Welcome to the 2016 A to Z Challenge on I, Jak! This year's theme is 2016 Highlights, where I will be blogging about things I have been looking forward to this year, whether people, places, or things. Some have already occurred, some are currently happening, and others are yet on the way.

Some topics may be a bit generic (occurring annually), while others will be specific to 2016, so come take a look!


I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d fully recommit to this blog hop after my catch up post, especially during the A to Z Challenge. I’ve already witnessed a handful of people folding under the pressure of daily blogging (even with that Sunday break), and keeping up with other bloggers participating. They were fine soldiers. Each and every one of them. Their time, dedication, and ultimate sacrifice shall not go unnoticed.

Please, a moment of silence…

…And we’re back.

I’m definitely trying not to be oppressed by my snail pace at visiting, but I undoubtedly — in general — need to improve my time management. The final stretch of the challenge is upon us and (SPOILER ALERT!) for that I am Thankful. There is no way in hell I’m going to quit now! I figure once the A to Z wraps up I can take some time and catch up with posts I missed, because there is that real possibility I may not be blogging much thereafter.

Unless that Blog Every Day in May Challenge is taking place again. Then maybe, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s still a whole three days away.

Today I’m Thankful for:
  1. Getting back into the groove of things and participating in the A to Z Challenge this year.
  2. That I didn’t buckle under the pressure!
  3. As mentioned above, I’m very Thankful that it’s nearing the end.
  4. The conquering of my TToT catch up post. It didn’t take me anywhere near as long as I thought it would, which is good, because I started the lists the day the post was due. Thinking back to November wasn’t an easy task. Thankfully, I had mentioned a handful of events throughout the A to Z, so that made it a bit easier.
  5. Finally writing some fiction again in UNCLAIMED.
  6. Very Thankful that the weather has begun to feel a lot more Spring-like. I was getting worried we would be getting some snowfall in May again. Screw that action.
  7. Thunderstorms! Finally! I’ve been waiting for this weather much too long. Lately, threats of thunderstorms have turned out to be nothing but rain. What’s rain without some thunder and lightning?! Seriously.
  8. I believe I forgot to mention it in my huge Thankful post, but I’m grateful for the Peter Pan play that the Ladyfolk and I attended a few weeks ago. They had some odd sound equipment issues, but overall it wasn’t too distracting. The performances were great and there was one fairy in particular who was so tiny and adorable in her outfit that she may have stolen the show.
  9. Lazy weekend. I know I have highlighted this many times, but I’m truly Thankful for each and every one. Sometimes the weekends get so jammed with social outings and errands, it’s nice to have ones devoid of all the hustle and bustle.
  10. Today is my grandmothers birthday. She is turning 84. I’m Thankful she is still with me today to be able to enjoy her company. Usually Mondays are our hang out days, but she will be busy with my aunt tomorrow. The Ladyfolk and I went out and grabbed a gift and a card to drop off as soon as I finish this post. We got six cartons of Twinkies and three cartons of Hostess Cupcakes. The Twinkies have ten units per box, while the cupcakes eight. Weird… that just so happens to equal 84! Coincidence? I think not…
Feel free to leave your Thankful List in the comments below, if you aren’t participating directly with the blog hop!


This should get in a bit earlier than my previous forays into the TToT blog hop, but it is honestly the one closest to the point of never being published. It’s just been that emotional of a week, and as I reached the end of the week my enthusiasm for writing in the blog hop had dwindled substantially.

The week started off with my grandmother going into the clinic, for what was believed backup issues, which then lead to her having to be admitted into the hospital. There, they found she was exhibiting an irregular heartbeat and had to have some extensive testing done. I didn’t find out about what was going on, though, until Thursday. She hadn’t called me, though I know she brought various phone numbers with her, my father hadn’t called me, and all my calls to her were met with endless ringing (she is old-school, so no voicemail for her…). Finally, Thursday I was able to reach my father who updated me as to what exactly happened and that evening when she got home she called to talk. She tries not to call my cell phone being I get in trouble for personal use time and have been charged by my company for minutes, but it would have been nice to have been given a heads up. A voicemail, if nothing else…

So when that stressful incident cleared up another, of a more personal nature, reared it’s ugly head. At this point I was in full “Fuck It” mode. Eventually that was hashed out and things hit a mediocre sense of norm. What I was left with, though, was a strong desire to take a break from blogging. I’ve been falling almost two weeks behind on posts anyhow (and that is just TToT posts), and thought a fresh start after some time away would help.

Then I was on the fence. but leaning towards doing the post, even coaxing my girlfriend — who also has been feeling down — to do the same, citing it as the best time to participate. This morning, however, I decided I wouldn’t be a part of the blog hop and/or post any of my blog series this week, and quite possibly the week or two after.

When I hopped onto Facebook this afternoon, my decision flopped yet again after seeing a drawing my friend (and ex co-worker) — who long ago moved to the UK — randomly made for me and posted on my wall. We don’t talk very often, I’d say once every few weeks and that is being generous, so I didn’t take his drawing (and the message on it) as coincidence. It appeared I was being told to buck up and get to it. I will share the picture on Wednesday, but until then let’s see if I can’t crank out a list of Thankfulness and some trailers before then, shall we?

  1. I’m Thankful the doctor at the clinic was able to determine there was more going on with my grandma’s health than just having a terrible bout of backup.
  2. For my father being able to bring her in and spend hours at the hospital while she underwent testing that first night. I have no actual proof he did this and that he didn’t just leave right away (nor will I ask…), but I want to believe he waited around until discovering she would be admitted overnight. I’d imagine, though, with how many hours of testing that needed to be done, that was determined pretty quickly into the evening.
  3. Finally getting in touch with someone to update me on WTF was going on with my grandmother…
  4. Despite finding an irregular heartbeat, it seems that the incident was not life-threatening. At least this is what she told me. She was in the hospital for three days, which to me would suggest it was of some importance she be kept in a monitored state.
  5. Crooks. My cat has been extra lovey this week and it seems he was able to sense I could use the additional comfort.
    How Crooks views himself in the mirror...
  6. I am Thankful for my girlfriend and how supportive — and also cuddly — she has been throughout the week when visiting.
  7. The talks my girlfriend and I have had recently. Some about what we are feeling at any given moment, and others about the possibilities of what is to come in the future. I generally avoid talking too much about the future, I’m pretty bad at visualizing it, making it hard to discuss.
  8. My girlfriend keeping me calm when anxiety-bound upon discovering the Papa Murphy’s pizza I bought was too big for my oven. After a handful of ideas being tossed around, we opted to fold the edge of the pizza in and cut an inch or so off of their Bake-and-Serve pizza tray.
  9. I’m Thankful that, so far, our pizza experiment hasn’t gone completely haywire… I’m freaking starving!
  10. Writing. Even though I was (am?) dead set on taking a break from blogging, I was inspired to write up some rough drafts of future entries. Part of the break would be to actually focus on the type of posts I’ve neglected for months now. Those of a more personal nature — sans blog hops and blog series. One post turned into two and ideas for a few more have come to light. They are rough around the edges, but should flesh out easily enough. So even if I do end up taking a momentary leave of absence from the Blogosphere, it will be with the intention of working on pieces I feel I have sidestepped for far too long.

Feel free to leave your Thankful List in the comments below, if you aren’t participating directly with the blog hop!