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Today I'm thankful the Co-Op had spicy garlic snack foo in the prepared food case. Somehow I keep hitting days when they don't make it, so getting to buy it today was extra exciting.
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For reference, my 2014 goals post is here.

Writing
I talked before about giving up on writing original fic, at least for the time being, which I suppose fulfills my goal for 2014 of deciding whether or not original fic is worth it, even if it wasn't how I was going to make that decision. I did keep writing and writing all the time, and AO3 tells me I posted over 188,000 words of fic in 2014.

Being a Grownup
I put this on my calendar, and then just didn't do it most times. I'm not sure how to get back in the habit of doing being a grownup kind of things, but this isn't working, so I'm deleting reminders from my calendar. I did clean out my closet, but that was the result of having to take everything out of it for some required maintenance and then deciding that I was only going to put the stuff I was actually keeping back.

Spiritual Refreshment
I don't know if this worked for me. I guess I did a bunch of self-reflection while working through the workbook section of The Desire Map.

Make peanut butter more often or buy peanut butter more often.
Giving myself permission to buy peanut butter greatly reduced my anxiety about having enough peanut butter in the house.

Get a massage sometime in the last two weeks of August.
This turned out to be a massage in September, which was lovely.
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Today I'm thankful for the vegan gluten-free donut I had this morning that satisfied all my cravings for cake texture.
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On Monday I was thankful for the freshly picked and shelled walnuts a friend from yoga gave me. I'm generally not a huge fan of walnuts, but the fresh ones are quite tasty.

Yesterday I was thankful for the entertaining sight of a man on a very tall unicycle riding through the roundabout outside my window at work.

Today I'm thankful for my yoga class, which left me feeling very calm and relaxed.
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Today I'm thankful for mandarin season. So good!
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I had a hard time coming up with goals this year, which I think is a good thing; it means things are pretty good and there aren't major changes I need to make to my life.

Writing
As usual, making writing goals is an iffy proposition since I end up writing things I never would have imagined at the beginning of the year. My main goal is to just keep writing all the time. I didn't write much while I was editing Danny goes to college, and then when I gave myself permission to write whatever I wanted without guilt for the last two weeks of the year, I found that I'd really missed it. In terms of specific goals, I've decided this is going to be my test year for whether or not original fic is worth it, which means I am selling book two and working only very slowly on book three. (What I really need to do is reframe working on book three in a way that it doesn't leave me with low-level anxiety all the time.)

Being a Grownup
There are a lot of being a grownup sorts of things I've let slide (like cooking more often, cleaning out my closet, tracking my spending) because I don't want to take the time to do them when I could be reading fic or refreshing Tumblr or whatever. I'm putting two hours every other Saturday afternoon on my calendar for this. I may or may not use the whole two hours, but Google will email me a calendar reminder, and then I won't let myself delete the reminder until I do whatever I need to do. Also, putting it on Saturday means if I don't do it, I still have Sunday before I get back to work week, do not want to do this kind of thing days.

Spiritual Refreshment
There was a time a few years ago when I was so filled with love and compassion, when my heart was so open. I worked in a place that was specifically strength-based, and where the training program I worked for moved to including emotional intelligence training in all of our curriculum during the time I worked there. Later, I worked in a place that was not supportive or strength-based, and I found that it was a lot harder to hold on to that open, loving heart I wanted to cultivate. I want to get back to that place where I was full of love. I liked it way more than the times when I feel more bitterness, pettiness, and meanness. This is less a goal and more an intention, because I don't know what getting back to that might look like, but I know that if I name it as an intention, I'll notice or find something that's right for me.

Make peanut butter more often or buy peanut butter more often.
This might seem like a strange goal, but I eat a lot of peanut butter, and one of the minor annoyances of my life is getting down to the last rice cake's worth of peanut butter at a time of the week when I just don't want to spend the time making more. Since I started making my own peanut butter, I always feel a little guilty when I buy it (and also store-bought is not as good or as salty as homemade), but I think it's worth it to not be annoyed by getting close to running out.

Get a massage sometime in the last two weeks of August.
I have a really hard time with August, and I think something that will (a) be relaxing and (b) involve touch during a time when my yoga class is on break and I don't get hugs might help.
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Today I'm thankful for my dad, who brought me pomegranates. I don't have the dedication to eat very many of them, but I like eating some of the seeds in the fall.
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Writing
Making yearly writing goals is always an iffy proposition because I always end up writing a lot, but not being able to predict what it will be. (Case in point: hockey RPF.) This year I want to sell at least one book and finish writing book three. I'm back in the habit of working on book three every day (well, six days a week), and if I can also get back in the habit of editing every day, surely I can do both of these things by the end of the year. Plus, of course, my usual fic writing.

Midwest Trip
I really wanted to go visit [livejournal.com profile] lakeeffectgirl in particular in October, and it just didn't happen. So assuming I have a job, I want to visit her and Team Chicago sometime in that late-April to mid-October time period when I can be there without freezing to death. (I am a wimp about the cold.) [livejournal.com profile] lakeeffectgirl also mentioned possibly coming to visit me here, which would also be awesome. Either way, visiting with friends.

Reading
I read a lot of books in the last two months. I think I forgot how much I love that. I'd like to finish the seven or so books still in my unfinished pile, and figure out how to read more once I have a job again. I have a problem with stopping in the middle of a book, which means if I start reading in the evening, I'll keep reading just one more chapter until I'm done with the book and it's two hours past my bedtime, so maybe Saturday afternoon could be book reading time.

Physical Environment
My house is already very much designed to be comfortable for me, but reading Happier at Home made me think about what needs to be rearranged and tweaked:
  • Clean out the closet.

  • Figure out if I want to keep any of my belly dance stuff and what to do with the stuff I don't want anymore.

  • Give away/sell the manga I'm never going to read again and subsequently rearrange the bookshelf.

  • Replace the poster I no longer want hanging in my bedroom.

  • Make the wall across from my desk an inspiration wall. (I already have most of the things I want on there. I just need to frame them and also make a nice version of the "temporary" thing that's been there for a couple of years.)
Food
If I eat eat sugar, eat only small/controlled amounts. I haven't figured out what the limit is yet, but I stopped buying sugary things in July or so and discovered in September that my body doesn't handle very much sugar well anymore. If I could figure out the limit, that would be helpful, but it seems easier and less painful to just stick to no sugar most of the time and only very small amounts when I do have it.

Financial Security
This feels strange to put on here; it doesn't seem like the same kind of goal as the other things. It feels greedy instead of lofty, and I'm not sure if anyone with retirement accounts really gets to worry that much about finances. But at the end of November, Gretchen Rubin made a post asking, "If, by the end of 2013, you could magically change one aspect of your life, what would you change?" My immediate, no thought needed answer was financial security. My financial situation was actually pretty stable for most of 2012, but I spent at least a third of the year feeling like it was more precarious than it really was (and in some ways it turned out to be not that stable). Specific goals:
  • Find a job with a stable entity that pays more than my last job and has reasonable benefits. A job I love would be awesome, but I'll settle for one I like, or at the very least one I don't hate.

  • Consolidate my retirement accounts.

  • Spend money only on consumables and important things. (Visiting/socializing with friends, a new skirt for summer, and replacing the purse that's literally falling apart all count as important).

  • Once I have a steady income again, set up automatic, regular deposits into my savings account.
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For reference, my 2012 goals post is here.

Priority: Health (Physical, Mental, Emotional)

Start walking again. I started walking again in April, which was a huge relief. I worked back up to three miles by November, and I'm so much happier.

Go to bed on time. Some months were better than others, but I put this on my daily goals tracking sheet, and it helped me stay on track. This isn't going to be one of my resolutions for this year, but I'm going to keep tracking it day-to-day.

Make at least two new recipes per month. I only managed to do this for two months consistently, although I did manage a total of five new recipes over the year. One of them (twice-baked potatoes) became one of my regular recipes, and another one (this cake) is something I'd like to try again with modifications.

Go to the beach. I went in August! It was exactly what I wanted. I even enjoyed the drive, which I haven't before. I think it was partially that I made playlists for the drive - one of music and one of podcasts, each of them long enough to cover most of the drive - and partially the novelty factor - I hadn't done a long drive in years, and I took roads I hadn't driven before in both directions. On the way home, I drove up Highway 1 on a gorgeous Tuesday morning with almost no other cars on the road.

Priority: Writing

Edit and sell books one and two. I started editing book two.

Write at least one book. I worked a little on book three, then got stuck and didn't work on it for something like seven months. I got into good habits in December, but it hasn't even cracked ten thousand words yet.

Finish/post all the little finishable/postable things I have lying about. I didn't quite get to all of them, but between 31 Days of Fic in March and Daily December Treats in December, I got to enough of them to call this a success.

Priority: Friendships

Plan a trip to Chicago at a time when [livejournal.com profile] eleanor_lavish can also go. We did this in July! It was a lot of fun. Two lessons: 1. Taking care of myself, even if my habits and patterns don't match up with everyone else's, will make for a better experience. I insisted on going to the grocery store for rice cakes and peanut butter so I would have something for breakfast even if no one else was into breakfast/awake when I was, and I think I had a much better time because of it. 2. When going to the movies in the Midwest in the summer, I need to take a sweater.

Connect with the people I love but don't email every day at least once a month. I did okay with some people, but not with others. I may just need to get over myself when it comes to talking on the phone. I don't actually dislike it once I'm doing it, but I tend to dread it and then not make phone calls.

Make at least one new local friend. I was trying, and it just never worked out with the people I was trying to befriend.
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I'm sick, meaning my brain is not quite engaged, so today's treat is a recipe I have already typed out for people via email and edited for this post since I've made this a lot more since then.

I love enchiladas, but for a long time I only made them rarely because (a) rolling them is messy and time-consuming and (b) most enchilada sauces are made with chicken stock or wheat (or both). I managed to find a good sauce that's vegan and gluten free, and I started making them layered instead of rolled, and now this is in my usual food rotation. You could probably easily adapt this for carnivores.

Vegan, Gluten Free Black Bean and Vegetable Enchiladas )
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This is the sixth year of doing this, and of course I started out by forgetting to do it yesterday. The idea is to post one thing I'm thankful for every day until Thanksgiving, which is an idea I picked up from [livejournal.com profile] kaygrr many years ago.

Yesterday I was thankful for freshly roasted pumpkin seeds, which are the very best thing about pumpkin carving.
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Today I'm thankful for all the things that haven't made it into a post yet:

I'm thankful for friends: [livejournal.com profile] siryn99, who has become one of my closest friends over the last couple of years. [livejournal.com profile] inlovewithnight, with whom I've had a lot of internet and plot bunny based fun. [livejournal.com profile] icanbreakthesky, who I feel like I know so well from her Twitter. Twitter's whtesde, whose replies always make me laugh. Sarah, who I finally managed to spend time with a year after she moved back to the area. J, who is one of the coolest people I know and who I got to hang out with for the first time in years this summer. All the people I'm forgetting: I'm thankful for you too.

I'm thankful that I saw my brother more this year than any year since he went to college. (Context: we've lived in the same town for most of that time.)

I'm thankful that I have a job, and that said job comes with health and dental insurance.

I'm thankful that my health is generally good. I'm thankful for the Babycakes cookbooks and the general availability of foods that make eating vegan and gluten free easier and easier.

I'm thankful to live in an apartment I love. I'm thankful to be in walking distance of the library, and short distances from everywhere else I go on a daily basis. I'm thankful to live in Chico, which is a lovely town full of trees and whose traffic is really not that bad, even though we keep growing.

I'm thankful to have had so many fun travel and concertgoing adventures this year, and that so many of them were with wonderful fangirls.

I'm thankful that my mood this holiday season is so much more relaxed than last.
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Today I'm thankful that we switched things up a little and had Jamba Juice instead of cake for a birthday celebration at work. I don't actually mind that we always have things I don't eat, but it was nice to be able to partake. And also to avoid the "Another cake?" sentiments. (We had a lot of birthdays in short succession. The cake got to be a bit much for everyone.)
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Today I'm thankful to live in a place with readily available, local, tasty produce. I had a locally grown apple as part of my dinner, and it was delicious.
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Today I'm thankful for salsa. I've been eating a lot of Halloween sugar, and my salsa-topped lunch was just the right antidote to it.
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This was a horrible week for pretty much everyone I know. For my part, the fact that I melted down all the way into crying my eyes out only once is an accomplishment. But that was the low point, and things got better from there. Three lists of three:

Three Good Things About This Week
  • [livejournal.com profile] norwich36, [livejournal.com profile] archivecats, and [livejournal.com profile] inlovewithnight all emailed me links to posts they thought I might be interested in. I haven't emailed any of you back, but I will, and I appreciate that you were thinking about me. ♥

  • [livejournal.com profile] lakeeffectgirl and I are having exactly the kind of fannish conversation I wanted out of Suits. ♥

  • Because we were more or less unsupervised on Friday, I made pizza to take to work. My coworkers both enjoyed it and left enough of it that I didn't have to make myself dinner on Friday night.
Three Random Writing Neuroses
  • I have some things that I wrote over Twitter that I haven't posted here. I keep thinking that it's unfair because people have already seen them so it's not really new. The rational thing I can't quite keep in my head is that the overlap in the Venn diagram of people who follow me on Twitter and people who read my fic is probably pretty small, so it won't be duplicative for most of you.

  • New fandom has a small number of stories worth reading and a large number of stories that are mediocre to bad. I spend half my time thinking, "If they can write terrible things, I can write id-gratifying not very good things too," and half my time thinking, "I can do better than this, and I should (since apparently no one else is going to)." (We will ignore the part where since I have no idea where to post except for here, no one will ever read it anyway.) (Also the part where I'm cranky and judgy.)

  • There are a lot of things in my Snippets and Such file that are long enough to be split out into their own files, but as long as they're in the snippets file, I can pretend I'm not really taking time away from larger projects to work on them. Also, they're less likely to get lost. I still find Google Docs overwhelming, and I've run out of label colors, which makes it worse. (I'm thinking about collapsing all my bandom subfolders into one color.)
Three TV Show Fandom Stories I Want Someone To Write
  • The one where Jane and Maura (Rizzoli & Isles) are oblivious to the fact that they're already dating/married.

  • The one where Harvey and Donna (Suits) are/get married but no one is out of character.

  • The one where Payson (Make It Or Break It) is a lesbian.
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It turns out I was only a little over-ambitious in making goals for the weekend.

Things I actually did:
  • Posted five snippets and wrote one more that didn't get posted. (It's half plot bunny, half snippet, and probably out of character. But kinky, so I might post it anyway.)

  • Baked both bread (almost right this time!) and cinnamon rolls (so good my coworkers aren't getting any).

  • Wrote/posted an entry about Huntress.

  • Finished reading Just Kids.

  • Enjoyed lunch with [livejournal.com profile] norwich36. Mostly enjoyed Colombiana, although I think I wanted to like it a little more than I actually did.
Things I didn't quite manage:
  • Adding the snippets to my master posts/delicious.

  • Writing/posting an entry about Just Kids.

  • Trying River Marked again.

  • Doing my novel writing yesterday or today. I don't know why I'm hiding from it right now, but every time I look at it, I think, "Nope," and go do something else.
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  1. Sleep! I got enough sleep last week for the first time in months. This weekend, I felt like myself for the first time in a long time, and it meant I could do things other than just stare at my computer screen. I even, after being exhausted from cooking and the heat, went to bed early yesterday.

  2. Writing! Because I was with it in the morning, I met my writing goals first thing in the morning, which let me then go on with my day without feeling anxious about them. I didn't do much other writing, although I did poke at my cupcakes and space station threesome before I got distracted by a recipe not being where I thought it was.

  3. Environmental management! I'm being mindful of the fact that I melt down in the summer and trying to manage the part of that that might be linked to being too hot. I had the fans on all weekend, and I reset the programming on my thermostat to 79 degrees instead of 80.

  4. [livejournal.com profile] norwich36! We had dinner on Saturday, which is always delightful. I'm glad she was willing to indulge my craving for a sandwich! (We have a local place that makes vegan, gluten free sandwiches. I'm currently obsessed with the pesto tofu one.)

  5. Lunch with Brad and [livejournal.com profile] stevie_roch! When we go to the movies, we usually eat before or after - and if we eat before, we stand around the movie theater lobby talking for a while after the movie. Last weekend, they were out of town and drove very fast to meet me at the theater for the 6:30 X-Men showing. That meant we got out of the movie late and didn't stand around talking as usual. So when we had lunch this weekend, we had a chance to do further chatting about the movie. We remain baffled that we're the only people we know who didn't like it.

  6. Sherlock on DVD! See the previous post for more detail, raving, and spoilers.

  7. Errands! I did errands this weekend, some of which I'd been putting off for months. I also broke them into manageable bits, even though it meant I headed to the other end of town (a whole two freeway exits away) twice. At no point did I say, "This is not worth my time," out loud and leave a store in disgust. (You may laugh, but I have actually done this before.)

  8. Pier One! Approximately five or six years ago, I bought these cool drinking glasses from Pier One. They're colorless glass with a spiral around them of color - some of them red and some blue. I've broken a few over the years, and I've recently become an orange juice drinker and wanted to own more than one juice glass. I actually went to Pier One just to see what they have, thinking that of course they wouldn't still carry these. Much to my surprise and delight, they still have them and my cabinet is restocked.

  9. Cooking! Because I felt more like myself, I did a lot of cooking. My cupcakes came out vinegary, my bread was too wet, and my frosting separated, but I'm still glad I got to do some cooking. My roasted apples came out perfectly. We'll see how they do in the final product: the apple-cinnamon toastie from the first Babycakes cookbook.

  10. Fiction! I did not actually read anything from [livejournal.com profile] bandombigbang, but I did read some Sherlock fic and about a third of the third book in Morgan Howell's The Shadowed Path trilogy. (I will probably have more to say about this once I finish it.)
Takeaways from this list:
  1. I should get enough sleep all the time. I'm a lot happier and I get more done when I do.

  2. Friends: yay!

  3. Everyday things can be a source of pleasure, joy, and awesome.
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In case you missed it, I spent a long weekend visiting friends in New York. This involved a movie premiere, a concert (the reason I went this particular weekend instead of some other), other fannish delights, and food. Plus a lot of just hanging about with some of my favorite people in the world.

Talihina Sky

Thursday night was adventure number one: Talihina Sky. In case you have never heard of it, it is a documentary about the Kings of Leon. We did not just see this movie; we attended the premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Premiere adventures. )

My Chemical Romance

On Friday night, we went to see MCR. You can read an actual review of the show here. My thoughts on the experience. )

Other Fannish Viewing

We watched a bunch of fannish things, as you do when spending a long weekend with fangirls.

Panic!, AAR, MCR, Community )

Food

One of the promises about this trip was that we would go to BabyCakes, which is a vegan, gluten-free bakery, so on Saturday night we did just that. I bought a cupcake and an apple crumble thing (kind of like a coffee cake). The cake part of the cupcake was fine. The frosting was amazing. It tastes like a cream cheese frosting, but it's vegan. I had the apple crumble as part of my breakfast on Sunday morning, and then promptly started googling vegan, gluten-free apple cake recipes. I may have to buy one of their cookbooks. We also went to Risotteria, a gluten-free Italian place, where we each had a different kind of risotto. I may also have to learn how to make risotto now.

Concluding Note

Fangirl weekends are the best. You should have them if you don't already. ♥
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Today I'm thankful for glazed pecans. They're my new favorite food. (They're also on my shopping list since I ate the end of them today.)

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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