2014 in review (by stats helper monkeys)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 740 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Advertisements

It’s Morning!

My morning is off to a pretty great start. Look at that, I just said morning and it absolutely is. Do you know how many weeks it’s been since I said morning and it actually was morning?!?

I’m up early this morning for a bunch of different reasons. First and foremost, because it is the first day of the return of #WritingChallenges for #EroticWriters and I wanted to be sure that it all worked the way it was supposed to. So far, so good.

Then, the older kids are coming home today and will be home right around noon. If it were a normal day, I’d still be upstairs in bed sleeping with Carter at that time. I woke up when The Boyfriend went to work this morning so that I could be sure to be awake when the older kids get home. I’m surprisingly more excited than I expected about them coming home. Cannot wait for Carter to have someone else to play with!

I’ve got a lot more stuff planned for today, all mostly online stuff. I do plan on cleaning the kitchen at some point today, but we did a bunch of cleaning last night, so my offline to-do list is dramatically shorter. I want to write a buttload of blog posts, but first I need to write those of which are necessary – then I can write for fun.

I wrote a post awhile back on my bucket list that has been getting a few comments. I need to go back and update it, to make it more clear that Alfie and I are no longer together. So I’ve gotten a few comments about “you just need to (a) where your relationship with Alfie is concerned”, and it’s amazing how hard it is to respond to those ones nicely. Mainly because of all the crappy drama that went down between Alfie and I (especially in terms of that post), although we seemed to get over it well enough and are friendly with each other, so I can’t really complain about anything.

Ah, the problems of a blog-a-holic 😉

Just to clarify, for those of you who may not know, Alfie and The Boyfriend are two different people. Alfie is Kaeidyn, Kenzie and Keirnan’s Dad, The Boyfriend is Carter’s Dad. Alfie is my ex-boyfriend, The Boyfriend is my current boyfriend.

It’s a Good Thing I’m Flexible…

For all the bitching and moaning I do about desperately wanting a more controlled life and a routine and blah blah blah, I’m sometimes incredibly thankful that I’m as flexible as I am and that I can roll with the metaphorical punches relatively easily. I mean, it’s not always true. Sometimes, it blows up in my face and I just sit there with my jaw gaping, but for the most part, I roll easily.

I had had all these super big massive plans. January 1st was going to be the date. All these things were going to happen on January 1st and that was the day I was planning them. Out of all the big plans I had made, the laundry list of to-dos, the only thing that got checked off the list – as in, nothing at all left to do – was sending out a tweet.

However, that’s not to say that I’ve given up hope altogether. Just pushed my deadline back a couple days and now, not only am I breathing easier and feeling better than I did during my last post, I’m also thinking that ultimately, it ends up working out better this way. There was a few days where I wasn’t sure how I was going to work them, but now, the problem has been eliminated thanks to extenuating circumstances. Silver linings and all 😉

And even though my deadline got pushed way far back, thanks to a back spasm that just wouldn’t leave me alone, I managed to get the motivation and desire to hash out the final touches on the last remaining projects and now all that’s left to do is the big moment of pushing the publish button and then it’s just a matter of maintaining again.

I guess I still need the routine and all that stuff eventually. But for now, it worked out 😉

 

It’s finally over!!

Christmas, that is. I’m more excited about the end of Christmas than Christmas itself. The older kids left around noon on Christmas day and aside from the constant “I’m bored” from Carter, it’s been beautifully quiet and relatively relaxing.

Christmas was really good too. The Boyfriend ended up doing all the shopping this year during his lunch breaks in the 2 or 3 days leading up to Christmas. He really spoilt the kids like crazy. Kaeidyn got a stereo and a huge makeup kit, Kenzie got lots of lego stuff, Keirnan got Transformers stuff (“just like I wanted”) and Carter got some Minecraft stuff. They were all through the moon with their gifts. I got a cellphone from The Boyfriend, mostly because our house phone crapped out and we both got a new set of dishes.

After the older kids left to their Dad’s house, The Boyfriend, Carter and I went over to his sister’s place for a delicious turkey dinner. It was so different from how it normally works going over – typically there’s about 5 adults and 8 kids and you leave with such a headache from all the noise. This time, there was 4 adults and 2 kids and we left and everyone was quiet and no one had a headache. It was so different.

Today I dedicided, kind of out of the blue, to go over to my Mom’s for a little bit. I just felt a little cooped up and spur of the moment asked if she’d be down for company. That was a nice little bit of time out of the house. Ran into some people from what feels like a really long time ago and spent a little bit of the day in a funk over that and then watched one too many hours of Oprah, so now I’m in that state of kind of heartbroken hope (hopeful heartbreak?) that she has the ability to put me in.

I’ve got lots of stuff that I’m supposed to be doing. I said, when I came back to blogging, that I wasn’t going to do this again and then… Since I’m such a good little blog-a-holic, did exactly what I set out not to do. Although, I’m not doing it in my personal blogging, which I guess means I mostly succeeded.

On my immediate to-do list is add the finishing couple of sentences to two draft posts, queue up three posts, create and add a total of ten to twelve images to those three posts and that’s just what I need to get done in the next 3 or 4 hours. Tomorrow, I have to get to work on writing challenges and for some reason, I just can’t make myself focus on it for anything. Planning all of it, I’m doing great and I’m so organized and that whole part of it is working out beautifully and exactly as planned (yes I plan my planning, don’t you?!?). But actually doing it all… Just need to breathe and get to it!

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to getting 2015 underway. I normally look forward to the coming year because it means the horrible year that has just happened will finally be over. 2014 wasn’t an altogether terrible year. We didn’t have nearly as much drama this year as we have in years past, our finances weren’t as dire as they have been in years past and even parenting, while not by any means easier, wasn’t as challenging as it has been in the past. So instead of looking forward to 2015 to escape the tragedy that was 2014, I’m actually looking forward to 2015 to continue on the decency that was 2014.

It’s a very different way of thinking for me…

A Few of My Favorite Things

Favorite Posts So Far

It’s officially been about six months since I came back from my big long blogging hiatus. In that time, on this blog alone, I’ve written 40 posts (counting this one). So, I thought it would be fun to take a look back on some of my favorite posts over the last year, not only on this blog but also on My Bucket List, my Pictures & Videos and my Writing & Erotica.

Favorites from Valerie Rayne Rants (this blog)

For (E)veryone
For (A)dults

Favorites from Valerie Rayne Writes (Writing & Erotica)

For (A)dults

Favorites from Valerie Rayne Lists (My Bucket List)

For (E)veryone
For (A)dults

Favorites from Valerie Rayne Pics (My Pictures & Videos)

For (E)veryone
For (A)dults

Now that I’ve shared all my favorites with you, I’d love for you to share yours with me. I’d also like to take a moment to thank all of you who have been reading and following. I especially want to thank those who have commented on my posts and the valuable insights you have often given me. Thank you so much for the likes and I hope we keep on having them 😉

Exploding Head Syndrome

I hate that I didn’t spend more of my teenage life reading. I mean, I read quite a bit during those years. Probably just a little bit more than the average teenager, but looking back on it, I wasn’t reading the right books.

Now, not only do I have a buttload of books that I’m trying to read and want to read but I also have all these blogs that I want to read, all these FetLife posts that are super important to read, all this information to consume. And there just simply isn’t enough time in the day.

Yesterday, we went down to visit my Mom and she decided a trip to Value Village was necessary. The kids were all so excited and my thoughts immediately went to books. The last time we were at VV, I got something like 6 books for $12 and one of them was my epic Sherlock Holmes (which I’m still in the process of reading). I love the book section here. Wouldn’t you know I found more books. So now, my bookshelf which is already so full you can longer see wood, has two new-to-me additions (plus a few more kids books), Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf and ManifestA by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards.

I started with Promiscuities because I read The Beauty Myth back in highschool. I’ve always loved Naomi Wolf’s style as a writer and find her writing to be so easily consumable.

It now takes the number of books I’m reading (and this does not include any I’ve started online – except Flatland) up to 8 – 8 books at one time! Which also wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that I am certainly not dedicating enough of my life to all this reading. After realizing all this during a migraine last night and a grumpy wake up this morning, I have decided that I need to get some stuff in order.

I need to set aside a certain time each day to read my offline books – like an hour or a chapter of reading one of these 8 books every night. Then, I need to set a certain time each day to read all my online stuff – and this could potentially get up there in time, because there is just so much!

I haven’t even begun to actually follow blogs yet, just followed my followers back. I’ve taken no time at all to get comfortable with WordPress’ “Reader”, so that I can successfully do what I need to do with all the great stuff I’m reading. Everything’s just a little all over the place and I need to figure out what I need to do to change that.

I have all these plans and ideas. I want to get The Erotic Writers Group back up to full-steam by January, I want to blog about this and that thing and I want to post this and that, and I just have no focus with all these ideas bopping about in my head.

My head just feels a little bit like it’s going to explode. So much I want to do, so much that has to be done, so not enough time in the day or enough energy. Need to make some changes!

Finally Did It!

Well, it only took me forever and a day, but I finally got some stuff checked off my neverending online to-do list and I foresee a night filled with checking off more – assuming I don’t suddenly get ridiculously distracted.

My big “finally did it” moment came when I officially hit the publish button on a post asking for help with The Erotic Writers Group. It’s a pretty big step for me. I do really badly at asking for help in an online atmosphere and will often take on this, “I can do it myself” attitude. Over the years, I’ve learnt that this does not serve me well.

I often get to a point where I absolutely burn out with online work. It just becomes this overwhelming crazy thing to me and I get all caught up in the lack of things or the failure of things and can’t make myself do anything. I often walk away for extended periods of time and often times will just walk away all together – and I hate that and I want it to change.

I need a team. I need a group of people who are interested in some of these things too, so that I’m not so isolated in the backend. People who know what I’m talking about when I try to bounce ideas off of them. People to share this addiction of mine with.

Plus, I think The Erotic Writers Group is so much fun, so useful, so awesome, that I don’t want to walk away from this one. I don’t want to give up and I have so many ideas that I want to bring to life. So, I’m not ready to give up. But I’m definitely not ready to keep doing it alone, because it’s not sustainable.

I’m pretty excited to see what ends up happening from that post. It’s terrifying and awesome all at the same. We’ll see 😉

In a Rut and Slacking

I’ve been slacking something fierce the last little bit. Pretty much since the last post that I did and that depressed rut has been lingering about me ever since. I wouldn’t say that I’m depressed, just that it’s there hovering around me.

I’ve been writing a lot, probably a lot more than usual. Although I tend to force out a paragraph and then the screen-staring begins and I can never bring myself to push publish. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get all these paragraph-long drafts into something more than that, but it’s just not going anywhere.

It’s been cold, really cold, these last few days and I’ve been spending a huge portion of my day trying to hide from that. I can’t tell you how many times the house has to listen to me complain about it. I’m ready to get winter over and done with and it hasn’t even truly begun yet… It’s going to be a long couple of months!

I’m going out with my Mom tomorrow afternoon, which I’m definitely looking forward to. It’s been a bit since I got to get out of the house for anything other than errands that needed to be done, so I’m hoping it will be nice and relaxing. I have to decide what I want to do for the two hours we’ve got between dropping Carter off and picking him up, and I’m not exactly sure what I’m in the mood for. I wish we had a cooler museum or something…

I’ve been completely neglecting everything to do with The Erotic Writers Group, going on officially two weeks now. I am trying my best not to beat myself up about it but I totally am. Which I guess is better than just not caring… I have every intention of jumping back on that bandwagon and picking up exactly where we left off, but I’m having a hard time getting there…

I couldn’t even tell you what’s holding me back from getting anything out there, but I just kind of feel a little paralyzed every single time I try to do anything there. I go to write a blog post, paralyzed. I go to schedule up challenges, paralyzed. I go to work on ideas for other stuff related to the group, paralyzed. And I just can’t seem to get past it. Not sure why…

However, in all the stuff that I didn’t get done, I have been doing a relatively decent job in keeping up with the kids’ school work, I’ve been on The Boyfriend’s butt regularly about keeping up on the laundry, and I did finally get another photo installation up (finally!). So, three things checked off the never-ending to-do list that is my life…

I’m curious, what are some of the out-of-the-box alternative ways that you pull yourself out of a rut? How do you avoid getting trapped?

Sick and Trying to Write

First week of school done, first snowfall of the year and everyone is getting sick! Carter started two days ago with a runny nose that has now turned into a full-out cold. Kenzie started last night and I woke up this morning with a very prominent tickle in my throat. Which means that by tomorrow, I will be incapacitated to my chair under a big fluffy blanket and the most you’ll get out of me is a cough here or there.

I hate getting sick. It’s just about the worst thing. They’re always worse than you think they’re going to be, they always make you feel gross for days and just when you get over one, another one is just around the corner. It’s very depressing.

And that’s right, I said above snowfall. That dreadful white stuff, which we weren’t supposed to get, started falling and ever since the weather has been some slushy rain coldness. Needless to say, it’s been freezing cold and none of us were prepared for it. Stupid Alberta…

Not too much else has been going on. I got through another bunch of chapters of Brave New World and am enjoying the story immensely so far (also started a story inspired by it…). The Boyfriend and I worked our butts off the other day to get the kitchen clean, even pulling out the fridge – which was definitely needed! Other than that, it’s mostly be computer time for me.

Lots of The Sims 3 being played, tons getting done for The Erotic Writers Group and have spent the last couple of days testing out Scrivener. It was suggested by the group and so far, I’m liking it for organizing story pieces. I’m still setting up all my folders and backend stuff, so that I get into the crunch of writing some of The Brighton Tales, because seriously, I am so ready for this story to be out of my head, on paper, for consumption.

I’m having a really difficult time on choosing a name for the female slave in this story, which is making the writing much more difficult. Up until now, I’ve mostly just referred to her by pronouns and when I’ve written something that requires a name, I’ll just little brackets, because I’m not exactly sure what I want to call her. I know that I want her to have a normal “Brighton” name (although, what is that even?!?) and then she gets called the same thing as all the other slaves once she’s ritually taken by Atticus. What to call her, hell, even what to call the slaves – haven’t quite figured that out yet…

Slaves are even the wrong word to use for those in service to the Kingdom of Brighton. I hate when the words trip you up on the writing!