going to fall back into the dark emotional emotionless* thing that happened when I was having that lovely week off of work between my car accident and my flat tire.

Okay. That’s it! If you have wins to celebrate, I want to hear about them. They don’t have to be about productivity. They don’t have to be about health or wellness. They don’t have to be anything. Just something that feels like a win to you.

Loves.

*I typed “emotional emotionless” on purpose, and maybe you recognize it, but if you don’t, it’s not a typo. Just sayin’.

The end of a streak?

I’m giving up on NaNo for the year. Part of the reason is a bad one. One of my children resents how much time I spend on the event, and on writing. I know this isn’t a reason to quit. Logically, it is important that my child feels resentful, but it is something I need to talk about with them, not give up something that had once brought me great joy.

The other part is what I just said, if you caught it.

I no longer get joy from the NaNo challenge.

I am resentful of the stress I impose on myself to complete the event.

I am resentful of the frustration I feel when I can’t come up with a satisfying idea within the constraints of the event.

Like, seriously — I put entirely too much stress on myself for this, for what? 50,000 words that I might not finish or publish? An incomplete story that I got to 50K and discarded? A pile of lost printouts and screwed up stats on a website?

I’m done.

Probably.

And I say “probably” because it is very, very possible that I will change my mind and whip out a story of 50K in the next six days (I’m counting today, the 25th). I say that because I’ve done it before.

But I don’t want to. Right now, I want to focus on Christmas, and the Advent Calendar idea I have for the kids. I want to focus on things that actually bring me joy right now, even if none of those things are “productive” (ie: meeting that weird measurement of what I think other people think I should be doing).

Maybe you’re wondering why i’m making such a big deal out of this. That’s a really good question. Because it’s been part of my identity since 2003? Because I spent 9 years being a regional leader for the event? Because it’s how I met my best friends and it feels like I’m giving up on them if I give up on NaNo?

Because I’m stupid and I make stupid decisions and I can’t do anything right? (I know that’s not it, but that’s what the negative self-talk is telling me.)

That’s it. I’m going to go back to not thinking about the end of a 17 year streak.

By which I mean, probably, that I’ll be able to think of nothing else.

Thus, this blog post.

Loves.