Sky, the: (reach for it)

I’m going to be doing the Blog All About It blog challenge by herding cats & burning soup. If you like to blog, it’s not too late to start!

I am going to shamelessly steal this blog prompt (so I can keep the streak going) and use it for my own nefarious purposes. I could talk about pretty clouds or rainbows (see the lovely featured image), but what I really wanted to talk about for a moment was “reaching for the sky.” (I wanted to find another way to phrase it, but all the ideas I had didn’t quite fit, so we’re sticking with this one.)

In my last post I talked about impulse spending, more or less. I heard about a conference, I immediately wanted to go, and I wanted to buy the most expensive VIP ticket because I have no idea why – it’s out of my budget and my comfort zone.

But I got it in my head, so okay. I’ve done this before. I’ll tell myself, “If I could earn $X by Y date, then I’ll do it.”

I have never once earned $X by Y date, nor even come close to even attempting it after I decided to.

So, as is my habit, I said to myself, “Self, give yourself 3 weeks to earn half the ticket price. If you can raise the $900 by August 21st, then get that damn VIP ticket. Earning so much so fast will prove to you that it can be done, and earning the rest of the money will be easy before the conference date arrives. And if you don’t earn the $900, get the cheapest ticket available anyway. It sounds like a really great opportunity, and you wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel because there is family nearby to couch surf with.”

Much to my surprise, I started finding some of the money. I asked my place of business to pay me for some furniture they’d offered to pay me for a year ago, but that I hadn’t taken action on, and got more than I asked for. I fulfilled some surveys and offers on Swagbucks (referral link – ask me for tips if you join) and was able to cash out another good chunk, and combine it with other previously cashed out chunks.

So far, I have gotten more than 1/3 of the way to my August 21st goal.

Oh. My. Goodness. I honestly can’t believe this is working.

But it is. I’m considering trying out being a driver for a meal delivery service to earn another 1/6 of the goal. I’m writing again because it’s an absolute fact that my words earn money, and the more words that are out there, the more money I will earn. Now, being a driver for the meal delivery service won’t earn the entire amount, and the words aren’t likely to generate that much so quickly.

The point isn’t that they’ll earn quickly, the point is that they’re out of my comfort zone. Miles outside.

I went ahead the moment I decided to try to earn the funds and requested the time off of work. I emailed the family member to ask if they’ll be in town, ensuring there’s someone who will ask how I’m doing, do I have tickets yet, etc. I told my husband, my kids, and my parents that I’m doing this thing, and while there is some confusion as to how I’m going to earn so much so quickly (on my part as well as theirs), everyone is on board. One of my parents may even come with me to spend time with the family I’ll be staying with when I go.

I am reaching for the sky.

I have a problem. (Maybe. I can’t tell.)

I am very susceptible to impulse purchases. For example:

If an author/blogger/writer I enjoy writes an article on Tor about another author’s book, describing how it was created, a bit about what it’s about, and how that book broke some rules and then created new ones, I am very likely to go and buy that book after noting that it’s not outrageously priced and telling myself that of course I’ll read it immediately after the library ebooks I have checked out.

That’s what happened yesterday. Cost me $10.

And it’s happened before. “Oh, this book/guided journal/thingamabob changed my life/helped me get back on track/made things so much easier!” I generally don’t even think about it much. Pop! The product becomes mine and money disappears from my account.

Realizing this is a problem for me is a good thing, because sometimes it slows me down enough to stop the process. “Hey, this is your favorite subscription box! We have new Mystery Boxes, and even though you unsubscribes from our service you can still enjoy the thrill of a package of mystery things you love – but act fast!” Okay, I will! But…this is that thing where I buy things without thinking. And I already have a whole shelf of those things, and I donated another half-shelf worth earlier this year. Delete email.

That happened late last week. Saved me $25.

It happens with big-ticket items, too, but in these instances the big-ticket items are classes, generally. “Just $3,000 for my expert writer advice! I’ve been doing this thing and persuade and fact and you know you want to but I know hardly anyone will.” (Yes, that’s an approximation of a sales pitch this one guy has.) I’ve seriously considered how I would be able to hustle up $3K or $6K or whatever the price was in X amount of time, but generally I can’t figure it out, and I give up. It gets ticked off as a thing I’d like to do Someday (but is more likely to happen Never.)

So, yesterday. I’m listening to an audiobook, Girl, Stop Apologizing, by Rachel Hollis. I listened to another book by her in the past year or so, Girl, Wash Your Face, and kind of enjoyed it, but I really feel like I’m getting value from this one. So much so that when she started talking about her Rise weekend conference, I looked it up.

Huh. There’s one in Florida in January. But the lowest tier of tickets ($300) have already sold out. The rest of the tickets are in the $600-1,800 range. Huh. Wouldn’t it be cool to do the VIP ticket? Yeah, it’s kind of outrageously priced, but theres a swag bag valued at $100! And a dance party ticket, but I don’t dance. And a photo op with Rachel Hollis and husband, but I don’t like my photo taken.

Then again, I did live through the picnic party I was so afraid of. And I’m actually considering moving an appointment to go to my friend’s birthday celebration at this place I’ve never been because People and $. This conference would be way out of my budget and way out of my comfort zone, but it could also be an amazing experience to push me to grow and beat down the anxiety voice in my head. What if I did try to make the $1,800 ticket happen? What if I did pay for an experience I’ll likely remember forever and probably treasure as an adventure. There’s the added bonus of having family live nearby, so I wouldn’t need a hotel. And maybe I could just get a cheap flight down that I know would be uncomfortable but would be short at least.

How can I tell if this is just another impulse purchase that I’ll end up regretting? How can I tell if this is something I will truly get value from? And how can I defend this outrageous decision/purchase when we’re paying off debt and have a door to fix, a bathroom that needs desperate attention, and all the other things that seem More Important?

I have a problem. (Maybe. I can’t tell.)

Create, Clean, Connect

My weekend was nice enough, although hot and humid enough that wearing a damn t-shirt so I could be presentable out of the house was enough to make me melt. This is not my favorite weather, and I really hope Summer moderates itself soon.

Last week I watched a video on YouTube by MuchelleB about doing a mid-year review. I am familiar with such things around the end of the year but seeing everyone post about how amazing the first half of 2019 was for them, I was jealous.

Yep. I don’t particularly have the cares in me to improve on my own, but I apparently have enough cares to compete.

So I did the review, but I did it quickly. Maybe I half-assed it, but half-assed is better than no-assed right now. I’m kind of glad I can recognize that.

After the “figure out what you want” portion, I did the audit/review, but I’ll be honest. I got a hell of a lot more out of the “what do I want” bit, and the review had negligible benefits. What I have is three things that I want in my life, and I know there are a zillion ways to get these things, and so I am not so fluffed about not having a plan, because what I really have is a backup.

When I’m sad, or depressed, or in a dark place with no sign of light, I have three options.

I can Create,

For some reason I really want to paint lately, and that’s probably due to the flood of abstract art videos on my YouTube home page. I also want to write, because writing can help pay bills, and I know that when I’m writing I get more creative and that feels good.

You know, eventually.

I could also knit, cross stitch, art journal, or try to make something from the abundance of art supplies I keep in the house that I’ll probably never use. Whatever.

I just know creating makes me feel better. So I can do that.

I can Connect,

And by “connect” I mean “do things with people I like.” I don’t especially like to connect if I’m honest. I like to skulk in my space and not talk to people or interact. But I haul myself out of the house once a week to hang with friends, and these friends (and even a coworker) keep inviting me out to Things that would involve even more people.

Even though I don’t like connecting (and I have a real problem with spaces, occasions, and crowds I’m unfamiliar with), I know it’s good for me. It’s kind of like walking. I know I should do more of it For My Own Good, but it’s not always fun until you’re there or it’s over.


and I can Clean.

It’s just recently that I’ve put the dots together that clutter in my space adds anxiety, sadness, dark clouds of doom, and general unease to my life. There is so much that needs cleaning, tidying, uncluttering, etc in my home that it is absolutely overwhelming. But if I’m wallowing in some dark space, cleaning something else might not exactly help that moment, but it will help Future Nicki.

The garage was like that. What kind of immediate benefit did it have? I was tired at the end, sweaty, dirty, but the pictures were nice. But the real benefit is that now I think about the garage and I’m not afraid to go in there. I’m not afraid that there are things rotting inside. I don’t sweat about not being able to reach the bicycles that aren’t even put together, or the air compressor that I adopted from my parents when they moved getting ruined because it’s sitting next to spilled oil.

Because now the bikes are put back together, and the air compressor is A) easy to reach, B) near an outlet, and C) off the floor. All the rotting cardboard boxes have been removed, and the remaining boxes are easy to reach and off the ground. There’s nothing in there (dead shelving units) that needs to be taken to the trash (because the trash already picked them up).

Future Nicki is happy.

So that’s the result. I have Words for the rest of the year, Words I really shouldn’t tattoo on myself but kind of want to (don’t worry, I realize how bad of an idea that is), Words I will try to put it absolutely everywhere else so I kind of have to simmer in it (ooh, I have Sharpies).

Many thanks to MuchelleB for the timely information on this, because otherwise I might not have pulled my shit together enough for it. If you’re into some minimalist motivation that’s not going to make you tear your hair out or shove seriously misinformed information down your throat, so far, MuchelleB is doing pretty well and you may want to give her a shot.


I’m going to be doing the Blog All About It blog challenge by herding cats & burning soup. If you like to blog, it’s not too late to start!

We only have two window air conditioning units in our house and one functioning ceiling fan. There are two floor fans and two desk fans on the first floor, and four floor fans (one for each bedroom and the bathroom) on the second floor.

Our house is old and the insulation isn’t wonderful. The windows are old and don’t all function as well as they should. We live on a main road and if we open the front door for ventilation we also get the noise from the truck route that goes through town.

We roast in the muggy heat of summer.

Central air is not in our vocabulary.

I hate the heat but there’s no way to escape it. No time for the public pool, no space for a private one in our little postage-stamp yard. No money for more window units or ceiling fans at the moment.

So we bake.

July-December 2019

Greetings and salutations! It is July 1st, a Monday, the start of my week. It’s a nice way to start a new month, honestly. Sometime in the past couple of years I switched from a Sunday start to a Monday start. While a lot of calendars try to trip me up with Sun-Sat weeks, I do all right most of the time.


I’m enjoying watching people posting all they have accomplished in the first half of the year, but feeling pretty bad that the only thing of note that I’ve accomplished so far is the cleaning of my garage. I’ve started two stories (novel-length) but finished neither of them. I’ve got a project from last year that I should be working on as well, and I’m not. And add on to that some parental issues I’m experiencing, and a busy season at my day job…

It’s hit me pretty hard.

I want to have the kind of year where I look back at it and am able to marvel at all the Things Accomplished. I had one of those years a few years ago, where I was Writing and Publishing, and it really felt amazing. I’m still getting some income from that year, but I really want to continue to build on that. I want to get Things Cleaned, and Words Written, and when I’m writing my New Years Eve post for 2019 into 2020 I want to have a list of things accomplished and marvel.

I don’t have that list yet, though. And I don’t think I’m going to set any goals right now, either, beyond just daily lists of things that need doing.

I’m tired of failing, you see. I’m tired of always being wrong.

Anyway. I’m off! Happy July 1st, and I hope you enjoy whatever the rest of the year brings you.


I’m going to be doing the Blog All About It blog challenge by herding cats & burning soup. If you like to blog, it’s not too late to start!

This month’s prompt is risk.

I have several big projects to tackle if I want my home to be less stressful to me.

Cleaning out my garage.

Removing some carpeting from the house.

Things that there’s a very good chance I’ll do wrong.

But I don’t know if I don’t try.

And that’s the risk.

The garage in particular I am hopeful for. I spent last Sunday helping to clean someone else’s house. Throwing things away that were no longer useful or useable. Sweeping cobwebs from walls and ceilings. Ordering the things that would stay. Creating imperfect, better than before spaces that someone could come into and make something of.

If I just pretend the garage belongs to someone else, I stand a chance. I will go through what’s there with my husband to determine what things he would clearly like to remain, and then Sunday I will start.

Reassemble the bicycles. Arrange the tools. Sweep the grass clippings. Throw out the molding books. I have a tarp for what I will keep, and hope to find that the spigot works so I have a source of outside water.

Fingers crossed.



I found a lovely place to write today!

Plans for May

  1. Remember to check back in at the end of May to update my progress
  2. Organize towels in linen closet done May 5
  3. Organize baskets in linen closet done at some point in May
  4. Clean off desk
  5. Clean under desk
  6. Get more comfortable desk chair
  7. Repair JY’s pants for concert done May 6

I may come back to add more May things before the end of the month.