We have made it to the middle of January and although part of me is ready for December 2021, the rest is looking forward to spring and summer, and whatever time may bring in the next months. I have no doubt it will be interesting. I mean, 2020 set the bar quite high but I have faith in 2021.
I never thought anything can make me as happy as I used to be when I was 10 and winter came. Well, I was wrong because when I woke up one morning last week and confirmed the white I was seeing without my glasses was still white when I put them on, and that it was snow, I almost jumped and punched the air in joy.
It was actually this PLBW series that reminded me we had no snow whatsoever last year. I should have know then that 2020 was not going to be a regular, tame year. Hindsight and all. Anyway, we were starved of snow last January but this January it snowed. It didn’t snow a lot or for a very long time but it was enough to give me a feeling of a proper January. Now it’s dry but still appropriately cold and I’ll take this because I’ve learned not to ask for too much.
Little C., however, has yet to learn this. She wants more snow. She wants it to snow for a week. If she can’t have snow in the city then we must go to the nearest mountain and enjoy the snow there (I’ll be sitting in the car because I enjoy snow most from behind a barrier of warmth.). I can easily see her ending up in Canada, Russia or Norway when she grows up. I don’t mind the latter two but I draw the line at Canada. Beautiful but way too far.
The lazy month
There are many reasons I call January month zero with regard to work. News is sparse, I’m still in holiday mode, and it’s too cold for enthusiasm, but the main reason I call this month zero is that I feel too lazy to do anything most of the time. January feels like a perpetual Friday afternoon in terms of energy levels and a Sunday morning in terms of excitement about what you’re doing.
I’m not complaining, though. Nothing wrong with a perpetual Friday afternoon because you have the Saturday to look forward to, which now reminds me I should have used another word instead of perpetual so let’s call it quasi-perpetual. (I’m doing Italian adverbs on Duolingo and I recently learned quasi means almost. Shocking, right?)
Also nothing wrong with Sunday morning because Monday comes next and I’m weird and actually like Monday mornings because they are beginnings and I like beginnings, regardless of what follows after them. This week, what followed was a Friday, on which I went to apply for a new driver’s licence, so this is one hypothetical situation that just got very, very real. It will get even more real on February 12 when I pick up the new licence.
The perils of parenting
I’ve lived with cats since I was 10, which means 1988. In the years since then I’ve raised a total of five cats — two of them sadly taken from us too young by dogs — and I’ve looked after another five, the herd of two friends of ours. None of my cats has ever been overweight. The only overweight cat I’ve ever encountered was the sister of our Victor who was fed whenever she wanted, which was all the time. She passed away at too young an age for a Siamese and she looked like a brick towards the end. So basically I thought I knew how to raise a healthy cat. And then, last week, I thought I was wrong.
I blame the internet, of course, because it’s my go-to culprit for pretty much anything involving mental discomfort. Yet it was the internet I took to when I started worrying about whether Vlad was getting enough food, too much food, or too little food. I knew any young creature needs a lot of nutrition to grow up healthy but how much was enough? You’d think I have nothing else to worry about so I found my entertainment in cats’ dietary requirements. I actually do, but what’s one more worry?
Anyway, I looked at tables with dosages that I thought were insane (65 g of food per day for a cat weighing 3 kg? Hell no.). I looked at tables that looked sensible (Twice that for a cat the same size.) I browsed a couple of articles on how to raise a healthy kitten, including a review of the most common approaches to feeding, that is, set times vs free access to food all day long.
Finally, I gave up because what I was reading started to sound way too much like the things I used to read when I was weaning Little C. off. I had been down the road to perfect parenting already. It was not a happy road. If the cat or child looks well, eats well, and plays well, then all is, indeed, well.
The power of internal validation
I’ve been querying agents with my second full-length work for three months now, so far without success. I have, in other words, been so far denied the external validation of a professional liking my writing enough to take it on and try to sell it. It has made me feel quite crappy, especially lately, because I guess the rejection builds up instead of helping you build a thicker skin.
I’ve heard overcoming the need for external validation is a thing among motivational speakers and similar life forms. Of course, this is completely futile, what with humans being social species and all. We all need to be told we’re good by someone whose opinion matters and when it comes to being told we’re good all opinions matter. And yet I’m here to tell you today that internal validation is no less powerful.
I solved a third-grade math problem the other day and I did it all alone. Without help from either C. One C. didn’t know how to solve this particular problem, anyway, and the other C. was too tired to think about maths. So I did it on my own. And I did it right. Ichecked. The feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment was spectacular. It only lasted an hour or so, so I guess the high of external validation still wins in terms of duration but, hey, I solved a math problem on my own!
I used to be pretty good at maths until about the seventh grade, not least because I had a brilliant teacher. As the teacher changed — and as I got really busy being a troubled teen — my relationship with mathematics ended by mutual agreement. I haven’t had a chance to reconsider it since then so I’m now re-acquainting myself with the basis of all science thanks to Little C. Who, by the way, has a marked scientific bend, which is why she’s taking extra-curricular lessons (she insisted. Nobody made her.), which is how that problem ended up on my lap when I had nothing else to do.
In case you’d like to have a laugh at my expense, here’s the problem:
4 pieces of cake and 2 juice boxes cost $28.
1 piece of cake and 1 juice box cost $8.
How much is 1 piece of cake and 1 juice box each?
Go on, laugh away. It won’t undermine my sense of accomplishment. For me, it was hard.
If you’ve made it this far, here are a couple of book suggestions because it has come to my attention that it feels good when people read the books you write. Reviews are always appreciated.
For vampires, witches, and dragons click here.
For a supernatural mystery that begins mid-flight click here. (This one’s free on Kobo)