on the eve of my 32nd year

That sounds so dramatic and Bridget Jonesy, but it’s true. I turn 32 tomorrow and, I have to say, I feel generally optimistic. Last year, I was in deep grief and mourning, letting the day pass with little fanfare. This year, I feel hopeful and encouraged. I want to make it a good one. It will rain, of course, as it always does, but it will be the solstice and I am nothing if not a moon child.

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off with a bang

My wi-fi is dead and my credit card was taken for a joyride in California. All in all, an interesting start to the year. The charges are being taken care of, and I should be receiving a call from tech support to try to troubleshoot my issues, but it’s the little things that shake you up… like, how I couldn’t check my account because my DSL refused to work for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Little quakes all around.

Also, I’ve missed two days of yoga camp, which ruins the whole zen of daily yoga practice. Sigh.

On the bright side (because we need a bright side), I’ve started reading and preparing for Draft 4 of Anúna. I have to admit, reading it and taking notes on the ipad is totally working for this stage of the process (and Aeon Timeline is a godsend. Finally, I can see how time runs in this story).

So it goes, and such is life on this fine day.

looking back on 2015

The time has come to speak of many things… or something like that. I usually do a recap post in December, so it seems about right to start looking back on 2015 as the holidays approach. It’s been a strange year, productive in some ways, terribly slow in others.

I published several academic pieces: one book, a journal article (with another accepted for publication), and a dozen or so book reviews. I attended three professional conferences and spoke at one; gave a book talk and a lecture on writing, accepted a supervisory position (with all the duties that entails), and finally convinced the library administration to let me purchase bean bags for student use (they’ve been a hit). I read over 50 books (surpassing my original goal of 30) in several genres, including non-fiction and self-improvement.

I KonMari’d my home (still in progress and still as effective) and bought a couch (much to my family’s delight, visitors can now actually sit beside each other). I tried and failed to create a capsule wardrobe, realizing that I already have a strong sense of what I like to wear, so why try to limit my options; and weeded my TBR pile to a sustainable little collection of books that I actually intend to read.

I completed the third draft of my primary work in progress, the as-yet-untitled Anúna (maybe soon to be titled?), and have a nearly finished draft of this year’s NaNo novel, along with a working plan for Cassiel draft three and Anúna draft four. There have been a lot of words in my life this year and many more to come.

I lost my cat of 14 years, a loss that still resonates, and gained a new little friend who requires more attention than I anticipated, but makes me smile with his silly antics and sweet meeps.

Midway through the year, I found myself turning more and more to yoga as a way to relieve stress, pain, and just find peace. It’s become a regular part of my week, and I hope to continue to grow my practice as I gain strength and flexibility. I haven’t been as disciplined about my diet or my savings, but I look forward to a fresh start after taking some time for myself.

Here’s looking to a restful holiday season and bright new year.

acting on impulse

After months of worrying over the thought of buying a new car I decided to plunge right in and do it. It took about 15 minutes to find the car I wanted and another 2+ hours to get through all the paperwork, but I’m now the owner of a shiny new Versa Note. Growing up poor, I have to keep reminding myself that I can afford this kind of thing. It’s a constant struggle sometimes, one that the boy (he of the impulsive buys) doesn’t really understand (he gets it, he just doesn’t know how it feels). It’s also a terribly adult transaction, this whole car-buying, loan-signing situation. It’s so nice driving a new car. The reality hasn’t quite sunk in; it almost feels like driving a rental. Guess that will change when the first payment goes through.

I bought a strawberry-shaped air freshener a few months ago–one of those cash register display, last-minute grabs at Forever 21 or H&M, whichever happy, shiny shop I was in at the time. I saved it, knowing a near car was on the horizon. Today, I hung it from the rear-view mirror. It smells like the Strawberry Shortcake baby doll I had as a kid. Something old and something new.

Another year

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My 30th year draws near and with it all the thoughts, doubts, and what nows of life on the edge of adulthood… because, let’s face it, it still feels like I’m playing at being grown up. I will say that I am happier now than I ever was at 20. I’m more confident in my own skin, more aware of what I want and more willing to go for it, even if it means putting myself in an unfamiliar place or role. I have a job that I like and can see myself working at for a good while; I have goals and ambitions that I’m willing to strive for, even if it means snatching at what little free time I have and looking forward to the ups and downs of rejection and revision; and I’ve found a certain amount of stability in being on my own. I have people I love and friends I miss, and a feline companion that wakes me up and gets me out of bed every morning (even if I don’t want to).

All in all, not a bad start.

On turning 29

… or being almost 30.

I meant to make a nice post about goals and aspirations and all the things I’ve done this year, but decided to do what I do best and make a list:

  • I have two novels in the works that I’m sort of mostly happy with… they need work, but the flesh is there. That is more than I ever imagined I would write in a single year.
  • I have made some serious changes to my general state of well-being by focusing on healthy habits and going clean inside and out.
  • I have become a runner. I can own that label now in my own way.
  • I feel comfortable in my own skin.
  • My hair is long(ish)! I never thought I’d let it go for so long, but I have managed to resist the urge to snip.
  • I have vacationed on my own…
  • And learned to live on my own.
  • I think of myself as a professional in my field… I’ve even started craving more presentation face-time.
  • I sold myself to my phone. I’m okay with that.
and I have a boy in my life who brings me nerdcakes.
and I have a boy in my life who brings me nerdcakes.

on moving out and moving in

A number of things happened last month that culminated in my speeding up my goal to find a place to live on my own. It was time. Nothing bad prompted this–though there were (and are) issues at home that swayed the decision-making process–it just felt like time to move out. Two years ago, I made the decision to pay student loans over moving out. There were times when I seriously questioned that choice, as it seemed like I wasn’t quite an adult yet, but I’m at a point now where I can manage for the few months that it will take to finish off the last of my loans while also paying rent.

The apartment hunt was a lot shorter than I imagined, as I was led to a good place by one of the boy’s friends. I had been searching the listings during the last two years, but none of the places I considered compared to what I found. The place itself is kind of a fixer upper, but it just needs some care, no major repairs. It was lived in by a single guy. No one can imagine the state of the place before my mom and I cleaned it… which is another thing, my mom is taking this move in classic empty-nester mode.  It’ll be some time before she really comes ’round. I tweeted about my being a Cuban girl and how moving out is a pretty big deal…it really is. Many Hispanic women tend to stay home unless they get married, and some even after they marry. My mom lived on her own for a few years because of certain circumstances that made it impossible for her to stay with her family, but she didn’t really like living alone. I, however, am a true only child. I love the quiet of being alone. And I love decorating! Yes, I do.

This will be a year for change and growth and all that. So ttfn, or at least until I get a network connection going in the apartment. Then, there will be posts galore and writing. *I haven’t written or edited a word since I started looking  for a place and it’s killing my spirit*

what we talk about when we talk about life

I am not in a good place right now. I like to present a generally upbeat blog personality, but there are times when I just need to think about the not so cheerful moments. I don’t mean to brood, but while things seem fine on the surface, much of my personal life has gone to hell. There are things that are beyond my control which are affecting the choices I need to make… and this is not something that I’m dealing with in a very positive way. I cannot rationalize these things and put them into clear categories. These are the messy things that make my day just a little harder and my thoughts a little darker. I feel like I’m in the middle of a transition. This is probably a belated quarter-life crisis, a period that will pass and I’ll look back on it and wonder why I thought life was so difficult. Or it might not be. There are real decisions that I need to make, and these will have long-term repercussions. I wish I were a better person and could move on without making such a muddle, but I’m not and this is not easy.

year in the life

I’m heading out to North Carolina to go on a pre-birthday adventure and it’s got me thinking of all the things I’ve experienced and accomplished this year. Some of my highlights:

  • I had my gallbladder removed once and for all. This was a pretty dramatic experience all around and I will never forget the terrible sensation that I felt when I came to and felt so AWFUL. Still adjusting to the changes, but I feel much better… digestively.
  • I went on my first conference! In May, I took a trip to Orlando all by myself and stayed in a nice hotel and explored everything I could while on my own. It was very liberating and gave me a taste for the independent life.
  • I went on a road-trip to St. Augustine and finally got to see a part of Florida that didn’t involve theme parks. It was kitschy in some areas but still fun.
  • I accomplished one of my resolutions by publishing a review in an academic journal. I’m on my way to becoming a proper academic.
  • I have been writing more. Though it’s not always “creative,” it has been a productive year for non-assignment related writing.
  • I’ve expanded my professional horizons, so to speak, by becoming much more engaged in library events, site maintenance, and other activities, and thinking about things I might do to keep my skills fresh.
  • I planned the NC trip all by myself! It was probably sparked by that independent living bug.
  • I’ve had one too many crises (personal, family, and work-related) and managed to pull through.

A lot more has happened in the last year, but these are some of the areas that I told myself I would work on–including getting out more, particularly out of the state. I hope to accomplish lots more before next year’s birthday.