a quick check of the rear view mirror before we peal out into the sunset

First, let’s just get this big ol’ turd out of the way. The goals I set for myself last year didn’t happen. I tried, mostly, but I can very honestly say that I didn’t put forth the effort I knew would be necessary. That’s 100% on me.

None of this makes me any less of a person and it doesn’t even make me feel bad about myself. I tried, that’s what was important. So, moving on.

Here are some things that I think went really well this last year:

  • I successfully completed a semester of grad school. I doubt I’ll go back to finish the program but that’s because of the price tag, not because I don’t think I can mentally handle it. Very important difference.
  • I have become much more aware of my spending habits and what I could be doing different with my money. I feel confident that this year WILL be better.
  • Lancelot and I grew as a couple and things feel stronger than ever between us.
  • I’ve learned a lot about who I really am as a person, and I like that person.

Over the winter break I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done, and that makes me feel good, too. Mom and I tore the house apart, donated a bunch of stuff we no longer use, reorganized all of the holiday stuff, and I even did a full inventory of my yarn stash. Yes, the entire stash. It’s a beautifully organized spreadsheet that nearly brings a tear to my eye.

Here are some of my favorite projects from this year:

The Stormy Skies shawl seemed appropriate for a stormy day

I finished a scarf this morning that was supposed to be my last project of last year but then I had a glass of wine with dinner and my old butt was in bed by 8pm. And even though it’s a pretty little scarf it kind of looks like unicorn vomit at the moment.

I am still working on the shell shawl (did I ever show y’all that?) but it’s in time out on account of the one needle trying to take out one of my fingers in a very unfortunate laundry incident. I also realized that I don’t have nearly enough yarn to finish it the way I want to so that’s kind of pissing me off. I’ve also started another shawl (quelle surprise!) that’s two different purples (also a big shocker) and will have some super shiny beads. Stay tuned.

So, what does 2020 have in store for me? I’m ever so glad you asked…

  • Keep working on getting my credit cards and other debts paid off. The plan is to have everything except my big card, the CR-V, and the student loans all gone by the end of the year.
  • I’m on the hunt for educational opportunities that are more like certificates (I’ve done a few already for work) that I can get my boss to pay for. I like school, I don’t like the price tag.
  • I’d like to take ONE big trip this year, just one. There are a few possibilities being tossed around.
  • I’m planning to use every last bit of craft stuff I have on hand before buying anything new. (hence the yarn inventory)
  • I will turn 44, not that this is really terribly significant, but hey, why not include it?
  • And, last but certainly not least, I really want to make some healthier habits. This would include eating, exercising, and mental health stuff.

I’ll leave you with this image. It’s speaking to me today, maybe it will speak to you, too.

making the most of it

Lancelot periodically has to work overtime. I kind of hate this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a common thing and a known hazard and it really doesn’t happen often. And at least he’s hourly so, unlike when I get to work extra, he gets paid for it. So I try (honestly, I try) not to bitch about it too much.

He had to work last night, big ol’ bummer. But instead of pouting and feeling sorry for myself, which honestly does no damn good, I decided to act like a big girl and I’ve been making the most of what we refer to at work as “found time.” So far I have…

  • Taken Mom out for a lovely dinner where we both got tipsy
  • Re-wrote the directions for a knitting pattern because I found them confusing
  • Actually did some knitting
  • Thoroughly cleaned my bathroom
  • Did my food prep for the week
  • Took care of some paperwork for my health care account
  • Cleaned up the laptop
  • Got my outfits and jewelry ready for next week

Might not seem like a lot (or maybe it does) but it certainly helped pass the time and I feel good for having been productive.

Possibly the most exciting news is that I’m not really done with grad school after all. I met with the program coordinator on Friday and got some new information that makes all the difference. I’m going to take at least one semester off, but during that time I can be writing on my own and “banking” material for later. I also found out that I have TEN YEARS from when I started to get this done. That takes a lot of the pressure off.

Lancelot is super excited. He told me that he knew I wasn’t giving up, just taking a break. He’s got a lot of faith in me. Anyway, we’re going to go to the residency this July for a day to sit in on a lecture and see everyone. I want him to get a sense of what the experience is like. And the coordinator wants to meet him.

I’m actually excited to start writing again.

taking out the trash

I’ve mentioned several times recently that I’ve been on this “clean out all the bullshit” kick. I’m loving it. Clothes that didn’t fit or don’t make me happy, jewelry I never wore, some shoes, a few books, candles… I realized just now that there’s another stash of clothes that need to go, hidden under the stairs.

But there are other things that need to be removed. Yesterday I ended up cleaning out my closet at work, the one that primarily houses snacks and stuff. That was a disaster. Today I’m going to spend a little time on my desk. Too much clutter, too much nonsense in the drawers.

I can’t really say what it is that gets me into these moods, but it’s a cyclical thing with me. Kind of like Spring Cleaning on steroids I guess. All I know is that I feel better once it’s all done.

This afternoon I’m meeting with one of the program coordinators for the writing program I just left. I feel good that I was able to finish the semester successfully, but I know that I just can’t take on that kind of workload and stress again right now. I want to finish the memoir one of these days but I already know that my Fall semester is going to be too busy. There’s at least one international trip planned so that right there is enough to make me not interested in school.

I’m going to try to add back in a hobby/creative outlet that I haven’t done in ages. I’ve signed up to take a fused glass class at a local studio where I’ve taken classes before. I’m excited, it should be great. The last project I made, I think, was last summer. Not that the knitting and jewelry making aren’t good enough, but a girl shouldn’t box herself in too much when it comes to being creative.

a million things

I’ve been making pretty good progress with getting my life back together. This wasn’t like some of the ridiculously spectacular explosions that I have faced before, but the time between January 1 and now has been, well, I don’t have enough of the right words to describe it.

It was like having to burn all the candles at all the ends.

It was like arguing with a demon in my head who was a toddler and insisted on a bedtime story every five minutes.

It was like watching all of the things I wanted to be doing slip through my fingers like water, and knowing that the water was tears.

But it’s over, and as much as I love what I wrote and as proud as I am of what I managed to do, it needed to be put away for now. And so I did. I cleared out a small drawer in my desk yesterday and put all of the printed materials and my notebooks in it. The memoirs I read are on the bookshelf (except Patty Duke’s shitty book, yuck). Reclaiming my workspace yesterday and getting that area ready for creative things again was crucial for moving forward.

I also went through my room and came up with four bags full to send to the thrift shop. I was ruthless. It felt FABULOUS. And, as usual, I found some things I had completely forgotten about. It feels a lot better in there now as well.

This is maybe a weird thing, but I’m going to share anyway. I’m totally a list maker, y’all know that. But I don’t like writing them on paper if I don’t have to. At work I have a whiteboard mounted on a door and I frequently fill that up. But at home I don’t have that, so I improvise.

Upstairs I keep a dry erase marker in the bathroom and I write my lists on the mirror. Sounds strange, but it works. It’s right there where I look every day and it wipes off super easy. I find that it really helps, and it’s a cheap hack.

Life is slowly returning to the happy place where I really enjoy it. Mom and I did a little shopping last Thursday, Lancelot and I went and had massages Saturday morning and then did a little shopping, we had friends over for dinner, and then brunch on Mother’s Day. And I’ve been knitting again. What more can you ask for?

Apparently you can ask for more treats.

a plus, a minus

My older niece is doing the National American Miss pageant stuff, and is doing quite well so far. She’s got an event coming up and my sister wanted me to find a picture of Miss E from her second birthday. My dad was still alive then and he took THOUSANDS of photos. Not even kidding. So Mom and I spent a fair bit of time the other night finding the Very Specific photo my sister wanted. We also found this…

My dad was a Shriner and in the Provost unit so at the annual Shrine Circus he put on his police/security uniform and helped people find stuff, etc. This is a shot of him and Miss E at what would end up being his last circus. It’s significant to me in part because there are so few pictures of Dad. He was almost always the one taking the pictures. And there’s just something so precious about this.

So that was definitely a plus. Now, for the minus…

I wanted to scream this yesterday afternoon when I found out but I wanted to wait until I got to see Lancelot in person this morning to tell him. Mom found out first.

I GOT AN A- IN MY CLASS!!!

No, that is not a real bird. Yes, I am that cool. (from the Dubai trip)

Grad school is now over for me, for the foreseeable future. I am signed up for a single class in the Fall but the jury is still out as to whether I’ll stay signed up. I have one more international trip to take plus I’ve been approached about taking on a paid side gig. I refuse to make myself as ridiculously busy as I was in the spring.

DONE!!!

Do I seem excited? A little? Perhaps? Nah…

Friday night I turned in the last of my school work. I will freely admit that it wasn’t the quantity or quality that I normally strive for but I was burned extra crispy and all I wanted was to turn something, anything, in and get some meager amount of credit. And I did. Based on the feedback I’ve already gotten from my mentor I believe I have passed the semester.

That’s the new look. My hair is ridiculously short and I absolutely love it. The color is very black cherry and it suits me nicely. Lancelot has been playing with it, a lot, and I absolutely love that, too. Speaking of Lancelot…

After the panic of Friday night getting my homework turned in we spent the rest of the weekend in a much more relaxed fashion. We did a wee bit of shopping, watched a few movies, I did a little knitting while he watched some wrestling matches, and then we had craft time. I showed him how to make coasters using 4″ white tiles and alcohol ink. Much fun.

I’m looking forward to having more time to work on projects now that I’m not in school. I have a ton of beautiful yarn just waiting to be used, not to mention beads, and there are still projects that I’d started ages ago that need some love.

These boys need some love, too. I got a text from Mom this morning saying “this is how we do Mondays.” Indeed.

almost there

I have until tomorrow to get the rest of my homework for the semester done. I’m already mostly checked out but I’ll get it done. There are 15 graduate credits on the line; I refuse to have the loan I took out for this semester be for naught.

On a totally unrelated topic, it seems to me that the only thing worse than dealing with your own anxiety and difficulties are having someone you love dealing with anxiety and difficulties and not really be able to help. It’s a rather horrible feeling, very powerless. I am hoping that tomorrow is a better day.

There’s not much else to tell right now I’m afraid. I’m still trying to stick with the healthy eating stuff but not really doing a great job. Progress is slow, but steady. That counts, right?