Wednesday, December 31, 2014


2014 is donezo. Or as close to it as I will get. I have big plans to be swaddled in flannel and fast asleep well before midnight.

Generally I've made a point of answering a set of year-end reflection questions. You can read those responses (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010) if you're so inclined. But I'm changing things up. This is code for "I am too tired to answer all those damn questions." So here's what I thought about 2014:

In late January, Henry had a tonsillectomy. It frigging sucked. I had no idea how rough that kind of thing is and I just didn't see it coming. Too many adults in my life downplayed kid pain and played up kids' ability to "bounce back." Henry didn't bounce for a long time. Homeboy didn't react well to his pain medication and his recovery was slow. He's fine and in the scheme of things it was minor. But when it was happening I felt that helpless B.S. feeling that I have only known as a parent. Lesson learned (again) in 2014: Seeing my kids in pain hurts more than anything.

One of the best things I did this year was GO (my one little word resolution from last year--odd how those always work out), and specifically take trips by myself. I am just not the same person I was three years ago--the kind of person who would have thought going places was a good idea and then never done anything about it. In March I spent a day entertaining myself in San Francisco, and by June I was on a plane to Ireland. And then England, France. For the first time in my life, I actually did go. And go, and go, and go (I walked about a hundred miles in three weeks...) And I loved it. I've found that not only am I okay traveling by myself, it makes me really happy. Discovering that this year was pure joy. There is a huge world to see, and I'm not waiting for permission anymore to go see it.

My goal last year, just after finishing my MFA, was to figure out how to integrate writing into my daily life. I didn't want writing to be something I talked about and didn't do. I knew I could write if I could find time, but finishing my thesis made me an emotional wreck. I couldn't sustain that kind of writing over a lifetime. I needed to find a way to make writing as routine as showing up to my [other] job. I was panicky about this in December. At that point I didn't even have a space in our house dedicated to writing, and it felt like writing was something extra I was layering on top of all my other responsibilities. I didn't want it to be that. The most important thing I did this year was develop habits that would facilitate writing (and work as a book critic) as a viable job. I didn't want it to take me away from my family or leave me drained by the end of the day so I'd be Horrible Troll Mom. I feel really good about the fact that I've figured it/myself out. I am writing (and reading, the other part of this job that takes a billion hours), which I love, but I am also present for my family. I am very busy, but I am very happy. The routine will change--in fact, it's always changing--but I've figured out what my process looks like. I've also given myself permission to call it my job.

2014 wasn't the best year, but it wasn't the worst year, either. So many wonderful things happened to me (and I stood in front of the oldest known Beowulf manuscript, you guys. Gah.) I think the best part of 2014 was giving up fears I'd held on to for a long time: That I'd never be able to work writing into my real life. That I wasn't the kind of person with enough confidence to travel. That I couldn't be a good mom to my kids and wife to E if I was working diligently at something just for myself. Goodbye to all that.

So. Tomorrow I'll be writing about 2015, but it won't be here. I decided it's time for a change, so I'll be moving over to a domain that's my name, like a big girl. I will leave all of my posts here until I have the time to go back over 1500 of them and update links. (Eek?) But beginning tomorrow, you can find me at See you there.

{new post} Blooms, Shakes & Blocks. Two nights in a row at #Leatherbys with these monkeys. Link in my profile.New library book.Okay, this was pretty cute Young selfie. (Not de Old selfie.)Better late than never?Look out, world.No idea where he gets this behavior.I made him run with me today.Heaven is the library at Trinity College.Cashel selfie. Taken from my solo visit to Hore Abbey. (Yes, I said Hore Abbey.)Sláinte!Needed some sit-around-in-PJ-time today.Drive-by Eiffeling.The #SmorethBean Bag Summit 2014I wish I knew how to quit you.Big Legos.uploadWorld domination makes me nervous.Applying makeup at my desk this morning (as one does), I was frightened by the specter of Joan Didion's detached head in my mirror. #writers #Sacramento #JoanDidion #pencenterusa #amwritingStill life with fish mirror.Zero Prostate Cancer 5KBecause you know I'm all about that beet, 'bout that beet, no turnips.My first book review printed on actual paper. Like, with ink. #sacnewsandreviewThe most interesting cat in the world.Stoked to have my first post up at Ploughshares today. I got to write about Hamlet, Sons of Anarchy, Lana Del Rey and The Simpsons. You know, just a regular Friday with PDawg.  Link in profile.'Tis the season.The family that selfies together...uploadHeather's Brain Tonight!  Starring: Mrs. Dalloway Clarissa Vaughan Anna Karenina Aya Kawaguchi Gregor Samsa and Gregor Samsa

(You can go look right now, if you want.)

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