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?


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.