autumn lovers, rise up

My partner has been out of town a lot this month. First, a full week on the east coast doing a training and now, off hiking the grand canyon for several days. I am not an outdoorsy girl, I am not interested in that kind of nature. I respect it! It’s magnificent and I’m awed by the glory of creation, etc, etc, but I don’t want to stand in it and I don’t want it to touch me. My idea of the perfect day in nature is sitting on the deck of a cabin, looking at pine trees.

Anyway, I’ve been alone a lot, which I really don’t mind. I value solitude. I’m an introvert and being alone is really important to my well-being. However, I also value a routine, and my partner being gone is quite the interruption.

I have my dogs, so I’m not alone alone. They’re eleven now, and have fully transitioned into being elderly. My boy dog is reluctant to jump up on furniture and will only sometimes use his dog stairs. (We’re dog stairs people, now.) So often, I pick up him and put him on the bed and I can feel his little hip pop or his spine crack. Our girl dog also has bad days. Yesterday she didn’t want to eat her treat and only wanted to lie in the sun on the hot brick patio. Nature’s heating pad! So I have her some pain killers and she perked up a little. We both have arthritis, so girl squad! I compromised with her. She came inside and I let her sleep on my heating pad.

We all know when it’s the usual time for my partner to get home and when the time comes and goes, we’re all a little sadder for it. We go to bed and everyone is restless and brimming with ennui.

Even though I live in California, I live in the northern half, so while it’s still mostly sunshine and blue skies all the time, there are the first hints of fall. It’s getting darker much earlier, there are a few crunchy leaves on the ground. It’s cool enough to wear a sweatshirt in the mornings and evenings. All I want is to be able to wear a hoodie and not be too hot, so this is most welcome.

One really good thing happened: I hit my ten year work anniversary and my 120 payments on student loans and applied to have the remainder of my loans waived through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Student loan payments are about to start imminently so I was really cutting it close, but I logged in the other day and my balance said $0.00. Like… I don’t know if you’ve ever worked relentlessly toward a goal for a solid decade only to see it quietly achieved on a random Tuesday, but it was an indescribable feeling. Surprise and glee and suspicion and relief. Just a big burden suddenly gone. I still haven’t received the formal letter, but I’ve never seen my balance be zero, so I think it’s done.

Fall is always my time to thrive. Good things happen in the fall. Honey in the Marrow came out last October, and now the German translation and the audiobook (pre-order here) are coming out this October. The cover for my next book is nearly ready and I get to announce that soon, I imagine. I recorded a podcast with fellow Ylva author Jennifer Giacolone yesterday, so I’m excited to share that with you when it goes live. (pre-order Jen’s book, Art of the Chase here.)

AND we’re going to Disneyland for our 9th wedding anniversary in October. What more could a California girl ask for?

Super Bloom

We traveled recently to the east coast to witness my dad getting remarried. I’m so extremely happy for him and his new bride, a lovely woman I’ve known since I was a child, which made it all the more easier to fold her seamlessly into the family. I read Mary Oliver’s Don’t Hesitate during their service and even got to sign the marriage certificate as a witness and it was good fun.

California has been experiencing a super bloom due to all the rain we got earlier this year and while that sounds beautiful and colorful and fun, what it really means is that everyone’s allergies are trying to kill them violently. So when I stepped off the plane and felt a little stuffy, I was like yes, this makes sense.

Woke up very stuffy Wednesday, went to work and by the end of the day felt like perhaps I was dying. I left an hour early, worried I’d picked up covid on the plane (we were part of the .05% of people wearing a mask on the flights) and I didn’t want to pass it to my coworkers or expose anyone.

What I picked up, I guess, was just a cold. I was miserable on Thursday and felt better but still not good yesterday, and today I feel a little stuffy but way, way better. I tested three days in a row for Covid and they were all negative, so that’s good. But I hate colds. They are so, so miserable and I gotta say, I was not that brave about it. I also feel guilty that I went on vacation, worked part of one day and then called out twice and now am getting a five day weekend because of it. I swear I’m not gaming the system, I swear!

It is nice to be home, though. Before we went east, I planted pumpkin seeds in the yard and not only have they sprouted, but they’re growing fast. I like to go out in the mornings and look at them like no one has ever grown something before. I am the first and the best. I’m just being silly, because I know how easy it is to grow pumpkins. Last year, one grew because I tossed an old pumpkin in the yard to rot, and it was exactly no effort. This year, I am determined to overrun my yard with pumpkins and become the true bog witch that I am.

I also have round two of edits to do. The next book should be out in the very beginning of 2024. I am not at liberty to reveal the title yet, but I will say it has a number in the title. I am really excited to be at this stage of things. The bulk of the work is behind me. It’s the kind of nit-picky editing now where you have a spiraling crisis about a comma or realize you don’t understand grammar and you actually never have, and further more, you never will. But you also get to think about the cover and the marketing and that part is fun.

Honestly, being a writer is as much about having the wherewithal to complete the publishing process as it is about writing well. Writing well helps, DON’T GET ME WRONG, but if you have endurance, follow through, and thick skin, you too could publish a book someday.

Happy autumn

It doesn’t MATTER when it starts when it lives in your HEARTS, am I right? So fall is now.