Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Now What?

I joined in the Women's March on January 21—along with millions of other people around the world—here in Augusta, where an amazing 10,000 people showed up.

I brought E and Z with me—their first demonstration. They weren't too thrilled about it (especially Z, who had stayed up till midnight reading and was tired and grouchy), but I made them Warrior Cat hats to wear, and that helped a little. ("Why is everyone wearing cat hats?" "Because cats believe in equal rights.") 

Other than my own cranky kids, the energy there was so positive. It was literally the first time I felt good since November 8.

My faith in humanity was restored a little bit.

But now the question on everyone's mind is: Now What? After months of despondency we've been reenergized. We've seen that we are far from being alone in our horror for the events taking place in our country. But what do we do with that energy? With that solidarity? 

 I don't know the answer to that question, but I can tell you what I've been doing and thinking about:
  • Staying informed. Honestly, it feels like someone's set up an industrial-strength fan behind a massive pile of manure and we have to decide which pieces of shit to dodge, to deflect, and to just let hit us. I'm trying to keep focused on the big picture (a few well-respected news analysts help with this) and also what's going on locally, where I may be able to have the greatest effect.
  • Trying not to get overwhelmed. I just have to cut myself off of Facebook, Daily Kos, the internet in general for chunks at a time. I am considering a short media blackout (which negates my first point, but feels like it might be necessary for my mental health).
  • Taking care of myself. Yes, the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but that doesn't mean I can't take the occasional bubble bath, do 10 minutes of morning yoga, give myself sparkly stickers on my own writing (oh, yeah, that's a thing), and drink smoothies.
  • Contacting the hell out of my legislators. In Maine we have a so-called "moderate" republican senator. Many would argue that her moderate cred is a sham. Ahem. But I, on a total whim, made it my mission to message her every single day until I get a reasonable response on her bid to overturn the ACA. Of course I haven't been able to stick to the ACA focus (see fan blowing shit metaphor above), and have been taking her to task (and giving credit where credit is due) on many, many other issues. I've also written my rep and the other senator to thank them on a couple of issues. I post my letters on FB, where I think you can read them if you search #senatorcollins, #susancollins, or #senatorsusancollins. I'm kind of hoping we'll start a movement of daily, publicly posted letters to legislators. A friend has suggested I make a bid to blog for one of our daily papers and I'm considering it; I'm just afraid they'll make me conform to some set of standards (like capitalizing republican or not referring to a certain person as "your president"—both of which I've taken on as small, possibly petty, acts of resistance). Yes, I know everyone says calling is more effective, and I've done that as well—though not daily. I find it incredibly frustrating—the busy signals, the voicemail full boxes, the smug people who answer the phone, if in fact you reach a person. And I'm much better able to articulate my thoughts on paper.
  • Writing letters to the editor. I've sent out two so far, neither of which has been published (yet), but I plan to make it a weekly ritual.
  • Attending rallies. I went to a second rally this past weekend, which was intended to draw attention to multiple issues and convince the above-mentioned senator to return to Maine for a town hall meeting. The energy there was different than at the previous week's rally—still positive (as in articulating a positive alternative to what's taking place in Washington), but less of a feel-good love-in and more focused, intense, and occasionally angry. 
  • Focusing my energy. There is sooooo much happening now—so many terrible things to oppose but also so much good resistance. I need to take the time to research exactly where and how to expend my energy, both for the greatest effect and to prevent burnout. Initially my plan was to focus on climate change. That got derailed by the push to overturn the ACA. And now that we're in constitutional crisis mode, I feel like energy needs to go toward the big picture (see again the giant fan blowing shit). I'm not sure how I will figure out what makes the most sense for me—there are some local/state issues I want to weigh in on, completely separate from fascism taking over the US. Is it whistling while Rome burns to do so, or do we think globally, act locally? I honestly don't know. It goes back to the first step—stay informed. Parse out the real from the BS. Look for places where my skills (e.g., writing) and knowledge (e.g., environmental regulation) are needed. And hang the f*ck on. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Weekend Things ~ Mid-January

A lazy-busy, indoor-outdoor weekend.

A four-day weekend for two boys (three-and-a-half for the other one).

Movies out with friends (two!).

A cousin in town.

Ice-skating on the pond (twice!)

A bonfire a the in-laws.

Lazy mornings.

An afternoon movie (Ferngully, with butterscotch popcorn!!!!)

An owl sighting (see that dot on top of a tree about 1/4 of the way in from the left?)

The sort of weekend where the camera doesn't come out at all but we make do with phone photos.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wild Wednesday ~ Moment(s) of Wonder ~ Owl and Ducks

In which I share a Moment of Wonder recorded in my nature journal over the previous week.

This week, I have two moments to share with you, because they were both pretty great and I just couldn't decide.

My niece was visiting from Boston for the weekend, and on Sunday afternoon, we'd all just returned from ice skating on the pond down the road and had settled down for a movie and butterscotch popcorn. The sun was starting to set in streaks of lemon and raspberry, and as I looked out the window at the scene, a large bird flew across my field of vision. From the size of its head, I knew it was an owl. Z spied the tree it had landed in and my niece and I pulled on boots and trekked down the driveway to see if we could get a closer look. As we neared the tree it was in, I thought I detected "ears"—or the tufts of feathers on the head that would indicate it was a great-horned owl. A little closer and it flew off, across our neighbor's field, ears fully visible. We walked partway across the field before it took off again.

This sighting was extra-cool for two reasons: We often hear great-horned owls calling around our house, but we've never seen one before; usually we see barred owls. And, every time my niece visits, we have a neat wildlife sighting. One time it was a close encounter with a porcupine, the other time it was a flying squirrel on our bird feeder. She's wildlife good luck!

The second moment happened yesterday. E and I went ice skating one last time before the snow when he got home from school yesterday. While I ooch my way in a circle around the ice as if I'm at an actual ice rink with a designated direction of travel, he scoots all over the pond and is up and down and up and down, sliding on his knees and butt as often as his skates. At one point, he was lying on his back and said, "Look up there."

A flock of 50-60 birds was flying overhead in a perfect V formation. They were totally silent, so not geese (also, they didn't appear to have long necks), and appeared completely black, so not gulls (I'm not sure if gulls practice such disciplined V-flying). Some kind of duck, I assume. Where did they come from and where were they going? And who can look at a V of flying birds and not comprehend that mutualism and cooperation are inherent traits in nature, and therefore should also be part of human society?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Recycled Sweater Pussyhat Tutorial

You've heard of the Pussyhat Project, yes? It's a movement to provide a "unique visual statement" to the women marching on Washington D.C. on January 21 and give people who aren't able to go to D.C. an active way to get involved. Cool, right? I first heard about it late last week and then all of a sudden my Facebook feed was full of pussyhats. I have friends knitting hats for friends and for marchers and for anyone who donates to Planned Parenthood, and all kinds of awesomeness. I'm not quite that awesome (or energetic), but I thought I could at least knit a hat to wear to the march in Augusta.

But when I dug through my stash I found only a very small amount of pink yarn. I could have gone in search of pink at the craft store, but I didn't really want to knit another hat, when I'm in the midst of a months-long hat-knitting project, and I really really didn't want to knit a pink hat (pink's not my color) [I'm sounding more selfish by the minute, aren't I?] and I'm a really really really slow knitter. BUT!! I can sew and I thought I could come up with a sewn version (I didn't realize at the time that the Pussyhat Project already listed patterns for sewing hats) and I had in my stash a shrunken pink sweater. I could recycle the sweater into a pink pussy hat, which would be a double-whammy (Environment! Women's Rights!!). Awesome! Here's how you can make your own:

You can see that the sleeve on this puppy has already been scavenged for another project.

Materials needed: 
One shrunken pink sweater
Sewing machine or hand-sewing needle

I don't even own pink thread! I had to use this rainbow stuff. Now it's a triple whammy!
How to:
1) Measure the circumference of your head. Divid by 2. Add 1/2. This is your width (W); length (L) is 11".

2) Draw a rectangle on your sweater, W across by L high, starting from the bottom edge (you want to keep the ribbing intact). Cut through both layers along that line.

3) Keeping both layers WRONG side together, sew up 2 1/2 inches from the bottom on both sides, using a 1/4 or 3/8 inch seam allowance, back-tacking at both ends.

4) Turn inside out, so that the RIGHT sides are together and, starting from where your previous seam ended, sew all the rest of the way up both sides and across the top, again back-tacking at both ends.

5) Clip the top corners, turn right-side-out.

6) Fold up the bottom cuff (the 2 1/2 inches you sewed first).

That's it!

Put on your hat and make a crazy face at your camera. Go Pussy Power!
All told, I think it took me about half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, including the head-scratching time of figuring out how to do it.

I happened to have also found a small amount of pink fleece in my stash as well, so I sewed up another hat, from this pattern. It took maybe five minutes, tops, which I'll share with a friend who joins me at the march.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wild Wednesday ~ Moment of Wonder ~ Winter Birds

I made my last nature journal entry on November 8. I had planned to start keeping a tally of the birds that come to our feeder, which I can see very well from the couch where I do most of my writing. But after that, I was too depressed to bother (though I have continued to fill the feeders).

I've thought now and then about taking out my journal, but I've either been too busy or too distracted, or just not in the mood. I'm not actively researching any particular topic of nature study right now, for which I would want the support and reinforcement of keeping a journal, and most of my outside time these days is spent in robotic laps up and down the driveway, trying to get those 10,000 steps.

And then the other day I remembered that Clare Walker Leslie, in her book Drawn to Nature, describes a practice she began when her mother was dying, of finding, and drawing a "daily exceptional image," which brought a moment of peace and light into her life, a connection with nature that helped assuage her grief. I took up this practice, both in sketches in my journal and an occasional wordless photo on this blog, several years ago and called it "Moment of Wonder." I've decided to return to this practice, going out into the woods daily, with my journal instead of my camera, open to what the world has to show me. Each Wednesday I'll share one of these moments with you.

Today, in my first Moment of Wonder walk of 2017, I came upon a small group of chickadees and psssshhh-ed them in. About six little black-caps swooped in to see what I was up to, along with an even smaller red-breasted nuthatch, and, tiniest of all, a quick glimpse of a golden-crowned kinglet. I love those tiny guys and it was a wonderful treat to see one, even if only for a fleeting moment. I wonder, though, if kinglets hang out with chickadees, why don't we ever see them at the feeder?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Duvets for Boys

I've written extensively about my history of and preference for duvet sleeping here (my goodness I can natter on about the most trivial things). So, when E and Z got down comforters for Christmas from their grandfather—white down comforters—I knew they needed duvets to keep those comforters clean, stat. When I was in Target one day last week, I looked at their selection, but they all came as sets, which included such essential items as shams and dust ruffles, and cost $80-$90!!! So I took myself to the sheet aisle and picked up four flat sheets for a total of $44.

I ran the sheets through the wash, pinned them together, right-sides facing (I did not even bother to iron—shh!), and sewed all the way around three sides plus about 1/3 of the way in from each of one short side, leaving a small opening for inserting and removing the comforter, but also hopefully, keeping said comforter from wiggling out of the duvet (when I made my duvet, I put buttons across the bottom, but they didn't work out as intended; I hope the partially closed bottom is a better solution.

The color selection of flat sheets at Target was a little uninspiring—lots of neutrals. For Z, who has a preference for stark, Scandinavian, black-and-white decor, I used gray on one side and coral (which I say is much more red than pink, don't you agree?) on the other, and for E, I used light blue and beige (told you the color selection was dullsville). Of course I got it wrong, and E wants the red and gray. I just can't win, but at least the comforters will stay white.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekend Things ~ Regroup

We divided our weekend between quiet but productive at-home time and social events with friends. I spent all of Saturday un-Christmas-ing the house. Everyone else in the house is a lot less enthusiastic about taking down the decorations than putting them up (and, let's face it, they're only lukewarm about the decorating), although C did jump in to help in order to get some footage for his vlog. His method of putting away ornaments, though, is to jumble them in a box for me to sort out later, so I sent him away in short order.

In the evening we joined friends for their annual peace party ("Give Peas a Chance" at which split pea soup and other green legume-based dishes and snacks are served liberally). It felt good to be among a crowd of people who genuinely yearn for peace, though it was difficult to keep the conversations from nose-diving down depressing paths.

Sunday we returned our Christmas tree to the woods. C was reminiscing about how, when he was a kid, they would dismember and burn their Christmas tree, right there in the living room, which to me just sounds barbaric. After all it's done for us, lifting our spirits and brightening home in darkest winter, to chop it up and set it on fire is a horrifying thought.

So we take it back to the woods, where it can provide shelter for critters and, eventually nourish the soil for other little trees. We somehow found the very stump form which we'd cut our tree, and could see, from the discrepancy in trunk diameter between our tree's base and the stump, how very much we'd had to take off the bottom to fit it in the house. Or maybe it shrank.

Sunday evening we had a belated Hanukkah feast with friends. This year I baked the latkes, which made them slightly less work and almost as good as fried (and a lot lower calorie, which means we could eat more of them). While clearing away the Christmas trappings and preparing for guests, I tidied a few corners of the house, a fresh start for the new year. When I was rearranging our ornament storage in the basement, I found a box of knickknacks and photos that have been put away since at least last Christmas. I took them out, dusted them off, and found a frame for one of the family photos Meryl took of us last summer to add to the collection.

I also tidied up the little corner of our living room where I keep my desk. I've been on a perennial quest to make this area work for me (see here, here, here, and here), and while I have often longed for more space, and more private space, and space that's not the first thing you see when you walk into our house, I'm right now kind of happy with my little setup.

I have everything I need for my projects right here—nature journaling and art supplies in the right-hand drawer of the desk, and tucked alongside the tall cabinet to the left, miscellaneous office supplies (and a fair amount of junk that should probably be dealt with) in the left-hand drawer. My field guides and naturalist supplies in and on the little bookshelf, yoga mats, and block, foam roller and acupressure massage mat, and yoga books between the cabinet and the bookcase. In the large basket, I keep magazines I need to read, my binoculars, and other supplies of that nature. One small basket holds my current knitting project. The other I call my "wellness basket." It holds my yoga strap, eye pillows, foot massage balls, hand cream, and other small objects related to health and fitness (the tennis balls are not for playing tennis—they're for making a massager whenever I get around to finding an old sock).

On top of my desk, a lamp, some pens and pencils, the calendar where I record daily weather events and high/low temps, a little stack of things I need or want to do, along with my nature journal and bullet journal (and a little gift bag full of thank-you notes which I swear to god I will finish writing tonight). I also found in the basement an electronic frame, which I used to keep in my office. I rustled up a memory card and have it set up to do a slideshow of our Colorado Trail photos.

I have not once sat at a desk to work since I left my 9-5 job (usually I sit on the sofa), but today, I actually sat here and wrote, edited and did this post! It's like there's something about a clean and tidy space that makes it easier to concentrate.

Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 Knits

In 2015, I set to knit one object per month. While I didn't quite reach that goal, I did get nine things knit up. I did not set a similar goal for last year, lknowing I'd be wandering in the wilderness for two months (and not having the knitting-while-hiking skills I hear the Scandinavians possess), but it turns out I ended up knitting more things in 2016 than I did in 2015—eleven!

Okay, so they were all very small things—a cowl, two baby hats, two pairs of mitts, six potholders (four shown; the other two I gave away as gifts without taking their pictures first). Plus that hat in the bottom left of the picture, which is not done yet, but is much further along than shown. But, they were fun things, cute things, gifts even! And, for all except the potholders and purple mitts, I used up some stash, which is always a good thing.

My knitting plans for 2017: finish that cashmere hat, knit a reindeer hat for Z (like the one in Home Alone—gotta get that done before he's too old to want it); find something to do with all the scratchy wool that's left in my stash (felted slippers, perhaps?); converse slippers for M; I also have an idea for an afghan I'm pondering on—maybe that will be a job for next winter.

What's on your needles these days?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Friends Forever

M and I have been watching Friends together since sometime last spring, at the rate of a few episodes a week. It's one of those compensations for your sweet babies growing up into teenagers—when you can share something you enjoy with your child, even if it is something as trivial as a TV show.

I wrote a little essay about our Friends-watching experience, and I'm pleased that it's been published at Grown and Flown. I'd love it if you checked it out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wild Wednesday ~ Snow and Christmas Bird Count

We're having one of those winters—snow, rain, snow, rain, snow.

The kind where going outside is like stepping onto an ice skating rink and the wet, heavy snow-rain-ice comes thundering off of the metal roof like a freight train in the middle of the night.

It's the sort of winter where you just have to get outside while the getting's good,

And it's not that good that often.

But one day last week, after some snow-rain-snow, we had a brief winter-wonderland window,

Just enough to make everything frosty and magical (but not enough to require skis or snowshoes). 

It's mostly turned to slush by now, but it's that kind of winter.

In other wild news, last Saturday we participated in the Christmas Bird Count again,  a day where we have to do nothing but drive around a set route, looking for birds, which is a lot more fun than it sounds.

We saw a good number of birds—lots of the usual suspects, like blue jays and crows, starlings and chickadees. The most exciting sightings were two bald eagles in a  tree (one pictured above), a pileated woodpecker right next to the car (below), and a red-bellied woodpecker, a life first for both C and me (of which I did not get a picture).

To learn more about the Christmas Bird Count, go here. If you're at all into birds, I encourage you to look into joining a count in your area next winter. It's lots of fun and there are always opportunities for novices to hook up with more experienced birders. To see more about our bird count day, check out C's vlog post about the bird count here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Reads

These are all the new books I got for Christmas. A pretty good haul, no? I can't wait to get started.

But first, last year's books. I've never kept a list of the books I've read before, but decided to do so in 2016, because I was curious to know how much I read and whether I could average a book a week. The answer: a lot and yes.

Here's what I read last year, pretty much in chronological order, with some annotations, which mean, as follows:
RR=reread (a book I've read at least once before)
AB=audiobook (I listened to books in the car quite a bit during my last weeks of work, when I had to drive a lot)
RA=read aloud (I read to the kids on our hiking trip and the drive home)
*=really good, highly recommend, etc. (this could be said for most of the RR books, of course, since I chose to read them a second—or third—time for some reason)
  1. The Crossroads of Should and Must. Elle Luna. N.*
  2. The Evil BB Chow. Steve Almond. F.
  3. Big Magic. Elizabeth Gilbert. N. *
  4. The Knitting Circle. Ann Hood. F.
  5. Never Let Me Go. Kazuo Ishiguro. F.
  6. Gathering Moss. Robin Wall Kimmerer. N.
  7. Desert Sojourn. Debbie Holmes-Binney. N. RR.
  8. Where the Waters Divide. Karen Berger. N. RR.
  9. Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color. Bill Cooke. N.
  10. West Wind. Mary Oliver. P.
  11. Ultralight Backpackin' Tips. Mike Clelland. N.
  12. Women Writing Nature. Barbara J. Cook, ed. N.
  13. Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart. Carrot Quinn. N.
  14. The Wellspring. Sharon Olds. P.
  15. Gold, Fame, Citrus. Clare Vaye Watkins. F.
  16. Pelican at Blandings. P.G. Woodhouse. F. RR.
  17. Catastrophic Happiness. Catherine Newman. N. *
  18. Wild. Cheryl Strayed. N. RR.
  19. Bel Canto. Ann Patchett. F. AB. 
  20. Forest Under My Fingernails. Walter McLaughlin. N.
  21. All the Wild That Remains. David Gessner. N.
  22. The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. Edith Holden. N.*
  23. Wench. Dolen Perkins Valdez. F. *
  24. A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains. Isabella Bird. N. *
  25. Still Life With Breadcrumbs. Anna Quindlin. F. AB.
  26. Squirrel Meets Chipmunk. David Sederis. F. AB.
  27. Life After Life. Kate Atkinson. F. AB. *
  28. Farewell Dorothy Parker. Ellen Meister. F. AB.
  29. Bossy Pants. Tina Fey. N. AB. RR. *
  30. Desert Solitaire. Ed Abbey. N. RR. *
  31. Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson. F. RA. RR. *
  32. Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Mark Twain. F. RA. RR. *
  33. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. F. RA. RR. *
  34. One Thousand Mornings. Mary Oliver. P.
  35. Tomboy Bride. Harriet Fish Backus. N. *
  36. The Hour of Land. Terry Tempest Williams. N. *
  37. An Italian Wife. Ann Hood. F. *
  38. Letters from Eden. Julie Zickefoose. N. *
  39. Street of Five Moons. Elizabeth Peters. F. RR. *
  40. Silhouette in Scarlet. Elizabeth Peters. F. RR. *
  41. Trojan Gold. Elizabeth Peters. F. RR. *
  42. Night Train to Memphis. Elizabeth Peters. F. RR. *
  43. Laughter of Dead Kings. Elizabeth Peters. F. RR. *
  44. Borrower of the Night. Elizabeth Peters. F. RR. *
  45. Stop Here. This is the Place. Susan Conley. N.
  46. The Epic of Gilgamesh. P. (this is technically an epic poem, could go in new category: Mythology)
  47. Shaped by Wind and Water. Ann Zwinger. N. *
  48. Murder on the Links. Agatha Christie. F.
  49. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive. Alexander McCall Smith. F.
  50. The Miracle at Speedy Motors. Alexander McCall Smith. F.
  51. Stitches in Time. Barbara Michaels. F. RR.
  52. Stirring the Mud. Barbara Hurd. N.
  53. The Camelot Caper. Elizabeth Peters. F. RR. *
  54. Prodigal Summer. Barbara Michaels. F. RR. *
  55. Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel. Jane Smiley. N. *
  56. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. Anne Tyler. F.
  57. Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America. Taylor Brorby and Stefanie Brook Trout, eds. F, N, P. *
  58. Bridger Jones's Diary. Helen Fielding. F. RR. *
  59. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. F. RR. *
  60. Holidays on Ice. David Sederis. N/F. RR. *
  61. The Crossroads of Should and Must. Elle Luna. N. RR. * (yes, I read this twice in one year)
  62. Which Brings Me to You. Steve Almond and Julianna Baggot. F.
Is there any rhyme and reason to this list? I guess some backpacking books, in preparation for our trip. Some escapist fiction when most needed (November into December). Some nature writing that is new, some that is very old. Some poetry because I set out to read more poetry this year. But certainly nothing systematic.

My reading hopes for this year are to:
  • read most many of the books on my shelves that I haven't read yet
  • have one book of poetry, one of creative nonfiction, one of fiction, and one how-to/inspirational/self-help type nonfiction going at one time, but no more than one of each category, because I tend to spread myself too thin and never finish some things
  • read lots of nonfiction about Colorado history, geology, and natural history for research for my book, but make time for pleasure reading as well
To start, I'm reading H is for Hawk (from my pile up there) for a book group, which meets in a week, and am supposed to be reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt with one of my friends, but I haven't started yet and she's been reading it for a while, so I'm woefully behind. Guess I'll have to hunker down and read for a few days. Darn.

What was your favorite read of 2016? What must I add to my list for 2017?

Monday, January 2, 2017

I Did It! ~ 2016 Version

At the beginning of each year (thanks to Lisa Romeo), I make a list of my accomplishments—specifically related to writing, but also including other aspects of life (because there's more to life than words)—from the previous year, before moving on to goals and plans for the coming year.

Before I get started on 2016's list, let's pause for a moment of silence for 2016, which was a year of great loss. C and I each lost a grandmother, one of my uncles died, and a close friend of ours from college died of a brain tumor. I've lost track of the number of famous people who have died in the last year (I'm sure there are lists, but I don't think I want to see them). A certain number are expected each year, I suppose, especially considering the kind of hard living that kind of life often engenders, but the sheer number of deaths last year seems outsized. These are our modern-day gods and immortals, and to watch them fall one after another seems significant. Also, it sucks when creators die while destroyers seem to live forever. Finally, let's bow our heads for the very-likely death-knell that democracy received with the meddling in our elections by Russia and the subsequent appointment to president of someone who not only lost the popular vote by 3 million but who has frightening authoritarian tendencies.
Now, on to the good things that happened in 2016 for me. This is a page from my Bullet Journal written on January 1 last year:

And guess what? I did it! I quit my job! I hiked the Colorado Trail! And I've made some progress on writing a book about it, plus I've been working on some shorter pieces inspired by the hike and have had one published, another accepted, a third submitted, and two more in process. I could stop this post right there and be satisfied, but let's do the numbers.

Writing I Did Its!

After a fairly abysmal level of submissions in 2015, I determined to average at least one submission per month in 2016. I did better than that.

Submissions: 45 (including one book proposal)
Rejections: 20
Acceptances: 9
Publications: 8 (plus my Arboretum book), as follows
“Monarch Summers” Snowy Egret, Volume 78, Numbers 1 and 2, Spring-Autumn 2016 
How I Went from Domestic to Wild” Role Reboot, September 23, 2016 
“The Big Night” Coffee + Crumbs, September 9, 2016  
Deer Tracks and Dragonflies, Viles Arboretum, June 2016 
Love Bugs” Mothers Always Write, May 16, 2016 
One Cake or Three?Brain, Mother Blog, March 18, 2016 
The Chickens” Mutha Magazine, March 16, 2016 
Advice to Writers from 80s Hair Bands” Beyond Your Blog, March 15, 2016 
Boy Trouble” Brain, Child, February 2016
I also continued editing for Literary Mama, kept up with my nature writing group, taught a nature writing class and five nature journaling workshops, and I wrote 95 posts for this blog, which turned eight years old in November.

Other Life I-Did-Its!

Travel: We hiked the Colorado Trail!!! (did I mention that already?)

Nature: I didn't make any great progress learning about any particular realm of our natural world, but I was very attentive to trees and flowers and rocks while hiking the Colorado Trail.

Craft: I made four sleeping quilts plus stuff sacks and beanie hats for our hiking trip. I didn't knit an item per month this year, but I did knit a few things (will have a  wrap-up knitting post soon), and made a few odds and ends.

All-in-all a pretty good year!

How about you? What are you patting yourself on the back for this year?
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