Monday, November 28, 2011

Technologically Appropriate

Well, I'm back. I was mostly away from the computer for a whole week - depending on your view of technology you either find this notion briskly refreshing or soul-crushingly oppressive. Personally, I spend so much of my time in front of the computer, or on the phone, or texting, that I love being able to ignore it all for a while. I'm the weirdo who intentionally leaves their phone at home when she goes out*.

*When with my husband, who will never be without phone. So, I have my emergency back up if necessary, while simultaneously ducking all responsibility.

For the first time in my life, I took part in separate holiday dinners with each of my parents. It was weird, and yet completely absent of yelling, so I give it a B+.

R and I put our new futon frame together** and spent many hours languishing in front of our Wii and surfing Netflix. Awesome! And also, how does this fit with my ignore technology platform? Eh, well, I guess I only ignore the technology that notifies me of work or babbles on-and-on-and-on...not that anyone I know does that. No. That was completely hypothetical.

**We got rid of the majority of our furniture when we moved across the country and haven't had anything resembling a couch for months. I thought we could wait until we bought our next house. After all, we were without a TV for 6 months following our past move across the country. However, I vastly underestimated the basic human need to lie on a couch.

We ate lots and lots of good food (good tasting, not necessarily good for you). The tightness of my jeans is a testament to my focus on hedonism and neglect of all forms of exercise. I blame the futon.

The highlight of our break was the winter parade. Which we found out about in a grocery store 15 minutes before it started. It ended with an amazing fireworks display that completely overshadowed the lighting of the giant tree that it's supposed to introduce. Now that we know about this annual post-thanksgiving celebration, we will definitely be prepared to take part in it again - by wearing warmer clothes and bringing hot chocolate.

Now, back to technology. [insert appropriate congenial sign off here]

Monday, November 21, 2011

Less Would Be More

I have established an absolutely-no-blogging-about-my-family rule; however, in light of current on-going events, let me toe the line a bit.

It is can be horrible very difficult to deal with a family member who suffers from a mental illness. Navigating the slippery slopes of family interaction can become a dark labyrinth full of booby traps and poisoned spikes  - that's built onto a slippery slope.

This year's holiday season can be captured thusly:
 proximity*(mental illness)squared = my own little circle of hell

I have a rabid monkey on my back and there is no 12 step program for this kind of bat shit crazy problem.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I will remember that the rest of my life is fantastic. I am grateful for what I have and will not let this burden diminish everything else. Also, I will drink.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you have food, and warmth, and love.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And...she's off

In a heroic example of masochism, I have taken on an independent contract for another grant. In all honesty, I only agreed to do one piece of the grant - the needs assessment piece (a.k.a. all the damn data). I consider this an act of heroism because I am doing it as a favor to my grant-writing mentor who keeps failing at retirement. They asked her to do this; she asked me; I asked my husband, who looked at me quizzically and said, "Do you think you'll have time?" I don't. But I said yes anyway. Thus, the masochism.

I do have ulterior motives. I am hoping this will launch a very small, independent contractor side business. Because, I am clearly insane. Also, I am trying to create a non-traditional career path, which will allow me to fulfill all the hopes and dreams I was spoon-fed throughout my childhood: actually using my education, balancing work and family, having aforementioned family, and maintaining some free time to write and paint. (insert reality here, along with much taunting.)

My Internet presence is likely to be sparse for a while. I'm going to pretend someone will notice.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Creative Obscurity

Shhh. It's a secret, but I'll tell you if you promise not to tell anyone.* My secret is that I am writing a novel. I know, right? I am surely the ONLY person you know who is working on that particular pet project (read this last line with dripping sarcasm for optimal effect).

*She says to the entire freakin' Internet.

But, it's true. I am. In fact, I have the first draft completed and am currently editing/revising. I'm also toying with the idea of finding an agent. Writing it down, right here and now, is about as close as I have gotten to working toward getting an agent. However, it's my blog and I say that counts. 10 points for me. Ahem, moving on.

Anyway, it's a Sci-Fi/Fantasy book and as I am editing, I am finding myself pleasantly surprised that it is not completely horrible and I am not embarrassed to be reading it. However, few people know about this hobby of mine because it's kind of personal. Not the story. Nothing about that is personal. But rather the creating is personal. It seems very similar to showing my drawings and paintings to people. It's very revealing. I always find that it makes me edgy. I want people to see what I've done, and possibly even enjoy it. But at the same time, it feels a bit sleazy - like stripping. Also, at least one in every three people feel the need to critique your work, to you. "You could have...," or "Did you think of doing..." And it never fails. These people and their critiques make me feel ashamed, while conjuring an almost knee-jerk need to punch them in their noses.

So, when I am all done and (hopefully) published, I may share this book with you, dear mysterious Internet reader. Or I might not. I might leave it to you to find it on your own. Because it's personal. And, it would totally make my anonymous blog un-anonymous. And that would be horrible. That would cause my neurosis to slosh all over everything. I would have to delete 95% of the things I have written here on general principle.

Do any of you people, creative geniuses that you are, have similar feelings toward sharing your work? Or is that just my neurosis again?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A load of crap

Right now, my dogs are curled up next to me, attempting to convince me that they are not loathsome creatures. Neither is barking, jumping, or smearing poop into my carpet. It is this third, and most heinous crime, that requires them to flout their lovable qualities. Because, in the past three days, a poop-covered dog paw has twice breached the sanctity of my home. That's right: poop, in my house. Two times. The dogs seem to intuit the need to be adorable, lest they be destroyed.
See how innocent they appear? All lies. Stinky, stinky lies.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Work Related Fun

Grant writing is not a lot of fun. I know, right? Shocking! But there it is.

To make a boring task more exciting, the organization that I work most closely with (a.k.a. the agency that needs external help the most often, as in all the time) mixes thing up for me by do I put this delicately? Not, umm, well. They do not have their shit together. Yeah, that's about right.

Grant due Wednesday. Necessary details needed to complete grant, yeah, they might show up Tuesday night. And tra la la la la, la la la la. 'Tis awesome. This does not cause me any stress.

*shoves pencil in ear and smiles maniacally* Ahhh, my unmet need for control is crushing me! What about my not procrastinating life philosophy??! Is death!

Wrap up whiny rant from privileged, middle-class American...and...scene!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Riding The Wave

I am not a procrastinator. I know that angers all of you who are...and eventually you will get around to giving me the nasty look you considered throwing my way. When you remember. And have the time.

I admit, I dabbled in procrastination. There was some experimentation. It was more of a phase I went through in college. It lasted less than a month.

While frantically pounding out a paper in the single free hour between my last class of the day and my 8 hour shift at KMart, I swore to NEVER do this again. And, amazingly, I meant it. I was too busy to procrastinate. Also, I couldn't handle the stress.

Ever since that fateful day, I have employed a method I have come to think of as The Wave*. The first phase of The Wave involves total frantic immersion into a project/paper/task. Often, I can get 50%-75% of a project/paper/task completed in this first phase and in record time. After phase one, I take a step back and pat myself heartily on the back, aglow in productivity. Then I move on to phase two.

Phase two ranges, depending on the scope of the project/paper/task and other associated deadlines, from occasionally prodding the keyboard to completely ignoring the thing. In my defense, phase two usually involves thinking about how I am going to organize my next steps, wording or approaches I plan to use, and oftentimes making a list of things I'm going to do, eh, eventually.

The final phase of The Wave is the last push to complete the project. Usually phase three is completed right before the project deadline smashes into the metaphorical shore.

And why, you ask (or don't, whichever, because I'm answering anyway), am I bothering to share this strategy with you, dear Internet? Because I'm struggling to push myself into that third phase right now. I have two big projects due just a few days apart. And lo, phase one was glorious to behold. Then, within sight of the shore on both projects, the first crest of productivity diminished. Much futile keyboard jabbing later, and the motivation carried to me in the third phase has yet to arrive.

Perhaps, I thought, writing about this may help. And, if not, perhaps others will share their own motivational slumps with me. So, feel free to push my face below the ripples of your own momentum, you know, when you get around to it.

*No, The Wave is not procrastination in a less stereotypical format. Shame on you for suggesting such a thing. Phase two is simply the inevitable dip in, the, err, momentum, and its, um, organic nature. It's physics, dammit!