Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021: A Look Back

 All in all, 2021 was a fairly good one, with the exception of politics, the economy, and the continued stupid mask and CV vaccine mandates.  Yes, the price of gas nearly doubled; food prices increased, and supplies were low, but I managed to see 199 books; managed to do 14 in-person events; made new friends; got to see good friends again; and published two books (Creative Generations in June and Mixed Bag antho in Oct).  Submitted Rex The Piddling Pup and it's slated for release next June.

I also worked fairly steadily and paid down my GSH bill.  As of this draft, I will have it paid off by the end of February, and will be able to apply those funds elsewhere.

The only aggravating thing was, I broke my arm in Feb and had to have my gall bladder out in November.  I'll still be making hospital payments...crap.

But I did get to finally hug and be with my mother, as well as take her out of the facility for appointments and lunch; my sister was able to come home for a week; and I got to see my Teen Idol, Shaun Cassidy, in concert AND have a private Zoom meeting with him!

So there it is in a nutshell; now to break it down month-by-month:


Worked. We were short-staffed at work, due to CV infections, but it snowed, so we weren't too busy. I also wasn't happy when Team GLBTQ won the Amazing Race; I was hoping Team Beards would.


Fell out of bed while up in Lafayette and broke my arm.  Fortunately, D was with me, and I tested positive for CV while in the ER, so he had to learn to text and use my phone while I was laid up for 24 hours.  Fortunately, the day after my surgery, my hazard pay arrived; the following week, my regular check arrived; two weeks later, my CV pay arrived, plus I was already back at work (see my 'Life As A One-Armed Lumber Queen' posts), so I never missed a paycheck!  God is good:)


Spent these two months working with one arm in a sling and making monthly visits to the dr. Also seriously considered driving to Hannibal, Mo for Big River Comic Con, but couldn't get anyone to cover my shift.  Then I discovered Mgr T had gotten wind of my plans and had made fun of them.  So, I sucked it up and worked....and never said another word to anyone about future plans.  I also did a local craft show, but it was a bust, given we were competing with three other shows the same week.  All in all, it was good practice for the upcoming convention ciruit.

Also was able to go in to my mom's room and hug her for the 1st time in over a year.  I hurst into tears and just cried for about 5 minutes!!!  But you don't realize how much you miss human contact....and it was like losing both my parents last year.  Mom and I could TALK and SEE each other, but we weren't allowed to TOUCH!

Also discovered my mother had swallowed Dr. F's 'koolaid'....she keeps harping on the fact I'm unvaxxed.  I'm the lone holdout....W and Co's vaxxed, and so is Mom.  I'm sorry; I don't trust it. Also lost my voice for two weeks; called in the first week, then discovered I can still work w/o a voice; pantomine works just fine, ha ha!


Lucked into a Home and Garden Show for only $20 in Elwood!  Sold 9 there; the readers were out in full force, since 'we've been stuck at home and need new reading material!'  Afterward, toured Arcadia and went past my old apartment building, where the new owner is trying to convert it back to a single-family dwelling.  I'd love to go up and see it, but the new owner wasn't around; spoke to the next-door neighbor.

Jeanna gave birth to Baby Isabelle Rose, born May 19th!!

Decided not to go to the 500, since Uncle B and Cousin W weren't coming.  Had DVR'd it....and Helio won his 4th.  Damn it.,...I wanted TK to win!  Did dress in my costume and sing at the worship service at Rendezvous, then went to work in my costume!


Drove to Peoria, Il for Quad Con and did well!  We were also informed that if we were vaxxed at work, we didn't have to wear a mask....but it was also illegal to ask for proof.  So.....didn't wear my mask for a week or two!  HEAVEN!!


Was scared the first week I was about to be fired, since I could NOT find anyone to cover my shift over 4th of July weekend.  So I called in....and was chewed out by our store manager.  What saved me when I returned was 1) I was the #1 cashier that week; 2) we  were busier on Monday, the day I was back, than we'd been all weekend; and 3) with the labor shortage, could they really afford to fire me?  I avoided S all month, ha ha....

InConJunction was good.  Spent way too much $$, since I'd taken S and A; A had a blast in the Motley Kids area, doing crafts for three days! S enjoyed walking around and her birthday dinner at Cracker Barrel.  Think I sold 8...but the crowd was down, and I did receive a nice email from a customer, telling me they plan to purchase the other books in The Chosen series:)  I'm only going to do this show every other year while employed, since it's technically a 'black out' date....meaning no one's allowed to request it off.

Imaginarium was also good....sold 6 and enjoyed seeing friends.

Heroes For Kids was also good; I sold 6, so yes, will be back again!

Superman Festival was AMAZING!  Sold 19 books!  Will definitely return next year!


Went up to see Mom and took her and BC to Texas Roadhouse for their birthdays (B's was July 29th and Mom's Aug 1st), and got B to sit on the saddle!

Did well at the State Fair, selling a total of 29!  Drove to Mall of America and was disappointed I only sold 5; the ride I wanted to ride was closed; I DID enjoy a delicious meal at Wahlburgers, but felt left out and isolated from the other authors (see Observations post), and to cap it all off, discovered later I'd gotten a speeding ticket in Cedar Rapids, costing me $75.  I may give MOA one more year....

Loader Justin got pissy when he discovered I'd taken a picture of him picking up an H-cart of shingles with the forklift, and read me the riot act.  Little did he know he was NOT in the picture...


Month began on a high note:  I managed to find someone to take my shift on Sunday Sept 5th so I could drive to Nashville, TN with friend Elaine, and go see Shaun Cassidy in concert.  Ate some delicious goat cheese-risotto balls and a flatbread pizza, and met Lisa K, who was thrilled we invited her to sit with us at dinner.  Her seat was better than ours, but oh well!  Got to also meet Patrick Cassidy:)

Issues arose over Loader Justin's attitude....since I'd gotten on his bad side, he refused to speak to me....which creates a problem, since the cashier and her loader NEED to communicate!  Fortunately, we didn't have to work together that much anymore.....and he began calling in.

I persuaded NR to attend Non Con with me....and it was a bust this year.

Was able to have an enjoyable visit with my sister....even when her stress level boiled over and we had to change dinner plans on her final night.


Did three events:  1st City Music Fest (sold 10!); Comic Con (sold 18!); and the CCC (sold 8!). Kyle and Dalton began a jewelry business, so I loaned them my tables for the Watermelon Festival, where they did well, and shared the booths at the Music Fest and CCC.  Was complimented by D...."I've been watching your mom; we gotta find a pitch!"

Shake up at work:  Mgr T quit after being passed over for a promotion (ASM Scott had left, and they hired someone else).  Lumber's ASM, Misty, returned to the Admin office; then Jess W quit....and Gareth took over. Mel B was promoted to Paint Mgr.

Had to make the heartbreaking decision to put Abby the Pit Bull down.  She had become incontinent and could hardly walk, and was ready; the vet gave her the relaxing shot, and she gave Sara a kiss, closed her eyes, and passed away.

For Halloween, I was a 'Spider Pirate'....wore my pirate costume with the Spider headband:)


Went off to the Indpls Christmas Gift and Hobby Show and picked up two morning shifts, due to people testing positive for CV.  Sold a whopping 46 books!!

Arrived home and promptly landed in the hospital with pancreatitis, and had my gall bladder out four days later.  Then had tire issues....they finally found a tiny finishing nail the size of a needle in my tire!

Kyle and Jeanna discovered they were expecting again!  Baby H due July 12th!


Was supposed to go to Toledo, OH for an author fair, but due to the transportation issues (D's truck was acting up and turned out he needed both a starter AND a new battery), I bowed out.  Worked every weekend; went up to see Mom once; and got the stomach flu on Christmas Eve.  Spent Christmas on the couch in recovery mode.

Alex is the proud new staff member of a tiny kitten named Smokey aka 'Monster' aka 'Hooligan'.  She will attack Taco, Dexter, and even take on Jelly and Butterscotch!

Watched the  ball drop on NYE with D, and drank wine.

What Else Did I Accomplish?  

-Publish M/M Tales (working title) Creative Generations, released June 28th, 2021

-Find artist for kiddie book and start collaboration Check!  Sent it off to Pen It Publications!

-Save as much $$ as possible Sort of...used part of it to pay down my CC.

-Edit Defending Your Life story Sort of....still sitting on this one,

-Add words or even finish Heart Song, RiKar, Paranormal Preacher, Time Travel and publish something. Nope; too busy.

-Write 'Mixed Nuts' story Recycled YA murder mystery for it

-Survive this damn pandemic/political climate Check...

-Buy monthly promo items  Check; took 40-50 to Superman Festival, where they were snapped up.

    -10 red stylus ordered 1/3

    -10 blue stylus ordered 1/15

-Pay off St. V medical debt Check!  Thank you stimulus $$!!!; pay down GSH and hearing aids medical debt; pay down CC. GSH:  Will be paid off in Feb; still paying on others.

-Get eyes and teeth checked/fixed New lenses in glasses; not made teeth appt,

-Get carport roof fixed No

-Green house torn down  No

-Brown house sorted No

-Scrap hauled away No

-Shelf in Bdrm No

-Shelf in MB No

-House re-wired No

-Taco and Butterscotch to the vet No

-Mom's room organized Check!

-Mom's storage unit sorted Sort of....

-W's things sent to her Check!

-Attend the following Conventions/signings: (Most are already paid for) Check!

      -Jan:  StoryCon at Benton Co. Public Library Not gonna happen this year

     -April:  Evansville Women's Conference (April 8th); Kentuckiana Book Fair, Dale Library 

    -May:  ComicCon (not paid for)

     -June:  Corning Irish Festival, PrideFest, Weekend with the Authors (Nashville, TN-Pd 1-14-21)
     -July:  InConJunction, Imaginarium, Heroes For Kids
     -Aug:  Watermelon Fest (not paid for)Royal Readers at Mall of America, State Fair
     -Sept:  Penned Con, Non-Con
     -Oct:  Art Walk, CCC (not paid for)
     -Nov:  ICGAHS, Rivet, Art Walk

Books Read:  79

            DNF:  9

Karaoke Songs Added:  46

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