The Burden of Waste

The big thing I learned on this last move was how much waste is involved with just living, especially when you stay in one place for an extended period of time because regardless of your best intentions for living simply, you discover how much you can actually accumulate and what you truly need.

The Sis and I have been long time renters. It offers us the freedom to leave at will and explore new places. We have moved a lot in our 15 years together, and each time we’ve donated, sold, or (unfortunately) tossed quite a few things, and I always find myself surprised by how much remains…but this last move had me really looking at the whole situation differently, which is why I was compelled to write this post, to share the lesson we learned.

When the pandemic was in full swing and we were all locked down, people started to “spring clean” and empty out their closets. We had already done the same because a year ago last December we were considering our next move. This is when a lot of people realized they had a lot they didn’t quite need.

What I realized was I was just scratching the surface.

For the last couple of years I’ve limited Christmas and birthday shopping because “we don’t need all that frivolous stuff”, and with the ups and downs we’ve experienced with work and finances, I’m always a bit wary of spending too much money but it also, initially, boiled down to this – I know we’re going to move again, at some point because it’s what we do, and I don’t want to have more things to move.

But it boiled down even further as I continued to think on it – about what we leave behind – our footprint.

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

We were initially looking at moving overseas, and the cost associated, so we had to consider either selling things, storing things, or moving them, and that changed our perspective on what we considered to be of value and how we spent our money in the future to accumulate more stuff.

Some of you may have seen that I started an Etsy shop to sell all the vintage collectibles we had either been gifted or inherited. We gave a few items to friends as gifts. We donated multiple boxes of books, movies, and music to the library. I sold some geeky items to a resale shop. I used an app to sell other random household items. A number of things still found themselves in the garbage. And our moving truck, which was advertised as one size but was truly another, left us with not enough room to take all of our belongings, and so a few things found themselves left on the curb.

As I considered all of this, I realized how much money and time was invested in obtaining those items and how much we were losing in the end, let alone the consequences of where some of those items would find themselves.

Even living in our last place for as long as we had, we didn’t bring in everything that was boxed in the garage, again, because we knew we’d be moving soon so why…and that made me reconsider what was truly of value to me as well. If something could spend upwards of 10 years in a box, why was I holding on to it? It served no purpose except to add to the burden of moving it.

This is how we approached everything in the end. For weeks we looked at the things in our house and not only asked if it “brought us joy” but also what purpose it served if we never saw it but continued to place some sentimental value on it. We got rid of a lot, some items better than others, and there is still more to go. We did move things we shouldn’t have – so. many. books. that I thought I needed – but it’s all a learning curve.

Then there’s the continued development of new technologies which is making so many things obsolete, like cds, dvds, and books. I won’t give up holding a book despite how many I’m trying to get rid of, but I am going to utilize the library a lot more, like I used to. My car still has a CD player, and I have movies that I can’t find on streaming services, but I’ll reconsider all those types of purchases moving forward.

Moving into a much smaller space has been eye opening as well, and that will help, I think, in determining further what is truly of use to us.

There are a number of resources to utilize if you’re looking to downsize – Facebook groups, community exchanges, and all the above mentioned in order to find your items in a new home versus a landfill. So that’s what I took away from our last relocation. And it was Earth Day ten days ago, and we all have to do our part. So if you have any resources or tips to share to help lessen this burden, please comment below. And good luck!

Quote Monday

This week’s Quote Monday is more an interesting tidbit that we, as writers, can all understand. I enjoy meeting other writers and being part of a community of interesting, creative, unique individuals who see the world differently. Only another writer can understand the struggle, the isolation, the never-ending pull to create, and the strange idea that our characters tell us what they want.

I recently shared with a writer’s group how two of my characters had a mind of their own and continued to put themselves into a situation I didn’t want them in, yet. Obviously, I have control over it all, and yet, it was something they clearly wanted to do. I love when characters take control, but only another writer truly understands what this means. So when I saw this quote from Mr. King, which sums it up perfectly, I thought I’d share.

Since the release of my pup health scare related stress, I got my flow back and have been consumed with all the stories that require my attention – a much better stress to have.

So here’s to a productive week! Happy Writing!

Pup Update: Sterile Panniculitis

It started with a puffy face around 2pm on a Wednesday. This was something we had encountered before, an allergic reaction of some sort, so we immediately gave him Benadryl. Some time passes and hives begin to appear along his back. A little more Benadryl.

This continues through the night, and concern keeps us awake until about 4am, when we can’t take it any more because the welts are huge, especially on his tiny body, and we find an emergency vet who will give him a steroid shot to speed up the healing process.

We are told that it could take up to 48hrs to see any result, and so we wait the allotted time, which runs us into the weekend when we can’t take him to another vet, and the hives continue. Five days of Benadryl and watching hives flare up and work their way through his body.

Then new things begin to form.

Thinking he may be fighting off an infection, (what we think is) a gland in his neck becomes swollen almost overnight to about the size and feel of a marble. More cause for concern, but it doesn’t seem to bother him.

We finally get him into the vet and tests begin.

Things happen on a weekly basis, usually on the weekend when we can stress without resolution. Red bumps appear above his eye, on his chin, on the underside of his tail. His inner ears are inflamed. We find out later there are blood blisters and he gets a cone to hinder scratching. He develops a rash in the groin area that feels solid underneath. A spot on his nose develops and, in a terribly descriptive phrase, appears necrotic. Probably made worse because it’s accessible to licking.

And worst of all, as if that’s possible, a consistent breathing issue called a “reverse sneeze” started. It is something we’ve encountered in the past, it was rare, usually from overexcitement, and it is worrying the first few times you hear it, but this was different. It lasted longer, and looked like he was having difficulty breathing.

Immediately back to the vet. More tests. Medications that make him into a little zombie. He has no energy, no appetite, and just wants to be held or sleep. I did not care for that. He looks pathetic and it makes our hearts hurt.

The “C” word is tossed around and the thought makes me sick.

Finally…biopsies. More waiting and rushing test results because it’s been over three weeks and what is going on with him?! He’s given new antibiotics and he doesn’t have to take the zombie-inducing meds anymore, and when he comes home from undergoing surgery, he’s almost immediately back to normal.

He runs around a bit and has an appetite. It was like he had turned a corner.

Within a few days, our wonderful vet calls with resolution. The biopsy results narrow down that he has a rare inflammatory disease known as Sterile Panniculitis. It’s so rare that she’s only seen it once in seven years.

That’s our special boy for you.

He will have to undergo at least a couple more tests to determine the source, if there is one, because apparently this type of disease can just appear. Dachshunds are fairly susceptible to it, it’s hereditary, and although his sister looks more like a little sausage, clearly the Doxie is strong in him.

The Sis, now armed with a name, goes into research mode and into a long conversation with our vet. It comes down to an autoimmune issue. From this point forward, he will no longer be able to receive any vaccinations and can’t be exposed to any situations that might increase his potential for disease.

He’s basically a bubble boy.

His sister is fine, thankfully, and she will need to be kept fully vaccinated for not only her well being but his as well. Such a strange turn of events. I mean, The Sis and I already enjoy our solitude and were pretty socially distanced, even before the pandemic, but this gives us further cause. Oh, how we enjoy being loners.

There was a precursor that we should have paid more attention to but didn’t understand.

When we moved into our new apartment, there was the traditional “marking of their territory” but Loki continued well after. We couldn’t figure out what had happened to cause him to continue having accidents. Maybe he was annoyed that we had moved and his situation had changed. We thought he might be pouting. Because of their size, we’ve always left a pad accessible, and we were taking them outside often, and yet he would come inside and do his business.

This sort of act is actually a warning sign, and a way for them to communicate something is wrong. We learned this a little too late because had we known, maybe we could have had him looked at sooner, circumventing some of his discomfort and prolonging the treatment.

I thought this was an important detail to share. If your dog is doing something out of the ordinary, there may be an underlying reason.

So he’s been sick since we moved. Really reconsidering this whole thing now.

I wanted to share this story because if there’s more information available, maybe it will help other pet parents. As we learn more details, I’ll share an update because…

Quote of the Week

In my last post I mentioned a sick pup. Something in our move to Washington State triggered an illness in him that has taken us nearly four weeks to resolve, and we’ve been here six. We were truly reconsidering the move at one point. I’ll write a separate post about this experience as he was diagnosed with something rare and other pet parents should be informed.

During these stressful weeks, our focus was only on him. What could we do for him? How could we make him more comfortable? It was hard to concentrate on anything else.

I am thankful for the job opportunity I’ve been given, but as his medical bills continue to rise, I’m already considering a change to cover the expenses. I couldn’t write, couldn’t read, didn’t have the attention span to watch anything with any sort of vested interest. All we could do was hold him and comfort him and wait for the vet to share with us the results of all the tests.

It has been hard to be positive.

Since the move my stress level has increased…beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before – and maybe it has because, in part, yoga has been relegated to the back burner for a while now. What did I do before I discovered yoga?

Being positive is a choice, but when life gets messy, it’s harder sometimes to remain so. When I saw this quote, which I saved weeks ago, I thought, “I need to change my perspective, but I can’t until I know my furkid is okay.” It’s not that I wasn’t “positive”, I had to be in order to reassure myself and The Sis that he would recover, it’s just that it was harder to find other things to be thankful for.

Hence the quote.

Sometimes we just need to get through the day and finding a moment, a silver lining makes all the difference. Maybe it’s something as simple as “you have your health” because right now, that’s actually a pretty big something. Maybe it’s that you have a job because, again, right now, that’s also a big something. Maybe they’re more personal or related to your writing, like you worked out that plot hole or you finished writing that difficult chapter. You started yoga again and are feeling better. As you start to consider the different aspects of your life, you’ll probably find a number of things to be positive about and those add up.

The world is (still) a mess, and those outside influences can definitely affect our outlook, so finding a thread of positivity is a necessity to keeping our sanity. Journaling is a great way to keep track of these, and if you’ve been struggling, I highly recommend trying it. A number of journaling prompts offer this specific practice, “what are you thankful for today”, to maintain a positive attitude and it’s an easy reference tool for when you’re feeling low.

And as writers, we’re often in our own worlds, struggling differently, often quietly. Knowing there are others, like us, out there can help lessen the burden, so if you have any tips for maintaining your positivity, please share them below and let’s help one another!

Take care! xx, Rach

Thank You!

I hit a milestone this week.

For a writer who didn’t know what to expect when she decided to share her ramblings with the outside world, this was a wonderful surprise.

I’ve had a lot of gaps in my postings – consumed by work, a lack of inspiration (especially during Covid), various stresses, and most recently a sick pup – and so many of you have stuck with me through it all, so Thank You!

To my new followers, “Hi! Welcome!

One of my goals this year is to be better in this space, and having this many people to share it with is beyond encouraging, and I appreciate the support. Now that our furkid is on the mend, I can shift my focus, and I look forward to spending more time here with all of you.

Happy Friday and Happy Writing!

Quote Monday

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve come across a number of articles related to the topic of when to consider giving up on your writing. Most of the titles were decisively click bait but I was intrigued that this was a common theme making the rounds.

It got me thinking about my writing and my shortcomings in regards to my career thus far.

I am now of a particular age in which my job prospects should be more of a priority. I am smart, educated, and capable of doing more than I am currently interested in doing but the thought of a “real” job makes me uncomfortable, in part, because I know that I would have to put those particular obligations above those I value more, because…paycheck.

I want to be a writer (or so I keep saying), and now that we’re settled in our new home in a new state and I have a (mediocre) job lined up, I’ve been able to write. For days. It has been an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction to see the words I’m thinking stream from my fingertips to the screen, especially in light of the barren wordless wasteland I found myself in until now.

I have not given my career a proper chance, and I still have passion, so the thought of giving up is not an option I’ve truly considered. Since reading some of those articles, I did think, “What would it take for me to give up writing?” and could not think of a single thing. I’d like to be considered a professional writer, and I know I would be disappointed should that never happen, but I don’t think I would or could ever give up writing all together.

And neither should you.

If you feel the same.

I’ve taken long breaks, which I always regret, but I perpetually feel the urge to want to write. It’s like a shadow, always lurking in the recesses of my mind, my fingers itching for the feel of the keys beneath them.

Most of the articles ended on a similar note.

Only we can hold ourselves responsible for the goals we set and reach. Only we are capable of writing in our own particular voice, and if we want to keep using our voice, then the thought of giving up shouldn’t even cross our minds because the alternative is silence. Stifling our creativity.

If you’ve been considering calling it quits, really think on it. Ask yourself if you would miss it. Try to remember what it is about writing that you enjoy. Maybe you don’t think you have anything to say – what topics compel you to want to act? Try your hand at a different style. Read.

If after all this you find that you don’t have the desire to continue, only then would I recommend taking a break but I would never suggest giving up. Maybe the passion has fizzled, but I believe if it once existed, it’s likely to return.

And don’t you want to know what happens next?

As a writer, the answer should be a resounding YES!

So should you need more of a pep talk, send me a message. If you have any words of wisdom to share with your fellow writers, please leave a comment below.

Good Luck & Happy Writing!

Quote Monday

Hello from Washington!

It’s official. The Sis and I are now residents of the Evergreen State. For my own bad memory, I’ll post an overview of our journey to get here and that’s why this week’s quote struck me, in particular, as it’s about being brave.

I deeply struggled (for some time) with the decision to move. We weren’t happy in Las Vegas, the reason we had returned had run its course, but even thinking about taking the first step towards change left me with an anxiety I have not encountered before, and it made me wonder if growing older was making me more wary of taking risks.

Or was there something else?

I still haven’t discovered the truth of it but now we’re settled in our new place and I have to wonder what all the hoopla was about? Why was I afraid?

Our lives were put on hold for nearly a year, thanks, in part to Covid, but also because we kept delaying the move, thanks, in part to Covid. We couldn’t make a decision and by the end of the year I was so antsy I couldn’t take much more. I struggled to read, barely wrote a word, and just felt like I was in some sort of purgatory. Time is precious, something I’m definitely aware of, and yet I wasted and lost so much of it last year just waiting for change. A change I was fearful to make.

Huh?!

What I realized through all of this is I talk a big game. I talk about being brave and following your dreams, and while I did eventually make it happen, I let the fear consume and rule me for much longer than it ever should have. We get comfortable in what we know, regardless of its negative effects. Change is scary. It’s the unknown.

The possibility of new beginnings and new adventures should outweigh the reluctance at taking advantage of those opportunities. So take it from me, embrace the excitement that comes from change. Don’t dwell on the uncertainties because as they say, “the only constant is change” and the worry will wreak havoc with your mental and physical well-being.

If you’re wavering on the precipice of your own new endeavor and need a reassuring word, feel free to drop me a line.

xx, Rach

2021 Resolutions

Premium Vector | 2021 neon sign, bright signboard.

This is the year I’m going to make things happen. We strike a pose and make a fist to emphasize the point.

How many times have we said that?

Looking at a new year in terms of making leaps and bounds towards our goals sounds good, in theory, but in actuality, imagining a whole year to accomplish great things is daunting. 12 months is a big chunk of time. Even though it passes in a blink of an eye. Without periodic check-ins, thinking we have so much time to do everything we want to do generally has the opposite effect and we end up starting grand, petering out, only to approach December in a sort of panic that we didn’t accomplish all we had hoped.

Then the subsequent self admonishment, pity, anger, and false assurances that we’ll do better “next year” begins.

We need to not think about our goals in relationship to the whole year. Instead we need to create more manageable terms, such as what can we accomplish in the next 3 months? After 3 months, we should evaluate, reassess, adjust and move forward for the following 3 months and so on.

By setting short term goals, we can trick our minds into focusing on the task at hand (well, that’s my hope anyway). I do better when I know there’s an external deadline to meet. It’s hard set, not just some self deluded, fanciful idea that I will complete my screenplay without an outside driving force in the next few months – especially when I have an impending move and all that goes with it on the horizon…((panic mode)) – without that deadline, the pressure, I know I will slack off a bit.

And this is where knowing how we best operate is key. In what environment do you best work? At what time? Do you constantly meet your goals or do you play fast and loose? How do you best keep yourself accountable?

I said I would share my resolutions and I will. Every 3 months. I’m looking at these first 3 months skeptically because of the move but it is my hope ((crosses fingers)) that I will finally, once and for all, no-more-rewriting-unless-paid-to-do-so, complete my screenplay Fate(s). I only have the 3rd act to finish and I have it mostly worked out now.

I have other writing resolutions and personal ones too but this year I’m trying my best to temper my ambitions. I always want to do so much, thinking a whole year is plenty of time…I have learned I am wrong.

So thinking on our goals for 2021, I offer you the following three questions I found in an article I read in 2019. I’ve been contemplating them and thought I would share them as part of my resolution post because while goal setting is a fine endeavor, if we don’t want to feel disappointed in our yearly resolutions, maybe we should reevaluate how we define success, for ourselves.

  1. What needs to happen by the end of the year to make it great?
  2. What needs to happen/be accomplished to feel successful?
  3. What will give you validation?

And finally, to end on a note of encouragement, because it doesn’t feel that overwhelming, a word from C. Robert Cargill, a writer I follow on Twitter:

There are 261 working days in 2021. If you write just 1 page every work day, taking holidays and weekends off, you can write at least 2 scripts or 1 novel in 2021. If you write just 2 pages every work day, you can write 5 scripts or 2 novels in 2021.

I hope we all move forward to accomplishing our goals this year. If you’d like to be part of an accountability group or know of one we can all join, please share. I’m thinking of creating something after we settle from the move – a goal for the 2nd quarter.

Happy Writing!

First Quote Monday of 2021

Starting off the new year it’s gotta be a good one, right?

I rattled around on Pinterest looking for the best quote to share about goal setting, looking forward, or starting the new year off with purpose and focus, etc. and thought I had settled upon one until I remembered a quote I’ve written down in each of my journals from the talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag.

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? What would I write if I wasn’t afraid? What would I say in this situation if I wasn’t afraid?

I’ve had a bit of anxiety about a variety of things recently, and while yoga is offering me some peace of mind, taking action requires a fair amount of bravery, in any aspect of our lives. This is why I chose to share this quote. Fear can put a stop to momentum and I can imagine after the past year, we could all use a bit of encouragement to take back the control where we can.

I don’t want to shy away from taking steps to move my life forward. I don’t want to shy away from being bold in my writing. I don’t want to fear taking a risk. I don’t want fear to cause me to miss an opportunity.

I’m putting this out there in the hopes that we can support one another in this creative community. So tell me, in what area of your life do you want to be brave? What’s a goal you’ve been afraid to tackle? Are you ready to conquer! Let’s do it…together!

Here’s to taking on 2021!