All posts by Kristi Bledsoe

Kristi Bledsoe is the author of The QPID Archives series. She has been a teacher, musician, speaker, writer and that only scratches the surface. Willing to try nearly anything with a bribe of Long Island Ice Teas. Or margaritas, or cosmopolitans, get the idea.

I am stuck – take two

Tracking tip of the day: Tracking something known. When you have had little tracking success, give your ego a boost by tracking something you know is going to be at a certain place at the certain time. Easter bunny? Santa Claus? A leprechaun? All of these things have days when they are prominent. Lay a trap, follow egg or gift trails back to the source, or just lie in wait for the day to come.

Upon revisiting this blog after a year break, I found a draft of a blog called “I am stuck.” It was basically me trying to figure out how to get out of the same rut I have been in for years. Quite clever use of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics and cars breaking down but it basically boiled down to I don’t know why I am stuck and don’t know how to get out of it.

So I didn’t publish that blog because it was basically me venting. Another year later and at least I have realized some reasons why I am stuck and, although I haven’t really fought my way free, at least I am moving forward. Sometimes I move miles forward in an hour, sometimes only an inch a day, sometimes not at all or even back a step. But I have learned to appreciate each small forward movement even despite those backward steps or I am pulled completely off my path. I have many more answers than I did at this time last year but also more questions. Perhaps posing both here will allow me to bounce ideas off the void and gain some insight.

The main reason I was stuck: I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I had many options and still do. Some make me excited, some not so much and some are merely obligations or things I thought I had to do. My number one conclusion after much introspection and talking to friends is this: I have very rarely put myself first (only a couple times that I can think of.) While that is not a bad thing, it has kept me from having my own life and following my own dreams and, in fact, kept me from even thinking I could have or deserve my own dreams.

There will always be obligations: family, earning a living so we don’t starve, etc. So I am learning to take some time for myself. It might only be a few hours a week but every minute is a step forward. I have succeeded somewhat in that I usually don’t feel guilty for that time, mainly because I feel renewed after. Right now that time is divided amongst several things, writing, exercise, and even playing video games. But as my focus grows on what I want, I am learning to balance the fun with the work so I can find out who I truly am and who I want to be.

I’m baaaaack!

Ok all. So sorry I have been away for so long. I have had quite the whirlwind life, some good, some bad, some the usual busy-ness that comes with life and family. I realize it has been over a year and let me tell you, getting back on this site was a three-day event!

The hosting hub changed hands AND changed the way they do things so I had to start from the beginning and I really still do not know what I am doing but am muddling through. THEN I had to get to my admin of the blog in order to add new. I could go to my page and read it like any other person but not get into it so that was another day figuring that out. Then I had to do all the stuff I had ignored for four days. Those got done (or mostly) so here I am at last.

I promise to get back to the blog in a day or two. I have a LOT to say and will hopefully not fall down again in my writing endeavors. I also realize nobody is probably reading this but I am acting like I have a huge audience because it makes me try harder. So my past year has given me a lot to write about: children, marriage, my inner discoveries both good and bad, friends, family, etc.

It promises to be a smorgasbord of wonderful and awful, don’t miss it!

See you soon,



How I became a writer

I know what you’re thinking: Huh? Shouldn’t it be “Why I became…” and not “How”? And why does a person have to write about deciding to become a writer? Isn’t the fact that I wrote this blog proof that I’m a writer? Ah, if only it were this easy.

I have always written for fun, my first sci fi short was in first grade, “Space City.” When given an assignment to write 2-3 paragraphs and use 5 spelling words, I wrote a fifteen page mystery. When nobody would play Dungeons and Dragons with me, I read and wrote my own modules. I had dozens of made-up stories rattling around inside my head but never seriously wrote them down. Who’d want to read my silly little fantasies? I only wrote when the story voices became too loud and threatened my sanity. Or when I felt my head was too full and it needed a bit of emptying. Yet as soon as a story was out, more rushed in to fill the void.

But I never considered myself a writer.

I took a creative writing class in college. The teacher was horrible and if you didn’t write EXACTLY like she wanted, you failed. No room for creativity, just following her rules for literary short stories. No sci-fi, no fantasy, not even a just-for-fun comedy unless it was a literary satire.

So I still didn’t consider myself a writer.

I got married, had kids and still would put the occasional idea down on paper. Using actual legal pads, mind you, adding to old stories or making new ones. Outlining entire novels or merely a two page memoir. Whenever I wasn’t fulfilling mom or wifely duties, I could be seen pen in hand scribbling furiously, sometimes so fast I later couldn’t read what I wrote. When the kids were at soccer or dance practice, instead of chatting with other moms, I had my legal pad. Kids in bed, legal pad. Husband out of town and nothing on TV, legal pad.

And yet, I didn’t consider myself a writer

I started talking about my writing for the first time 10 years ago. I mentioned it to my husband who promptly said “That’s nice,” and turned up the sound on the tv. “Aw, he’s just a guy,” I excused. I told my kids who were excited but quickly moved on to the next thing as kids do. I spoke about it to my family. Most looked at me like I was suddenly cross-eyed and the rest were supportive but non-committal.  Except my mother. She had always wanted to write and was working on a novel of her own so she became my first true supporter. My best friend was the first to actually read something of mine and she became my second true supporter. And that was it with the support. But I wrote anyway like I always had. About a year later, my sister-in-law mentioned that she was going to a writer’s conference. A writer’s conference? What a curious notion! So I bullied my way into going with her and it was a truly magical experience. I came away for the first time determined not merely to write but try to publish something, anything.

I STILL didn’t think I was a writer.

But let’s take a moment to define what being a writer is. Or can we? I have heard everything from “You have written, therefore you are a writer” to “You are a real writer when you can quit your day job and support yourself with only your writing.” There are so many other definitions that the answer really lies within each person. For myself, the answer lies somewhere between these two extremes. Until recently I considered a writer to be one who is “traditionally” published, or, in other words, paid for their writing. Now I feel it is a bit different.

When my attempt at publishing came to a screeching halt, (as noted in the post Long Road), I began making excuses for not writing. Be there for kids, have to make money, husband doesn’t want me to be a writer, no time, too involved with other things. The universe had to practically hit me over the head to make me see what I was missing.

First -It has only been these last few weeks that I noticed that ALL my attempts at making money were designed to do two things: 1 – have time to be a mom and 2 – have time to write. A lightning bolt hit me. Only being a good mom was more important to me than writing.

Second – After this revelation, I realized I have been half-assing everything: earning money…half-ass; being a mom…half-ass; writing…half-ass; dealing with marriage..half-ass, etc. In trying to do everything, I accomplished nothing.

Third – When I decided to quit my job and “whole-ass” being a mom and writing, a HUGE weight was lifted from me and I was happy. But I still didn’t realize how important this was until I admitted it to a friend and worried that if I didn’t earn enough money at writing, my husband wouldn’t support me. She replied with “Who cares if you ever get published? The fact that you are happy should be enough for him.” She was absolutely right but I took it a step further.  Even if I never publish traditionally, creating my stories makes me happy.

Fourth – When I told a fellow teacher that I was going to a writer’s conference for the weekend, she responded, “I can’t think  of anything worse than being forced to write for a whole weekend.” My response was that I couldn’t imagine anything more fun!

Fifth, and more – SOOOOO many other things too many to name here helped open my eyes and change how I feel about myself and writing.

So, I am now writing what I want, being true to myself and my ideas. I would like to be published so others can enjoy my stories but if it never happens, so be it. I am writing because it is important to me and vital to my well-being. It is a part of me, something I need to do and enjoy doing. I will no longer ignore it or excuse it away as trivial or “only when I have the time”. I WILL WRITE DAMMIT!

And now, NOW, I finally feel like I am a writer.

Letting lemons lie

No tracking tip this week.

I have again gone without blogging so I am no longer am making promises that I will post regularly. The only good news is that I am finally moving forward with my life and things are looking up.

About all those lemons. I am finally learning to let some simply lie on the ground. I have always had problems with throwing away food and using all the lemons this poor tree overproduces seemed like something I had to do. But you know, I finally convinced myself that I CAN let some of them go.

The same goes with life’s “lemons”.  I don’t need to make lemonade out of all of them. I can accept that they are lemons and useless to dwell on it so I can acknowledge them and how difficult they are but let them go.

My friend just had her surgery for the breast cancer and all is going well. I am being supportive and cheerful for her and then going home and letting the sad go. Easier said than done but I am. It helps that she is a fighter and her prognosis is quite good.

My daughter is learning to manage her depression. I have learned that no matter how much I might want to, I have no control over her depression. All I can do is help her find and use the tools to help herself and be there with unwavering love and support. And you know what? She is managing and actually beginning to help herself and even though I will always worry, I feel hope that she will survive this.

I am doing what I want, when I want and yet still doing my mom and homemaker duties. I am writing again, an average of 600-700 words a day. I am exercising again and my health is finally turning around.

The biggest change in my life is my husband moving to another state for a new job. He is happier and, though it sounds awful, I am happier for the separation. I can take things at my own speed without having a judgmental dictator micromanaging my life. Ok maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration but the truth is, I was living HIS life, not my own. I was what he thought I should be and not myself. Now I am freer than I have ever been. I don’t know if this separation will help us find each other again or put the final nails in the coffin but either way, I am no longer just sitting here complaining. I am creating a life for myself.

And so far, that life looks pretty good. I know there will be more lemons but if I can’t make lemonade, I know now that I can just let them lie.

Too much lemonade

Tracking tip: Use lemon juice to hide your scent. Does this really work? Well, I don’t know since you are tracking dead things but it gives you something to do with all those lemons life throws at you.

Well, I was mostly going to blog about my follow up to my Hail the New Year post but I had to write this instead. Because right now, life just keeps on throwing me lemons. And I mean that both literally and figuratively.

Literally: Look at the poor tree growing way too many lemons!


And every time I go outside, it throws another lemon to the ground.SAM_0016


Some are as big as a grapefruit, some are barely big enough to be called a lemon. Some taste good and some I can tell are bad and don’t bother to try to juice. I now have three gallons of lemon juice in the fridge and more frozen and STILL haven’t seen the last of the lemons.

Figuratively: just when I have gotten most of the previous lemons (issues) squeezed and managed, the tree throws more at my feet. In preparing to write the blog post about my successful handling of problems in the new year, my friend called to tell me she has breast cancer.

If you have read my previous posts, you know about my best friend that passed away from breast cancer 3 years ago and I still miss her horribly. I have gotten very close to this new friend and the other day she mentioned that I was her best friend. I hesitated and mumbled that she was my best friend as well. I don’t know why I was reluctant to admit it. We have lunch all the time, text and talk regularly, share our innermost thoughts and feelings and seem to have bonded. Maybe it’s like telling someone “I love you” too soon, maybe I didn’t want the commitment, maybe I felt I was betraying my other friend who passed. I don’t know but the news of her cancer hit me like a rock.

How can I make lemonade out of this lemon? I mean, I am an optimist (though perhaps you wouldn’t know it by my blogs) and I have made almost everything have SOME positive spin.

Daughter has severe depression: At least we are dealing with it before she goes to college and life gets REALLY tough.

Too busy to write: At least I am earning a bit of money and spending time with my daughter who will be gone starting her own life before I know it.

Marriage on the rocks: At least we are learning to communicate, even if it is fighting.

Kids growing up and leaving: At least I have time to discover what I want to do, for the first time.

New best friend diagnosed with breast cancer……. sorry I can’t find anything good to get out of this. Wait….nope. Nothing.

I have enough lemonade, thank you. So no more lemons, life, please.



Oops again

Well here it is, another blog, over a MONTH after I said I would write, write, write. Life again got in the way.

In some ways, I am okay with this but in some I am not. For example, part of it was the Scottsdale Arabian horse show with my daughter in which she took home several firsts and championship for herself as well as many firsts, a champion and a reserve champion for the other horses she rode. She might even win high point youth rider for the division! But we must wait until the points are added. Ok ok, enough bragging about my awesome kid.

As terrific as the show was, it took everything I had for two solid weeks (actually 16 days). I had two days off in the middle but that was just to catch up on laundry and other things that run a household. But, again, to see my daughter’s face when the championship was announced was worth every second I spent mucking out stalls and cleaning whatever horse items come within reach.

There are several drawbacks to the show, however. The most important was that my son came home for one of the weekends and I didn’t get to spend any time with him. He is as awesome and talented as my daughter but still looking for his particular niche in life. Right now I just enjoy what little time he is home from college by playing chess and various strategy games with him, but I missed this go.

Also I am now scurrying to accomplish all those things I have not done, including cleaning my refrigerator of left overs that have started sprouting appendages. Hm, maybe if I just leave them for another week they will crawl away on their own! (Sorry, old joke!)

One thing that did happen in this past month I haven’t decided yet is good or bad. My husband has accepted a job in another state. In most ways this is great news! It pays more, he hates his current job, and is a great company which he wants to work at until he retires.

The bad: I don’t want to go. I want to support my husband and I am so very proud of him and how hard he works. But to be perfectly honest, right at this moment, it would be no hardship for me to stay here and have him live elsewhere. He has traveled extensively for years and I am used to him being gone.

But that is not entirely all. For any of you who have read my previous blogs, you know that our marriage is very rocky right now. I have had much reflection time in this past month and have come to a realization:

Up until now, I have not had a life of my own. I have lived for my husband and children and not for myself.

Since this blog has been large enough, I will detail this in the next one so stay tuned. I promise it will not be a month before I get to it! (In fact, I have just reread my previous blog and realized that I have indeed lived up to some of my promises to myself, despite my feelings that I have not. Thus, the new blog will be out within a day or two!)

Hail the New Year

Tracking tip of the month: Wait for it to snow! Or at least freeze. Granted this does not do much for those of us in AZ or Sunny California but even the occasional frost or heavy dew will lead to clear-cut tracks. But be warned…shortly after the sun rises, the tracks will simply melt away. Literally. Time is short, track while you can!


Well, 2015 is now upon us. For me, it crept closer, nearly unseen upon stealthy feet and hushed breath, until it slapped me in the face.

“HELLO!” says 2015. “WAKE UP! What have you done with 2014? Not much? Well, shake it gal!”

Okay okay. I deliver a swift kick to my own buttocks and reflect…no…bad me…STOP REFLECTING AND START DOING! 2014 was a year of ups and downs. I began working out this summer but have since quit. I started a blog but haven’t posted in months. I went back to writing but stopped when things got busy and life got more difficult. I faced my husband with my problems and we both promised to work on it, but since have gone back to the same ol’ situations.

I can give many excuses – starting a new business, daughter diagnosed with severe depression, marriage in shambles, back injury, blah blah. But what it all comes down to is:


Stuck within myself and my life, feeling like I can’t move forward in anything. But with 2015 looming, indeed already poking its icy finger in my back to prod me along, I am setting my jaw to start getting myself moving again. This year promises to be a year of change, (actually guaranteed change) and I am determined to steer the course in the direction I want for once instead of just letting the currents take me.

Yeah, I know. Big talk for someone who has rarely taken a hand at the tiller, especially if it meant rough waters or going in a direction that might not be ideal for others in my life. But this time I am going to take my desires into consideration and work with the problems that seem to crop up constantly. Posting it here seems to make me somewhat accountable, especially as I actually have a couple of followers now. (Imagine a different happy dance for each new follower!)

1. Dealing with my daughter – This is my number one priority as my kids have always been. I am there for her 110% but will try to be there for myself on her good days when she doesn’t need me so much.

2. Husband taking a job out of state – It’s still in the interview stage but looking very likely. This will not only affect our teenage daughter but my growing business and, of course, our marriage. We have already decided I will stay here until my daughter graduates high school but I can’t be running a business and flying back and forth. Decisions need to be made and soon.

3. A very good friend is retiring and also moving out of state. I am sure we will keep in touch but I am trying to gear myself up to looking for other groups. This will probably be my weakness as I am more comfortable behind a computer than in a room of strangers.

I figure that’s enough for now. Not formal resolutions because I don’t really believe in those. Just a course for me to follow so when life shoves me, at least I will stumble in the right direction.

Everyone Needs a BEST Friend

Tracking Tip: Tracking zombies. Seriously why would you EVER want to track a zombie? Run the other way. RUN! Live to read more of my blogs.

I had a friend tell me the other day: “People need to know you first before they ‘get’ you.” This was in response to me wondering why I had a hard time getting along in normal social groups. I wondered the rest of the day whether I should feel insulted or not.

I spent hours thinking what she meant. Was I rude? Did I not listen enough? Did I dress funny? Act weird? What was it that people needed to “get”?

My answers were: No I am not rude and didn’t think I acted weird. Okay maybe I tell jokes that might be odd and perhaps I don’t always bend to social protocol. But I never insult people or deliberately make them feel uncomfortable. After all this introspection, I came to the conclusion that I am hanging around the wrong people. In the past I have always changed myself to fit in. After my decision to be true to myself, I seem to make others uncomfortable. Whenever this happens, I am polite, get through the night, then go home and think of who else I can “hang out” with.

Because the truth is, I don’t know anyone personally that is similar to me. I had one person that I could be myself with, say and do what I want and our friendship never wavered. My best friend.

What is the difference between a good friend and a best friend? We always see the funny stuff (a good friend will bail you out of jail but a best friend will be there saying “Damn that was fun!”) but never the serious stuff. Like how a best friend will always listen even if they are running out the door to do errands. If you call to hang out because you are bored, she will say either “hell, yeah” or “I can’t but let’s chat” or “So wish I could. What about tomorrow?” A good friend will say “Sounds fun but busy. Talk to you later.” See the difference? Subtle, but there it is.

A best friend will never hear what you say as a negative. I can’t count how many times I would say something, think about it later and realize it could have been taken the wrong way. When I apologized to my best friend, she would say “Huh, that never occurred to me. No need to apologize.” And she would often call me to apologize in the same way and I had no clue what she felt she had to apologize for. A “not” best friend would say, “Well, I didn’t think you meant it that way. Apology accepted.” Which really means they did think that but were too polite to admit it.

A best friend will not pull punches, tell you truths even if you don’t want to hear it, lie for you, keep secrets without being asked, trust you with all her secrets, listen without judging, give without asking, understand how you feel without needing an explanation, cry when you are unhappy. Most of all, they don’t  just accept you for who you are but LOVE you for it.

Everyone needs someone like this in their life. They balance our dark side, encourage our dreams and smack us upside the head when we are being stupid. Just a text from them can make your day.

Due to busy lives and more emphasis on groups and fitting in, very few people these days have best friends. The luckiest have their spouses as best friends, the next luckiest have one close by and available. Yes they have their flaws but you love them unconditionally because, without any effort whatsoever, you “get” each other.

So if you don’t have a best friend, remember, you are not the only one. I understand. I had one but now she is gone and can never be replaced. If you are one of the lucky ones to have a best friend, tell him or her how much they mean to you and that you are grateful and fortunate to have them in your life.


Seize The Day

Tracking tip of the weekSomeone asked me about dead plants. I mean, come on. How hard is it? Look for a brown patch among green. It’s not like plants move around. This site is “I track dead things”, not “I see dead things.” For that you need a Sixth Sense. Also, it’s easy to find dead plants. Just come to my house. Brownest thumb ever.

Seize The Day

Two reasons for this title. One is to pay homage to the passing of the great Robin Williams. He touched many, many lives and will be sorely missed. I saw Dead Poets Society last night and felt this famous phrase was appropriate in so many ways. Not only to his life but to all those he inspired with his comedy and acting.

And me. I have been trying to Seize the Day for a while now and every time I start, something holds me back. Sometimes the hesitation comes from within me, sometimes an event holds me back.

But I have NOT stopped writing and that means everything to me. I have a plan and am on that track, even if it seems slow. I did submit a short story to a very prestigious magazine. I doubt it will be taken but if you don’t aim high, you will never get there. – Day Seized

About my home life. Daughter and I getting along though I worry about her constantly, Son at college and I worry about him too though I am working at letting go a little. – Day being Grasped at

Hubby. Here is a confusing time. Just one trip to a counselor has opened my eyes and helped me in ways too many to name here. I have decided to focus on my happiness and if he wants to be a part of that, so be it. If not, that will signal to me that it will never work and it will be time to make a change. – Day Seized and holding on

Is this successful so far? It has only been two weeks and things are very strange is all I will say. I am taking steps to insure my happiness, make money and take care of myself. I am much happier for these efforts and have a new sense of purpose. I still spend way too much time in the dark but can not only see the light but get out in it several days a week. Letting go of the Night to free up the hands for seizing

But as I watched the movie last night, every time I heard “Seize the Day” I felt the inner fire flare just a little so here I am today, writing again.

And it feels GREAT! Carpe Diem!

How to muck out a stall

Tracking tip of the week: Beware of dead things on black pavement. While they are most assuredly dead, oncoming headlights will assure that you will soon be in a similar predicament.

Ok I have decided that I will no longer write sad and depressing posts. While it may be therapeutic for me, it is boring for others so I will make the next few posts more upbeat.

Basically let’s say that I have worked through most of my issues and have decided to take life by the short hairs! I have realized that life is too precious to squander by reliving the past and dwelling on disappointments. I may add some from time to time if I feel something needs said but to make a long story short, I have decided to no longer change or hide my true self to make others happy (namely hubby) but will be myself as much as I can and if people don’t like it they can go suck eggs (yes I cleaned this up for you!)

My daughter has competed at Arabian Youth Nationals for the past three years. This year there were many horses with the group she goes with and no helpers so it was left to the parents and single trainer to muck out a dozen stalls several times a day. I set to with a will, determined to do my part to insure health and happiness of horses (and the trainer!)

One might think cleaning horse poop is simple. And it is if you want to do a piss poor job (no pun intended.) Too much scooping and you lose all the shavings which are very expensive to us poor horse owners. Too little scooping and the stall gets progressively worse, damaging the horse’s hooves and health, not to mention the growing stench!

Take a “fork” to pick up the obvious piles of horse droppings. A neat horse will drop all in one spot making clean-up easier (I said easier, not easy) but some scatter willy-nilly and make lots of little droppings, creating much more work. For the large piles, start a little in front of the pile and lightly poke the fork under the shavings, wiggling a little to allow all the shavings to fall through while keeping the poop on the fork. (Again be careful with the wiggle. Too much and the poop falls off, too little and all the good shavings disappear.) Toss in the wheelbarrow that you have brought into the stall with you. This is important because if you miss, droppings will not go out into the aisle which you then have to clean up with a shovel and rake.

Keep forking up poop until you get it all. Oh and FYI, you will NEVER get it all, especially if the horse leaves it scattered all over. Just when you think it is clean, you turn around and there is another. I firmly believe that they propagate when your back is turned. I also firmly believe that some horses hide them on purpose so you can enjoy the discovery like Easter eggs!

For pee spots (and yes there are many of those too) find the edges and lightly scratch around until you see the dry areas. This is the most efficient way to get the wet shavings. Also, VERY IMPORTANT: Hold your breath. Nothing compares to the ammonia smell of horse piss. It will take two showers to get rid of it but on the bright side, you don’t notice the smell after a couple days of mucking out. Everyone else around you will wrinkle their noses, especially if they are not horse people. Just smile and nod and don’t stand in one place too long.

I learned many other things and have oh so many blogs to write about:

How to walk a horse, how NOT to walk a horse;

How to bathe ten horses in two days;

How to fill hay nets; how to HANG hay nets

How NOT to stack hay and get out of way quickly when said stack comes crashing down.

How to not care when horses sneeze all over your shirt. It’s gonna happen no matter what so just sigh and grab another shirt.

I could write very lengthy posts on all of the above but don’t worry. I was just flexing my writing muscles and won’t blog about these others.

Unless someone specifically asks me to, of course.