Snowed In

Like much of New England, we’re snowed in today. Spent the morning eating an extravagant brunch with my Gram, the afternoon doing laundry and playing with the puppy, and the evening so far involves catching up with friends and family over shoveling and snow drifts. Ken and I are filled with coffee and will soon continue our Downton Abbey viewings.

In other news, Ken and I saw The Colbert Report live on Wednesday (highly recommended!), and I’ve just started writing for! My first article was on a pee-powered generator, and there’re more alternative energy related posts to come next week.

Next week will also likely involve more snow romps for Loki.


3 Personal Writing Triumphs

Yes, that's the Chosen Collection in the background!

Loki enjoying a bully stick in his gigantic new bed.

1) I’ve written a guest blogpost for Hatch*, a new blog about religion, big questions, and the like. My post is personal and ranty; it’s very Millennial of me.

2) Reddit, known for harsh judgments and countless photos of adorable cats, has my first book’s first chapter in its capable, collective hands. Someone posted one critique already; I’m so grateful for the compliment sandwich, and the critical stuff in-between was more helpful than harsh. Bring it on! [Insert metallurgy metaphor here.]

3) Last week, I began a 500 words per week goal for my new adventures in fiction writing–and I exceeded it by a whopping 99 words! It’s such a minor mission, but if I can stick to it, I will have proven to myself that I can increase the difficulty level from Super Easy to Very Easy. Any easy is hard until I make a habit of it.

Books for Christmas

Christmas eve afternoon, Ken and I read in the living room. Loki perched on my shoulders to watch the neighborhood.

Usually, Ken and I exchange “Christmas gifts” in November or even October. (You need a new messenger bag?–Me too–Merry Christmas.) This year, we made it all the way until Christmas eve. I gave him a copy of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (I’ve heard it’s like a meta Harry Potter for adults–perfect, right, readers who know Ken?), and Ken got me Megan Mayhew Bergman’s Birds of a Lesser ParadiseIt looks like a lovely fictional follow-up to Amy Leach’s Things That Are, my favorite book of 2012 in the category of creative nonfiction. (The Sarah Awards–how all should cherish even being nominated!)

In other news, we now have too many Christmas cookies in our kitchen. (Best of problems.) Also, friends are coming over tonight for our weekly movie night to enjoy leftovers and the Christmas classic, Die Hard.

Onward to test my favorite non-papery Christmas gift: a hands-free dog leash!

Well, One Adventure: Southford Falls

Yesterday was the first clear day in a while. As a friend said, it’s like the Dementors have been mating most of the week. To celebrate the good weather, we took Loki to Southford Falls to catch up on some much needed exercise and get us all some fresh air.

A moment's rest, before rambunctiousness ensued.

A moment’s rest before rambunctiousness ensued.

He was as sweet and exuberant as ever, but so much to handle on the trails–loose-leash practice be damned, Loki was not bribed by dried liver nor beef! There were too many new leaves and sticks and grassy fields and piles of mud to investigate. After an hour we three piled in the car, exhausted. A good feeling for us all.

A tired dog is a happy dog, so they say. That goes double for this high energy dude.

At the falls, one tree over the lake was covered in bobbers dangling from fishing line. Christmas ornaments. I wonder how many hopeful catchers of fish saw this, said “not me,” and then joined the dozens who accidentally sacrificed their bobbers to this branchy god.

Bobbers in the branches.

Today’s been less adventurous than yesterday: green tea and omelettes for breakfast, quiet work in the morning, play in the dog park around 10, and back to work at 11. I did hear back from the library board this afternoon: they’re interested in discussing my 2D art group proposal. Hooray! I might even get to attend the next board meeting. How sweet would it be to get this off the ground?

Alone This Evening

Light inside the dark.

The string lights in our dining room.

The spouse is playing D&D at AnonyCon, so it’s just me, the pup, and the dulcet tones of Joseph Arthur coming from my feeble speakers. Spent a lovely afternoon catching up with an old friend, and then came home, greeted Loki, took care of him, quoted an editing project (hope I get it!), washed a few dishes, grabbed a cranberry ginger ale, and sat down at the littlest desk we have. So, here I am.

For an introvert that craves solitude, it’s strange to admit that I don’t really like being alone at home. The quiet that offers peace is also the quiet that my anxieties use for their own sinister purposes. Instead of indulging in stuff-it-down distraction, I’ll try to follow a friend’s advice, and let them have their say.

Peace gets to speak next though.

When People are (Really) Angry At Me: The Five Stages

Last night, someone was very cruel to me. This person intentionally said hurtful things in an accusatory tone in order to make me feel like I’m not doing enough of an important, care-related job.

I know this person was frustrated, lashing out, and perhaps (probably?) didn’t mean what he or she said. I know that I shouldn’t take words said in anger to heart.

But too often in these situations, my sensitivity gets the best of me, and I react in some traceable patterns. They’re much like the Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief, only more avoidable and less compelling.

1) Obliviousness. The degree of anger doesn’t register at all. I’m usually not looking for intense rage directed at me–I’m a good person, right? In the conversation, I simply act politely and respond gently, as I would with your low-to-average levels of meanness. I’m on autopilot, but the wheels will start to turn soon somewhere under the surface.

2) Epiphany. Replaying what was said in my head, I realize, maybe a minute later, that the person I was speaking with was really, really mean to me.

3) Second Epiphany. I feign putting on their perspective–with no perspective from that perspective. Oh my God, they think this. They are right. It’s like the epiphany of cruelty makes room for a more painful epiphany: that cruelty stands on solid ground. It speaks the truth.

4) Single-Minded Self-Searching. I run through all evidence to support what they’ve said. I wail, and wallow in my failure as a human being.

5) Self-Searching from the Opposite Side. They’re human, too, I think, and I amass evidence to support how their words say more about them than about me. They’re not omniscient. There’s also so much to support the opposite of what they said about me.

And then 4 and 5 can cycle back and forth–between thinking and feeling the person is human and fallible and thinking and feeling the person is right and has a valid perspective. It’s something I need to keep working on. I know I’m not what they said I am, but then I know I really don’t know, and there’s always evidence to the contrary.

I guess this all illustrates how attached I am to sensing I am always being and doing good. Maybe I’ll try to sit with that epiphany today.

Comforting beast.


Puppies and Petitions

Our ridiculously photogenic dog.

Our ridiculously photogenic dog.

Lots of hopeful letters leaving our mailbox these days. I’m starting a new art group and want the library meeting room rental fee waived, so today I finished my petition to the board of directors. The petition is sealed in a fancy envelope, and was almost photographed, but I came to my senses: that’s not nearly as fun to look at as the furry dude above.