Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome 2021! (I’m watching you…)

Today marks the first day of a whole new year. A made up, arbitrary, unimportant date that nonetheless feels like a renewal and rebirth. The human mind and spirit is a fascinating and messed up thing.

Last year was all over the place. I was on paternity leave, we went to Disney World, and then PANDEMIC. I’m ridiculously privileged that I got to work from home and we didn’t lose much income (Jen’s travel booking did suffer). I got to spend so much more time with my son than I would have and that’s a blessing.

It was a terrible year for my New Year’s Resolutions, however. This year I’m going to take it easier… I think.



1. Write a Monthly Serial Story

This will be the 8th year for the serial story. Voting Ended yesterday and I’ll have the first installment by the end of the month. I’ll be writing 1 installment every month of 800-1000 words.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT

This year will see the start, and hopefully the finish, of a new book. I’m really excited about this one. The goal is to get to at least 40,000 words this year.

3. Write Another Hal Story

There are 5 stories in the Sun Speaker universe and I’ve been wanting to add another. Hopefully I can write something around 3000-6000 words.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates

Our schedule and lineup will be changing, but that’s another post. I’m going to hopefully keep up the streak of having at least 5 posts per week.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip

I wrote this novel in 2017 and my weditor edited it. I need to go through it and make the recommended changes and edits. Maybe even pass it to the next beta reader… It’s just such a personal book that it’s hard to revisit.

6. Keep Working on FADDS

The system isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better every playtest. I want to keep playtesting and adding on to the powers. Maybe rethink the advanced classes and powers.


7. Read 15 Books

Like writing, I need to carve out time to read. It’s important to both my mental energy and health.

8. Play more games with the kids

I need to play more board games and video games now that the kids are getting older. It’ll be a fun activity.

9. Be More Patient

This is a hard one. I yell a little too much and it’s not good for me or the kids. I need more patience with them, work, and life in general.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

It also happened last year and I went to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.

In mid-December, I called and asked the receptionist to get a referral to a specialist. I think this is related to my IBS and other issues, but I’m not a doctor.

I’ll keep pushing.

Those are my resolutions for 2021. Ambitious, but less so than in the past.

May your 2021 be gentle and you be strong!


Blush: PAP Tests

So far we have received almost three digits worth of questions, but I’m greedy, and I want more! Ask us your anonymous questions here!


What is a PAP Test (Papanicolaou test)? When should I have one? What is it like?

Mermaid PAP Test. Image from theawkwardmoose
Mermaid PAP Test. Image from theawkwardmoose


What is it?

A PAP Test checks for abnormally growing cells on the cervix. These cells could be pre-cancerous or cancerous, and getting checked for them could prevent cancer. Cervical cancer is one of most preventable cancers, and it all depends on getting checked regularly.

When do I have to get one?

Ask your doctor. They all have different guidelines. Women’s Health suggests between the ages of 21-65. They also suggests Diva Cup if your are shopping for menstrual supplies they are very cheap. My doctor said “When you’re 21 or are sexually active.” (The former applied to me.) Different countries might have different health care plans that cover the test.

What happens during a PAP Test?

First of all, you should trust your doctor. If you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor, then you should ask to be recommended to another one. Mine is amazing. He (Yes, a male. It’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable with a male doctor. They won’t be offended if you ask for a female doctor.) is excellent at explaining what’s going on with my issues, and he listens to my problems. If he doesn’t know because it’s something weird, he finds out and the nurses call me to let me know. I am lucky.

Yes, you’ll have to strip completely. Depending on the doctor’s office, they will provide you with either a cloth sheet or a paper one. Mine has cloth, but they’re very thin and not long enough to provide much privacy. Honestly, the only time I feel uncomfortable in it is when I’m waiting for the doctor to come into the room. Once he’s in, I forget that it’s uncomfortable. But everyone is different. You can ask if you are allowed to provide your own covering.

If you have a good doctor, they won’t charge right into the PAP Test. They’ll talk to you, ask if you have any questions, take blood pressure, etc. Then they’ll ask you to lie down and put your feet in the stirrups. I find that continuing to talk about your life helps to make this feel less uncomfortable. You have to spread your knees and it is possibly the most awkward and intimidating position imaginable. Just remember – practically every woman has had to deal with this same position before you. And men have to deal with the Prostate Exam! (This will be discussed at another time.)

A speculum. There are many types and sizes, reusable or disposable. Image from www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speculum_(medical)
A speculum. There are many types and sizes, reusable or disposable. Image from Wikipedia

The speculum (see image above) will be lubricated (and if your doctor is nice, warmed) and inserted. It will feel very weird. Every time. It is widened, to allow for a visual check of the cervix, and then a removal of a thin layer of cells. The widening doesn’t hurt, but the removal is uncomfortable. It gives me the same feeling as scratching the inside of my bellybutton does. But that could be just me. (Anyone else feel uncomfortable about their bellybutton being scratched?)

That’s it! The speculum is closed and removed (which also feels weird). You may have some spotting, so you might want to wear a light pad afterwards.