Five years ago, I started this wee blog. Can you believe it? My first real post was actually about a super taster test that Charles and I both took. I had no idea where I was going with this blog. I just wanted a space where I could write things that didn't involve the writing I did for my job. We had recently purchased a small house that had originally been intended as a vacation home. Charles and I soon realized that buying a home from the '70s that had a lot of deferred maintenance was going to require a great deal of our attention.
That attention also meant that along with writing and art and food, this blog also began to talk about the trials and tribulations of trying to fix up our home. Eventually, the lifestyle and home improvement posts took over to such an extent, I created a new blog for my food and wine posts. I mean, people who know me are used to how I jump around from subject to subject without an obvious stream of consciousness, but there was no reason to subject my readers to the crazy bouncing my brain does. Mostly.
I have a gut feeling that 2015 is going to present a lot of changes for my Charles and me. I have no idea where those changes will take us, or even what they might look like, but if you've been reading this blog o' mine for any length of time, you know that we're not strangers to change. My Book Syrup blog and my pixyofwhimsy persona have always been mutable, and there's no reason to think that will stop any time soon.
So what does that mean for my five year old site? I guess we'll all have to tune in to find out.
The internet is very Jekyll and Hyde. You can access amazing information, including lectures from top universities, step-by-step videos on how to repair almost anything, and GIFs of corgi puppies for purposes of smiling. People can also be at their cruelest online. It can be so easy to knock someone else down when you don't agree with them, or even when you're just having a terrible day and want to share in the misery. Prejudices and bigotry are in full force on the internet, and it can be all too easy to lose faith in humanity.
My main goal for 2015 is to embrace joy. 2014 was pretty rough for me, especially the latter half, and I want to switch my focus to the good this year. My most popular post on Facebook this January has been, "I've grown weary of cynicism. This year, I'll focus on joy."
I'm already attempting to do this on social media, posting positive, life-affirming stories instead of let's-be-angry articles. I'll still work on improving the world in ways that I can, but I'll leave the day to day burden of bad information to the news.
And what about Our Little House? My goal for this year is to make it more functional for Charles and me. We're still playing with the idea of turning our 3 and 1 into a 2 and 2. A second bathroom would be amazing, and Charles and I can share an office. We don't both need one, especially since we usually just end up on the couch in the living room with our laptops anyway. I'll share our journey with the process on here. I'm also planning on finally updating the kitchen. There's some deferred maintenance that has to be dealt with this year. Plus, there are still a couple of things I want to do to our (currently) only bathroom, including some little projects that are finally happening.
I hope you stay tuned to Charles' and my adventures in 2015, and don't forget to embrace the joy.
I suffer from asthma. I also suffer from allergies. While my favorite season may be spring, with its fresh breezes and bursting flowers, I’m not spring’s favorite human. The cedars and grasses combine with my asthma and make for some narrow air ways.
I’m naturally sedentary. I’d rather curl up with a good book and lose myself in other dimensions than hang out in a gym. In fact, I hate gyms – the way they smell, the way other people look at me, the giant drains in the middle of the shower stall floor, the whole nine yards. But I love the outdoors. I love to hike, to ramble under the trees, along the shore, or under the wide-open desert sky. I’m inspired by the wind’s caress, the sunlight filtered through clouds, and green. I revel in how I feel after a long trek, and I’m even fonder of the buzzing glow that fills me after a run. Unlike the gym, I don’t care that people see me in exercise outfits, that my belly – though shrinking – is still round. I don’t care what other people are thinking because while I’m running, that’s what I care about. It’s the most Zen I get outside of meditation, and sometimes meditation can’t even attain the quiet mind that comes from pounding feet on the hard-packed dirt.
With my favorite season, my running is suffering. I’m running narrow, gasping for air more than usual, especially since I’ve started allergy shots. As the potency of those weekly shots increase, I’m finding a corresponding decrease in my stamina.
This is where I’d usually give up, scream, “F it!” in my mind, and stare at the glowing TV screen until I grew numb. I’m not doing that this go-around. Instead, I have goals in place to keep me going. I have a Fitbit Flex – I named it Marty – that tracks my steps and keeps me motivated. (Thank you, Wil Wheaton, for inspiring me to get one.) It’s so satisfying when I receive that little buzz around my wrist when I achieve 10,000 steps for the day! I feel like I can’t stop until I get that, so even on non-running days (the days I receive my shots), I’m still getting my steps in. Plus a group of my friends and I are going to participate in the Color Run in August, so I can’t slack off now. I need to be ready for that Fun Run. I’m seeing an asthma and allergy doctor, so I’m finally on the right medication for my asthma. Even during the yearly pollen assault, at least I can actually still breathe, and if I remember my Albuterol before I hit the trail, I don’t even run narrow.
The most important part – I enjoy my exercise. It doesn’t matter how you get out and move as long as you do it. For me, it’s going outside and walking or hiking or running. I WANT to keep it up because I love it. I’ll still curl up with a good book, probably all of the time really, but I won’t let that keep me from the outside. No more sitting on the couch, turning into a side of fries!
Four years ago, I started a blog. Can you believe it’s been four years?!!! I wanted an outlet for creative writing I couldn’t do at work, a space where I could be myself, a space to share discoveries, recipes, and more. Four years ago, my Charles and I had owned our home for seven months and had no idea how much maintenance would become a part of our lives. I had no idea how much it would swing the focus of this blog.
It’s amusing to go back to those original posts. I didn’t post any photos to the blog until April, and those were tiny! Going back into the archives is like the adventure into how I found the blog’s voice. Of course it, like me, is constantly evolving, but it feels like after four years, this space can finally begin to sing.
A blog is only as good as its readers, and I’m so grateful to all of you, whether you’ve been following my ramblings since those awkward beginnings or you just stumbled upon it last week. I wanted to thank you all for your support and visits. You are my (mostly) silent horde, but you return, and I love you for it.
As a celebratory ye haw, here are some fun facts about the author of this here blog:
For all intents and purposes, 2013 was a pretty brutal year. I went through a very bad bout of depression, as did my Charles. According to the parts of the blogosphere in which I hang, this was pretty typical for most of us. I feel it, in my gut, even down to my toes, that 2014 is going to be an excellent year.
While this year was pretty darn rough, there were also a myriad of good things and progress in our little house, and lots of things were a-cookin' in my brain pan.
2013 marked our fourth year of home ownership. My, how much we've learned in that time! Wherever our next house resides, we won't be nearly as intimidated with a bit of DIY. In fact, as long as it has good bones, I think we'll be good to go.
We finally finished the repairs, both on the inside and the outside of the house, due to the original leaky sliding glass doors that became one of the banes of our existence.
In fact, we finally got all of the dry rot dealt with on the outside of the house, and everything is now sealed up, and the rain (if we had any. 2013 was also a very, very dry year.) will no longer have a chance to puddle and snuggle with the house's siding.
My horizons were also broadened when it came to plumbing. Our tub surround, whom I've dubbed Disco Stu, and I still have some things to say to each other. Will Stu get to stay? Find out in 2014.
Not everything was about repairs. I rearranged and updated the look of our bedroom this year, and even after living with it for a few months, I'm still amazed at how much more cozy it is -- and how much more lush it feels.
I did some minor crafts, just to keep things interesting, and realized how much that bright blue color that I chose for the door, and more, makes me smile.
I even made sure to get a good dose of vitamin D and participated in a Pinterest Challenge this spring. The path I made is holding up beautifully, and I've planted some green, crawling leafy things around it that will probably fill-in in about ten years.
While I didn't make a lot of art this year, I did acquire a bit more, especially in the black velvet painting collection. Charles and I even got to host the artist at our house this fall, when Chris came through town on business.
Though I'll never be too keen on driving, I did get an awesome vehicle this year. It's zippy and I love it, and I listen to tons of music during my commute to work. I continue to tweak my play list, and it continues to bring a smile to my face.
2013 also involved a lot of soul searching for me. I realized how much the ocean is a part of who I am and made sure to seek it out a few times this year. And while currently, I only get to visit, I realized it's home, both because of the Pacific's proximity and because of the folks who live there.
Charles and I also got to take a two week vacation, something we hadn't done in quite a few years, and it was wonderful and filled with beauty.
While it may have been difficult, there was still a lot of joy and wonder to be found this year. Our neighborhood may have its unique challenges, but it's a pretty place to live.
So long 2013! We're all really glad you're done, but there were still a lot of lovely things you gave us. Thank you for the gifts, old year. Now bring on 2014!
We'd hide outside of Mom's bedroom, trying to stifle our giggles, so excited it was difficult not to jump up and down.
Mom's alarm would sound. We'd hear her roll out of bed and throw a robe over her nightgown. Holding our breath in order to be as quiet as possible, my little brother, little sister, and I would each coil, ready to spring forward and scream, "Christmas Eve Gift!"
Great-grandma Ruby had crafted the tradition of the Christmas Eve Gift. Whomever was clever and sneaky enough to surprise everyone else with the magic, three-letter phrase would receive an inexpensive, though special, gift. Catching fellow family members was eagerly sought, the prize more coveted than the "real" presents that were doled out on Christmas day.
Christmas Eve Gift then filled the childhoods of my mom and aunts, and as soon as we were all old enough to understand the rules of said tradition, it continued on with my generation, spreading joy and anticipation within the family and confusion from friends or coworkers who were greeted with jubilantly burbled words that echoed through telephone lines or around doorjambs.
Our silly, playful tradition continues, my grandma still the best of us. In fact, as adults we no longer exchange Christmas presents. No, it's all about those Christmas Eve Gifts. They may be but trifles, small packages that show our affection for -- and competition with -- each other, but are they cherished!
So, Christmas Eve Gift to each and every one of you! Here's to continuing on amusing family traditions, and hey, while I'm at it, merry Christmas. It may not be as exciting as catching everyone with a shouted, "Christmas Eve Gift!" but it's a pretty great day, too.
A blog about writing, art, projects, or whatever else tickles my fancy.