Return of #Rebranding

So as of today, I’ve published a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 30 consecutive posts. Go me!  Rebooting this blog on a schedule was a conscious choice, because I wanted to challenge myself to create content on a schedule. I’d like to do that for a living someday, so it’s reassuring to have a couple of months under my belt. Largely very short posts, especially on busy days, but I tend to have trouble sticking to commitments so that was my focus. I think it’s been very helpful.

That said, posting random little blogs just because they’re scheduled hasn’t been creatively fulfilling, so I’m going to shift my focus a bit towards just doing some sort of work on a regular basis. This may not always be posts on the blog, but I’ll share when possible. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest if you don’t want to miss a thing  🙂

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Sick

I get sick all the time nowadays… Just constantly. Not sure what exactly happened in the past five years or so to devastate my immune system, but I seem to catch everything that’s going around. I developed some sort of sore throat / headache / sinus bullshit over the weekend, and it’s severe enough that I stayed home from work today.

I hate taking sick days. I don’t actually want to be at work, I just feel guilty, and I worry that my boss thinks I’m faking. Paradoxically, on the (very rare) occasions in the past that I have “called in” without being actually sick, I feel totally fine about it. Sometimes you need a Mental Health Day and you return afterwards happier and much more productive. But on days like today – when I’m actually physically ill and probably contagious – I feel like a terrible, lazy person for staying home.

Last night, as it became increasingly apparent that I was not going to be working today, I compiled a mental list of stuff I could get done at home. (That’s my consolation for missing work, usually – I am often insanely productive when left alone in a messy apartment feeling “lazy” because I’m considerate enough to not become the office Typhoid Mary). I was going to exercise, go grocery stopping, start house hunting, sign up for defensive driving, get some solid work done on my Big Creative Project, and finally put away the Christmas decorations (yes, I know it’s March. At least I took the holiday wreath off the door. Last week.). 
 
Unfortunately, I ended up sleeping until noon, stumbling around just long enough to make coffee, finishing The Fifth Element on my DVR, and then alternating between reading and falling back asleep on the couch for most of the day. I’m still in my PJ’s. I never even showered.
 
The obvious problem with trying to catch up on a sick day is – of course – that you are sick. 
 
On the bright side, from the time I started feeling bad (Saturday evening) to now I did start & finish both Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which were excellent and had been sitting around unread for months. I guess waiting until I feel awful to binge-read as much as possible is better than never reading at all.
 
Note: The text got stuck in italics halfway through and I don’t know why and I am too sick and pitiful to fix it. Please disregard the apparent gravitas of these words.
 
Other Note: Oh, apparently it didn’t. It just appears in italics in the post editor even though it is not. I actually want these notes to be italicized and I can’t make that happen either. Am too sick and pitiful to be very annoyed by this, or by the random extra line breaks that seem to be showing up everywhere.
 
Last Note: The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you get to Amazon through one of those links and then buy anything, I get a small percentage. This doesn’t cost you any more; it’s just a bonus for me.

Distinguished Motorcycle Gentleman

Ever have those days where you’re just not running on all cylinders? I don’t know what it was today but I just never fully woke for some reason. Spent all day on a super simple project at work because I kept doing stupid stuff and having to backtrack. Frustrating for me and also, I’m sure, for my boss who ambushed me with the project before I even sat down this morning and probably thought it would be done in a few hours. Long, long day.

All this to say, I’d planned on big ol’ narrative post about some Intense Kitchen Shenanigans that I got up to this weekend but it is just not gonna happen. Time to veg out and watch The Voice and work on my cross-stitch and maybe my brain will reboot.

WIP

In other news, on the way home I saw a man with a long beard riding a motorcycle wearing all-black and A TOP HAT. It somehow makes me feel better about life that this dude is ridin’ around, doing his thing. Ride on, Distinguished Motorcycle Gentleman. Ride on.

Ride into the sunset, your top hat silhouetted as you pass into unseen lands; gone, but not forgotten. Never forgotten.

Related note: what does a motorcycle look like? I obviously have no idea.

Gone Home

Very short post today because I stopped by my parents’ after work and stayed way later than I’d planned. Any home-cooked meal buys a lot of my time, and my mom is a great cook.

I think I’ve finally reached the point where I can go Back Home and still feel like an adult. That’s kind of a strange feeling. Like when you visit your old elementary school and everything is tiny.

(Everything is super tiny in elementary schools, too. What must it be like for adults who work at elementary schools? I’m guessing infuriating. Just hunching over all-day-every-day… tiny people in their tiny desks, tiny water fountains, tiny lunch tables, tiny sinks, tiny toilets…)

Today we learned that the word “tiny” looks/sounds very odd when overused.

Void

I discovered that I’m terrified of the ocean while on my honeymoon in Hawaii. (I like to pick the worst possible time & place for such revelations. Keeps life interesting.) I was suspended in the water, shoved around by waves, trying to keep the tip of my snorkel as high in the air as bouyancy allowed. Then I turned my head to the right and saw the sharp line where the reef dropped off into open ocean – and I panicked. It was so big, so dark, this vast navy-blue empty void… Except of course it wasn’t empty at all. I remember thinking, anything could be out there.

On the other hand, one of my favorite things is stargazing in the country. Drive far into the wilderness, find a clearing, lie down in the bed of the pickup, and marvel. In the city, the night sky is faded and homogeneous, punctuated by only the strongest stars. But when you escape the light pollution, you confront a void that is profoundly huge and black and empty but also full of light and life. Again with that thought, anything could be out there. This time it’s not shaded with dread, but with wonder and delight at the infinite possibilities. It is a different thought altogether.

I have an Ocean feeling about life, lately. I spent 22 years on the clearly-marked American Dream path: early childhood, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, degree, first job & apartment… Somehow I never gave much thought to what came after that. It’s no longer obvious. What do I want my life to look like? I can actually choose that. There are legitimately a million different lives that I could live. I’ve just now realized this and it feels like the nice big path dumped me out onto a high cliff, and I’m staring out into another void – a dark, foggy void with huge, indistinct shadows that disappear when I look hard at them. Anything could be out there. And the big path sort of continues half-heartedly down the cliff, but it’s a tough slog and what I can see of the end doesn’t look terribly inviting. And occasionally the fog will shift to reveal wonderful destinations, but I don’t know which one is the best, or how to get there. Should I take the sort-of path and hope it winds around and branches an awful lot? Should I just scuttle down the cliffside and hope for the best? Is this an Indiana-Jones-Leap-of-Faith-type scenario?

Oh yeah, and there’s a quickly-approaching time limit for my choice.

So I’m standing on this cliff with like… a pretty small flashlight. I’m cold and I’m not wearing very good shoes. This old man showed up earlier and said “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.” and gave me a kitten, which really doesn’t seem very helpful.

In case it didn't immediately pop into your head.

This is getting away from me.

My point is, I’m confronted with way too many possibilities, and I don’t really have a plan for how to proceed, and I’ve never actually had to make a plan before, and I am terrified. I’ve got an Ocean feeling about it. I think I need to flip a switch in my brain somehow and turn it into a Space feeling – excitement and curiosity about what the future could hold. I don’t know how to do that; it just seems like it should be possible.

It does help to limit the void a bit – there are things that I definitely cannot do. I’ll never be a doctor or a lawyer or anything else that requires a doctorate because no thank you. I have no desire to be an “executive” of any kind. Way past the point of no return on every professional sport. I’m limited geographically because my husband doesn’t have my sort of wanderlust. I guess I’m also limited morally from a Life of Crime?

But beyond that… I don’t know. Who knows? (*grabs you and shakes* How do you know?!?) I’m interested in pretty much everything, but I never know what will be lasting until I really get into it for a while, and I don’t have time for that sort of thing anymore. I guess that’s what college was supposed to be. Can I somehow transform into the sort of person that has like 10 hobbies outside of her day job? I barely have the energy for one as it is.

And my mind goes to career stuff first, but that’s only part of life! I want to be the sort of person that sees friends and “entertains,” but also I’m a big ol’ introvert and crowds are exhausting and I’d kind of like to be a hermit instead. I should join a book club or a knitting group to meet new people, but also catch up with old friends on a regular basis (monthly? weekly? daily? what’s the standard?). I think it would be cool to have a recurring get-together to play pretty involved tabletop games; it’s a shame that our D&D group never got off the ground in college because I was excited about that. I want to have consistent quiet times, and be “active in the church,” with all the Sunday Schools and Bible Studies and the volunteering in the nursery and such. I want to read again. I want to be the weird hippy lady with a giant garden and urban chickens, or maybe have a cool industrial looking artist’s loft in the city. I want to write a novel, but I also want to write & draw a graphic novel, and I’ve got one good idea with a million character sketches and several written pages and I don’t know which format fits so I’m just sitting on it. I’ve got about 5 knitting projects on the needles that will probably never get done. I want to put together an illustration portfolio, but it would take me years of work to get to a professional level and I don’t know if I could take the stress of freelancing. I also want to just draw for fun, but every time I try I feel this weird pressure to really make it “count.” My husband is a web designer but I want to build my portfolio site myself for some reason. I have no professional “businessy” ambition and that bothers me. I should really get in shape – I’ve never really been skinny before and I’m running out of time for that. I want to get really good at a cool activity like rock climbing or yoga or something. I wish I had some friends to mess around and make funny videos with because that sounds really fun. I’d like to cook pretty regularly. I’ve got lists and lists of ideas for minicomics, or short stories, or cool crafty stuff I could sell on Etsy, or illustrations… but I want big blocks of time to work and weekends are full of laundry and cleaning and errands (and weeknights are full of collapsing on the couch). I watch too much TV but I really love figuring out why characters and stories work, and maybe that’s making me a better storyteller? I miss being into music, but I can’t work and listen to music at the same time. I want kids – I want a little house just chock full o’ kiddos playing together, but a single kid (if any) would be much more responsible. And I’d love to be a stay-at-home mom but I’d also love to eat and pay the bills, and would a Real Career be more fulfilling? Could I be part-time? Work-at-home? Which careers are friendly to taking a few years off and then starting back? Why the hell am I so worried about this when we have absolutely no plans to procreate any time soon??

There are a lot of contradictions here and I don’t know what to do about them. I want a map of different routes down the cliff to see if there’s any place where everything I want intersects. I’m sure there isn’t. And there’s definitely no way to know. That’s not how life works. I’m probably supposed to just wander down the path of least resistance and go with the flow and trust that everything will work out, but that goes against every fiber of my being because everything has to be hard all the time.

I am so incredibly neurotic. Just feed me to the sharks, man. I’m done. \angst

Good Grief

Wore a new striped sweater to work today, and this conversation occurred as I left.

John: You look cute today; I like that sweater.
Me:      Thanks!
John:  You look like a Peanuts character. Like Marcie.*
Me:      What?
John:  Marcie. She was the best girl Peanut. Lucy was a jerk.
Me:      Well that’s true. What with the football.
John:  Every dang time.

Wasn’t sure how to feel about that comparison until I took a selfie** of myself in that outfit. Side-by-side with an image of Marcie, the resemblance is truly uncanny.

Clipart marcieSchulzie***

 

* I showed him a picture of the Peanuts cast and asked if he was maybe thinking of Peppermint Patty? He wasn’t. He thinks I look most like the black-haired bespectacled girl.

** I propose that Schulz-style self-portraits be known from this day forward as: “Schulzies.”

*** The pic of Marcie is from the Peanuts Wiki, which is apparently a thing that exists.

Feelin’ Knitty

Took a sick day today, and a lazy glorious day it was! Makes me wish I got sick more often. Spent most of the day watching Agents of Cracked (love me some DOB) and knitting an impromptu scarf. I hadn’t knit in forever, and I stopped in the middle of a couple complicated projects that have been too intimidating to just pick back up. So I wanted an easy project, just something to remind my fingers how knitting and purling work! I cannibalized the yarn from an arm-knit cowl that I didn’t end up liking, and found this stitch on Pinterest. Just did that same stitch for all the yarn I had, turned out like this:

scarf

I like the way the stitch looks with the super-chunky yarn (though it’s subtle, so hard to see in the pic), and I think it’ll be nice & warm. It turned out a really awkward length though – too short for a regular scarf but a bit too long for an infinity scarf or a cowl. Maybe I’ll rip some out and sew the ends together. (Realistically, it’ll probably just sit around forever with the tails hanging out, being weird-lengthed) I’m a “process knitter,” not a “product knitter,” so I enjoyed myself. All in all, satisfying way to spend a day.

Think I’ll watch some of the Black Sails that’s piling up in my DVR. This one’s keeping me company; she likes pirates.

The Dread Pirate Kirby