Happy Birthday to ME!

On this my 40th(ish) birthday, I find myself pondering the questions I seem to ask myself a lot – just what do I want to do with my life?

I thought being an adult would mean that I would have this all figured out – but alas – no, I do not. I’m getting to the age that I want to contribute something ‘meaningful’, just not sure what that is.

Right now I am at weird place in my life in that I’m happy with my career but long for something else. I just can’t decide what that is. Or do I really want something else and just not allowing myself to be completely satisfied with how things are going? These are the thoughts that occupy my brain way too often.

But birthdays are good time to reflect on your life. I do feel overall good about where we are at. So I just need to resolve to be happy with where I’m at until I figure out what is my next adventure.

One contender for that is game development. I really like games but I have so much to learn. I love learning but it’s hard. I mean I do tutorials but then I do something wrong and then it takes me 1 hour to do a 15 minute tutorial. It’s disheartening. So I try to remind myself that it is all part of the process and to stick with those tutorials because you will get better and faster. It’s just always hard at the beginning stages of learning something new.

I’m also doing more with my webcomic! So that is nice and pretty rewarding. I am not sure how long I will do it but for right now it’s enjoyable and gives me a reason to practice art.

And I hope to post more updates here as I really enjoy getting these thoughts out.

Birthday Resolutions

Yesterday was my birthday, and today I was thinking back to the year that was. How did I grow as a human? What goals have I accomplished this past year? I realize that New Year’s Day isn’t the only time of the year that we reflect and make habitual changes.

Having a birthday in February, I already know which resolutions I have abandoned. Since it is so fresh on my mind, I also have a pretty good idea as to what happened. My birthday offers a great occasion to course correct and try to do better.

One of my goals for 2018 is to lose weight and be healthier. I am getting to an age where I just can’t ignore a small pain or another annoyance that if I was in my twenties wouldn’t have even thought about. I have done nothing to push this goal forward. My biggest obstacle – other than not wanting to do it – is exercise. It is really cold outside. I’m trying to push through more of it. I mean as I move I get warmer. Eating is just a matter of counting calories. Even though I hate that, too. But at least it leads to results.

There’s also those pesky blogging goals. I really do enjoy blogging and want to do more. Why is it so hard to do things we love? I think my biggest problem is that I want to do everything at once. I just need to remember to give myself time to do it all. Have small goals and do what I can. Then readjust my goals. There is no need to get frustrated when I can’t reach a goal if it is unrealistic.

So that is my plan for the rest of February. Evaluate where I’m at and move forward to a better me.

The end of my software development career

I’m not sure the title is totally accurate since my career never took off so to speak. But what it did was take up a lot of my time.

While I do know some programming and have been on a couple of projects as a developer, I am still just a hack when it comes to it. That is not the reason I am calling it quits though on this journey that started 18 years ago.

It started when I was in college. I had taken a visual basic programming class and was in love with programming. I wanted to change my major but opted not to since most of the development model at this school was geared to business reporting languages – something that didn’t interest me.

So I spent the next few years learning a little bit about coding but it just never clicked for me. Through my current job I was able to attend a Java boot camp and finally learned a lot of programming. Then I was on a couple of short term projects. When the last project ended there wasn’t a development role for me, so I had to choose another type of work.

Since then I have tried to learn more about coding. I have several ideas but just cannot seem to make anything happen. If I am honest with myself, I just don’t enjoy it but feel that I must continue because..well I’m not sure why but it just seems like the thing to do.

I am realizing that this holding onto this dream that is not my dream anymore is getting in the way of my current dreams. I have to let it go. It’s time.

Book Readers and Game of Thrones Season Six

George RR Martin has spoken through his blog about Winds of Winter. The news is disappointing because the book will not be out by the same season six of the HBO TV show begins. As a book reader who read the first book after watching the first season, I thought I might share a few of my thoughts about my experience.

I started watching season one because of my husband who had read the books. I enjoyed the show and after season one began to read A Game of Thrones. I had tried watching a movie based on a book and then reading the book. I could never finish the book as it was just too spoiled for me. I knew what was coming, and the book couldn’t hold my interest.

With Game of Thrones, I made it through the whole book even though season one was pretty much everything that happened in the first book. It took me longer to read that book than the next two books combined, but I made it through. Even though I knew the plot which was the reason for the slow read, the book entertained me. I loved Martin’s writing. I was in Westeros following the journey of all these vivid characters. It held my attention. I love his writing. Because of the size of the books and how little I read, I can safely say that I have read more of Martin’s writing than any other author.

So I am not worried the I will be reading Winds of Winter after season six even though it it possible I will know some possible spoilers from the TV show. It is quite possible that the TV show takes a different spin from the books or at least a different road getting to events. Either way I’m OK with watching season six and then reading Winds of Winter.

Look at the bright side of the book being released after season six – you won’t have to worry about the book coming out right before the premiere and having to stay up all night reading it. See? There is a bright side to everything even those things that are truly disappointing.

2016 Goals

Happy New Year! How am I starting the New Year? By looking back on my 2015 goals ofcourse!

The last update I had done was way back in May. So I will update each goal for an end of the year report and what’s ahead in 2016.

Here it is. The last day of March already.

Freelance full-time
(Feb)Still would like to do this but exploring options right now.
March – Still wanting to do this and thinking either by the end of the year of next spring is my goal to make it happen.
May – This month I plan to actually do some writing for two content websites. I’ve worked with them before but it has been a while. I plan to write 2-3 articles for each.
End of Year – No real progress with this. I have basically changed jobs so hoping this new venture with the same company will bring me satisfaction and I can take building freelance work slowly.

Debt Free
(Feb)working to dwindle down the smallest student loan which should be paid in March. Two more to go and then the car. This goal is pretty much on track.
March – The IRS wants more of our money for taxes so this will hinder paying this off until April.
May – Got the IRS their money and also knocked out another student loan. 2 more to go. Both are $2800 so should be relatively fast. Then it is just the vehicle.
End of Year – Down to about $1K on the student loan(just one left). Have spent too much on the credit card but we will get that paid off by February. Then it’s onto paying off the car notes as we got a second vehicle in October.

Save at least $3K
(Feb)I haven’t started saving this yet.
March – no change. Haven’t started saving.
May – Sadly no savings.
End of Year – nope. No where near $3k.

(Feb)Have written very little. Have to do more.
March – Have done a few blog posts and have an idea for Camp Nano which will start in April. I have a goal of 15,000 words.
May – Failed Camp Nano. Had less than 3K words. But I am working on a novel idea and a short story.
End of Year – Writing has been a struggle for me for quite some time and I’m not really sure why. I just have to make myself do it. So I have an idea for a book that I plan to write. Right now I am still outlining it but hope to have a complete idea of what I want to write. That way when I write I already have an established plan.

(Feb)I’ve drawn a little bit and bought a drawing book that I’ve yet to open but looks promising.
March – I try to draw everything – at least something. My new project is work on one comic for a week and then post the best drawing of it.
May – I haven’t drawn much. Have plenty of ideas but just can’t get them out of my head. ARRGGHH!!!
End of Year – Still not drawing as much as I would like. I have a ton of comic ideas and hope to at least get down how I want to draw the characters consistently.

Lose Weight and RUN!
(Feb)have gained a pound. Must tighten up this even if it means doing a diet like Atkins to get started just to see some progress.
March – Not much progress here. I did buy a stepper exercise thing that I enjoy using and am gaining some stamina. Now that it is better weather it will be time to get out more. That is if the pollen doesn’t dictate otherwise.
May – Have lost 9 pounds but haven’t started running yet. The goal is to do a 5K by September.
End of Year – Maybe a 5K sometime by May. Still haven’t started running or losing weight.

Organize and clean house
(Feb)House is still an utter chaos but have started working on a plan.
March – The living room is now in order. This weekend we will shampoo carpets, wash curtains, and rearrange furniture.
May – Downstairs not bad – The big stuff is done but still plenty to do.
End of Year – Developing an action plan for de-cluttering and organizing our whole home. It may take a few months but it will be worth it. No more band-aiding the clutter problem.

(Feb)While I haven’t had a lot of progress, I hope the next update to have the clutter under control and to have lost 5 pounds. Baby steps are better than no steps at all.
March – Not too many updates and not where I’d hope to be. But that is the whole reason for doing an update is to remember these goals and to work on them.
May – I feel good about where I am. Ofcourse I would like more progress on the writing and drawing but I feel the more I do to organize our home, the more focused I can be on other tasks. Here’s hoping for a great May.
End of Year – While I didn’t meet any of my 2015 goals, I do feel like I am on track for long term progress. I will be hopefully blogging more in 2016 as well as moving forward to some other pet projects.

Here’s hoping everyone much success in 2016!

A Creative Mind

It seems lately that I have more projects than I have time and energy which means none of these many ideas I have swimming through my head are getting completed. I like to think of myself as a reasonably creative person. I do love crafting, drawing, making digital art. writing, etc. Sometimes all of these creative outlets compete with each other for my time at the same time. It’s frustrating and then always makes me feel like I have too many interests and should narrow it down a bit. I get this way about blogs, too. I will whittle down to one or two blogs then I get an idea, so I start another blog. Before I know it, I have six blogs again. The same cycle happens with my core interests.

What I need to decide is what I truly want to pursue and what is just really my mind telling me I can do. For example, when I’m reading a book all I can think about is writing. When I’m playing a video game all I can think about is making a game. I have tried to do several projects at once, but none of them are completed.

A Plan

I’ve always hated the idea of planning, but now I see that it can be an effective tool in not only getting stuff done but keeping you on track. For the rest of 2015 I want to concentrate on those areas that I feel are my future. I want to use computers less but know that whatever job I have computers will be a large part of the job. So using computers less might not be an option but a better way of phrasing what I want is to use computers differently. What I mean by that is to use the computer programs I want to use. The happiest time I have using a computer is when I’m working with digital design programs. With my communications background, I have worked in this medium before, so it’s not like starting at ground zero, but it’s pretty close since technology has dramatically changed since then.

I’m thinking of creating a mission statement and posting it everywhere so that I’m reminded of it daily. So that I move forward daily to that goal. I am not sure if planning with work for me all the time, but I have to give it a try and hope my mind cooperates.

Daily Writing Goals

Writing it hard, but I love it and want to do it. I’d love nothing more than to make my living with words. If I continue at this pace, it will never happen. I have set a goal of 500 words a day on anything I want to write. It could be a blog post, short story, or (really dreaming here) a novel. It’s a small goal but very attainable. I love reaching it everyday as it makes me feel like I am moving closer to my dreams.

Once 500 words a day becomes comfortable, it will be time to increase the word count ever so slightly until I reach a pretty impressive words per day count. I hate to plan to write about a certain topic because then it seems I have nothing to say. An addendum to my goal is to make a small outline for blog posts and larger outlines for fiction writing. Learning to code has really helped me re-learn the value of planning.

Now that I have been doing the 500 words a day for a few weeks I want to sharpen the goal so that I move forward on certain projects. There is a short story contest with a deadline in about a month. I have the idea and a rough first draft. With some polishing and additions, it could be a fun story. Also there is a children’s book idea that I would really like to do. It’s important to me to finish some writing projects before the end of the year. I need to show myself that I can finish and follow through on goals.

Now to just keep the pace and write on. It feels good to write, so I just need to remind myself.

Full-time Job

First let me just say that I love my job; I just find that at this stage of my career I really want to do something completely different. After months of wanting and hoping for a chance to switch to a different capacity, I was given the opportunity, so in truth it’s like I started a new job but with the same company. I have so much to learn and truthfully will take me a few years to get where I was in my other capacity in this new one, but I wanted to make the change and am not regretting it one bit.

It is work, though, outside of the home. It interferes with a lot of other things I want to do. The rest of this year I plan to make a real go out of moving some of the plans forward to see where they take me. It’s sad that I didn’t have this job 15 years ago when I would have been thrilled to rise up in the ranks there. Now, though, I have so many other thoughts and sadly a corporate job is not an any of them.

As I transition to something else at some point in the near future, I wonder what. Do I continue learning my new capacity as it seemed I wanted to do this job longer than I might actually do it. It is fun, and I just need to find the right avenue for me. Scary since I had so much trouble grasping this on my own but now after a corporate-sponsored boot camp, I can learn more on my own with the basics now understood.

I will probably post more on this later this week since it helps to sort out my thoughts by writing.

My point of writing this was one of should I continue to pursue something that isn’t my dream anymore but could be? I see now that I should have just gone for this career 15 years ago getting my food in the door anyway I could. Lessons learned I guess.

Pax South 2016!

We have impatiently been waiting for news of Pax South 2016 as we knew it would be in San Antonio again. Last year we got tickets in July (it seemed like we did), so with no July announcement I worried it was going to be pushed later in the year.

Well now the dates for Pax South have been announced. The dates are January 29-31,2016. Tickets will be on sale soon. Now is the time to start stalking all things Pax.

We had a great time at Pax South 2015 and living in San Antonio made attending so easy. I’m hoping this year there will be more of everything. I’d love to hear some big announcements or some top secret gameplay. One thing that was truly enjoyable at Pax South was the indie game presence. I was exposed to a lot of games that I would have missed out on. Hopefully more of our friends will attend this year, too.

Rae and I hung out in the handheld lounge and racked up on hundreds of Street Passes. It was so fun and relaxing. I could do that every weekend.

Not to brag but San Antonio is kinda awesome. You should really check it out. Fun stuff, great food, and great hospitality. I see why Texans have so much pride. It’s well deserved!

Hope to see ya there! Get your tickets early!

Graphic Artist? Me?

Right now we are binge watching Mad Men on Netflix. We are nearly done with season five. This show – I love it. It took about a season and a half to really get sucked into it. Watching the show reminds me so much of my time in television. It’s similar on many levels. Maybe it’s because of watching Mad Men or maybe I am ready to admit to myself that I know what I would love for my next job to be. Graphic Art and/or Design.

Unfortunately I feel that a lot of graphic design jobs would be more layout like newspaper or ads than something else. Although I wouldn’t mind that. It’s just those jobs are few and far between. Newspapers are sill around, right? However, businesses will always advertise, so maybe it’s more web ads than print ones that are being sold now.

Either way I have felt a calling to this for a while. I just wish I had started putting together a portfolio then. Still while this may add something else I want to learn, it’s something that I feel is where I really want to be. My husband is supportive but has reservations about a new career, but I don’t see it that way. I’ve done graphic work before and really enjoyed it. In fact if it hadn’t been for working with PhotoShop cleaning up graphics, I never would have went back to college. So I’m not starting over; just rediscovering I suppose.

I plan to do more graphics and start posting more since I haven’t had any of this work experience in quite a few years. Still it will be fun and challenging also it’s an interest I’ve had for years. It will be nice to finally pursue it with direction.