Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday review #13

Cover of "Mornings on Horseback: The Stor...
Cover via Amazon
So last weekend I was supposed to go with friends to take an archery lesson, but the range doesn't take reservations and they fill up fast, so that'll have to happen another time.  Instead, we shot pool and got dinner and drinks, which is still awesome.  Then I went bowling with some of my husband's friends the next day.

Yesterday, I went to the Mark Does Stuff Tour, which was hysterical.  I mean, doubled-over, almost-peeing-myself hysterical.  His tour ends this weekend, but next time he's in your town, check it out.  In the meantime, check out his blogs: Mark Reads and Mark Watches.

I am almost done Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough.  Just have to finish the endnotes. Yes, I read the endnotes.

Not much progress on the writing or knitting.  It's been a very long week, but not in any very interesting ways.

What's going on with you?

Enhanced by Zemanta

HuffPost: What's Your Passion?

In August of 2012, Amy Spencer at the Huffington Post wrote an article about passion.  She starts by describing hers:
One evening, my husband, Gus, came home, saw me sitting in the dark, and said, "What's with the lights?" You see, that afternoon, I’d started editing the videos I'd taken over a weekend at the beach into a short movie I could upload for family and friends. And I’d gotten so engrossed in the project, I didn’t notice the sun had set and the only light in the house was the glow of the computer screen.
She then goes on to give examples of how to recognize your passion when you stumble upon it:

Find Your 'Flow'
Now, this I get, and I usually get the most flow when I'm writing in an old notebook.  Too bad notebook-writing has to be transcribed; writing on my laptop is more efficient, but I don't get the same groove.

Take A Look Back
That is, if you don't have anything now, how about when you were a kid?  I've mentioned before  that it's always been reading, writing, and crafts, so... yeah.

Think Small And Specific
This is almost an efficiency tip more that anything, but yeah: break your goals into small, doable action-items. Write one page. Knit one row. Run for ten minutes.  Then, do it again, or do the next thing.  It's hard to remember, but it can work.

These are pretty good tips.  How do they work for you?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, March 28, 2013

More on how I spend my time

Fan fiction in the making
Fan fiction in the making (Photo credit: Kalexanderson)
Thinking more about it, when I consider what comes naturally, what I do when I don't have to do anything else, I don't just read fanfic. And I mean that phrase two different ways.

I don't just read fanfic. I seek out the best, which usually answers questions the official writers won't touch. How is Steve Rogers adapting to the 21st century? Where does the wide range of animal sexualities fit into the Christian allegory of Narnia? If Puck is a "sex shark", isn't it reasonable to think he might be bi or pan? What if the cast of Twilight actually used common sense?! And, yeah, not gonna lie, wouldn't Sulu and Chekov make an adorable couple?

I also don't just read fanfic. I also read the recaps and boards at Television Without Pity. I read deconstructions of various books and TV shows.

I'm in a book club. I like over-thinking the movie at dinner or over drinks afterward.

I like analyzing pop culture.

And so many people dedicate so many hours to doing it for free.How could I make any money off it?

So I asked about this at the workshop I went to back in January, and I was told to Google the key phrase plus the word "career" and see what happens.

I'll keep you posted.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What Makes You Happy? #6

English: Chipotle Mexican Grill at 2608 Erwin ...
English: Chipotle Mexican Grill at 2608 Erwin Road next to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Unexpectedly great customer service.

For example, there's a Chipotle not far from where I work, and occasionally I like to grab a burrito bowl and some iced tea with free refills.  The line is always really long, so I typically order online ahead of time, and then stake out a place to sit once I have my food.

The other day, though, I sat down and opened my bag of food, only to find they had messed up my order.  I checked my receipt, in case I had ordered wrong or gotten someone else's food, but no: it was me, and my usual order.  So I took it up to the counter...

Where Gianni (according to the receipt) promptly got me the right order, refunded the price of my lunch, and apologized about a hundred times.  I thought I was going to have to wait around for 20 minutes for them to re-make my lunch, but they took good care of me.

So many thanks to Gianni at the 2 Broadway Chipotle!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Review #12

English: Two young male Suri alpacas
English: Two young male Suri alpacas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, I went to the basketball game last Friday, and the Hawks lost.  But! That same weekend, the Hawks Women's Basketball team won the A-10, and that deserves a shout-out!

A friend of ours stayed the weekend, which was fun, although a lot of our plans fell through over the course of the weekend because we were meeting up with various people who kept flaking. Sigh.

Saturday night, the three of us met up with some other friends and went bowling and then played some board games.  I didn't beat my all-time bowling high score of 100, but I did a lot better than I used to.

Monday, it was back to the gym.  Lifting is hard when you've taken time off, but at least I didn't have to decrease weight on anything. I'm hoping to lose two more pounds by my birthday -- that's less than a pound a week, which is ambitious but not super-ambitious. We weren't great about going to the gym this week otherwise, but at least we went to bed earlier than usual, which helped.

On Tuesday, we had book club at a comfort-food recipe, which was challenging since I had given up fried food for Lent. But I managed to have a great dinner anyway.

I finished Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis, and have started Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough.

I'm working on the alpaca scarf for my husband.  I'm really worried I didn't buy enough yarn, but we'll see what happens.  If he hates it, I'll keep it :) There will be other alpacas.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Entrepreneur: Five Creativity Exercises to Find Your Passion

In June of 2011, Lisa Girard wrote an article for Entrepreneur Magazine entitled Five Creativity Exercises to Find Your Passion.

In this article, she remarks:
For today's aspiring entrepreneur, exploring avenues of creativity to find your passion is likely the quickest route to increase your chances of launching a successful business. Where to start? Here, five exercises to help you uncover your passion.
Now, I'm not an entrepreneur, but that doesn't mean the exercises won't help.  So let's take a look:

Exercise 1 - Revisit your childhood. What did you love to do?
I remember enjoying reading, making up imaginary stories, looking at neat things in neat stores, and making friendship bracelets and other crafts. Now I enjoy reading, writing fiction, looking at neat things online or at craft fairs, and knitting.  So, yeah, not much change there.

Exercise 2 - Make a "creativity board." 
I have always loved this idea, but other than my "ideal life" board on pinterest (which is mostly white lace dresses and huge libraries), I don't know where to start with this. Have you ever done this?  Link to it in the comments.

Exercise 3 - Make a list of people who are where you want to be.
Well, now we're back to the eternal question of "Where do I want to be?"  I think there's a book I need to be getting back to on that topic.

Exercise 4 - Start doing what you love, even without a business plan
Pretty sure that's called a hobby.  And I'm pretty sure, based on my Friday Reviews, that I'm doing that already.

Exercise 5 - Take a break from business thinking. 
Well, considering I'm not actually an entrepreneur -- Done! Good to keep in mind in case I ever do end up with my own business, though.

How about you?  Are any of you entrepreneurs?  Do these tips seem helpful?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I know I shouldn't laugh at my own jokes, but...

Laugh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A blogger I enjoy reading recently posted about planning an office party, starting the post by proclaiming, "PARTY: ACCOMPLISHED."

At first, I waited for a bigger word nerd than myself to mention the joke that came to mind for me.  I comment from time-to-time, but I'm largely a lurker in his commenting community, so I stepped back for a bit.  Finally, I saw that no one was jumping on it, so I made a comment about, "Fête accompli."

It's a stupid pun that almost no one will get, but it's my stupid pun that almost no one will get, I posted it first, and it's received some enthusiastic laughter.  I'm pleased.

And if you want me to explain it, let me know in the comments.

Note: I'm not linking to the specific blog entry because I'd prefer that online identity not be publicly associated with this one.  If you're that curious, I encourage you to hunt it down -- it shouldn't be that hard -- but please don't give it away here.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What makes you happy? #5

A bowl of lobster bisque
A bowl of lobster bisque (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I know that emotional eating is "bad". You eat fatty, salty, or sugary foods to cheer yourself up, then the physical effects make you feel worse, and the cycle begins again.  I know this.  I am largely good about it.

But the fact remains that good food prepared well can have an emotional effect. And one of my weak points in that respect is lobster bisque.

Back when I lived in Philadelphia, and before the chain closed so many of its restaurants, I could rely on John Harvard's for a fix. Not really an option these days, although I'll come across one occasionally.

But enough places serve it, and they all have their special touches: truffle oil, or bits of apple or cheese... I'm hungry just thinking about it.

If I'm out of sorts, and the idea occurs to me, a good bowl of lobster bisque can cheer me up. (To be fair, if I'm out of sorts and hungry, low blood sugar is frequently to blame, so most food will at least help cheer me up). But if I'm just "fine," that's when you'll see the real difference.

...Now I just need a recipe.  Got one?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meta: Blog tags

I've been  trying to tag my blog posts.

It's a simple thing, but I want to talk about it anyway.

Some of the tags are obvious: my Friday reviews all have one tag, and my Thursday discussions of other people's posts have another tag.

Some of them touch on themes that come up a lot: introversion, or health, or faith, or passion.

So I have two questions for you:

Are there any themes you're seeing come up time and again that I don't have tagged?

And are there any posts that are missing obvious tags?

Let me know in the comments, and I'll get right to work on fixing it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Review #11

Book cover
Book cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I completely forgot last week to tell you that I finished John Adams by David McCullough.  This week, I finished Up Jumps the Devil by Michael PooreA Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I also started Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis.

In knitting, I managed to finish my throw rug and a set of coasters. They were mostly finished last week, I just needed to wash and block them. I started an alpaca scarf for my husband, but I'm worried I didn't buy enough yarn.

It's been a bad week for going to the gym.  We have a friend in from out of town, so our energy has to go toward getting the apartment in shape. Unfortunately, that burns more mental and emotional energy than physical calories, or it would be a wash.

On top of that, it's been a busy week at work.  We had a major event on Thursday, which was great. But then to come home and prepare for a house-guest... let's just say there was very little downtime this week.

I also found out about a potential stressor coming up at work that probably isn't going to be an actual problem, but so much is up in the air I'm anxious about it anyway.

Once again, I got an unpleasant reminder that I should only buy groupons if I'm making an appointment to spend them. This week, I realized I had one expiring soon, and went to check the details.  It was expiring that day. So my husband and I had a Surprise Last-Minute Emergency Date Night, which we really didn't have a ton of time for but, as it turned out, we both needed desperately, so that was nice.

Tonight, my alma mater is playing in the A-10 Tournament, so wish the Hawks luck!
Enhanced by Zemanta

ZenHabits: The Short but Powerful Guide to Finding Your Passion

In November of 2009, Leo Babauta wrote a post that begins like so:

Following your  passion can be a tough thing. But figuring out what that passion is can be even more elusive.
Yes.  This.  Kind of why I started this blog, in fact.

So what does Leo recommend? Well, he recommends asking yourself some good questions... the kind that always stump me.

So, yeah, I'm gonna be needy and let you answer these questions for me, if you feel so inclined.  If not, or in addition, please comment with your answers for yourself, too.  I want to hear this!

1. What are you good at?
Yeah, I always get stuck here.  Help?

2. What excites you?
Um... when stuff I look forward to actually goes right?  I don't know, when have you seen me get excited?

3. What do you read about?
An easy one at last! There are two overarching categories, although my reading is eclectic enough that you'll always find stuff outside them:

A) People changing/saving the world.  This results in a lot of histories and biographies, and a lot of scifi/fantasy.

B) People rethinking the world(s) with which they're presented.  This results in a lot of deconstructions and fanfiction.

Themes!  Finally! Huzzah!

4. What have you secretly dreamed of?
Well, last night I dreamed I was a character on a TV show, but not only did I know it was a TV show, I had seen the episode before, so I was kind of like a psychic.  That was pretty cool.

But if we're not being literal, I only have broad, vague shapes. Make a difference. Matter. It would be nice if more than a dozen people showed up at my funeral. More specifically?  That's tough, but I've always said that if I won the lottery, I'd put the money in a trust, and have my trustee only pay me my weekly salary if I hit that week's specific goal in my writing.  I do best with a boss, you see, but creative endeavors don't really work that way.

It would be cool if this blog got a book deal, of course.

Once you answer the questions, he recommends:

5. Learn, ask, take notes
Well, that's what we're doing here, isn't it?

6. Experiment, try
I need to do more of this, but see #9, below.

7. Narrow things down
Yeah, I'll get to that once I broaden up, won't I?

8. Banish your fears
Hahahahaha!  Have you met me? You've heard the "If everything isn't perfect [chain of bizarre logic] and I will starve to death with no one loving me!" monologue, right?

9. Find the time
You know how when you're laughing hysterically, and then you hear something that's less funny, but still funny, and it sets you off again?  Well... Hahahahahaha!

10. How to make a living doing it
*Giggle, snort* Yeah, ok, doing what?

So Leo's list is a good one, but I think we all know I have a loooooong way to go.  But, as I've said more than once in this post alone, that's what we're here for.

How about you?

Enhanced by Zemanta

What deserves to be a priority?

LAUNDRY (Photo credit: spike55151)
It's sort of like impostor syndrome, but not really.

I get to feeling like, because I'm not a "success" (by whatever arbitrary measure I have in my mind), I don't deserve to waste time towards success.

I've never sold writing, or monetized blogging.  So why spend precious time on writing when dinner needs to be made, and laundry needs to be done, and I've gained enough weight that I can't afford to skip the gym.

(Aside: I'm well aware that it's unhealthy to view exercise as punishment.  But I'm also incredibly frustrated at the fact that I'm simultaneously in the best shape of my life, and the fattest I've ever been.  And please don't flatter me by suggesting it's muscle weight -- my ill-fitting jeans know the difference)

Tonight, when I get home from work, I pretty much immediately have to sort and pre-treat my laundry and haul it to the laundromat.  Maybe while the laundry is spinning I can see to our finances, but more urgently, I'll also have to pick up dry-cleaning from the other laundromat and grab some groceries for dinner.  Then, once the laundry is folded, I'll pretty much immediately start dinner.  Shortly after dinner is finished, and probably before the dishes are washed, it's off to the gym, then home to shower, attend to dinner's mess, and maybe a half-hour of hydrating and unwinding before bed.  Which is later than it ought to be, leading me to have even less energy to do it again tomorrow.

Hi, there, "Marriage is a partnership" contingent.  I hear you, I agree with you, and I have a husband who works long hours in order to bring home more money than I ever will.  It's not fair for me, as a partner, to ask him to take on yet more work so that I can do something so frivolous.

I haven't earned the right to screw around.

And I know this is largely in my head, and I could move things around better if I was in a different mental space.  But I'm not, and I don't know how to get there from here.

Have you made that mental journey? How'd you do it?  I could use the advice.

Note: The comments should be working at this point.  If they're not, contact me elsewhere and let me know.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What makes you happy? #4A

Angels descending, bring from above, Echoes of...
Angels descending, bring from above, Echoes of mercy, whispers of love. Fanny J. Crosby (Photo credit: Kim Schuster)
Last week's post about church music prompted my dad to be one of my first commentors ever... so of course technical difficulties prevented that from happening.  With his permission, here's his response in guest-post form.  Thanks, Dad.

It's been a good five years since we have settled in to our new church.  And it's warm and welcoming, and socially active. It does have a Pipe organ and talented choir.  The hymnal not so much. The sermons often challenge what I believe and force me to justify or change my core values. Since I can be myopic, this is needed and welcomed.

At the same time I don't, and probably never will, feel woven into the fabric of the congregation. I feel like the immigrant, who loves his new country, but it is not Home, and sadly there is no longer Home. So a heartfelt Wesley or Fanny Crosby hymn will bring the tear of joy and melancholy for what might have been.

In other news, I will try to fix the comments.  I'd love to see more dialogue around here!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Review #10

The Unisphere, built for the 1964 New York Wor...
The Unisphere, built for the 1964 New York World's Fair, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, where was I since this time last week?

Well, the strange plans I mentioned didn't happen, so my husband and i just had lunch with the in-laws and.. well, the in-laws-in-law, I guess (my husband's father's sister's husband's sister... is there a familial term for that?). Supposedly, the original thing will get rescheduled, and I'll tell you all about it then.

Monday, at about 10:00 AM, a coworker mentioned to me that our boss had mentioned to her late the night before that we were all going to an event after work.  I would not have minded one bit had I known about that on Friday.  Oh well.

Wednesday I went to a writing meetup and got caught up a bit on my story.  It was better organized than the one I went to last week, but less my style.  I miss the ones in Queens, but I can't blame the organizer for not wanting to get back into it; it's not like I'm willing to take over.

Today was busy, with two meetings, but comes drinks with friends after work.  I'll keep you posted on how that will go.

It's weird.  For such a stressful, busy week, I don't actually have much to report.

How was your week?
Enhanced by Zemanta