New Year, New Perspective, New Challenges. Hi 2017! How Ya Doing?

1 01 2017

Weather: High: 38° This may be the first New Year in a while that has been unremittingly Sunny! I hope it bodes well for the year. It’s at least a good start!

So yesterday I posted my year end post, which as per expectation was about looking back. This is my new year post. It’ll mostly be about looking forward. 

As a lot of people have been already proffering up their goals and expectations, I see both some foreboding and some hope in generous proportions.  For myself, I am weighing in heavily on the side of hope. As I saw someone else say last year, Hope and Naivete are similar but not the same. Hope requires effort while Naivete is more based on expectation and assumption. So I’m placing my energies on hope for the short term, although I realize that in order for things to pan out in the positive, there will have to be some work to get there.

For my goals, a lot remain the same as last year: more art, more writing, better health. In general, be a better person. I am already working on the health aspect. (Took a  near 4 mile walk today. Yes in winter, in Michigan. It was cold, but sunny. No excuses.)  Art will start tomorrow, as I’m heading back into the studio. Have a lot of projects on deck and I’m being militant about not sliding into bad habits that include making excuses or being easily distracted. Time is a commodity I am not taking lightly anymore. I’m turning 50 in less than 2 weeks. Seeing people of my age bracket dropping dead of health issues in the past year has put a very sobering sword of Damocles over my head. Either commit to self care and make the effort to get things done, or accept the consequences, short and long term. I’m not willing to throw in the towel because it’s difficult. I rather like a challenge, though I will bitch about it in the beginning.

It’s also going to be a financial rebuilding year for us. We invested a lot of funds in house overhaul last year and this year we need to get ourselves a little more above water than just floating on the surface. (Sorry, living lakeside seems to make a lot of metaphors water related. :shrugs:) Some luxuries are going to be curtailed and some trips & expenditures we were contemplating may be back-burnered for the year. But, that’s the adult part of the equation. Sometimes you can play a little looser with the pocketbook , but there comes the time to pay the piper and you can’t put that off forever.

There’s a lot of uncertainty overall going into this year, what with political shenanigans and the usual global instability. But I think that part of my duty, as a good citizen of this country, is to be vigilant that rights are not eroded and that, as a nation, we don’t start moving backwards. I get that things like economics and foreign policy will always be on the pendulum, swinging back and forth, but I don’t agree that having all citizens of this country being treated with dignity and equality is something we should backtrack on. Moving backwards is despicable and only makes us look the villain, and rightly so, in the eyes of the rest of the civilized world. We’ve kind of fallen backwards in a lot of areas, and that is a little depressing. We’re better than that. We just need to realize it and work on it.

One of the things I think is going to be a big change for me this year is scaling back on social media. I’ve made this claim several years in a row, because I know it’s an ongoing distraction. Weirdly enough, I think it’s going to stick this time, only because last year was so unbelievably ugly that I was actually staying offline to avoid the fracas. Even people I agreed with were getting on my nerves. Social media is mostly my way of staying in touch with long distance relatives, friends and the swath of artists that I consider part of my community. Somewhere along the line, it turned into a loudspeaker of political and opinionated blather, until it was a nonstop stream of only that. I started getting bored, then increasingly annoyed with it. Now, I’m trying to decide if there’s a better way to reduce the signal to noise ratio or if I should just take an extended sabbatical. That remains to be seen.

Studio time is going to become a priority for me, because I’m totally buying into the art as rebellion idea. If the world is going to continue to be ugly, then I will combat it with the tools I have. I’m joining the #MakeArtNotWar Challenge this year. It’s a way to carve out time for my creative pursuits and keep me accountable. Also, I hope it will prompt me to blog more often, read more, write more and just in general generate more new creative output. Some of my fave people to interact with are musicians, writers and artists. Some of them wear all three hats (:cough: Ego Likeness : cough:). But regardless of their chosen medium, these people are always working, day or night, in the mood or not. That’s the work ethic I’m hoping to foster by doing this challenge. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo several years now and I always rise to the challenge there. Now I just need to stretch that commitment out for a year. The nice thing is I can fold my health challenge into this one, because self-care is part of the package.  😀

So in general I have some pretty lofty goals and challenges on the ledger. But I’m already in process on most of them, so they’re not unachievable. The challenge is not letting my commitment lag.

Hopefully, people will be along for the ride, but the truth is I’m doing this even if they’re not. Hitting the half century mark carries some deep implications for me. I desperately need to ingrain some good habits now. Here’s hoping I can make the grooves deep enough to stick.

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Mood: Upbeat, but tired
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: 2 cups of java. Probably some tea later. 
Work-Out Minutes Logged today: 1 hour & 20 Minutes (walked 3.5 miles)
Listening To:
Twenty One Pilots, Ego Likeness & the Hamilton Soundtrack on Spotify
Book Last Read: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: CBS Sunday Morning & Sherlock (Soon!!!)
Latest Artistic Project: Writing:  Editing  Serpents Trilogy
Mosaics:  Holiday ornaments & working on  Nordic  Mandala

 





Keeping promises I’ve made to myself.

2 01 2013

Weather:  Frigid and sunny. High: 28°

So it’s January 2nd, but I’m treating it like the first day of the new year. (Yesterday I was too headachy and tired to get on top of my new routine)

Today I started a new workout regimen. It’s varied and, as all new workouts do, kicking my arse all over the place. Still, my goal is getting healthy, not attempting to be a Victoria’s Secret model. (I’m too short anyway. So there.)

On a related note, I’m getting back to my pre-holiday eating habits. OY, did I slide on that between Thanksgiving and Christmas. :headdesk: Too much sugar, cookies, bread, and I think I cornered the market on dairy products. SO–guess what is on the cutting block? Yep. Going  back on a mostly vegetarian diet (OvoVegetarian to be specific), and drinking more water. The food may have tasted fantastic, but I feel awful. Piper’s knocking. Time to get paid. Fecking Piper. ::grumbles::

New Year’s eve was spent kissing the old year goodbye, rather than spending too much time stressing the new year’s expectations.  Husbeast and I spent the day getting some studio work done. As evidence that the business is starting to take off, I sold a mosaic piece within 2 hours of posting it. Definitely motivating to keep my work pace at a steady rate. Nothing makes you productive like seeing your art sell. 🙂

Next week, I start classes at the Chicago Mosaic School , a yuletide present from my husband. It’s less about learning how to make mosaics, and more about finessing my skills. I’m self taught, and the longer I go on, the more I’m realizing I need to improve my techniques and output. So, off I go to unlearn some  bad skills and re-learn better ones.

On the writing front, I’m almost done with a major overhaul of my first book. Had to blow cobwebs off the manuscript a couple weeks ago, but the time away actually had clarified where I needed to go with it. Sometimes it’s better to let it lie to see it more clearly.

Still trying to sort through some self-pubbing platforms. May just end up posting some short pieces I have done, and excerpt the novel. Lots of options, but I need to pick one.

The title of this post is significant in how I’m approaching my so called resolutions. It’s less about living up to other people’s expectations, more about keeping me accountable to myself.  Some things have become very clear in the past couple years. I’ve realized I’ve relied too much on external pressures and peers to keep me on the right path. My intents and drive suffered because I let go of the wheel. The months since I left my job found me sinking into spirals of depression and allowing all my best plans and goals to disintegrate under the weight of imagined failures and false, unrealistic benchmarks based on other’s successes or expectations. Too many cooks in the mental soup, so to speak.  Finally, I decided it was time to scrap this obviously broken view and replace it with something far simpler: Take it one day at a time. Don’t allow yourself to spend more time on unproductive things than things with measurable results. If it’s making you miserable, let it go. Cynicism and anger are reactionary, not means to an end.

Basically, if I want to get myself moving forward and staying in motion, I need to avoid wasting time on things and people who impede that progress.  Mind you, this is not me telling others to change their views, attitudes or opinions. I simply am not going to join in with the cloud crowd. I’m gonna do my best to pick out the silver lining and run with it. I’m not naive. I realize things are kinda crappy now on many levels. But I’m tired of being in the Greek Chorus chiming in how awful things are, while doing nothing to change them.  Are there pointless endeavors? Sure. But I’d like to think that failing after trying is 1000% better than throwing up my hands and not trying at all. At least in making the attempt to fix or improve things, you have a possibility of success, granted with varying degrees of probability.

So, the promises I’ve made to myself are simply that.  I’m the only one I have to please or disappoint. Other people’s opinions or acceptance or dismissals do not matter. Ultimately, only I can determine whether I will succeed or fail on my goals. Time to get to work!





End of Year 2012: Assessing and Recalibrating

31 12 2012

Wow.

It’s been 6 months since I last checked in here. No excuses. Life got a bit overwhelming for coherent thought.

Several things have coalesced in the past few months, mostly on the art & business front, but more on that later.

Looking over the edge of the cliff of 2012, I can see that 2013 is gonna be kind of a leap of faith situation. I really have no profound resolutions other than the usual get in shape, Art Harder and leave this godforsaken town behind.

Something finally clicked over in late November. I think that I finally reached that tipping point of straw vs. camel back with depression and apathy. I got through the stress of Thanksgiving, all that snowball effect of family obligation and striving for the Norman Rockwell perfection of a decent meal in a painting-worthy house. That was followed by the fun-filled stress of potential jury duty. Didn’t escape the call in this time. Made it all the way to the jury box for secondary screening before I was dismissed.

The next day, something weird happened. I woke up relaxed. This was a new sensation considering I’d been under a boulder sized pressure of stress for so long, I’d forgotten what it’s absence felt like.  I was actually…happy. Still am now. Even the usual Christmas stress was non-existent. Maybe I’d reached maximum density, and the whole mind-body interface just went  “NOPE!” and said fuck it.

What ever caused this odd and jarring shift, I’m not complaining. Now, the same issues of finances and pending obligations haven’t gone away, but I just don’t seem to all that bothered by them. Instead of fussing and worrying about them, I find myself focusing on solutions or options, rather than the worst case scenario outcomes.

Along with this newly acquired Zen attitude, I’m finding my interest in online interaction has waned a little. Not in the social sense, mind you. I still immensely enjoy interacting with my friends. But I’m less inclined to do the perpetual-refresh for news or fandom related stuff. Just not that interested in being ON ALL THE TIME. Studio time is rising up to take over that focus.

Writing has languished this year, but I’m not giving up on it. I’ve spent more time recently editing and making notes, but I have to be honest and admit that my mosaic work has replaced it as a priority. Being a hyphenate creative person is complicated. There is no equanimity in how the time and focus is doled out. It took me a while to realize that I shouldn’t be flogging myself for not keeping up with my more prolific writer friends. My goals and time management are measured by different benchmarks and different allocations. Again, once I decided to let my creative focus go where it needed instead of where my neurosis thought it should go, things started moving again.

I left my job in March, and I’d be hard pressed to say I didn’t miss the income. But I’m no longer feeling merely unemployed, finally embracing my self-employed status.

Einini Glassworks is finally starting to see a profit, and Brian and I are starting to see our little business find its legs. 2013 is going to be a big year for us. We’re hoping to have new digs by mid year, with much more accommodating space for our studio, and more reduction in distractions & extraneous unnecessary obligations. We even got interviewed for the regional paper. (They came to us, which was another thing that lifted us both out of the doldrums of apathy.)

So…no real concrete resolutions this go around, and I’m really okay with that. I have goals. I have ideas. And I finally have the focus & positive mentality to get both things on the right track. Maybe that’s resolution enough.





Regrouping.

6 01 2012

Weather: Seriously, Weather Gods. WTF? 50 degree temps today? IT’s BLOODY JANUARY!! I would very much like my crappy blizzard weather now, rather than in March!

I mentioned that our home was broken into and burglarized right before Christmas. We were lucky not much was taken, though there were a few things that are still making me broken hearted that they’re gone. My engagement ring for one. My grandmother’s garnet pendant for another. Money is easily fixed, technology replaceable. Sigh. The worst thing that’s come from the break in is the shredded mental state it leaves behind.

Three weeks on and I’m just now getting my sense of security reassembled. we had to replace our back door in it’s entirety. (Frame, storm door, main door. New locks, new alert system. Door brace). It’s very difficult to escape from the victim mentality. It leaves you shaky, tight-chested and constantly thinking the worst case scenarios. It’s hard to sleep when you don’t feel you’re secure. It’s hard to leave the house, when every time you come back, you’re sick to your stomach at the possibilities.

I worry about leaving the cats at home. I lug my laptop to work with me everyday. And my passport. And anything else I’m worried about getting stolen. My back is not happy about this.

So now…now I’m starting to feel less insecure. I’m feeling a little more relieved everytime we come home and everything’s fine. I’m still jittery, and I’m still a little suspicious of anyone walking down our alley. But I imagine this will also dissipate with time.

The side effect of all this paranoia and fear is that it totally derailed all the momentum Brian and I had going before the holidays. We had a fire stoked to get our art and writing done. We had plans, we had deadlines….all went up in a puff of anxiety. So now we’re regrouping. Scraping up the scattered shards of our confidence and trying to reassemble them. Gonna take time.

The one thing this incident has NOT quelled, but in fact has strengthened, is our desire to move and leave behind this area for good.

It’s funny how talking about taking big steps in one’s life and the desire to make changes in one’s life are easy to come by. Especially when time appears to be available. It sometimes takes an extreme event to throw cold water on your head and wake you up to the fact that time is, in fact, not unlimited. And sometimes the comfort zone, even if it isn’t palatable, can sometimes make it difficult to change your situation. The devil you know, etc etc.

So. Life goes on. And either you let the horrible event shape you, or you grit your teeth and keep moving forward. Life moves forward regardless.

I promise the next blog will be filled with witty comments, helpful insight and more news on developments for me & the husbeast. Or at least some fun pics & a random snark.





Ahh….2011. Clean fresh slate!

4 01 2011

Weather: After a freak anomoly of upper 50s on New Year’s Eve,  we’ve settled back into ZOMG COLD as the gods intended.
High: 36º & partly sunny with possible flurries later.

So, it’s been an elephant’s age since I posted and a lot of mental shakeup has happened.

When last we saw Ms. Heidi, she was lamenting the writer’s block on book #2 and trying to figure out a way to escape Indiana without having to go bankrupt or chewing off an arm .

The first of the year found me and the husbeast in a fiery mood. Contemplative & reflective be damned, we were more of the mind to burn bridges than philosophize on future endeavors.  It’s an interesting mindset to start the year off. We aren’t angry or resentful, merely frustrated at our lack of forward motion and the turning of another calendar year with little to show for the time passed.

So we did the best thing possible: Instead of flailing and blaming the sundry usual scapegoats for our lack of success, we decided that the fastest way to force us to focus on our goals was to remove any and all distractions. So we purged our closets and dressers for clothes, compiling 3 large bags of donations. That felt so cleansing, that we are doing our books & media next.

For myself, I’ve taken the tact that the reason things have gone so pear shaped in past few years is twofold: 1) Making things so complicated that it became impossible to manage, and 2) trying to re-establish a life path that hasn’t been working for me.

So firstly, simplify. Really, there are only 3 things I want to focus on this year. 1: My health. My weight is ridiculously out of control & being 44 in a couple weeks, I can’t justify letting my health get this out of whack.
2: My writing. I need to stop worrying about the extraneous things (getting published, negative feedback, finding an audience, faling behind my friends in their publishing careers) and focus on the stories. Just write the stories. Finish them. Polish them. When you love them, get them out there. Traditional routes may not be for you. And that’s OKAY.
3: My Life Path: You know that definition of insanity? The one where you keep doing the same thing over and over & expecting a different outcome? That’s what I’ve been doing every year for the past 5 years.  I kept telling myself “get back on the path” without taking the time to see that the “path” has been going nowhere. Time to forge a NEW path. With NEW goals, NEW outlooks &  NEW energy.

Ultimately, what has happened is my brain has finally kicked the old ways of doing things out of the mental shack & has brought in some new untried ways of doing things. Most of the people I look up to, who’ve made a decent success of their lives, have bucked the traditional route on a lot of things. I know I’ll get lots of people telling me, but what about this or that benchmark of success? Isn’t that what you’ve been striving for? Recognition? Money? Legitimacy?
The truth is yes, that is what I’d originally made the goal of my pursuits. Lately, though, those things seem less important to me. Would they be nice to have? Sure. But I’m done wasting my time & energy trying to pursue them in absence of a way that makes sense to me. They’ll come. Eventually and maybe not in the ways that most people expect.

Brian’s kind of in the same boat. He’s realizing that the marketing & sale of his niche of product doesn’t fall into the neat business plans of other products.

We’re both kind of in this whole new perspective towards our art. There is a surge in the DIY type of business plan.
It’s not easy.
It’s not going to replace the Traditional way of doing things.
But the truth is there is becoming a need for an alternative way of life & doing business. It lies completely within the commitment & passion of the artists to make it work with any kind of success. There’s no books or plans or websites of how to do this. You can’t get a paint by numbers on how to make it work. You just have to do it and keep adjusting your methods until it starts working for you.

I have the greatest respect for people who make a success of their particular art or business the traditional route. I’m just saying it doesn’t work for me or the husbeast for that matter. We are both rapidly approaching a point where we are going to say, to hell with our current methods of income & throw ourselves into our individual art full time. Will this be a challenge? Oh HELL yes it will.

I’m working on an essay, a writeup I’m calling “No Option B: Living without a Safety Net”. It’s a philosophy I’m beginning to embrace wholeheartedly. If you have no backup, you will be extremely focused on making your chosen path work, right?

Mind you, I’m not saying this plan will work for everyone, nor am I saying it’s a better way of doing things. But it appeals to me because every  time I’ve taken a leap of faith, something good has come of it. I may not have landed on my feet squarely, but at least I’ve moved forward. It’s when I start second guessing my intentions or work that things get hairy.

Some of the best success stories in this world started in bad economic times.  But the people who made leaps in this kind of environment were those who stepped away from the well-worn path, and blazed a trail that to everyone else seemed foolish or just plain crazy. The reason why some fail isn’t the path they’ve taken, it’s their inability to commit to the path once they’ve gotten on it.

So there it is. My New Year’s Resolution, for lack of a better phrase.

I have other friends making similar pacts with themselves. We’re starting to create a network of artists, writers & craftspeople. Sometimes a community of like minded people can motivate you more than the pursuit of material gain. And maybe that’s a hippie-ish artsy kind of way of looking at things, but I really don’t have a problem with those kinds of labels.

Blogging will be more regular this year. I’ll also be cross-posting these to Twitter, Facebook & LJ.

Off to do Day Job work now. But my brain is already formulating ways to replace the mundane with the creative.





Friday at last…and my body is made of FALE.

23 01 2009

weather: High: 31 degrees, though it’s gonna plummet this afternoon. Partly sunny.

Fell on some ice yesterday and am feeling the repercussions today. Sore knee, sore hip, and both my ankles are giving me grief when I walk. So falling apart in my old age.

Have decided this weekend is not only makeover weekend but complete bloody life overhaul weekend.The hair will be getting dyed on Sunday and there are a number of other small physical things that will be dealt with this weekend as well. Workouts are starting up. Diet will be adjusted. I’d like to get my ears pierced again. Eventually that damn tattoo will get done. But this is just the physical things that need adjusting.

I’ve come to realize my spiritual and mental aspects have been even more woefully neglected.  Time will be made for meditation. And quiet time. As in no TV and music on LOW.  My brain is like a whirly gig right now and even though I’m writing, I’m not at the level I want to be. Mostly because I’m too damn distracted.

Been spending a lot of time searching through Neil Gaiman’s Journal for writing advice.  He’s a veritable fount of info and gives the best nuggets of wisdom for writers. It’s mostly just common sense, but coming form him, and the way he doles it out, it just seems much more easy to take to heart and believe.  It does quell a lot of the fear of failure I have. Not that I have any illusions of coming near to his level of writing. I aspire, granted, but do not hold my breath.

Spent most of my morning e-mailing my writer cabal and commiserating on the not joy of mid-novel ennui. Seems I’m not alone in this. It’s that wall you hit and your brain suddenly loses it’s shit and starts screaming incoherently “OMG!! WHAT HAVE  I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO HERE???”  So needless to say, I’m whacking away at the manuscript with a highlighter to trim away the crap.

On a more fun note.

This is the story how Neil Gaiman got the nickname “Scary Trousers”. It came from Alan Moore, so you can only imagine. 🙂

Ready for the weekend. New hair do. Possibly seeing Underworld this weekend. So much in the Yay column.





2009…AH! Love that New Year Smell!

5 01 2009

Weather: High: 30 degrees and sunny! SO VERY VERY SUNNY! BAH!

SO… New year! So far so good. ::knocks every available wood surface.::

Good news on the “My Friends are Cool Musicians” front. Shortwave Dahlia is about ready to release their next Album, “The Wilderness”. I’ve heard the tracks and it is simply AMAZING!!! Good gods I cannot WAIT to get my hot little hands on this album!

My writing has taken a weird left turn. I had a dream sequence that just would not let go of me and I spent a good few hours hammering it out. It could possibly fit in the novel, but it would almost seem to be levered in. It’s just annoying when I spend the time tapping out three thousand words and I can’t get it to work within the context of the story. GAH!

Spent my lunch hour wading through the manuscript so far and tightening up some of the dialogue and fixing some continuity errors. It’s finally starting to flow better, though I’m still getting the nagging sense that I need a stronger plot point to carry the story through. I’ll be doing the down and dirty with red pen and hard copy of the manuscript tonight.

Think I’m gonna be cleaning house on apps over at Facebook this weekend. I have had at least 90 requests pending at any one time and I just can’t keep up with them anymore. I like Facebook for it’s shorthand posting, but the apps thing is ridiculous. I don’t have the time to invest in most of the ongoing games.

I’m determined to do the following this year:

  1. Lose weight. Not for any other reason than my health.
  2. MOVE! As in MOVE THE HELL AWAY FROM HERE.
    Seattle is getting more lean than Portland right now, mostly because Brian has a Job Connection there. I’m not complaining. I’ve wanted to move to Seattle since 1991.
  3. Get at least 2 manuscripts finished and re-start working on the three back burnered manuscripts.
  4. Get Health Insurance. Bri and I are woefully overdue for checkups. And with us wanting to get preggers, I need to get a lot of tests done. Especially considering my age.
  5. Dye the hair. Get the piercing. Get the ink. You’ve wanted it for a LONG time. JUST DO IT.
  6. GO TO DRAGON*CON. This may be the only year that you’ll have EVERYONE there at once.
  7. Get you’re actual website up and running. Stop fiddle faddling on LJ and Facebook and get the damn site up.
  8. Go to some concerts for gods’ sake!
  9. Do NOT let your self-doubt and insecurities get a toe-hold again. They do you no good and only serve those who would seek to keep you from reaching your goals.
  10. Love Brian. Love him a lot. Love him often. Love him in new and unusual ways. VBEG

So…resolustions set. Now if I could just get the muses to fall in line. Disreputable bastards the lot of them .

SIGH.

If only they weren’t so damn cute.

Turning 42 in a week. Still trying to wrap my head around that.

And just so you know–I’ll be there with bells on!
Trailer for Coraline: the Movie