Old and New

Most of my social media feeds show people reflecting on 2020 and planning for 2021. I am not a planner–not even what’s for dinner–but I do make an effort to at least sketch out a calendar with important dates. This year I tried to at least look at what I accomplished in 2020. In a year of global ups and downs, I have to admit my year was mostly up.

Ups: I opened the year getting 3rd place in a local short story contest (Transplant), then got 1st place in August (All Saints). I published my 4th book (Valkyrie) in May, finished my 1st manuscript for a new series-The Cerveza Chronicles, and made headway on the 2nd novel. I participated in National Write a Novel Month for the 5th time, and PitchWars for the 1st time.

My learning process continued with (in person and online) meetings and classes for Skywarn, TCU Center of Texas Studies, Texas Discovery Gardens, Sisters in Crime (North Dallas, Heart of Texas, Houston, North California, National), Bourchercon-Sacramento, Writer’s Guild of Texas, Dallas Mystery Writers, Dallas Area Writers Group (DAWG), Roanoke Writers Conference, Writer’s Organizations ‘Round Dallas (WORD), and Frisco Area Writers Group (FAWN). Basically, if they let me in, I took notes.

My oldest–Myrtle the Elder–came to visit in January and bought her first home in February. She also got a new puppy–a Boston Terrier name Moose. My other granddogs are doing well. Doc had a bloody ear, but otherwise avoided having his stomach pumped again (win!). I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends through Zoom, Discord, texting, and the occasional porch or driveway visit.

T’s Adventures in Cooking including learning to fill tamales (yum!), making my first chicken and dumplings and beef stew, my first cobbler (blog post-Drunk Peaches), not-my-first-but-it’d-been-awhile Thanksgiving turkey, and the best smoked Christmas ham with a cranberry-dijon glaze (seriously good and ham isn’t my favorite meat).

Downs: In March, my husband and I had to put our 15 year old black lab to sleep (blog post-My Boy). I still miss my boy.

Covid-19 affected everyone I know in one way or another. One family member (a nurse) caught it early on but recovered. Friends went into strict quarantine due to health concerns, and most transitioned their work to home. My job (occupational therapist) doesn’t have the luxury of working from home, but we did have to decrease our hours temporarily. Fortunately, my employer did everything they could to keep us working, and I had over 100 hours of vacation time (because I forget to plan time off) accumulated to offset the difference.

Personally, I haven’t allowed the pandemic to limit me. I live my life, wear a mask, and respect others space. It doesn’t work for many, but it works for me.

What does 2021 hold for T?

No clue. I’m attempting to make a few plans. I’m going to take the leap and query agents for The Cerveza Chronicles. Honestly, I’m not sure how patient I will be with that process, but we’ll see. I am a new board member of Writers Guild of Texas (pray for them, they know not what possessed them). Any and all classes, meetings, critiques, contests, etc that I am capable of participating in, shall be participated in. And Myrtle the Younger and I will continue our Adventures in Cooking (she got a tiny waffle maker for Christmas-yummy!) so stay tuned for whatever crazy whim we get a taste for, without setting the kitchen on fire (it’s a skill I haven’t mastered yet. My mother has achieved that greatness at least 3 times that I know of).

Many blessing to all for a HEALTHY and SAFE 2021!

T.

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