Filed under: Adulting, anxiety, art, artist, awesome!, awkward, Be Better!, blogging, business is business, Celebration, changing seasons, cranky, crazy, disapproving boss, don't want!, doooooom!, doubts, first world problems, fresh ideas!, gratitude, growing up, hellidays, I ain't as good as I once was, irritated, laffs, latent childhood, learning, life, make it work, melancholy, monkey mind, new year, odd, Opinions, optimism, overwhelmed, play through, pondering, rantish, sarcasm, sensitive girl, show and tell, tissue, truth is stranger than..., words, work, worried, writer, writer's block, writing
This has been a weird year, right? I don’t think anyone will disagree. As I came sliding butt first into December, I was already disorganized and suddenly bowled over by work. By all measures, we did triple the volume of work we usually do and it was no small bit of effort to simply make it through December. But make it through we did.
In the smoldering ashes of 2016, I am working hard to get some order back to the chaos of my life. I firmly believe that being a little bit stronger, quite a bit more disciplined (and organized) and filled with more optimism will carry me through the slings and arrows of 2017.
To that end, I have returned to Morning Pages. If you have read The Artist’s Way, you are familiar with Morning Pages. The idea, according to Julia Cameron, is to prime the pump. Write three pages of stream of consciousness words every morning to get into the creative flow.
Instead of handwriting pages as suggested by Cameron, I use an online tool called 750words. That tool works a bit differently than the Artist’s Way describes, but that is okay too.
So as I sit here now on my fourth day of vacation, hallelujah, I am working on today’s words. I have fallen out of my writing discipline and I can tell I am rusty. Lots on my mind. It’s good to get back into the habit.
The best part of the 750words is that every once in a while, while priming the pump and working through the silt to get back into the flow, some solid words, some bon mots, some worthy thoughts come through.
Wanted to share these, because they may become my motto for the new year (Warning: there is some salty language, it that offends, look away):
…doubt is a persistent little bitch. Hope slides off like you are made of teflon, but doubt sticks like tar, or used up chewing gum or one of those gluey mocos you can’t quite get off your finger no matter how hard you shake. Patience and discipline, that is the kleenex to your glue moco and allows you to fly once more. The sturdy facial tissue that brings back hope.
Yeah, I have no idea what any of that means, but it made me feel good to write it. Like I was really tapping into something, so I decided to share it.
Hope your end of 2016 and planning for 2017 has better metaphors. I’ll keep working on mine.
Inspiring flowers made of kleenex. Is that hope I’m feelin’? Image found here.
Image found here.
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The 26th of February. That what today is. February 26, 2016.
My, my, how time does fly.
Speaking of flying time, I see that the last time words were posted to this space was in November. That was like, yesterday, right?
Nope. 26th. Of February. Of 2016. Whew.
Well, okay, gotta try to shake that off and keep rolling. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this little ol’ blog. It used to be that I’d knock out a post every weekday. Then three times a week. And then nothing since November.
Been wondering what got in my way.
Three things, really. First, I got a little worn out. I’d pushed The Muse and it was getting harder to think of interesting ideas to write about. Eventually The Muse asked me to give it a rest.
Another contributor was starting a different job. I used have a free lunch hour where I both ate and knocked out the words for this blog. In my new job, I am in so galldarn many meetings each day that my lunch break is now me eating while my staff streams in the door to grab a few moments of my time.
Finally, I started wondering a little bit about the fate of so-called long form blogs in an ever-shortening attention span world. I read an article a few years ago declaring blogs dead in favor of tweets and Tumblr. I kind of took it to heart.
So I let my word field lay fallow. And maybe that is okay. It needed some rain and some decay and some time to become fertile again.
One of the most compelling reasons that I started this blog was to be a place for writing practice.
Practice, practice, practice. When I kicked off these pages back in 2007 I felt like I had something to say and needed a venue, so I made my own.
Over many years I wrote something every weekday and watched my writing both inside and outside the blog become stronger, sleeker, and more concise.
While I still benefit from all of that work, the last few times I’ve been working on a short story, I’m noticing the flow just isn’t there. It’s always an uphill climb but without the many days a week practice to keep me limber, the hill got a little steeper (and a lot more pedantic).
There is a widely debated theory that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become a master at something. I am not sure that is true because any artist I know would say you never master your medium, no matter how much or how hard you practice.
But what I do know is that as of the moment I am putting these words into print, there are over six hundred thousand words that I created and added to this blog. That hasn’t taken me ten thousand hours to create, but it’s still not nothing. It’s something that matters and something I am proud of.
Last weekend while I was sprucing up the blog and giving it a Spring cleaning (I’m kind of in love with this shade of blue) in preparation for my return to the words, I looked hard at that number in the footer of this page and thought to myself “I’m not done.”
And so I’m not.
One added benefit is that I get to grab those crazy thoughts from my mind and get them down. There’s good stuff in there. No more trying to blog it out loud to my kindly understanding spouse or my long-suffering coworkers.
So here I am, back for today and hopefully back again soon. I want to push out my elbows and make the space in my world for the words, the practice, and the ever wonderfully agonizing quest to get better at what I love to do most.
Carnegie Hall cartoon found here.
Blogging out loud cartoon found here.
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Hoo boy, back in the saddle again after a weekend trip to my Fair New Mexico. Let me tell you, it’s hard to get into the ol’ groove after being back in my homestate.
I found myself in southern New Mexico over the past four days for the occasion of my goddaughter’s sixteenth birthday. She is amazing, beautiful, smart as a whip, sassy as hell and genuinely caring.
She has been easy to love since the day I first met her tiny little self. She was barely a month old when her mom brought her along and met me as I came off the plane at the El Paso airport. My world has not been the same since.
The occasion of her birthday celebration meant that I also got to see quite a few people I hadn’t seen in years.
The thing that really sticks out to me from this past weekend was not just seeing a lot of dear friends who go back quite a few years, but getting to know their kids.
Time has marched along and many of these kids are now teenagers or older. So much more than a fun lump of baby or a capricious toddler. They are getting to the age where you really start to see who these kids are going to be.
What a lot of fun to see what so many of my now grown up and responsible friends have created. Look, back then I would have voted some of my tribe to the sidelines in the game of propagating mankind, and yet, their kids have turned out pretty damn awesome.
As I hear about these kids moving into their adult lives, getting married, graduating college, being responsible members of society, I also had to sit down for a moment and contemplate just how fast time marches on. And on. And on.
So many times I found myself saying “Really? Working a full time job? Getting married? Graduating college? Wow. I remember the day you had that adorable baby. Damn.”
One old friend summed it up when she told me she’d just moved her youngest into her own place. “My husband and I looked at each other and said, ‘Now what?'”
Now what indeed. Friends who are around my age, kids raised, possibility of retirement on the horizon and a new life awaits.
Wait a minute, aren’t we going to a Corbett Dance tonight?
Oh no, Karen, that was twenty-five years ago.
Nina Karen needs to sit down. Bring your Nina a piece of cake, would you dear?
Those old hands on the clock keep pressing forward, ever onward, whether I’m ready or not.
Image found on freeimages.com
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Welcome to the sixth day of the year 2015 but only my second day back at the ol’ place of work.
While technically the first of January is the first day of the New Year, it doesn’t really feel like the New Year has begun until I go back to work, i.e. get back into the “real world.”
My employer is ever so kind in that they shut down operations from December 24 through January 1. That means with a little planning and a little curation of vacation hours, I can eek out full two glorious weeks away from the office.
I look forward to this two-week break from work all year long.
All. Year. Long.
In my career, I’ve rarely taken two weeks of regular vacation time, so these two weeks at the end of the year feel beautifully indulgent.
My first priority for the break time is to sleep. Nap. Sleep more. Rest and then do nothing too taxing on brain and body. That usually lasts about three days then I’m rested and raring to go.
The rest of the break time is spent with family, exploring the world with The Good Man, cleaning up my home office/studio and working on creative projects.
I find I’m able to fully and completely forget about work and live the dream of a creative life. Sleep until my body is rested, rise and work on creative projects, fill my head with creative inspiration and plan forward for the projects I want to work on in the coming year.
It’s a beautiful place to be, a place I’d live all year round if those darn lottery numbers would just break my way. It feels solid and satisfying and clean and pure.
And then sixteen days of being my own boss pass too quickly and Monday, January 5 arrives. I have to figure out how to get back into the flow of “regular” life. I have to metaphorically merge into speeding traffic with no running room and only two of four cylinders in working order.
Yesterday was that day. Yesterday I woke up with the help of an alarm clock (bleah, sixteen days of no chirping alarm was REALLY nice) and sat up in my comfy bed, bleary eyed and lost.
I tried hard to find the muscle memory to rise, to make some breakfast, to put on some clothes, where is my work badge?, move out the door and get to work on time.
When I arrived at the office it was all too familiar and all too unfamiliar.
It felt like I had changed. I was a different (and better) person as I swiped my badge and entered the office. Then I realized that work had not changed.
I came to my own little gray cubicle and there was all of my same stuff I’d left behind, but it looked alien.
The laptop machine asked me for a password and I had to think very hard about it. Took a couple tries at it and finally remembered.
Have you ever seen baby ducks when they are following their Mama Duck into the water? It often looks like this: Mama slides effortlessly into the water and her eight to ten ducklings slip, slide, belly flop, and unceremoniously plop themselves with a splash behind her.
For a moment, the water crests over the top of their head, then the ducklings one by one pop to the surface like popcorn and start swimming.
It was very much like that yesterday. I fell uncoordinated and perilously off the vacation ledge into the bracingly cold pool of work. I grasped for stability for a little while and then I found my feet and began to paddle. By the afternoon I was moving more or less in a forward manner.
So that’s the New Year. A little bit new, a lotta bit old. I suppose all of the inspirational quotes are true. It’s up to me to make 2015 a really awesome year.
Forward into battle! *splash*cough*splutter* Okay. Now, here we go.
Image found here.
Filed under: amazing, animals, Autumn, awesome!, awkward, backyard, Bay Area, business is business, California, curious, Dad, doooooom!, I ain't as good as I once was, kerfuffle, latent childhood, life, love and marriage, make it work, Mother Nature, open a can o' whup-ass, Opinions, our happy home, play through, San Francisco, show and tell, sigh, The Good Man, where I come from, worried, yucky, zorillo
Turns out I have a new neighbor. I had no idea the new tenant was moving in, but then *boop*, there was someone new trooping around the ol’ neighborhood.
Not sure what unit this one lives in. In fact, I’ve never even set eyes on my new neighbor, but I know they live nearby.
You see, October in Northern California is gorgeous. Really, it’s the best time of the year, bar none, to be here. The days are warm and pretty, and the evenings clear and cool. Indian summer lasts a real long time here and it’s a wonderful thing.
Every evening after a long day of work, The Good Man and I throw open the windows and the back door and let the stuffy apartment drink in all of that cool, clean air. Perfect for a good night’s sleep.
Over the past couple weeks, right around 7:30pm or so, the rancid odor of burning plastic and gasoline and the hinges of hell begins to seep into every room of the house. It hits one of us (usually me) first.
“Arrwhagggh!” is the approximation of the sound I make.
“What?” says The Good Man, alarmed, and then “Oh bleah!”
Yes, it’s true. My new neighbor is…Dun dun duuuuuuuun
Pinche zorillo. I haven’t been able to lay eyes on the beast, probably because by the time I get the eye watering jet wash it’s moved on to the next yard.
I fear this cabrón lives under my front stoop but I can’t be sure.
And every time this happens, like watching reruns of Lucy and Ricky, The Good Man and I have a conversation that goes a lot like this:
Me: “I just need a .22 and I can take care of this problem.”
Then The Good Man reminds me that we live in California and this state takes a dim view of shooting varmits in its urban neighborhoods.
“A bb gun?” I ask, like that kid from the Christmas movie. “The pump action kind.”
The Good Man says, “You really think you can hit a [insert rodent name here, we have this conversation a lot] from here?”
“Try me,” I say, standing up straighter. “I’ve been shooting since I was a kid, my dad saw to that. I’ve shot everything from a cap gun to a Browning over and under and my aim is pretty damn good.”
“No,” he says.
“Pellet gun?” I plead.
“What the hell state do you think you live in? We don’t shoot old hot water heaters out behind the Snappy Mart around here!” (I may or may not have introduced him to the rasquache joy of my home state.)
Then he tacks on, “We live in one of the most densely populated areas of the United States and the police, they have no sense of humor in this city!”
And then I sigh, and quickly cover my nose and cough because I took in too much skunk air when I started the sighing process.
Of course he’s right. So I went online and did some reading and discovered that if I can figure out where my new neighbor lives, animal control might help.
Problem is, when I get the aroma, I kinda don’t want to dash out there to get a good look at where the beast is going.
I think I’m going to need a trail camera. And camouflage. And maybe some other cool things like a Buck knife and a camp stove and a new tent! Oooh yeah…
And don’t anybody tell me that it’s a cute fluffy creature worthy of love and affection. When the original engineer designed the zorillo, it wasn’t with a love of humans in mind.
Or dogs, I think our awesome next door neighbor dog got hit last night. Poor growly bear of an adorable dog.
(This just in: I was texting with The Good Man telling him I was writing this post and he said, “I trapped some skunk stink in my closet last night. Kind of surprised myself this morning.”)
“Whatever. Haters gonna hate.”
Image found here.