Happy Anniversary, Al! Four years have truly flown by.
We love our house. It was an expensive year in 2018 – We bit the bullet and replaced our entire HVAC system. But, we’re almost done paying it off. Yay!
We adopted Pablo, a greyhound, in September. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. The poor baby had such severe separation anxiety that we couldn’t keep him or felt it was safe for him. Thankfully, he went to a good home.
In December 2018, we adopted Phineas and Ferb from Saver of Souls Rescue, and it’s been an amazing experience. As I write this, they are snuggled under the giant sherpa blanket by my feet.
The biggest life change was me changing jobs. I’ve been with Sentara since early September, and I’m so glad I took the plunge. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Riverside – I was there for nearly seven years. But, making the switch has done wonders for me in many ways.
It’s almost time for the holidays! We’re excited to celebrate Thanksgiving with Al’s family, and then Christmas will be a bigger affair with both sets of parents and more.
I put this book on my Amazon wish list a few months ago, and then Al bought it for me for my birthday!
Little did I know how much I needed this book in my life when I started reading it.
I took my time with this book. Elaine is a good writer, but I found myself digesting one, maybe two chapters at a time.
This book is aimed at women of color, but it certainly applied to me. I’m glad I read it when I did. Having started my new job in September, I had a lot of anxiety and emotions, and more than one crisis of confidence. This book lifted me out of that negativity.
I hadn’t heard of Elaine when I started the book, but I felt like I knew her when I was done. She was so candid and honest about her early life, growing up as a biracial child, her dad’s struggles with alcohol, and wanting to work at Essence and Ebony.
Watching her navigate the painful eras of the recession and the move toward digital publishing was eye-opening, too. As someone who dreamed of living in New York and being a journalist for years, I felt like this book was put in my life for more than one reason. Elaine showed me how life in New York and working for some of the most famous magazines on this Earth really was – It’s certainly no picnic.
It’s not my favorite memoir, but I’m glad I took a chance on it. I appreciated the inspiring quotes at the end of every chapter as well. She’s a gifted writer, and there’s something in this book for everyone.
Research published in July 2019 indicates that the number of children entering the foster care system has more than doubled since 2000.
Other reasons for removal, including neglect and abuse, declined.
Coincidentally, Sesame Street introduced a new Muppet around the same time. Karli is staying with her “for-now” family while her mom is away getting better. The Sesame Street initiative focuses on addiction as a whole, but makes the connection to foster care. Karli’s mom is getting help for alcohol addiction.
The photos / screenshots come from Erynn Brook’s Twitter account. I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety.
I read Erynn’s story. And re-read it. And I’ve been coming back to it nearly every day since stumbling upon it on October 24th.
One thing is for sure: Boundaries are hard. Setting boundaries is even harder. But, at 31, I feel much more at peace with myself because of the boundaries I have set for myself. Many of them are unspoken, for me and myself only, but there are others that I make known, loud and clear.
Why? Unlike Erynn’s awesome mom, I was taught to stick it out. To not quit. To not leave. To not ruin anything.
And I’m now realizing how damaging that is.
I understand why, in a way – My parents are of a different generation. Overall, I think they did a good job of raising me. I know, as an only child and born severely premature, they sheltered me and protected me fiercely.
But, I don’t want to raise my future child or children like my parents did. I want to do some things differently.
Like Erynn’s mom, I want my child or children to have choices, to feel like it’s normal to come to Al or me with anything at any time, to not feel like they are bothering us, to express their discomfort openly. And Al and I both agree that if our child or children call or text at any time, asking to come home, we will come immediately, no questions asked.
Two of my family members have this rule with their daughter – Call us at any time, and we will come get you. There won’t be any questions when we pick you up. There may be questions in the morning / after whatever happened, but there won’t be any questions from us at the time we come get you.
What do you think about this? Let me know in the comments.
1. How many times have you participated in NaNoWriMo? How many times have you won?
This will be my ninth NaNoWriMo. I have participated in five NaNoWriMo sessions in November (2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2019). I have also participated in four Camp NaNoWriMo sessions (Twice in 2018 and twice in 2019).
2. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Historically, I have been a pantser. This year, I started plotting the beginning of the novel.
3. What are the titles of the projects that you have attempted/completed for past NaNos?
2012: Experiences From Camp
2014: Discussion of Differences
Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2018: Continued draft of Experiences From Camp
Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2018: Continued draft of Experiences From Camp
2018: Tunnel Vision
Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2019: Continued draft of Specialton
Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2019: Continued draft of Discussion of Differences
2019: The Transformation House
4. What are you working on for NaNo this year?
I am writing a new novel about a woman, Angela Diaz, who decides to purchase a mansion, fix it up, and create a home for transgender people in the Midwest.
5. What is one tip that you’d give to someone else that is participating in NaNo?
I agree with what All Things Momma said: “Do not have any zero days. Even if you write only one sentence that day, that is so much better than having a big fat zero on your NaNo chart. Any progress forward is better than none.”
6. What was the inspiration for this novel? Do you remember when the inspiration hit you?
I listen to the StoryCorps podcast. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, they created a podcast series, and an initiative called “Stonewall Out Loud.” One of the episodes discussed a home for transgender people in Little Rock, Arkansas (“We’re Still Here”). I wanted to write a story that encompasses a modern version of this effort.
7. Read us the first sentence from your NaNo novel last year?
“No, no, no! Damn it!” Nicole smacked her hands against the steering wheel.
8. What do you plan to do with your manuscript after NaNo?
Like all my other novels, I will let this draft rest for a while. I might pick it up again during Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020. It depends on how much progress I make this month.
9. Are you prepared for NaNo? Are you nervous?
I always get a little nervous. But, I’m ready to dive in.
Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo this November?
Continue my fun Writing Prompt series, publishing one every Friday in October. — Accomplished!
Celebrate multiple birthdays! — Accomplished!
Volunteer at the blood drive. — Accomplished!
Publish all outstanding Tag posts where I’ve been tagged. — Did not accomplish.
Participate in decorating duffel bags for local children in foster care. — Accomplished!
Celebrate my church’s 50th Anniversary. — Accomplished!
Make at least one thrift store run. — Did not accomplish.
Prep for NaNoWriMo 2019. — Accomplished!
Celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Ghostbusters. — Accomplished!
Send cards to several friends. — Did not accomplish.
Research area rugs for the living room. — Did not accomplish.
Try some new recipes. — Accomplished!
Test-bake the cookies for the upcoming Cookie Exchange with my P.E.O. chapter. — Did not accomplish.
Read every night before bed. — Semi-Achieved.
Enjoy Halloween! — Accomplished!
October was a jam-packed month! I was able to volunteer at the blood drive, and I was also able to give a pint! Turns out that my Power Red donation in August was only counted as one unit because of some complications I experienced. So, I was eligible to donate in October, rather than having to wait until December to give again. I learned this week that my pint of blood went to the University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center in Charlottesville.
I’m very excited to kick off NaNoWriMo 2019! I’m writing something new, and it’s something out of my comfort zone. Stay tuned!
We celebrated my mom’s birthday during the first weekend of October. Then, Nick and Savy’s anniversary and Mia’s birthday in the middle of the month! We also went to a fun Spooky Brunch during the weekend of the 12th, where we ate amazing food, watched The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice, and enjoyed each other’s company.
The church’s 50th Anniversary was incredible. More than two years of work by many people came together in a wonderful weekend. The combined service on Sunday was packed – It was easily 500 people. We had several former pastors attend. All the musical groups performed together – Children’s choir, chancel choir, handbell choir. The catered lunch afterwards was delicious as well.
The significant new recipe I tried was Greek Chicken Bowls. Delicious! And it fed us for lunch for a week!