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17 Things I Learned in 2017 - Page 3


#12. Squirrels are Evil Bastards
a thieving asshole
#12. Squirrels are Evil Bastards
a thieving asshole

I've never particularly liked squirrels, but it wasn't until 2017 that I had to declare all out war on the buggers. I had good success with my vegetable garden in 2016, but despite the experience, I barely got to harvest anything in 2017. The reason? You guessed it: overgrown rats who climb fences with abandon. They ate my carrots. They ate my tomatoes. They ate my potatoes. They ate my spinach plants. The only things they left me were my peppers. By the end of the summer, my entire garden was covered with fencing from top to bottom, and yet they still managed to squeeze their dirty little claws between the bars and knock my tomatoes to the ground just to spite me. Thankfully, I have plans to deal with them next year, and they won't know what hit them.


#13. Your Kid Going to the Bus Stop by Himself is Torture
stock photo
#13. Your Kid Going to the Bus Stop by Himself is Torture
stock photo

So Thomas is in third grade now. It seemed like a good time to get him to walk to the bus stop by himself. After all, other kids his age are doing it, and I'm pretty sure I was capable of doing it when I was that old (alas, I had older siblings who always had to walk with me, so I rarely had the opportunity). He seemed up for it, too. Sure, he whined a little bit about the walking, but with very little prodding, he can do it. He is totally ready. The one who isn't ready, though, is me. My brain goes into overprotective helicopter parent overdrive when I let him just walk out the door and up the street, out of sight. I damn near face daily panic attacks! I came up with a solution that works for the time being, as a kind of compromise. I'll take him to the bus stop, but only if he'll get dressed before a certain time, something that previously seemed incomprehensibly difficult. Now I can stave off the panic attacks by taking him every morning, because he is miraculously motivated to get dressed now. We'll see what happens next year...


#14. Diabetes Can Change Pretty Quick
too high
#14. Diabetes Can Change Pretty Quick
too high

I've been diabetic for over a decade now, and going into 2017, I thought I had a good handle on it. Through diet, exercise, and the occasional pharmaceutical assistance, I had managed to keep my blood sugar relatively under control. Late into the year, though, things changed suddenly, with my numbers skyrocketing for no readily apparent reason. This is something I'd been warned about but didn't take seriously enough: the sudden changes in the condition as it progresses over time. It could be the diabetes itself that has changed, or it could be the diabetic drugs losing their effectiveness, but whatever the reasons, my routine at the start of last year is insufficient heading into this year. Thankfully, I've managed to wrestle the beast back into submission through more exercise and weight loss, but it's definitely harder now than it used to be. Unfortunately, I know it won't be getting any easier going forward. If you're diabetic, you've always got to keep a wary eye out.


#15. Some Edit Jobs are Bigger than Others
red ink
#15. Some Edit Jobs are Bigger than Others
red ink

A few years back, I rewrote an entire novel from scratch. (It is Paradox, available now on paperback and Kindle--leave a review!) Up until that point, I considered it my greatest editing challenge, and I spent over a year getting it right. However, my latest project (tentatively titled The Survival Imperative) has proven to be even more challenging as an edit. The reasons are complicated, but sufficed to say, no two projects are going to have the same requirements. I wrote a bit about this towards the end of the year, but when it comes to writing, never underestimate the importance or difficulty of editing.


#16. There are Still Cool Things to Discover in the City
El Monstero
#16. There are Still Cool Things to Discover in the City
El Monstero

My wife and I were able to get out more and do things in 2017. As such, we got to explore some areas of St. Louis we'd never been to, such as The Hill, which boasts some of the best Italian food in the country, and the locally famous Pink Floyd tribute band, El Monstero, which we saw at the city's premier venue, The Pageant. While our first visit to the Hill wasn't great, the Pageant was incredible, and we hope to take another stab at the Italian food in the near future. Even beyond that, we've discovered little things like a small vegetarian Indian restaurant that is unexpectedly delicious. Added on top of the things we'd already seen like the City Museum, the Apple Butter Festival, and my son's personal favorite, The Magic House, these experiences have proven to us that the greater St. Louis area is full of neat little surprises.


#17. After Ten Years, I Still Haven't Run Out of Things to Write
10
#17. After Ten Years, I Still Haven't Run Out of Things to Write
10

This is the tenth anniversary of this blog, believe it or not. It started life as a test to see if I could keep to a regular schedule and build up a portfolio of articles to help launch a freelance writing career. While that hasn't happened, this has still been a valuable creative outlet for me that I would be lost without. I thank all of my readers--some of you have been with me since the beginning, and some of you are just casual stalkers--and I am immensely grateful that you're here to witness my growth and maturation as a writer.

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-e. magill 1/11/2018

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