Category Archives: Bucketlist

New Year Challenges (Goals for an Improved, Better Me)


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Carli Jean

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Carli Jean

New Year’s Resolutions are a tradition I usually avoid. I’ve tried making them before, but often lose the willpower about mid-February (my birthday month…I wonder if there’s a correlation…) to keep up momentum. However, THIS New Year, I’m determined to continue some of the successes I experienced last year and improve upon my willpower in 2016. After all, the biggest hindrance (and sometimes the ONLY hindrance) to reaching my goals, is ME.

Someone I greatly admire and trust (my pastor) recently said it this way, “One day at a time. We don’t need a successful life, we need a successful DAY. We don’t live year by year, or month by month, or even week by week. We live day by day.”

Mind. BLOWN.

For all of my smarts, I never thought of it quite like that before. It’s rather refreshing and stress-relieving to think of my life – another year in the life of – in 1-day chunks, in which everything is new all over again, instead of as a 365-bunch and we’re cycling downhill from day one.

So, here is my list of “resolutions” for 2016, to be worked on one day at a time:

  1. Be a more consistent parent. People are always telling me I’m a good mother. Sometimes I believe them. But I know that I’ve been lacking in true consistency with my son – a regular, fun, “mother & son” day/time; consequences for negative behavior; teaching him how to be responsible; how to be kind and thoughtful; how to clean (but that’s not really a mystery – I HATE cleaning. Except for laundry. I don’t mind doing the laundry); how to be a man…I may not REALLY know how to be a man, but I DO know what a WOMAN looks for in a friend, husband and father. That’s my gift to all the other women currently in his life and those in his future. You’re welcome.
  2. Become a better writer. I’m not sure if it’s ironic, but the more I edit other authors’ works, the more conscientious I become of my own writing, and I think it’s making me a better writer. My editor should be able to tell me for sure when I finally send him my second novel. 😉One day at a time2
  3. Be more empathetic. I see myself as a pretty tolerant person, but not as compassionate as I could be. There’s a difference, I think, because while I’m TOLERANT of cultures, ideas, lifestyles and beliefs different from mine, I don’t always have EMPATHY for them. Immigrants, for example, who aren’t native English speakers. I’m fine with them keeping their own languages and cultures, but PLEASE, PEOPLE, learn ENGLISH. The USA is an ENGLISH-speaking country. Try to assimilate. If I move to YOUR non-English-speaking native country, I’m going to work to learn YOUR language, not expect you to adapt to mine. See what I mean? Not very empathetic…
  4. Replace my vehicle. I’m tired of having things go wrong with my vehicle. Every time I have a slight financial cushion, something ELSE needs to be fixed or replaced. 😦 Now I just have to do more research whether it’ll be more cost-effective to lease or purchase and how much of a monthly payment my budget can handle. *gulp*
  5. Save more of my income. I like having a cushion of cash in the bank. But I’m a free-spirit when it comes to money. Somehow, I need to bridge the gap between my – as my mother calls it – “champagne taste on a beer budget.” (Vehicle repairs notwithstanding.)
  6. Nurture my Faith. As much as I need my medication and my therapist, I need my Faith more. The three together (with my Faith taking the biggest chunk of the pie) help balance the days of depression and anxiety with sanity. I think I’ve found a balance I can live with, and need to maintain and strengthen it.

    Texas, May 2000 (age 26). Right about the time I got pregnant. I was about a size 14 and soooo slender.

    Texas, May 2000 (age 26). Right about the time I got pregnant. I was a size 14 and sooo slender.

  7. Lose 20 pounds. That’s about 1-2 pounds a month, give or take. I’ve done it before & feel better physically, mentally, emotionally when I’m a bit…less…of me than there is currently. I’m overweight. I know I don’t look it ’cause I’m almost 6ft tall, but trust me, I am. I never had much weight angst in my teens and 20s. Not until I became preggers and my doctor told me to PUT ON weight, did I begin the Dance with the Scale. I put on 60+ pounds. And then more poundage AFTER I had my son. I’m curvy and big-boned (go ahead and laugh, but it’s true), so I’ll never be smaller than say, a size 12. A size 10 would be pushing the anorexia look. I love food too much to be anorexic, and hate puking too much to be bulimic (I know neither of those illnesses are that simple, but those are the side effects/symptoms that make the greatest impression on me). This year, instead of stressing myself out with a drastic goal (such as losing 60 lbs), I’ve decided to start off with something I can handle – 20 lbs. For the whole year. This I can do, because I’ve done it before. I just have to have the willpower to do it and maintain it. I’d love to magically wake tomorrow looking like and weighing what I did in 2000 before my pregnancy, but I’ll settle for dropping 20 lbs. 🙂

    Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2014 (age 40). Not so slender anymore.

    Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2014 (age 40). Not so slender anymore. 😦

  8. Be a better friend. I think I’m a pretty decent friend, but COULD take more time to spend and talk with friends who are on the fringes and outside of my inner circle, which, admittedly, is quite small. Quality is most important, but you can never have too many friends. At least, I don’t THINK you can…I’ll let you know…
  9. Travel to Europe. Again. I inherited the nomadic spirit of my Jewish ancestors (I realize this was thrust upon them in many cases, but still…), which was fostered by my father when I was a kid. We – my parents, younger brother and I (before the “accident” joined our family in 1985 😉 ) – spent several summers crisscrossing the US in my dad’s little Datsun. Visiting family, historical sites and antique shops. Good times. 🙂 I love to travel, seek out adventures in new and interesting places, soak up the cultures and languages of lands other than my own. And Europe – all of it – is my favorite. Even the places I’ve not yet visited. I need to work for National Geographic as a photojournalist. Or just become independently wealthy and visit book fairs worldwide, all year long.
  10. Attend at least 3 Author Events. I’ve registered to attend 2 this year as an Author, and a 3rd as Assistant to another author. Looking forward to the networking, rubbing shoulders with other readers, making contacts. Selling copies of my book(s) would be a bonus. 🙂
  11. Increase my author/writer/person brand. Write more blog posts for my own site and as a guest on other sites, virtually host more book tours, submit my writing to various publications and contests. This is on-going. I’ve gained momentum this past year, working with my awesome Gravity peeps, and Rachel Thompson, our director and social media queen. Now if I can just find a way to keep up. 😉
  12. Buy more books. Support my author friends. I’ve been doing this a bit over the past year. Hope to increase my collection this year. My bookcases groan in pleasure under the weight of these written treasures. 🙂 Hopefully my budget won’t groan in pain with the strain. *pours over the bank account*

So these are the things at the top of my “resolutions” list for 2016. What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

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Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Bucketlist, Depression, Family, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Random, Stuff, Writing

If I Ever Decide to Run for President…


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Anthony Delanois

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Anthony Delanois

They (and no, I don’t have any idea who “they” are) say that if you think you can do a job better, apply for it… so maybe someday I’ll have enough chutzpah to run for president. And if, by some miracle I won – because, let’s face it, it would take the biggest miracle God ever pulled off – here are some of my policies (see, I’m warning you now so you can give me some feedback).

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Congress would get a 35 percent pay cut. And just like in college, there would be an attendance policy. Miss too many sessions and votes, you’re off the island. Plenty of other people want their turn to get paid to sleep during long meetings and craft 100-page-long bills that no one takes the time to read all the way through anyway.

If we suffered a repeat of the Twin Towers, there would be no dickering around, trying to figure out whose jurisdiction it is or which federal branch will be in charge. The military would take over and we would strike hard and fast. Hash out jurisdiction when the crisis is over and the dust clears.

Prostitution would be legalized. Prostitutes would be licensed (so maybe we could call them Licensed Companions) and required to have yearly exams and health certificates. Let’s face it, if prostitution wasn’t illegal, nobody would really care if the Secret Service solicited on their days off work. Why do we care anyway? It really is a victimless “crime.” I get that some women (and men; let’s not be sexist) might have issues with their spouses paying someone else for sex, but that’s not society’s problem. It’s a domestic (as in, between spouses) issue.

Military, teachers and civil service personnel would receive 15 percent pay increase across the board. The funds would come out of the federal government’s coffers. Remember, Congress just took a 35 percent pay cut. We can afford the raises.

We’d offer Mid-East oil barons $35 a barrel for oil. Take it or leave it. We have oil in the U.S. Massive amounts. We’ll drill and refine our own – safely so as to not kill or injure fish, fowl, man or beast. Cheaper gas for all and more jobs for the unemployed skilled laborers. The caribou and other animals in the Alaskan wilderness can warm themselves and make their homes near the oil pipes.

No socialized healthcare. Receiving the same compensation from insurance/federal government no matter how good or bad your services, takes away the motivation for health providers to “one-up” their competitors. The stigma surrounding Mental Health would be brought front and center. Mental Health education and support would be paramount. I know a lot of great people who live with and work to eradicate Mental Health stigma. I would ask for their assistance.

I’m not a fan of same sex relationships, but it’s not illegal, I’m not the morality police, and the USA isn’t governed by religious rulers (and that’s probably a good thing – look at the Islamic nations, for instance). I don’t think it should even BE a government issue. Why does the government get to dictate who can marry and who can’t, as long as both parties are consenting adults?

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Glen Noble

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Glen Noble

We’d have twice yearly, week-long writing retreats and various seminars at The White House! And author events in the library!

There would be a complete overhaul of the Department of Education. It would get a lot more funding. And every public school gets new, state-of-the-art computers and as many ESE specialists as are needed for students (and staff) who live with Mental Health issues.

Apartments in The White House would be auctioned off for mini-vacations to raise money for various charities and non-profits.

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Even though I think these are some great policies, I don’t think my chances of getting elected are very high. I’d likely be tarred and feathered for some of these almost as soon as I announced I was running. And then there’s my finances. I’m probably one of the brokest (if that’s not a word, it is now) lower middle-class single mothers in America, and I’m not enough of a “wheeler dealer” to be able to negotiate that kind of support. I’d need a wily financial guru. I have an uncle who’s pretty good at that. And maybe I could start a “Wendy for US President” gofundme.com account. With a 10-year project goal attached.

So what do you think? Should I go for it, or just scribble that line off my bucket list?

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Filed under Bucketlist, Life, Musings, Politics, Sarcasm

The Anticipation of Waiting


My friend (er…at least I THINK we’re friends…we talk, so…) and fellow writer, Matthew Eaton posted this week on his blog something that got me thinking (shocking, I know): In his post titled Embrace Uncertainty and Find Peace in Silence Matt talked about the personal growth that can result from being uncertain and uncomfortable, and how to find comfort in uncertainty and the silence sometimes required by patiently WAITING for a response from people or from life. Reading this, I squirmed and hunched my shoulders in DISCOMFORT.

But, interest peeked, I read the entire post. It was very insightful. Humans are not the most patient of creatures. (Funny enough, I don’t think Matt once mentioned the word “patience” – and yes, I did reread his post, just to be sure. But that’s what kept jumping out at me: PATIENCE.) Perhaps you, Dear Reader, ARE a patient person. (Kudos to you!) Patience IS NOT one of my more admirable qualities. I realize this about myself, and when I’m impatient about something, I TRY to play it cool…distracting myself with another activity to pass the time…like sleeping…and often, I’m still unsuccessful…but the learning continues…

Most of our lives involve waiting. In the midst of sharing with Matt my thoughts on his post, I had an epiphany: If we could do EVERYTHING in our own time, at our own will, then perhaps those things we most want out of life – or ourselves – wouldn’t be so important to us upon the procuring. Almost as if the waiting, the anticipation of being able to finally have what we want, makes it all the more valuable and appreciated.

Anticipation

Anticipation

Okay, maybe you, Dear Reader, had this epiphany at a young age. But I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer (*cough* hard-headed *cough*), so this “epiphany” hasn’t ever presented itself to me in such a positive, obvious manner before. It’s always been more like, “What?! I have to wait?? BUT WHY??!!” Just ask my mother what my favorite phrase was from a young age.

Go on ask her. I’ll wait right here.

*Checks watch, hums and taps fingernails on the desk*

Never mind. I can’t wait that long. I’ll tell you myself. It was: “But I WANT it!” Even a very young Wendy hated to wait. When we’re impatient, we make mistakes…often, those mistakes are life-altering. And this brings up an unpleasant memory: 4-year-old me, tempted with chocolate by a 12-year-old boy who touched her in places and in ways he had no business violating and penetrating. Afterward telling her not to tell anyone. Which of course she did. And I wonder, was that the greed and impatience of a little girl for a sweet? Or merely an innocent lured by an older “friend,” someone she trusted and who knew better, someone who should’ve protected her? I don’t blame myself anymore. But sometimes…

This impatience led me to: 1) date a lovely boy who was emotionally abusive (lovely to look at, not such a lovely personality when he didn’t get his way); 2) a failed marriage (because I married a different physically lovely man who wasn’t good for me – not abusive, just neglectful and apathetic; abusive in its own way) and single-parenthood; not realizing my dream of being published IN PRINT until last year…though that one may have been more a matter of procrastination and low self-confidence than impatience. Just to name a few examples.

So fast-forward several decades (that makes me sound older than I usually feel!) to now. At 41, I’m still as impatient as ever. My guardian angelBut I like to think I channel it, control it better than I did in my youth and 20s. For one thing, I’m finally beginning to reach some of the goals I set for myself way back when. In addition to being a published writer/author, I’m also being paid to READ!!! How awesome is THAT!! 🙂 It’s an honor to put to good use those years of education and experience editing and proofreading fellow authors’ manuscripts in preparation for publication. (I can now cross that off my bucket list.) And I have a good, bill-paying, day job as a Crime Analyst in county government. (Another tick off the ole bucket list.)

My years as a single parent (impatiently waiting for him to GROW UP ALREADY!…JK…no really, grow up, son!!) are starting to pay off: my kiddo is a tall, handsome, brilliant (smart-mouthed, frustrating, opinionated…umm, er…*ahem*) affectionate, 14-year-old young man, on the cusp of manhood. And high school (*groan*). And though parenthood never ends, he’s becoming more independent (like fixing his own food…sometimes! YAY!) and capable of great things. Everything I could’ve wanted for him…the ADHD and Asperger’s mix is just one aspect of his charming personality.

So. What do I wait for now? I’m glad you asked. Now I wait (and work toward) financial independence (and all that comes with it), student loan debt forgiveness (meanwhile, paying them down), an intimate, adventurous relationship with a lovely man (read: SEX!…if it’s in the cards), the time and means to travel the world attending Book Fairs, haunting bookstores, meeting IRL (for you non-techies, that means “In Real Life”) friends I’ve made through the vehicle of social media, and my publisher, Booktrope.

And while I wait, I’m determined to put my time to good use. Growing in experience and proficiency as an analyst, continuing to (voraciously) read, edit, proofread, write, build my brand, save money, and cultivate friendships. Oh, and, work to not be so impatient. 😉

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Filed under Bucketlist, Life, Musings, Writing