I noticed, strangely, that our second oldest cat now sits in front of the front door later in the evening, towards night.

It's always at or about a very specific time. It's the cat that adopted us by running out of the bushes, hungry and afraid, whom I've written about before.

Regular as clockwork, which is bizarre.

So I decided to spy on him. I somehow knew that if I stalked him at it or was ostensibly looking at him - that he'd shy away from whatever it was he was doing. So when he started up his vigil, I started up mine.

Sure enough, just as night fell, as it got dark enough for there to be little to see outside beyond the glare of the house lights - a baby opossum came out of the brush, and wandered, sniffingly, around the front lawn. Whereas the mother and father (presumably) kept to the vegetation and sniffed around for things to eat, the baby possum came right up to the front door, which at our house contains enough of a floor length pane of glass to let it and our cat see each other. They can't smell each other but they know they're there.

They hung out for about five minutes, until the possum's family moved on and it moved on, glancing back at the door as it left.

So in addition to putting out corn for the deer, we now put out a small tray of cheap cat food which has brought a feral cat or two, and some raccoons but primarily the possum family, including the baby, which happily eats while standing in the tray, while our cat looks approvingly.

I don't know what's going on with our cat, or with those two, but it makes me strangely happy.

Last night I stayed up late talking to a friend of mine. The best thing about friends is them telling me things that I need to hear in a manner that is gentle because they care enough about me to tell me unpleasant truths. Another friend of mine has been going to church every week. He's going to be baptized soon, I'm really proud of him for taking this step as it is something important to him that's improved his quality of life. I hadn't been to church in a long time, weeks turned into months, I told myself I was being 'spiritual', but I was avoiding my church. When I sat down to think about it I realized that for some reason it's hard for me to get up and get going Sunday morning. Monday evenings don't work because I'm tired when I get home from my job. The solution turned out to going to church where most of the rest of my family goes on Saturday evening.

Periodically I revisit how many resources I'm consuming. Driving half an hour to get to church is not the worst gas and oil consumption out there, but I'd like to try and find a church that's closer to me, or combine this activity with something else so I'm more efficient with my time and money. Tears rolled down my face while I listened to the sermon. My friend doesn't believe in God and finds church a waste of time. I know others feel similarly, but church offers me a great source of personal comfort and reassurance. It's familiar, small churches feel cozy to me, it's a safe place where I can sit down for an hour and listen to what someone else has to say, I enjoy singing, especially when the songs are melodic and the tunes are ones that I remember. 

My phone has an app that helps me monitor my sleep. It reminds me to go to bed at 8:30, so far I've been unsuccessful there, but I like the idea that I get a reminder so I can start winding down for the evening. I wanted to see who won the game, the Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series to face the Cleveland Indians, I believe the games will be fairly well matched, I don't have a rooting interest which always feels odd to me. The teams I liked are out of it, now it's just a matter of waiting for the outcome. I tend to get a bit nostalgic at the end of baseball season. The furor and frenzy of the season dies down, I find myself at loose ends, and need other things to occupy the part of my life that baseball did.

I've been thinking about my romantic relationship and what I want out of it. My current plan is to send him a message that says something along the lines of - 'Help me out, I love you, I want to be a part of your life, but I need more than you're prepared to give, can we still be friends going forward?' I've leaned heavily on my friends, too much at times, if it takes this many people to support me in a relationship, there's red flags that I'm going to address. There are sucky things about being single, but there's also a weight that's lifted when you're able to let go and let someone else have the freedom and independence that they need. 

I've done some pretty ridiculous things in my life. This morning I read a post about five minute habits that will change your life. Simple things that I should have been doing all along, making my bed, packing a healthy lunch, preparing my car, laying out my things the night before, creating a budget and sticking to it, writing out my week ahead of time, making lists and prioritizing them. Setting goals for myself. I'm really pleased with what I accomplished this weekend. My tendency is to do the minimum and focus on writing since it doesn't feel as if I get time to write the way I want to during the week. I did a lot of cooking so I have food for the upcoming week. I bought individually packaged nut butters to keep in my bag and locker at work.

I never know where I'm going to be when I need a snack, preparation is key, and I'm much better prepared to be a single woman who loves life on her own than I was the last time a romantic relationship ended. Getting down to the heart of some of my emotional and intimacy issues is going to be a priority, I have a lot to discuss with my therapist when I see her next, but this is progress and while it may not be pretty, in the end I'm going to have something beautiful. 

Praying this finds you well,

Yesterday was my 15th noderversary! It's really hard to believe that so much time has passed since I first joined this site. I hope this place will be alive and kicking in another 15 years.

In other news, On October 17th, Jolly Fish Press announced that it has ended its book production and will stop doing business entirely at the end of the month. JFP was a trade fiction and nonfiction publisher founded in 2012. I was mostly aware of JFP because they published my fellow Goddard College alumna Mia Siegert's well-received YA novel Jerkbait.

It's sad for readers and writers whenever a publisher shuts down, but particularly when it's a strong up-and-comer as JFP certainly seemed to be.

Even more unfortunately, JFP didn't give their authors the courtesy of a private notification a day or two before their public announcement. As a result, many of their authors naturally felt blindsided, adding to the distress of finding out that their books had been orphaned.

I know that pain. I sold what would have been my first novel to a new, seemingly well-run and well-funded publisher back in 2002. This was on the strength of a first chapter and completed synopsis. I got professional rates, the contract was good, and it looked like the publisher would want more novels from me once I'd finished the first. I was all ready to quit my day job and dive into writing the rest of the book when I got the bad news: because of financial losses from the .com bust, the publisher's parent company had decided to pull the plug on all their subsidiaries that weren't immediately bringing in profits. (Spoiler: new publishing companies are never immediately turning a profit.)

This was terrible news for everybody involved, but it was particularly awful for the publishing company's new staff who had just moved for the sake of their new jobs. Nobody knew that the publisher was in danger until the parent company killed it.

I took it hard, and the professional setback knocked the wind out of me, creatively speaking. Nobody had warned me that this kind of thing could happen. I had a signed contract ... but no publisher. Who would want my book now? Would the next publisher fold, too? I lost confidence and never completed that book. I floundered for about a year, but eventually got my focus back and wrote a completely different first novel (Spellbent) that was published by Del Rey.

I hope all the writers affected by the Jolly Fish Press shutdown can stay positive and find new publishing opportunities quickly.

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