It’s been a few minutes, right? How ’bout a quick update…
Even though I haven’t written a post to you since I got home from Florida, I have written words on a couple of different stories.
But quite frankly, I’m pretty far behind on a lot of things. Writing goals, housework, health goals, etc… However, as always, I’m working to catch up and I’m working to get things moving forward and getting ahead a little and looking forward to 2022.
I haven’t felt well since I got back. Physically or mentally. I’ve been extremely tired and some sort of exhausted I can’t even name. My mood has been up and down. I’ve lacked for energy of any sort. It’s not that I want to sleep, it’s more that I don’t want to do anything at all.
My diet was way off while I was away and before I left, I had been making good progress with it, making the changes to my eating and drinking habits that made me feel so much better than before. It’s taken me a few weeks to find the motivation to really get back to it, but I’be started making significant progress this week. Exercising has been pretty much in that same boat. I fell way off and have lacked any kind of desire to get back into the swing of doing it. I have started up again, albeit, at a much more pulled back state until I build some energy and stamina back up. It’s the starting that counts at first, and the consistency that counts as you move along.
Thanksgiving was nice. We spent the day up in Charlotte with our daughter and her new cat and kittens. The leftovers were gone by Sunday.
There’s a Christmas tree lighting in the park of the small town we live in later this week and Hallmark Christmas movies have set the bar pretty high, so if this event doesn’t live up to that, I’m gonna be pretty damn disappointed.
The regular college football season is over and thank heavens for that because my Seminoles were not much better this year than they were last year. On the plus side, however, are my Cincinnati Bearcats who went 12-0 this season. I’m nervous about their conference championship against Houston this weekend and cautiously excited. I believe some Cincinnati Chili will be on the menu as an extra boost of support.
My new favorite holiday drink is a Gingerbread Tea Latte (with oatmilk). I had one at Starbuck’s inside the Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago when I went to write in the cafe and oh my goodness, it was delicious. I ordered some Harney & Sons Gingerbread Festival tea as soon as I got home that evening and have been making this tea latte every day since.
And before I close out this note, I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am for you, whoever you are, reading these posts, these snippets that I write. You’re awesome.
Since October 12th, I’ve been down in Florida and during this time, I’ve managed to scratch out a couple thousand words. That’s much less than a week’s worth when I’m at home, but for these 3 weeks, I’ve been helping out family and having the mental energy necessary to write has been a challenge.
I’m mentally, physically, even emotionally exhausted. Being a caregiver, short-term or long-term is not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely not for the selfish or the ‘me’ mentality. It requires patience, kindness, and the ability to scream internally when you can’t scream externally.
Normally, I would have said, ‘I just can’t. I’ll just wait until I get back home and get my head back on straight, catch up on sleep, on de-stressing, on XYZ… And then, I’ll start writing again.’ I haven’t done that. I’ve eked out words here and there, most of which don’t make much sense and most of which will be edited out. I also not upset about it, about the lack of progress on a novella I’d hoped to have finished long before November. I’m barely halfway.
I’ve texted with a couple of friends since I’ve been here. I’ve mostly taken my mom or grandma to the Dr, the store, to run whatever errands need to be taken care of, etc… while my mom is recovering from a fall that left her with multiple fractures in one arm along with a plate and nine screws in her wrist. Her sleep schedule is way off which means that mine is, too. By the time I fall asleep around 2-3am… my brain and body have had enough.
Writing is often an escape, sometimes a joy, a lot of times very hard work. Right now it’s not an escape. I can’t think straight enough for it to be an escape and I don’t have the time to sit and immerse myself in a story. I cobble together a few words, try to figure out a storyline in the moments I may have a second to think. I crave and cherish time to myself, something I haven’t had any of for three weeks. I don’t think I’ll be taking that for granted when I return home.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am grateful I can be here and I can help out when needed because no one else in the family can come. I have the freedom and flexibility in my life and schedule that my sister and cousins don’t. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my grandma who is 95. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my mom. I am close with both of these women, but we’re all also cut from the same stubborn piece of cloth and it does pull on the nerves from time to time.
All this, though, is to say… Whatever the circumstance, writing can happen. Even if it’s ten words a day. Five words a day. It’s like the jigsaw puzzles my grandma and I do when I’m here and there’s some down time. It’s one piece at a time. It may be a total of one thousand pieces, but one piece at a time gets you one step closer. It’s the same with writing. One word, five words, ten words in a novella or novel doesn’t seem like much, maybe a drop in a bucket, but it’s one, five, or ten words that weren’t written before and it’s one, five, or ten words closer to the goal.
So, if you find yourself in need of writing but you don’t have much time, you’re exhausted and don’t know which way is up or down and everything seems to be going sideways… Just add one word, five words, ten words… They don’t have to make sense. They just have to be there.
I love y’all… And I’ll be in touch again soon.
First of all, look at this picture! Isn’t it pretty?
I took this yesterday morning just before sunrise.
We also saw a deer for the first time coming out of the trees. To the other side of the yard, there’s a large field with a pond and there’s usually seven to nine cows multiple times a day. This is all very different than being in Charlotte where there was a really busy road on the other side of our backyard. Here, there’s a pond and trees and cows and well, now deer.
It’s August. In my mind, that means we’re on the downhill slide from Summer and headed into Fall. I realize we still have a while yet until we see temperatures below a hundred with equal humidity, but a girl can dream and dream I shall until it becomes a reality that I’m able to open the windows or sit outside by the fire pit and roast marshmallows while watching football.
But back to July for a few minutes…
It started out with me deleting Instagram from my phone. I missed it for a few days in the beginning, but as the month went on, I stopped missing it. I stopped looking for it. I haven’t been on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I have had no voices in my head save my own. I haven’t compared myself or my progress to anyone else. I haven’t spent countless hours scrolling and living vicariously through other authors, publishers, editors, readers, food bloggers, coffee companies, etc… The only social media I’ve had anything to do with has been Pinterest and YouTube.
Pinterest has been something I hadn’t paid attention to in a long while, until the past few weeks when I needed some new recipes.
YouTube is where I go for videos on writing, food, and exercise. And all three of those things changed for me in July.
I wrote a lot. Not by anyone’s standards but mine, but still, I wrote a lot. I didn’t meet my Camp NaNoWriMo goal by any stretch, but I did write. I also added a lot of new story ideas. I mean… Y’all just have no idea. My brain is constantly coming up with new ideas on the daily. Sometimes more than one a day. There are some started, and there are others percolating in the back of my head. I typically have to write at least one page so I remember what the idea was. I haven’t had this happen in YEARS!
My diet changed. Not because I wanted it to, but because my body decided it wanted it. The change it picked? Dairy. I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to do it. But I did… And I started with coffee because of course I did. I figured that if I could find a way to drink coffee without dairy, then I could pretty much handle anything else without dairy. So, I went to Sprouts Farmer’s Market. They are amazing and I love them. I am beyond grateful Greenville has one. They have a large assortment of non-dairy creamer and half and half. I bought several and have been experimenting with them. I can do this. I also began switching out other products that contained to dairy to ones that don’t. Slowly, I’m adjusting and adapting. And there have been a few benefits beyond my stomach not being upset every time I ate… My joints haven’t been hurting as much. A lot of sluggishness and bloating has disappeared. I’m enjoying cooking again. I’ve found a lot of dairy-free information on YouTube that has helped me and recipes on Pinterest. I have a friend who is dairy-free and one who has a daughter who is. They have helped me a lot, as well. I am learning in the kitchen and finding things that work for me. My goal is health and to feel better and to have a little fun with it.
And finally, I am exercising again. I had been walking a lot when we first moved here, but as it became increasingly hotter, that stopped. I don’t want to walk at nine o’clock at night or six in the morning. I don’t want to gasp for breath because the humidity is such that I can’t fight it. I used to do yoga through YouTube videos and walking from home through YouTube videos, so why not try other workouts. I found one that is for women 50 and over who are going through menopause and while the woman is beyond perky and grates on my nerves every so often, her workouts are moderate and short and fairly enjoyable. I like them and they’re helping me get my heart rate up, get my resting heart rate down, move easier, and in general feel better. I haven’t lost any weight, but that isn’t the point for me. The point is health and yes, I do believe you can be healthy at any size if you’re moving, eating balanced, and enjoying the majority of things in your life, laughing and smiling more.
And now that we’re in August, I’m still exercising, still learning all the ins and outs of dairy-free which is a lot plant based, too, and still writing.
I hope you had a good July and while I know some of you love Summer, I know some of you are like me and you’re looking forward to Fall.
I’ll chat with you later.
I started a little series on Instagram called Coffee on the porch… And it’s exactly as it sounds. I took pictures of coffee on my back porch over looking the pond, the trees, the mountains in the distance, and sometimes even cows from the neighboring farm were in the background.
I don’t exactly know why I started doing it, but it’s been an interesting way to see the changes to the land and it combines two of my favorite things…coffee and the view from my porch.
So, since I’m not on Instagram right now, I thought I’d continue the series here on the blog…