As promised (or threatened, depending on your POV) I'm back. The much-needed break jump-started my muse, and also let me properly prepare for the very busy year ahead. In addition to the work I caught up on I finished up some old projects from 2017, and got my home office cleaned out and tidied up. I hate working in a mess, and not being able to find anything, so having a neat work space really feels great.
I spent a lot of time thinking about and planning for the big changes that are coming this year, too. My guy and I have some major shifts ahead in our work dynamic. Now that we're empty nesters we'll also have more time to do the things that we've always put off while the kids were at home. After we get some necessary repairs done (our 22-year-old fridge and A/C unit both decided to start failing at the same time) we're planning to renovate some stuff we've never liked about this house. The bathroom prefab shower stalls and too-slick tile floors will likely be at the top of the list. Once all the dire needs are seen to, I personally intend to get rid of the old white bathroom tile counters in my kitchen -- the guy who built this place made some really weird choices -- and get proper counter tops to go with my still-lovely cabinets.
My daughter's pet bird and rat moved into the office with me, so we all have some company during the day. The rat likes me well enough, but then I bribe her with fresh banana and carrot bits and let her out to play regularly. The cockatiel is still on the fence, pardon the pun. We're settling into a comfortably antagonistic relationship since I started letting her out of her cage for an hour every morning. I think she's noisy but still adorable. She evidently thinks she should not have to live in the big cage. I think she'd be happy only if I ditched the cage altogether, fed her sunflower seeds nonstop, rubbed her neck and head for hours, and let her fly around the house like the bird of prey she imagines she is. Oh, and birds? Poop everywhere.
Since we're trying to cut our spending I've been cooking at home almost every night. Another challenge that comes with the empty nest is cooking for just two, which I've never done before now. We're tackling it by planning ahead with leftovers, freezing what we can, and trimming down our meals. I'm also searching for smaller recipes online, which has led to some delicious discoveries.
This year I'm slowing down and putting more thought into my quilting. I'm working on a lap quilt now, but I hope to get more into art quilting and work on smaller-scale quilts after this project. To keep everything tidier I've organized the notions and tools I use regularly in arty containers on a recycled bookcase. As with my home office having a neat sewing space makes me happier and more productive. If you want to see what I'm working on this year, you can follow my projects on my Tumblr blog.
I definitely don't want to harp on the negative, but the ongoing stress of just being a human being in these times of late has been especially frightening. We're all finding ways to cope, which is why I'm trying to be supportive of my family and friends in any way I can (and quilting every night, to work out my own stress.) I don't have any answers, except to fight it, and to fight for the people we love, by being part of the light however we can.
I'm learning at last that finding new ways to connect can make a big difference. I'm having such fun with my little writer's group; once a week I have a chance to spend a couple hours with my fellow scribes. They're all terrific people. To combat the empty nest blues my guy and I are trying to get out of the house and be more social as a couple. too. The last two weekends we've gone on outings that we usually never made time for, which we should have before now. The other night we went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant with friends (this is something we've not done in years), and we had such a great time. We also planned to get together for a cookout. Life is not over, turns out, once the nestlings fly off.
So what's up with you all? Any news from your corner of the planet? How is your 2018 going so far? Let us know in comments.