Wednesday, January 25, 2023

New Year, Two Year

Hello there! Hard to believe, but we've had two new years since I last posted. January 1 ushered in 2023, of course, and January 22 began the first day of the Lunar New Year celebration. I'm all for it and say two fresh starts are better than one.

It's kind of fun to look at the astrological predictions for the coming year, though I always take them with a grain of salt. 

According to the people who interpret the movements of the planets, Leos can look forward to a transformational year of good fortune, good health, and inner peace. 

But success doesn't happen on its own, and Leos should set ambitious goals, work hard, embrace challenges, and seek out opportunities. We should also eat a balanced diet, exercise, engage in fun hobbies, and connect with our romantic partners.

(Okay, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and point out that this is all good advice for anyone of any astrological sign during any year.)

In the Chinese calendar, 2023 is the year of the Water Rabbit. My horoscope animal is the horse, and this year may bring new opportunities for collaboration with important people and a deepening of family relationships. Horses will feel energetic and optimistic and enjoy prosperity and progress. Horses are also advised to eat healthy, exercise, engage in self-care, and control our spending.

Again, good advice for everyone.

Whatever your astrological sign, birth year, mother's maiden name, or peanut butter preference (smooth or chunky), I wish you all the best in 2023. I have plenty of projects to work on this year, and hopefully I can take advantage of my 2023 lion/horse energy and accomplish a few things.

See you soon!

 

Happy Lunar New Year from my tiny garden!


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Welcome, Winter Solstice

Here in the north, we've reached solstice day and the longest night of the year, and with a new moon coming soon, it will also be one of the darkest. Thankfully, we have candles, fires, and Christmas lights to brighten things up, which of course is no coincidence. 

These are also the days of the Green Man, also known as the Green King, the Green Knight, and various other names. His is a complicated folklore, but he is generally seen as symbolizing the emergence from winter and the subsequent rebirth of spring. A more modern interpretation of the Green Man includes a connection to ecology and sustainability, which feels very appropriate.

When my boys were in elementary school, they made Green Man masks in art class:


I love how they are so different and yet include many of the same wild and natural elements.

This brief reflection on the Green Man seems a fitting end to my year of "grow," in which I don't think I did much growing. But I am reminded that everything in life is cyclical, as the wheel of time keeps turning.

Take good care, stay warm, enjoy your favorite holiday traditions, and I'll see you next year!








 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Fourth Quarter Game Plan

Hi everyone, here we are in the fourth quarter of 2022, and much like a football coach who is trying to sneak in a win before time expires, I'm looking at my game plan for the rest of the year.

My writer word for 2022 is grow, and I've done some of that. I've also spent a lot of time feeling like a seed, waiting. And waiting. But unlike me, a seed doesn't worry how long it will take to sprout. If the conditions are not right, a seed is perfectly content to remain dormant. Likewise, a seed does not worry about what it will look like when it sprouts. It just does its thing.

Methinks I need to be more like a seed.

So, back to my fourth quarter game plan. Coaches talk about returning to the fundamentals, and that's what I'll be doing for the rest of the year. I'm going to focus on what's important to me (more writing, more reading) and less on the stuff that takes up time and energy but results in very little forward progress. Clock management is very important in football, and as it turns out, it is important in life, too. 

Whether you're driving hard for the goal line or just trying to hold onto your lead, I wish you all the best with your fourth quarter game plan.

And when all else fails, bring in the marching band!




Wednesday, August 31, 2022

It's Grow Time

Well, well, look who remembered she has a blog!

(Awkward silence.)

Me. I remembered.

Actually, I never forgot, but you wouldn't know that because I have been AWOL all summer. And part of the spring before that. And here are my reasons:

1.

2.

3.

You get the picture. No good reasons.

Anyway, I thought I'd check in and let you know how my year of growing is going. So, you know how sometimes you can plant a seed and nothing happens for weeks and weeks, and you finally end up throwing away the cup of dirt that's been sitting on your windowsill? It's not quite that bad. I've had some fun, my cherry tomatoes and zucchini are holding their own in the garden, I've read books I've enjoyed and a couple I didn't really care for. I've written short fiction and watched The Sandman. I've gone to work and gone on walks and gone to bed at a reasonable hour most nights. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I broke one toe and maybe another.

Here's what I haven't done:

1. Sold books

2. Started the first draft of my next novel

Yes, those things are VIPs (very important projects) yet somehow I've put them off for months. If you find yourself in a similar boat on this last day of the last full month of summer in the northern hemisphere, join me in leaning into the September vibe. Gear up with some fresh school supplies and a renewed commitment to your labors of love. Restock the tea cupboard and have some dark chocolate on hand, because it's time to get back to work! 




Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Way to Grow, April Edition


Hello, friends! April is National Lawn and Garden month. In Colorado, it's still a bit early for planting most garden-y things, but there are plenty of other ways to grow between now and May.

The Blogging from A to Z Challenge: If you're doing it, great. If you're not, it's still a fun way to meet new bloggers and expand your blog's reach.

National Poetry Month: Poets are to words what composers are to music. They reveal so much of what makes us human, they evoke emotion, teach, commiserate, celebrate. Read some poems, write some poems. (You don't have to show them to anyone.)

Jazz Appreciation Month: Jazz is such an amazing blend of music and history. It is a very broad genre, stylistically and geographically, with something for everyone, even people who say they don't like jazz. It's also excellent writing music.

National Humor Month: Laughter is good for our bodies and our mental health. Stop by your library or bookstore and pick up something by your favorite funny writer. And for children, check out these resources from the Certified Laughter Reader Literacy Program.

National Afternoon Tea Month: Do you know what goes great with tea? Books! Do you know what goes great with books? Tea! It's a win-win!


World Autism Awareness Month: In the past few years, neurodivergent stories, characters, and authors have found much wider distribution in the book world, which is wonderful and overdue. (Hah, a little library humor for you.) The Seattle Public Library has put together this list, Scary Mommy has these suggested reads, and a quick internet search will return many more.

If these suggestions for April don't inspire you, keep digging (it's National Safe Digging Month!). Pecans, soft pretzels, celery, guitars, canine fitness. April has something for everyone.

Stay safe and well. See you soon!


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Mine vs. Theirs

Hello there! Spring has sprung in Northern Colorado, which means the weather swings wildly between winter and summer and every day seems to be windy. I'm starting to think about my garden, but conventional wisdom advises against planting before the second Sunday in May (Mother's Day), as we might still have freezing temperatures and/or a foot of snow.

My Chinese Lantern sprouts are holding their own...kind of. It's too cold to put them outside, and although my kitchen is pretty sunny, it's not quite the same. So they're looking a little wimpy:


In the mean time, I came across an online plant supplier that actually sells Chinese Lanterns. So I ordered one. You know, as a Plan B of sorts. And here it is:


Hmmm. It really puts my little seedlings to shame, doesn't it? If I were to plant them as is, we all know which one we'd bet on. Yep, the one formerly known as Plan B.

This has got me thinking about how comparing our efforts to someone else's can make us feel lousy. Am I a professional seed sprouter or plant propagator? I am not. Did I do the best with what I had? I did. Is there always going to be someone else who is bigger/better/more successful than I? Why, yes. Yes there is. 

We tell kids all the time, "just do your best." But adults also need to remember that it's better to make a good effort, even if the end result isn't what you'd hoped, than do nothing. At least you tried and maybe even learned something in the process. 

I'm not giving up on my sprouts, but honestly, I'm grateful for the company that grew this plant bigger and better than I could. And I'm looking forward to helping it thrive in my yard once spring arrives for real.


Friday, March 4, 2022

The Lessons of History


We're coming to the end of my local university's Holocaust Awareness Week, and Wednesday night I had the distinct honor of attending a presentation given by survivor Oscar Sladek. Mr. Sladek escaped the Nazi roundups in Czechoslovakia (though much of his family did not) and is a seemingly-tireless speaker and advocate. He's 86 years old, and though I hope he has many more years ahead of him, the day will come when the voices of the Holocaust survivors are heard no more. If you have a chance, please go and listen to the people who have lived so much history and are willing to share it.

I'm also reading The Choice, by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. She survived imprisonment in Auschwitz and after a great deal of healing and forgiveness went on to help many others through her practice in clinical psychology. It is harrowing and beautifully written, and though I'm only about a third of the way in, I know it will be unforgettable.



The Holocaust was a time marked by astonishing human cruelty but also courage and hope and resilience. The world is still a complicated place where some people--I'm looking at you, Putin--feel they have the right to choke the destiny of others in a stranglehold. I will not pretend to be an expert in geopolitical affairs or history, and the injustice in the world is at times overwhelming. But this simple advice is pretty sound: Be good. Be kind. Be tolerant. Smile often. And when things go sideways, as they are wont to do, help when and how you can.

Be well, my friends.