Eighty Percent Chance of Getting Stuff Done

Today at work, I followed up with someone I exchanged email with on Friday, and suddenly they no longer exist. As of the end of March.

I’m about 80% sure I didn’t make this person up, so it was surprising.

-Me, @shainorton, five days ago.

I’ve been busy.  This quite possibly surprises you not at all.

I haven’t yet finished the sweater.  I did finish:

    • another book (The Book of Etta, Meg Elison’s sequel to The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, making two more books that I have read recently that are actually recent, who hoo!).
    • multiple homework assignments and a midterm.
    • my gigantic pile of transcripts evaluated for another academic program, which, assuming I can fit everything into the schedule, I should finish in a year and change.
    • a large work project (in very little time), and multiple smaller work projects (in less time)
    • a work transition, but I’m more than eighty percent certain that work has not yet finished its side of the transition.1
    • transferring my cell phone to another phone and another carrier, like I’ve been putting off for over half a year now.
    • a blog post.  This one. In twenty-five minutes, as planned.  YAY!

1This doesn’t bother me; I’ve yet to have a job or even a gig where things didn’t change. There have even been a couple of occasions where they changed on my very first day. I started an engineering internship once, and got swapped into a human resources administrator role before I could put my lunch into the break room fridge. My first analyst job for a government contractor saw me pivoted into corporate business development on Day One — I never set foot on the site of the client I was initially hired for during my entire time with that company.2,3

2I’ve been told there’s a disconnect between reading my resume and talking to me. Can’t count for you how many times people have told me “You’re not what I expected.” I’m never sure how to take that. Are they smiling because they’re delighted or because they’re worried that if they upset me I’m going to manifest some hidden superpowers that involve, oh, wide area disintegration?

3“Why didn’t you say no, Shai? Don’t you care about what you do for a living?” Frankly, no, as long as the money’s good, the scenery changes, and they let me use explosive — er, no, I mean to say if my paychecks clear, I get to solve problems, and it doesn’t require me to make someone else coffee. See, I have a problem making coffee before I’ve had coffee. Sometimes, it’s not even coffee, more hot water tinted brown from whatever residue was left in the coffee maker after I cleaned out the old grounds and failed to replace them with fresh. Or it’s water on top of a thick layer of sludge because I scooped the grounds into the coffee pot instead of the machine. Don’t get me started on what can happen when I have to use a Keurig in the morning…

Throw

No spam commentary this week: all the fake comments I’ve gotten since my last post were all straightforward pitches for the male enhancement supplements I apparently need to be taking. Guess I’m just not a convincing female, despite this pesky c-section scar.

Happy Monday. I’ve been trying to post things on Mondays, to throw something together and stick it up on the blog in twenty-fiveish minutes or so, reckoning that getting what I can say said within that time period is preferable to something I’ve crafted from the finest syllables and polished to within an inch of its life, because you will likely never see that, and if you do, it won’t be within the next ten years.1

Trying, yep. And failing, but in a happy way: I’ve been getting decent amounts of sleep, and balancing work with the spring school schedule (mine and the Monster’s) and the ongoing domestic shenanigans in a way that’s more like, well, balance and less like throwing plates into an overhead cabinet while hoping I’m the only one that’ll ever open that door after it’s shut. I’m continuing my twenty-five minutes of morning reading-stuff-just-because-I-want-to2, my twice-a-week gym workouts, my once-a-week bread therapy, and once I finish the remaining sleeve4, I will have crocheted my first sweater. I’ve also resumed chasing the Monster during his cross country runs, which I’m still certain might be scaring the local wildlife.

Writing? It’s also happening. The piece I submitted in February was rejected, which made me very happy, because it was one of those things that should have gotten lost in an electronic file purge.

And that’s pretty much all I can talk about right now. At least it’s not laundry!


1This is assuming I wouldn’t trash it during one of my every five years or so electronic file purges, because nothing’s safe or sacred when I get on one of those tears. During the last one, I got rid of a journal that I’d compiled out of hand written ones that I’d kept off and on for two decades.

2I just finished Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy (which I still conflate with my favorite Björk song). In ways, her stories were awkwardly familiar. While I haven’t ever put on a costume to infiltrate a band of koalas, I did stay up for an entire week once to do a research project on Lucky Charms. Not for money. Not for a marketing class (never taken one). I don’t even like the cereal. I had the idea stuck in my head that General Mills had increased the frequency rate of new marshmallow introductions as Nickelodeon had gained market share, and I wanted to prove I wasn’t crazy. Yes, I know that was asking a lot from breakfast cereal, but at least it wasn’t poetry.3

3I don’t mourn the loss of my old journal. It wasn’t something I would have wanted to share with the world, even if I’d known there was a market for batshit.

4The idea of making a sweater has daunted me for years. I start with the “make a swatch to check your gauge” step each time, fail that each time, try it again, fail it again, and throw everything into the closet for another year, rinse, lather, repeat, WhyCan’tIGetThisRight?, et cetera. This time, I skipped the gauge swatch step, and just tackled the project as something to do while I finally got around to watching Suits while waiting for this season of The Expanse. I don’t watch much television. When I do, I like to have something to work on that makes me feel like I’m not completely wasting my time while parked on my butt, but my habit of blindered focus on story-based entertainment means that I don’t have much attention span to spare for that which is making me feel like I’m not completely wasting my time while parked on my butt. So, I’m getting a sweater made by ignoring it while I’m in the process of making it. Yep. I’ll post a picture when it’s done.

To be clear, I’ll be posting a picture of the sweater, not my c-section scar.

The Masque of the Waffler

I just wanted to send you a quick message here instead of calling you.
– latest #spamcommentary

Huh. I didn’t think I had posted a telephone number on my blog, but thanks for the heads-up, mystery spammer who keeps introducing yourself with a different name each time. Not that there’s anything wrong with … hey, I get that. There have been times in my online life when I had so many different names that I’d sometimes forget who I was.1

Each day since I’ve started this latest creative project — a revisit of a novella I wrote last year before my brain completely blew its transaxle — I’ve dreaded spending time on it. Not that the writing isn’t happening, despite the dread.  Not that I’ve gotten it to the point where I want to print it out and set it on fire or throw it into a folder to age. I’ve gotten more to the point where painting the rest of the rooms in this house seems like a fun way to spend my free time. Notice where I said that the writing is still happening?  Yes, it’s still happening. Maybe that’s why the mental penguins are trying another tactic to mess with me.

You’ll probably laugh, but, uhm, I’m figitated that I’ll finish this thing, send it off to my target market, and it’ll be liked right up to the point Marketing Googles me and decides that I’m not a good promotional fit, then (assuming I’m even told this) I’ll need to have a conversation with myself about going through the whole rigamarole of creating yet another online persona, one which I’ll need to invest enough of my life into in order for it to seem like a living breathing person.

The prospect of not being a good fit at first glance isn’t what bugs me. I’m used to that.2  This is all about my brain getting pre-tired considering the effort of making a workaround for it.  Yes, even though the problem doesn’t exist, and may never exist.3

I’ll get over it. Or I won’t, and I’ll turn the project into something my own name can go on without causing dread. Er, at least without causing me dread.


1Briefly. Not usually disastrously, but there were uncomfortable exceptions.

2You could even say I was born that way. Mom’s spelling my first name like she did set me up for a lifetime of hijinky first impressions.

3This is not new. I have workarounds for lots of other things that haven’t come to pass and may never. Admittedly, most of these are potential move related. For example, I maintain a sketchy base familiarity with the public school systems in a handful of target geographical areas, so that just in case we do find ourselves moving, I can get up to speed quickly.

On This Side

I turned in the project, as I promised myself. I didn’t notice until afterwards that I’d submitted it on the first anniversary of Mom’s death.

Not that I forgot, good grief, no, I just didn’t notice while I was submitting it, in the same sense that I always remember that there’s laundry to be done, but I sometimes don’t notice that there are clean clothes in the dryer that need to be put away first.

I didn’t do anything dramatic like pick up the phone to tell her and remember she wasn’t alive to tell. Honestly, Mom was the last person I wanted to talk to about such things. I got good at dealing with her stumbling across the ones I didn’t hide as well as most, because they were all at a temporal remove where I could shrug them off as meaning little to me, yep, no big deal, nothing to worry about, let’s talk about your day.

There’s a why behind that, but it’s a long story that I don’t intend to tell. It’d be too one-sided now.

Days All Strange and Vague

I think the admin of this web page is genuinely working hard in favor of his website, for the reason that here every material is quality based information.

-latest #spamcommentary

You know, that’s hardly the first time I’ve been mistaken for a guy, even by someone who claims to have read something I’ve written.

But, I’m not a dude, dude.  I’m also really working hard in favor of this website (honestly, most days I’m of mixed mind about having a social media presence at all). I’m also not trying to meet any quality standards beyond “be vague enough to keep my family and work and self happy”.

Speaking of vague, I’m on track to submit the January non-work project this week, despite family and work shenanigans.  Once it’s officially out the door, I’ll treat myself to a cupcake1 and then figure out what’s next.

This morning I noticed I was already halfway through the year’s Goodreads Challenge. No kidding, I’m kind of wondering who I am and what I’ve done with Shai.


1Which will be cleverly disguised as a subscription to Apex Magazine.

Epimetheusity

Happy belated Penguin Awareness Day! Don’t feel bad if you forgot we were supposed to be aware of our individual penguins last Friday; I think a lot of folks were distracted by something that happened in D.C. on that day, or were gearing up for the People Awareness Day parades that happened everywhere on Saturday. I did not participate in either day’s events, but oh, I was very much aware of them!

We too failed to celebrate Penguin Awareness Day on the day of, but as my dear @bhoneydew reminded me “I’m aware of your penguins every day, honey.” He may have added that they terrify him. Possibly. He’s a kidder like that.

The week otherwise went mostly well.  I read every day. I worked on the not-work writing project every day. The domestic and work life was a shade disrupted due to multiple days off from school (the Monster’s; my classes don’t start back until March), but nothing to freak out about … yet, anyway.  I might think differently in the future.


1Epimetheusity is a term I made up to evoke “being in the state of afterthought”. There’s probably a real word out there that means the same thing, but I don’t know it. Suggestions?

Switching Defaults

I’ve a venture that I am just now working on

-The latest #spamcommentary

The first week of January, I told myself that I was going to spend 25 minutes a night Reading-with-a-Capital-R, which for me means Reading-Of-Things-That-Are-Not-Required-For-My-Work-In-An-Intentful-Manner (a.k.a. things I seek out to read, rather than news that pops up on my phone1).

Yeah. That didn’t happen. I did it the first day, felt great2, and it just didn’t happen again. I was too fried by the end of each day, and waking up each morning a little more pissed at myself for again failing to do One Simple Thing That I Enjoy. I was a serious grouch by Thursday, so much so that when I woke up that I ordered myself to read a freaking book in the half hour I generally have before everyone wakes up instead of catching up on e-mail or squeezing in some work.

I did. I wasn’t grouchy anymore. I felt better.

So, I flipped the planner. I now read for 25 minutes every morning. If I find some free time during the day (e.g. when I’m waiting for The Monster at his after school activities), I’ve started reading then, too, instead of my default action trying to work on my laptop (or my phone) through sketchy Internet connections. Oh, I’m sure if there’s a looming deadline, I’ll go right back to working during those times, but right now? Right now, reading’s good.

Mostly good.

There have been some side effects. Poetry. I want to tell you that those outbursts were just things I had to get out of my head before I could tuck into 25 minutes of working on a creative project, but I’m afraid I won’t maintain the momentum I have on the creative project, so I’m not telling you that, just apologizing for the mess.


1 I think I mentioned that I removed the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone back in late September. I’ve re-added Twitter, but haven’t yet been motivated to do so with Facebook. (I’m not on Pinterest: every time I’ve registered for it, I’ve gotten a splitting headache. I imagine that’s some sort of sign.)

2 While reading lulls my mental penguins into a false sense of security relaxes me, I know one of the reasons I haven’t been reading like I used to is my fear that I’ll get lost in a book and everything else going on in my life will get ignored.3 Articles are short, and work/school related reading/research will eventually make my brain tired, so they’re self-limiting.

3That used to happen all of the time when I was a kid. When I discovered the pre-Internet internet (I cut my social media teeth on BITNET) and online text-based gaming — gah, that was like having a freshly dead tauntaun on Hoth. So, these days, I set timers when I read or play video games (I’ve also stopped playing social ones altogether) to remind me to look outside of my brain to see if, oh, say, the house is on fire.