Monday, January 3, 2022

2021 in Review

It's apparently been a couple years since I actually did a year in review post. Interesting. I guess there hasn't been much in recent years that I wanted to relive, what with my dog dying in 2019 and the fiasco that was 2020. But somehow despite all the Covid stuff continuing in 2021, I actually on the whole feel good about 2021. Who knew, right?

January started off with my library branch finally, finally, FINALLY opening to the public, and though it was a gradual process that annoyed me with rules that kept me from properly doing my job the way I used to, I was SO glad to be able to interact with our patrons again. Sure, I can't really listen to audiobooks at work anymore, but I CAN help kids find the perfect book to read. I've even been able to help with programs again (now that we're DOING programs again) and it's heavenly. 

I also got myself an animatronic Grogu. 😁 Forgive the messy hair. I'm terrible at selfies, but I really don't care.

And we started planning for Realm Makers. 😁 My friends and I all stayed up to register as soon as it opened just to be sure we got spots. And it was totally worth it.

I was also spending a lot of time studying for the SAT. Which I admit was kind of nerve-wracking, but I ended up doing fine. 

Early on in the year, I tried writing the pirate book I've been wanting to write for like eight years now. I really tried. But I don't know, I guess I just wasn't in the right mindset for pirates. It's not permanently abandoned. I still very badly want that book. But what I really wanted to do was go back to Acktorek. Which is what I did. I won Camp NaNo in April, which was bittersweet because I knew it was going to be my last NaNo for awhile. (Yes, I was pretty bummed last November watching so many other people prep for NaNo knowing I had too much homework to do it myself. Someday I will do NaNo again, but that is not this day.) I really got a lot of writing done, but I still wasn't very happy with what I had. More on that later.

Round about this time, I was also working on Jedi costumes for Realm Makers. I dyed fabric for the first time ever, which was an adventure, and I'm pretty proud of how the costumes turned out.

First look at Obi-Wan

First look at Anakin

Then I got accepted into Kennesaw State University and promptly went crazy with CLEPs. I studied for and passed five CLEPs in two months while also brushing up on German to make sure I could get into the class I needed. I'm still not sure how I did it. Especially since algebra and especially biology were a bear. But the English CLEPs didn't take much effort, and I got a near perfect score on the College Composition Modular test. Good thing too, since I'd told the lady at the testing center that I'm an author. I wouldn't want to talk all about my books and then turn out to be terrible at English! 😂

We watched Timeless early in the year, and I may have gotten slightly obsessed. Time travel+history+Matt Lanter. I mean, how could it not be fabulous?

I held a recital for my violin students and they all did a great job! They've all learned so much. I also had arranged a Return of the Jedi medley to play with my sister, which was a ton of fun.

Once Jedi costumes were declared complete, we did a photoshoot, attempting to recreate poses from the Revenge of the Sith promo materials. I normally hate photoshoots, but we had a blast with this one. And naturally I had to add lightsaber blades. See more photos here.

I went on a campus tour for part of orientation, got separated from the group when I picked the wrong time to go to the bathroom (I seem to have a knack for that) and came out to find the group had left for the dining hall without me, pulled out a book to read when the opportunities arose during the tour because that's just how I roll, understood nothing of the layout of campus because I was hopelessly turned around, and had to finish up my visit with an exploration of the campus library. I love the campus library. They have a lot of 90s Star Wars books. 😁 The first book I ever checked out from the campus library was Truce at Bakura, though all the other books I've checked out were actually for research for my English paper. And I know my way around (relevant) parts of campus now. Though I'm still not 100% sure how to get to the dining hall. Doesn't matter. I know where the Chick-fil-A is, and that's what really counts.

THEN REALM MAKERS!!! Definitely the highlight of the year. It was my first time driving on a road trip (my dad always drove on family trips) and I had very little interstate experience, so that was definitely nerve wracking. Migraine-inducing. Stomachache causing. But we managed to get there and back again and had a fabulous time while we were there, so it's all worth it. And I have a TON more interstate experience now because of my commute to school, so interstate driving and traffic don't really bother me anymore. I mean, when you have to sit for an hour in horrific traffic because of big accidents and end up late for your history midterm (I still completed it and got a 96 so it's all good), you kind of end up getting over interstate anxiety.

And Realm Makers was seriously amazing. Getting to hang out with Jaye L. Knight and Tricia Mingerink was awesome, and I got to meet Frank Peretti and Nadine Brandes and Sara Ella and Dave Wolverton and Carla Hoch, and I learned so many things, and our group cosplay was loads of fun, and you can find my full recap here. I don't know when I'll be able to go back, but I already can't wait. There's nothing quite like Realm Makers.

With Frank Peretti!

Rex (Tricia), Anakin (Addy), Obi-Wan (me), and Ahsoka (Jaye)

Saying goodbye is the worst

Then we got a kitten! I admit, I still prefer dogs. And no animal will ever replace my Labrador Sophie. But I do love Pippin. He's adorable, and he can be so sweet and cuddly when he wants to be. Unfortunately, he also sometimes displays a teenage attitude (he's an adolescent kitty right now, so yay). But when he's in a good mood he's just so sweet that it totally makes up for the attitude. And he loves watching TV, which is hilarious to me since Sophie couldn't care less about it. And I may have filled up my phone with cat pictures.

Watching church with me while sick...
I'll get to that.

One of his favorite spots

Watching Merlin with me

Then school started and it consumed my life. I mean, not totally, but mostly. Hey, I got to write my English paper on speculative fiction in the Christian community and it was great. And I loved stats too. It was a good semester, even if it was a bit of an adjustment. I did even get to the point where I was able to dabble at planning out the rest of the Acktorek series. I figured out that I needed a series plan, a general one, anyway, so that I had an actual series arc. Important stuff, knowing where you're going with a story. It was slow going, but it was going.

Aaaaand then we got Covid. It was miserable, I'll admit. But all in all, it didn't really turn out to be any worse than having the flu. Kind of interrupted my series planning, but now we've been through it. And I was still able to mostly keep up with my classes virtually. So it worked out.

Fall really was mostly school, school, and more school. And kitty cuddles. And watching Merlin while working on my paper because for some reason I couldn't focus on writing that paper without something like Merlin on in the background. Not complaining. It's my favorite show for a reason.

But then we had Thanksgiving break wherein I read three books and also discovered that LEGO Star Wars has an IOS version. Maybe a bad discovery? Anyways. We had some family over for Thanksgiving and had leftovers for days. And then back to school for a week of class and then finals. But hey, I finished my first semester of college with straight A's and with my CLEPs I'm officially a sophomore.

And I was able to take some time Christmas break to catch up on stuff. Like finishing that series plan. (Well, finish is a relative term. Parts of it are still rough and purposely so. I need room for my characters to take charge. But I have enough of a plan I think I can finally write book 2 properly. If I can find the time.) And I made the theory pages I need for my students AND finished the bulk of photoshopping on a new picture book I'd put on hold since like May. Not sure when it'll be done done since it still needs a cover and a title and to go through the whole proofing process (and school starts up again in a week), but it's significant progress.

I participated in my church's Christmas program, singing in the choir and playing violin, and it was great. I may have been quietly singing the alto part of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" while shelving at the library. A lot. And I played the conductor for my library's Polar Express program.

And my sister and I saw Spider-Man: No Way Home opening weekend. I loved it so much! And I REALLY want to see it again. It was SO GOOD.

We had Christmas at home with colds (yippee), and I got Star Wars books and watched The Fellowship of the Ring, so it's all good. Then I got a new computer because my old one had a crack that was popping out the corner of the screen. 😜 Still not thrilled about that since all I thought I needed was a new battery, but I'd rather not have my computer totally break in the middle of the semester. We then rang in the new year with more Lord of the Rings, and it's 2022 now!

Who knows what kind of year it'll be? I know for me it'll be filled with lots more school, and hopefully some writing, but beyond that, just about anything could happen. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!