Today just seem like a good day to start a new ritual. Slept in (as long as the cats let me), had a cup of coffee, did the yoga routine, and am now typing up a quick blog post here on Keeping It Real. This will be a reflective look back at the past week.
The New Year rolled through this week. NYE was a quiet time at home, sharing time with Van. We lit 27 candles to remember a lost friend and then almost started a fire when one of the candle holders broke apart from the heat. We’d left them burn – our own fault – next year I’ll remember to add a bit of water to each holder first to help prevent that.
Last Sunday, I shared a meal with friends. Van was at work and couldn’t make it. I had a good time catching up and hope we do it again soon. Which just goes to say that I should do something. I’ve been thinking about having a monthly meal here, one that leads to people having conversations and meeting new people….but I’ve been thinking about that for several years and haven’t pulled the trigger on doing something about it.
I fell into a series on Netflix. Empresses in the Palace, a historic drama about a harem. It’s in a Chinese language so you actually have to watch it; I have started taking my laptop and earbuds down to sit with Van in the late evenings, getting more time with him while watching my own shows and not his gold shows or shooting shows or wrestling shows. Sometimes I’ll watch the history shows with him but since most of them are about battles, meh. They just don’t interest me as much as they once did. That over, I’m listening again to Rosemary & Thyme, a British cozy mystery that has two women about my age doing gardening and solving mysteries. I’ve watched it several times now so I don’t even have to watch it but can do work while I’m listening.
I’ve been getting into a routine of yoga and writing – but don’t get excited for me yet. I’ve only been doing this a week and we all know it takes about a month to settle a new habit into place. Today was the 8th day of yoga and the 7th of blogging. And the blogging took a bit longer than it will next week – I needed a banner pic for the Winter months! Canva and then Photoshop and I’m done.
Writing groups have come to my attention this week as well. Sarah Arrow’s Sark Emedia has kept me on target. So far, the daily emails have not delivered anything I didn’t already know but then I’m not new to this process. And I’m really enjoying the interaction on the Facebook page she has set up for our daily posts. Reading people’s comments as they post their latest links, I know that there is more challenging tasks in the days to come! Looking forward to it.
Remember this commercial? Three women, one of them posting pictures to her living room wall and her more savvy friend trying to explain how Facebook actually worked? Well, I’ve walked around the last couple of years feeling like the third woman in the room, the one that is initially nodding about how wonderful the wall posts are and then is looking slightly confused. I’ve not ever gotten an editorial calendar to work for me.
It’s clicked. I had installed an editorial calendar plugin onto this website but hadn’t been able to get into any sort of rhythm with it. Instead I was mindmapping or roughing posts out on paper and then half the time never getting back to them. But this week and thanks to committing to a 30 Day Challenge, I’ve started making those notes within this website and saving them as drafts. The calendaring feature lets me know what saved drafts have not been posted and allows me to drag drafts around to fill up my empty days, and it’s making sense to me this time around.
I’ve just got to do my part and consistently start that draft within the website. Plus I have to come back and finish that draft! It’s not a guarentee nor a quick-fix. But I have started developing a better blogging habit and feel that having an editorial calendar that I will use is going to be key to keeping this going.
Do you have an editorial calendar? Tell me in the comments what you use, OK? I’m interested in hearing about other people’s real experiences with this writing tool.
It’s a potentially powerful self-awareness exercise that I’m doing for 2016. You can read more about it on Chris Brogan’s post here (borrowing one of his 2015 words, btw). And catch up with Deb Brown’s words here.
So this is a new exercise for me, and I’m concerned that a year might be too long. Like I’ll get halfway into February and realize that 2016 can’t be all about *this* and needs to be about *that*. Or maybe it’s like being a vice-president of the local club before you get to be president; the past experiences of other people have shown you need time to grow into the roll and even so you barely get comfortable and effective before your term is over. And I’ll get out of it what I put into it, I know.
Yearly Focus Words
Confidently. As in: ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.’ — Henry David Thoreau. I have many talents and skills, and I have experience that I can apply to new opportunities. I’m capable and want to walk more confidently through each new day.
Fiber. As in: “There you go, Harry!” Ron shouted over the noise. “You weren’t being thick after all — you were showing moral fiber!” –J.K.Rowling. Also as Chris says (I might as well borrow all of it since it fits): ‘everything is connected. Pull here, and it will get tight there.’ And yet another thing you might not know about me, but I own 12-15 drop spindles, two wheels and …geeze, more than several small looms. I can work that word ‘fiber’ on three different fronts!
Accountable. As in: “The only way we succeed as a group is not simply following directions, but in keeping each other accountable for our actions.” A.J. Darkholme. There is a statement out there in the rest of the world that has always bothered me; I am always a bit confused when people say “you aren’t responsible for anyone else’s actions, just your own.” Except that my actions may have caused a reaction and that’s what I’m seeing in front of me. Except that whole “it takes a village” statement follows us throughout our lives, not just when we are children or raising a child, and most of our happiest safety nets are put into place because of village mentality. Except that I always feel so alone when someone says that, as if I’m not supposed to be influenced by anyone else. So I’m adopting this word as a keystone word to better understand how I apply it, and how I can be available to other people who want to be part of my village.
If you are also doing the three little words exercise, and are inclined to do so, drop me a comment and I’ll follow you.
I’m open to whatever changes these three little words inspire me to make, to whatever paths my feet are guided to travel. I’ll be watching for you along the way, OK?
I buy most of my clothes from thrift stores or from companies that adhere to responsibility standards for their workers and for the environment. Like Timberland. I’ll buy their shoes without hesitation. Plus I comb racks at Savers and Goodwill, looking for gently-used pieces to add to my closet. I started this practice shortly after the 2013 collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh. I promised myself to lessen my contribution to the profitability of this type of exploitation and so far, so good.
The searching out is fun, too. Like a little treasure hunt.
Anyway, these jeans…they are in like-new condition. But they were too loose around the waist and I hate wearing a belt. So this afternoon I got out the seam ripper and took off the band almost all the way around, made some strategic darts, shortened the band in the back so it fits again, and sewed that puppy back into place. Sewed the belt loops back into place. I win.
And avoid changing your password! My Stars! Every device seems to have several iPlaces I need to log into again and if I forget to click “remember me” then I have to do it again. *melodramatic sigh* See, I think I’ve lost my old email account (on purpose) and while I thought I’d cleaned up everything first, I guess…I think…I didn’t get the Apple account updated. It’s been wild trying to get everything reset with multiple computers and mobile devices. Support at Apple has been awesomely helpful but this is 2015 and I’m smart. I should be able to follow all these steps, right?
Mostly, it’s cleaned up. Only thing is that my iPad still will not release the iCloud from the original Apple ID. Every time I use the thing, it whines at me to enter the password for the old Apple ID, which no longer exists and even if it did, I don’t want to be using it thankyouverymuch.
Just let it go, iPad’s iCloud. Let it go.
Even Googling has failed me. Maybe the iPad is doomed to never be backed up.
There are lots of things I have been changing this week. For example – this blogging challenge I’m taking part in is a stretch change for me. Just about everything is considered fodder for a post because writing content is hard. I carry a notebook around with me now so I can capture ideas. I did yoga today; we had snow to shovel yesterday and so I didn’t bend and mediate but I’m thinking it was all good. I’m continuing to look for a second job but more and more thinking I should commit to freelancing as my second job.
I’m not letting go of my library job. Cold dead hands? Maybe then they can boot me out the door. And sure, I’m not dead yet so maybe I’ll change my mind in the future, but I intend to work hard to balance my other work life around my desk shifts. It’s fun and rewarding and I enjoy helping people, interacting with people from all walks of life, all ages, all types of problems I can solve. Great coworkers. Fun work. Who would want to change any of that, really?
I know that some change is healthy and necessary. Seth Godin said “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” And the trouble is we don’t know it’s too late until it is dramatically too late. The ship has sailed passed the horizon it’s so far gone-too-late. So late that getting down into a downward dog pose feels impossible and how will I ever get my hips to open enough for that broken pigeon pose like the lady on the screen? Well hey, I know it’s not too late to start working on improving my body. I will find the right work-life balance. I will get caught up on the blogging challenge.
But I might not *ever* get this iCloud mess straightened out.
This is my post about the December 28, 2015 Snowstorm in Minnesota. Others will also write posts (and there will be weather broadcasts and tweets and Facebook posts) but this one is mine.* I’m sitting at my desk at the end of a mostly inefficient day, rather bummed at myself for not having more billable hours and for not keeping a better track of what I’ve been doing so I can see where my time is going.
Meh. So…I slept until 8. Drank coffee and messed around with Facebook until 9:12 when I realized what I was doing and got up for a piece of toast and the dishes. Came back and finished a contract and got that in the mail. Wrote a letter and emailed it. Wrote up a grocery list for Van. Did yoga, showered and had lunch….(there are social media interludes in and around all of this, btw. And the 10-15 minutes add up!) Came back, found something I did not like on a website and fixed it, touching several programs including Photoshop on my Mac. Downloaded Photoshop on my PC while fixing soup and doing the dishes again. Fussed about the weather on Facebook cause the snow was starting to fall. Filled out some paperwork in a program I’m taking part in -this took 45 minutes or two Pomodoros. Hammed up the soup again. And that’s not really enough.
Time just rushes by and I try to be structured but it’s certainly not easy to stay on task.
So….The soup was an improvement pot of the soup I made two days ago – a traditionally crafted ham and bean soup from a recipe followed to the letter. It was bland. I put it all back in the pot, added more ham bone and boiled it to make the beans mush and it was lovely. I’ve since added more ham, two more cans of beans, some carrots and onions, and have again brought it all to a bean-mushing boil. House is warm from the humidity and the smell is wonderful. Something about a snowfall makes me want to start an everlasting soup pot that gets all the goodies from each meal, gets rounded out every so often by an infusion of mushrooms and onions. Tonight is steak and potatoes and those leftovers will add some serious depth to my soup pot.
Van is the one broiling the steak outside! He moved the grill to a covered area so at least he’s not fighting snow coming on top of the steak. I’ll do the potatoes.
I have to say in my defense that posting takes time. I needed some images, for example, and nothing really drew me in on Adobe Stock. That meant boots and coat and finding the camera. Stepping on the cat trying to get outside. Stomping around and wondering if grilling was such a hot idea after all. (he’s heading out right now, though) Pulling all the images off the camera and deciding on the ones I want; I’m not going to try to edit the chosen two. Then there is editing text and rewriting. I believe this short post took me about an hour.
Still I’ve calculated what I need to do to make a go of my business. Now that the holidays are over, I really need to buckle down, shovel *snow* out of the way and do those things.
Mostly just browser windows at the moment. I was working to update an API-thingie that allows my website to post to Facebook when I also post something here…and I needed three windows open for that cause my wee brain is leaking directions as fast as it grabs them today. There’s another one open from having made a tactical error in clicking earlier. And I think IE opened spontaneously for some reason.
But wait! There’s more! This is what I see when I’m doing yoga – which I’ve done off and on for years along with weights and a treadmill mile. When it’s summer or snowing, I open these blinds and enjoy outside. We keep them closed for heat retention the rest of the time and frankly, I’m too lazy to open and shut them every day. I got the yoga done today. That was a good thing for me.
There’s one last party today to go to and I’m heading over there in a bit, after buying a pie and cool whip at Costco. Without Van. But I’m going anyway cause there’s a serious lack of enough solid friends in my life. This is a gathering with some of them – hey, I’m greedy. I actually love to listen to people talk about all the things that are important to them. I love helping them feel good about themselves. It’s not translated into a lucrative career yet although it does help with the job I have and with the networking I’m constantly doing. Fun times, that. And one can not have too many friends.
I might even get makeup on before I go.
One of my questions for the day, really the only one I want to continue working on is how to stay focused on getting things done. The important things for long-term growth, not the imperative chirpings of my brain to stay up to the minute on Facebook. Stupid brain loves the river of factoids and memes and updates. It’s a really stupid brain. It LOVES all the windows and tabs I have open and is constantly poking at email and twitter and everlovin’ Facebook.
Time to hit publish! Not a lot of solids in this one, just doing the thing.