Tag Archives: 40before40

2016 – The Wrap-Up

I’m just going to pretend that this year is over. I really can’t take any  more 2016. The next couple of days are interstitial days – they belong to no year and nothing that you do on those days matters. This is a new rule I just made up, but I’m keeping it.

Fuck you, 2016!

This year was tough. My marriage ended. I moved into my own place. I got officially divorced. My job ended. I have been – as yet – unable to find a new job. A lot of celebrities I especially liked died. A celebrity  I don’t particularly like not only lived, but was elected president. Money is tight and anxiety and depression are high. My kidlet is stressed out. I’ve had persistent shoulder issues that have prevented me from doing as much as I’d like.

Lots of shit.

Lots.

(Sometimes, literally.  Motherhood is rewarding AF.)

Seriously. Fuck you.

But you know what? It wasn’t all bad, was it?

I’m in a fantastic relationship. I have a great kidlet (even if he is not only a four-and-a-half-year-old, but also the source of that literal shit I have to deal with from time to time). I really got some quality time with a lot of wonderful friends – and made some new wonderful friends, to boot!

Being four is serious business

There was a lot of good travel this year – I was in Vegas in April for the RT conference where I got to meet IRL my friend Elizabeth Hunter as well as make new writerly friends! In May, I went to Bend for the weekend with the Beer Guy. I was in Seattle a couple of times (July and November). In August, I was able to take the Bean to South Dakota to meet my grandmother (his great) for the first time (and not incidentally got to sing karaoke with my three bestest besties from the good ol’ college days!).

Me & my marshmallow goo proving that being 39 is also very serious business.

AND – I was able to go to Iceland. ALL BY MYSELF. Sometimes I remind myself that if I could do that (which required a lot of overcoming of my anxiety issues), I can do almost anything.

I waited patiently in Bifrost for a divine visit, but unfortunately, the gods overlooked me this year.

I got to meet some other personal goals as well. I’ve really reconnected with my domestic badassery – my garden wasn’t much to talk about this year, but I made jam, and just canned festive simple syrups, and made some pies, and started baking bread again. Also – cheese. I made a cheese. Soon, we will know if that cheese is delicious. CROSS YOUR FINGERS!

Parmesan!!!

I finished writing two books and a novella, completed edits on one book that’s currently in the last look-through by my editor on its path to publication.

I found out that I really, really enjoy being a writer, and if someone would actually pay me, I’d be okay doing this for a living. (What I need is some freelance editing/proofreading work to supplement my as-yet non-existent writing income. Apparently there’s no six-figure advance for self-publishing.)

SAY MY NAME, BITCHES!

I’ve worked through a lot of things this year and I hope that I’m coming out on the other side stronger than I went in. I lived on my own. I single-mommed. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve stopped procrastinating and started achieving my dreams. I’ve traveled internationally alone.

All of the things I thought would be the hardest have been the easiest. The only thing that makes this year still shite is that pesky lack of funding issue. (I am open to paid companion positions, all eligible sugar daddies reading my blog…I’m sure there are a ton of you out there. Call me.)

(Seriously. Call me.)

The emotional stuff has been hard, but I feel like I’ve been tempered this year.

A year ago, I declared that 2016 would be the year of me. When I wrote that, I had two very specific goals in mind. I wanted to end the year not married and not in the job in which I started the year. Both of those things have come to pass, albeit not exactly as I’d planned. (Maybe I should be a little more careful with what I put out in the universe.)

I don’t know everything that 2017 will bring. There are a few things of which I’m certain:

  1. I’ll (again) move houses, but this time into a more permanent situation (less than a month now!)
  2. I’ll start a new job
  3. I will publish two books
  4. I will turn 40 and there will be a unicorn piñata (the party is the day after my birthday – Saturday, 2/25 – you’re totally invited)
  5. I will do some travel, even if only a little bit
  6. My Bean will turn 5 (FIVE YEARS OLD!)
  7. I’ll have a great garden and do more canning (I’m out of salsa and it is a travesty)
  8. I’ll keep writing
  9. That crazy Bean will start kindergarten
  10. I’ll keep moving…yoga and walking are where it’s at right now, but I’d like to – just maybe – start running again
  11. I will drink delightful gin cocktails on the back patio in the summer with the people I love best
  12. I will laugh and love and live just a little bit more

 

Words. So Many Words.

I’ve been plugging away at the writing project. I’m about 1/4 of the way done with the book in progress (which is #4 in a series I’m writing). It’s been fits and starts and it’s generally taking me a lot longer to get the words down than I would’ve predicted. I’m not as efficient a writer when I’ve got all day, apparently.

I do need to get better at that, though. I have just over a week to make final changes to my first book before the editor starts working on it. She has three readers who took a look at it and got their comments back. Two of the readers had some good critique, but overall liked it. The third did not so much like it. For some reason, that person’s opinion holds much greater weight than the other five people who’ve read and said they enjoyed. Not sure why the rating system is weighted that way… In real life, shouldn’t five positives > one negative?

 

ANYWAY – I have a cover artist. I have a content editor and a proofreader. I should have a book published by the end of the year if all goes well.

And then people should give me money and not tell me if they don’t like it. If you want, we can even skip the part where you read the book. Just buy it and forget about it.

So – goals for the next few weeks – tighten up the first 1/3 of Eleanor’s first book and get to the editor.

Finish up the fourth book in the series. Start a second draft of the second book in the series.

And then – the other series…I have two scenes left to write in the first book and I’m ready to start the second!

So much writing. So much editing. And I should probably try to find a new job that will pay me in cash money since I’m guessing that I’m not going to sell a million copies of my book in the first week of being a published novelist.

Life goals

Life goals

Today, however, I’m making fig jam and listening to my #ginforthewin playlist.

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Making Time > Making Plans

I am a huge planner. HYUGE! Anyone who knows me knows that’s true. I love plans. And spreadsheets. And spreadsheets of plans. I have been known to spend hours making training plans and then never doing anything about it.

All of my plans involve “tomorrow.”

I have the necessary spreadsheets, and apps, and apparel, and maps, and whatever, and TOMORROW I will use them.

You know what I’m not so good at – especially over the last couple of years?

Execution.

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It is entirely possible that my feet are also legoed to the floor.

I get stuck in an unending cycle of stress->low motivation->bad health->insomnia->no exercise->stress

One of my #40before40 goals is to be really comfortable with who I am – all of me – by 40. I’ve got just under 8 months to achieve personal nirvana.

unicorn yoga

For weeks and weeks now, I’ve made plans. And put them off until tomorrow. Today was just one more in a stretch of “today’s the day!” that got derailed. For a moment, I decided (once again) that it was okay. I’ll just make it happen tomorrow.

You know what?

buffy seize the day

So this afternoon, I totally seized. I was going for a short walk (gotta hit my 250/hour step goal or the fitbit yells at me), and decided to just keep going for a bit. I wasn’t dressed for it (decent flats, but not exercise worthy, really; plus, work clothes), but I headed outside and towards the trails and hills that back up to my work.

I used to run these trails a couple of times a week, but it’s been over a year since I’ve ventured out.

I went for just under 10 minutes and turned around then started the long, loooooong trek back up.

I was back at my desk before my 20 minute timer rang. You know what that means? Negative splits, bitches!

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I’m unfortunately sweaty (sorry afternoon meeting colleagues!) and these shoes definitely weren’t meant for trail walking, but I got it done. So take that, tomorrow!

live long

 

No more blogging about my plans. I promise. From now on, it’s only reporting on my accomplishments (of which there will be many).

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40 Before 40 – Update the Third

I am 1/4 of the way through my 40th year! Things have definitely been going a little better the last month. I’m feeling better (back is better and no more sickness), I’m getting into a new routine (although it’s still hard with Bean…I get to have a routine, and he has to have two routines), and I’m getting things done!

Let’s get started, shall we?

7. Sing a new song at karaoke. On May 6, I totally did this. I sang “Punk Rock Girl.” AND THEN! last week, I sang yet another new song! I am now a new song singing maniac. (I do not have any photographic evidence of me singing, so you’ll have to take my word for it.)

14. Try hot yoga. I did this! On May 5, I took a hot hatha class. I hated every second of it. Seriously. Never again.

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19. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday. So much cheese was made!

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My cheese making setup. Please note the small green stool there. I needed that to reach all the things. My kitchen is a bit on the tall side and I am decidedly not. My friend Elizabeth said, “In the kitchen of giants, you are still queen! You have killed the jolly green giant and used his head as your stepping stool.” Pretty much…

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Curds and Whey (no spiders here!)

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Weighting Games..aren’t you imPRESSed? (Ha! SO MANY PUNS!)

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Parmesan ready to enter the cheese cave for it’s long (9 month) nap

 

27. Get back into my DIY habits – I used to do a lot more homemade stuff. – getting started on that with my cheese. And I have a lot of berries and figs coming, so there will be jam.

This is the face of a domestic goddess.

This is the face of a domestic goddess.

32. Try a new (to me) cheese each month – this month’s cheese was a dry cow’s milk cheese called Cougar Gold from Washington (state).

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My 40 before 40 challenge

Update the first

Update the second

Upcoming Goal Reaching!

I’ve already got a few things booked and paid for coming up

I bought tickets to the opera (6), so that’ll be in the June update. We are going to see a Portland Opera production:

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My friend Alisha and I are taking a barre class (8) and then drinking recovery beers this week!

I signed up for a knife class, and I think that qualifies as (10) take a cooking class. Besides, I need to figure out how to stop stabbing myself now that I own sharp knives.

Bean’s summer vacation (17) is going to be primarily spent in South Dakota where I’m hoping I can take him fishing (20).

I’m back on track with my Swedish lessons (24) which is not going to help me at all when I get my passport stamped on my trip to Iceland (35).

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As for the rosé tasting (18), this is going to be scheduled soon. I want to limit it to 10-12 attendees, (including the adults that are contractually obligated to be there by either (a) being me or (b) dating me), so if you desperately (or even moderately) want to drink pink wine in my back yard in July, let me know and I’ll tell you the dates I’m looking at.

 

Practicing...

Practicing…

 

June is going to be the month of pie and jam and summer award reading books…

Sweet Dreams, Cheesus

I’m gearing up for another #40before40 milestone. I was supposed to be hanging out with Jimmy Carter this weekend, but due to my April back injury, I decided to postpone. Instead, as I have the weekend kid-free, I’m going to make cheese!

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I’m planning on making three types of cheese, because I am an ambitious fool.

Saturday afternoon, I’m going to make a Cabra al Vino (or two). This is my favorite type of cheese and I’m excited to make two of them and age them differently! FOR SCIENCE!

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Sunday morning, I’m going to start my Parmesan (this is the #40before40 goal cheese). And as soon as I drain the whey from that, I’m going to make a German whey cheese that uses wine.

Lest it seem like I’m getting carried awhey (ha! Cheese puns!), I’ll have you know that when I was inventorying my cheese supplies and looking at recipes last night, I had six cheeses on my list. I totally cut back because I have a day and a half to do this AND because goat milk can get expensive, yo!

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The hardest part of making an aged cheese is the waiting. (The weighting is not as hard. Weighting MAKES it hard. I don’t even know where I’m going with this.)

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The German whey cheese will be ready immediately. The Cabra al Vino will be ready in three and six months respectively. The Parmesan won’t be ready until my birthday.

Party with the wine-soaked goat!

Party with the wine-soaked goat!

It’s been years since I made cheese – five – and I’m excited to get back to it. I’m thinking of designating one Sunday a month for cheese making and I’d be happy to have anyone over who wants to cheesemaker. I have all the weird ingredients and equipment you’ll need to make anything from a mozzarella to a brie, to a Gouda, to a Romano.

cheese pile

(Related: I’m going to need a cheese sitter in August. Duties include turning my cheese over, checking for improper mold growth, and I guess feeding Mr. Fish and watering my plants. Cheeses are the first priority, though.)

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I’ll post pics of my cheeseventures next week when I do my #40before40 update!

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