Somehow, I’ve managed to read more than fifty books, and write almost 200,000 words.

2016 wasn’t a great year until the end. I didn’t write much until after April. I didn’t read much either, and I don’t care.

I’m not a write every day person. I write when I can, I read when I can — moving from one project to another when I get stalled, or switching to reading for a block of time, works for me. Apparently the latter half of this year (most of those words happened fairly recently, like since this fall) was good for my creative output. It wasn’t good for much else.

Things are starting to go well, I started a new job so my hours are a bit more stable than they were with two part time jobs — but I’m commuting more so I don’t actually have any more time available to me — it’s about even. That’s one good thing, the new job. My husband and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary in April. So that’s two. I made more friends with library people (three) and I seemed to care less in general about … everything — which could be good, or could be bad, depending on how you look at it.

I feel less stressed, less worried over all the little things. I figure after what we went through so far put things into perspective. It can get a LOT worse, I understand that, but it was pretty bad and we managed okay. Not great, but okay, and we’re on the other side now, sorta.

I realized some things I was trying to do, just won’t fit into my life. I’m not a blogger. I’d like to blog about writing, or about fixing up the house, but there’s far too much pressure and not enough time for any sort of dependency. I’m not an authority on anything, so I don’t feel like I could adequately contribute. And I don’t have the time or mental energy to fit stressing about not blogging into my life. So, I won’t. And that’s where I’m at.

My hosting expires in April. I’m going to keep up the author page, maybe try to spruce it up a little, but this one won’t be staying after that. It’ll probably just redirect there. That way I can concentrate on writing, and editing, and reading, and the main course of being an author.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2017, or at the very least, that it sucks less than 2016 did.

I don’t want to use this place as a journal. Nothing good really comes of that, so I’m not going to go there. But I do believe in being open about things, because someone else might be out there struggling, too. There’s never an easy way to go through hard times … literally why we call them hard times. It’s hard.

Last fall, I got pregnant for the second time. I wasn’t nearly as sick as the first time, but I was still filled with trepidation. We waited a couple extra weeks before taking the pregnancy test. Then we waited another week before calling the hospital to have a test done to confirm. At 7 weeks along, we had a dating ultrasound and everything looked great. Already I had made it farther than before, but still we didn’t want anyone to know. We didn’t want to let ourselves start to hope. Around 9 weeks I told my jobs, because I was starting to feel really run down and rather queasy. I never got sick, but I felt on the verge of it for months. By 11 weeks we told my parents. Then gradually we told more and more people. By the end of 12 weeks, we started discussing names, and at my 14 week appointment, when my DR said everything looked perfect, we started getting excited.

At 16 weeks I miscarried. Again.

Miscarriage at 16 weeks is crushing for a few reasons. Obviously, you’re no longer getting the baby that you had hoped for.  You’re blindsided because you were supposedly in the “safe zone”. There’s doubt of whether you’ll ever be able to carry to term. Anxiety about the wasted time and the ticking clock (hello 32, I see you on the horizon there). But there’s also the pain of actually going through labor. And then also, not having a baby at the end of that labor. The afternoon surgery I had with the first miscarriage couldn’t be done at the local hospital. I’d have to travel over an hour to a specialist up north to have a D & E performed at 16 weeks. It would have been a 2 day procedure, and the risk of damage to the uterus was increased over the previous one. So, we chose to go through labor.  Since we still do want kids, we want to give any future pregnancies the best chance possible.

The nurses were great, but that was the single worst day of my life so far. I have never been in so much pain. I had bruising from the IV and blood draws for two weeks after. I couldn’t climb stairs for two days. And only now, two and a half weeks later, do I feel normal, no lingering twinges, or other pains.

I’m still working through the emotional pain of it all. I’m not sure when or if that really goes away.

When you’re young, birthdays are a thing to count down to, something to anticipate with excitement. What could the day bring? Who would you see? What presents would there be?

Once you’re outside of the teens, it sort of goes downhill from there. If you’re into drinking, than 21 is a big deal — I’m not, and it wasn’t. After that it’s, 25? 30? Nothing much really happened on those years. I threw myself a birthday party last year, and while I had fun — it’s less fun when you do all the planning, cooking and cleaning to prepare for it, and then get everything put back together after.

This year, I took the day off from work, which is a big-ish deal because I haven’t used more than a couple days off all year (aside from the regularly schedule one day per week, or a national holiday where the library is closed — but those are usually made up for by an extra long day later in the week). I did have a nice day, but it was like any other day off with a little more say in what we do all day.

We went apple picking, and it was beautiful weather out.20150926_120125[1]

We stopped for lunch on the way home. I did some planning and plotting for my novel for the afternoon — intentionally not doing the housework that needed doing. Then we walked down to main street for some frozen yogurt with extra toppings at Orange Leaf. A nice day, but nothing overwhelming or exciting like childhood birthdays.

Being 30 wasn’t that bad, it wasn’t really all that good of a year though, which didn’t have anything to do with my age. Generally, age doesn’t really matter to me — just because of how my mind works, I usually keep a mental list of how old everyone is just because I can’t keep the stupid details out of my head, but that’s about where it stops. I don’t care how old people are and I’ve mostly stopped caring that everyone who guesses doesn’t really know how old I am. It used to bother me that no one thought I was an adult, anyone who tried put me as about 10 years younger than reality. Now, it’s usually about 8 years younger, or rarely 6 years younger. But, it only bothers me because it’s done in a way, at work, where they think I don’t know what I’m doing because of my lack of age. That’s a different problem, and it’s not mine either.

I don’t feel much like an adult, but I know that I do plenty of adult things because I have to and no one else will do them for me — which is my definition of being an adult.

I’m hoping that 31 is better than 30 was, as far as things happening. I started a yoga class that I enjoy, and the husband and I are consciously trying to eat better food choices. I’m making a lot more of an effort to finish my novel’s third draft before my next birthday. To do that, I need to write more and spend less time resting my brain with the nothingness of twitter and tumblr. The last couple weeks I’ve been doing a lot of novel planning, and a little thinking about blogging. I tried blogging for a month  at my “author blog” site, but made it about two weeks.

I discovered that I just don’t want to blog that often, or about writing, that much. So now, I need to figure out what I want to blog about, how much, and where. I don’t have an answer for that, and my initial reaction is to continue on the not blogging train and just concentrate on writing my book. There’s only so much time in a day, and that is what is most important to me.

Last week my husband was on vacation, and this past weekend I took Saturday off to head to the beach. It was the most relaxing doing nothing we’ve had in a long time.

We drove up Friday night, and thanks to Google, had no trouble finding it. He loves having a map that he can scroll through and see where turns are coming up and planning out what lane we want to be in. It saves so much frustration for both of us.

We arrived and the room was pretty nice, not big, but had everything we needed from it. Except wi-fi! It was being upgraded so wasn’t working in the rooms. :grr:

We would have liked a DVD player, but we had books so it wasn’t a loss to not watch a movie before bed. We walked down for dinner, (and it was super expensive D: ) then walked back along the beach.

Sandy toes :D

A photo posted by Amanda (@notquitepetite) on

I love putting my toes in the sand and letting the water run over them. After a long day at work, then driving for two hours, it felt nice to get shoes off. Although my new sandals, while cute, scraped the side of my foot raw :(

Foot pain aside, we ended the night early after reading.

Saturday we slept in, got ready, and had breakfast before walking along the shops, coming back for lunch then heading out for mini golf. I did really poorly the first time out, on the kid’s course. The second course we did, the challenging one, I did really well! My husband did amazingly on everything, as usual. But I beat par five holes in a row toward the end, and it felt nice. We walked out along the beach for ice cream and saw a resting seal. We couldn’t get too close, and it was nearing dusk so we couldn’t see well, but it was pretty cool anyway.

Sunday we got up early and it was pouring, so our plan to go to the Zoo was dashed :( but we did walk around in the rain at another beach before stopping at the outlets to pick up some shirts for the husband and heading home to our cats.

Such a lovely weekend. I’m glad we were able to spend the time together, we don’t often see each other much, and it’s hard, but we have to work so we make the best of it.

I have a lot of interests, and a love/hate battle with having things all together, or nothing together at all.

Sometimes I want one place to put everything. Sometimes I want everything to have it’s own place.

Mostly I just want something simple. But by trying to organize it all, it’s just a mess in either case.

I want to do so many things, and end up doing nothing. Write a novel or five, read a book a week, but also have friends online and offline — interact with them, see what they’re up to. Draw or color, or sew, or crochet, or paint. Remodel the house, plant a garden. Blog about it all.

We’ve decided to start trying again, and I’m worried that this back and forth, all or nothing approach to life is going to have me falling flat in any attempt at sanity once a small human is introduced to the mix.

On the one hand, I’m looking forward to it. When you have too many balls to juggle, but one more is tossed in, you catch the one that’s the most important to you. On the other hand, I’m terribly uncoordinated and I’m worried about just dropping everything and giving myself a black eye.

… and that shouldn’t make me feel like I’ve done something wrong, or that it’s something to hide, but it does.

The whole pregnancy and miscarriage experience is somewhat shrouded in mystery. But, it really shouldn’t be. Until I went through it, I never knew how many others had also been through that pain. After reading about, or hearing their stories, I feel lucky that it went as “smoothly” as it did.

It did not.

But it could have been much worse.

We found out when I was 8 weeks, that the baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks. The Dr. rattled off three options over the phone, 1) wait 2) medicine that may not work 3) surgery with a name I didn’t catch, because panic — we’ve lost the baby. I was in shock and didn’t know what to do, what to think, so I chose to wait. He said not to call back for at least 3 weeks and that was the end of that.

3 weeks later, I still felt pregnant, or the same symptoms I’d had for about two months.  Nauseous like I’d just stepped off a roller coaster, but not enough to throw up. Just a continuous yuck. Exhausted beyond the normal exhaustion I always feel. If I ate anything, I could only force down a few bites before feeling overstuffed, but in a maximum of 2 hours I’d feel like I was starving. If I went more than 2 hours without some food, I’d get such a bellyache. I never slept well. The whole time period just sort of went by in a blur. I wasn’t really mentally around for any of it.

I lost about 8 pounds throughout the 3 months I was going through all this. I also gained a cup size, and a bigger belly pooch, so I don’t know exactly where I lost it from.

I’ve kept off about 5 since.

After those long 3 weeks, I called the Dr back, ready for anything to make my life normal again. I just wanted to not feel sick, to not be late to work, to make it through a day.

I had the D&C surgery a little over a week ago. I felt better, a lot better, almost right away. Every day I feel more and more like myself. I’m still dealing with some after effects, but I can go to work, feel like I’m doing a good job, come home and be able to do something else.

And that’s huge. I had no idea just how awful I felt until I felt better again.

My point is this: I went through a traumatic experience and only told people when I couldn’t find another way out of it (my mom because I needed a ride home after surgery, my boss’ because I needed to use sick leave). It shouldn’t be something to hide, to lie about, or be kept stigmatized in secrecy.

Early miscarriages are more common than I ever knew. If I had known, I wouldn’t have felt so terrible about telling people. I wouldn’t have felt like I was ruining things, or that I’d be written off as a failure, or dramatizing things for attention. It wouldn’t have taken away the pain of the loss, but it would have helped to have someone to talk to.

My husband has been a sweetheart through the whole thing, but there’s nothing like someone who’s been there to understand. And that’s what this comes down to, if as women we talk to each other about these types of things, than we’ll feel less alone. If we don’t feel alone, or different on top of everything else we’re feeling, than it won’t be as bad. It may still be bad, but at least we’ll know it’s not just us.

A lot of people have had pretty bad years for 2014. I’m not sure mine was bad, but I don’t remember most of it. I worked a lot, and that’s kind of it.

I had an awesome vacation, and that’s literally the highlight of my year, one week in June.

Preservation Station

Playing with tiger cubs, petting wolves, shaking hands with an orangutan, holding a chimpanzee, feeding an elephant, petting a binturong, snuggling up to a lynx cub, seeing a cheetah, an otter, ligers, and an eagle up close.

The rest of the year is kind of a blur. I’m sure we did things, saw people, but we mostly just worked. It was better than 2013, I know that. I’m more confidant in my jobs, and was able to do some new stuff. I think if things continue the way they’ve been, than 2015 will be even better.

For this year, we had three occasions to dress up at work in costume.

The first week, I was Katniss.

The second, I was Wednesday Addams.

The third, I was a Ravenclaw student.

 

It says something, to me, about the work environment where you’re allowed to have fun with it a little. Or, maybe it just says something about my past jobs.

(I had found pictures from work group shots that were taken, but I realized they all look like me just dressed in black, or black and grey, or a a grey skirt with a tie :? )

Tagged by felicitymay, sorta! ;)

  1. Getting lost in a book. Reading.
  2. Writers trance: where writing seems easy for once.
  3. Sleeping in, in a cozy warm bed without needing to get up for anything.
  4. Hot chocolate made with milk.
  5. Strawberries frozen into real cream, ice cream.
  6. Ice cream/frozen yogurt with tons of toppings.
  7. The view from the top of a mountain after a nice hike.
  8. Dressing in costumes.
  9. Cats. My cats, all cats, especially baby cats, but also the really big ones, and the old ones and the fluffy ones. All cats.
  10. Owls, and sheep, and puppies (all dogs are puppies).
  11. Coloring. Doodling. Painting. Art. Creating things.
  12. Literary/book related decor and clothing.
  13. Having my nails long, and painted.
  14. Having my hair long and straightened.
  15. Starting a blank notebook or journal. New pens. Fun pencils. Stationary.

For my birthday, I hosted a drinkable arts painting party.

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I’d gone to one at a cousin’s house before, and it was a lot of fun.

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So I wanted to paint some more. When I was a kid, I loved painting and drawing. I was never very good at it, but it was always fun. It’s been years since I’ve had the time to sit down and just play with paint, or pens, or anything. I used my birthday as an excuse to do it again. I really did miss it.IMG_20140926_212641And this one, while being simple, came out well. It was one of the provided designs, the other two being ones I made up myself. I don’t drink wine, but I do drink dark fruit juice, and I think it’ll look nice in this glass. Once I bake it, that is.