2013: Almost ready!

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I already reflected a little bit on 2012, and have mentioned one new project for 2013… But now I’m ready to look at goals and priorities for 2013.

→ My main goal is to establish a good habit of writing. This means a minimum of 2 hours each week dedicated to creative writing.
→ Really focus on my writing program. This means a delicate balancing act, as I do want to start new projects, but I have this quarter and next before I begin my finally project: 100+ pages of a short story collection, which I’ll have to read from… in front of people…

→ I already cleaned up my categories, so I plan on continuing to focus some of my writing. I’d also like to find a good balance between sponsored posts and reviews with my regular writing.

→ Eat better. I plan on doing more smoothies, cooking real meals, and even to start juicing. I want to be smarter about my snacking. It’s not like I’m eating junk all the time, but I do choose convenience and comfort over the better options more often than I’d like.
→ Be more active. I used to walk everywhere, but since walking to work isn’t an option, I really mainly just go a few blocks to the grocery store and that’s about it. I’m going to continue looking for a place near my home where I can either exercise or possibly get into yoga.
→ My insurance is finally going to cover my endo treatments, so this means going in for more scans and seeing if I need surgery. I’m also going to finish some test to figure out more about a deficiency and find out if it’s pernicious… And lastly, finally getting my wisdom teeth out!

→ I’m finally in a place, financially, to really take care of my past debt. I have a small amount of school, credit card, and medical debt I’m working off… and I’m going to attempt to find a plan where I can do (at least) small payments each month, still live the life I’d like, and get this taken care of in the next year. I’m happy my debt is small, but it’s still something I have to take care of now.

→ Keeping at it! Continue to push harder and grow the business. I like what I’m doing, and I’m appreciated here.
→ Continue working with Mucca. I love my big, stinky, family.

→ Start the search for a more permanent place! I’m not going to rush into it, and if my rent doesn’t increase I might stay and save some money. But I’d like to get into a place with a better kitchen. And storage. And not having windows at ground level on an alley.
→ Get rid of the excess! If I haven’t used it in a year, and it’s not a keepsake type thing, it’s gone!

→ Trim the weeds. This has been a hard thing, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that some friendships just aren’t healthy. There are people who, yes, I can have fun with at times and they’re great to hang out with, but on others they just bring me down with their attitudes. There’s nothing wrong with stepping back from these types of friendships, and really just hanging out on occasion and not feeling bad about not being BFFs. Anyway. The main goal is to invest my energies into the people who truly care about me.
→ New boyfriend in 2013? Maybe. Not sure. But some dates would be nice regardless.

→ Continue to be open to new opportunities as they appear!
→ I have some big ideas. And a lot of ideas… we’ll see what happens…

Needless to say, there’s been a lot on my mind, and I am definitely ready for 2013! Taking care of myself is a big priority. As is just enjoying life as much as possibly. And I’m endlessly excited about it all.


Being home with family this week sort of recharged me. It was nice to just get away and rest for a bit—something I really needed. It also gave me time to think about a lot of things…

I think I’m going to start looking for a semi-permanent home here in Chicago in the next 5 years. I love this city, and I love the family of friends I’ve built here. I want to put down some roots and stay for a long time. So I’m going to start researching, but ideally I’ll be looking for a flexible, long term lease (so I can do some renovations/decorating), or possibly some sort of condo.

I still don’t know where I’m going career-wise, but I’m not really worried about it any more. I’m doing well with my job, and I still get to pursue my passions on the side. However, I will be cutting back on some activities yet again to free up even more time for writing.

I’m in an “update your wardrobe” mood. Which means going back to that failed plan of “The Great Wardrobe Purge” and actually following through. Still hoping to get rid of about 40-50% of what I currently own. I’m ready to look like the director at work, yet still fit my own personal style. Things that say “hey, I’m kind of a real adult now with a legit job, and I look good.”

I want to start dating again, but at the same time I’m kind of indifferent about the whole thing. My life’s slightly busy, but not in a bad way. Basically I’m more interested in finding someone to go have fun with, who I can also make out with… otherwise I’d be happy with my current social life with my friends.

I’m re-evaluating my blogging goal and might be refocusing some direction. I don’t want to call it “blogging with purpose”, because seriously, it’s just a blog. But I would like to be a little more focused on a few different areas, all while still keeping this a personal blog. We’ll see.

I’m enjoying being 28 and transitioning further into adulthood. I’ve got a good life, and I’m really thankful for it. It’s time to continue moving forward, and keep having fun.

on wanting and not getting

Lately I feel like I’ve been trapped in a series of “I want, but can’t have”…

Maybe it’s a case of day dreaming too much, or being a hopeless romantic, or hell, just being me… But it feels like in various areas of my life I’ll get excited and then pretty much run head first into a wall. Whether it’s someone saying no, me simply not knowing how to proceed, or whatever–there’s something there that’s keeping what I want just out of reach. It’s like coasting around being in first, and then getting hit with a blue shell out of no where–coming to and being like, “what the?! where am I?” and having to fight your way back to first again.*

In class last night we talked about how the conflict in your plot should always get worse throughout the story. Each action should worsen or intensify the main problem or struggle. But should this be the case for life? Obviously, I’m going to vote no. I want to have a career as a writer. I want to find someone to be happy with and get to be with that person. I want to not have to deal with various health issues. I want to be confident in all that I do. I want. I want. I want.

I’m going to continue to do what all traditional advice says to do: I’m going to press on. I’m going to remember that you can’t always get what you want. I’m going to figure out what means the most to me, and fight for those things. I’m not going to give up.

However, as I learned last night in class… “words are nets through which all truth escapes.” Take that to mean what you want…

*Yes. I did just make a Mario Kart reference. +1 nerd.
**In other news… the portfolio site is up! check it out: erinichristine.com 

all of these things:

Remember how I said I was an awkward dinosaur? Yeah. That thing.

I guess you could call this “I’m an awkward dinosaur, part II.” There’s just so much going on right now in my mind, I just can’t get it to sit still long enough to properly focus. So here’s all the tiny things I’ve been wanting to tell you, but just can’t get them into one big coherent post:

The main staples of my wardrobe are now v-neck tshirts and knee-high socks. I imagine once it warms up a bit, that this will make up the majority of my at-home outfits (with underwear, of course)…

I am apparently addicted to soft pretzels/bretzels. Can’t get enough of them. Plus salt & vinegar chips. Trying not to think of what all that sodium is doing to me. Non-sodium related: Cream Soda. Just because I can’t have caffeine doesn’t mean that I should be limited to only lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverages.

My friends have had some of the best facial hair lately. I mean, the weekend before last the entire Hideout was just brimming with them (my friends and sweet facial hair)… and then with this last weekend and a friend rocking a tri-beard goatee.

I’m kind of in love with Supernatural. The plots might not always be the best, but the writers do get some really great quips in there. Enough so that I’ve made my way to season 6 pretty quickly.

I may have asked one of my male friends–who also happens to be a loving father of, like, 3–to dance for me for my birthday. With glow sticks. (Is it also weird that I have a poster of this friend up on my wall?)

I still have my christmas tree up. Yeah, I know. But it’s pink, sparkly, and has large fake diamond ornaments on it.

This song came on while I was at lunch today, and it completely made my day. Just the right song at the right time. And if that video, with the guitar player and the backup singers doesn’t make your day, I don’t know what will… (maybe some Waffles?)

I have decided that this year I really want to accomplish the following things: Go to see Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Ride a horse again. See the shark exhibit at the Shedd. Get rid of about 40% of my current wardrobe (aka all the old stuff I’ve just been holding on to for no good reason). Meet the Modify Watches team. Replace my stolen bicycle. Ride in the Tour de Fat Chicago slow ride again. Not to plan a birthday party, but just to spend it with friends. Spend more time with my niece.

I kind of applied for something pretty big, but I’m not sure I’m qualified. And no, I’m not talking the writing program. (Still applying, but I’m going to rock that one.) Anyway. Not sure how it’s going to go because I completely wrote my application essay while on pain killers for my endo. I just know I got in this crazy manic mood where my mind just kept shouting MUST APPLY NOW. We’ll see what happens.

And as long as we’re talking applications and writing, here’s where I am in regards to my U of Chi application: I’ll be done with revisions to my writing samples this week. Going to write a few new flash fiction pieces too. But it’ll be ready for a final read from a friend, then it and the personal statement I still need to write will be mailed off on Monday.

doing better and getting started on big plans

Okay. So I want to start off by saying I’m doing better. I want to thank everyone for their support in response to my last post. But yeah, doing better.

Part of this whole “doing better” thing is because of some exciting things coming up.

Around New Years, I wrote down a list of things that I want to do, but for some fucking reason I’m not. Things that I’m holding myself back from doing, and there’s really no good reason. I stopped myself at 6. These things have been on my mind for a while–they didn’t cause my break down, but they certainly didn’t help a small part of it.

So, I’m deciding to tackle some things on that list. I’ll hopefully get to all of them, but well, decided that I’m definitely going to make some steps towards the first one. Write more. I’ve missed writing. And I didn’t get as far or involved as I would have liked with NaNoWriMo. So I’ve got some plan at which I’m going to be dedicating quite a bit of time to my writing. Like, most of my evenings for the next two years.

It seems crazy to be taking this on when I’ve got a lot on my plate this year. Season’s Geekings is going full force and launching soon with our Valentine’s cards. (In fact, we’re having our first company meeting. Over brunch, of course.) And of course, there’s a lot going on at my day job. Not to mention a new year of Mucca shows and other concerts I’m super excited about.

I’m not going to go on some spiel about how I’m never going to let things hold me back from what I want or give up on my dreams. Dudes. Things in life are scary, and I’m not always going to grow a pair and go for it. But not everything is worth beating yourself up over.

Getting ready for 2012: 12 months, 12 changes.

Last year I wrote some really vague statements about what I hoped for in 2011. Well, with such whatever statements, I basically had no real goals for the year–other than move back to Chicago*. 10 months into the year I decided I needed some actual goals and to start committing to me. I did well with some, okay with others, and just didn’t get anywhere with a few.

But, as we’re getting ready to start a new year, it’s time to think of goals and resolutions and all that stuff. I’ve never really been big on the idea of resolutions, which is strange because I’m really fond of the idea of committing to myself. Maybe it’s because there’s too much bad baggage with resolutions and failing them. But regardless, I like to progress and evolve as a person, so I’m continuing my commitment.

One large part is my participating in 12 Months 12 Changes**. Katherine gives a pretty good explanation of it on her blog, but basically each month you make one small change. By the end of the year, those changes become habit and before you know it you’ve got a whole new way of doing things and just almost a new life right in front of you. My changes include better eating/grocery shopping habits, being more physically active, being stricter about cleaning habits, reading more, drinking more water, and taking control of my finances. I’ve started dividing them into their months, but I want to give myself some freedom in it. I don’t want to overwhelm myself by tackling too many changes at once, but maybe I don’t want to wait 4 months before I start on XYZ. Each month I will commit to at least one change, but there’ll be flexibility.

I want the next year to be about purpose and investment. I don’t want to just waft through this next year. Having fun and enjoying life doesn’t mean being lackadaisical. I’m excited about this next year, and hoping it brings some truly exciting things.

*The company that just hired me folded, so I lost my job and ended up moving back to Indiana temporarily.
**12 Changes won’t be the only goal-oriented thing I’m doing next year, but it’s the only “programmed”/community-based one as of yet. 

the blogger who inspires me AND OMGgoals.

I have a lot on my mind this morning, but just not sure how to organize it let alone express it in words. Not coherently at least.

Luckily there’s a beautiful blogger who’s writing I’ve really been agreeing with and just loving. Chances are you may already know her…

I had the pleasure of meeting Amy a few years ago when she was visiting Chicago. She’s been doing what I’ve been trying to do with my own life—take a hold of it. She’s not an expert or life coach by any means. She’s just a normal person, an English teacher, who’s writing about her own journey to make the best of and truly enjoy her life. She inspires me to push forward and keep going.

Speaking of which, here are some of my upcoming goals:

  • Reorganize my entire apartment. Big task, but I’m breaking it up into manageable parts. Sort through all my clothes & shoes, clean this area, then clean that area. Hopefully by the end of the month my place will be ready for my big purchase: a couch. Since April, I’ve been treating my apartment like a storage unit with a bed. It’s time it starts feeling like a home.
  • Go through all of my clothes & shoes. My friend Ronnie and I have talked about doing a clothing swap, and she even offered up her place to do it! So I want to get ready and get this going! I’m notorious for holding onto clothing, and if I plan on getting new stuff (or new to me stuff) I need to make room.
  • Get my bike! Leah was super awesome to give me her old bike. However, it’s been sitting at my friend Courtney’sfor, well, a long time. My mom bought me a Groupon to Kozy’s, so I’m going to buy a helmet this week and make arrangements for the fun, many hour ride from Wicker Park to Rogers Park. (It’s mainly going to be many hours because I’m going to take my sweet time getting home.)
And of course… OMG NANOWRIMO.
Also big news: I’m now 7 posts away from 500. And yes, there is a giveaway that you probably don’t want to miss. (So far, I’ve got stuff to give away valuing over $200. That’s pretty awesome.)

in an ideal world

In an ideal world…

  • I’d have an awesome, yet cheap apartment close to school (River North).
  • I’d have a full time job that was basically stress-free and let me work on my school work.
  • I’d have enough time in the day to get all my design work done and have a social life.
  • I’d have health insurance.
  • I’d feel refreshed from however much sleep I’m able to get each night.
  • I’d have crazy mad typography skills.
  • sharpies would never run dry.
  • my computer screen wouldn’t have a large band of zombie pixels.
Life, as always, is really busy and crazy right now. A lot on my plate design-wise. A lot on my plate life-wise (I seriously need a cheaper living arrangement as well as a way to figure out how to pay for school). I’ll push through. But it’s definitely a lot.
So, what’s in your ideal world?

Suck it, Trebek! (aka NaNoWriMo on my own terms)

It’s only day four and I’m already depressed.  Over something so trivial as word count.  You don’t win anything for hitting 50,000.  I just want the bragging rights — and the 50% off Scrivener.  I’m almost 4000 words behind just to “break even” with the word goals thus far — and then have to complete a minimum of 1667 words each day following.

It’s making me feel like a failure already.  I’m compulsively updating my word count every hour.  Then I go and check my stats.  Then I see how far behind I am.  Really, NaNoWriMo, telling me I’m 3 days behind schedule is going to encourage me?  50,000 words is freaking daunting.  Damn near insane to do it in a month.

“Set realistic goals that you’re prepared to pursue. 30,000 words in a month is reasonable. 50,000 is pushing it. 120,000 words is almost impossible – and when you fail to meet it, you’ll feel bad about yourself.” (via)

So starting today I’m doing NaNo on my own terms.  Because before, while I was actually writing, I felt good about my self.  Awesome — shiny even.  But then those stupid word goals kept bringing me down.  I’ll still update them, but word count is not my goal.  Starting today, this is what I’m working towards:

  • To write for a minimum of one hour every week day; three hours for one day on the weekend, and then at least an hour and half the other for the month of November.
    (I have a life, a lot of my time is spent at work, I should not be ashamed of that.)
  • My story does not end on November 30th.  Just because it started as NaNoWriMo doesn’t mean that’s where it’s staying.
  • To write a cohesive story that I’m proud of.
    (And I have been thus far.)

And that last bit is probably the most important.  I’ve been proud of my story.  It’s a complete rough draft, but I like where it’s going — even more so I love the process.  A lot of that is thanks to the free trial of Scrivener.  My mind isn’t linear.  The idea of writing 50,000 linearly makes me want to gag.  With Scrivener, I’ve been able to write scene by scene.  If I want to jump from part 1 to part 3, I can.  And it’s all organized so it makes it easier to do just that.  I never thought I’d like any of those gimmicky novel writing software programs… but folks, I sort of love this one.  That’s why I want that 50% reward so freaking bad.  (20% off isn’t bad, but I could use the 50%.)

By the end of the month I plan to have a pretty damn good story started.  I might even have one that’s ready to be workshopped.  (Another goal: this story will be workshopped by someone.)  All of this regardless of word count.  I realize that it’s just a goal set up by the organizers and I don’t have to reach it — NaNo’s all about having fun with other writers… but the only way I’m going to finish this is on my terms.

*Just in case you were wondering where this title came from:

This post is 525 words in case you were wondering.

my life compass might be broken… or at least slow

So, going to take a little bit of a break from all the gushing OMG Jaron is soooo great posts — which, by the way is still very much a fact… But I thought it was time to check in on what I’m doing to live my dreams.

Honestly, some days it feels like a whole lot of nothing.  I get up, go to work, come home exhausted, dick around on the interwebs, then pass out anywhere between 10 and midnight, only to do it all over again.  I spend my days off lounging around the house with the cats.  So seriously, how do I expect to accomplish any goals or reach for any dreams if I’m just sitting on my ass?

You should know that I let the deadline for the MA in Zoology slip by without applying.  Why?  Because I was surprised with a promotion at work and thus began working 45-50 hour weeks.  Doing anything beyond surviving that and just enjoying the down times wasn’t really on my radar.

More and more I’m finding that I’m back in that indecisive about what I want to do stage.  I’m waffling.  I still feel strongly about wildlife education and conservation.  But I’m starting to feel that I’ve neglected my writing for too long.  That I need to continue to work on my craft.  That maybe I should attempt to get my portfolio done and apply for grad school at the end of the year.  And then I go and redesign a blog and create a new one and rediscover my love for all of that!  (Don’t even put me in front of audio, lighting, or video equipment, it might doom me.)

The question of “what do you want to be when you grow up” is still apt.  I mean, holy hell.  What do I want to do?  Everything I’ve liked is so varied.  I’ve never felt like anyone needs to limit themselves by becoming so focused that it does allow the freedom to explore all of your passions and interests.  But have I become so broad that choosing a direction is such a daunting task that I’m shutting down?

I still love working at the toy store.  I’m settling in to my new role in management.  My boss is tapping into some of my talents, and that excites me (just as much as getting awesome new toys — yes, I am a giant kid).  I have no real answers, but I am not taking this lightly.  I’m not going to stop just living and enjoying everything life’s thrown at me thus far just so I can get some direction… But I am working on taking steps towards paths with might lead me somewhere awesome.