Looking back on 2012, my personal journey

1 01 2013

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Yes, I’m back.

2012 was a year of extremes for me.

January: In the middle of an incredibly busy month, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I started Row80, but was unable to keep up with it due to my health problems.

February: A young friend who was working with us from time to time stayed with me, and I loved her company. I learned a lot from her! She continued to stay with me off and on through the beginning of June.

March: I continued to deal with shattering exhaustion from years of sleep problems, calling in sick frequently. However, better sleep finally began to turn my health around, and by the end of the month I was feeling almost normal.

April: So normal that I attempted Row80 again. Call me a glutton for punishment! I hit my stride in April.

May: Work was overwhelmingly busy, but I soldiered on.

June: I was still on-point with my blogging, writing about my novel and the science behind it. I also took an audition with two weeks of preparation. I don’t recommend that to anyone! It was an exhausting experience, and I will not fly American Airlines again, until they are out of bankruptcy.

July: The Black Dog of depression came home again.

August: There was nothing memorable about the first three weeks of August. I wasn’t dealing well with the Black Dog. At the very end of the month I went on a last-minute driving trip to New Mexico and Colorado.

mountain-55499_640

The Red Rocks of New Mexico, from the pixabay folder of user Brigitte Werner

During that trip I ended up in Boulder, CO for the first time ever. That’s significant because my protag spends 6 years there at CU, and although those years aren’t a significant part of the book as currently visualized, it does shape the man he becomes.

September: I was barely home when my former BFF bludgeoned me in a meeting about work. Within two days I spiraled into anxiety, which danced with the Black Dog as I worked out how to deal with both. I went back to Al-Anon, finding a home group that’s full of recovery, and considered going back to church. The 27th of the month another good friend had a ‘cardiac event’. Did I ever mention that my number one fear is a heart attack?

October: Much of my friend’s hospital time happened in October: a double bypass, four Code Blues, pulmonary emboli, and an internal defibrillator. I continued to deal with waves of anxiety and depression. There was no question of doing anything creative… it was one day at a time at this point. I went to a church which had been recommended to me a couple of times, but didn’t connect. (My friend is currently on the mend, thank heavens!)

November: Our symphony season was in full swing, and my other BFF was back in the US from overseas. She was with me part of the time here at home, and I went with her to Boulder for Thanksgiving with her cousins. It wasn’t terribly cold there yet, but I loved spending more time there with her… and I also got my desire to live there out of my system. My anxiety finally began to wane this month.

December: I finally got the Black Dog under control, and we had some time off from work. To my delight, I found that my creative juices were starting to surface again! Playing the Nutcracker got me in the holiday spirit, and the 25th Anniversary of the publication of Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities spurred me to read it for the first time. I intended to study it (and still will) – though I haven’t finished it yet, because I joined a book club at work, and devoured Yann Martel’s Life of Pi in two days for a book club meet. Christmas was spent with my parents, on some of the coldest days thus far this winter. Back home on the 26th, then on December 30th I found my church! I’ve never considered a downtown church, but the moment I stepped into the sanctuary at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church I knew I was home.

Losing my BFF has spurred a spiritual transformation in my life. I turned 55 in September, and made the decision in August to stop coloring my hair. The transformation of the growing-out process mirrors what’s going on inside of me… I’m coming to terms with my age and station in life, now enthusiastic and full of possibilities for personal growth in this second half of life.

I doubt that I will return to Row80 until later this year, but that doesn’t mean that 2013 is goal-less. More about that later on! It’s enough to say that I will be blogging once a week, starting now.

What was 2012 like for you? How did it change you? Let me know in the comments!





No, I’m not really back

22 09 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Apologies for the two posts that went out yesterday – they were scheduled, unfinished, and I’d forgotten about them. Unprofessional… and deleted.

I can’t stand blogposts that start out, “Did’ya miss me?” Lorinda (Termitewriter!) did comment to that effect (and I appreciate it!), I don’t expect that anyone noticed that I’d dropped off the radar. We are all too busy with our own lives for that.

This summer dissolved into a miasma of depression, endless days of horrible heat and lethargy. It wasn’t as though I suddenly fell through the rabbit hole – it was more like a sinuous slide into the quagmire. We are temporarily laid off in the summer, and though the idea of three months of free time to do whatever one likes is appealing, the lack of any kind of schedule (and accompanying lack of income) requires a lot of discipline… something that I lack when severely depressed. I had a good number of goals – I was signed up for Row80 – but I couldn’t accomplish any of them. I don’t remember the last time I sat down to write.

About a month ago I realized that I had zero interest in anything, which got my attention. I finally accepted that I have two chronic, disabling diseases which exacerbate each other:  sleep apnea, and chronic depression. Both require constant vigilance, because both are very capable of ending my life.

I also realized that I was an idiot if I didn’t take advantage of a sudden opportunity to vacation in New Mexico and Colorado on the cheap, so on August 24th I tossed the dog in the back of the car and headed out. I ADORE driving vacations.

After a week I ended up in Boulder, CO for two days, exploring the University and Pearl Street, seeing where my protag Steven lived when he was an undergrad there. Call it research, it was marvelous. I can’t wait to go to Los Angeles during spring break to explore where the majority of the book takes place!

This photo was taken on May 25, 2009 by Lee Coursey.

Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado

I returned home in time for my fifty-fifth birthday in early Sept, and promptly found myself in a conflict with a colleague (and former best friend) which left me reeling. I cannot abide conflict, and the very notion of taking care of myself by calling someone on their bad behavior gives me (literal) panic attacks. I do not have nerves of steel in this instance. But what’s done is done, what is unacceptable is just that, and I’m glad to have that very problematic friend out of my life… even though we sit next to each other at work every day. Rehearsals don’t start until Oct… so I have another week to steel myself for that uncomfortable reality.

Summer gives way to blissful Autumn today, and with the turning of the year I feel my energy returning. I’ll return to blogging eventually, and I know I’ll write again. Until then, enjoy the changing seasons, wherever in the world you are.





Art

7 08 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Woman in an armchair 1910 Oil on Canvas 

Photo by Tony Hisgett / CC BY 2.0

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everday life.” – Pablo Picasso

All of the art of the Twentieth Century was birthed in Pablo Picasso’s brain. Discuss.

I think I’m on my way back to regular blogging, and I apologize for the unfinished, yet scheduled blogposts which were prematurely published. It’s been an interesting summer… and I haven’t had much to say. But I do miss all of you guys.





Is this a Belated or an Early Row80 Update?

28 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Sometimes life catches up with me, and for the past two weeks I’ve been emotionally underwater. Everything has been more than I could handle; I ended up frustrated and tied in knots. I even let a previously-scheduled, unfinished blogpost go out on Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll get around to editing it tomorrow. I made an overnight trip last weekend, and had my cousin here for a couple of days this week, but that’s not why I was immobilized.

I think it was the black dog – depression – once again.

Black dog by Michelle Buntin

In the past 24 hours I’ve taken some steps to once again manage the black dog, and actually got out the flute for some quality time: scales/arpeggios/Mozart. I’m thinking about my WIP, and this blogpost is another effort to pull myself out of this slump. I had big plans in the exercise department – an hour-long morning walk – but that came crashing to the ground last night when I slipped on my carpeted steps while taking the dog out last night, resulting in a couple of jammed toes. Ouch. I slipped because my vertigo came back this week, though it’s manageable for now.

Okay, enough whinging! How about some good news? The house is clean, including the kitchen sink. The dog is happy, and I get a deva-style haircut next week. I’ve been having big fun experimenting with hair gels, and my curly locks are out in full force. As soon as I publish this blogpost I’m heading out for a walk (a slow walk!), and then opening up Scrivener and finish inputting the macro edit that I did two weeks ago, in preparation for sitting down and finishing up that first draft.

How was your week! I’m looking forward to reading others’ Row80 updates!





Row80 Week 2 update

15 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Week two is behind us!

I started out the week with good intentions, but by Friday was in a slump. It was as though I had no brain power at all, so I gave myself a break and did little positive, save info/entertainment consuming. Needless to say, the goals have gone by the wayside.

They fall into four categories:

Business: Completely redo my business website, including adding a wordpress blog.

Nothing. I’m aware that I need to do some major work on this… but giving my brain power slump, nada.

 

Creative: Finish HIS ORIGINAL SIN, and get it to beta readers by the end of August.

I am 99% finished with my synopsis, as per last week, and I need to re-arrange my Scrivener file to align with the changes in the plot. I was waiting until I was back home (I’d been visiting my Parental Units™), but here I sit with the iMac, and I’ve not done a thing. 😦

Creative:  Restart work on my second WIP, last year’s Nanowrimo novel.

This is on hold until I finish my WIP.

Creative:  Get started on my Halloween costume.

And I was just thinking, “I need a crafty project!” But this will require thinking, so no dice. Next week? Not likely. I’m back with my folks’ to visit my cousins (and meet my new nephews!)

Daily life: Finish losing that twenty pounds.

This is what’s been occupying me this week. I’m officially down 4+ pounds once again, and the sugar cravings are much better. I’ve managed to ‘just say NO’ to simple carbs and sweets (though Friday night I did indulge in a bit of Endangered Species Bat Bar – dark chocolate with cocoa nibs!! To. Die. For.)

My fav meal is breakfast, and I like to cook my own version of the Traditional Aussie Brekkie – the hearty version.

 

This morning I started out with 1/2 clove garlic + white onion sauteed in butter and olive oil. I added four sliced white mushrooms and a whole sliced tomato. Sauteed the lot with a couple grindings of Alessi’s Dipping Spices. Emptied that on to my plate, then fried an egg in the same pan. I ended up chopping up the egg and stirring it into the veggies – it was delish! I also had 1/2 cup greek yogurt with fresh raspberries and whole raw almonds, and 2 cups of coffee w/half and half.

Another thing I like is to saute baby spinach, or baby arugula, or a mixture of both, in butter and olive oil with a bit of the aforementioned Alessi spice mix.

Brekkie is the biggest meal of my day – it’s getting so hot in the afternoon/evening that I’m not that hungry.

Daily life: Practice every day.

I’ve been practicing. Not every day, but yes.

 

Daily life: Continue my Better Life Habits™ from last round (exercising, house cleaning, dog grooming).

This is going so well! The kitchen and bath are clean, I’m walking every day for at least 30 minutes. The dog is clean (and the grooming goes much faster when she’s not been neglected). After seeing this article I knew that I had to do something about all the time I spend sitting in front of the computer. So I elevated the iMac, and half the time I’m standing when I’m websurfing. It still works for me when sitting, but it’s not optimal. I may rig a keyboard stand so I can type standing up. I’m considering getting a standing desk, but it’s a bit dear for me right now. Perhaps in the fall? We’ll see.

Platform building: Continue blogging three times a week: Row80 update on Sunday, Tuesday Quotes on Tuesday (Duh!), third blogpost later in the week.

I missed the third blogpost this week – as I said, I just couldn’t think. Ah well, that will have to do.

Platform building: Be on twitter, and comment on at least one blog every day.

Twitter = FAIL

My email is overflowing with blogposts to read, and if I don’t see to it every day, I get overwhelmed. I have been commenting, though, and learning a lot!

Platform building: Including platform building for my business.

Oy. This won’t happen next week, either, since I’m back out of town. Perhaps the next?

This past week was eventful, weather-wise. It had been horribly hot (over 100F already!), but evidently El Niño is ramping up, because we’ve had several days of rain! Thunderstorms, daytime heating showers, they are such a relief, even though the humidity is awful.

 

How was your week? If you’re doing Row80, what’s news? Are you managing to stay focused?





July 8 Row80 Update

8 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

I cannot believe that the first week of round three is already over. Let’s see how I did with my goals this time.

They fall into four categories:

Business: Completely redo my business website, including adding a wordpress blog.

Nothing. Nada. I haven’t even plotted out what all I need to do for this. Next week!

Creative: Finish HIS ORIGINAL SIN, and get it to beta readers by the end of August.

I am 99% finished with my synopsis, which I needed to complete in order to organize Steven’s life into three acts. I still don’t know what my opening is, but I have a better idea of that than I did this time last week. I hope to get the synopsis to Ali and Sally for their perusal within 10 days. Hopefully feedback from these amazing writer grrrlfriends will help point me in a positive direction.

I have finally some writing and editing of various scenes in the book. However, I still have some scenes to write, so my first draft is technically not complete at this time.

Creative:  Restart work on my second WIP, last year’s Nanowrimo novel.

Though I have had some idle thoughts about the Umgonnan, this is on hold until I finish my WIP.

Creative:  Get started on my Halloween costume.

Daily life: Finish losing that twenty pounds.

More like “Re-start losing the twenty pounds”. Yeah, I gained back three of the four that I’d lost from June, mostly due to my audition adventures. No worries, I’d fallen off the diet wagon for my food addiction of choice: sweets. I’m now on day three of a quasi-Paleolithic/South Beach-style diet. The sugar/sweets cravings have been horrible, but I know that if I persevere they will lessen, soon.

Daily life: Practice every day.

This is coming along! I’m excited about it, especially Mozart.

Daily life: Continue my Better Life Habits™ from last round (exercising, house cleaning, dog grooming).

Definitely on the right track here. Enough said!

Platform building: Continue blogging three times a week: Row80 update on Sunday, Tuesday Quotes on Tuesday (Duh!), third blogpost later in the week.

I heart blogging. This is not much of a problem for me right now, especially since I have more time in the summer. I have a list of blogposts scheduled, up to August in the case of my Tuesday Quotes series.

One thing on my to-do list is to come up with a blogroll for this blog’s sidebar. I have a handful of must-read blogs in a couple of categories that I want to share with the world.

Platform building: Be on twitter, and comment on at least one blog every day.

Twitter is my nemesis! I’m not enjoying it at all recently, since I haven’t been doing much #wordmongering. I will be getting back to that, especially since I’m almost done with the WIP’s synopsis. I’ll be back to straightforward writing soon. I miss my wordmongering buddies!

Then there’s the blogging community. I have been frustrated by the WordPress reader. I prefer for my subbed blogs to show up in my live.com email feed, and recently when you click ‘follow’ on someone’s WP blog, it sends it to the Reader instead of your email like before. I haven’t found an easy way to get to my subscription lists/options, either.

Platform building: Including platform building for my business.

Nothing happening here. ::rolls eyes:: Next week!

Tomorrow I’m having a face-to-face with the awesome Ginger Calem! She will be the fourth area writer that I’ve connected with in meatspace, and I am so psyched! I met her through Sally Driscoll (her link is above), and we’ve been Facebooking for many weeks. We planned to meet last month, but I had a bit of a detour that kept me busy.

There is noting like sitting down with a cuppa and chatting with another writer. If I thought that writing was fulfilling, the connection with other writers makes writing even more so. Facebooking, blogging, etc is a great way to connect with writers across the globe, but face-to-face is the best. I hope that I’m able to take in some of the area writing conferences in the next couple of years, and look up even more of my internet writer friends.

How was your week? Is your summer going well? Or, for you Southern Hemisphere folks, how’s winter coming along? If you’re interested in what other people are doing for Row80, you can find more Row80 updates here.





Worry: warts and all

3 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

 

Worrying about what’s going to happen is a negative contribution to the future. Living in the here and now is ultimately the best thing we can do, not only for today, but for tomorrow. Things will work out, if we let them. If we must focus on the future other than to plan, all we need to do is affirm that it will be good. I pray for faith that staying in the present is the best thing I can do for my future. I will focus on what’s happening now, instead of what’s going to happen tomorrow.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Many years ago I was part of the fellowship of CoDependents Anonymous, a 12-step group based on the principals of Alcoholics Anonymous, for people who have been adversely effected by someone else’s addictions/garden-variety craziness/etc. I found a lot of good there, and one of the things that I became aware of was the work of Melody Beattie. And no, I have no idea how to say her name.

She wrote the first books on CoDA: her books Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency were our bibles back in ’87.  I practically memorized the bloody things, and had a double handful of daily meditation books like the above-quoted The Language of Letting Go. I thought enough of the above quote to type it up on my DOS machine and print it out on an index card. It lived in my flute case for years.

I found it again the other day, and its truth still hits me at my core. In the past several months – oh hell, make it three-four years – I’ve been alternately stressing and obsessing, and actively avoiding thinking about any number of things. Note: I graduated from acupuncture school June of 2007, and you remember what happened in 2008, right? Financial meltdown. Holy. Crap. Student loans, a failed relationship, and no income to speak of.

That being said, I noticed something many, many moons ago. I have been taken care of all along. I look back at my life, and even though I was dealing with a multitude of issues from my past, I still had everything that I needed. Wanted? Nope. But I had what I needed. And I have what I need, today. Every tomorrow I’ve ever experienced has been the same. I’ve received what I needed.

So, why worry? Perhaps because it’s a bad habit, a superstition. If I keep on worrying, then certainly things will turn out okay, right? If I stop worrying and just relax, then everything will go crab-wise, right?

Um. No. I don’t think it works that way.

All my worrying has accomplished is that it’s given me grey hair and acid reflux.

 And… more importantly…

It’s kept me from myself. If I’m worrying about tomorrow, or next month, or next year, then I’m not Here, Now. I’m not with myself. That’s the problem which got me to CoDA in the first place! We CoDependents abandon ourselves to take care of others… and it’s just another kind of addiction. Remember how I said that Steven uses alcohol, nicotine, and women to avoid the pain in his soul? Many of us (okay, I) do the same thing, using socially-acceptable WORRY. If we’re worried, then we’re obviously trying to take care of things, right? That’s a good thing, right?

Um. No. Not when it serves to obscure the reality of our Present Lives. Because worrying is not doing.

Today, do what needs to be done, and leave the rest for tomorrow.

What is your relationship with worry? Are you trusting and carefree? Do you face life with a smile? Or are you battening down the hatches, hoping against hope that things will somehow work out? Let me know in the comments! They are appreciated, as always.








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