Fun Ideas to Come!

This is kind of what our house looks like right now. Except the boxes have random things printed on them for products such as cereal, tissues, and hookahs. Can you tell which establishments had empty boxes? Sigh. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Flickr user Nicolas Huk

This is kind of what our house looks like right now. Except the boxes have random things printed on them for products such as cereal, tissues, and hookahs. Can you tell which establishments had empty boxes? Sigh. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Flickr user Nicolas Huk

We’re spending the next week and a half packing and moving, but after we get settled in the new place, I have some fun ideas I’ll be implementing here. So stay tuned! Usually the best way to make sure you never finish something is to share your progress, but I’ll pretend that’s not how things work. We’re hoping to get our podcast, Bristol Banter, back up and running in a couple of months, I’ll be running more regular posts here (jennybristol.com) once I get my web hosting sorted out, and this summer I’ll be working on more books. Also, crafting! We’ve got some projects in the works regarding that.

The only constant is change. Onward and upward!

Learning to Live With Less

Moving Day. Image: Public Domain

Moving Day. Image: Public Domain

I seem to accumulate “stuff”. All kinds of stuff. Possessions, paper products (yay Costco), books, food in the pantry, files on my computer, pounds on my waistline. Not because I’m a compulsive hoarder. I just like to be prepared. “Just in case.”

I’ve put my finger on one of the reasons why it’s been so easy to accumulate, and then to accumulate more. Space. If there is room in my house or room in the pantry or room on my hard drive, I keep things. Or I get more than I need for now, so we don’t have to get it or find it later.

We’re moving down the street in a couple of weeks to a place that’s 3/4 the square footage of this place, but still sufficient room for a family of four. There is no pantry. No coat closet. Fewer closets in general (that will be the biggest issue). Fewer kitchen cabinets. A strange, 2/3rd-size dishwasher. So we’re purging, eating up food, and figuring out how to do with less. Changing our mindset in advance. Or trying to.

I really think it will be a positive experience, though, rather than one where we feel like we’re missing out. I mean, how many spare rolls of paper towels does one need at any given time? In the future, we’ll probably spend more at the grocery store and less at Costco. We’ll likely have to shop more often. We will find the best way to use our new Amazon Prime membership. But I’m already feeling a bit liberated by the idea of having less “stuff” around me. And it might even help with my waistline.

Recent Census History: Commercials

We are still four years off from our next U.S. Census taking, but our census fascinates me at all times in between. Historical censuses are pivotal pieces in my family history research, and they are just interesting in their own right, for taking a snapshot in time. Census data determine how a lot of governmental money is spent, how school districts are handled, and so many more things. I won’t get into the history of the U.S. Census in this post, except to share a few interesting videos. I found commercials publicizing the 1970, 1980, and 1990 U.S. Censuses, encouraging people to fill them out when they came in the mail. I found it most interesting how the 1970 commercial focused on history and how the results would be tabulated. The 1980 one focused quite a bit on celebrity endorsement, and the 1990 one had a bit of everything. See for yourself!

1970:

1980:

1990:

Migraines.

Blah. Just blah. Image by Flickr user cea + (CC BY 2.0)

Blah. Just blah. Image by Flickr user cea + (CC BY 2.0)

I’m sitting here, third day of brain fog and body lethargy following a full day of “oh my god kill me now” pain on Friday. The crying. The tiredness. The everything.

Migraines aren’t just bad headaches. Sometimes your head doesn’t even hurt (though mine did this time around, and it usually does when I have one). There are a slew of symptoms that come with migraines. You usually get a grab bag each time of what’s possible. Sometimes there are visual disturbances. Sometimes lethargy. And, yes, sometimes excruciating pain in your head.

Most of the time, my migraines don’t debilitate me for more than a few hours, or bother me in general for more than a day. But this one has been a doozy. I was stuck in bed all day Friday. And since then, I’ve done my best to be productive, but it is without joy, without energy, without feeling like myself, all the while looking like a zombie.

I haven’t ever identified triggers, except possible changes in the weather. Thrice I’ve had debilitating migraines (read: vomiting was one of the fun symptoms) while staying with friends or family. That’s a pretty high percentage for me (more than half), in terms of the number of times I’ve thrown up while having a migraine. In any case, I haven’t found triggers to avoid. So I just deal with it. But I’ve learned to forgive myself for being useless for a while, to recognize that my job at that point is to rest up and do my best to feel better. So I’m trying. But I’m also in the middle of packing for a move. Whee.

Typewriter Blog Entry #2

The first typewriter blog entry was at my old URL, but here’s a second one. I realized I forgot to reference the fact that there were also letters from my grandfather to my grandmother in another set, that I hope to also share with the world, but below I mentioned my grandfather out of the blue, which may be confusing because I had been talking about my great grandfather. Whose letters you can read at my blog, First Person History.

Anyway. Here you go. Oh, and links to my books: Geek Mom, The Isle of Kern.

EPSON MFP image

How I Prepare for Change

By Flickr user Phil Whitehouse (CC BY 2.0)

By Flickr user Phil Whitehouse (CC BY 2.0)

I don’t deal well with change much of the time. Not the big stuff, anyway. It helps quite a bit if I have some transition time to get used to the idea, though. If I’m ready for the change when it happens, it goes really smoothly. If it’s abrupt, if I didn’t see it coming, or if I can’t prepare for it, there is a difficult adjustment period afterward.

But when I do have the luxury of time to get ready for and used to a change, here are some things that help me.

  1. Start disassociating with the current thing. Begin the mourning process for the loss of the thing before it is over/gone/lost, and focus on its disadvantages. Start thinking that it’s no longer “mine”.
  2. Start mentally trying on the new thing for size. Get used to it being what my new normal is, before it happens. Look at its advantages and begin to get excited for them.
  3. Be prepared for the change. Do what needs to be done to be ready for it. Prioritize these new things, and rejoice in no longer dealing with the problems with the old.

This kind of thing works for moving, adjusting a schedule, losing a tradition, changing jobs, no longer having to deal with an item, etc. I don’t recommend trying it if you lose a loved one.

There are plenty of books out there that can help you handle change. Depending on your level of change, you may want to find one.

Being Female, But Outside the Inner Circle

(CC BY 2.0) Flickr user hangmy nguyen

(CC BY 2.0) Flickr user hangmy nguyen

“Moms’ night out.” “Girls’ night out.” “Nail wraps.” “A day at the spa.” “Out with my besties.” “Mani pedi!” All of these phrases and activities leave me cold.

I can’t be the only female who feels this way. Bear in mind that I’m very much a cis female, heterosexual, in a committed relationship with a man. And yet I don’t feel a camaraderie with women. I am much more comfortable hanging out with men. Except when I’m not. Sure, occasionally a woman will say something about women and I’m like, “Hell yeah. You nailed it on the head.” But most of the time I’m left confused. I feel like there is a club that I qualify for but wasn’t issued a membership card. I just sit on the sidelines, watching. Not wishing to be invited, but also not knowing where else to go.

I was never one of those girls (or even young women) who planned and envisioned their wedding day before it was a possibility. Though I do like to occasionally dress up, in skirts and everything, most days I much prefer to be wearing comfortable clothes and sensible shoes.

I’ve always been this way. I preferred Legos to Barbies, computers to makeup. I wasn’t a tomboy, so growing up I didn’t ever quite fit in with boys either. I’m something in the middle, I guess. I haven’t ever found a gender-based group of people where I fit in. Generally, that’s okay. It’s not necessary. But sometimes you feel the lack.

Still, I know that there’s nothing wrong with me. People come in all kinds, shapes, colors, preferences, and interests. And if you’re like this too, there’s nothing wrong with you either.

New Book: The Isle of Kern

Cover image: Jenny Bristol

Cover image: Jenny Bristol

I’ve written a new book! Or rather, I finally got it out there in the world. I’m still figuring out the ins and outs of Amazon, so, while the print version is available now, the Kindle version will arrive soon. Check out my Facebook page for the latest news.

The Isle of Kern is a fictional guidebook about a British island off the southwest coast of England. It contains plenty of literary elements, with excerpts of a fictional fiction book inside as well. I wrote the whole thing for fun and for myself, so I didn’t even attempt to go through a traditional publisher.

You can also see all of my books (at present there are two, but hopefully more by the end of the year) on my Amazon author page.

Hope you enjoy it!

New Project! First Person History

Photo: Jenny Bristol

Photo: Jenny Bristol

I’ve begun a new project called First Person History. I’m extremely excited about this one, because it’s all about history. Duh. But I’m seeding its beginnings with copious letters written by my family members. From 70 years ago and longer. My great grandfather to start, and my grandfather after that. These are people that I didn’t know in person (or didn’t know well, in the case of my grandfather—he died when I was 11), and am getting to know in a very intimate way through their letters.

FPH icon colorAll of the letters are written to my grandmother, who kept everything. Everything from important photos and memorabilia to junk mail and expired groceries. She was a dear woman, but she was a bit quirky, to say the least.

Anyway, check out my new project and stay tuned. Regular posts there commencing soon!