Thursday, June 27, 2013


Today some pretty hefty accusations were thrown my way.

Actually... they were thrown around me, and about me. But not directly to me.

The gossip chain noted today that my "true colors" are those of negativity and attitude. Despite my positive demeanor and attempt to help at every turn, the moment I'm backed into a corner and my hand is forced to snap at someone, those actions color perception of me more deeply than any others.

This morning, I was pushed to breaking and had to demand that a coworker contact me if she needs assistance. This is supposed to be the status-quo every day, but on more occasions than not she will passive-aggressively seek alternatives in the name of drama. Most days I allow this. Today I did not.

I spent the morning feeling very upset that I had been labeled as a "fake." It's important to me to be upbeat and to generate an aura of positivity that can infect the stressed out individuals around me. When I feel those efforts are for naught, the effects can be quite unsettling.

However, after a lovely long walk with a wonderfully level-headed coworker, I was able to re-balance and understand that perceptions of me never tell the whole story. At the risk of babbling back the words of writers before me, I was comforted by the knowledge that how I am perceived is only 5% about my actions and 95% about how others interpret those actions.

Knowing that I am acting to the best of my ability is tantamount.

So, I feel better. Still somewhat bruised by the hurtful person, but she's hurt before and will hurt again.

So instead of getting hung up on it, I'll focus on happy thoughts:

Like this new episode of "Conversations with my 2 Year Old"!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mercury in Retrograde, Part II

Monday, as the first day of the week, was a little scatter-brainy for me. As a scatter-brainy sort of girl on a scatter-brainy sort of day, I had to do a little digging to come up with fodder for a decent post.

But what I found really piqued my interest.

Then yesterday, being the day where I donated blood for the first time in two years, I was feeling even more scatter-brainy. I was perfectly alright, of course, but just didn't have the energy to pull together anything worth reading.

But today - today is my oyster, and I'm going to crack it with the power of my words.

I wrote on Monday about how Mercury is due to fall into retrograde. Well, my good friends, that has happened.

At 9:00 this morning, the astrological world**1 as we know it was thrown into pandemonium caused by the planet of communication, truth and travel going all wonky.

When I realized this impending situation on Monday, I immediately set about finding a Quick and Dirty Guide to Surviving Mercury Retrograde.

I wasn't disappointed when I stumbled across Gala Darling's article of just that name. She offered some helpful tips, including:

* Be sure not to take things too personally.

* Finish projects you started in the past.

*Allow yourself to be urged in unusual directions - you might learn something new!

While all of these tips are helpful for getting through this month-long period of disenchantment, I wanted more information. I don't want to survive Mercury Retrograde - I want to thrive in it!

So, I settled back in for more research.

And it turns out that Gala Darling kind of knows what she's talking about, and had the same revelation. Mercury Retrograde can be pretty draggy - lets spice it up!

She offered an article called "10 Magical Ways to Make The Most of Mercury Retrograde." I was thrilled! Packed to bursting with all sorts of wonderful ideas to keep negativity at bay, here's her list:


1. Renew your vows.

You lovebirds! If you’re already in a committed relationship, marriage or partnership, this is the perfect time to renew your promises to one another. You could have an elaborate ceremony or you could keep it simple: go to the restaurant where you had your first date, look at old photos, talk about how far you’ve come since you met. Bless!

2. Clean out your closet.

I did this last Tuesday & it was a bit of a life-changer! The energy of Mercury retrograde is fantastic for trimming the fat, so to speak, so you’ll have lots of astrological help as you go through your wardrobe & cull it mercilessly! If you need a bit of help doing it, check out my Wardrobe Taming series! (Blast from the past, baby!)

3. Look up an old love or your ex-best friend.

This is an excellent time to revisit those old relationships & see where the land lies. You don’t need to resuscitate them, of course, & often things we try to start during Mercury retrograde end up being short-lived anyway, but there can be a lot to learn from reuniting. You could find that the closure is exactly what you needed.

4. Forgive & forget.

Mercury retrograde encourages us to tie up loose ends, & the ultimate loose end is sourness or bitterness towards someone else. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison & waiting for the other person to die! It’s time to move on, & if you can’t forget, do your best to forgive.

5. Take a fabulous holiday.

Even though we’re usually not encouraged to travel during Mercury retrograde — simply because it’s something that is easily affected by the natural miscommunications of this period — if you can get away, you should! Honour any hankerings you might have for a bit of downtime. Go to a tropical island & lie on the beach for a week, or simply have a staycation at home. You’ll feel so much better for it!

6. Relax & take care of yourself.

The classic old checklist of getting enough sleep, staying hydrated & doing a lot of stretching absolutely applies during Mercury retrograde. If you’ve fallen off the H2O wagon, buy yourself a cute drink bottle & keep it on your desk! (I have a vampire drink bottle. I love it.) Make an extra effort to relax before bed, maybe by turning off the television & having a bath, & get your solid 8 hours. Stretch & move your body as much as you can.

7. Rejuvenate your living space!

If your house isn’t looking its best, now is the time to start dreaming about it! Your home should be a reflection of your most fabulous self: a place that you’re excited to return to. While it’s not the best idea to make big purchases during Mercury retrograde, it is a truly excellent time to do any research. Start investigating: look at Pinterest for interior decorating ideas, scope out websites for the best prices, & make a list of the things you’ll need. Once Mercury goes direct on the 26th of November, you can start to put your plans into action! (Funnily enough, I started doing this yesterday, without even thinking about it!)

8. Work on your CV or personal mission statement.

Mercury retrograde favours rewriting, revising or editing any documents. Why not put that energy to good use & rework your CV or personal mission statement? You could spice up your blog’s bio page or make some long overdue changes to your business plans. Mercury’s magic will help you out as you do it, & you might be astounded by what comes out when you sit down to start writing!

9. Read old journals.

If you go back to your old journals or notebooks during this time, you’ll be amazed by the things you read & the revelations that occur. It will be incredible to you to see how far you’ve come & how much growth has happened! (Plus, it’s usually pretty good for a laugh!)

10. Get a bit nostalgic!

Mercury retrograde is the best time ever to listen to old albums that you loved when you were a teenager, to watch movies that used to mean so much to you, & to revisit activities you have given up. Last night I went on a trip down memory lane listening to Tool, & as I write this, I’m playing Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness: still a fantastic album! Why not jump back into that sport or activity you loved when you were 19 years old?

Each and every one of these missives is something I can focus on during this time. Travel? Absolutely! We have a two-week long trip planned. Rejuvenate the living space? You absolutely know it! The new house is simply begging to be organized and turned from cluttered storage area to loved and cherished home. It's all going to be an adventure.

My friends, just because the stars tell you that today might be scary doesn't mean that you'll stop living it to the fullest, right?


I want to hear what you will be doing to combat Mercury's retrograde effects! What are your thoughts?

How will you make the most of Mercury in Retrograde? free polls 

**1 ...of which I am only remotely a part when it conveniences me, my friends. Although I find it interesting, I don't often find it applicable in my own world... mostly because I don't typically remember what I need to be superstitious about.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Home Superstitions

As a new homeowner, I don't want to be superstitious.

However... sometimes a girl just can't help herself.

Our new home feels so positive. It feels so full of friendship and love. And while I tried desperately not to think about it... I know there are some old wives' tales that simply need to be heeded when you move in to a new home.

As I considered this, I thought about how little I really understand about being superstitious. Sure, I know I'm not supposed to walk under a ladder. But it's not because of bad luck. It's because, when I was younger, children who walked under ladders tended to have hammers fall on their heads. It's not bad luck at all - it's simply poor timing on the part of the father who's standing on the ladder, and a lesson in Paying Attention to Surroundings on the part of the child with the gaping head wound. But the superstitions make sense.

Nonetheless, as a new homeowner, I knew there was more I needed to know.

So I turned to the companion my father always used for his home - The Old Farmers' Almanac.

When I was younger, my parents always received an Old Farmers' Almanac for Christmas. It was full of planting tips for the upcoming season, had weather information for the whole year and other tidbits that were helpful for homeowners, especially of the rural variety.

I was certain that the Almanac would know what I had to do.

It didn't disappoint.

Here, for your perusing (and future home buying experiences):

House and Home Superstitions

There are many superstitions and old wives tales' about the house and home. From our collection of folklore, here are some sayings for good luck in your home. 

- Scatter Solomon's seal on the floor to banish serpents and venomous creatures from the room.

- To protect your house from lightning, gather hazel tree branches on Palm Sunday and keep them in water.

- Add caraway seeds to chicken feed to keep poultry from wandering. Feed the seeds to homing pigeons to help them find their way back.

- Stuff fennel in your keyhole or hang it over your door to protect against witches.

- Never carry a hoe into the house. If you do so by mistake, carry it out again, walking backward to avoid bad luck.

- Never walk under a ladder, which is Satan's territory. If you must do it, cross your fingers or make the sign of the fig (closed fist, with thumb between index and middle fingers).

- If you give a steel blade to a friend, make the recipient pay you a penny to avoid cutting the friendship.

- Never give a knife as a housewarming present, or your new neighbor will become an enemy.

- Never pound a nail after sundown, or you will wake the tree gods.

- Nail an evergreen branch to new rafters to bring good luck. An empty hornets' nest, hung high, also will bring good luck to a house of any age.

- When you move to a new house, always enter first with a loaf of bread and a new broom. Never bring an old broom into the house.

I'm fortunate that, for the most part, I haven't grievously overlooked any of these. Sure... an old broom came into the kitchen. But that's as far as it got, and it was banished to the garage straightaway. And it was a camp broom, so it didn't really count anyway.

So, my dear ReaderFriends from around the Great Wide World - what are some traditions and superstitions surrounding New Homeowner-ship in your country?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mercury in Retrograde

I've written before about how enamored I am with the heavens.

But, admittedly, I know far less than I ought.

Sure, I can pick out the Big Dipper on a clear night.

I can point out the Pleiades without much to-do.

I can even track down Orion and Taurus, engaged eternally in their game of tag across the sky.

But I'm pretty rotten at astrology.

That might be pretty par for the course. I'm an Aries, you see, which means I'm stubborn and can have a little difficulty following through with my undertakings. Astrology is far less scientifically based than Astronomy, so its nuances can be frustrating for me to follow (especially when they change according to where you get your information).

But sometimes it's important information to have.

For instance, every morning I pull out the comics from the office paper and flip through the stars before I check my funnies. I check my day-rating (today = two stars) and skim through my synopsis (today = don't commit until you think it through), breeze through the same for my sister and for Boyfriend of Amazingness, and then get on to Fred Basset. It's not like I set my day by what the paper tells me, but it's nice to know someone out there thinks I'm going to have a stellar (or crappy) day before it sneaks up on me on its own.

So, it makes sense that it caught my eye when I saw a post on my favorite social networking site this morning that mentioned Mercury going retrograde this Wednesday. As a previous student of astronomy (different from astrology, since it says right inside the word that it's tastier...), I understand that a retrograde motion is when a planet moving through the Zodiac appears to travel in reverse. However, I don't remember what that means for the next month's worth of activities. After all, there's an important month coming up**1 and I want to be prepared.

So when I saw the post that there were astrological goings-on in motion, I pulled up Google and got to my research.

I was a little perturbed to find that Mercury in retrograde has all sorts of negative impacts on "communication, clear thinking, truth and travel."**2 After all, what is vacation but an adventure in that assortment of phenomena? Without communication, a trip cannot be planned. Without clear thinking and honest assessments of situations, a trip cannot be executed. And without travel, a trip is not a trip at all but a random assortment of people and belongings sitting in a vehicle in the driveway.

Fortunately, I stumbled across a wonderful website that offered not only a straightforward explanation of Mercury retrograde but also a list of helpful tips to get through the following month. An important note was that it's good to be prepared a couple of days on either side of retrograde in case of ripple effects, so I thought I'd pass along some helpful tips:

A quick & dirty guide to
surviving Mercury retrograde!

Be sure not to take things too personally.

Back up your data!

Don’t purchase any big ticket items.

Take things with a grain of salt.

Read the small print on any contracts. Ask lots of questions.

Finish things you started a while ago.

Get together with old friends, reminisce & laugh!

Double-check any information you’re given, especially as relates to travel arrangements!

Allow Mercury to nudge you in unusual directions. If you seem to find yourself “back to the future”, don’t just try to wriggle out of it — look at what the universe is trying to show you.

Use the things you’ve discovered in the past to create a dazzling new vision so that you’re ready to blast ahead when Mercury goes direct!**2

See, ReaderFriends, it's not going to be so bad. Perhaps it might even be a fun adventure! I know my own closet could use some perusing - after the past weekend's adventures in unpacking, I found heaps of clothing I forgot we owned. Sounds like a purge is in my immediate future!

What will you do with all this interesting new energy that will be surging through soon?

**1 July is full of vacation. Of the available 23 working days during the month of July, I will be in the office for only 10 of them. Granted, one day is a national holiday during which no one will be working. Nonetheless... I'm going to be a leaf on the wind.

**2 All of this awesome understanding of the phenomenon comes from "How To Survive Mercury Retrograde" by Gala Darling.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dreaming With My Eyes Open

Dreams can be a little weird in Sunny Land.


Yeah. Weird.

Recently has been no exception. With the stress of moving and of signing the mortgage papers, my brain runs too quickly through most of my day. Once the day is over and I've fallen in to bed, there isn't often any brain left to think.

So I fall asleep blissfully, my brain devoid of thought.

But then the dreams start.

I don't remember much of what I've dreamt through the past week. Which is fortunate, because I'm certain they've been doozies.

I do remember the dream that hit me this morning, however.

In the morning, my dreams aren't scary. They're typically just cockeyed and a little off-kilter - the product of a half-awake brain clinging to the last tendrils of sleep. That's when my whipped cream dream happened. (See the link above if you didn't before and are now wondering what in the world I'm talking about.)

Since moving in to the house, we haven't gotten around to hanging up curtains yet. Which I'm absolutely loving.**1 It means that the sunlight comes in the small window and falls upon the bed between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m., which has led me to wake up naturally every day since we moved in. Even today, when Boyfriend of Amazingness left for work and I had to get myself out of bed and ready for the day.

But this phenomenon of naturally waking means that there's very little dozing-while-hitting-the-snooze-button dreaming.

Which makes me wonder where the dream came from.

Here's the basic scoop:

In my dream, Boyfriend of Amazingness had gotten ready for work. He showered, dressed, kissed my forehead and went downstairs to make his coffee.

This isn't unlike what actually happened, so I suppose there's no way to realy be sure that I wasn't awake and just not conscious of what was going on.

Nonetheless, that's where it got weird.

I heard the front door shut, and Boyfriend left for his work day. I heard the truck pull out of the driveway and I rolled over to go back to sleep.

But then, in my dream, Boyfriend was suddenly back in the bedroom.

And he was giggling.

"Honey!" he laughed. "Why did you let me leave for work without pants?"

**1 The apartment was so closely situated to other apartments that I didn't feel comfortable having the curtains open in the bedroom, ever. Which led to a serious case of lethargy, bordering upon over-sleeping and even a little depression. It was horrible. I would go to bed betwen 10:00 and 11:00 every evening. On work days, I would get up between 6:30 and 7:00. On weekends, I would sleep until between 9:00 and 10:00, with no later bedtime and typically a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. I was miserable, mostly because I simply didn't get the sunlight needed to regulate my body.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I'm desperate, ReaderFriends.

I'm desperate for a journal.

At every major turning point in my life, I've written.

As we were packing over the weekend, my sister found a journal of mine that I wrote when I was very young. It described her thusly:

"My sister is five years old. Her favorite food is ice cream! Her favorite sport is bubble chasing!"**1

Enthusiasm and observation was the name of the game.

Now I own a home. And enthusiasm and observation is the only thing that's happening.

I have quotes.

I have realizations.

I have important lists to make and trackings to track.

And I have nowhere to write them, because all of my writing implementation is packed away safely at the bottom of a pile of "less important items."**2

Which leaves me in a horrible pickle.

At what point is my rememberer going to run out of room to remember, and then these quotes and realizations and trackings will be lost for good?

Will it be before I send all my thank-you notes?

Will it be before I buy the shears to prune the plants that need pruning and trim away the plants that need to go?

Will it be before I get home for dinner tonight?

Sure, I could make one at work. I could create the pages I want and print them out, and then start filling them in.

I could go online to some bookstore or another and find a home owner's journal. But then I would be spending precious dollars that could better be used finding sweet new curtain rods for the living room.

What I really need to do is find the box with the writing stuff in it.

Right now.

I need a journal and a comfy pen, stat!

**1 Grammar and spelling have been corrected for the sanity of international readers.

**2 Less important than the kitchen and the laundry. Those get precedence over writing.

Coffee Moments

The Coffee Moment is something I've grown to greatly enjoy during my first week as a homeowner.

It's just coffee, you goofball... you must surely be thinking.

Or maybe you're more clever than that, and know just how important coffee is. In that case, I commend you.

For the rest of you, let me explain.

The first items that moved into the house were a nightstand and the coffee maker. This is because saying that coffee is a staple in our home is an understatement. Boyfriend of Amazingness is self-admittedly horrendous without caffeination. As such, he'll drink a couple of cups on any given morning, with a few extra on weekends just because he enjoys it so.

To that end, even though I find it a little more difficult to stomach, coffee became a staple for me as well. In the morning, I'll toss a tablespoon of hot cocoa powder into a coffee mug. Along with a hearty dose of cream (weekends call for the Irish variety, of course), I'll fill the mug with coffee and have a sweet, decadent beverage to get me cranking on the road to a productive day.

On Friday morning - our first morning in the house - we were awakened at 5:00 by the sun peeking in the bedroom window and a little bird outside speaking up to greet the day. The excitement of the first day in our new home ahead of us, we both voluntarily rose and shone. The coffee was brewed and the kitchen - where we had eaten our dinner the night before seated upon lawn chairs - regarded. Then we both looked out at the back deck.

The choice was simple and unspoken: Coffee would be enjoyed on the deck where we could look out at our garden and enjoy the simplicity and novelty of a quiet country morning.

As we sat and enjoyed our beverages, the sun rose slowly over the trees and began to shine on the yard. The grass was a vibrant green that only fresh vegetation can eminate. There were no screaming neighbors. There were no jet engines echoing through the clouds. The city sounds were so far away as to be unheard.

Complete peace was entirely within our grasp.

I took a picture that morning and posted it to my favorite social media site. I entitled it simply "This Doesn't Suck." Immediately friends and family began to comment:

"Soooooo doesn't suck. :-)"

"I like it!"


And they're so right.

This doesn't suck even in the teensiest.

Unfortunately the weekend came to a screeching halt on Monday. Reality rained down upon us as the grasp of the workweek took hold.

Boyfriend of Amazingness, in an attempt to better understand his new morning commute, left home 45 minutes before I had to get myself in gear.

I had gotten up with him, and was dressed for the day. I had only to pack my lunch.

In the apartment, I hadn't bothered to make coffee at home. The difficulty of transporting it to the office outweighed my need for caffeinated libation, so I typically opted instead to wait to drink office swill.

Monday morning, faced with 45 minutes to enjoy the solitude of our newfound haven, I made myself a cup of coffee.

Because we had recently moved (and had previously been attempting to empty our pantry in anticipation of this move), I had run out of hot cocoa. I considered trying to doctor it simply with sugar and cream, as normal humans might do. But then I realized I had already unpacked the baking cabinet, and that the cocoa powder was right there.

So, yesterday morning, I made myself mocha completely from scratch. A tablespoon of cocoa powder, a tablespoon of sugar, a healthy drab of cream and a strong cup of dark coffee.

I sat on the back patio and listened to the birds.

A neighbor's cat prowled across the yard, regarding me with intensity upon noticing my presence.

The sun slowly rose.

My friends... if I had realized that this was one of the best kept secrets of homeownership, I would have started itching to buy a house years ago.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Monday, June 17, 2013

And Now, For Something Completely Different...

I have a real blog post put together.

Seriously! I totally do.

It's all organized, and the grammar is impeccable, and the wit is perfectly sprinkled throughout.

But... it's in my head.

And I'm out of time this noontime to get it put together, and know better than to promise I'll assemble it later today.

Instead, I'll tell you the other thing that's stuck in my head.

It's a piece of broccoli.

It's lodged firmly in the back of my nose, clinging tight from where I choked on it earlier during my lunch.

No amount of sneezing will unseat it, although it desperately wants to be free.

Always an adventure here, folks. That's just what it's like to be me. Thrill-a-minute, and I just can't wait to share it with you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Reasons I'm Feeling Very Adult-Like Today

  1. When I woke up this morning, I made myself get up and get ready for work instead of calling out like I desperately wanted to.

    A more childish person would have picked up the phone as the first shiver of anticipation for the day washed over her, and she would have been the Queen of Hookie-dom.

    But that's not me. I'm a grown up, who makes herself go into work even though it's pretty probable that today will be a waste of energy because I'm just too excited.
  2. When I opened Boyfriend of Amazingness's tee-shirt drawer to find something to pack in our overnight bag for our trip tonight, there was a spider crawling on the very top shirt. Instead of freaking out, I gasped ever so slightly and then regarded it. I picked up the tee-shirt that had the offender upon it, and placed the whole caboodle gently on the floor so the spider could scamper away.

    A more childish person would have slammed the drawer shut and refused to allow the whole dresser ever to be used again.

    But that's not me. I'm a grown up, who doesn't think spiders are demon spawn.
  3. When I was ready for work over half an hour early, I spent the time doing two loads of laundry and tidying up some peripheral stuff.

    A more childish person would have taken out her bubble wand and gone outside to terrorize the local birds.

    But that's not me. I'm a grown up, who knows that bubbles are for afternoon shenanigans.
  4. When driving in to work this morning and a local ninny passed me - on a corner, with his wheels spinning, on the on ramp of the highway - I sighed and called him a dodo under my breath.

    A more childish person would have honked her horn, hit the gas and tried to push them out of the way.

    But that's not me. I'm a grown up, who doesn't get road rage stemming from undercaffeination.

  5. When I get out of work shortly, I'll go home for a healthy lunch of warm spaghetti with cold sauce. I'll frantically pack totes with bathroom paraphernalia, I'll get sheets and curtains and clothes put into neat piles for the next couple of days, and then I'll drive to the bank.

    Where Boyfriend of Amazingness and I will sign the paperwork and become homeowners.

    I'm a grown up, who's about to own a house.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


So, last week I posted that it was probably time for me to get back to pen-and-paper writing, so I might be able to kill this pseudo-slump I've fallen into.

It was a great idea, and I was all for it...

Until I forgot about it.

This week has been a veritable flurry of paper. I've undertaken the task of overhauling our record management system. This is only mildly daunting, as it has been mismanaged since long before I was of working age.

I've already killed a brand new pen this week with all of my writing.

On the up side, we have finally been fully approved to close on our new home**1 and have scheduled the signings to start at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. So all of this writing this week has increased my muscle tone in my writing hand, and can only help me with what I hear will be the most signature-heavy purchase I'll ever go through with.

It's mildly unfortunate, because I should really be focusing on more productive things at work... But today, for the first time since my employment with this company began, I'm thinking "Yay! Records management!" So I'm capitalizing on it while I've got the chance.

But rest assured, ReaderFriends... the hard writings will commence.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If You Can Dream It...

Dreams have been the name of the game during my nighttime shenanigans lately.

Not just regular dreams though...

These have been Weird.

Most of my relatives who have passed away - which is a great many, let me tell you - along with students from my childhood that I haven't actually had a conversation with in over ten years and other people I'm not entirely certain I've ever really known at all have all starred in one dream or another.

I had one about a childhood (and I mean elementary school childhood) crush that never came to fruition. He had gotten hold of a child, and the two of us were babysitting in the balcony of a theater.


Last night's dream was no exception.

I should be more clear. When I dream, it's often either at the darkest part of the night or just before I wake up. The darkest part of the night are when nightmares hit, so as to best keep me from achieving restful sleep for the rest of my slumber hours.

The Just Before I Wake Up dreams are often just really, really weird.

This morning, for instance, I had a dream that I was at a spa. There was an airbrush that would blow makeup onto your face to make you supermodel-gorgeous in no time flat. Its secret: Whipped cream. Instead of blowing on foundation, blusher and more... It would just give you a generous slathering with whipped cream.

And women loved it.

But once their faces were optimized, it appeared there was no further reason to keep the whipped cream on their faces.

So they would swoop it up onto their heads and create foofy hairstyles reminiscent of beehives and bouffants with their whipped cream.

And everybody had a sticky, swoopy and smiley time.

As a result, today I'm feeling slightly akilter and more than a little tired.

Boy do I hope this post makes sense.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Write about Writing

I absolutely love writing.

Ever since I was a child and would sit in my grandfather's lap, writing page upon page of cursive "e"s, I've had a special bond with pen and paper that no mortal can turn asunder.

In third grade, I learned how to write in cursive. Shaving cream on my desktop and slathered up to my elbows, I practiced forming the letters over and over until they adhered in my mind. It was thrilling - all of a sudden, my letters could be formed as a continuous string without pausing to form each letter individually. Instead, my pen could move with fluid ease across the page, guided by my knowledgeable hand and my creatively oozing brain. The world was my oyster, and I was cracking it all to pieces.

In fourth grade, my love of writing bit me in the butt. I was noticed for my "excellence in English," and was asked to undergo a series of tests to gauge my abilities. I was noted as "Talented" on the "Gifted and Talented" scale, and thus was separated even further from my classmates (who already saw me as a scholastic threat with my fantastic spelling and my absolute lack of fashion sense). I attended weekly classes with other students of my caliber in the district, and diagrammed sentences until my brain melted and oozed out of my ears. Creativity fell by the wayside as focus was placed more heavily upon grammar and practical application.

In sixth grade, I was granted access to a classroom computer for more than just the perfunctory good-behavior reward of a once-monthly binge of Oregon Trail.**1 My typing skills began to accelerate, albeit only to a degree - they only really took off once we got a home computer with an internet connection and I was introduced to Online Chatting. It was Yahoo! messenger that really taught me my keyboarding skills and allowed me to begin constructing written thoughts at the speed with which my brain typically functions.

Such has been the decline of pen and paper within my world. I work on a computer for at least 8 hours every day. When I'm not looking at a computer screen, I'm often gazing upon my cell phone with rapt attention. At home, I stare at the television.

Sure, on occasion I'll pick up a book. I'm currently reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy, and am loving every moment of that adventure. But I don't make time for it nearly as often as I'd like... in part because of the inundation of electronic devices. When I get home from work, the television is on for Boyfriend of Amazingness's video games. It gets turned off if we leave the house to run errands, but is often turned back on again immediately following our return. It's on while we eat dinner. It's on until it's time to go to bed. And on any given weekend morning, it's often the first sign of life in the living room.

I was considering this fact on my commute to work this morning. Weekday mornings I often feel the most compelled to write. The ideas flow most freely at one particular moment: As I sit in the driver's seat of my newly-parked car in the parking garage before I walk in to the office.

Considering this phenomenon, I tried this morning to decipher why those creative juices might be flowing at that particular moment from day to day throughout the week.

My realization was that the Great Glass Eye is a killer of creativity.

The television is turned off around 10:00 p.m. on weeknights so that the residents of my humble home can go to bed.

It doesn't get turned on for weekday mornings because it would suck up precious work-prep time.

So when I arrive at my parking spot, it's often after a ten-hour technology purge. I might perform a quick status review of my cell phone when I uplug it in the morning before sliding it into my pocket, but I don't get sucked into its technological abyss for any length of time. I don't look at a computer until I get to work and boot it up. It's just me and the thoughts I feel inclined to think, from the moment I lay down my head in the evening to the moment I plant my posterior in my cubicle in the morning.

This can be unfortunate, because I often don't have time to put my thoughts together for my blog until after I've been seated in front of a computer for a number of hours during my workday morning. Lunchtime is typically the first opportunity for my creativity to burst free, and sometimes lunchtime is simply too late. Like the proverbial video killing the radiostar, computer screens kill my cranial-star and the stories just dry up before coming to fruition.

This morning, I was excited to have the opportunity to try putting together my words earlier in the morning. I got to work at 7:30, turned on my computer at 7:45 and started to write at 8:07.**2 Although the sub-par caffeination was a stumbling block at first, I found myself feeling more and more inclined to assemble something pretty fabulous here.

But then I realized this will be a one-off. There's no way I'll be able to sustain morning posting.

Which led me to a revelation.

Perhaps it's time for me to take up the toting of a composition pad again.

When I was a child with absolutely zero focus, an uncle and aunt asked what I would like for my birthday. After tossing aside a couple of mass-produced-toy ideas, they asked what my favorite subject in school was. "Reading," I said. Their next question was about which type of book I liked to read. "Fantasy" was my reply. So, on my birthday, I was gifted with a beautiful purple composition book that said "Sunny's Fantasy Journal" on the front. I was encouraged to write my own stories, and I certainly did. I still have that composition pad, filled to brimming with my thoughts and plots and doodles.

Subsequently, a couple years ago when I decided to undertake NaNoWriMo, I began carrying around a composition book so I could scribble down thoughts whenever I thought them. It did wonders for my writing: Even when I sat down at a computer with nothing immediately jumping to mind as creative fodder, I was able to flip through my previously penned thoughts and pull together some of the best writing I had penned since The Adventures of Bear, The Amazing Dog when I was a second grader with lumpy penmanship and the inclination towards the fantastical.**3 Remembering can be hard for me, so it was helpful for me to be able to jot down thoughts as they occurred to me instead of trying to bring them back to the forefront of my mind once they had skittered out of my immediate focus.

Methinks, my ReaderFriends, that I'm going to initiate that undertaking again.

You all will be the first to reap those delicious, fascinating fruits... I promise.

**1 "You have died of dysentery." Remember that?

**2 Being in Reception can have its perks, you know... one of them being that Nonproductive time is part of the gig. I've answered phone calls, I've stamped parking badges and I've good-humorously greeted incoming guests. I've helped with outgoing faxes and coordinated the filling of coffee pots. And all of that took a grand total of fifteen minutes out of my morning.

**3 I once wrote a story where my Dad fell off the roof and broke his leg, and my Mom and Sister and I went to the hospital to visit him and we ate popsicles. It was so realistic that my teacher pulled my mother aside to ask after my Dad's health, since it seemed so far-fetched that this would be a work of fiction. Her fatal flaw: Doubting the creative depths I dared to plomb.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hullo? Hulloooo...


I appreciate that a work environment can, at times, be soul-sucking.

And time-sucking.

And life-sucking. 

(Yeah. I'm on to something with the suck factor here. You know it.)

Now, it's not always... but some days are just sub-par.

It is with this understanding of sub-par-ocity that I come into this conversation not wholeheartedly vexed, but admittedly somewhat muddled.

You see, I'm slightly confused how you can have so much time during your day to make phone calls that have absolutely nothing to do with your employment.

I mean, sure... I've calculated that about 20% of your time is spent micromanaging your neighbors. A rough approximation, to be certain, calculable only based upon the number of minutes I've wasted waiting for you to explain - in infinite detail - how I can arrive at the answer to a question that would take you only seconds to share.

The other 80% of your time spent here, based upon the numbers I've crunched, are spent on the phone, specifically for things that have nothing to do with your employment.

Of course, sometimes there are exceptions to the "Keep Work At Work and Home At Home" rule. I've been known to step out into the parking lot and field a call with my bank or my doctor, who work only the same hours that I do. On those occasions, of course it's necessary to step away from work and take care of business.

But there's a key factor there I think you might be missing:

Step Away.

I understand that some establishments certainly make scheduling difficult. But when I'm listening to your third iteration of a question regarding your sweetie's next check-up, it starts to wig me out. Honestly, after all the chatter I've heard from you, it's a wonder I can't perform the appointment myself. I feel like you're talking about my besty with whom I've been taking baths together since we were in diapers, so in-depth are the details I can provide to her health.

I also understand that having children in school can be difficult, because school hours are often within working hours. So, on occasion, of course you'll need to spend time talking on the phone with their teachers or even with them to make sure progress is progressing progressively. But when I'm listening to you listening to your offspring babble animatedly about using the blue crayon to color the sky, and then the green crayon to color the grass all while I'm elbow deep in actual work carnage, it corners me into wanting to do terribly unkind things to you with those very crayons. And then your kid would be sad, because one cannot be an artist with rectally entombed crayons.
But I think my biggest gripe is listening to you argue with your cell phone company. Or the bank. Or any other institution by whom you've been taken under contract for your living ease, only for you to make pathetic demands upon them because you cannot fathom someone doing what they do without your complete and total control over the situation.

don't care that you've never lost your debit card before, or that you're a "model customer" at the bank. I hope they double the fee for replacing that card, and make you shell out ten bucks just for making that phone call.

Because haven't you spent that much already in taking the time to stop work for half an hour just to argue with them on the phone?

I mean... you've certainly wasted that much of mine, disrupting my day with your shenanigans.**1



**1 It should be noted that I realize how this makes me sound like a snoop and an eavesdropper. The case, my good ReaderFriend, is exactly the opposite I'm afraid. The conversations are so animated and noisy that they are impossible to ignore. Were I capable, I would auditorally block this individual altogether: It would be totally worth it not just for the phone calls, but for the completely disgusting gargling of post-nasal-drip upon which he imbibes so frequently.

And it makes me gag every time.

Every. Blasted. Time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pick A Direction...

It's hard to be creative in one direction when your mind is being creative in another.

Right now, outside of work and off of the computer altogether, I'm working with another dancer on a piece of joint choreography that we'll perform in a month. We're picking the song, and then will each choreograph half of the dance.

Which means that, as I was supposed to be writing this, I just spent most of the last half hour digging through YouTube videos to find the perfect song, and fixating on little smidgens of choreography while I listened to them.

How does one type "hip drop in vertical circle to that part of the song that goes boom-boom-boom-boom-boom?"


I guess that's how you type it.

But how does one make that jargon make sense later, when one is listening to the song for the umpteenth time and has forgotten which boom-boom-boom-boom-boom one was previously referencing?

Ah... now that is the question.

See? Even as I write, I'm writing about this other creative direction and cannot focus to make good words.**1

The best I can do is try to redeem myself with a witty one-liner (for which I cannot even take credit):

What does a belly dancer use to hold her costume together?


Yup... That will simply have to do.

**1 Point of note: I had three typos in that last sentence, including "writting" because I was thinking of how to integrate repetition. And I used the phrase "make good words," and found that permissible because it was better than the previous three attempts to end that sentence.

Some times I'm not even sure why you read this nonsense.

Monday, June 3, 2013

And I Shop, Shop, Shop...

Sorry, troopers!

No time to be witty today.

I'm shopping!

But... what are you shopping for that's so important that we're left in the dust, Sunny?

Well, if you must know...

We must! We must!

I'm looking at crap I cannot possibly afford and will not ever in a million-zillion years need, but that I want for the simple fact that I will have a new home soon (I hope) in which to put All The Things.

A noble endeavor indeed. What sort of things?

I'm so glad you asked: 

There's absolutely no way I would ever be able to set
a presentable table without a set of these.
I wouldn't be any sort of hostess at all if I asked guests to lounge
on a couch that wasn't adorned with these.

Come to think of it... I wouldn't be any sort of homeowner at all
if I asked myself to lounge on anything that isn't this chaise.
"Storage Chaise - Tan"

If I don't watch out, my shopping is going to get bigger and bigger until we have to find an additional place to store the additional house I buy. So perhaps I'll go back to looking at candlesticks. Or maybe cookie cutters, to practice my hostessing skills for the "Welcome To Our New Home!" party.

A housewarming party couldn't possibly fail with Yoda cookies
and Wookie Pies on my side.

Or perhaps I'll just eat all the Yoda cookies and Wookie pies
myself, while I lounge on my chaise in the candlelight.

It's good to be an impending homeowner.