Christmas is Stressful

Hello everyone,

I’ve been thinking about how we all do too much for Christmas. Too many gifts, too many meals, too much travel. It’s not good on us, and it isn’t good on the environment. Do you know how much trash we throw away because of all of this gift giving? A lot. Think about the wrapping, the boxes for each thing, and all the cheap crap they package these items in.

But at the same time, we want to see our families. I don’t really think that’s a bad thing, I guess. But if you have a family with various parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and friends who you want to see, and each of you all have spouses with the same on their side, it becomes quite a mess.

I think we all need to just step back and realize we can’t do everything, can’t see everyone, and just be happy with what we can do. Don’t schedule 2 or 3 meals with different groups on the same day, because you’ll feel rushed, stressed, and won’t enjoy any of it.

My theory is, just try to schedule 1 thing a day, if at all possible, and just be happy with what you can do. Don’t schedule every single day full, leave yourself time to recover and relax. Yes, there are going to be special things with people you haven’t seen forever, but don’t pressure yourself too much, just enjoy what time you can manage with the family and friends you can see, and don’t dwell on the ones you can’t see.

That’s my take, anyway.

And the gifts. Ugh. Why do we find it necessary to buy a million gifts for each child? Give them a couple of gifts they will really care about, and then spend time with them. If you give them a million toys they won’t/can’t enjoy them all. Mostly, they won’t remember what you give them by this time next year. But you know what they will remember? A really fun time with a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, etc.

So cliche, I know.

Personally, my most memorable things from my childhood Christmas times don’t involve the gifts at all, or only tangentially. My strongest memories are things like playing games with my family or going riding around and looking at all the lights together.

And the meals! I’ve been to some of these meals where there are five gazillion different things, just trying to make everyone coming happy and give a variety. But you know what? Most people eat the basics first, anyway, and only one person here and there really seem to care about the extras. And then we have the poor person hosting the meal making this huge meal with so many different items, when they could have relaxed a little more and made fewer things. Or better yet–everyone split it up and bring a dish or two each.

Anyway, I just felt like venting on here, mostly because I’m doing my best to avoid reading anything too closely related to Star Wars until we get to see it next week, so of course that’s about the only thing other than Christmas I can think of at the moment.

Everyone have a good Christmas, if I don’t post again until after, and have a good weekend!

Vague Book Talk

I’ve been working on my book with the robot. I have run into some issues that I have to work out here, though. Mostly, there is a point when I need a character to make a realization, and it’s important that I lay the groundwork correctly. There needs to be enough evidence for this character without someone just coming out and saying it to them. I’m trying to drop hints along the way, but it’s hard. I need it to be obvious for the reader, but not so much for the character, which is a difficult line to walk.

And that was all probably really vague. Argh. Still, it’s a work in progress, so I’m not saying too much about it here.

So what else is going on in life?

I’ve had a strange feeling that there is another story percolating somewhere in the back of my brain, and it might be a good one if I can just figure out what the heck it is. I don’t even have characters yet, just a vibe that there are pieces falling into place, which is a vibe I’ve gotten a couple of other times with other books. We’ll see where that goes.

We had an old Commodore 64 that would only show a blue screen, no text. We got that fixed (bad basic rom chip), but now we’ve found that there are memory issues, so we have to dig into that. Parts are on order, so we might move on to see if we can get that old TRS-80 working.

We’re planning on trying a bread maker. It just seems the gluten free bread we find is incredibly bad or too expensive, so I’m going to give making it myself a shot. I’ve made bread at home, but I just want to see if this makes it a bit easier. Also, I’ve never really made a yeast bread, so we’ll be trying that soon.

So anyway, everyone have a great weekend.

Working On New Story

So yeah, working on story with the robot. I’m kind of liking where it is going, but it needs some tweaking here at the beginning. Also, I’ve already renamed a major character. Her name just didn’t sound right to me. It’s better now than later on.

So how do character names affect the character perception, anyway? I mean this is actually something I think a lot about. When was the last time you saw a mob boss named Wally? Or a President named Delbert? A brilliant scientist named Tawny? We all know they can be named that, but it’s not our first thoughts with those names. At least not mine. I picture Wally as an easy going going, maybe shop keeper or gardener, for example.

So maybe the fact that I can’t think of those names in those roles is the biggest problem. I suppose that makes sense. A name has to feel right to me for me to get in the head of the character while I write them. Unless they are a side character, I have to be very careful with names. I could see writing a character whose name doesn’t fit their personality or role in the story at all, either as a form of misdirection or just ironically, but it would take a very special situation for me to feel comfortable doing that.

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Last night I pulled up the video for the song ‘Same Love’, by Macklemore & Lewis. I just thought I’d listen to it quickly and go on. Instead I started thinking of the first time I heard it, and also the first time I heard it along with my wife. We weren’t married yet, but we were pretty much set on doing that as soon as we possibly could. Anyway, I remember that night, and I remember fighting back tears in the car. I know it’s just a song, really, but it’s the thought behind in it.

We’ve come a long way in that short time since that song came out. It seems like there are those out there who are attacking at all times, trying their very best to claw back all our hard fought rights. But the thing to remember is where we were at that time and where we are now. These were a couple of guys in a part of the music industry that wasn’t exactly the most gay-friendly part. They did this anyway. Yeah, they became more famous and popular for it, but it was a huge risk for them. I think they did it because they felt strongly that it was the right thing.

It’s little things like that which ended up changing hearts and minds in this country. It’s going to take more, for sure, but that was a small step. Marriage equality had a lot of things stacking up against it at the time, but we overcame all that and now can all marry. There are more battles to win, such as ENDA, but it’s going to take people making little stands for what they believe in. If you make those little stands when you feel strongly, others sometimes come along. A few at a time, but then that few brings a few with them, and they bring a few with them, and supporters grow. I think we need to try to focus less on the negatives–the administration we have that is pushing so hard against LGBTQ people, for one– and instead focus on taking steps and bringing others along. At least that is what I try to remind myself.

Anyway, everyone have a great weekend!