What I am looking forward to in 2017



All the potential Bad Stuff that could happen in 2017 pops up on my Facebook feed, headlines in the news, is on my radio station, and talked about in almost every conversation I have. I have no trouble imagining it.

Today I made sure I sat down after a nice winter walk, and doodled this while thinking about all the Nice Stuff that I am planning on in 2017. I’m going to kayak (a lot). I’m going to try to get back in to hiking (a little). I’m going to expand the flower garden (as much as my back can handle). I’m going to see my family. And my friends. I’m going to keep learning about what I want to do with my creative spirit. I’ll probably drink too much a few times, probably eat too much more often than that.

None of these are resolutions. They are just things that I  know are going to happen, things that make me happy. And while that is very Microcosm of me… well… it is. I know that in 2017 I am going to do things that make me happy, and by doing that I will be able to be at my best in helping make my Macrocosm (that doesn’t look like a word) a little better.

I’m also excited to continue my hand at blogging in 2017, these past few months have been a trial run and so far so good. (Although that was really a trial by fire posting every day for 25 days in a row.) (I totally deserve some blogger award for doing that.)

I hope anyone reading this has a safe and blessed New Year’s Eve, whether you are out socializing, staying home, sleeping through it, or any combination thereof. Tomorrow is a new year no matter how you see it in (or don’t)…

Oh, and you know I have already started my to-do list for 01/01/2017.


What I am really learning about being self-employed


2016 was the first year from start to finish of my being wholly self-employed. I finally started taking some Self-Employment Tips and Tricks to heart, and even try to use a time-management method called the Pomodoro Technique. I downloaded a timer called Tomighty that runs on my laptop and, when I remember to use it, is pretty helpful.

I’ve mostly been working from home instead of the office over the last few weeks, which on the one hand is great, but on the other hand has required a set of Rules that I haven’t explicitly found anywhere online.

  1. No Bailey’s in the coffee. I mean it.
  2. Don’t lie down “for a minute.” Ever.
  3.  Move all paper and drawing implements into another room.
  4. Stop. Eating. Chex. Mix.
  5. Seriously. Stop eating it.
  6. Don’t eat the chocolate caramels either.
  7. Don’t start bird-watching. That leads to bird-photo-taking, which leads to bird sketching, which brings us back to #3.
  8. Brush your teeth.
  9. Don’t binge watch Ink-Master while working.
  10. Facebook Chat… now is not the time to organize your stickers.

There goes the buzzer… time to get back to work…

We know it’s coming…


What to do with your old pocket planner when the year ends? Decorate it… you can’t have too many sketch books, right?

I like starting over. I do it all the time. I start new journals, new exercise routines, new bookkeeping procedures… and as much as I try to “live in the present” I am definitely more of a “well, you screwed up today so you may as well start fresh tomorrow” person. I like plans, and if they go awry I sort of go to pieces instead of going with the flow. Sometimes I think I pull off the “hey, it’s cool” vibe, but inside I am mostly trying to figure out how to re-organize my list.

I was going somewhere with this. But I just got distracted thinking about what I have coming up over the next few weekends and all the variables.

Anyway, New Year’s Eve! I love it. Even though I don’t truly believe in making Resolutions, I love making lists and plans for what the new year will contain. People I meant to see in 2016 that I never did. Books I didn’t read, but will next year! Recipes I clipped and never cooked, may as well start going through them in January… I’ll organize my photos (and write up a list of categories for reference)…  It feels fresh to me, like clean sheets on the bed. And it’s a bench mark, the first day of the first month of the new year!

BUT like so many people, I am entering 2017 with a feeling of suspicion. Like, my sheets aren’t really clean, they just got folded up in a way that makes them look like they were washed. My lists are more vague than usual. Basically along the lines of Be Nicer to People. Always Have Cash on Hand. Learn Political Geography. (Santa brought us an enormous wall map for this very reason. By enormous I mean 5.5 ft long and over 4 ft tall.) (Santa must have thought he measured our wall space and failed.) (And by “he” I mean “me.” Oops.)

I feel like I’m looking at 2017 and shaking my finger at it saying “you better smarten up, mister.” And yet, I’m pretty sure it won’t.


I’m not gonna lie…


… I have several new, end-of-year lists in the making… I can’t help myself. I have lists for organizing and stashing all the holiday decorations when they come down, lists for clients and projects (especially to remind myself of ones that slipped through the cracks over the weekend!), lists for cleaning up my office, lists of Things To Do Once 2017 Begins… I have a planner to update, and a brand new address book to transfer all my random electronic and paper contacts into… and OHDEARLORD I have all my tax info to pull together and print out.

This morning I was trying to write up a list that would be just pertinent to today, Monday, that I could follow step-by-step and feel like I accomplished something. And then I doodled the little bird. And I thought about how it looked a little like a titmouse. And then I pulled up some photos I took of the solitary titmouse that keeps guarding the suet. And then I thought about how fun it would be to draw some pictures of a Tenacious Titmouse.

Then I looked at the clock.


I’ll start a new list at noon. At the top will be: Update Blog so I can at least check one thing off.

December 23rd… keep the lights on…


I love lights shining out from houses in the dark. And yes, if you don’t have curtains or blinds in the window, I will look in… not in a creepy way… but I often admire the scene framed by the window… what people have on their walls, what’s on their TV, what color are the lights on the tree. There was a house I walked by fairly often for a while, and I was sorely tempted to knock on their door because I loved the painting over their mantle and always wanted a closer look… but I was never sure how I would explain myself.

Our house has curtains on half the windows… so it presents a slightly confused front: open, yet private… sort of like me, actually.



Because it wouldn’t be right to not include Deranged Hummingbird


The moment I sketched up a rather deranged looking hummingbird that visited our feeder this past spring, I knew that the time was right to get back into my art.


Of course he had to be added to the advent calendar, even though I know he is on a sunny beach somewhere drinking sangria or some other fruity concoction… jerk…


Seeing him pop up on the calendar (I knew he was there somewhere!) is pretty inspiring for me. If I hadn’t done that little doodle I don’t think I would have started doing my morning sketches, or gone on a few of my extra adventures this summer. I wouldn’t have created my holiday cards, or put them up for sale, or done this advent calendar. I wouldn’t be dreaming and scheming about what I want to do next year. So thanks little guy, for hanging out at our feeder this summer.