Choosing A Word Of The Year For 2018

I never used to do a word of the year. It seemed kind of reductionist to me, like how can you fit a whole year’s worth of intentions into a single word? I would do other things instead, like spells* or tarot spreads* or wishes or resolutions … which to me all boil down to the same thing: announcing myself to myself for the Janus moment of the Julian New Year. It was a fun thing to do on New Year’s Day when the hangover brunches were done.

Flash forward to few years ago. I started a new therapist, and he’s all about words of the year. One for the year itself and one for the anniversary of our work together. I started to like it as a theme for the one most important thing I wanted to accomplish in my work with him. It was a metric to use, an assessment of where I wanted to be rather than an obligation.  Yet January of last year it was difficult for me to choose, because I couldn’t get quite the right connotations for what I wanted to achieve. In order to make it work,  I did an image that listed all the associated synonyms** that conveyed the meaning I wanted, and that kept me from agonizing anymore.

Of course, in December he asked me to choose a new word for 2018. Since I’d had such a tough time last year, I whined about it (like I do). Last thing I wanted was either a crappy word or the frustration I had had last year. But after a bit of conversation, I agreed I’d have one for January.

…And didn’t think about it again, because I was on the way to family events, and fuck that.

But it came to me on Dec 31st.
Just jumped into my head, then out in front of me, ready to roll. Kinda like Athena.

My word of the year is howl.

At first I scoffed. Seemed silly, and too on-the-nose for me. But as I thought about it, and subtracted the connotations of pain or distress? It really clicked. Wolves howl to communicate over great distances and, in particular, to keep connected with their close packmates***. They also howl to establish territory, and as I thought about it, I realized my stories are my territory and it’s time I treated them as such, rather than as a sidebar.

This silly, on-the-nose word ended up being hella appropriate.

So there it is. Happy Howl Year!


* I do spells and tarot spreads to trick my brain. Rituals are pretty powerful ways to embed things in one’s psyche, and the symbolism in many tarot cards are a fun way to allow my brain to find connections I might not, otherwise.

** For the record, I chose fierce, as in strong, protective, and unapologetic. Not as in looking incredible. ;)

*** Per this study


Photo taken through a window is blurred by raindrops. A tree, some bushes and some power poles can be made out, but everything else is a blur.

Outside our window, there’s a torrential rainstorm. Inside, we are rewatching Moana. There’s a lot to do, but there are points of progress.

CW: Sandy Hook

This is a little bit personal, even though I knew no one directly affected. I knew someone peripherally affected, though, and I had an insight into a person accused.


You’re warned.

Five years ago today, I was working at Pitney Bowes in Stamford, Connecticut. I remember this day very clearly, because a coworker of mine got a call in the morning.

“No, I haven’t seen the news.”

In 3 minutes, he broke down at his desk. The crying was a shock in our usually humming open-plan office. This was a gregarious, vivacious person who had never been anything other than positive about anything. It was a bit of a shock. And then he left.

I also remember when the shooter’s supposed ID was first publicized, the wrong person was blamed, and I thought “this guy who trained his cat to sit and beg can’t be a shooter….


can he?”

(These are the moments where I sympathize with people who defend horrible people – the instant of “do I adore a monster?”)

But Ryan Lanza was innocent – completely – and it took too long to find that out.  I want to call that out because as much as I have faith in our media’s intentions, that wasn’t right. None of what happened here was right.

The next day, my wonderful gregarious coworker was calling people to talk about memorials and funerals.

For a week, I got to overhear snippets of arrangements.

…. It didn’t take more than a year before I started to hear about the conspiracy theorists.

I post about this because Sandy Hook hit me hard. And close. Even though I only knew one person peripherally associated.

I will never forgive Alex Jones. Or any other person who doesn’t believe the parents. Ever. Ever.

As if a tweet is going to bug Kirsten Gillibrand…

In case you haven’t seen it, content warning for the tweet mocking KG having shaming implications.

I’m not going to post it here, because this isn’t a news blog.


44.5 called Senator Gillibrand “Schumer’s flunky.”

ahaha. aha.

*reads it again*


The woman who is the ONLY senator in Washington who voted against all 20 of 44.5’s nominees, a flunky for that guy? THAT guy? Ohhh that just shows how desperate 44.5 is. Deeesperate. She stood stronger than either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders in those hearings and continues to stand strong. I mean, sure, she’s a politician like any other, and has her flaws. But she’s placed her flag, and it’s firmly on the progressive side.

Woooo I had been avoiding the news because it’s like everything is opening a new wound, but that one had me laughing.

Houston Snow – Morning

A half-inch dusting of snow on the live oak outside our north-facing living room window

When we saw that it had snowed elsewhere on the Gulf Coast, we jumped out of bed despite the frigid temperatures and squeed when we saw the snowdust.

Sudden Descents

Image Desc: A black and white image of half of a face. The subjects eyes and forehead are obscured with black lace.

You know those days… you’re minding your own business and doing housework or working on a project when suddenly Anxiety, Depression or Misery grabs you by the shoulder, whispers (or yells) “Time For An Adventure” and whisks you off somewhere until you’re looking at the world through their veil, or up at a distant light from the pit they dug for you.

Or both.

With all the triggering stuff going on in the world right now I am not surprised this happened to me. The news and how it’s presented is kinda violent for survivors, and I’ve had some unpleasant reactions to a bunch of it.

But DAMN do I want some kind of mechanism where I can get back up to that light, or out from under the veil, just as fast as they can swoop me down.

The Helplessness of Loving Animals

Monte has been having some digestive issues, so we are currently at the vet’s ofc for the second day in a row. We waited, snuggled together tightly on a vinyl couch in a frigid office, for almost two hours waiting for the ultrasound doctor to come. Now they’ve taken him in to get the procedure, and I’m left with the residual guilt that I can’t explain to my poor roo what’s going on, why he’s here, why he has to go hungry for so long. All I could do to console him is give him my hand to cuddle around and make soothing, apologetic noises.

I recall this same feeling, unpleasantly, from when our pup Amelia first got badly ill and needed subcutaneous fluids. The annoyance of the needle; making her lie relatively still while the cup or so of coldness slowly sank into her. Even being blind and struggling with degenerative myelopathy, she still wanted to roll and play, so it was extra painful to have to prevent that in order to treat her… so that she could continue to feel good enough to roll and play.

The good news is that now that I work from home, I can cuddle with him while working and be able to repay the discomfort of now. That doesn’t change how helpless I feel, nor does it change how I would drop everything in an instant to do it again.