Fourth Quarter Can Kiss My

Last year was a bad year for blogging and I’m not sure this one will be any better.  It should be better, but we’ll see.  I’ve got a lot of novels to get done first.

Health:
2015:
Well, I had one emergency room visit that was sadly expensive and also ended completely unresolved.  The issue hasn’t reoccurred and it did galvanize me to get off my ass and get myself a physical.  Everything came back fine, though my weight is on the heavy side.  I don’t feel badly overweight, but if you run the ‘you are this height and age’ numbers, I am apparently a lot of overweight.  Which triggers doctors to inform me of all of this exercising I’m apparently not doing, never mind the fact that I walk five miles four times a week minimum.  Which they never asked about.  I blame a lot of this on the town, which has an obsessive attitude for health and fitness.

For 2016:
No real goals for health next year.  I should eat better, this is a goal I should work on, but I’m also aware that I probably won’t.  I like eating, I like eating certain kinds of foods that are objectively crap.  And also, it’s really hard to get good produce out here, which is a lot of what I really need to eat healthier.

Wealth:
2015:
No diversifying of monetary streams and I am still making shitty wages.  I am getting by, but it’s not great.

For 2016:
Need to ask for a raise or get a new job.  Not excited about these prospects, either of them.  Let’s move on, because this one just sucks.

Love:
2015:
So you know how last year I said I was apparently dating someone for like, five, ten years?  We got married this summer.  So far, it hasn’t really changed much except we make a lot of ‘you married that’ jokes.  The biggest benefit of being married so far is that it is no longer weird for my spouse to buy me pants and I am so down with that.

Expanding love to include family and friends, things were a little rough on this front.  Lost a grandmother and that was rough.  Now that I am married, have to figure out how to split the holidays and integrate the families and that’s been… complicated.  Not bad, but complicated. Families are great, but logistics alone are a pain in the ass, even with all the love and support in the world.

For 2016:
Still making sure I don’t buy maine coons.  Waiting patiently for when life can move forward again and we’re not stuck somewhere we’re not fond of.  Getting there.  Getting closer.

Prosperity:
2015:
It doesn’t feel like I accomplished anything, but I did.  Close calls aren’t enough to make it from, but eventually one of those will resolve.  I keep telling myself that.  It doesn’t help much with the frustration, but it keeps me trying.

For 2016:
Keep on keeping on.  Keep on writing, keep on editing, keeping throwing myself off of the metaphorical cliff until I get there.

Resolutions:
I kept none of last year’s resolutions and am not making any this year.

Well, okay, here’s one.  I resolve to get a post nano write up before next nano.

There, I have done it, I have resolved.  Go team.  See you next year.

2014 Black Eyed Peas

Note: This is not a good recipe.  This is not even a real recipe.  This is an abomination unto gastronomical science.

Ingredients:
-Black Eyed Peas
-Chicken Stock
-Onion
-Garlic
-Bay leaf
-Bacon Ends!

1) Spend about five minutes perusing recipes on the internet. Dismiss several because you’re sure as hell not going to soak the beans. Find a recipe that doesn’t mention soaking beans. Decide you can totally make this recipe without soaking the beans. Time to fake it.

2) Fetch your beans. Because you shop at hippie places, you have bulk bin beans. Realize you have absolutely no way of knowing exactly how much beans you are making, so it’s really probably for the best that you’re faking this recipe. Empty beans into slow cooker.

3) Remove beans from slow cooker, put in sieve. Because you heard somewhere that you ought to rinse the beans first. Or was that rice? Rinse beans anyway. Can’t hurt. Put back in slow cooker.

4) Empty chicken stock on top of beans. Be absolutely unsure how much you should use. One recipe said something about covering the beans with liquid and above that. Add two cups of stock. Contemplate if you should dilute it with water. Add an indeterminate amount of water. Add another cup of chicken stock. Have a sinking suspicion that this is way, way too much liquid.

5) Oh well! High altitude, liquids boil off, it’ll probably be fine. Right? You’ll find out. Now what else was supposed to go in here? Oh yeah, onions!

6) There’s half an onion in the fridge. Dice it. By which we mean hack it badly into pieces, with bits showering onto the floor and everything around you. Get through about half of the onion and decide that’s plenty. Dump into crockpot.

7) Decide to blog about attempting to cook. Leave everything in the kitchen and fight with spacing on blog.

8) Make another cup of tea and enjoy while writing up blog. Realize that you are sort of soaking the beans after all. In a lazy, lazy passive fashion anyway.

9) Finish blogging up to where you left your beans sitting on the counter. Time to add garlic. Use some of the pre-diced garlic in a jar. Then add a couple of little cloves, because you’re pretty sure the garlic clove will not last forever, and hey, nothing wrong with more garlic, right?

10) BACON TIME. Contemplate the package of bacon ends you picked up. Wonder if its way too much. Hack it up and toss it in anyway. It’ll be the predominant flavor anyway. Well, that and the garlic.

11) Contemplate bacon again. That is a LOT of bacon. This is not a low fat dish. This is not good for you. Pigs tremble at the site of the dish. Wonder what abomination you have wrought.

12) Add bay leaf.

13) Cover slow cooker, turn on low. Hope that you put it on with enough time that it will become food by the time you want to eat (in six, seven hours from now).

14) Proceed to ignore slow cooker. You have other things to do today. Laundry, for one. Blogs, for another.

15) Remember sometime around six that you made food. Cautiously, dubiously poke slow cooker. Well, it looks like beans.

16) Serve over leftover rice because it’s perfectly fine rice from two days ago and really you’re too lazy to clean the rice cooker and make fresh rice. Discover beans need salt, but this is pretty much a given with beans. Otherwise, totally edible. You did it. You cobbled together a recipe and did not blow up the entire kitchen. You would be more proud of this except that you recall that beans, at the end of the day, are actually pretty hard to screw up, especially in a slow cooker.

17) Eat a heart portion with too much bacon in it. Brace self. It’s a new year.

A New Year, A New Blog Entry

Happy Halloween!  It’s a gorgeous fall day with eerie skittering leaves everywhere.  There’s a giant bowl of candy waiting to be eaten and I am dressed as a mobster and the itinerants in the park asked me to dance.  No, I’m… not really sure what that last one means either.

It is also the eve of a new year.  A new Writing Year, at any rate.

When you’re little, the only year that counts as an ‘official’ year is the calendar year.  The one that start January 1st and ends December 31st.  But as you get older, you realize that there are a lot places the year could start.  The Chinese New Year isn’t in the same place.  Nor is the Jewish New Year and that one doesn’t even always start in the same place every year, at least if you’re tracking it by the Julian calendar.

In fact, as a kid, you’re already dancing to another schedule.  The School Year, which starts over in September and this is WAY more important to you than January 1st will ever be.  And then you get to be an adult and you discover FISCAL years, which can literally start and stop in any place, so long as its the same place every year.  The United States government starts its fiscal year in October of all places.

Eventually, you figure out that the new year is pretty arbitrary as a date.  You probably will get the first off of work, which is nice, but the holiday itself only ever means as much as you want it to.  Your own life will be tracked by dates that mean more to you personally.  Religious holidays, birthdays, anniversaries.  You set your own calendar, even if you add in drinking heavily every December 31st to the agenda.

For years, I’ve joked that the writing year started with Nano.  This year, I decided that, you know what?  I’m making this official.  My Writing Year starts on November 1st.  Which means its time to discuss how the last year went and plans for the new year.

Aaaaand, well, honestly, last year wasn’t a great year for writing for me.  Thing happened, such as moving.  And a large quantity of being less useful than I really wanted to be.  Still, accomplished a few things.  Got one novel through a third draft phase, which is a landmark for me.  That, unfortunately, was the most I got accomplished for novels.  My Nano last year, while very informative, will probably need to be completely restarted from scratch now that I have hashed out my direction for that story a little better.  I started a number of novels and have ideas for a number more.  But other than one third draft, progress was minimal this last year.

Also, did not learn how to write short stories.  May have figured out novellas, though!  I wrote another one of those, finished that up just this last month.  So, this year hasn’t been a waste, things got written, things got learned.  But just not as productive as I want.

Which leads me to my plans for this next year.  The goal is to get four major projects done.  One per quarter, though with the year starting in November, I’ve completely screwed myself on tracking things by quarter. 

What counts as a major project?  A draft (first, second, fifteenth, doesn’t matter) of something novella length or up.  Because I have a few novellas I’d love to clean up, even if those are sort of dead ends for publishing at this point in my career (as I’m not interested in self publishing right now).  And I want to build in some amount of forgiveness for myself, because trying for this is a goal insanely higher than any I’ve set for myself.

Which projects am I thinking?

Well, to start with, there’s the novel I’m writing for Nano this year.  The goal is to actually try and finish the thing in a month, though I did cheat and am going into it with about 20k pre-written.  With the 50k of Nano, that puts me up to 70k, which is still short for a novel of adult fiction.  But Freddy Normal Is Dead was finished at 60k in its first draft and is now around 90k, so the length of first drafts can and does change radically when they move to new territory. 

Though, I’ll be honest.  The novel I’m working on for Nano this year?  It embarrasses me so.  On some levels, it’s a perfectly respectable little high fantasy.  On other levels, it’s a horrible yaoi monstrosity and help help why am I writing this?

*Cough*  So, anyway, after Nano, I really want to get The Cat That Wouldn’t Die through a second draft.  It’s kind of one of my favorites and I still have high hopes for it, if I can ever get it edited to something decent.  Freddy Normal Is Dead will also need another draft, though I’m hoping that will be a faster redraft as it’s more focused on areas I know need work or will be pointed out to me.

Put like that, there’s three of the four major projects right there.  Looks less scary when put like that, but I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune when I’m actually trying to edit and write shit. 

And for the fourth project?  We’ll find out.  Exploration is always the best part of writing.