Friday, March 02, 2018

Back

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.

6 comments:

  1. Welcome back! You've been a busy and productive lady. Go you! You'll get the hang of the empty nest. Have fun with it.

    2018 has been up and down so far. But more up than down, so I'm not complaining. I published my tenth book last week and I started the editor edits for #11. I've been getting some good sidework to pay for the publishing. Spring flowers are starting to push through the leaf litter. Life is good.

    Here's to an awesome 2018 for us all. =o)

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  2. I'm getting ready to move my youngest daughter, granddaughter and myself 2300 miles from Montana back to North Carolina. The day after she walks across the stage with her diploma from college. So lots of keeping it simple. We are also on a watch what we eat binge to we can head back a few pounds lighter. I find taking a recipe and cutting it in half helps. She doesn't eat leftovers and I dislike eating them for days on end.

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  3. You have had a lot of changes happening in a very short period of time.

    Good for you for getting out as a couple and socializing. It's the one thing I'm having trouble getting Greg to do. He doesn't mind going out with me, but he doesn't like to socialize unless I insist.

    It's healthy to socialize, especially when you start getting older. If you have any secrets to induce a stubborn man to get out more, let me know. :)

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  4. How wonderful to have you back! I'm glad you got stuff done and made some positive changes. :D

    So far, 2018's been decent enough. Some positive changed happened in my country in the form of a new president and a new cabinet, so that's a plus. I've been reading a lot more than I have in recent years, though still not close to as much as I used to. Other than that, there's not many changes. Still working, still writing and loving it. :-)

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  5. You're back!!! I've missed you, but didn't want to bother you. :)

    First, check here: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/476/everyday-cooking/cooking-for-two/ for recipes for two. I love allrecipes. Awesome site.

    Second, we found, after a bit of adjustment, that being empty nesters is a wonderful thing! We go out to dinner at the neighborhood bar/restaurant or one of the other small (very small!) restaurants in our area and it gives us some time away from the house to decompress. Other than that, after having a bit of time together each evening to catch up, we're not running kids here and there or waiting for one to come home or worrying about the one who didn't always come home. It's been grand. Our lives are ours again.

    And third, that would be why I don't have a bird. They're noisy and as fun as they can be, they poop everywhere. Everywhere. Love rats though. Very intelligent and mine were always really clean.

    Anyway, just so glad you're relaxed and refreshed and ready to go. You've been missed :)

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  6. Welcome back ( to your blog!)

    I traveled with son and husband in europe for december. Switzerland, uk, france, amsterdam, italy....
    writing more, submitting more, and networking more. went to tucson az for a gem show for day self jobbe and that was a wild adventure and I met so many people. I got an outline of a gem tattooed very large on my arm and people went "oooh, she bears the mark of our tribe."

    so i have a bunch of career and life plans and we're just sailing along and hoping it all works. and i have more fiction to write...

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