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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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2001 retrospective


In yesterday's Blathering I said that I was choosing not to visit the Lord of the Rings movie discussion board until I've had a chance to see the movie more times. I'd like to post a clarification, since there seems to be some misunderstanding. This was in no means a recommendation for people NOT to read the message board, but an expression of a personal choice (mine) similar to those who choose not read negative reviews until they see a movie.

It's true that my personal choice may influence others who have the same quirky mindset as me. But I'm also assuming that you're all grown-ups and can come up with opinions of your own. :-) Some of you might read a Blathering and think, "Hm, she has a point." Others might think, "Geez, what is she ON today?" Maybe some of you disagree with everything I say, but check in from time to time just out of morbid curiosity. :-)

I apologize to Allison for not making it clearer that my choice not to read additional negative LOTR reviews until I've had a chance to see the movie some more times was a personal choice and -not- a general recommendation for people to stay away from her board. As I mentioned yesterday, I think her message board is a great forum for those who wish to exchange reviews and comments about the movie, both bad AND good.


Jeff and I are going to Luisa's and Reid's LAN party today. Not sure how much online time I'll get over the next few days, so in case I don't get to post until January, here's my

2001 Personal Retrospective

For the record, I am MUCH happier now than I was a year ago. :-)

In January, Jeff and Scott M. helped me move home from Philadelphia, ending my six-month adventure in corporateland (or at least the on-location part of it). No one in senior management at Xlibris said good-bye, but I didn't care...I was going home. :-)

In February, we went up north with my sister and her family to trek across the lake and visit the cottage. The ice was less stable than we expected, and after a scary moment when Ruth went partway through the ice, we opted for Deerhurst Inn instead.


February was also when Xlibris shut Inkspot down and laid off all its staff. I clearly remember ICQing with some of them when they got their notices, and then watching their ICQ ids drop off my screen one at a time as they were asked to shut down their computers. Very depressing. :-(

The demise of Inkspot was bittersweet for me. After six years of hard work, it was difficult for me to see it end this way. On the other hand, Inkspot's success, as exciting as it was, had ramped up the level of stress in my life to the point where 12-hour workdays were the norm rather than the exception, and this was having an affect on all other aspects of my life, including my marriage. Not good.

I spent most of March and April sorting out the post-Inkspot mess. My legal/accounting bills totalled over $5000 this year.

Starting in May, Jeff and I took an six month sabbatical. I slept, spent time with friends and family, read, played my harp, slept some more. Jeff and I spent a lot of time together and actually began having conversations that didn't have anything to do with work. :-) We visited the cottage and also did some travelling to Vancouver Island and Japan as part our tenth wedding anniversary trip. I used frequent flyer points to visit friends in California and Ohio.

Sept. 11th is the main public event that most people will remember in 2001, and each of us was affected differently. My main reaction was sorrow for the families who lost loved ones. And for me, it was also another reminder to get a sense of perspective when it came to getting stressed over little things.


November marked the first month in years where I've been able to write fulltime. I felt incredibly rusty in my fiction writing; it had been so long. But it felt INCREDIBLY GOOD at the same time. :-) I got some nonfiction assignments, handed them in on time, got paid. Got back into working on my novels again.

I am pretty hyped about 2002. A fresh start, and my first year as a fulltime freelance writer. It feels wonderful to be able to be excited about the future again, with no reservations.

The past two years have run the full gamut in terms of lows and highs. And to end this entry, here are a few of things I've added to my personal list of truths and discoveries. In no particular order:

- The people at the top aren't always right. (I know, I know, this is obvious to most people. I just had it hit home much more effectively this past year :-))

- You can't and shouldn't always try to make everyone happy.

- Kiwi fruit isn't so bad.

- Schedule in relaxation time, don't count on it happening on its own.

- Learn HOW to relax.

- It's "ice cream", not "icecream".

- Don't let yourself get obsessed/stressed by little things. Save your energy for what matters.

- A romantic relationship does not necessarily translate into a good working relationship.

- Prioritization makes all the difference. If you don't prioritize and then adjust your actions/choices accordingly, then you'll just get frustrated and overwhelmed.

- When in the U.S., ask for napkins, not serviettes.

I'd be highly interested in hearing some of your own personal retrospectives and especially any life lessons you've learned (hey, maybe I can benefit, too :)). Please post them in Blatherchat.

Hey, and don't forget about your New Year's Resolutions! :-) People who have bravely posted so far include: Lissa, Lyanne, Bryan, Anton, Heather M, Constance, Gary, Janet, Heather B, Sherman and Katy.


- Sunrise at the cottage, photo taken in May (beginning of my sabbatical!).

- Ray, Scott, and Tony from One Trick Pony. Jeff and Bryan are now sharing their office space. I took this photo last week after lunch at Wow Sushi.

- Mango, my mom-in-law's cat. Jeff and I had bad allergic reactions to Mango when we were staying at Ginny's. A tragic thing, really, since Mango is one of the most affectionate cats I've ever encountered, and will stand at my feet with obvious hurt bewilderment as I ignore his outpouring of love (mainly in the form of enthusiastically rubbing cat hair against my legs and purring loudly).

- Beach walk near the Wickanninish Inn. Photo by Jeff.

Today's Poll: (Courtesy Sherman Dorn)

Do you own a slow cooker (also known as a Crock-Pot)?

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