Everything Leads…

…to something else.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unfortunately, sometimes that interferes with getting stuff done.

Last weekend, I started out with great intentions. I was going to get some blog posts done, remove a few things from one of my other websites, do some shopping for the household, and, of course, write.

But then I got sidetracked by trying to find images for blog posts. And then I realized it’s going to be 2018 in a few months, and I needed a new calendar. (I don’t buy wall calendars; I print out calendar pages from a free calendar website. I have Google calendar as well, but sometimes it helps me to have something I can just glance at quickly instead of needing to open a new browser window or pick up my phone.) Then I forgot I was doing that because I checked my email while I waited for calendar pages to download.

The emails led to the realization that I hadn’t cleaned out my inboxes recently. So I did that, and read a few emails I hadn’t gotten to yet, which contained links I wanted to check out. Which led to me bookmarking the pages to which the links sent me, which led to me needing to delete some bookmarks. Meanwhile, I remembered I was downloading calendar pages, and realized I had too many things in my downloads folder, so I started clearing things out of that or moving them to my Dropbox files.

And so on, and so on…

And meanwhile I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t doing blog posts. Some of the things I *was* doing were useful and beneficial, and I counted them as productive, but some, like reorganizing Dropbox files, were just busy work that didn’t really *need* to be done.

Being a writer, or working for yourself in any way, takes a lot of self-discipline. And a lot of avoidance of “ooh, shiny!” I think I need to work harder on those…

Moving

I might be a bit scarce online for a few days. We had until August 15–i.e. tomorrow–to get out of our current apartment, which means that things are now completely hectic, and a lot of things are getting lost.

I really don’t like moving, but I think we’re going to be in a quieter, happier place once things are settled. It’s just the getting settled bit that takes time and energy. And packing. And unpacking. And lots and lots of boxes.

So once things are a bit more organized, and we have internet and electricity and all that important stuff, I’ll be online more. Meanwhile, please feel free to leave me a comment, or message me through my Facebook page (link in the sidebar). And please check out Dolphins in the Mud!

Some Thoughts About Dreams

In this world, there are those who create, inspire, and live their dreams unafraid. We all need to be unafraid to live our dreams. All of us can at least try. You might not reach your goal, but if you never even try, you’ll never have the chance. Let go of the “can’t” and “shouldn’t” and fear. Start now. Dare to shake the world.

Sometimes we might feel like we’re nothing special. We haven’t done anything noteworthy, nothing that hundreds or millions of other people haven’t also done. We feel like we’re just one of a number, nobody that others would notice in a crowd or miss when we’re gone. But here’s the thing. Everything you’ve done is unique, because *you* are unique. Even if billions of others do it, no one does anything exactly the way anyone else does it, because no one is anyone else. Just as an example, no one phrases things confusingly in the same way I do.

Almost everyone has dreams and hopes for their life. When was the last time you made a list of your dreams? Have you done so recently, or did you decide the time has passed to accomplish them? For many things, there’s no such thing as “too late.” You might have to adjust your hopes and expectations, but you don’t have to give it up completely.

When we’re kids, we have dreams. We know what we want to be when we grow up, and that’s really cool. But sometimes those dreams are talked out of us. Our parents tell us we’re being unrealistic, or other kids make fun of us. It’s important to let kids hold onto their dreams. Even if it doesn’t seem probable, that doesn’t make it impossible.

Believe you know the things you know. Personally, I sometimes hold back from writing something because even though I know plenty about it, I’m afraid I’ll be wrong. Or that others won’t believe I know what I’m talking about. That makes it awfully hard to get things done. It doesn’t matter if they believe in me. It matters if *I* do.

Too many times, I’ve talked myself out of doing things I wanted because other people have told me I can’t. I’ve changed that in the past few years. There’s still a way to go, but I’m not holding back anymore.

Preparing for a Move

I’m going to be moving to a new apartment in the very near future. I’m not sure at this point where. We found out at the beginning of June that our rent would increase, so decided to try to find another place. We hadn’t found one, but when we spoke to our landlord about staying here, they told us they’d already found another tenant. So we have no choice but to leave here… and no decision yet on a place to move into.

But I’m trusting that will work out for the best. Meanwhile, I’m getting ready for the move. We had been accumulating boxes, which I’m now filling with books, papers, knickknacks, and so on. I’ve cleaned out my closet and bureau, donated a LOT of clothes I wasn’t wearing or wore only rarely, and sold some clothes as well. I’ve been cleaning out other closets and cupboards, too, and finding things I forgot existed. Which means we probably don’t need them.

When I was married to my kids’ dad, we moved a lot. Seventeen times in fourteen years. My current husband and I have been in our current place for five and a half years. That’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere as an adult. I’m kind of sad about having to leave, because even though I like variety and change, having a steady home would have been nice. But maybe the next one will last longer. Meanwhile, I’m looking at this as an adventure.

When the actual move happens, I probably won’t be online as much for a few days, but I’ll be checking in. As long as the move doesn’t coincide with the release of Dolphins in the Mud on August 8, it’s all good.

Going to Be Away…

I’m going to be away for a week, which means there won’t be a post next Monday.

I’m not sure about this going away thing. I’m going to a retreat, which I went to last year as well. Last year, it was difficult. I only knew three or four people there, and two of those were people I didn’t know well. I met people there, of course, and I’ve kept in touch with a few of them who will be there again this year. So it won’t be as difficult from that perspective.

But just like the convention I went to in January, at this retreat, there are going to be a lot of people. At times, things are going to be very crowded and loud. I don’t do well with crowded and loud. It’s also at a summer camp that has no internet or cell phone access, so I won’t be able to distract myself with my usual things. (Which is kind of the point of having the retreat there, since it’s a thing you aren’t really supposed to be distracted from.)

A lot of things will be outside, and I’m not always comfortable being outside, either.

I have to be very mindful during this retreat of my health, both physical (because there’ll be a lot of walking) and mental. Fortunately, I’m going with a close friend who’s aware of this and will be keeping an eye on me, but it’s my responsibility to manage my health and make sure I’m taking care of myself. Which I can do, I just have to remember that pushing myself is okay, but shoving myself…not so much.

Blaming the Wrong People

TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT

Think about puppies and kittens. Don’t read past this point if you might be triggered by the topic.

This is a bunch of random words I’m putting here so this will be what shows up in the previews of the post, rather than the previews showing the stuff some people might not want to read.

I think this should be enough randomness for the previews. On with the actual post…

I saw something on Facebook recently about an item of clothing for women. An item designed specifically so it would be more difficult for a rapist to remove.

This is something that’s bugged me for a long time. When someone is sexually assaulted, it is not their fault in any way, and yet our society teaches that it is. That it’s especially the fault of any woman who experiences an assault—and a frighteningly high percentage of women do.

We aren’t taught “don’t commit sexual assault.” We, women particularly, are taught “don’t get assaulted. Don’t go out alone after dark. Don’t wear shoes you can’t run in. Don’t wear skirts that are too short or shirts that are too low-cut. Don’t drink. Don’t go anywhere with someone you’ve just met, even if they seem like a nice person.”

Victim-blaming, to put it bluntly, sucks. Telling someone how to prevent being a victim, instead of teaching people not to victimize, is useless. We can’t control other people’s actions, and if someone is determined to commit a crime, or doesn’t even realize what they’re doing *is* a crime, no amount of modest clothing or only going out in daylight is going to change things.

“Here. Here’s a pair of pants you can wear that will make it harder for someone to rape you” is complete crap. It’s an unfortunately necessary bit of complete crap, but that doesn’t make it any less crap. It’s still putting the burden on the potential victim to prevent the potential criminal from being a criminal.

This is a rant, because the solution is so global there’s no way to implement it unless everyone is on board. And that solution is to recognize that someone who is sexually assaulted is NEVER complicit in their assault. Is NEVER to blame. That solution is to offer the same legal recourse and the same support to assault survivors that we offer to someone whose home was robbed, or someone whose car was stolen, or someone who got beaten up outside a bar because they looked at someone else wrong.

But some people will never be on board with that, because for whatever reason, some people will always blame the victim for being victimized, rather than the criminal for committing a crime.

And that sucks. That’s all I can say. It’s wrong, and it sucks.

 

 

Agree to Disagree

On social media, people post a lot of different things. Sometimes things we agree with; sometimes things we don’t.

When it’s a site like Facebook, where in theory we’re “friends” with the people whose posts we see, reading something we strongly disagree with can lead to the desire to correct their misperception. After all, they’re our friend, right? We want them to know right from wrong.

But to them, maybe what they’ve posted isn’t wrong. We don’t all agree on everything. If everybody thought the same way, the world would be a rather boring place.

It’s unlikely that you’re going to change someone’s mind by telling them they’re wrong. Unless it’s something factual, and you have the information to prove they’re incorrect, you’re dealing with a difference in opinions and beliefs. Those are neither right nor wrong in a general sense, only right or wrong for each individual. Telling a friend their opinion or belief system is wrong is more likely to change their mind about being friends with you than about the topic.

If it’s a case where there’s a huge discrepancy between your opinion and theirs, it might be a sign that the friendship really isn’t viable. Back in 2015, when the US legalized same-sex marriage, I posted things on Facebook cheering for the change in law. A friend of mine private messaged me to berate me for posting pro-LGBT+ things on my own Facebook wall, and made it clear that they strongly disapproved of any such thing and would “have a problem” with me if I shared anything like that with them in the future. I ended what was, at the time, a 29-year friendship because I refuse to have intolerance and hatred in my life, particularly in a venue where my offspring might see it.

But if it’s a milder thing, is it worth risking the friendship just to try to convince them you’re right? Of course it’s okay to express your opinion even if it disagrees with theirs, but unless you feel so strongly about the issue that you’d rather lose the friend than the argument, it might be best to agree to disagree.

Time Management

Time management is not the easiest thing in the world. At least not for me. One of my most commonly spoken phrases is “I don’t have time for that.”

It isn’t that the time doesn’t exist. It’s more that time is a finite thing, and I have a lot to do in the course of a day. Some tasks take me longer than I think they will. Others are things like Facebook, where I figure I’ll spend ten or fifteen minutes and then get sidetracked, and next thing I know it’s been half an hour.

Although to be honest, Facebook is one of the things I often say I don’t have time for. It isn’t easy for me to think of things to say on social media, but being visible on social media and interacting is part of being an author. Except I don’t interact much, because I either can’t think of anything to say or I think I don’t have time. See how that turns into a cycle?

Lately I’ve been working really hard on changing some of that. I’m still not great about social media, but I am trying to be more mindful of how much time I spend on tasks. It’s more important than ever, since I now have a part-time job in addition to writing, plus I’m doing some studies and trying to keep myself occupied. I’m also trying to make sure I spend time in the evenings relaxing with a book and/or TV show instead of being on the computer until bedtime. (It’s probably a good thing I don’t have my laptop computer with me most of the time, or I would be relaxing on the couch with the computer…)

I have improved a little. I’m actually getting most things done during the day at this point. Still working on the social media, but hopefully I’ll get there.

Meanwhile, I have to end this post to make sure I have time to write other things…

Cleaning…

For the past month, I’ve been doing a LOT of cleaning around my house. We’ve lived here for four and a half years, and in that time, we’ve accumulated way too many things. Now that both of my offspring are no longer living here, it was time to get rid of some things and rearrange some others.

It’s been a process. I’ve found trash, which I threw away… over a dozen bags of it. I’ve found books, clothes, toys, and, once I’ve moved all of those things, I’ve found floors! Who knew?

It isn’t that I’m happy to have my offspring out of the house. I’m not. I miss them, and as I posted before, sometimes it’s far too quiet around here. On the other hand, it’s nice to be able to walk through the living room without walking into something or tripping over something, and I’ve turned one of the now-vacant bedrooms into a retreat room for myself, or at least I’m in the process of doing so.

We also had some broken or damaged furniture hauled away, which gives us more space here. And I donated all of my husband’s and my hardcover and paperback books, because at this point he only reads online or on Kindle, and I have a Kindle so can easily read on that when I make time to read. Or I borrow one of my kid’s books, since her books are still living here for a while.

So it’s still kind of weird looking around and not seeing the offspring or some of their stuff, but at the same time, it’s nice to have a cleaner house.