Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Category: Miscellany (page 1 of 8)

2018 Overview and 2019 General Goals

2018 was not a good year for me in a number of ways. One thing that really stands out is my embarkation as a DM in the D&D world, and admitting that I’d defeated myself with my leaping feet-first into a homebrew campaign. That was really hard to do, but I wasn’t having fun with it any more, and I knew if I tried to push myself, my friends wouldn’t have fun either due to my lack of preparation. I didn’t give up completely, however. My solution was to get an off the shelf game and speed-prep what I needed for it in a week or two so we could get to gaming as soon as possible. Half those plans fell through—we weren’t actually able to start the new campaign in December due to various people getting sick or not being able to show up. I myself spent a week with some weird illness where I felt physically drained and slept pretty much all day for something like five or six days straight. We are set to game tomorrow, though, which I’m glad about. Nobody’s ill, I think I’m as prepared as I can get, and we’re all desperate to play D&D together.

One thing that did go well, at least toward the last quarter of the year, was my writing. I made I don’t know how many false starts early on in the year, where I’d commit myself to completing something, then pretty much immediately failed to do so. Finally, at the end of August, I was fed up with that crap, and I decided I’d spend September reading through as many incomplete WIPS as I possibly could and then decide which one to work on. I focused more on those I had outlines for and eventually decided to work on Unwritten Letters starting in October. This I’m calling my Fool’s Errand, which I’ve been posting about on Saturdays here on AEP.

Also, I’ve made lots of new friends. So many people in my life now, I can barely name them all. I’ve started learning how to quilt, gotten more regular with crocheting, and have been cooking more. All because I have more friends in my life.

I continued using a Bullet Journal through most of 2018 as well, but to be honest, it was a struggle before the end of 2017 in some respects. Much of the Bullet Journal format is repetitive and labor-intensive, which made it seem like work, and thus not much fun, to work on. So I adjusted it. I don’t do the month overviews or lists of major things I want to get done every month. At about the same time I started reading through my WIPS, I decided to trim my Bullet Journal down to three primary things: Monthly Budget, Weekly Log, and Daily Log. I also obeyed an impulse I had and started listing completed tasks below the Task List, instead of just marking them as done. This proved to be a good instinct, because I find the act of actually writing out the name of the task to be more motivating than just marking the task as complete. I don’t just keep it to tasks I’ve listed as needing done, but also list things that I’ve done that weren’t on the Task List to begin with. And I don’t sweat the stuff I don’t do.

So those are the highlights of 2018. I’ll post more about my writing on Saturday. Until then, here are my general goals for the year, in no particular order:

  • Continue DMing for my Thursday Gaming Group.
  • Cook more frequently.
  • Continue pursuing my claims with the VA.
  • Read 12 books over the course of the year. More if possible, but at least 12.
  • Learn to play the flute. Poor thing’s probably rusted by now, it’s been so long since I used it.
  • Keep up with language practice for Spanish, German, and Norwegian.
  • Take walks more frequently, for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Pick up work on my homebrew D&D campaign again.
  • Draw more often, at least once a week.
  • Continue volunteering at the Utah Pride Center once a week.
  • Get back into my Tarot lessons.

And that’s it!

Thanksgiving 2018

The table at Ross and Justin’s home for Thanksgiving 2018.

This Thanksgiving was unexpectedly enjoyable. Normally, I just hang out at home and fiddle around online and such, chatting with those who happen to find any time to come to chat during this holiday. Since most of the people I know online are in the US, that isn’t very many people once the food is all cooked. As a result, Thanksgiving is typically pretty boring for me as well.

But today was different. Around 13:30 or so, one of my friends who I met through square dancing—and the DM of Sunday’s D&D, Lynn—called me to ask if I had any plans for the day. My response was pretty much, “Just work on my writing.” Then he asked if I’d like to go with him to Ross’s for Thanksgiving supper. Of course I leapt at the opportunity. I mean, sit at home without friends, or go over to see some friends and have good food? No-brainer, right?

So, at about 16:30, Lynn came to fetch me and we went to Ross and Justin’s home. We arrived a good hour or so before supper was scheduled to begin, but that was fine. We hung out in the kitchen chatting and joking, me and my square dancing friends and others whom I’d met maybe once or twice through square dancing, but who were good people.

Ross had set up two tables—their long dining table with all its extension leaves in; and the smaller table, also with its extension leaf, that usually stands out in their library room. That made a total of something like 14 places, and we filled them all. Eleven at us at the long table, and the three late arrivals at the smaller tables.

Because I’d spent most of the previous hour munching tortilla chips with this fantastic sausage and cream cheese dip (there were other ingredients, but I can’t recall what they were) while we chatted and all, I didn’t eat that much of supper. There was tons of food from everyone who’d seen the invite on Facebook, and Ross and Justin made a turkey and pans of two different kinds of dressing as well as ham and cranberry relish. I stuck to the turkey, getting some dark meat (which I have’t had from a turkey for years); cranberry relish, also made with I think oranges and apples; and some dressing from the mushroom-free pan. Also, I made sure to stick to servings I thought I’d be able to eat, and didn’t let my eyes trick me into getting all I thought I wanted. Neither did I get seconds. And, afterward, I had one slice of the mincemeat pie Lynn had made.

I am so glad and thankful I have such good friends that even those I don’t know well welcome me so happily. Lynn could have just gone instead of calling me when his brother bowed out of going, and I’m thankful he thought of me. I’m glad I got to talk and joke with friends I see so rarely—Justin, Rob, Mandi, and Lizz—and I’m thankful for such delicious snacks and a wonderful meal with foods I don’t often get to enjoy. This Thanksgiving couldn’t have been better.

13Nov18: Happy Birthday to Me

Tuesday was my birthday. I did little beyond going to my volunteer shift, practicing my languages, and chatting on the phone with family who wanted to wish me a happy birthday.

4Nov18: By Any Standards

By any standards, Sunday was a wildly productive day. And particularly by my own. I got a lot done, and that’s even with a few hours out of the house at an appointment, having a meal with a friend, and getting groceries in a store whose floor plan has been different every single time I’ve gone in there for the past couple of months. They’re remodeling the grocery section of my Smith’s Marketplace, so it’s all a mess there. I had to go up and down literally every aisle yesterday to find what I needed, because, even if the shelves hadn’t been taken out, nothing I needed was in the place it used to be. It’s going to be fantastic when they’re done, but it’s definitely a madhouse right now.

In addition to getting to my knee appointment, dining with Katie, and going for groceries, I Did my languages, called my sister Erin for a 40 min call and my friend Anita for an hour-and-twenty-minute call, and did a plot card on UL since I finished up the last one the other day. Did some D&D prep too, and a kept up with my Task Journal. Before leaving the house, I sorted my pills for the week, which is pretty important. It’s how I know what meds to take and when to take them. Read a bit too, though only very little. Oh, and I even got my 250 words!

So, a very productive day for me!

2Nov18: More Than I Thought Done

I definitely didn’t hit on everything on Friday, but I got quite a bit done. Languages, posting DH03CH09 to Wattpad, posting the prompt to my MeWe page, working on my journal, going to my therapy appointment. I also took a nap and went out with a couple of friends. And I got my 250 words, which I thought I wouldn’t get to. So a pretty good day at the end of it.

28Oct18: Tired Sunday

I got a whopping 5 hours sleep Saturday night, so I was still tired when I got up Sunday. Much as I wanted to sleep until 10:00 or 11:00, I couldn’t, because water was being shut off for repairs around 10:00 and I didn’t want to be home during any time it was off, so I headed to Oasis at around 09:55.

So I did Lynn’s D&D, and I canceled Movie night ’cause Daz was too tired to join. I got my languages done, but did little else. Mostly idled away the hours, even after I took a 2 hour nap after arriving home. Went to bed a little after 01:00.

27Oct18: Masks and MOTS

I didn’t get nearly as much done on Saturday as I intended. Well, not of intended tasks. Did get my languages done and posted here. Also chatted with my friend Katie and arranged to go quilting at her place on Monday. Chatted with Mom twice on the phone and had her over for a visit as well.

But I spent most of the day working on 2 projects: Masks, and the first book of my Masters of the Schism series. It felt good to dig into Masks, but even better to work on MOTS1. An epiphany hit, and I sorted out the first several chapters of scenes because I now know what to do with book 1. Before, I had no idea how to end the plot threads to either (seemingly unrelated) storyline.

So there it is! a productive day working on long-incomplete WIPs!

22Oct18: Movie Night a Day Late

Monday night game was canceled pretty early in the afternoon because Christian and Steffanie, the hosts, were going to a play instead. Over the rest of the afternoon, I chatted with Mom, got my AEP post up here, neatened my living room from Sunday’s grocery trip (picked up all the reusable grocery bags). At some point, Varick contacted me about holding Movie Night that night since we hadn’t been able to meet on Sunday, and I agreed. So Varick came to my place, and I did my languages before we met with Daz, and we all headed up to Smith’s to get the makings for a fancy hearty ramen meal before we settled in for the movie. It was all yummy, and I couldn’t even finish my entire bowl, so Daz and Varick split it between them. After that, we settled in to watch Iron Man, which was an incredibly fun ride. We put the house in order before Daz and Varick left after the movie, and I settled in to meet my writing goal. Instead of 250 words, I did another plot card on Unwritten Letters since I’d finished writing out the last plot card.

15Oct18: Social Day

It was a good Monday, I think. Went to Kit’s D&D at Oasis Games, then came home with Kit and had Daz and Varick over for some social time. Kit and Daz worked on Kit’s character sheet for the Saturday Game Daz wants to get going eventually, and Varick and I chatted while frozen pizzas baked. Got my languages and 250 words after they left too.

14Oct18: Exhaustion Sunday

For all that it was an exhaustion day, Sunday was productive. Yes, I went to bed, but I laid awake talking into my CPAPSu mask for 3 hours so finally gave up and got out of bed. Before going to bed, I watched a movie with my friend Daz, too.

After trying to sleep, I did my languages, wrote notes for a new idea, sorted my pills, got my 250 words, went to Lynn’s D&D, and watched a movie with Varick. After that, I read a couple of my incomplete wips then hit the sack. I’m glad the day was productive.

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