Creative,  Reading,  Thoughts

Reading, Writing, Creating (and Health) in 2024

Pink Sundew Drosera capillaris
Drosera capillaris, Chuluota Wilderness Area – Florida, 2020

December turned out to be busier than I expected, so my goal to write here daily went *poof*. Such is life! Forest had several school functions, I had some last minute doctors appointments, including my third MRI of the year, as I tried to milk the most of out having met my deductible earlier this year. So far in 2023 I have received pretty digital pictures of my hips, brain, and now my cervical spine!

This was certainly the year to figure out so many health issues. I managed to get my hip mostly into decent condition again with four months of physical therapy (impingement and dysplasia), my brain was clean for any issues pertaining to my dizziness, and the neck is to assess if it is contributing to my dizziness–I have a follow up appt with a neurologist later tomorrow. I’ve been doing vestibular rehab therapy for the dizziness for the last three months and have definitely made some progress but still feel like I’m lacking a few things to really be back to “normal”—which I haven’t been normal for dizziness since November 2015. After the brain MRI I had a VNG test which came back with a partial right vestibular hypofunction. Basically my vestibular system decided it was done dealing with vestibular things and communication between that system and my brain wasn’t functioning. So the therapy has helped my brain pick up where my vestibular system called it quits.

In between the two physical therapies, I had a full cardio workup for some issues I was experiencing in the spring, and that turned out fine. I suspect part of that issue was actually a perimenopause thing, and let me tell you I thought I was going to die every time I experienced it. At the same time my PCP sent me for an at home sleep study and it took from late May when that order was sent in until last Friday, December 23rd, for me to finally pick up a CPAP machine. The at home study was inconclusive so a pulmonologist had me do two in-lab studies, which was bizarre and somewhat fun, but getting appointments in with the pulmonologist is painfully slow. The sleep studies were like being in a hotel in a hospital but you also had to sleep completely wired up so they could monitor your while you slept. I’m still adjusting to the CPAP but Chris says I haven’t woken him up with snoring so that’s a plus!

I’m continuing 2024 with working on some of these things but also getting heavy into Project 45, a made up project I created back in 2022 to get myself into shape for my 45th birthday in 2025. This year was part of that but now that I can move and workout without pain and my dizziness is getting better, I am returning to a weight lifting program and riding my bike (indoor and out), as well as hiking. Part of me wishes I could just get on the AT for 5 months and drop all of this weight I need to lose but that’s not my life right now. I also have the lovely fun of dealing with perimenopause weight loss slowness so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on that front. I’m not 30 anymore so what worked back then won’t work now. Booo. My goal is to prevent muscle loss and gain some muscle while also losing the fat since sarcopenia is a real issue as we age.

I recently wrote about being disillusioned with social media, namely Instagram, and have taken most of December off the app. I think I’m going to just stay off for as long as possible in the next year, only posting on the Watson Preserve account for workday and wildflower walk updates as well as general botanical posting there. I don’t linger too long there so it isn’t a problem, but I do linger too long on my other account and aside from a handful of people I will miss keeping up with, I am not going to miss too much. It will be good BECAUSEEEEE…

I have A LOT of writing, reading, and creating to do in 2024. I feel like I had to lay out all of the other stuff to get to this because this last year my brain just couldn’t keep up with anything creative for a variety of reasons. But now? I’m ready to get back into hobbies and a creative life.

What’s on the agenda?

I’ll do a book review for 2023 soon but I looked back at my reading year and was a bit disappointed in the overall satisfaction of the books that I read. There were some good ones but I could have probably done without a couple. Audiobooks still make up a large amount of books I read but I really want to get back to paper books this year. I have a stack of Texas natural history books I want to read and I know non-fiction is a lot slower for me to read but my goal is to take things a lot slower, to savor the words, and to enjoy reading it without feeling guilty about taking so much time.

Goals: Read all the nature things and MORE FICTION. Plus the gigantic Outlander book I’ve had sitting on my nightstand for two years.

My writing urge has been strong for a while but I’ve lacked the dedication and butt-in-seat attitude to get the things I have rattling around in my brain down on a Word/Google doc. I started pitching my FT memoir book again to university presses this year with mixed results. So far I haven’t had any takers and will probably pitch some agents here in a couple of weeks in addition to seriously looking at publishing via IngramSpark or Amazon. I’m becoming less attached to being published traditionally for this book after reading more about self publishing and think this is a viable option for this particular book.

I also want and need to finish the 2021 NaNoWriMo book I started. I can probably do this easily in 1-3 months early this year if I just sit down and do it. The thing is, I know I can just sit down and do it because I’ve done it before.

And another book idea came to me a week or so ago, another non-fiction, that I think I seriously need to attempt to write. In reality I have about 5-6 book ideas or projects I can be working on at any given time. And I am seriously brainstorming a longform piece about Fairfield Lake State Park and the battle to save it, hopefully pitching it to some southern and/or nature focused print and online magazines.

I’m also taking Janisse Ray’s Journey in Place e-course through her newsletter this coming year and it will hopefully pair really well with that non-fiction book idea.

Plus, all the writing here on the blog and on my newsletters. I suddenly feel like it is time to get all of this writing done. No time to lose!

Back in mid-spring I stopped updating my perpetual nature journal. I plan on picking it back up this year, starting with this current week, and then possibly backlogging it until I catch up to where I left off by using photos on my phone. I would like to be more intentional about some plein air painting in a sketchbook once or twice a week as well. I also need to clean up my studio and pick back up in acrylic painting. I made several paintings in 2020 and 2021 and look back at what I created and want to get back into a series of botanicals. I also enjoy doing abstract art for when I’m not in the mood for that kind of focused art. And, I haven’t crocheted in several years and have been itching to get into some yarn again as well as teach myself to knit with a kit a friend gave me.

All of this is probably Too Much but if I can scratch a couple of things off, it will be an accomplishment.

What are your goals for 2024? Books to read, places to explore, projects to create? Tell me! I would love to add more to my TBR!

One Comment

  • Judy

    Wow, you certainly are busy. I got tired reading about your projects and you also have a job? Have you been to an ENT for your dizziness? I have had dizziness on and off since my 20s (the first doctor I went to told me I was a dizzy blond) and after about 5 different doctors in two states, one put me on diuretics. It helped the fluid level in my ears and worked well for me. Have a good New Year and don’t wear yourself out.

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