As I gazed down at my new city from my airline seat, that Sept. 20 morning, I had no idea what was in store for me during my first year in Houston...
I had hopes of finding a job, saving money, exploring my surroundings by bike, and taking my creative life in new directions as a writer and hopefully a published one at that, getting out into the creative AND pet loving communities of my new city and state and making new friends and acquaintances...
My life changed forever, in 2 unexpected ways, by mid-November, when a blood vessel burst in my left eye and cancer was found in my right eye.
By Spring I'd had corrective surgery in both and, as of today, the cancer has been in remission ever since.
This month is also the 2nd anniversary of my getting a job, at last (after having been unemployed since the end of Sept. 2010)...as a cashier at Walmart.
( I am stunned to notice, on my next week pay stub, that I have 77.20 hrs. (9+ days!) of vacation time available to me...Lord, I have not taken a vacation in so long (Blog Paws Convention, May 2013, while still unemployed) I would not know what to do with it even if I had my camera, my bike, and the funds to do anything... )
I began to ride my bike around Houston, immediately, but had to give that up a year ago and am bikeless.
I returned to taking photos of my new surroundings, places visited and cats and other critters on the street...but my camera died months ago and I lost my hiking stick/camera monopod on a bus during a rain storm and am reduced to using the camera on my cell phone (a new tripod awaits the day when I am able to get a new camera to stick on it).
I started going to church soon after arriving in town, and made my Houston Open Mic debut last Fall but, due to constantly unfavorable work schedules, rarely get to church these days and have not done an Open Mic since January.
I don't get out much so have no social life, have no savings, live paycheck to paycheck and need to renew my Harris County Health Gold Card next week so I can resume medications I take and go to doctor appointments scheduled in Oct. & Nov.
I moved into a cheaper, smaller apartment, last December.
My right ankle, and foot still hurt and now my hips and both sets of toes want in on the fun, too (Since Spring).
I lost a cat (my original creative muse, Nikita) to medical issues and old age and gained 2 more (Sneakers and Friday, lady kittens rescued off the street, the 2nd just this month), bringing on sadness and pain, followed by laughter and joy.
So...what do I do when not working 8 hrs., 5 days a week?
My writing has been my way of sharing the ups and downs of the past 3 yrs...the good the bad and the worrisome...hopes, dreams, concerns, opinion, poetry, stories, cats, cycling, dining, humor, journalism and more.
In the last 3 years I've done guest posts, I've been published in newsletters and newspapers, I've been exhaustively profiled, as a writer, by a writer friend and my cats have been "interviewed" by a group of their critter friends on another blog.
I've visited nearby Spring, TX. to lunch with a friend I've not been able to visit since, I went to a Houston cat show with a pet blogging legend and recently laid to rest one of his creative babies after years of my own close involvement.
I've traveled to Va. to attend a pet blogger convention, where I met with dozens of friends I'd never met and was sponsored to become a member of a professional writer's association and became a member of 2 writing communities, none of which I've been able to participate much in.
I've earned money for my writing for the first time, but am still almost unknown in the pet blogging world and industry, despite all my years as a pet blogger (traffic, as much as quality writing, seems to drive industry interest in finding blogs to sponsor or offer products to review).
Even as I still need to organize 13 yrs. of writing for future publishing efforts, even self-publishing, last May an author friend, after reading one of my longest, best creations, talked me into setting up a CreateSpace Account, over at Amazon, as well as Kindle Direct Publishing, though I've done nothing with either since:
October 1st will mark the 8th anniversary of THIS blog and I am proud of all I've managed to do in its existence, just as I am of Opinionated Pussycat and Cycling Dude and Sneakeasy's Joint before them.
Since the end of Spring, as the summer progressed, I have thought about what I could do to get back into regular blogging here, and increase awareness, especially locally, of my writing here and on my cat blog....
While a lack of a point/shoot camera and a proper bicycle (the newest version of the bike I owned for 15 years is my goal) put a major crimp in my style, a style that built what reputation as a writer and blogger I have over 13 years, surely I can still find ways to do some new things using Houston Metro and my own 2, painful, feet?
In the last 2 years I've been called a very inspiring and versatile blogger and praised by writer's and bloggers I admire....
Sometimes I feel I've let them down with my struggles to move in new directions...
BUT...I have hopes and dreams and still believe that abandoning Ca. for TX. was the right decision and trust that God knows what He is doing and I have great things still ahead of me.
3 years ago Houston and Texas were forever changed...They just have not realized it yet. :-D
Let me end by sharing 4 posts of mine, 3 from last year and one from this...