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Wow. It’s been almost one year exactly since I last posted.

Blogs have always scared me. It stems from my sort of constitutional social awkwardness. (There’s probably a reason I sit in a closet by myself all day, pecking at a keyboard.) At least, in real life, I’ve mostly gotten over my shyness. All right, so sometimes I laugh a little louder than socially appropriate or say something inane, but I’ve discovered that–hey–it doesn’t kill me, and sometimes in the process of making a fool of myself I also make a friend.

But I haven’t quite gotten there with blogging. Whenever I think about posting, I automatically hit the same blocks that kept me from interacting with people: Who wants to read about that? I’ll think, or I’ll bore them, or worse, I’ll sound like an idiot.

Shyness. Plain and simple.

But then…admittedly…also a tad bit of laziness. What can I say? After plugging away all day on my dissertation and current fiction projects, usually about the last thing I want to do is write more. As much as I love writing, I also love taking walks, cooking, socializing, and–uh–well, it’s nice to get sleep sometimes, too.

So, now that I’ve finally got myself in a social, blogging mood, let me do my annual Year in Review for 2013, a couple of months late. Mind you, not a lot of noteworthy things happened last year. A lot internal growth happened, but I won’t bore you with the philosophical stuff.

I went vegan. Vegetarian. Ish. When I do eat animal products, I try to keep to the sustainable. What’s sustainable? The definition always seems to be changing. It’s enough to make you crazy, but I try. (To keep sustainable, that is. I’m already incurably crazy.) I’m not going to stand on a soapbox and spout out how I think people should eat. Good grief, no. But I do like to go on about organic farms and happy goats and all of that hippie nonsense, and I hope you’ll bear with me. Happy growing things apparently make me happy.

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On that note…this is probably the single most beautiful thing I saw in Norfolk, VA.

I traveled exactly one place out of state. That’s a real change from the trend. For a few years now, I’ve been going at least a couple of places a year. In 2012, it was Utah and Vermont back-to-back, then Oregon a month or two later. But 2013 was like a bog. I felt mired down in it.

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But, I did travel down to the Florida Keys to have this spectacular view on my birthday in August. (It’s one nice thing about living in South Florida.)

I passed my comprehensive exams. These are different at every university, apparently, but basically it means that I finished the coursework for my degree and get to move onto my dissertation. In fact, I’m just about to start my research now. Once that’s done, I get to write it all up and submit it and, hopefully, by this time next year you can call me Doctor. Yes, that’s right: Dr. Danse. Sounds like a super villain, doesn’t it?

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Koalas have nothing to do with my comprehensive exams, but I *did* feel kind of like this one afterwards.

And that’s…about it. So what am I looking forward to this year?

TRAVELLING AGAIN! I’ve got a trip to Oregon planned in the summer. It’s for a research conference, but it’s in Portland…and really, I’ll take any excuse to visit.

A year of almost no travel has made me realize how much it (travel) defines my life. I practically grew up in the back of a car, and I can’t remember the last year I didn’t fly somewhere. Funny: Travel helps me feel more rooted. It sets my life in context. It gives me a sense of place and movement, and to be without that…well, just plain sucks. I miss it.

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Finishing my dissertation. Because, as scared as I am of leaping out of academia and back into the real world, I’m kind of ready to be done.

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Completing and submitting a couple of novels. Because, well, again: It’s about time. I’ve learned a lot about writing, and myself, in these last couple of years, and I know that I still have lot more to learn. But sitting on these manuscripts I’m nearly done with won’t make them perfect–and it certainly won’t make them published. Time to roll ’em on out.

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Updating this blog… I hope to get into the habit of regularly posting once a week. Maybe I’ll even find something worthwhile–and interesting–to talk about. I have some ideas, and I’m excited about them. So…we’ll see. ^.^

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Ganesha is here to help me remove obstacles and slay demons. Like…procrastination.