This & That

This:

Around Bookends Cottage 2017 has started out with naught but a yawn. Not a yawn of boredom, mind you, but a yawn of exhaustion. I keep looking over at the Christmas tree, the lights off and the gifts all gone, and I know I have to take it down, but I just can’t seem to find the energy to do it. It’s always such a joy to put up every year, the entire family gets into the act, friends come over, food is nibbled and drinks are drunk, but where is everybody when it’s time to take it all down and put it away? I always end up doing it alone, which is why I didn’t want to go all out this year, with decorations in every room of the house. It’s too much for me to take apart when I’m worn out from the holiday season. We have about a gazillion tree ornaments and all those new strands of lights we had to add and that need to be pulled off. And then there’s all of the outdoor lights, wreaths, ladder-climbing and et cetera. Oof. I’m tired just thinking about it…

That:

I’ve been trying to get back into my project of finishing Book Two (With A Bullet) and sending it off to print. In reality, this should take me only about two weeks, but all of my creative motivation has disappeared. Music, too is on my list, but that’s really pushing it. At my age, singing is an athletic event and I have to be in peak condition to do it well enough for a recording. And then there’s the setting up and tearing down…

This:

I’m well aware of the fact that it’s going to take the entire month of January to get back to where I was, engery-wise, last October. Damn you, Hashimoto’s, you soul-sucking bastard. One of the things I can do now that I’m on Medicare is make an appointment with an endocrinologist, but going to a new doctor is always difficult for me. Because we live in a cherry red state, and because the only endo in this town who takes Medicare is a born-again who touts her religious beliefs on her website, and because I’m married to a woman, I’m more than a little hesitant to go see her. I’m absolutely worn out from dodging the bigotry bullets in the Bible Belt. Oklahoma is just southern enough that these doctors are sugary sweet to your face, calling you darlin’ and hon, and saying “Well, blay-ess yer hart” with a big smile on their face while unsuccessfully hiding the aversion they feel toward you. Sure, I get the same medical attention as anyone else, but navigating all that crap is psychologically and psychically harder than I can describe. I’ve lived in this state for nearly 20 years. You’d think I’d be used to the way their eyes glaze over when I have to explain that my spouse isn’t a man. And it happens in all situations here, from introductions at social events to buying an anniversary present from a helpful shop clerk. And since the election the socio-political ice has gotten a bit thinner around here anyway. I’m not sure if I want to get out and try to walk on it just yet. Not with the 20th looming on the near horizon…

That:

On a completely different subject, I came into 2017 wanting to give this blog a new look, but after spending an entire night looking for a new theme, I gave that up. WordPress has a gazillion themes to choose from, but only a handful of those are designed for actual blogging. Most of them are for businesses, services and products, and photography. And even those they say are for blogging are dominated by featured slides, huge pictures of emo girls sitting or standing forlornly with pigeon toed feet, extreme closeups of glamour dolls or of twenty-something hipster dudes looking for all the world like they love their commute to their cubicle every morning. And there’s no place to write any actual content anymore. I suppose the blogging craze is over and I should really just give it up, but after 17 years that’s not easy to do. Hell, I don’t even know if anyone even reads these entries. Maybe I’m just wasting the two or three hours it takes me to put one together and post it. But that’s another whole issue…

This:

Nettl returned from her New Year’s New York City excursion bearing some amazing gifts. One was a large tin of authentic Hungarian paprika that she bought at a shop in Grand Central Terminal. To celebrate this delectable spice I made a pot of Viennese Goulasch last night, and I’ve made a pledge never to buy the domestic crap ever again. There’s just no comparison. It’s kind of like refusing to use margarine after tasting sweet cream, unsalted butter. I don’t care if it costs more. If I can’t afford it, I simply won’t make anything that requires it…

That:

Back to Book Two. One of the reasons I never seem to finish this book is that things keep coming up that need to be added to the story. Sitting on it for so long as brought up a lot of things that need to be addressed where my characters are concerned. Katy is only now beginning to flesh herself out so that I can understand what truly motivates her. I don’t know how I have avoided her inner workings for so long, but she’s coming along and I enjoy writing about her now. This is really important, too, because it leads me into Book Three more seamlessly and effortlessly. Being these people’s creator, shrink, and biographer isn’t easy, but it eventually is fun…

And with that (pun intended) I shall leave you until the next time. This Christmas tree has been giving me the stink eye for three days and I really need to quite literally put it in its place.

Have a wonderful week!

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It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Life and Life Only

I’ve been rather absent from the world this week.  Outside of my morning rounds, I’ve stayed out of social media. I can’t say I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, but it feels as if I’ve been resting up or conserving my energies for something. I don’t think something bad looms ahead, though, because I feel extremely positive. So what have I been doing?

  1. I’ve watched the world go by outside my window and have felt no compunction to join in or entertain feelings of guilt for this passivity.
  2.  I’ve watched a fair amount of telly at night, mostly documentaries on a wide variety of subjects from English gardens to the history of China and Mongolia.
  3. I’ve slept, slept, and slept some more. I’ve allowed myself to nap anytime my brain needed to switch off. One morning I took a nap only one hour after my cup of coffee. One night I napped on and off until I finally settled into a deep sleep as the sun came up. Where sleeping and eating are concerned, I followed my body clock, not the one that sits on the bookshelf.
  4. I’ve spent a lot of time with the cats. Or maybe I should say they’ve spent a lot of time with me. I guess I can say I became one of them this week, and they seemed to like this, even tolerating each other to be near me.
  5. I’ve hardly answered my phone, texted only with Nettl, and avoided the internet, except to search things to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime, or to daydream on Realtor.Com.

In essence, outside of doing some laundry and changing the bed linens, I’ve done absolutely nothing and it was everything I dreamed it could be. But today marks the end of this freeform existence. Tonight I’m making dinner for the guys and me, tomorrow is our little New Year’s Eve Not-A-Party party, and on Sunday evening Nettl returns from New York. On Monday, we’re taking down the holiday decorations, and then life returns to normal on Tuesday.

I’m glad I was able to eventually turn off the voice of the Guiltmaster in my head. It took a couple of days, but I finally succeeded. That alone gave me the vacation I needed; I didn’t realize how much it dominated both my conscious and unconscious thoughts every single hour of my life. It’s an ongoing battle, but as long as I gain new footing and new strengths, I know I’m winning.

And so here we are at the cusp of a new year. Instead of tritely wishing you a Happy New Year, I’ll wish you the ability to make it what you’d like it to be. None of us are victims unless we choose to be, we create our own realities depending on what we expect and feel we deserve. I have good feelings about 2017 despite all the naysayers and Gloomy Gusses. Trump will be inaugurated, some people will continue to abuse each other, and ageing celebrities will continue to die. I’m not focusing on these things as I enter the new year, though, because I also know the sun will continue to rise each morning, some people will go on loving and helping each other, tomorrow’s poets and thinkers will continue to be born, and  that I will continue to write and sing and dance. It is dark ages, after all, from which golden ages spring.

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