The New Years’ Dance

Welcome to 2024!!! Life is like a dance, we take a few steps forward and a few back, and sometime run in circles. I'm more than ready to put on my dancing shoes. 🙂 It's time to say farewell to 2023 and look forward to 2024. Normally, I don't spend a lot of time looking back and focus more on the future, but since 2023 was a big year I wanted to spend a little time on what was accomplished.

Contents

The Look Back

At the beginning of 2022 I had confirmed my decision to retire from the day job. Something that was essential to do for my overall well-being and I wanted to spend more time working on my passion projects. My timeline changed a few times and I carried over that goal into 2023. I had 3 major goals for 2023:

  1. Retire from the day job.
  2. Move (I wasn't even sure where exactly at that point)
  3. Launch my debut MG series (Katie McCabe) with Vesuvian Books

Retirement:
Retirement is not for the faint of heart. Some people have a big adjustment curve they go through when they stop working. I had planned on an adjustment period because I knew there would be a lot of things administratively that would have to be handled before I could put into action the next step. The first week of January marked my retirement, but it took several months to get everything taken care, despite having planned in advance. I miss the people I worked with, but, even though I enjoyed my job, I haven't missed it one whit.

The Move:
Mentally, moving was my biggest challenge for the year. Just trying to wrap my head around everything that needed to get done and the how took several months. Overwhelm mode activated.. I had been searching for the right place on and off over the past few years and had even put an offer in on a house. But when friends checked it out, what looked good on paper turned to dust and the offer was rescinded. Since the housing market was in such bad shape with unrealistic pricing and rates that were too high, I made the decision to rent for the time being and I couldn't be happier.

I settled on the where, but then had to figure out how to get me and my stuff there trying to keep isolated as much as possible for health reasons. Then a brain wave hit … do a cross country train trip. It took a little longer to arrive, but I am still happy I made that decision. It is something I've always wanted to try. (A picture gallery is below.) I am now in a cozy apartment with my best friends close by and they have been SUCH A HUGE HELP, I can never thank them enough.

The Series Launch:
In the midst of going through everything, getting things packed, and making all the arrangements for the move, I released the first book in the Katie McCabe Series, Rain Falling on Embers. It has already picked up a few awards and positive reviews. I spent the beginning of the year with my editor polishing up the second book in the series, South of Happy and I'm looking forward to getting it out there later this year. All of 2023 was geared toward goals to support my writing habit. 😉

The Way Forward

I do love a fresh, shiny new year. 365 days ahead to make things happen. Sometimes I achieve what I set out to do. Sometimes life throws a curve that makes me bob and weave, or completely derails the year to another destination. But I start each year with hope and plans and am excited to find out where I'll wind up.

The Plans:

  • Write, write, and write some more.
    • Go through self-edits on Going Up in Flames (Katie McCabe, Book 3)
    • Work through the edits my editor will give me for the same (as hard as I try to send it to him as perfect as possible, he ALWAYS has a ton of things for me to think about and adjust.)
    • Finish writing Book 1 in the Homeless Myths Series, The Secret of the Redy Key. I cannot wait to share this series with everyone. It has a lot of special sauce going on and I think the rest of the world will agree.
  • Get healthier. I am currently in remission (YAY!!!), but my immune system is still shot, so want to work on several avenues to help boost the immune system and give myself more resources to go into battle with. I'd love for this remission to last several years. To that end, I am focused on:
    • Being more active. I have been pretty much housebound for a number of years, especially during the pandemic. So my plan is to get out more, take walks on some of the fantastic trails around me, and work up to using my vibration plate a total of 30 minutes a day (which usually resluts in my dancing on it if listening to music).
    • Improving nutrition
    • Searching out new treatments for dealing with cancer. I'm excited about the breakthroughs that are popping up with more frequency and have hope that one day, there will be a cure for mine.
  • Find my next home, rates and real estate market willing, as the current apartment is meant to be temporary.

I figured since I had so many pictures I wanted to share, that it would be best simply to create a gallery and provide a little commentary to provide a flavor for the move.

  • 1. The day the stuff I was moving left. All my planning and preparation resulted in what was going and what wasn't. Everything that was making the move with me had been staged into two rooms, the first thing to be loaded were those items that were going straight into storage short-term, and the second room contained those things I needed in the apartment. The next day, everything that didn't go into the pods was cleared out and donated.
  • 2-4. Fullerton Amtrak station on the day of my departure. Of course, when the freight train passed by with OOCL containers on it, I had to include them.
  • 5. Arizona Mesa
  • 6. Albuquerque, NM train station - one with a little style
  • 7. Lamy, NM station - I couldn't resist the decorations.
  • 8. Near Fort Osage Township, MO
  • 9. Crossing the Mississippi river from Iowa into Illinois - we had a well-wisher waving as we hurtled by.
  • 10. Amtrack, Chicago - where I felt like I might have dropped into a holiday gone wrong type of movie, but all was well in the end.
  • 11. Entering West Virginia and nearly to my destination.
  • 12. White Sulphur Springs Station - Cutest station on my route and where I got off.
  • 13. My friends met me at the station and we loaded up the Grand Cherokee—AFTER they found me, because everyone else got off the train at the front, but they had me depart the train at the back. (I had stored luggage that had to be taken off the train.) We had quite the load.
  • 14. But not ALL of the stuff was mine. While waiting to pick me up, they wandered into one of the boutique stores in town and just had to get the Christmas tree with bears climbing on it. 🙂 I would have done the same.
  • 15. The first thing I saw when I walked into my new apartment. My friends had been busy readying the apartment while I was traveling across the country.
  • 16. My festive shower curtain. There is a light over the shower/tub so the fireplace glows when the light is on.
  • 17-18. My view through my windows. My place in CA looked out on a parking lot and all I could see from my bedroom window was the apartments behind me. I am reveling in having trees and grass outside and enjoy watching the hills.
  • 19. Still from my windows, but at night so you can see the lights from the space needle and the skybridge.
  • 20. After my initial visit with my new doctor, we went for a ride, and had just been discussion how unlikely it would be to see any bears this time of year, when a bear family came through the woods, crossed in front of our car, and continued up the hill. I'm sure they came out just to welcome me.
  • 21. It's not a holiday unless I decorate, so my fridge quickly took on some holiday cheer.
  • 22. My stuff arrived from CA and the place is starting to take on a homey feel.
  • 23. Essentials for any writer.
  • 24. My living room rug with an Amish made cherry wood cedar chest.
  • 25. My Christmas Day rainbow.
  • 26. The space needle decorated as a Christmas tree (and I caught the flashing star on top)
  • 27. Just because I love the shadows on my wall at night.
  • 28-33. The fireworks display at the space needle. I have the perfect apartment for viewing.
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