2017 is going to rock socks


Sweatpants & Coffee

Written were hundreds of words on my tales of woe for 2016. It sounded kludgy and hackneyed so instead, I am going to answer these questions from Gala Darling:

What were your top five moments of the year?

  1. Going to rugby practice and not dying
  2. Finding out the lump in my right breast was not cancerous
  3. Spending time at the cabin with TEH
  4. Finding a green sequined skirt for 1/2 price
  5. Spending NYE with my brother, SIL, and TEH
  6. The beautiful drive from east coast to the cabin in late August
  7. Coming home again
  8. ummm….

366 days (2016 was a leap year) and I’m struggling to make a list. For 2017 I am going to write down each good thing that happens and throw it in a Mason jar and January 2018 I should have a nice fat list.
What are you really glad is over?
The elections. The lead-up and the final day were torture but now that it’s over, I am getting better equipped to shape the future.
How are you different today than you were 365 days ago?
I’m much more mentally stable. Thank deities for good drugs.
Is there anything you achieved that you forgot to celebrate?
Probably but see question one — I barely come up with five things to celebrate for the year.
What have you changed your perspective on this year?
I became more aware of my institutional oppression and I’m actively working to be more “woke.” My reading goal is to read non-white, male, American authors and read more non-fiction.
Who are the people that really came through for you this year?
The usual suspects: TEH, Kate, Kristin, CMMRB, and many more.
What is something you tolerated for a long time, but now you will not?
Ignoring my health. I’ve slid along thinking I was eating healthy and being more active. To some extent, this is true but not as much as I thought. I’m no longer going to accept “good enough” as a mantra.
What old beliefs did you let go of?
I accepted wholeheartedly I do not believe in a Judeo-Christian god.
What was the one thing that you found really challenging, but can now see supported your growth?
Continuing with meditation and doing yoga fairly regularly.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself this time last year?
You’re going to be okay. It’ll be slow going, but you’re going to be okay.


My goals for 2017:
Expand my intellectual horizons
Read more non-fiction and works by non-white, American, male writers. My reading last year was pitiful. Only 30 books! I’m going to shoot for a book a week and dedicate 25 – 45 minutes a day to reading.
I’m also going to read news outlets outside of my typical bubble and subscribe to newsletters that make me feel enlightened and get off of lists that aren’t helping me with my goal.
Expand happiness quotient / do more self-care
550 days of continuing meditation, WOOHOO. Body wise, I’m no longer going to accept “good enough” as a mantra. I turn 45 in 2017 and I want to be healthy and strong. Challenging myself with being active is going to be scary but worth it. Continue being diligent with self-care. I also need to remind myself that change is slow.
The past is the past, start every day with a clean slate
Seeing mother during the holidays confirmed what I’ve been telling everyone, in regards to her, all along: no amount of whinging, begging, or wishing is going to change the past. She is who she is. Seeing her this holiday was painful but a solid reminder that I shouldn’t let the past shape my future for anything.
Write more
I say this every year (honestly, every day), and I’ve always held myself back. Always, always, always. Less looking at how to write / obsessing about planning and execution and more on writing itself.
See more of the world, even if my world is within a 25 mile radius
My mother-in-law asked me how I liked living in the city now that I’ve been here for more than six months. I lamented I wasn’t doing more to be active in the city but I was making, albeit small, changes to rectify that. I need to drag TEH out into the world with me. Make more time for adventures!


My talking therapist chides me on the amount of goals I always set for myself and never seem to accomplish. “Do one or two things!” she says. These goals aren’t “lose 50 pounds by my birthday” rather “eat better and exercise.” Nia Shanks wrote a great piece, and give practical tips, how to beat resolution failure. The main point she keeps driving in and on is to break whatever you want to do down into workable general actions (drop processed sugar from my diet) rather than specific steps (eat only X grams of sugar a day; drop all “white” food, etc).
So that’s me for 2017. All those naysayers on how resolutions don’t work, go fuck yourself you micromanaging assholes.
 

Kalendae Januariae: 2014’s Goals

Dear Internet,
Last year I decided to go on a bender of self-improvement, which I called the Kalends project (and the series list is at the beginning of this piece). The idea sprang from something I had read about the history of the Kalends, which could be summed up as such:

This single day contains the whole year in it, so that what you do during those spare twenty four hours will determine the character of the remaining three hundred and sixty four.

I broke down the improvement plan over four different sections, with a follow up in November. The fifth element, the Making Happy project, could also be tied into my goals. The sixth goal, about getting fit, has been sitting in draft format since December 2012; that still needs to be written
So here we are, 2014. If the Kalends are true and what I did in the last 24 hours sets the tone, then it’ll be Sherlock and popcorn and good dark chocolate until the cows come home.
But I digress.
What I did not account for, of course, was how many setbacks I would have at the beginning of the year between my second ankle surgery, mental health issues galore, wonky work schedules, and whatever else life throws at you. I crawled up inside myself more than I had liked, I set some very necessary boundaries, and  pissed off a number of people.
[Aside: I’m tired of people stating resolutions/goals are cliche because to me, it indicates a lack of self-improvement, life long learning, and wanting to simply grow as a human being. At that point, if you’re not willing to even grow, what is the point?]
Personally, this last year has been one of much growth even if that growth has at a snail pace. The setting of boundaries, the dispensing of fraught relationships, the ability to recognize the crazy when it happens has been tremendous success in helping me define a better path for myself even if that path doesn’t make itself visible to the naked eye. It was painful, scary, and downright terrifying at times, but I did pull through. I always pull through. So even if at first blush I come off as a chaotic train wreck, when compared to how it could have possibly gone, I am positively in a great space.
I treasure that. And you, readers, of course.

Gender bending smoking kid, circa early 1900s.
Gender bending smoking kid, circa early 1900s.

So what’s ahead for 2014?
Buy Nothing 2014
To buy nothing in 2014, unless it’s necessary (food, gas, or related),
to genuinely replace, or renews an existing service (i.e. Spotify, Netflix, etc)

What prompted me to start reining in the funds was the 114 orders on Amazon (one every two days) and lord knows what else I bought in 2012. In 2013, I dropped it down to 40 orders from Amazon, much of it spent on gifts or household items rather than items of unnecessary delight. Instead of buying things outright, I asked for them for gifts for holidays/birthdays/etc, and stopped buying things I did not need unless it was to replace. I did see some financial gain from this but with not enough to make a decent savings since other financial considerations came into play later in the year. 2014 will be even more strict and I’ll start being more judicious on recording everything I spend and saving what I can.
2014 will be the year of creativity (even if it kills me)
This was one area I was not as improved on as I had hoped, but talking to my friend Amy who gave an impressive display of her own improvements in 2013, really kicked up my own notches to get going on my own projects. Cheers Amy, for the inspiration kick in the pants!
Year of the written word
Read all the books/comics I own before buying more. Surprisingly doing better with this as time goes on. In fact, I’ve been most impressed that majority of the books I’ve read for 2013 I read in November/December, of which five I finished in one week. Still plowing through the TBR pile, lots of reading being done online for research for the book as opposed to pleasure reading.
Writing
In January 2013, I said I wanted to:

  • Write 10 hours a week  (Does not include blogging)
  • Write 250 word blog entries 5x a week (Get proficient enough to knock it out in 1/2 hour).
  • Keep notes on everything
  • Write a short story a month.
  • Write a poem a month.
  • Get something published by my birthday in June

January 1 – December 31, I wrote 151K words over 171 posts / 31 pages. Beyond that, my biggest accomplishment is this post marks the 63rd day in the row I’ve written and posted in this space. What started as a simple challenge in November to complement NaNoWriMo, has become a routine. A glorious routine, I must add. In those 62 previous days, I wrote 67,5 K words (almost half my yearly count in two months!) over 63 posts (some days had two posts).  In November I said,

This does not include any notes, work done on paper, editing of pre-2013 posts, and so forth. Add another a rather conservative estimate of 25K words for over 100,000 words this year alone and for that, I’m really proud. Sure, I didn’t get a poem or prose published, but that’s also okay. I’ve got a better sense of what I want to do and what I want to write, and I know I can always do better. Produce more. Leave a mark on the world. Keep pushing forward.

Another challenge I did for an entire year was the Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes project, which tracks all the things I wrote, watched, read, listened to, and liked. What was striking about this particular project is I’m now seeing others do variations of it across the web, so even if I’m not a direct inspiration it’s still pretty cool to see others doing something similar.
The other big thing with writing is I took my fiction writing more seriously, finished a few short stories (which I’m still waiting for TheHusband to edit), and started serious research on a book series I have had mapped in my head since the summer of 2012. I had said, quite seriously, I was going to write the entire first book during my 3.5 week vacation but my mania got in the way as well as other things. But that I had researched and outlined the first six chapters was farther than before, so I feel pretty good about what I’ve accomplished. I may not have gotten anything professionally published this year, but my output, research, and strengths are increasing. Next year will be even better.
So not exactly spot on and perfect, but I’m fairly pleased with the results. Keep pushing forward.
teh interwebs
It can broken down to this:

  • Unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists
  • Delete unused social media accounts
  • Stop following people/services/accounts/blogs that no longer hold my interest/are not engaging
  • Get the archives back up
  • Stop buying domains
  • Stop obsessively checking social media accounts

In my November update, I was pretty sussed with how things were turning out. I was keeping with where I wanted to be with the one exception of the last one: checking social media. Also in November, I made the decision to deactivate my personal Facebook account which turned out to be a really good idea. As of January 1, I’m taking mental health break hiatus from Twitter as well, though I’ll be posting via apps over the course of the time. I need to refocus, concentrate, and work on some big deal projects that are upcoming and putting my energy into something else.
Lastly, the Making Happy and the get fit components which I hope to be writing more about in the near future.
What are you doing for 2014?
xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2011

on making happy

Medieval Angry Birds, Add MS 42130, f. 145r; via The British Library
Medieval Angry Birds, Add MS 42130, f. 145r; via The British Library

Dear Internet,
Now that my challenge for November of writing every day is over, I decided to start setting additional monthly challenges for myself to see how I will fare with those. For the month of December I decided I will attempt to spend most of my writing time on working out what it means to be happy, which I am sure you will agree, is no small feat. Philosophers have spent lifetimes decoding what the simple phrase “being happy” means and there is almost never any universal agreement. While I do not think I will have it figured out in 30 days, I do want to make an honest stab at what decoding it for myself entails with pure intent, without guile, and without a handful of snark.
That last bit will be hardest to overcome, I am sure.
Lest you be afraid of my cynical heart of getting in the way, I will have some help. I will be using Gala Darling’s DARE/DREAM/DO email seminar which I bought back in October and have not started yet. I do not remember how I found Ms. Darling, but I have been enamoured with her site for quite some time and appreciate how much she posits that to be happy means work. Hard work. She is not shy on giving you straight forward advice either, which also seduced me to her.
As DARE/DREAM/DO was designed to be a one a day thing, I will  be tackling and writing each day individually. Since I am starting this a few days after the first of December, the DARE/DREAM/DO sequence will go over into early January.
Additionally, I will also be looking at techniques from Zen Habits. If you have been following along with my posts on minimal packing, a lot of my inspiration came from Leo Babauta. Lastly, I will be also incorporating any articles, posts, or bits that I have stumbled upon along the way and adding them into the mix.
Because I fear this will be a massive month of writing, as I also plan to do other writing on top the making happy challenge, if you’re interested in following along with me, add the Making Happy feed to your RSS reader or just click on the Making Happy tag to see what is going on and where I am at. And as always, if you have any suggestions for sites, articles, books, or something else entirely you think I should read/view/hear, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
I was partially inspired to shape this challenge by a recent blog post by Theodora Goss and wholly inspired by her entry title, because it was a kick in the pants reminder happiness does not just come to you, it has to be worked for and earned.

But I believe that happiness is different: it’s a day to day, minute by minute thing. Whether I am happy at any give moment can depend quite a lot on whether or not I am eating a cupcake. If I am eating a cupcake, I am happy. (Depending on the cupcake, of course. I mean, I’m picky.) Happiness does in fact depend on things outside ourselves, so to make ourselves happy, we need to change things outside ourselves. (At least, that’s a lot easier than just trying to be happy, which I think is a very hard thing to do. Make yourself be happy, try to produce an internal state of happiness without changing anything external . . . Much easier to buy a cupcake.) Theodora Goss

She then goes on to list the things, simple things really, on what makes her happy. After reading her post, I tried to come up with a list of things off the top of my head in the same vein and found myself struggling with that list, but here it is:

  • Really good, dark chocolate. Sometimes all I need is just a bite to satiate me and make me happy
  • A fancy bubble bath with good smelling soaps and a book to read while I soak
  • Watching my stock pile of Jane Austen and related movies. Fictional, influenced, blatant rip-off – doesn’t matter. My world always seems to be brighter when I spend a few hours with Jane.
  • Wearing something from my collection of BPAL scents. I have a few non-BPAL oils but BPAL almost always wins hands down for selection, price, and smell.
  • I can listen to Elbow‘s entire catalog on repeat forever and never get tired of Guy Garvey’s voice. May I present their rendition of Beyonce’s Independent Woman, as played out by kittens.
    [iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/zSQDR1yF3uQ?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
  • Listening to Cabin Pressure, as defined here.

Small list, but a good start.
It should be noted when I went through Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training for my Borderline Personality Disorder, much of the training concentrates on the purpose of self-soothing techniques for when I go into crisis, of which much of that training seems I have misplaced over the last few years. So this is a good reminder to stockpile those skills because there will be a point in the future when I am in crisis again. But it is also good to have this list of happy making readily available not for when I’m in crisis, but a reminder of what makes me whole.
x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe:

thank you for reading

The Vatican Secret Archive.  Courtesy of The Vatican Secret Archives, Vdh Books
The Vatican Secret Archive.
Courtesy of The Vatican Secret Archives, Vdh Books

Dear Internet
The other day I was checking my stats and noticed that a lonely/stalking/creepy/admiring soul had decided to go through my entire archive and read every single thing I had written. They went through 500+ pages ranging back to 1995 — and that is just what’s up online. If you go through the archive, you realise there are large swathes of time missing: months in some years, years in some decades.
I was both pleased as punch and alternately creeped out.
Conversation has been happening on Facebook about the steady stream of writing that has been coming from me as of late, and I responded to a friends comment with the following:

It IS true I get more commentary/page views when the shit is deep, but it’s mentally and emotionally exhausting to keep digging that ditch every day. I’m not sitting in a corner thinking deep thoughts all day erry day, and most people aren’t either.
Modern wisdom seems to be to have a singular mission with your site and keep on with that mission. So if you’re on about dairy free cooking, bee keeping, or whatever – that is all you’re going to (mainly) talk about. That’s how most of the big name bloggers tend to operate and it works for them. But frankly, that’s not how I operate and once I gave myself the permission to write about whatever I damn well please, writing has become a helluva lot easier.

Up until I published Live Action Sexual Harassment, EPbaB had a couple of of goals, the main being to aggressively document my mental and physical health, which so far has been fairly successful. Secondly was to document the little things and not so little things that happen in my life. Like many who keep their journals online with an eye to a public view, I also came up with a few different series’ that seem to be appreciated by the public such as my weekly wrap-up of my interests at Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes,  The Packing Lists series which always gets a lot of comments and views, and my erratically updated So, You Want To Be A Librarian/Archivist series which remains fairly popular. A few other series include Le Mi Passioni which documents the things that I love and Kalendae Januariae about the small and not so small changes I want to make to my life.
So while I’ve been writing online for a very long time (my 16th anniversary is next year!), I am no where near readership that I once was or could be. I know this is for a lot of reasons: Domain name changes, blog name changes, lost of interest by the readers, I stopped writing for a few years, and probably a few more other reasons to add to this list. In the year since I’ve started becoming more assertive in writing more regularly, my readership grows at small, but steady, clip. I was, and still am, pleased with the content I’m writing. I was, and still am, thrilled when people say they are inspired, touched, or moved by what I write.
None of that has changed and will never change.
But sometimes you feel, as you do, what is the point of all this, really? When I started doing this online writing thing in the late ’90s, it was a novel act that no one would ever imagine in becoming a way of life. Defining a “blog” now tends to come to mean a product or a brand, less about content, even less about writing, and more about selling and page views.
I don’t see myself as a brand. Or a product. But I supposed you could style what I do as any of those things when people email me to thank on the advice for being dairy free, or they found something else useful on my site. The service you could present I am selling is me and my experiences, which is not necessarily a bad thing since those experiences are freely available.
Then Live Action Sexual Harassment happened.
I wrote Live Action Sexual Harassment right after I came home from the pub, in Evernote on my iPad because my laptop was almost dead. I did not care if it was polished, grammatically correct, or even coherent. I had something to say and I needed to get out. Then. Now.
My charging brick had been dead once I got to Monterey a few days before and my laptop was nearly half out of juice when I discovered the dead brick. If I could squeak out five minutes out of the damn battery, maybe even less, to get the entry into WordPress and get it formatted and published, I would have been thrilled. Several of the WP management apps for the iPad are bonkers, and I had already lost some previous work when trying to get previous offerings up. But I had to get it written and if I could not get into my site while in California, I would do it when I came home.
I woke up Wednesday morning, booted up my laptop for the last time that trip, and was able to get the entry in, formatted, and published. I had few spare battery moments to create a few tweets to be pushed out later in the day and also enough time to double check for spelling and grammar errors before the final publishing. Once I was satisfied everything was to my expectations, I closed down my laptop and started getting ready for the day.
The entry posted mid-morning on Wednesday and within hours, my site had already eclipsed its previous record for day page views. By the end of the calendar day, the entry, and my site, would have earned 10x the traffic it would normally would have seen. In addition to the site traffic, the original tweet was RT several dozen times and variations of of that tweet pointing to the work was close to double that number.
Within a couple of hours of posting, and I was on the conference floor, I became known as “the girl who wrote that post.” Strangers I had never met approached me and talked about being brave, raw, and honest. I got emails, tweets, and comments from friends and strangers about similar things happening to them.
Having experiencing some notoriety in the late ’90s for exposing a hacker fraud, a similar chain of events had happened: I was found first, then I wrote something, I went viral, page and reader views skyrocketed, then levelled out for awhile, my life went insane, readership slowed down and then petered out.
To answer my previous question of, “What is this all for, really?” – the answer remains, and will always remain, to express myself in the only way possible. Some days it is going to be fluff, and other days it’s going to be depressing, and some others a combination of both or something entirely different. There is no theme here – unless you count the theme as me. There is no agenda – unless you count self-expression as an agenda. Some days, like today, the content is going to flow. Other days it will be halting and broken. Pitch perfect grammar, flow, and spelling and then broken words, missed commas, and lost trains of thought.
But that is how life works – nothing is always properly formatted, coherent, or sometimes even sustainable. If you are looking for a confessional, conversational tone, and often deeply revealing look into one person’s life, with occasional foray into the silly: I’m your girl.
And thank you for reading.
x0x0,
Lisa
P.S. Someone once asked me how long it takes to write an entry so I thought I’d eyeball the time for this one: From conception (a comment I posted on FB that sparked the post), to finding the image, writing, editing, re-editing, more editing, polishing, and formatting took me under two hours. The chunk of it was consecutive, but the last hour was broken up over several hour gaps while I was doing something. Total word count: 1300. On average, I can write clean 750 words an hour.

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Kalendae Januariae: November Update

Dear Internet,
When I started writing the Kalendae Januariae, I didn’t really have a plan in mind on when to update other than I should do it often. Scarily, I find myself  now almost an entire year gone since the first entry; since the first of the month is about renewals, it was seemed like a good time to see how I’m progressing.

Buy Nothing in 2013

In 2012, I placed 114 orders from Amazon. This did not include digital files, or orders placed with other vendors which would push that number even higher. As of November 1, 2013, I’ve placed only 29 orders via Amazon and I’ve hardly bought any t-shirts this year! A dramatic drop in spending compared to the year before and obviously I’m beyond thrilled that I could cut my spending so drastically. Am I reaping any benefits from the lack of shopping? Sadly, no. My income drops dramatically in the summer and I’ve had to pay for work conferences galore. Thus all cash saved from not spending it on me, went right into travel, lodging, and conference fees. It’s frustrating.
I do find myself being more conscientious on making instant spending decisions. The question of, “Do I need another pair of chucks?”, almost always has the answer of, “Probably not.” My biggest problem is, and has been, going out to eat since I do so many work related meetings around lunch or meeting up with friends for drinks after work.  So while I’m not spending money on frivolous things galore, I am still spending a lot of money on entertainment and food.
I decided to hook up You Need A Budget (YNAB) and start implementing the practice as soon as possible. TheHusband has said if I want to do any big trips next year, like Europe, I’ll have to come up with half the cash for the trip and he’ll match it. Right now I’ve saved approximately $92.32, which will pay for the cab to the airport. I started on/off on keeping track of what I am spending and I’d like to boost that up again to actually better track how my disposable income is being spent.

2013 will be the year of creativity (even if it kills me)

2013 has been a crazy year, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
But you know what? That’s okay.
I did not get the opportunity to do the projects I had set out to do this year for this task, but I’m not giving up hope. They are still things that interest me and still things that need to be done. Now that I’m off of Lithium again, and my moods have evened out, I’m feeling a lot better to tackle these projects.

Year of the written word

Read all the books/comics I own before buying more For the most part, this has been kept true. My book/comic buying have been reduced dramatically, but my reading for the year is still as haphazard as before. I still do not think finishing a book a week is out of the question, but again, this year has been a crazy year of emotional, mental, and physical ups and downs. While I may not be reading as many books, I AM reading our delivered newspapers and magazines regularly, so there is some comfort in that.
In January, I said I wanted to

  • Write 10 hours a week  (Does not include blogging)
  • Write 250 word blog entries 5x a week (Get proficient enough to knock it out in 1/2 hour).
  • Keep notes on everything
  • Write a short story a month.
  • Write a poem a month.
  • Get something published by my birthday in June

While I have not followed these steps exactly, again I don’t think these goals are not unreasonable, I am pretty proud of the output I did this year. According to a word stat counter, since January 1, I:

  • Wrote 82, 261 words over
  • 108 posts (average 11 posts a month) and 17 pages

This does not include any notes, work done on paper, editing of pre-2013 posts, and so forth. Add another a rather conservative estimate of 25K words for over 100,000 words this year alone and for that, I’m really proud. Sure, I didn’t get a poem or prose published, but that’s also okay. I’ve got a better sense of what I want to do and what I want to write, and I know I can always do better. Produce more. Leave a mark on the world. Keep pushing forward.
Strangely the thing I’m most proud of is I have not skipped a week of Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes. I set a goal to do something every week and I did it. It’s small, but as this is the first time I’ve ever actively worked on something to the end.

teh interwebs

Unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists Always ongoing, I’ve been unsubscribing left and right with the intent of getting my mail in order. But, and there is always a but, my mail is still a bloody mess. One thing I have discovered is my filters were part of the problem, so I removed filters from all incoming mail which has worked tremendously. But my mail is still a mess, but a more manageable mess.
Delete unused social media accounts Always ongoing. Like the mailing list conundrum, I’d get a random email from some company I had signed up with years ago to find out they are now active/selling their business/something and I have to go in and scrape my data. Or I discovered I am not actually using the site all that much anymore. In becoming ever vigilant in being able to control my data
Stop following people/services/accounts/blogs that no longer hold my interest/are not engaging  The mass culling is constant still. I’ve either moved companies/people/brands to separate feeds or stopped following them altogether.  I found, however, that I don’t actually follow or read the separate feeds and you know, I don’t miss it. I’m also being more aggressive in getting stuff out of my RSS feeds by reading them in a more timely basis / cleaning up uninteresting things. I stopped apologizing to myself for unfollowing people who aren’t my cup of tea anymore.
Get the archives back up  YES! I have been doing this! Anyone following the Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes knows without fail I’ve been diligent almost every week getting some of the archives up. It’s slow work, a lot slower than I had anticipated, but it is going on.
Stop buying domains No new domains were purchased in 2013. Huzzah!
Stop obsessively checking social media accounts  Not as much as a problem as it was earlier in the year, but still a problem. I’m finding myself more and more with having time on my hands, checking FB/Twitter and the like, and then having nothing else to do despite the fact I have over a 100 apps on my phone. Because this is where it becomes problematic is when I’m out and about and not always in the position of carrying a book, magazine, or something
Overall, not a bad start. Next year is going to be even better.
x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012, 2011, 2011, 1998

Crab Canapes and Christmas Pudding

Dear Internet,
Tomorrow I go back to work as my holiday break is now over, thus things may slow down around here after my mania output for the last few weeks. It’s now eight days into the new year and I thought it would be a good idea to give up an update as to how  my proposed changes are coming along.
(I’m still tap dancing around the notes that need to be finished for body and health pieces, but I’m just not there yet.)

  • Buy Nothing in 2013
    I promise I will not tell a lie: I have spent money on non-essentials this year, totaling $90.26, but it was for very good causes. Two of the items, a yearly subscription to Duotrope and the fall issue of Jane Austen Knits, were items I planned to buy in December but forgot until after January 1. I know I’ll probably end up purchasing a license for Licorize sometime later this week, but that’s a one time cost. Removing myself from temptation has been huge. I also am ignoring anything Margaret posts because I almost always end up buying what she suggests.  Anything I have found has gotten pinned or added to my wish list. Side bonus: Removing myself from vendor catalogs has slowed amount of junk mail in our mailbox.
  • 2013 will be the year of creativity (even if it kills me)
    I’ve only really worked on the cooking and knitting stuff, which have been slow going as one meal a day is a green smoothie of some sort, lunch is usually a salad, and dinner is something we come up together. Our timing is going to change once I go back to work tomorrow, so not too much to report.  In the knitting area, I’ve almost finished my brother’s hat and will be working on fingerless gloves for me next.
  • Year of the written word
    The goal was to write at EPbaB five times a week, at about 250 words per piece, and 10 hours a week writing fiction. In the last 8 days, I’ve published something here everyday except for one and in space of 7 published days, the pieces here totaled 4992 words. In fiction writing, the goal was to write a short story a month and get something published by my birthday. I’ve finished one story a few days ago and I’m starting on a second. I have two additional stories in draft form that also need to be finished.  So far, these goals are being met. But again, with work starting back up for me tomorrow, this output is more than likely slow down. The second bit of this challenge was to read everything I’ve had on hand – which I’ve not really done, but I am still shooting for finishing a book a week.
  • teh interwebs
    This was by far the best thing I’ve done as my inbox is so quiet right now, it’s kind of frightening. I did go so far as to unsubscribe from several of my favorite retailers emails, in addition to paring down other vendor emails to once a week or month. I’ve stuck with following vendors in one format instead of all of the ones they offer, which has also helped considerably. I almost did purchase a domain, one I was eyeing on in late November but didn’t follow through at the time, but refrained from doing so. I spent several days paring and cleaning up my RSS feeds, but that may end up just being a lost cause for the moment. I’ve not started putting together a workflow for the archives.

I’ve struggling as to how to articulate how I’m feeling today, and lately, finding it is much harder than I had hoped. The 900mg of Lithium has definitely leveled me out as far as moods go. I fake raged to TheHusband, while feebly pounding against his chest, if this was what being happy was like, then I’m not sure I could deal with it. Most of the side effects of lithium have dissipated, and I’m feeling pretty much, overall, okay. I’m still freezing all the time (and we’re on track for January to be our warmest month on record), but I have no evidence to say this is because of Lithium or not. But I’m far enough away from being without lithium to know the difference between when I’m on it and when I’m not. I’ve not gained weight and I am drinking a lot of water, so I do not feel dehydrated as one would think for taking a salt.
Concerta on the other hand is tricky – very tricky. I need to take it no later than 9AM, for if I do, I’m apt to be up all night. If I go a day without it, I can still sit and work without being all over the place. If I go two days without it, then it’s like I was before and like nothing has changed. I get small bouts of mania, but these seem further afield than before and seem to be random, meaning there is no trigger. My headaches are mostly gone.
In the before, I was very passionate about some things and mildly interested in others. In the during, I had zero interest in anything, and to some extent, to anyone. I could not feel or love what it was to feel or love. I did things because I knew how to already do them and I knew that they needed to be done.  Robotic. I could muster energy to feel something about tiny things, but larger things were passed over. I did not think of myself as being depressed until much later for I did not act like those I knew to be depressed acted. I did not see myself as being manic because I did not act like those I knew to be manic acted. Something was wrong, but to what extent that wrongness and/or what was needed to fix it si still remain to be seen. Well. We know, but whether this snake oil is actually working remains to be seen.
There you are. Here I am.
x0x0,
Lisa

Macdubhsith

Dear Internet,
For the last couple of days I’ve been on a big digital cleaning kick, partially because I needed something fairly mindless to do as to not think about a few future Kalendae Januariae posts I had started writing. One is on attaining a healthy body and the other on obtaining a healthy soul. I struggle with how much I want to discuss, how much I want to reveal, and how much even just thinking these things is giving me false fear and shame for things I have yet to publish. While I shouldn’t give any fucks about what the world cares about weight or body image, it does and therefore I end up feeling cagey about discussing it. The same goes for anything spiritual, for if you talk openly about how you truly feel, a lot of dynamics shift in relationships because of the splintering of beliefs.
Also, people tend to be assholes.
In a couple of small digital communities I’ve helped build in the last year, one of the main themes I strongly advocated was for safe space. This had to be a place you can dump out your soul and you will not be judged, blamed, or threatened for how you feel. Trying to maintain that kind of safety in an open space, such this blog, is much, much harder. And it’s funny for I have no problems discussing ANYTHING except when it comes to body image and spirit. Sometimes the wounds of abuse are much shallower than I lead you to believe for it takes but the wrong slight word to bruise me these days.
So instead I wander aimlessly around the internwebs, reading about my Scottish forefathers and mothers.
A problem with this mindlessness it doesn’t really push the fear away to a safer distance, it instead bottles it in another place to be accessed at another time when I’m least suspecting it. Fear and shame are so integral to our lives, on so many levels, I sometimes want to punch the bubble that seems to be keeping me trapped here in this place. Write everything, write nothing, look like this, don’t look like this, be this kind of professional, don’t be this kind of professional: the conflicting messages are driving me insane!  Sometimes even the Zen minimalists piss me off for they are like here, have a few easy steps to let everything go, and then you will be free. And oh, have a cookie (if it’s whole food, gluten, dairy, sugar, and egg free).
Friday I call Dr. H. to give him my update on how lithium and Concerta have been working and see if he needs to adjust my meds. Tonight, over dinner, I grilled TheHusband on how I was with this new combination. “Insufferable as always,” he says. On further reflection, he said I was significantly less moody. I have also seen that in myself as well, I’m not getting all riled up as easily anymore when people irritate the fuck out of me. Rather, I remove myself from the situation in some fashion, whether it is unfollowing, unfriending, or just choosing to not respond when a comment is directed at me.
Lithium has a tendency to make people feel warm. Lucky me: I’m still freezing all the time. My hands are so cold, I’m knitting a pair of fingerless mittens in the next few days. I layer like the dickens, and started wearing long pants and socks to bed. My right hand feels like ice is flowing through it even though when TheHusband touches me he feels warmth.
The Concerta/lithium is supposed to do two things: Stabilize my mood and then get me focused. As I’ve been off caffeine for nearly three weeks now (?!?!), in theory since lithium acts as a downer, I should be falling asleep earlier. This is not happening. One day last week, I made the mistake of  Concerta after 11AM, did not go to bed until nearly 5AM and woke up at nearly noon the next day. I skipped that day’s dose and righted my body, somewhat, but I still cannot seem to get to sleep before midnight. Even now, TheHusband and I have been getting up at 6AM and working out, and I’ve been taking my Concerta when I wake up so in theory, I still shouldn’t feel like I’m on fire and yet I do.
My sexual libido is also still lacking.
Sometimes I feel like this huge disconnect in my life is because I see the world as it is being perceived and when I hold it up to my own, as it doesn’t match that image, my life than is not enough. Or it’s a sham. Or it’s falling apart. If my husband and I are not out hob nobbing it every night, does that mean we’re not living life? If I’m not out donating everything I own to every worthy cause, does that mean I’m incredibly selfish? If I’m not consoling everyone who comes to me with a sob story, or is in pain, or hurt, does that mean I’m a terrible person? Where and when does it end?
The question I then need to ask is: Is it me or is it the drugs?
x0x0,
Lisa

Kalendae Januariae: teh interwebs

Dear Internet,
When Kristin talked about getting off the internets, as it is “Another linchpin to bad times,” she wasn’t too off course on how I feel about it myself. I love what the Internets can give me, but on the same token, when I’m feeling an attack of The Sads, or a variation of it, I can spend hours scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and randomly reading Wikipedia articles with no real return on my investment of time. Back in 2009, I went off Twitter for a  month and found that my attitudes towards it didn’t change nor did my habits, things just shifted else where.
I know several people who were able to get rid of various big social media sites, either by deleting Facebook, Twitter, or something else, and felt like they were able to control getting their life back. While I’d love to ultimately do that, I’d like to be realistic on my own uses and be more prudent on how I not only utilize social media, but how I am best using my time online. And it’s not just about social media, blogs and mailing lists are almost just as bad clutter in my digital life as paper can be in my physical one.

  • Unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists My obsessive need to clean out my myriad of inboxes was not for naught, because it helped me start unsubscribing to lists that I no longer was interested in anymore, found useful, or was never subscribed to in the first place. My mailing list label in Gmail has over 2000 emails sitting in it, but now currently has 5. Since I’m hell bent on buying nothing in 2013, I also removed myself from any store mailing lists or shopping collection sites websites (like Fab.com) as there was no point in torturing myself. I’m sure I’ll be apt to check websites (like Boden and Fluevog) and pin to Pinterest  for 2014 shopping inspiration.
  • Delete unused social media accounts Back in the covered wagon days of social media (2008 or so), one of the big “must dos” is once you figure out your “brand,” you then register your said brand on every damn service available regardless of what it is to prevent name hijacking. Which is all fine and dandy until the emails start rolling in from all these services every time one of their employees fart, accounts have been hacked or nearly hacked, brands reimaged/bought out/discontinued, and so on.  Fuck it. This is not worth the hassle anymore. Sometime in 2010, I started keeping track of social media accounts I’ve deleted (or have died a inglorious death of some sort), and as of this writing, I’ve dumped 34 35 accounts (and it’s growing). I also keep track of the date as well as how (a lot of sites require you email in to request account removal) the account was removed. Also in 2010, I started saving the confirmation emails from sites as I create an account in case I need to find out what username/email combination I gave when an account needs to be deleted.  Sites I’m active on are typically always linked from my front page, and I’ve also started a flavors.me account to create, as they put it, a unified web presence. I used to  love the idea of lifestreaming, but services either force you to use it on their site (ala FriendFeed) or plugins available are either shoddy, missing popular services, or too much of a hassel to hack and configure. 2013 is going to be all about streamlining and consolidating.
  • Stop following people/services/accounts/blogs that no longer hold my interest/are not engaging In 2012, companies were less likely to create websites to showcase a product/service as they were more likely to create a Facebook page or a unique hashtag for Twitter. Community engagement with their community is huge in making social media work while promoting their spiel, I get that. The problem I keep finding is when people/companies make it a “thing” to either spam your timeline with constant “One of our employees just made a poopie! Like if you agree!” posts or individuals who read supposed marketing best practices and repeatedly plug their own blog / services with no engagement with others or just keep posting links to articles and or things they are interested in (and still not engaging with their followers / friends) or the blog takes a drastic turn somewhere that no longer holds my interest. I’m sure you’re very nice, and if we met over hot cocoa, I’m sure we’d hit off, but I’m under no obligation to follow you or your services anywhere online if you drive me insane. (I’ve also started a mass culling from my Twitter and RSS feeds and will soon be doing the same on Facebook.)
  • Get the archives back up This is a project I’ve been talking about forever (like years) and with the domain hopping, the archives have taken a beating so much so, I keep linking to Wayback Machine to access the content rather than just get it up here. It’s a massive undertaking as it’s not only entries from 1996 forward but it’s also the metadata and fixing of dead links that need to be addressed. But it needs to be done.
  • Stop buying domains When I bought my first domain in 1998, it cost about $70. Now, through my webhost provider, I pay $10 a domain. I’ve started to let go domains that are no longer used ove the years, but overall, the current stable is enough.
  • Stop obsessively checking social media accounts This is where the real problem comes in, because when I get bored instead of doing something vaguely useful, I start obsessively checking Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Pinterest. And this probably the crutch of Kristin’s earlier comment because it’s not, “Oh, let me see what is going on” and then leave it alone; it’s, “Oh. Let me see what’s going on for the next five hours even though no one has posted/responded/commented on anything I’ve done but I’m still going to keep checking.” To me, social media is supposed to be about what’s on my time, not chained to the device/service and it’s tipped over that by a long shot.

 
x0xo,
Lisa

Kalendae Januariae: Year of the written word

Dear Internet,
Happy New Year.
I knew my brain had fizzled out on me when I stopped doing two things: Reading books and listening to music. I’ve really, really missed being able to finish a book or listen to an album. Since the music part is covered by Automusicbiographically, I had to find a way to get into all the books, comics, magazines, and other bits that have been floating around here forever. So for 2013, I op to:

Read all the books/comics I own before buying more.

According to GoodReads, I read (or attempted to read), about 17 books in 2012. I used to read about 10 books a month. Touching on the “Buy Nothing in 2013” moto, no more new OR used books/comics are to be purchased in 2013.  I get this means I’ll probably be missing out on a lot of awesome new releases but I just can’t keep up at the pace I’m at now (and this is why Amazon wishlists are for). I don’t have a set goal to read by end of 2013, but if I can read at least one books a week, I can cut through my TBR stack pretty quickly. I’m also adding in that I need to do 50 word reviews on GoodReads for books and do reviews here under Bagged  & Boarded for comics (which will appear Wednesday when available).

  • This also includes Kindle/digital purchases (Yes, including the free ones.)
  • I’m not allowed to source books out from the library until my current stacks have had dents made into them. Which, as a librarian who works in a library is EXTREMELY difficult.

Second on my list under this theme is:

Writing.

Back in August, Anne and I worked worked on our own personal SWOTs – her for going into business herself, me for writing.  Since I did my SWOT by hand, I pinned (or rather taped) the pages on the wall above my desk. The ultimate goals were simple.

  • Write 10 hours a week  (Does not include blogging)
  • Write 250 word blog entries 5x a week (Get proficient enough to knock it out in 1/2 hour).
  • Keep notes on everything.

I’ll also add in the following:

  • Write a short story a month.
  • Write a poem a month.
  • Get something published by my birthday in June

You can participate by signing up to be a beta reader to help a girl out.
I was talking to Kristin about how to best track our goals, because as this list continues, it seems overwhelming about how much I want to do in 2013. So for the first few months maybe the goals will be more to get one short story finished rather than write a short story every month or write thoughtfully online twice and build up to five entries a week.  I have put together a schedule (daily and monthly) for writing online that will help, but much of that is going to stuff that’s built up over the course of a week (Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes) or can be stacked weeks in advanced. The soul will still be bared, but I want less thought provoking content up as well.
x0x0,
Lisa