Cherry Saturday, December 28, 2019

It’s Write A Business Plan Month, and since I’m in the business of living, I think I’m gonna go for a Business of Living Plan. This should not be mistaken for a list of New Year Resolutions because I’m against those. This is more of a “Things I Intend To Do To Make Living More Excellent in 2020.” They are not ways to improve myself. Screw that. They are Fabulous Living Plans. Entirely different thing. For example, I can have as many French fries as I want on this Fabulous Living Plan because it does not involve restricting my food intake in any way. I may have to do that as another part of my life, but it does not go on this list.

I’m still working on my list, but it’s definitely going to include:

Painting and drawing again. A million years ago, I got an art degree. Very lately I have been wanting to paint again, lovely thick creamy acrylics, misty layers of water color, even the wonderful smoosh of oils. And pencil drawing, that thick and thin line, conte crayon on tinted paper, colored pencils like a rainbow . . . I dream about all of that now. And I bought new paints and brushes.

Setting up a working office again. I know this sounds like a resolution, but it’s not. I have this living room that’s lovely that I never use except to watch TV when Krissie is here. That’s dumb. I have an office that I never use because I’ve crammed all my writing and craft stuff in it. That’s dumb. But if I turn the living room into an office with a TV and some nice big chairs and a huge white board and a good desk . . . That room I would wallow in.

Setting up a studio again. And then I could use the back room that used to be an office for a studio since it’s mostly windows. I’m loving this idea.

Spending more time outside with the dogs. I live in Paradise, I should wallow in it. Unless there are bears. Then we come inside so the dogs do not become Bear Snacks.

Experimenting with my writing. As Sondheim once said, “If you know where you’re going, you’ve gone. Move on.” I have no idea what I want to write, but I’m looking at the unfinished things I have and thinking that maybe they’re unfinished because I wasn’t giving them enough room to be what they needed to be. I’ve always thought of myself as an outside-the-box romance writer, but it’s possible to be that and then spend thirty years (!!!) just building a bigger box.

Stick with the therapy. Therapy is saving my life right now. There are times when I think, “Really, I have a handle on this now.” And then I realize my issues need more than one handle. Like those suitcases that have one on the top and two on the sides and a big strap for over your shoulder and then two straps to carry it like a back pack? I need more handles so back to therapy. Also I love my therapist. Every time I say, “Fuck you, Jamie,” she laughs and says, “NOW we’re getting someplace.”

Crochet a lot. It’s like valium, except it’s yarn which makes me feel good without messing with my head and when I’m done I have stuff to give people.

There’s probably more, but those are things I want to do, not because they’ll be Good For Me (eat more green veggies! exercise every day! stop ordering things online!) but because they’ll make me feel good, living my best life. It’s a plan.

Needless to say, I’m expecting all of you to make a Business of Living Plan, too. The key is that nothing on it can be guilt-inducing or something you don’t want to do. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Nothing But Good Times Ahead. Howard Makes House Calls. (Sorry, Aunt Snack, I am stealing that sucker.)

So what’s in your business plan?

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51 thoughts on “Cherry Saturday, December 28, 2019

  1. I love your Business of Living Plan, Jenny–I hope it all works for you. I think the main thing on mine is to chill the hell out. I’ve been such a mess of a woman for the last year, but now, I’m settling into my new house, getting some writing done, working on editing gigs that will help pay for the new house, and feeling pretty good. I’m anxious to get back to the pool in January (I had to quit the gym by my old house a few months ago because my insurance stopped paying for it, but starting January 1, my insurance once again pays for gym membership, so I found a new gym with a great pool near my house, so I’m excited to get back in the water), and to walk the new neighborhood and meet our neighbors. I’m going to finish knitting the blanket I started for Husband last spring and maybe find some other things I want to work on. Knitting is MY valium for all the same reasons crocheting is yours. And I’m going to plan the writing trip that Liz and I are taking to PEI–that will be heaven!

  2. This is a lovely idea. I just got back from the Mayo Clinic and part of my health plan, ordered by my fabulous doctors, is to do things that make me happy. I have to retrain my brain to relax and have fun. Central sensatition isn’t for woosies. So, I’m going to start cross-stitching again, and maybe color. I’m going to make an effort to reconnect with friends and ride my horse more often.
    Good luck, Jennie, and everyone else. On to 2020!

  3. I’ve never done New Years resolutions. I think a business plan for living better is a great idea. I just moved to a new house and adding a room edition. That is going to be only for creative enrichment: reading, writing, drawing, painting and gardening. Etc. it overlooks new garden beds so I’d like it to look like a conservatory with all the houseplants. I have to go ponder then write it all up. Thanks for the idea.

  4. More crochet and cross stitich. Not having something like that to work on just doesn’ do it for me. Even if I don’t do it everyday.

    I’ve always wanted to have two dogs but wondered if that would really work out full time. I’m fostering one now so I am going to explore that option. One dog for a time and two dogs for a time Also Tantaka can be an only child at times.

    And more non-partisan political work. (That makes me really happy.)

    Gardening, too. And that includes drinking coffee and reading on my porch amid my plants.

  5. More gardening, because it makes me feel good even while it wrecks my neck. Get rid of stuff in the house. I’m not a hoarder in the greater sense of the word, but stuff does tend to hand around long past its useful date. Yes, experiment with my writing. I’m already doing that – in the middle of a novella and having fun with it – and I’d like to do it more.

  6. I’ve been thinking along the same lines. My paper piles are a scandal, so I’m working on them, and throwing away things like old letters from dear friends with the resolve to just write some more letters back to them.
    I have very little living space that is actually mine, so I need to keep it working and uncluttered by old stuff. Uncluttered in general is just not in the picture…

  7. My longest kept New Years’ Resolution is and has been to Never Again Make a New Year Resolution. I don’t remember when I made it, but it’s somewhere in my LiveJournal archives. I reasoned then that there was nothing magical about January 1, and if you could make and keep a resolution, you could do it anytime. I’m not changing that philosophy next week.

    You got a degree in Art, and you’re many kinds of artist, including the art of writing and teaching writing to others. My degree (Associates) is in Engineering. My private studies are mostly computer sciences, but not the useful kind. You do crochet and the like. I do… something to do with books.

    Since the day I moved into my daughter’s garage/lair/man-cave (another date in the LJ archives), I’ve had to pair away old accumulation. My VHS collection and player have gone to Goodwill. My hardback/trade paperback/paperback book collections ave chiefly been donated to libraries, though some have waited until they were replaced with ebooks. My “treebook” collection now takes less than two feet of shelf space.

    A huge amount of my eLibrary started as Microsoft Reader (.lit) files and good ol’ HTML. HTML is still the absolute best format due to its portability and versatility. MSReader… well, not even Microsoft supports that format any more. Fortunately, there was a plethora of conversion software available for changing .lit to .html or something else that somebody somewhere supports. That was where the non-Kindle Crusie books on my drives came from, and a bunch of Bujold and others.

    Another lovely format no longer supported by the owner is MobiPocket (.mobi or .prc). Mobipocket reader is a lovely program for organizing and reading Mobi books, and there’s a Mobiwriter utility for creating .prc files from .html. So why is it no longer supported? It was bought by Amazon and turned into Kindle. Kindle can read all my .prc and .mobi files – alas, MobiReader can’t read Kindle proprietary formats.

    Except, there are those utilities for converting between formats. I like to break my books into .html, which is the clean source code for all the other formats. Then I can, just for example, take the four Bujold Sharing Knife novels and turn it into a single book for .mobi or Kindle. Everything I own that used to require MSReader can now be read with Mobi or Kindle. I love combining trilogies into single volumes. I love it more when the publisher does it for me, but DIY is a lot of fun.

    Aside: It’s the Fourth Day of Christmas, the day of the four colly (black) birds. Twenty more, and we could make blackbird pie – but that’s another song altogether.

    1. I started with a Nook. It broke way too soon. I bought a second one. But it started glitching a couple years in. So, I switched to a Kindle.

      Now a huge chunk of my books are on a dicey Nook. I don’t want to buy another, but they can’t be converted and moved to the Kindle.

      E-books. Pros and cons to them.

      1. Diane, check out calibre-ebook management software. It’s free and safe, and very good for converting ebook types, importing from and exporting to ereaders.
        You can install Calibre on a laptop or PC, then import the books from your dicey Nook to Calibre if you can connect the Nook to the laptop with a USB-cable.
        Then you can convert the books in Calibre to .mobi (if Nook uses a different format), and send them from Calibre to your Kindle email address.
        You could also read them in Calibre itself, on your laptop, or on any future ereader you might switch to.

          1. Let me agree with Everything Henneke said. There are even You-Tube How To videos that explain every step. I’ve used Calibre for years now. It is chief among those utilities I mention but didn’t specify.

            I briefly owned a Nook, but preferred the Kindle. I didn’t waste a lot of money on .epub format books, but I did convert most of my eLibrary at the time. I gave the Nook to the dotter, who used it as a tablet until it died. I’m on my third Kindle – they all still work fine, even the oldest one with mechanical buttons instead of touchscreen.

            As a recommendation, convert everything from epub to html and mobi. Html can be read by any browser. Keep the epub, too. There are readers for that as well.

  8. Jenny, my Mom would be SO HAPPY that you are using her motto re: house calls. I would often tease her that she wanted to mother the whole world and now, thanks to you and the internet, she can.

      1. Her second most common admonition was, “Howard hasn’t abdicated.” She had a lot of faith.
        But I’m almost positive that the Howard/Lord’s Prayer variation came from my brother, Peter, who would also be happy to share.

  9. Meh, I don’t do business plans or any plans more than three months in advance, really. I guess right now I have to plan out what to do in the winter since I couldn’t get what I wanted and I’m not really excited or enthused about my options that remain.

  10. I like your idea of a living better plan. I don’t do resolutions, but I do usually set a general goal for the year. The one for this year was “Embrace Joy.” That included spending more time and energy on friends and people who gave me joy, and I did manage to pull that off to some extent. But it wasn’t really a joyous year, no matter how much I appreciated whatever joy came my way.

    So maybe I need a plan that will increase the amount of joy in my life. (You know, one that isn’t just “blow up the patriarchy.”) I’m not completely sure yet what this includes, although continuing to focus on the people I value is definitely on the list. I had a great plan for a trip in July out to the West coast I was really excited about…that seems to have blown up in the last week, alas, since it centered around going to RWA Nationals in San Francisco. (I’ve never been there.) We’ll see.

    Maybe I’ll start with writing what I feel like writing, instead of what my agent thinks she might possibly think she can sell, since it seems like we can’t sell anything, anyway.

    I plan to spend January, February, and early March hibernating. But if I turn into a bear, I promise not to eat your dogs.

        1. Black bears don’t actually hibernate. They do this deep sleep thing called torpor where they wake up every now and then and go out and knock over a trash can.

          I do something similar. I stay in my pjs in bed with my computer 24/7, and go out every now and then to pick up a trash can. I recommend it.

    1. I went for “Choose Joy” one year, and it was remarkable how many people tried to make me take another choice. Evidently joy is not practical or profitable.

      1. I’m setting my goals lower this year. Instead of “Choose joy” I’m going with “Choose anything that doesn’t make your head explode.” Still a short list.

    2. I hope you go to San Francisco for a visit no matter if the RWA plans aren’t ones you want to follow through on. Green Apple bookstore on Clement St. is so worth a visit. Taking the ferry from the Ferry Building over to Sauslito is a fun few hours. So many nature places to hike, so many city things to enjoy.

      1. My friend who was going to share a room with me (although not attend the con) lives about an hour from SF and was going to be my native guide. She and her family go so often they have yearly passes to all the museums. I’d love to go, but I’m not sure I can justify the trip if it isn’t a business expense to fly across the country.

  11. I’ll come back to this, it’s great, and I want to ruminate, but I’m several glasses of pinot gris down and there’s delicious smells coming from the barbecue.

    I’m on just to share: Reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown (while others cook) (excellent, and yes, I know it’s not Thursday), and someone addresses an email to her as Miss Chloe Button Brown and I nearly cried (figuratively) because I really want Nita. And this isn’t a complaint, or a nudge, or anything like that, because hey, I’m not the writer, you don’t need my permission to write whatever the hell you like (which I’ll undoubtedly read) but yeah, an acknowledgement of an unfulfilled wish.

    I’ve heard that May Peterson (book necromancer) had an excellent reputation for helping writers see their way through books they’re draining in. Just saying. (God, just saying is really up there in the list of terrible sayings).

    Who knew? Apparently, Pinot Gris breeds parentheses.

  12. Intend to get more Sleep, spent most of the year sleep deprived and read more new books… my TBR pile fills the house and I only managed to read a few handful of new books this year. Try to do new things …i.e go to dessert bar and try souffle pancakes… Start finishing UFOs… have completed pieces of knitted elephants, patchwork quilts etc try to finish at least one so I can be happy about it… see I made that slightly lopsided blanket

  13. I envy you people with specific desires. I want to feel centered and interested. I guess just going to try living inside of that outlook, and see what life brings me to interact with. Hmm, maybe I better specify happy in there too – could be VERY interesting without being happy.

    HAPPY – you got that part, universe?

  14. I like the idea of a life plan. Already checked one off the list – get a dog. I had a bad flu with complications in December and spent the better part of the month feeling unwell. As an active person, being physically unable to walk my dog or do much of anything was challenging. As much as I like the idea of working full-time, my current job is not good for me. So I have made the decision to retire in 2020. I’ve been earning my own money since I was 12 and while I have a good pension and savings, giving up a salary is a scary proposition for me. However, it feels like the right time to re-think my life. I know it will include gardening, crafting and new adventures.

  15. Love this idea!

    Uproot my living situation: I live in a place that is the opposite of Paradise for me and I’ve been very unhappy here. My husband’s dream job is here. So the current plan is for us to sell the suburban home, since we no longer need this large space, and at least move into a much smaller home in a more lively neighborhood. And to travel as much as I can to the places I actually love being in. I’m getting pushback from family, because our mortgage is so reasonable and it doesn’t make financial sense to do what I want. But I think my happiness is important. I’ve been so sad for ages now and tried so hard to make living in this horrible sterile area work.

    Baby steps for the move: there’s so much to do to get a house ready to sell and to downsize that looking at the big picture is daunting.

    Keep making things: I’m not a trained artist, but I love making things. I’ll miss my art room, formerly out son’s bedroom. I’m thing backyard shed for the future.

    Keep walking: and maybe add some swimming, if I can get into a neighborhood near a public pool.

    Try to steer clear of doctors: 2019 was the year of being sick with so many minor things. I’m very lucky they were minor, but the end result was I felt sick most of the year. I’m just getting over the cold I caught in early December.

    1. I hear you, Diane. Downsizing is going to take time here too. I need to find the perfect or as near to perfect configuration in a house or condo. Although, a condo mat mean the extra craft, sewing, etc room. Need to have one.

      1. Right??

        And knowing whether or not we can afford what I’m minimally hoping for won’t happen until we sell the house, the safe but not happy situation. So we could sell it, and then end up with nothing to buy. It’s not easy to get a feel for the market in the middle of winter, when almost nothing is for sale.

        I just came up from our dusty basement, a.k.a., the rubbish pit. There’s no way I’ll get this done by myself. I’m trying to find a service that will come and, for a fee, just haul mass quantities of stuff away. I’ve already gone through and packed and donated what was worth donating. All that’s left is old broken stuff that no one wants.

        I guess donation places are overflowing these days. The ones near my place won’t take most of what I had to donate. Free by the curb didn’t work. Free on a couple of online services didn’t work. Depressing. The message for the future is that I should never buy anything new again.

        1. Right and the kiddos don’t want anything. One is so minimalist it’s a wonder their girls can have any toys in their bedroom. If they really want something it is ”this can fit in your house, Grammy!” The other son is much less so minimalist.

          You are a few steps ahead, going through everything now. Shredding, sorting, donating, giving away as much as I can. Really thinking three times over when I buy things now.

  16. Last year, I knew exactly what my plan for the year was — a year to build and grow.

    But this year, I’m having trouble getting past the must/should stuff to figure out what I really WANT to do. The only thing that comes up — and it’s a biggie, so maybe it’s enough — is that I desperately want to at least find a new place to live, or have a solid plan for one, if not actually close on it before the end of the year. I’ve been watching for listings on Zillow, but it’s just preliminary stuff, figuring out if there are houses in what I think is my price range where I want to live. So I guess in 2020 I’ll do more hands-on stuff, actually visiting the areas and perhaps an open house or two.

    Beyond that, I’m looking forward to more quilting, more storytelling, more patient-advocacy volunteering (outside of an official group).

  17. This coming year is the year my boyfriend and I take strides to find a happy work life balance. The biggest is finding a job that doesn’t make us miserable. It’s a better job than the last, but waking up 5 days a week upset to go to work, and dreading the end of Sunday is not healthy. I’m tired of not being happy. Part of this is being present, and happy with the present vs. Unfulfilled expectations. We are starting slow, but I want a change. The original plan was 3 years at this job to build a fund, but the thought of being unhappy for three years makes me go down a dark path, so change. He needs a job that is more than paycheck to paycheck. He’s taking certification courses now. So that’s excellent. I need to figure out what the hell to do. Harder. Blegh. But happy new year, and positive life plans to all!

  18. My plan for the year is returning to the things that gave me pleasure in the past. I want to cook more often and invite people over to share it with me. I want to take a class or join a group where I can meet some people who share some of my values and/or interests. I plan to shop less on the internet and more in real life. I know that brick and mortar retail is struggling these days and I am going to spend my money in ways that support people who sell and make items that are unique before they cease to exist.

    I’m going to bake for people again. I stopped because I couldn’t have all those cookies around and still stay on, or at least near, my diet. I think that if I bake smaller amounts throughout the year, I can still share the pleasures of my very excellent recipe collection without torpedoing anybody’s diet.

    I’m going to tell people I appreciate them. It is so easy for me to get stuck on complaining and bemoaning the things that have been lost that I forget the ones that are still here. This year I will share my appreciation for what is here.

  19. All of the above, check. And balance as much as possible.

    Yes, to cooking again, sewing, writing and finish the painting I started a year and half ago. Finding a new home, looked a bit this past year, hoping the right one at the right price will be in our future.

  20. I want my life to be more merry-go-round, less rollercoaster next year.

    But it’s definitely not a “SMART” goal – so much of the out of control feeling is quite literally stuff that’s out of my control – so I don’t think there’s really a way to plan for that other than to to ask for the intervention of Howard and the universe to be as gentle with me and those I love as is good for us.

  21. My plan is to survive through July and then do all the things I haven’t been able to because insane amounts of work—which will end in July. Visit son in Boston and daughter in London. Pick blackberries and make jam. Maybe take ballet and try playing piano again.
    Kill invasive vines while pretending they are members of the administration. Throw a tea party or two. Go on a couple weekends away with DH. Possibly travel with him for work once or twice if he goes somewhere interesting. And maybe sort our bookshelves.

  22. BALANCE is my plan. I’m juggling a lot of things, and some family responsibilities are about to fall pretty heavily on m. So I’m thinking about things like priorities, structure, and boundaries.

    Priorities: I want to make sure I don’t just focus on what “must” be done, but also make time for what I want to do. And that I DEprioritize things that should indeed be deprioritized.

    Structure: I don’t want to make myself crazy with juggling. I want to handle things one at a time, in a sane, well-paced way.

    Boundaries: I’ve got to get better at saying “no,” and there are also some lines-in-the-sand I want to make sure I don’t move just because surrendering my boundaries seems to quickest or easiest way to solve a problem.

  23. My plan is to get out and enjoy the cultural offerings of my area. I am going to try to do something fun each weekend but a minimum of once a month,I want to gotoamuseum or event.

  24. I have my goals and my shoulds, but they seem to be drowning out any wants. Not enough time for it all. Must cogitate. ☺️

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