Friday, April 13, 2018

Life!

I love when it snows but then gets warm enough that everything is melting.  It's all drippy and crisp outside and gorgeous because the sun is shining on all the pretty water and snow.  I'm sure it'll be 80 again tomorrow, which I will also love, but today is good.  It was perfect for reorganizing the garage.  C fell asleep in the car on the way to school drop-off, so I just let him sleep while I moved everything around and got rid of a bunch of stuff.  Yes, I'm still in purging mode.  I haven't gotten to every room in the house yet, which is when I suspect it will end.  I'm still using my new scheduling system, and I still love it. I played around with not using it on the weekends, and it turns out I prefer to schedule my down time as well.  I've gotten so many things checked off my "someday" list, and it makes me super happy. 

Work progresses as it always does, in fits and starts.  Since I'm working on letting myself do just a little bit of something for a structured amount of time rather than all at once damn the torpedos (sorry, that went somewhere weird), I'm getting a lot more work done.  I've always been an all or nothing writer, where I prefer to sit down and bang out an entire short story/chapter/book/whatever.  That process isn't really feasible anymore, but it turns out that when I sit down to write for 10 minutes, I look up at the end of an hour with a lot done.  Several times, I've been doing something else (making cauliflower rice) and I've had an idea, sat down for a second to get it in my files, and totally forgot about what I was doing before (blackened cauliflower rice).  I don't advise this plan if you're cooking something, but almost any other time it works out pretty well.  I haven't gotten this sucked into writing in a long time, and I was afraid I'd lost the pull.  Guess it was just buried under all the "somedays."

In other news, I created life!


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Clean all the things!

I love Spring.  If you ask, I'll say I love every season, but it's Spring now so I love it more.  Any of you who have seen the inside of my house or my wardrobe know I adore Spring colors especially.  Not sure why, they just make me happy, and shouldn't you surround yourself with things that make you happy?  I've been (finally!) painting the rest of our bedroom for the last two days in my go-to light green color.  I think it looks awesome.  Along with that, I've been purging a lot of stuff.  It started off purging a few pieces of clothes here and there as I outgrew them, but it's escalated significantly.  I have way too many clothes for any one person, so I've been heartlessly getting rid of everything that doesn't both look good on me and make me happy.  Not just "okay, it looks fine."  That's gone.  It has to lift me up now.  Once I woke up and started really looking at my closet, I started looking at other parts of my life too.  What other things do I spend time on that don't lift me up? 

The first thing to go? Facebook.  It's an invaluable tool for connecting with people, so I haven't dropped it completely.  But that's not all I was using it for.  Every morning, I have to take a pill because my thyroid doesn't work. Then I have to wait an hour to eat or drink anything except water.  I want my coffee, so I've been spending that hour cruising Facebook to distract myself.  Tired? Scroll through Facebook because it's mind-numbing.  Time for bed? Better check Facebook first in case something happened since the last time I was on.  But why?  I can use Facebook to keep up with people and talk to them without scrolling mindlessly.  I waste hours of my day searching Facebook for something without realizing it.  What am I looking for?  Something interesting?  Something funny?  A secret message from Channing Tatum?  Nope.  I'm done with that.  It still notifies me when someone posts in the groups I follow or when I'm mentioned, but I've finally realized that whatever I'm looking for isn't in that app.  All I did was move my Facebook app to the last page of my phone instead of the first.  I have to actively search for it now to scroll, and I don't ever want to.  Side bonus: I have SO MUCH MORE free time.  So much.  See the previous statement about painting my bedroom.

Something else people might not know is that I keep a crazy amount of calendars around for scheduling.  Granted, I schedule for the whole family, but none of them make me feel organized, together or separately.  In college (actually, starting in high school and continuing all the way through college), I had one paper academic planner that held my life.  It worked for me, but I was only organizing myself.  No one else needed access to it.  Now, I have a paper planner, a whiteboard calendar, a Google calendar, and no less than three to-do list notepads in use each day.  The paper planner is for me, the whiteboard is for the whole family, and technically the Google calendar is for me and Eli, but he never checks it before he schedules stuff so clearly that's not working.  The to-do list notepads are also for me, but they're so haphazard that they've stopped being effective.  So I'm getting rid of it.  This is more of a mindset thing, so bare with me.  I'm keeping the Google calendar because it's where I keep my long term scheduling.  It would be nice if Eli used it, but he's not ready.  I'm keeping the whiteboard because that's what the kids use.  It's easy enough to keep it updated.  But neither of those is going to be my organizing system, they're going to be off-shoots.  I've started using a program called Evernote that syncs between all my devices, and that's taken the place of the haphazard notepads.  I can't gush enough about how much I love it, so I'll keep it at this thing changed my life.  I also started doing something called time tracking (if this is what you've been doing all along, shush, some of us are slow).  My daily schedule is in Evernote hour by hour.  Each hour I come back to it and write what I did that hour and what I plan to do the next hour.  At the top of that note are my top three.  Three things that are more important than everything else on my list. I have another tab that holds my to-do list for the day with the number one thing highlighted.  See, my to-do lists were getting so huge and unwieldy that I was getting overwhelmed.  There were so many things that I wasn't ready to do any of them.  My brain was having a lot of trouble assigning priority to any of the items, so I usually just played WoW or scrolled Facebook instead.  With every day that stuff didn't get done, more stuff was added to my list.  Things like dishes and laundry are an every day event here, so not giving that some sort of priority was getting me really, really behind.  Then I'd look at the huge pile of laundry that has to be done and get overwhelmed and go back to my devices to avoid it.  Except the pile bothered me.  I don't like dirty laundry or dirty dishes or a half-painted bedroom.  Little by little it was sucking away my happiness, and I was mostly replacing it with stuff that was mediocre at best.  My new system forces me to prioritize things in small, manageable chunks.  The result is that a lot of stuff is getting done, and with every item I finish, I feel a little better. 

Mindset is becoming a big deal for me lately.  With the help of Weight Watchers, I changed my mindset about my eating and my weight.  That was the catalyst.  If I can change that single thing that was making me unhappy, what else can I do with a different mindset?  Choosing to use my time in ways that are productive and uplifting is a new thing for me.  I recognize I've been drifting, and I don't want to drift anymore.  So I'm making a change.  I'm tired of making excuses about why I can't get things done.  The old me would have scoffed at that.  I was a pro at getting stuff done.  I'm not sure when that changed, but it wasn't a good change.  I'm gonna change it back because I am an adult and I am in charge of my life. 

I'm getting rid of a bunch of furniture that we don't need.  Clothes.  Miscellaneous items I've collected that have been in boxes for years.  Excuses.  Time wasters.  Negative thoughts. I have so much crap in my life that I don't need.  I'm Spring Cleaning all the things.  And it feels pretty good.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Gotta sleep sometime.

Spring is almost here, and I'm already behind with my planting.  I have all these seeds and dirt, but I've been playing World of Warcraft instead of getting it ready.  I guess if I just keep putting it off I can plant them directly in the garden outside, but after my experiences last year with seedlings, I think they need a better start than that.  We decided to build a smaller raised bed for the kids to tend.  They only want to plant watermelon in it.  No one is surprised.  The watermelon definitely need to be started early here or they won't make fruit before the first frost.  I keep saying I'll do it this weekend, so fingers crossed, I'll actually get it done in the next couple of days. 

The fatigue has been hitting me hard this week.  I'm just tired and lethargic, which lends itself well to sitting in front of my computer killing boars or whatever.  I'm still hitting my planned workouts, and I'm (mostly) staying on plan with my eating.  We're not going to talk about Tuesday night.  For those that missed it, I hit my free lifetime weight with Weight Watchers a couple of weeks ago, and then last week, I hit my actual goal.  I still want to lose another 10 pounds for my personal goal (also because that's the weight I was when I bought most of my clothes), so I'm staying in losing mode until I get there.  Next week I'll be adding in two more workouts, but not because of weight loss reasons.  It's just time for Spring volleyball again, and Eli thinks his shoulder/arm is healed enough to play racquetball again.  D has taken a sudden interest in activity and water drinking.  We downloaded this app called Plant Nanny that waters your plants for all the water you drink.  D really wanted to grow some virtual plants, so now he's got water goals and he's actually crushing them.  He keeps asking me to take a walk before school, but mommy is not a morning person.  I keep trying to get up early enough to make that happen, because of course I want to encourage him to be more active, but it's a miracle that he even gets to school on time in the morning.  Strangely, his desire to become more active has coincided with my desire to sleep all day. 

I haven't heard back from the publisher yet, but it's only been a couple of weeks.  I'm still planning to work on the Firefly-esque space opera I've started, but not this week.  I've been trying to catch up/get ahead on household chores, so writing has taken a backseat again for a bit.  It's a combination of Spring cleaning and laundry/dishes for four people.  Every once in a while I'm compelled to clean things like my baseboards or the windows or every doorknob and side table in the house.  I notice how dirty they look, and I can't get it out of my head until I just buckle down and clean it.  For instance, my bedroom needs to be dusted.  It's always in the back of my mind, but I've thus far successfully resisted dusting by staying out of my bedroom for the most part (books make a lot of dust, so this is pretty regular).  I'm toying with the idea of paying someone to come do a deep clean and starting fresh.  Pretty much the last thing I want to do in my limited free time is scrub the area around four toilets (why can't they just pee IN the toilet?!). 

There's been some pressure to sign up for the last indoor archery tournament for the season next week.  It's the Colorado State Championships in Colorado Springs.  I've shot at the facility before, so I know it's not too far, but it is almost an hour away.  It's a two day tournament, where I'd be shooting all day.  And it's expensive for a tournament.  I'm leaning heavily towards not going.  My current lack of free time combined with lack of free money (not to mention how tired I feel) tells me I'm done for this season.  It would be cool to see how I rank against the rest of the state, but that's not a good enough reason to ignore the other stuff.  Outdoor starts soon, though I need to get a lot more practice time in on the farther targets before signing up for an outdoor tournament.  I'm happy with how I did on the tournament circuit this season, and I feel like I've learned a lot in a small amount of time.  I'm really excited to see how it goes next year.  

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Everything is awesome.

Everything I start to talk about today is super negative.  All complaints and pouting.  I hate when I get like this.  See, even that is negative.  I'm trying, truly, to enjoy the day, but my mind refuses to focus on the happy stuff.  It wants to nitpick all the little things that bother me on a daily basis.  I see yoga in my near future.  

After several false starts, I began blocking out my new novel today.  It's about a week later than I'd planned, but sometimes life gets in the way.  Hence the name of the blog.  I need life to take a little break from getting in the way.  I also need about 24 hours worth of sleep and a really large latte.  Probably best if it was in that order.  

For those of you following along at home, I have officially returned to free lifetime status at Weight Watchers.  I technically hit it last week, so I didn't even weigh in this week.  That was a good decision because according to my home scale I gained just enough this week to put me back over into the paying group.  I have to weigh in next week to maintain lifetime, but I have no doubt I'll be under again.  I have a personal goal to lose another 12 pounds, so not much is going to change in my eating for now.  And since I have no plans for cake or Olive Garden this week (finally!), I'm looking forward to a return to normal.  

I'm going to go look up funny pictures on the internet.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Still terrified after all this time

I'm not sure if this is the same for everyone else, but when I submit my writing to be published, I'm terrified.  That fear of failure has never even eased a little bit, let alone gone away in all the time I've been writing and submitting.  It's so much easier to just decide that the work isn't finished yet.  It needs a little more polishing.  I don't really like that sentence.  I'd better hold on to it for a while yet.  If no one else ever sees it, then it can never be labeled terrible.  I find it incredibly hard to be impartial to my own writing.  The best I can hope for is to ignore it for several years, then go back and read it when it's good and forgotten.  I'm always pleasantly surprised when this happens.  Weirdly enough, I like my own writing when I'm not in the thick of it.  After editing, I'm convinced it's the worst dreck I've ever seen.  Let's go back.  I wrote my first piece when I was a freshman in high school.  That was when I decided I was going to be a writer.  A published writer, at that.  From that day on, I was sure that whatever I ended up doing for money as an adult, I'd be writing too.  At least the faith little me had wasn't misplaced.  23 years later, I am still writing.

Today, I submitted a novel to a publishing house for the first time.  It's not the first novel I've written.  It's not the first time I've submitted to a publisher.  If it gets chosen, it won't be the first thing I've gotten published.  But this is the dream little me had.  And it's still terrifying.

Now that edits and whatnot are done, I can go back to focusing on other things in my spare time.  Like crocheting a rainbow pokeball for D.  And maybe putting away two weeks worth of laundry (at least I'm caught up on dishes).  Underneath all my other responsibilities, I have a couple of other stories bubbling up.  Two in particular that I want to work on.  I've found this last week that it's possible to take only an hour here or there for my writing and still get back to it efficiently.  Historically, that is now how I've done it.  The phrase binge-writing comes to mind, and also a very memorable 48 hours where I didn't sleep and finished six chapters in a book.  I wouldn't claim they were good chapters, but they were written.  Only an hour?  And still able to write at the same speed?  That's a game changer.

As much as I'd love to dive right in to my next project, I have to focus on one of my other goals first.  I have an archery tournament coming up on Saturday, and I want to beat my personal record.  Another first place wouldn't be too bad either.  I accidentally stabbed someone at the last tournament, so really, I can only go up from there.  That story is for a later date.  With that in mind, I need to take that spare hour of free time and dedicate to doing the form work that I've been lax about this last week.  I can get back to my imagination on Sunday.

  

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Why do I do that?

It's been 3 years, people. Three years! C is turning four next week, and I've recently come to realize that a lot of things that were important to me before motherhood are still important to me despite me dropping them so far down the priority pole they're fishing for dollar bills.  Some examples: my writing, my weight, my gym time, my ability to have a coherent conversation with another adult that doesn't use the word "potty."  You get what I'm saying.  I miss writing.  I miss this blog.  I miss being able to fit into most of the clothes in my closet.  Three years seems like long enough to put myself on hold.  Some things I've already started changing.  I rejoined Weight Watchers in October.  Some of you may remember that I was successful at it way back in 2004 and maintained until the kids came along.  I'm happy to report that I'm only 3 pounds away from my goal weight, so I'm hopeful at least some of the out-of-fashion clothes in my closet will magically look good again. I've traded in some of my gym time for time at the shooting range (bows, not guns).  I've gotten comfortable enough with my shooting that I've entered a couple of local competitions.  While I'm by no means competitive on a national level, I still scored a second place and two first place spots at those tournaments.  I'm hoping to compete in the U.S. National Indoor Championships next year (and not completely embarrass myself).  I'm also making time for Dance and Sculpt (dance and weight training together) twice a week, racquetball once a week, volleyball twice a week, and the occasional yoga class thrown in.  It's not the hour of cardio I used to do every day, but I'm happy with the balance, and it's honestly a lot more fun. 

I finished edits on my last book, and it only took me four years.  I'm going to submit it this week, as soon as I finish writing the synopsis (which I'm procrastinating right now).  I've also dedicated the two hours a week that the kids are both in school at the same time to putting words on screen.  This week that means blogging and writing a synopsis...and ignoring the huge pile of laundry taunting me downstairs. 

As far as spending time with other adults, I'm a little more behind.  I have a regular night where me, Eli, and a couple of friends get together to play Magic: the Gathering.  That's pretty much it.  I'm still a member of my mom group, but I'd have to trade in one of the other things I mentioned to attend the events.  I'm pretty sure I don't want to do that.  The ladies in the group are awesome, but schedules are at war with each other.  I probably won't renew my membership and will use that money for the USA Archery or Romance Writers of America memberships instead.  If only Rocket had moved to Colorado.... I'd probably spend every day watching HGTV and crocheting in lazy bliss.  My real attempt to talk to other adults has come in the form of World of Warcraft.  That's right, the addiction is real, folks.  I don't play nearly as much as I used to back in the day, but enough that I feel like I get some interaction with people I enjoy without having to put on pants.  No pants=win.  Write that down.  It's an important life lesson.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gotta teach 'em young.

We started our new league of volleyball last night.  Eli and I went in as free agents and ended up on opposing teams.  We played against each other for our first match.  I was nervous as hell for the first couple of plays because I'd literally only met my teammates five minutes before we started playing.  I expected it to be awkward and weird as we learned each others' playing styles, but we gelled almost immediately.  It was a nice change.  My team is good, and the other teams we watched seemed to have a similar level of play, so it should be a nice competitive league.  Oh, and we kicked Eli's team's ass.  To be fair, they had three new players to our two new players, and he said that one of the guys kept running over the all-time setter.  A flattened setter would make it hard to complete a bump-set-spike rotation.  As fun as it was, we still missed our old volleyball team and hanging with our friends.  It seems like this group doesn't really go out after.  Bragging rights are only fun if I can taunt Eli with them in front of people who care.

D's 4th birthday is next weekend, and I've had several people ask me what he wants.  For those of you who intend to buy him presents, you can find an Amazon wish list here:

D's Birthday List

You're certainly welcome to get him anything not on the list or nothing at all.  We're having a party at our apartment on his birthday for anyone local that I forgot to invite.  Or anyone willing to fly in.  Either way.  Text me or email me if you don't have our new address yet.  Thus ends the public service announcement portion of this blog.

D starts pre-K next week.  He's going three days a week, but it's an official pre-K program meant to prepare him for kindergarten next year.  We're still not sure which school he'll be going to since our house doesn't officially exist yet.  C is a solid walker now, so we're going to start potty training him this week.  Hopefully soon we'll be done with diapers forever.  Or you know, until Eli starts needing them in the next couple of years.  The three of us (me and the kids, Eli is always at work now) were playing with D's train tracks the other day.  D was lining up his cars on the tracks, as he does, C was throwing wooden track pieces at us, and I was playing dodge-track.  It got to be about lunch time, so I put C in his high chair and let D keep playing while I put together food.  At some point, he decided that there was a volcano on his tracks, and it erupted.  He told me that there was lava all over his cars and he couldn't play with them any more.  Then he burst into tears.  He was genuinely sobbing because his imaginary lava was in the way of his cars.  I had a moment where I wasn't sure if I should comfort him or take a picture for the "Reasons my Kid is Crying" website.  We eventually decided that C's water delivery truck (which was full of imaginary milk for some reason in D's head) would be a good solution for the lava problem and enable D to keep playing. So he flew the truck over the tracks upside down to "put the lava out."  All was well after that.  In other news, C has learned how to motorboat me, and he thinks it's hilarious.  Eli also thinks it's hilarious.  I'm half convinced Eli taught him to do it when I wasn't looking. 

This is how we swim.  We chew on the floaty's face.

D was all excited to meet Clifford, but when confronted with reality, he was considerably less sure.  His first question? "Why isn't Clifford big?"

Enjoying the beautiful not-Fall day at the playground.

C was making us laugh by hitting random buttons on my phone while we tried to take a pic.

"That's right, I can walk. What now..."

Just chillaxing on the wet grass.
The newest member of my garden menagerie.  Presenting...Mini-Beyonce!  Or as I like to call her, Hildegaard.