UNDISCLOSED UNFINISHED PROJECT

It’s shameful how long certain unfinished projects have languished in boxes, bags or piles. This is to say nothing of supplies purchased and stashed for later use, some with intended ends and some without. I don’t think of those as unfinished as much as un-begun.

I am working on finishing up some of these objects begun long ago with such enthusiasm. Abandoned, but perfectly good ideas. I say this to differentiate from a scrapped projects. It’s one thing to quit and another to never get back to a bit of work. It is as of my creativity gets held hostage with intentions to complete a project.

Finishing, even with imperfect results, is the only way to make progress with skills in the arts. I was reminded of this, weird as it’s going to sound, by Guardians of the Galaxy Writer/Director James Gunn who some time ago posted on his Facebook page about how he didn’t start to have success with screenwriting until he buckled down and finished what he started. He’s not the first successful creative type I’ve heard this from, but somehow hearing it from a guy who really knows how to put together a mix tape stuck with me.

It’s true: Twenty first halves aren’t anything compared to one whole. Even if the whole isn’t fantastic, learning from the process is invaluable. Irreplaceable experience you can’t get any other way.

The photo above is from an ambitious project I began at least two years ago using embroidery and applique techniques. The design came from Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection: 400+ Easy Embroidery Designs. I enjoy Aimee Ray’s designs because they are modern and not too “crafty” looking.

When I saw this particular drawing in the book, I knew something would have to be made from it destined to go live with someone who’ll appreciate it. Until it is done, it is private. One simply doesn’t post spoilers on the internet.

 

I was inspired as well by the knowledge FedEx Office will print stuff as big as your imagination. I blew up the images from the book, got two copies: One for cutting a pattern and one for reference. My fabric stash of odds and ends I’ve picked up for doll clothes or other small projects became the crayon box for filling in the pictures. Working with different textures, colors and patterns in fabric gets my creative juices flowing like nothing else. I had a ton of fun digging through my boxes of scraps to find the right combinations.

It may be a while until this project is complete. It’s around half done with a few variables still in how it’ll be finished. Embroidery is an ideal TV watching project. I’m enjoying the process and happy to be back at it and looking forward to being able to share the results.

Here

I’ve passed a milestone in my life without noticing it passed. Not everyone measures their life how I’ve measured mine. Most people do not start all their stories by saying “When I lived in…

Few people can say, at the age of thirty-five, they’ve beat their livelong record for living in the same place for the longest amount of time.

My previous record was Kent, Washington from Thanksgiving 1996 to just after July 4th 2001. I calculated it out today to 55 months or 4 years and 7 months. In that time, I got my first job, graduated high school, and moved out with a boyfriend who would become my ex-husband.

I moved to Simpsonville, South Carolina at the very end of August 2010. Sixty-one months ago. Or five years and one month. I did make one small move a few months after I arrived; I went from an upstairs one bedroom into a downstairs two bedroom in the same building in February 2011. Chris moved in with me in April. We’ve gotten married three times since then. Strange, but true.

I don’t regret having moved around so much both as a child and an adult. I do sometimes wistfully wonder how my life would have turned out with a more traditional path. I understand not everyone has the classic upbringing of Mom and Dad in a house in a neighborhood from birth until graduation with happy visits to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins for summers and Christmas. In 2015, one would have to be delusional to believe a fantasy image from a children’s picture book bares any resemblance to reality.

Still, in moves per year, I’m an outlier. In big and small ways, it’s impacted who I am. My perspective is a little different in ways both helpful and challenging.

For now, I’m perfectly happy where I am, but I don’t credit geography with my happiness. If I’ve learned nothing else in my travels, I’ve learned wherever you go you take yourself with you. Change your behavior, thoughts, and associations to change your life. Otherwise, it’s the same story on a different set.

I have no plans to leave the Greenville area in the near future, but since when have my plans had any influence on what happens?

Why I Don’t Take Pictures at DragonCon (Thoughts After D*C 2015)

 

DragonCon 2015 was my fourth year attending what one of my friends appropriately calls NerdiGras. More than a convention with celebrity guests, panels, and gaming, DragonCon is five days of 24 hour activity transforming five hotels and the surrounding area in Downtown Atlanta into a world where Storm Troopers, Doctors and Waldo are expected parts of the landscape.

The first year, I took lots of pictures. To a first timer, it’s overwhelming to see all the wonderful costumes and it all seems so novel. These days, with four DragonCons and other conventions under my belt, I find I take progressively less pictures. This is not because I am jaded to the experience. On the contrary, I find the experiencing to be vivid as ever.

For those who love to take pictures at DragonCon and get the perfect shots of the elaborate costumes, I thank you. Your pictures land online and keep the con alive. I hope you get as much pleasure from how you spend your convention as I do from how I spend mine. I sometimes suspect there may come a year when I decide to play photo journalist myself. After all, every year is a new adventure full of possibilities.

One reason I’ve stopped worrying about taking pictures is the flood photos online after the con by better photographers with far better equipment. Add the crushing crowds and the frustration of traffic stopping dead in a congested area while someone stops a cosplayer for a photo op, say, in the dealers’ room or on the path to a sky-bridge and I’d rather avoid the hassle for myself and others.

The biggest reason I don’t go out of my way to take pictures at DragonCon is my favorite moments are of the you-had-to-be-there variety.

The scenes I notice and remember are not appropriate opportunities to record. A tenet of “cosplay is not consent” etiquette is requesting permission to photograph as well as not photographing “off duty” cosplayers. This leaves my favorite moments from conventions off the table. If I can’t take a picture of girl Ninja Turtle cosplayers sitting at the food court having lunch or Princess Leia talking on a cell phone and holding a Starbucks cup, why bother?

My favorite example from 2015 happened Sunday as we were walking past the food court entrance near CVS.

On Sunday, the crowds have thinned significantly from the madness of Friday and Saturday. I’d noticed several sets of parents and small children earlier in the day without con badges, obviously locals checking out the part of the con that spills out onto the streets of Atlanta. I’d almost stepped on Thor’s cape on the steps of the Westin as he got down on one knee to pose for a picture with one of these kids. No doubt, made that little guy’s day.

Near the food court, we’d missed the photo op itself with the mom and little boy, all of three or four years old, and Batman. It was the aftermath of the pictures being taken as if DragonCon makes Atlanta a low-rent super hero theme park for the day that I saw. The mom stood with her purse open and holding out a folded bit of currency. The little boy stood behind, watching Batman. Batman graciously waved away the offer. Without even slowing down, the idea of attempting to tip Bruce Wayne was burned into my brain.

Like several years ago when I saw thirty or so Death Eaters, Dementors, and Voldemorts arranged for a group photo outside the Sheridan. Taking their picture was a beautifully costumed Disney style Snow White.

Only at DragonCon.

Retro Robots

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We leave for Dragon*Con in the morning. I’m so excited to get away for four geek-tastic days in downtown Atlanta. In many ways, con-going feels like I’ve finally found my natural habitat.

I find there are two kinds of reactions when you tell someone you are going to a convention. A typical reaction along the lines of “what is it?” Upon answering, the follow up questions run to “why?” and “what do you do there?” There’s little use in explaining to most of these folks. They won’t understand.

The second group says, “What costume are you wearing?”

It is little use to explain not everyone cosplays.

I have before and I surely will again. This year, rather than make costumes I’ve planned a couple outfits befitting the occasion.

The new creation is a bit of serendipity, really. First, a picture and then explanation.

Several years ago when I was working at Target, a pair of men’s pajamas were returned. As an online only item, they were heavily discounted. Who was I to pass up the opportunity?

I hung onto the pajamas with the intention to make something to wear in more visible situations. Turning pants into skirts is one of my favorite modifications. As is my usual creative process, I hung onto the material and idea for a long time. I picked up the red fabric to fill in the gaps several months back, but didn’t get started on the project until Teefury offered the Asimov University tee.

How much do I love Asimov’s Robot novels?

Enough to make darn sure I completed my whimsical robot shirt and matching peter pan collar before DragonCon. I’d been saving this Burda pattern for an appropriate occasion for a while.

 

I rather like how it turned out. It was no small task to line up the robots so their little heads didn’t get cut off.

ABOUT LUNCH

 

The Queen’s Meme: The Lunch Mee

With my crazy work schedule, breakfast is at 3 in the afternoon, lunch at 11 at night and supper around 4 am. Things get a little wonky planning these meals. Keep that in mind as you read my answers.

1. What do you typically have for lunch? Some sort of protein and veggies. Chicken breasts, salmon patties, hamburger or turkey burgers or sometimes “taco stuff” which is ground beef and black beans with taco seasoning but without the taco shell or tortilla.

2. If you work outside your home, do you pack your lunch? Almost every single day. Between saving money on getting delivery since our building isn’t close enough to anything to go pick up fast food and the health benefits of not eating out all the time, it’s a given we’ll pack lunch except for rare occasions. On those rare occasions when we are short on time or have somewhere to go before work, Subway tends to be our go-to lunch.

3. Do you ever cheat on the scheduled “hour” for lunch at work or have you been known to stretch it just a little? If I don’t get back to my desk on time to clock in, I don’t get paid for my time. In addition, being late back too often it could impact wither or not I have a job at all. So, no, I don’t cheat on my half-hour lunch.

4. What is your favorite restaurant for the midday meal? Saffron Indian for the lunch buffet. They were my first experience with Indian cuisine. At first, my taste buds didn’t know what to make of all those spices, but I loved it from the beginning. These days, we go to the local Indian market for spice blends and lentils.

5. Are you more interested in the company or the food? It is the marriage of food and company which makes a lunch delightful. Human company is, of course, lovely, but I will accept the company of a good book as happily. A great short story or witty essay writing is better company than mediocre people, in my opinion.

6. Tell us about your last lunch date and what made it special. August 16th, the day before my birthday, Chris and I met his mom and dad for lunch – our breakfast – to celebrate.

7. What is on your lunch box? I use a large insulated bag suitable for two since Chris and I work together three days of the week. It’s blue plaid.

EIGHTY-EIGHT QUESTIONS (ONE TO TWENTY-TWO)

Sunday Stealing: The 88 Meme

 

1. What type questions do you hate on a meme? Questions which only apply to high school or college aged people. I don’t see many of those types answering the weekly memes I play, for one thing, and they make me feel old.

2. If you married the last person you texted, what would your last name be? Bennett. I would naturally ask Kate took take back her maiden name before we moved somewhere it would be legal of us to marry. Of course, it’s far more likely we’ll go ahead and remain same-sex platonic life partners.

3. Were you happy when you woke up today? Yes. I was happy to drag my butt out of bed on the second day of a three day stretch of 11 hour workdays, sore as heck from the notch up in intensity I’ve taken on in my Wii Fit workouts. Tired, slow moving, but happy.

4. When were you on the phone last? And with who? A client sometime with in the last hour. Got to love the night shift in a call center.

5. Who are you excited for? My friend Alex who is going to Dragon*Con this coming weekend.

7. Honestly, who was the last person to tell you they love you? Chris, earlier today via chat.

8. What’s the last thing you put in your mouth? Tea. Earl gray. Hot.

9. Have a best friend? Yes. I have several friends who qualify for the “best friend” title. Kate, Renee, and – most recent addition – Alex.

10. Were you ever or are you scared to fall in love? No. I love easily but I have learned over the years that love is not always the best indication of wither someone belongs in your life. This goes for relationships of all types – not just romantic. Loving someone, in an of itself, isn’t scary to me.

11. Do you think teenagers can be in love? Certainly. Even children can be in love. I think those younger forms of love and “puppy love” are normal and healthy ways for people to learn about romance. They should not be written off as less than real, but neither should they be treated as though they ought to last forever.

12. Last person you wanted to punch in the face? I plead the fifth.

13. What time is it right this second? 1:53 AM Eastern Standard Time.

14. What do you want right now? To go home.

15. Who was the last person you took a picture with? Likely Chris, but I don’t remember.

16. Are you single/taken/heartbroken/or confused? Taken. Engaged, if you want to get technical.

17. When was the last time you cried? A few weeks ago in the shower. I was stressed and thinking about things I can’t change. The release of tears did a world of good.

18. Do you have a good relationship with your parents? I do. It’s not a Norman Rockwell painting, but they love me and do the best they can to help me in life. Can’t ask for more than that.

19. Do you find it hard to trust others? Trust, but verify, I have no problem with. If anything, I have trouble depending on others.

20. How fast does your mind change? Not fast at all. I came to think what I think for a reason and it takes a worthy reason and deliberation to change it.

21. I bet you miss somebody right now. Who is it? Most of all, Sabrina, Kate’s daughter and my dear niece. I miss other people, but which a child, you miss out on so much being there which can’t be made up in phone calls and texts like with grown ups.

22. Can you honestly say you’re okay right now? More than okay.

I’m told there will be more questions of the promised eighty-eight next week. Maybe I’ll answer them. I hope the anticipation isn’t hard on anybody ;-)

PINKIE PIE GASP

**needs pictures and links updated**

Just when I convince myself I’m not obsessed with pastel equines, I come upon something outs me (to myself) as a complete and utter Brony. I reject the term Pegasister as it sounds stupid.

Now, as I type this, I realize how crazy it sounds to say I sometimes doubt the depth of my Brony fandom only to follow it up with this:

Chris and I picked up a few necessities at Walmart last night. As we typically do, once we’d gotten our milk, chocolate and fresh berries, we headed over to the toy aisle to check for MLP goodies. Specifically, I’ve been after the “blind bags” as Rarity has indeed proved to be a rarity. I love the 2″ figures for their overall cuteness, plus they don’t eat much. Does that make me a hardcore Brony?

Often amused by the more kid-friendly toys, I always scan the whole area for new MLP products. The “Baby doll” versions are especially whimsical, if you ask me. I even saw a teach-baby-Pinkie-to-walk doll once which totally ignores the fact ponies walk on four legs and equines naturally stand and walk soon after birth. Silly, but if I was six or seven, I would so want one.

Last night when my eyes landed on the bottom shelf, I did this:

 

I wish I could claim to be exaggerating.

Naturally, I snatched up the very last Walmart Exclusive Pinky Pie Plush. She was the very last one and nothing indicated if the display box contained a plethora of partying Pinkies or various characters. She didn’t leave my sight until I got her home. I contained my impulse to remove her tag long enough to take a documenting photo to submit my find to Equestria Daily in hopes of being featured in one of their “Random Merch” roundups. I subscribe to the premier Brony news blog in Google reader. Does that make me a hardcore Brony?

Pinkie Pie is now living happily on my sofa, shooting off her party canon as we speak and frolicking with the smaller plastic ponies. I can’t help but smile, smile, smile at the thought. That, it seems, would make a hardcore Brony.

COOKIES AND GRATITUDE

I’ve been ripped off. The good folks over a Sunday Stealing have done me the kindness of stealing a meme from me. Since I’ve already completed the second meme for today, I’ll include a link to my answers with many thanks both to Sunday Stealing for honoring me with a theft and the wise Queen Mimi for originating the meme.

Sunday Stealing: Our Players’ Meme

1. You have been awarded the time off from work and an all-expenses paid week anywhere in the United States. The catch is that it must be somewhere you have not been before. Where do you choose to visit? New York City. I want to see the iconic sights, eat all the amazing foods and soak in the atmosphere of the city.

2. Name three of your guilty pleasures. As-hot-as-I-can-stand showers, coffee, and high quality chocolate. I’ve been getting this to feel better about my habit since I’m getting all those antioxidants:


3. The best kind of Girl Scout Cookie is: Samoas, but I never turn down a Thin Mint.

Samoas are the best gril scout cookies.
4. What do you value most in other people? Intelligence, humor, and loyalty., but more than anything a positive outlook on life.

5. Be honest. Do you sneak some raw cookie dough when you’re baking cookies? Who sneaks? It’s part of the process and a valid reason to double the recipe.

6. Have you ever looked back at your life and realized that something you thought was a bad thing was actually a blessing in disguise?! Some questions are best answered with two small words: I’m divorced. Sometimes bad things – hard and hurtful – have to happen to clear the path for good things.

7. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited? Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. I have visited many beautiful places, but even nineteen years later – exactly, in fact, as we’d visited the week of my thirteenth birthday – nothing I’ve seen has matched the raw power of the place, nor the diversity of it’s beauty.

8. Are you more of a thinker or a feeler? A thinker. I feel deeply, but I think on my feelings, examining them from various angles and determining the root causes. It is only in the last few years I have have learned the hard lesson that my feelings themselves are worthy and valid regardless of anything else or how other people think I should feel.

9. Name three things you are thankful for right now. A happy relationship (because it would be unfair to call Chris a thing), my Kindle, text messaging.

10. Have you ever participated in a three-legged race? Nope.

11. When you are at an event that plays the National Anthem, do you place your hand over your heart? Yes. Always. When you were raised a military brat, some things are considered important.

Second meme: (My answers)

12. What kind of work do you do?
13. During the course of your lifetime, which job or career has been your favorite or most fulfilling?
14. Do you think it’s necessary in your life to have a day-to-day “career” that is meaningful and service-oriented or do you function better in “just a job” with a steady paycheck?
15. Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to stay home with your children instead of working, even if it meant less money in the household?
16. Tell us your worst boss story.
17. Have your ever been the boss?
18. What is your dream occupation?

MY GENERATION


Saturday 9: My Generation

1. What do you think is the most unique thing about your generation? Born in 1980, I am the very tail end of Generation X. We hold the distinction of being the last group to grow up in an analog world and the first to integrate the digital landscape into our lives. People much younger than I don’t understand writing letters by hand or trying really hard to think of where you’ve seen that one actor before. People much older – for the most part – don’t understand posting to Facebook from a social event or what anyone would want to blog/vlog/podcast for or about. My generation remembers the time before, but isn’t afraid of the new way.

2. Do you speak out as often as you should? No. As a rule, I keep silent unless the need to speak out weighs heavier than my nearly pathological dislike of confrontation.

3. How often are you tough and unreasonable? Does anyone think themselves unreasonable? I try to be tough without appearing hard. For the most part, I am a soft candy exterior with an iron nugget in the middle. No reason to be unpleasant in order to stand my ground.

4. Do you believe that sometimes you learn more from a failure than a success? Me, personally, yes. I do not, however think everyone learns well from failure or the proper lessons. Some people “learn” not to try difficult things or that cheating is the best way to win or to avoid trusting others or a host of other lessons which make subsequent success all the more unlikely. Such a sad thing to watch.

5. Do you feel that you always have to win? No. I am not competitive by nature. I would rather play cooperative games or work in team environments where everyone wins together.

6. Do you think tradition matters? Yes. Although tradition matters, I do not believe tradition should be blindly followed. It is better to analyze traditions for the substance of their meaning and decide wither to keep or discard all or part of each one.

7. Do you tend to root for the underdog? I find the idea of “rooting for the underdog” on principle as baffling as jumping on the bandwagon of the popular guy. Best to, you know, make value judgements based on the value of the various choices, not some arbitrary factor.

8. Have you ever felt that you want to exceed your parents’ successes? Again, not competitive by nature. I am also a very different person from any and all of my parental units, so I can hardly compare my life to theirs.

9. Of all the cartoon characters that you know of, which is most like you? Slightly neurotic and extremely bookish: Twilight Sparkle.

UPON TURNING THRITY-TWO

As is my habit, I am composing a post to commentate my birthday and to reflect upon the last year of my life and making plans for the coming year. Once upon a time, I did a similar thing in my paper journals for my eyes only, but as spiral notebooks have given way to WordPress, I publish the results for the world to read if it chooses. I have skipped years under both methods and, with the exception of last year, my words are gone, but here I am having lived one more year.

And a what a wonderful year it has been. Never have I been so busy. Just a few days ago, I told Chris how I often wish I could move up time from all those years I didn’t have much going on to now when every moment of every day seems packed to the gills.

We went from my birthday last year to Dragon*Con Labor Day weekend in the blink of an eye, then on to the holiday season. It was my second in a row working retail and hopefully my last for the rest of my days. Going from sixteen or twenty hours to thirty or more for the holiday season was rough on my body more than the rest of me. In large part, my recent return to working in a call center was based on the need to stop abusing my feet, knees and hips on those concrete floors. But I am getting ahead of myself as I didn’t start the new job until June. In fact, only a few weeks came between my decision to find something and accepting the new position.

The New Year brought one thing and one thing only: sewing. We thought we planned plenty of time for the work we’d committed to in preparation to be the Klingon wedding at Trex Trax Atlanta in late April. We spent almost as many hours telling friends and co-workers it would not be a legal and binding wedding, or at least not on this planet.

In March, I took Chris to Seattle to meet my family and George Takei at Emerald City Comic Con. I cannot speak for Mr. Takei, but my family was very impressed with Chris and thrilled he chose to propose at the convention while they could be a part of it. I was surprised at the timing, not the question itself, as it should be. The setting was perfectly us and couldn’t have been more geek-romantic including a video of the moment I innocently thought was to tease our con-going friends who couldn’t be with us.

Being engaged leads to the inevitable question: “When are you getting married?”

We put off those questions for a while with the urgency over getting every detail ready for our Klingon ceremony. Outfitting ourselves from head to (in my case) toe was no small undertaking. I was at the sewing machine until 2 AM the night before the convention and stitched a detail or two on the car ride to Atlanta, not to mention a few missed seams I didn’t find until ironing everything in the hours before the big event. Don’t let me fool you, though, it was better to be busy than to worry about the performance itself.

For better or worse, too, I’d agreed to compete in the Miss Klingon pageant that weekend. And I did. I was awful, but I entered to round out the number of contestants to a robust three Klingon ladies. I certainly hope enough warriors step up next time that I will not be needed next year. I’ve made it clear I never, ever want to see video of the event, but I’m glad I had the guts to do it.

I am far more proud of the costume I tossed together in the last 48 hours before the convention than I am my time on the stage, but admittedly, I am extremely proud to have fulfilled the dream I’d had as a little kid to learn to sew. Chris was instrumental in teaching me how to use a sewing machine and encouraging both my costuming projects and general craftiness. While there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the ideas in my head, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m allowed to have hobbies even if they require the twin resources of time and money. It doesn’t sound like a big deal for most people, but it’s huge for me.

About that wedding stuff: While it’s very important to us to have a marriage legal here on Earth, not just in the Klingon Empire, I’m not concerned in the least about the details of a wedding. It’s just not something that ever mattered to me for a variety of reasons. We do intend to figure out a time when, at the very least, my parents will be able to fly out for the event. Early next year seems likely, but at present other factors keep us from setting a firm date. Truth be told, the main thing I’m looking forward to is changing my name. It will be the main practical change marriage will bring as it is with so many couples who live together beforehand, but it is of special concern to me. I elected to keep my married name when I got divorced, both because it did not seem worth the effort in paperwork to change twice within a couple years knowing Chris and I were intending to marry eventually and because my ties to my maiden name never went as deep as most since I’d used my step-dad’s name growing up. While I don’t regret that choice, I think it’s understandable I’m ready to shed the last day-to-day reminder of my previous relationship. It’s weird sometimes to think nearly everyone I interact with on a daily basis doesn’t consider the association and after nearly eleven years, I don’t think about it every day either.

As mentioned above, I took a new job in a call center. Chris and I managed to end up in the same training class and we are both working a weird late night shift. It is my personal policy not to discuss work on the interwebs, except to say, work is work and it pays the bills.
I’m grateful to have always been extremely employable. I still, and likely always will, consider the possibility of college, but this fall is not in the cards and likely not spring either, and I’m not sold on my desire to do it like I was a few years ago.

Worth mentioning is the one frustration I can’t seem to get past: Despite efforts – my own and others – I’ve reached yet another birthday without a driver’s license. I was 18 or 19 when I first got a learner’s permit in Washington State, but never actually drove there. Sometime after I moved to Western New York in 2001, I again got a permit and this time actually drove, but I hadn’t driven at all since I left there in 2005. I’ve had more than a few road blocks since I’ve moved here, too. First, my eyesight is now bad enough I couldn’t pass the DMV’s vision test without glasses like I could when I was younger. Now, I have a permit, but I seldom have access to a car I can drive as I’m limited by my height. Plenty of short people are going to see that and claim they can drive anything, but I assure you, the difference between being 5’0 or 5’2 tall and 4’9 makes that not the case for me. Our friend Alex has taken me out driving a few times. I can drive his van, but our schedules, the restriction on permits to driving between 6 am and midnight, plus various other responsibilities on both sides make it tricky to rack up the necessary amount of practice time. It was, however, a relief to find I hadn’t lost the knack entirely in all the years since I was last behind the wheel, but I am not even close to ready to pass a driver’s exam. We are, slowly but surely, saving for another car and hoping Chris’ car (which I can’t drive) will remain on the road long enough to allow us to have two cars while saving for it’s replacement.

Truth be told, I feel defeated by the whole situation and I don’t really see myself ever having the independence nearly every adult in our country takes for granted. Most adults who aren’t licensed drivers have done something to be striped of the privilege, but that is not my situation. No one thought to make it a priority when I was a teenager and, as an adult, it’s been one struggle after another and I just haven’t been able to make it work. It would be one thing to live in an area with mass transit, but living where I do, I am effectively trapped and totally dependent on other people to get around. My choices are limited in so many ways. I can’t take just any job. I can’t make a doctor’s appointment without figuring out who is going to take me. I can’t go to the store by myself unless I want to spend an hour, round trip, walking route with no sidewalks or street lights which only gets me to the closest places. If I really need something, of course, I have more than I few people who would be willing to come get me and I am thankful for that, but the difference between needing something and being able to go somewhere because I feel like going is a large gap. I try really hard not to let it get me down, but it’s hard not to dwell on it when I’m stuck at home on my days off.

Not to leave my post on a downer, though I’ve past my midnight Eastern standard time birthday deadline for publication, I should share my more hopeful plans for the coming year. It is good to remember I have control in a handful of areas of my life when I don’t always feel like I do.

After a too long period of slacking off on proper eating and fitness, I’ve been back on track the last month or so. I bought myself a Wii Fit and while my goal of logging an hour of workout time every single day has proved a bit lofty, I have at least stepped on the balance board every single day. I try to divide my time primarily between yoga and aerobic games. Food-wise, it’s as simple as keeping the house free of problem foods. My big one is bread. I would eat toast all day and often would when I was stuck home alone. Sticking with simple to cook proteins, veggies and fruits and limiting meals out to a few times a week is easy enough, really. I don’t think of it as a “diet” and it only takes a few weeks to remember how much better I feel when I’m taking care of myself. I’ve also started (as of today) a joint supplement which comes highly recommended and I hope to get relief from the aches which keep me from working out as hard and as much as I’d like.

The other area I am looking to make some headway in is various creative pursuits. As always, I’m going to maintain a blog in some form or fashion. You’ll notice, I’ve been more regular lately than I have been in the life of this site. As I always say, blog hosting is cheaper than therapy. I may or may not make an effort to monetize. Certainly, it’s not my main goal with being here or I would worry about SEO and the like.

I’ve toyed with the idea of participating in National Novel Writing Month and even read No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. I don’t know if November is the best month for me to make the attempt and the idea of joining the big group of people who make the attempt every year doesn’t appeal to me. I am too much an individualist to desire that sort of thing. Now, a few well placed friends would be another matter. I still don’t know if fiction is something I’m suited to write, but I do feel I ought to try if for no other reason than to prove to myself I don’t want to pursue it further.

One thing I know for sure having spent many, many hours over the cutting table (okay, actually, the bed with a cardboard cutting mat on it) and the sewing machine is that writing alone is not enough creative outlet. I need pleasure of making something with my hands. Inspiration and gathering supplies followed by the frustrations and triumphs of developing new skills or the calming tedium of tasks like cutting patterns or sewing straight lines all contribute to a sense of accomplishment like I’ve not found in other tasks. I think it is having something concrete to show for my labor, something both attractive and practical, which not just anyone can recreate without some level of skill. I also find a certain pleasure in a project which can be accomplished in a few hours, especially between more time intensive projects. To that end, and because I am a cold blooded capitalist, I’ve decided to open an Etsy store with some small projects. My inventory is still under development, but I’ve had good feedback so far on the items I’ve been working on. You’ll be able to search me under “Nerdbliss” and once I have everything set up, I’ll have a widget on the blog and will bore my few but precious readers with pictures and links. I have no illusions about quitting my day (night?) job, but I wouldn’t mind if it paid for the additions to my stash. I’ve carefully compared prices on supplies so even if my sales are modest, my profit margins will make it possible to invest in more variety of materials with the goal of a modest but steady income.

Before, I write past midnight on the West coast, I should call it a year. It’s been an overwhelmingly good one. Even on the hardest days, I am content with the most important parts of my life. I am happy, but still driven to make my life and the lives of those I care for a little better as we go along. I have opportunities to express myself and be productive. I am well loved and cared for by a diverse network of family and friends. I am both lucky and blessed.