Year of the Bettye

For months now I've been indulging myself in a way I haven't done in years.

Don't get me wrong. I do get my work done. I'm not calling in sick or anything like that. But I'm taking time, and plenty of it, to smell the roses. I've become incredibly laid-back. I learned about lake effect snow on the news this morning, and when I looked out the window my jaw dropped to see everything covered in white. I had a dentist appointment in Illinois this morning (we do have dentists in Wisconsin, but the specialty I need is pretty rare in these parts; it was either drive to Milwaukee or drive to Marlon Brando's hometown of Libertyville and the latter is closer) that I ended up canceling. I've got a stack of ARCs to send to my Oscar Trivia contest winner and some of the bookclubs that have been sitting here since Saturday, and I'm not sure if I'll make it to the post office today. But I'm cool. It'll all get done. My appointment has been rescheduled for next week, and even if I don't get to the P.O. until tomorrow, the deliveries should be made by the weekend. And I'll just allow extra time to clean off my car, which is in the driveway rather than in the garage because I didn't watch the forecast. No big deal.

Even my writing has been at a minimum (although I am on schedule). Writing usually slows up in months directly preceding a new release anyway. I am limiting my signings for A New Kind of Bliss to four: One in downtown Chicago, one in a South Chicago suburb, one in Zion, Illinois, and one in Milwaukee. I think I set up four in previous years, but I'm eliminating two sites where I sold less than 15 books (Merrillville, Indiana and the 95th Street Borders in Chicago) as not being worth the drive. I'm perfectly content to lounge in the Jacuzzi, covered with bubbles and oblivious to the frigid weather outside, my tub rack holding a glass of wine, a razor and a Ped Egg, and somebody else's book in my hand.

I was tickled when a co-worker commented on how much reading I do. I think I've read four books so far this year, which is probably the same number I read all year in 2008. I've forgotten how much joy there is to be had in reading a good book. I still don't spend large amounts of time reading - it is, after all, March already and I'm only on my fourth book. But I'm also indulging my domestic side in the kitchen. Last week I made a scrumptious shrimp and crabmeat bisque that warmed us up on cold days. Just last night I fixed a pecan-crusted walleye filet (I do like to cook some nice dishes on the weekends and my day so my husband has something good to eat those days I'm at work). I've baked muffins, and I can whip up homemade biscuits in about ten minutes (I timed myself yesterday, and preparing dinner took about an hour). I'm exercising regularly, too, either on the treadmill, with a DVD, or a combination of both and some good old-fashioned bends and crunches.

Speaking of health, I'm getting caught up on that today, too. Scheduled all my checkups and labs.
Other things are coming together, too. We finally reached a settlement with the moving company for lost (more like "stolen;" how the hell do you lose an unboxed exercise stepper?) and the Illinois people finally unraveled the mess they made with our car title, which can now be moved to Wisconsin.

I think a large part of my attitude is my change in living conditions. For two years we were terribly cramped in an apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom (which we used to knock each other over trying to get to after coming home from long drives). Living amid a lot of clutter can (and did!) get depressing after a while.

If I followed the Chinese calendar, this would be the Year of the Bettye. The more I relax, the more likely it seems that everything will get done.

What about you? Are you indulging yourself, not with expensive activities but with the little things?


DonnaD said...

I'm turning 40 next week (yay me!) and I decided that I'm not going to deny myself anymore. I'm doing some weirdly fun things (chair hockey) and indulging myself (a mani/pedi at the spa each month instead of at the Korean shops). I'm connecting and reconnecting with old friends and just generally appreciating life. I'm also going to start participating in some kind of charity event - not running, but biking or walking.

And I'm making writing a priority this year. My husband's work schedule has changed, so I will be able to spend time each night working while he takes care of my son's homework, clothes, etc.

It's time to DO ME!

Shelia said...

Bettye, I have stopped to smell the roses. I got tired of letting life pass me by. I was in a rut and I wasn't doing anything fun or doing anything just for me. I'm basically spending more time with friends...more time going to the movies.

DonnaD-Happy early birthday. I turned 40 last year and I'm still celebrating and appreciating the "little" things.

bettye griffin said...

Donna, Let me wish you Happy Birthday in advance. I don't even know what chair hockey is, but it sounds like fun. And I'll bet you feel much more pampered getting your nails and toes done at a real spa!

I'm home in the mornings while my husband is at work, and that is when I get most of my writing done, although sometimes days go by without me opening up a file (it was last on Friday, I think).

Good for you, Shelia! I know you've been working very hard on that wonderful promo you're doing for your YA debut, plus your new adult title. So by all means, live a little! It really is the little things that count!

DonnaD said...

Thank you for the birthday wishes, ladies!