Tomorrow There’ll Be Sun

Sunny Day at the Park in December

2021 was a year of small positive changes balanced by heart-bruising losses.

It was a year where I set no goals because 2020 had crushed that desire out of me in the worst way. And unlike past years, I didn’t touch this post until December– because I wasn’t sure yet if things were going to get better.

It did… sort of?

I’m back to a place where I’ve restarted the bullet journal and make a bunch of plans for 2022. I have some hope that the coming year will be predictable enough that I’m not setting myself up for failure.

I even started the 2022 Year in Review post with the list of things I hope to be able to check off.

So, onwards.

The Big Sads

This year both my Father-in-law and one of my Uncles passed away. Because of the pandemic the normal gatherings and memorials were set aside and since both of them passed in faraway states, things just… ended in an odd sort of limbo. I’m not used to saying goodbye to people with the actual ‘saying goodbye’ part.

For roughly half the year I couldn’t go out or see family, because all of us weren’t vaccinated yet, but as the year went on we were finally able to crawl back to something in throwing distance of normal. I run on hugs, so it was tough.

The history books will do a better job than I will covering the political and pandemic insanity of this year, so I’ll leave that part to them.

The Big Happys

The biggest yay of the year (other than my wedding anniversary!) was that I landed a new permanent 100% remote development job this year that started in August and they are the friendliest most growth-oriented folks I’ve ever met. I really look forward to learning ALL the things with them!

I got both vaccine shots and a booster!! Gogo Moderna super-5G-powers! 😂

I maintained the habit of weekly zoom calls with family (Board Game Arena is awesome!) and hope to keep that habit rolling even when we get to the eventual ‘end’ of the pandemic.

I got to drive to Maine with mom and spend some time with my beloved ocean! And family, gotta love the family too!😉

The Everything Else

So many good things happened this year and I feel like I should list as many of them as I can just to offset the chaos that was 2020.


Foggy day up in Maine

In no particular order (aka as I happen to remember them)…

I finally got a new car this year and was able to resume dog walks at the park and other general chores that I’d been putting off because the old car wouldn’t start reliably. Sadly I had to wait three months for it to show up at the dealership and the impetus was that the Heffalump had serious issues on the day I drove to Mom’s for Maine. (Emergency plane trips are no fun, but the new car is awesome, so it balances!)

Both Katsucon and the UCP craft fair were canceled this year, although some other large events started to happen again as the year wrapped up (prior to Omnicron shutting things down again).

I took a trip up to visit some college friends once everyone had been vaccinated and it was a blast. We were trying to start gathering on a semi-regular basis right before Covid started and it was nice to get back to it. Sort of.

I started bullet journalling again in May, first with handbound tiny books and then later with a disc-bound journal in October (Staples Arc because the hole-punch for it had better reviews than Happy Planner) and custom-made pages. Google Draw turned out to be great for designing layouts and once I have them tweaked I will start sharing them on the blog and with the mailing list folks.

I dug out and remulched the oval bed in the backyard. It took five weekends of slow but steady work and it looks much better now.

I used the old mulch to fill in where the neighbor dogs were starting to dig so they can look under the fence again… which lasted a week or so and then they redug it. Sigh.

After avoiding it for almost two years, I ended up attending a Christmas dinner where someone tested positive for Covid a few days afterward. At the moment no one else out of the eight people has tested positive (a bunch of us have had negative rapid tests) but it’s just a waiting game to make 100% sure. Everyone was triple vac’d so… it was just really really bad luck.

Oddly the CDC recommendation for folks with boosters who have been exposed to Covid is… just act like normal? “Wear a mask around others for 10 days” To be fair, they do also say “If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home” but still. 🙄

Anywho, here’s hoping 2022 brings us a little more safety and a lot better luck!


Massive Herd of TOOB Ponies and Breyer Stablemates and Mini Whinnies

I got so much art done this year! SO. MUCH. I was going to summarize it here and then realized it could be a post of its own. So… yeah, just imagine a really long list of nifty things here. 😅

I made a lot of model horse bases and fencing (and developed shipping/storage methods), painted a passel of TOOB ponies, Mini Whinnies, and Stablemates, and came up with all sorts of new storage methods for the horses, and finished up a bunch of new and old magnets (yay whales!).

I bought a giant wave of hot glued Mini Whinnies that I slowly pulled apart and am planning on identifying and then customizing. Faux-model horse archeology!

I made a real push to start organizing and posting all the various artwork, as well as reevaluating the materials cost for everything. I ended up having to reseal a bunch of the old magnets that had gone sticky while in storage. Crossing my fingers that I managed to nip that in the bud, but I’ll check again in a few months.

I did a bunch of impromptu Christmas cards for a charity via work, which were a lot of fun to make. I may put them on the calendar so I remember to buy proper supplies for next year.

I also did a last-minute sculpting and casting bonanza before Christmas and sculpted a new Ball Python ornament and a new santa hippo, plus finally played around with the resin dyes I was gifted forever ago. It was a lot of fun… but now I need to go get some proper photos!

I tend to fluctuate cyclically between Art and Writing and I’m looking for a way to try and smooth out the swings next year.


Writing Desk with Notecards and Clutter

I participated in both camps and NaNoWriMo proper this year, resulting in one loss and two wins.

The first Camp I was tracking time-in-chair for work editing That Don’t Impress Me Much into a proper story.

For the second Camp I was working to see if I could reliably produce a weekly serial story (Borrowed Wings) and while I won, I came to the conclusion that it’s just not my jam. If I do a serial story, it will most likely be finished before it’s posted or posted very slowly.

I did a few #vss365 responses, a few 500 Words stories, and one tiny Harry Potter fanfic, but it was a quiet year for writing outside of NaNo.

I wrote one new 31 Days of ebooks this year (Flames) early in the year, but never got around to writing more.

For several months I focused on giving away multiple ebooks for free each weekend, but in the end, decided to pull all the 31 Days books from Kindle Unlimited. I’m working on swapping them over to printable workbooks that I can sell on my website as well as on Etsy.

I also picked up Atticus in December and have made a vow to finish formatting and posting all of the Saturday Story Prompt collection eBooks before 2022 is done.

The Yearly SSP collection for 2021 is done and up for pre-order (it’ll go live on 1/15) and I’m hoping the rest will follow shortly after…

I would like to get the Pateron and Mailing List back up and running next year as well as a bunch of new writing projects done… but we’ll see how it goes.

Health and Fitness

Nerd Fitness Rebellion logo

I did a few rounds of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion challenges in January, August, September, October, and December.

I used the December mini-challenge to lay out the groundwork for 2022 and I’m hoping this means I’m back in the saddle. I really enjoyed NF when I did it steadily back in 2016-2017 and I’d like to get back there.

Plus I’m already seeing progress, so that’s quite motivating! 😁

I’ve managed to stop drinking Diet Coke on a daily basis, I’ve lost a decent amount of weight in a slow-but-steady manner, and I can now go up and down stairs without it being a serious challenge.

I also started doing dog walks again, now that I have a working car, and hopping down to the park and doing a one-mile walk is doable during my lunch hour. (Woot!).

I’m no longer playing WoW again as the Shadowland expansion headaches and the following meltdown of Blizzard turned me off. I’m looking for new things to play while on the treadmill, but for now, I’m gameless. (Woe.)

I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings!

Ye Blog

Google Analytics for MarthaNet Jan to Dec 2021

Siteground is much more expensive now that the first year discount has worn off, but I am very happy to pay it to keep the site up and running reliably. I’m going to downgrade slightly next year as I don’t need some of the extra things I picked up in 2021.

There wasn’t a lot of traffic change (pretty much exactly last year’s numbers), even with a decent amount of posting and social media’ing. So one of the goals for next year will be to work on bringing the number up a bit.

Still not sure how I’ll manage that, but I’m gonna try! 😅

I’ve also got my eye on finally buckling down and really learning WordPress so I can code my own completely custom theme. What I have now is… okay, but it’s really not what I’d like it to be.


All in all, there was some light to balance out the darkness this year and I’m full of hope that 2022 will get better.

Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022!

Failure is the New Breakfast

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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