Weekly Ramble Nine: Welcome to 2019

Welcome to 2019, everyone. Again, I'm late with my post, and again it was on purpose. I was off of work on Monday and Tuesday, which I spent relaxing, doing some writing, and tidying my apartment for the new year (seriously, you guys, my tea collection looks so pretty now), so today is technically my Monday. You'll have to forgive me. I'll get back to a normal schedule next week, hopefully.

Recap of 2018: I got an interim promotion at the day job that I hope to keep permanently. I finished the first draft of a novel for the first time. The world seemed at all times to be burning down around my ears while things were going pretty well for me, personally. I was often stressed, usually busy, and perpetually snowed under in things that needed to be done around the house. All in all, it was a year. I don't know what else to tell you. I survived. If you're reading this, you survived, and what else can we ask for, really?

I'm not much of one for making new years resolutions or S.M.A.R.T. goals or whatever, or rather, when I do it I tend to go overboard and make grand, sweeping changes that are, without fail, unsustainable. So this year I'm dialing in back, and making only three of major goals, and adding to them a change that will make keeping to those goals a little easier.

  1. Goal: Finish the second draft of my novel, and get it into some other people's hands. I've already written it once, how hard could it be to write it all again?

  2. Goal: Get back into exercising. I was doing pretty well for the first three quarters of 2018 with this one, but then I got my wisdom teeth out, and once I was ok to exercise again, I got sick for six weeks straight. I'm out of shape and looking to get back on that bandwagon. I'm also going to mix it up and add some weight training to my routine, because while swimming is great cardio, I do need to do some weight bearing exercises as well to make me less injury prone and keep my bones dense! I don't feel like this goal is asking too much, because it's something I was already doing successfully before my whole life went off the rails.

  3. Goal: Get work clothes that fit me. I'm working in an office that's on the nicer end of business casual, and while I've got my button-up game pretty well sorted, I need some work-appropriate sweaters, and even more importantly, work-appropriate pants that look nice. I've been getting by with ponte pants that are just a smidge to tight to be appropriate without a longer top and "ankle lenth" pants that look like capris on me because I have longer than usual legs. Neither is great, and while "straight leg" pants would be appropriate and the right length, they don't play well with my preferred loose on top, fitted on bottom silhouette. So this week I got some straight leg pants that fit me through the hips and are the right length in a consignment store, and took them to the seamstress my husband usually uses to get the legs tapered. Fingers crossed that it works out!

  4. Change: My partner and I are paying for someone to come in and clean our apartment every other week. He works 60-hour work weeks, and I'm writing a book in my free time. Our apartment has been a wreck this year, and I've felt constantly snowed under by the responsibility of keeping it a basic level of clean on top of doing laundry, dishes, etc. I realized the other day that neither of us had vaccuumed our bedroom since we moved in last January. Groooooooss. So anyway, when I got my promotion, the only thing I decided we were going to spend the extra money on (besides paying down debt) was hiring someone to come clean our apartment on a regular basis. We had someone come in for the first time on December 29th, and holy shit was it worth it. The bedroom got vaccuumed, the stove top was spotless--it's already my best decision of the year. I know that this isn't something that everyone can afford, but I can, and it was worth every penny.

So that's it, my plans for the new year. In the past week I've written 3,171, bringing the total wordcount of Mendenhall Draft 2 to 12,088.

I also have three book reviews for you this week. Hurray!

City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

This book is both epic and wonderfully intricate. S. A. Chakraborty has managed to squeeze believable, lovable characters, magical world building, intricate politics and explorations of identity, belonging, and privelege into one book seamlessly and comfortably. Yes, this book is about djinn, but it's also about how different minorities are turned against each other by a ruling party; it's about the use of power, and rebellion, and about grey areas in both. I loved it unconditionally for the ways that it was about the real world while also presenting a fully fledged secondary world for the reader to escape into, and for allowing for hope despite everything. Everyone should absolutely check this book out. You'll love it, promise.

Time Was by Ian McDonald

This book is a love story, a time travel story, and a mystery, and I wish that I had liked it more than I did. It's clearly masterfully written, has some beautiful prose, and god knows I love the idea of a pair of gay soldiers. I just wish I hadn't felt like I was held at arms-length from the two characters I cared most about for the entirety of the book. I never really felt like I got to know Tom and Ben, just their strange story. Maybe that's part of of this being a novella, maybe that's an artifact of the fact that a lot of what we learn about Tom and Ben is through bits and pieces of historial documentation. Still, I generally read to get to know characters, to live inside their heads, to know what it feels like to be them, to live their lives, and I didn't find that here. The book is still good, though, and if you like the idea of time travelling gay soldiers, I'd recommend giving this one a read.

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

If you're not on the Murderbot bandwagon, go back to All Systems Red and get on it. Exit Strategy delivers a satisfying conclusion to the series. Murderbot is, as always, the highlight of the story, both prickly to a fault and infinitely loveable. Really, you guys, check this series out.