How does this sound? You’ve cleaned up the morning dishes, cleaned up your writing room (it is the first room in the house as you come in the door and gets loaded up with coats, mittens, boots, nerf guns, you name it), the dishwasher is humming away, the dryer is spinning in the next room. You’ve got a large mug of hot tea by your side, journal and pen in hand, ready to write down your writing goals for 2018. The house is quiet, surrounded in fresh white snow and the family is at work and school and the dog is planted at your feet. Cozy, huh. Continue reading “Best Laid Plans”
We are in an age where we can always be connected if we want. I don’t always want to but that’s a topic for another post. Over the past several days I’ve been traveling and have used my phone to create blog posts. For someone who prefers their desktop above all else, this has been pretty interesting. The best part might be using autofill to generate words since I only use one thumb to type. Maybe there should be a new typing class that helps us navigate the smaller keyboard. I see people frantically typing away with two thumbs all the time and I’m always impressed!
This morning I can’t get into my computer which I need to do my job. So reliant on computers are we that we freeze up when we can’t get access to them. But alas, I have my phone and decided to use the time to create my daily (um, multi-weekly?) post.
I’m at a research conference in Chicago for the early part of this week. Because there were no rooms at the hotel Sunday night, my boss and I woke at the crack of dawn yesterday (honestly, dawn hadn’t even cracked yet) to board our early morning flight. You might think I’m weird but I love to fly. Not the aspects of boarding or deplaning, but the airtime where I can focus all my energy on a book without worrying I should be doing something else. I was especially excited because I’d been on hold for Celeste Ng’s, Little Fires Everywhere, at the library and I got an email on Sunday that it was ready for pick up.
Because our flight was so early, we arrived at the hotel at about 8 a.m. but luck was in our favor and they had a couple of rooms ready for us. We went our separate ways and agreed to meet for breakfast in an hour.
When I first step into my hotel room, I get a feeling that I’m getting away with something. A sense of elation that all the space in these four walls is mine for the next couple of days. I can hang up my clothes (using all the hangers), lay out my toiletries and makeup without worrying I’m not leaving enough room for my husband’s stuff. I’m a person who craves personal space and time to myself and a couple nights in a hotel is just the fix I need.
I wore my pajamas to work yesterday. Easiest costume ever. The coziness of flannel, the soft fur lining of slippers pressed against my sockless feet, the pure comfort of it. Who doesn’t dream of wearing pajamas to work? I sprayed my hair into a rat’s nest (it really didn’t need much help), threw a roller in the back of my hair and was at work in record time. And then I realized I had a meeting with several managers and a couple VP’s and I instantly regretted my decision.
I was one of the first to arrive at the meeting first thing that morning and one of the VP’s looked at me through squinted, questioning eyes and I said, yes, I’m wearing my pajamas. In a teasing, scolding tone, she said she’d be sending her managers home if they came to work dressed like that. My boss came in shortly after and sat nearby, glanced my way and then inched closer to whisper I’d left a roller in my hair. I said, I know, I’m wearing my pajamas and got another quizzical look. It’s Halloween, I explained. Ah, enlightenment dawned and there were smiles and jokes about how I’d pulled one over on them.
I should probably explain pajamas are the opposite of my working MO. I tend to take great care with my appearance when I’m leaving the house, even to run to the grocery store. On days when I work from home, I shower, dress, put on make-up and jewelry as though I’m going into the office. It just makes me feel better and I think I do better work when I’m “suited up”. So this Halloween “costume”, while at first so enticing, had me wanting to run home by noon to shower, fix my hair and put on real clothes.
The end of the day couldn’t come fast enough. I would have enough time to shower and change before picking my son up from school so we could go to his friend’s neighborhood for trick or treating. When I got to school, he was dressed in his costume with his friends and they talked me into letting him go with them so I told the mom I’d meet them at the appointed house at 6:00 where there was a pre-trick or treating party. A pre-trick or treating party?!
I arrived well before everyone else and sat in my car because a) I didn’t have a kid and b) I didn’t know the hosts of the party. Minutes passed and I worried I had the wrong house and texted to make sure I was in the right spot. They assured me they were on their way and soon pulled in and the kids jumped out of the car ready to go. I had tried to talk Liam out of the costume he chose. I knew he’d be picked on but he wouldn’t be deterred.
I think it turned out to be a disappointing night for him. As I suspected, he was picked on for the costume and said someone had actually hit him. He quickly discarded the mask and the boys ran through the neighborhood like their life depended on it, picking up treats along the way. As the night wound down and he had one more confrontation with a girl who wanted to spray his $100 jacket with shaving cream before I intervened, he said he’d learned his lesson about his costume choice which will remain a mystery here.
We had a quiet ride home as we both mulled over our poor choice of costumes this Halloween.
I have read several books on writing and attempted the twelve week program outlined in The Artist’s Way over the summer (I didn’t make it past week three). The advice I most often see is to write in the morning and to commit to a block of time to do so. This sounds great to me but then I remember I have a job. A job where I’m in the office at 7 a.m. so right there I throw out the idea of morning writing. I so want a true writer’s life where I can devote specific hours to it every day.
For a time I tried getting up at 5 a.m. so I could at least put in an hour in the morning but that lasted as long as the end of summer when darkness and cooler weather enticed me to remain under the covers until 6 only giving myself enough time to quickly shower and dress before leaving the house at 6:40. When I was morning writing, some days it would be hard to break away from the rhythm after an hour.
I am now a proud user of something called a CubeCorner 36 which is basically a standing desk. When I googled it to link for the link, I was brought to a picture of a desk a bit different than the one I have in that it is white and a little wider. I love things that are white because they make me think of clean design and it’s a bit more of a contrast to my black monitors. I’m a bit jealous I didn’t get a white one, but since the office paid, I will not complain.
How does the desk work? It goes up and down by holding a couple of handles on either side and then you pull up and forward to go up and push away and down to go down. Going up is pretty easy but putting it back down was a bit of struggle at first. I’m either getting better at it or the joints in the desk are loosening up.
I didn’t know if I should jump right into standing so I did a little reading on the topic before commencing this activity. A few sources recommended starting slow, maybe 20-30 minutes at a time which I’ve been gradually increasing over time and now stand about 2 hours a day in 30-minute increments. I think the goal is to spend about 3 to 4 hours standing each day which is about half of the workday.