Life in a Time of Pandemic: Diving into Hobbies

Cross stitch of a jar of fireflies with the words Be the light incorporated in the design.
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This one isn’t going to be talking too heavily about the pandemic itself, but I still wanted to tag it as such for those who just want a break from talking/thinking/reading about anything relating to it.

For the rest of you, this is going to be a lot more about crafting and writing and hobbying in general than anything else.  I was inspired to write about this because the university I work for started up a recuring series of stories on our staff/faculty newsletter/newspaper article site about all the hobbies people are picking up, or diving further into, because of the pandemic.

The stay-at-home to keep your exposure risk down mentality has had me fairly confined to my apartment.  Since March, I’ve only really left my apartment for groceries and other essentials, a few doctor and dentist appointments, and one week-long staycation at my in-laws (we all had a two-week quarantine prior to and right after).  It’s meant a lot of time that used to be devoted to things like my daily commute (about 2 hours total per workday) and driving to various social things (easily a recovery of another 2-3 hours each week) are now time I have for other things.

Not all of this time is going to a hobby.  About half an hour of my morning commute time is now devoted to more sleep, for example.  But the new daily routine I’ve worked out for pandemic conditions is helping with my commitments to my hobbies and my ability to follow through with them.

Prior to the pandemic, I took a regional express bus to work.  It’s about 30 minutes on the bus in low-traffic (my morning commute window) and 45-60 minutes in high traffic (my evening commute window, time highly dependent on driver and whether they take the shoulder when allowed).  This time has usually been writing time for me.  One NaNoWriMo, I started doing sprints with others on our online spaces during my commute, then the time between when I got to the office and when I had to start work at eight.  In Pandemic conditions, that has transitioned to being a 20-minute sprint called by chat bots every day at 7am, 7:30am, and 8am.  I usually make one or two of them every day, and there are a few other regular attendees who join me.  This has turned into an amazingly consistent morning writing habit.  I even get up that early on weekends now (though that’s more about consistent sleep times being better overall).  This regularity, started in October as NaNo Prep, has led to a daily writing streak over 130 days long already.  I’m a little amazed at myself.  And even if I’m only making one sprint a day, that’s 20 minutes, and I can rack up a significant amount of words or editing work over the course of a week or a month even with just 20 minutes a day.  It’s been pretty amazing how productive I’ve been so far this year.

My evening recovered commute time hasn’t been devoted to writing as much as my morning recovered commute time.  It’s allowed my partner and I to be a little more intentional with dinner timing.  I have a post-work routine set up where I’ll wash my face and do the other little hygiene things I do at night, and then help him finish up dinner prep.  It’s nice to have that time with him each night sharing a meal and enjoying a little time together.  After that is my time to either hang out with him longer, do a little online socializing, game, or engage in another hobby.  And of course weekends end up involving my hobbies now that out of the house socializing isn’t an option anymore.

So what else have I been getting up to?

Almost all of the hobbies I’ve dived back into or added to my hobby collection are needle crafts.  I’ve enjoyed sewing for years now and I’ve taken some of the recovered time during the pandemic to finish off some works in progress and things from my pending sewing projects pile, as well as starting a few completely new things.  I’ve also started trying my hand at cross-stitch.  I mentioned some of this in a recent post about crafting goals for this February, and I’ve posted about the memory bears project I finished for a friend.

One of the first projects was new flannel pants for me that fit properly, had pockets, and had the just enough to seal around the leg style elastic at the bottom.  I made one pair out of jersey too but the pattern didn’t translate quite as well to the stretchier material.  I’m most proud of this pair of rainbow heart pants.  I pattern matched the pocket and it just looks so lovely.

A pair of flannel pants made from a white fabric with a rainbow pattern of hearts featuring a patch pocket sewn on to match the pattern below it.

The biggest project since March was finishing up the memory bears I’d agreed to make for a friend.  With six of them to do and a decent amount of prep needed on the various fabric pieces, it took a lot of time, but I’m very proud of them.  Since I’ve covered this type of project on the blog before I’m not going to go too in depth about it here, but I’m very proud of the set I completed for her.

I’ve also been working on other little things, like mending that I’ve been putting off, converting a few old pairs of jeans into skirts, and I have some fabric that arrived in the mail this week to make a new button-front blouse for myself.  I’ve been wanting to make more of my own clothes for a while now because I can’t seem to find things that fit properly and are made well these days.  It ends up costing me time, and sometimes the fabric supplies are more expensive than just buying a new shirt, but being able to make the pattern exactly fit me so that it looks good and knowing that the construction and finishing will hold up to the test of time (and are all things I’m capable of fixing and repairing) is worth it.

In a completely different and more decorative direction, I’ve been trying my hand at cross-stitch.  I actually started because I had some old craft kits from my mom (copyright on the directions is from the 1970s).  I made a few of them a couple years ago that were coasters.  Basically, it was cross stitch with yarn, a big plastic needle, and the plastic grid stuff you can find at craft stores.  The last kit I had was crewel work.  It was a bookmark, so a material similar to what cross-stitch uses but with wider warp/weft threads with a picture printed on it.  I followed the directions to make free-hand embroidery stitches that followed the printed picture.  It was a ladybug on a stem with leaves, and it actually came out quite nicely.

It was really nice to get a physical thing out of it, so when I was spending down a gift card to a craft store, I included some cross-stitch kits.  This had mixed results.  The first two, which were very cheap in their defense, didn’t have enough embroidery floss included in the right colors.  I had some super close embroidery floss (mine was glossy while the kit came with matte, but the color was almost exact) so I was able to finish my first kit, which was a little baby dragon.

The next kit looked like it might have done a little better, but I also planned for what to do if I ran out of thread, so I was able to make an adaptation to the pattern to use more of colors I had and less of the color I ran out of.  This one is a Unicorn, and I’m quiet proud of my on the fly adaptation of it to accommodate the lack of thread I needed.  I’m gifting this one to my niece for her birthday.

The third kit was a much better kit (it was also more expensive).  It came with an actual hoop and more than enough of every thread I needed.  I even still have extra thread.  This one took longer, mostly because it was bigger and the stitch counting was a bit more complicated with all the gaps.  I’m pretty sure I did something slightly out of alignment with the pattern, but no one is likely to be able to tell, so it’s fine.  It was a nice project to work on while chatting with friends online or while watching a twitch stream or anything else that struck my fancy.  I also just love the message of this one, it resonates with me.

Cross stitch of a jar of fireflies with the words Be the light incorporated in the design.

I have a fourth kit from that initial order, which is a paisley cat design.  I’m looking forward to that one and may even try to incorporate it into something bigger like a throw pillow.  Or maybe it will just be another think I hang on my wall.  We’ll see.  Before I get back to that I’m trying to finish up the February sewing project goals.

I’ve completed one skirt and I’m down to the seam finishing on the second skirt.  After that I’m starting on the mockup of the shirt, which will then be recreated from both the new material I have on order and the material from a shirt that matches one of the pairs of jeans I’ve converting into a skirt.  I’m hoping the shirt turns out well in mockup, because then I can take the mockup apart and use it as a definitive pattern for a shirt that fits me the way I want.  Having a pattern made out of muslin will hold up better than one made out of pattern paper, which is only slightly more durable than tissue paper for those unfamiliar with it.

So that’s where my crafting and hobbying has been since March.  There’s been an incredible amount of writing, and a decent amount of sewing and other needle craft creation happening.  It’s another one of the silver linings that’s come out of the pandemic for me.  I’m devoting more time to the things that make me happy and give me joy and a sense of accomplishment.  I’m hoping I can carry some of these things (like the regular sleeping schedule) with me after pandemic conditions are over and make them part of my normal from now on.

If you’ve taken up (or dived deeper into) any new hobbies lately, I’d love to hear about them.

Image Prompt Response 073 – Winter Holidays

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I chose the image of the snow-covered tree for my twenty-minute sprint this time.

Winter Holidays:

Carl shivered as he slid out of bed, pushing his feet into his slippers and making his way to the window.  It had only just begun to snow when they were turning in last night, but now there was a couple feet of the stuff.  The big pine out back was so weighed down with snow that some of the branches were partially buried in the drifts.

It was beautiful, the pristine sparkling whiteness in the early morning light.

It was also a royal pain because he’d have to shovel enough to get the truck out of the driveway and pray that the plows came through sometime before noon so they’d be able to get out of the neighborhood.  He knew they should have left yesterday.

Sighing, Carl headed for the kitchen to get the coffee brewing and breakfast started.  That almost always woke everyone else up, luring them with the scent of caffeine and bacon.

Sam was the first one down, their hair sticking up every which way as they rubbed their eyes and sat down at the table.

Carl had already set out the sugar and cream along with four mugs, so when the coffee was done brewing he brought the pot to the table.  Sam could be trusted to pour coffee without being fully awake, but not to carry it across a room.  They had an agreement about it.  Two broken carafes, two cuts that needed stitches, and one third degree burn had been more than enough.

By the time Sam had finished fixing a mug of coffee for themself as well as Carl, Valerie was wandering in.  Her hair was brushed and gleaming and her pajamas were cute and coordinated.  She was a bit of a fashion diva and Carl still didn’t quite understand why she wanted to live in the middle of nowhere on the top of a mountain, but she was a good roommate, so he wasn’t about to suggest she leave.

Carl was done putting breakfast on plates by the time Kelly came down, scratching the stubble on his head and yawning.

“It looks like getting out might be an issue,” Valerie said as they all sat down at the table together.

“I didn’t look outside,” Kelly said as he fixed his coffee.

“We got two, maybe three feet,” Carl replied.  “I haven’t checked yet.”

“Weather ap said thirty-four inches,” Valerie said.  “But we sometimes get more than where they measure.”

“I’ll check after breakfast,” Carl replied.  They didn’t have a very scientific methodology, since drifting could happen, but they had a pole near the front porch that was marked every inch so they could know how much snow they’d gotten.  Carl had put it in two years ago and just never pulled it back out.  It was in one of the mulched areas, so it wasn’t even in the way when they had to mow the lawn.

“To be perfectly honest, I’m planning to use the snow as an excuse not to go,” Sam said.

“Have they been that bad?” Carl asked.  Sam’s family wasn’t supportive of the non-binary thing, or Sam’s career as an artist, so Carl understood why Sam might not want to go home for the holidays.

“My brother has been in one of his evangelical moods this month,” Sam replied.

“Ouch,” Valerie said, reaching over to pat Sam’s hand.

Sam’s brother was a preacher at a non-denominational church a few hours south near where Sam’s family lived.  It was a huge place and very hellfire and brimstone from what Sam had said.

“It is what it is,” Sam said with a shrug.  “If anyone in the family asks I’ll tell them you left earlier and that’s why only I got trapped.  I know my brother stalks you guys on social media.”

“If we got more than three feet, I’m not sure any of us are going anywhere,” Carl replied.

“My parents are actively encouraging me to stay home,” Valerie said.  “They don’t even want me on a train in this apparently.  It’s been even worse west of us and I haven’t even checked to see if there are train delays.”

Carl nodded.  The original plan had been for Carl to get everyone off the mountain in his truck.  Valerie was taking the train home, Sam had left his car in the Walmart parking lot earlier in the week, and Kelly was catching a ride with a friend in town.

They were quiet during the rest of breakfast, and Kelly was actually the first one to get up, taking his coffee with him as he went into the front room.  They could all hear the door opening.

Carl shivered just thinking about how cold it must have been standing in the doorway with just the storm door for insulation.

“Well, I think we’re staying home,” Kelly said before shutting the door.  “The pole’s actually in a bit of a dip and it reads forty-two inches.”

“Damn,” Carl said.  That was a lot of snow to get in a single night.

“I like you lot better than my family anyway,” Sam said, toasting them with his coffee mug.

“I can do a video chat with my parents on Yule,” Valerie said.  “It’ll be fine.”

“No worries,” Kelly said, patting Carl on the shoulder.  “You did tell us we should have made arrangements to get off the mountain yesterday.”

“It’ll be nice to spend the holidays at home,” Carl said.  He loved his family, but they were a lot.  He was only going to have made the last few days of Hanukkah anyway.  Now he could share traditions with his roommates.  Valerie and her parents were pagan and celebrated Yule, Carl still wasn’t sure how devout Kelly was but he did celebrate Christmas, Carl was Jewish, and Sam gave everyone gifts that they called Winter Wishes, since they wanted to celebrate and share the joy of holidays with everyone but didn’t actually have a winter holiday to celebrate.  It would be neat to have so many different traditions all happening in the same house.

Image Prompt 073 – Snowy Tree and Parliament

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 073-01 Carl's Tree03-01

Image Prompt 073-02 Parliament House05-04-14 004

February Fiber Arts

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For those of you who have been around for a while, you may have noticed my interest in making and crafting in addition to writing.  This is mostly centered around sewing related crafts at the moment (altering or adapting clothes, sewing in general, and recently cross-stitch).  One of the groups I belong to online is doing a low-key February creative crafting challenge.  Basically, it’s just us picking a goal for the month and sharing our progress and encouraging each other.  Nothing fancy.

My goal for this is to finish three in-progress items and at least start (hopefully finish) a fourth project.  I’ve been working on my third every cross-stitch project, and I’d like to get that finished this month.  I have two pairs of my mother’s old fancy jeans (by which I mean in pretty colors with embellishments) that I’m turning into a couple skirts for me.  Completing those two conversions is on my list.  And I have a shirt that goes with one of those pairs of jeans that I want to use to make a shirt in my size probably a fairly simple collared shirt style but I don’t know if I’m going to work from a pattern I have or try to create a pattern from a shirt I own that I really like the cut and fit of.

So that’s my Fiber Arts goal for February.  I’ll probably share an update about what progress I made and some pictures in my post on March 5.  In the meantime, have some pictures of my first two cross-stitch projects and the starting materials for the skirts and shirt.

I hope you’re all finding ways to keep creative this year.

January Writing Progress

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It’s been a very eventful January this year.  A lot is happening that is both hugely impactful, hugely important, and entirely outside my control.  So, I’ve been focusing on what I can control, specifically my writing habits.  We’re twenty-nine days into the year and I haven’t missed a day of writing yet.  That’s a pretty impressive streak, especially when you take into account that I started the year with a writing streak of 77 days, which puts my total streak at 106 days.  Possibly the longest I’ve ever consistently written every day.

Those seventy-seven days in October to December were all spent on one project too.  Well, I say project.  It was my NaNo idea for this year and while it was initially supposed to be one novel, it’s currently looking like three or four in a series I’m calling Relationships and Readings.  I ran into a bit of a wall trying to move forward with it this month though (but after three straight months that’s not unexpected).  I played with a writing prompt for about a week for my daily writing sessions and then I returned to an older set of characters I’ve played with on and off since 2017.

If you’re curious about what I’m working on now, you can check out my A to Z Blogging Challenge posts from 2017 (tagged AtoZ2017).  That year I picked out a single word writing prompt for each letter of the alphabet and decided to try to write a continuous story with it.  It was a really fun writing exercise (one I may try to repeat in the future) and I was quite pleased with the story that came out of it (which I’ve recently been rereading).  I also returned to the characters for a couple Image Prompt responses (#28 and #39).

I’ve spent the last few days trying out a few new scenes and expanding on a few characters and I read back through what I’d written before.  I’m having fun exploring and have a few ideas for turning this into either one longer piece, or a collection of shorter pieces.  While I was having fun with Relationships and Reading and creating the entire fantasy world that surrounds it, I’m a little glad to be returning to one of my modern-day setting fantasies.  Over the years that’s become my favorite type of world building, to layer magic and fantasy elements over our own world.

Regardless of what project I’m working on, I’ve been really proud of myself for keeping my daily writing habit going, especially in such trying and uncertain times.  I hope all of you are making progress toward your goals for the year, be they writing or something else.

2020 Writing Year in Review

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Holidays and other traditional posts have made this a bit later than usual, but I still wanted to take some time to look at my 2020 writing year and see what I accomplished.

I’m actually pretty proud of the work I did in 2020 overall.  I did the Get Your Words Out (GWYO) habit tracking challenge again, and this year I actually made my goal, completing some amount of writing work on 314 out of 365 days.  My goal was 240.

Here are a few fun metrics from the data produced by the spreadsheet GYWO provide for tracking.  I tracked time as well as days which turned out to be quite interesting.

I tracked progress on nine different writing projects, one major sewing project, as well as other sewing, ML work, and my D&D prep work this past year.  It came out to a total of 432.6 hours spent on creative projects.

I spent the most time on my NaNoWriMo project, now a series called Relationships and Readings, with 97.1 hours spent.  (All of that in October, November, and December too!)

I spent 241.9 total hours on writing projects and 66.6 hours on making projects (sewing and the like).

I also apparently spent 121.4 hours on ML related tasks, events, etc in October and November.  (I was tracking this largely out of curiosity.)

This averages out to 6 hours a week or .85 hours (51 minutes) a day spent on creative projects.

None of these numbers are perfect, and they’re likely all underestimations as I’m not always great about tracking, but it gives me an idea of how I spend my creative time over the course of a year.

So what did that all result in?

Among all those hours, I spent 54.6 hours working on book three in the Swords and Shields series.  Toward the end of last year I got book two pretty close to finished.  It still needs a close reading for style, grammar, etc, but the basic structure of the story is settled.  Because of how book two and three relate, I want to release them close together, so I moved on to working on book three this year.  Those hours included some hefty rewriting, a lot of reorganizing, attempts to figure out how to be a plotter, and I’m still not happy with or finished with book three.  I burned myself out a bit on the project though, so I set it aside to work on other things.  I’m hopeful that I can come back to it in 2021 with fresh eyes, fresh perspective, and some new spaces to ask for help untangling the story so that I can make substantial progress on it this year.  Book three was the project I spent the second most time on, which I feel pretty good about.

The fact that I averaged nearly one hour a day also makes me pretty proud, especially with that writing spread across more than 300 days of the year.  I did a good job of prioritizing my creative pursuits this year, and that’s something that I want to continue.  2020 was a very hard year in a lot of ways, and I, like many others, spent time thinking about what matters most to me, and one of those things is my creative pursuits.  Some of my creative pursuits, like sewing and writing, have tangible end-products that I can use or share with the world.  Some, like planning and prepping for a D&D session, don’t have a lasting and tangible product, but that doesn’t make them any less important.  Creativity in my life is very important to me.  Writing gives me so much more than just a completed story.  It gives me space to explore my emotions, practice empathy, and through my writing communities (like NaNo and GWYO) a way to connect with others.

I hope at the end of next year I can look back at these numbers and compare them to my 2021 numbers and find that I’ve carved out even more time for my creative pursuits and prioritized the joy and fulfillment I get from them.  I already have a pretty good start with more than 16 hours on creative projects this January.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful New Year so far, and that you’re making progress on your goals for the year like I am.  Keep writing, making, and creating.

Image Prompt Response 072 – Tired of Third Shift

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I chose the image of the cat on the laundry hamper for my 20-minute sprint today. 

Tired of Third Shift:

Amy was so glad to be home.  Working third shift was harder than she’d thought it would be.  Just managing to sleep properly when it was daylight out wasn’t a simple thing.  Thankfully she’d found a mask that was comfortable enough.

Violet was settled on her laundry hamper as usual, eyes closed and looking content and warm even right next to the window.  As soon as Amy walked in she opened her eyes and meowed loudly in greeting.  For such a lightweight little thing, she was incredibly loud.

“Good morning to you, too,” Amy said, stepping over to pet Violet and scratch her ears and chin just the way she liked best.

Amy heard the bathroom door open in the hallway outside her room.

“Good morning,” her brother Jason said quietly.  “It’s nice that I always know you made it home alright, but that’s the only nice thing about how loud she is.”

Amy laughed softly, still petting Violet.  For as much as Jason complained about her cat being loud, Amy knew he secretly loved Violet, especially when she was in a good mood and curled up on his lap to cuddle.

“Good night at work?” Jason asked, leaning in her doorway.

“Not bad,” Amy replied.  It was a retail warehouse job, it was never going to be great, but at least it meant she made enough for her part of the rent and utilities and at least some of the grocery bills.  Jason was being really great about feeding her when she came up short.  But then, he made bank doing computer security work for one of the big banks, so it wasn’t like he was struggling too.

“I got a pot roast and your usual list of veggies for it if you want to get that in the oven this afternoon,” Jason said.  “I’m going to be a little late getting home, so you don’t have to wait on me unless you want to.”

“Thanks for feeding me all the time,” Amy said, moving over to the door to give her brother a hug.

“You’re worth it,” he said, hugging back.  “Besides, one of these days you’re going to find that perfect job and you’ll be able to spoil me right back.”

Amy laughed again.  Finding work as a graphic designer wasn’t as easy as you’d think.  Yes, plenty of people needed one, but not everyone was willing to pay what you were worth or pay you to just do design and not six other things while you were at it.

“Have faith,” Jason said as he gave her a final squeeze and headed back to his room to get ready.  He had to leave for work soon.

“I’ll try,” Amy replied, heading into the bathroom to brush her teeth and get ready for bed.  At least she was able to keep her sleep schedule such that she was awake in the evening when her brother and their roommate were home.

Amy changed into pajamas and curled up in her bed.  Violet was jumping up to join her only a moment later, curling up against Amy’s chest where it was nice and warm.  Amy smiled as she put on her sleep mask and lay her head on the pillow.  She gently stroked Violet as she let her mind wander, hoping it wouldn’t be too hard to get to sleep this morning.

She was almost asleep when her phone range.

She pushed the mask up and reached for it.  Clearing her throat she answered with a standard “hello.”

“I’m calling to speak with Amy Thomas,” the male voice on the other end said.

“This is she,” Amy replied, laying her head down again.

“I’m calling from Wright Light Design,” he said.  “We received your application for the designer position and wanted to arrange a phone interview if you’re still interested in the position.”

“Yes, I’m still interested,” Amy replied, sitting up in bed.  “What day would you like to schedule it?”

“Are you available tomorrow?”

“I’m available between two and six tomorrow,” Amy replied.  If it was going to be that fast turnaround she didn’t want to disrupt her sleep schedule.

“We have a time available at three,” the man replied.  “The phone interviews usually take about thirty minutes.”

“Tomorrow at three,” Amy replied to confirm.  “Who will the interview be with?”

“I’ll be calling you at three as the HR representative for this position, along with the Lead Designer the position reports to and one of the designers on the team the new designer will be working with.”

“I look forward to speaking with the three of you tomorrow,” Amy said.

“Excellent, I’ll speak with you then.  Have a pleasant day.”

“You do the same,” Amy replied.

Amy’s door opened, Jason peeking his head in.  “Did I hear the word interview?”

“Yeah,” Amy said.  “Phone interview tomorrow.”

“Nice,” Jason said, smiling.  “Get some good sleep,” he added, “I’ll see you for dinner and I can grill you about the job it’s for.”

Amy just laughed.  He never grilled her despite how often he said that.  “Have a good day at work.”

“Later,” Jason said, closing her door before heading down the stairs.

Well, maybe things were about to turn around.  This was the first interview she’d gotten since she started applying for design jobs seven months ago when she graduated.

Image Prompt 072 – Cats and Wolves

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 072-01 Winter Break in Gastonia 001

Image Prompt 072-02 Campus Spring 2012 (10)

Where I’m From: 2021 Edition

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Happy New Year!  I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season and that we all have a positive start to a new year better than the last.

This is my yearly version of the “Where I’m From” poem prompt.  You can find my original prompt here and the versions from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.  If anyone else wants to try their hand at the poem prompt, I’d love to read your results, so feel free to leave a comment.

Where I’m From

I am from Tinkerbell journals, from apple-scented Dawn, and NaNoWriMo mugs.

I am from the half-underground, hobbit-hole apartment, dimly lit and cozy.

I am from the proliferating pathos, the bright pink Christmas cactus.

I am from holiday pumpkin rolls and too-loud laughs, from Catherine and Elizabeth and Brown.

I am from the collecting of craft projects and the taking of too many photos.

From look where you’re going and don’t read after lights out.

I am from wooden crosses and five-pointed stars.  From advent wreaths and home altars.

I’m from the Steel City and Scotland’s wild moors, cheesecake and tacos.

From the mysteriously eaten pumpkin pie, the sliver I was given, and the sugar left out of my sister’s very first taste.

I am from bulletin boards, wall-frames, hard drives, university libraries, and file folders.

From towns founded, journeys taken, and memories made.

From personal histories, shared stories, and time with grandmothers.

From anecdotes and writing prompts, recipes, and family trees.

Happy Holidays

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For those celebrating today, Merry Christmas.  To those who celebrate other December holidays I hope you’ve had (or will have) a wonderful one.

It’s been a truly remarkable year in a great many ways, so I’m taking today to be nostalgic and post some happy memories from holidays (December and otherwise) in the past.  I hope you enjoy my slightly eccentric collection of holiday photos.

Happy BirthdaHalloChristmaWeen! 😎