Words off, ears on.

Paint tarp art.

I got up early this morning and wrote in my journal for three pages. I heard on a podcast somewhere that if you are trying to find direction you should write three pages of whatever you want everyday no matter what for six months. Then, supposedly, at end of the six months you’ll have a much clearer picture of what you really want and what you need to do to get there. I’m probably bungling the idea but you get it roughly.

This appealed to me because it sounded a little like blogging. I love writing so any kind of prompt is a good idea to me. I figured I’d give it a try. I’m not particularly trying to find direction but I have been feeling unsettled inside lately. Maybe three pages a day would help me figure out what it is that is bothering me and how to fix it.

I sat in the early morning chill with the dogs at my feet and scrawled out words for three pages. I thought I was going to write about all the many mistakes I made during our annual New Year’s party. I thought I would catalogue every blunder, every conversation, cross-analyze them for all possible future criticisms from each and every person’s point of view and make some kind of giant dump of all the fear, hurt and uncomfortableness I feel on the regular. That’s what my brain does. I have been feeling a pomegranate-sized ache in my heart lately and I knew I needed to work it out. Journaling helps me do this. I also wanted to think about resolutions and make some plans for the new year. Maybe even scrawl out a bucket list of wishes and preventions for future anxieties. I’m making you tired just reading that, I’m sure. Welcome to my brain.

I sat there looking at my page, preparing myself for the hand-cramps that were sure to follow taking on such a laborious task and then I was suddenly overwhelmed by the awfulness of my plan. Did I really want to do all that work? There would be so much writing. So much chasing my tail with all the writing.

What if I just didn’t? What if I forgave myself for all the mini-micro errors that happened yesterday and just moved on? What if I didn’t apologize? What if I didn’t re-hash it? Do my friends and family really care? I love to be self-deprecating and all but at what point is it just better to move on instead of bringing it up?

I remember my Aunt telling me the story of the hostess who burned her cinnamon buns and never said a word to her dinner party about it. She threw the cinnamon buns in the trash and took a quiche to the table instead like it never happened.  She didn’t comment on the smoke. Nobody asked. It was like it never happened. A good hostess doesn’t apologize said my aunt.  I didn’t really agree at the time but I’m sure she meant it as a confidence-builder for me since I seem to over-achieve in the self-criticism department.

And then it came to me. Maybe this year my new year’s resolution will be to be quiet. A year of quiet. Can you imagine? I could stop attacking myself from the inside out. I could stop being such a chatter box who constantly bares her soul to the world. I could learn to be a good listener instead…This sounds impossible to me now, as I have a tendency to word-vomit, I’m terrible at keeping secrets AND I use social media regularly but maybe a year is a long enough time to really take something like this on. I’m not going to get my hopes up too high or anything but it’s something I’m thinking about.

Don’t worry, I have no plans of going on a writing hiatus or giving this blog up or sitting in a sunbeams in the redwoods mediating (though that does sound nice) but it is something I’m thinking about today. Maybe I’ll still be thinking about it in a year. I hope I can say at the end of a year that I know something about quietness and even better, I could say that I’m a good listener. That would be really awesome. I’m not so good at that right now.

Words off. Ears on!

Time Blocking, Systems Not Goals and Rumors of a Kitchen Remodel

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This is sort of a placeholder post while I get over a nasty sinus infection. This one has really taken me down. You never really realize how easy your life is until it’s not. But I don’t need anyone to worry about me being sick. I’m sure I’m on the mend. Antibiotics have been prescribed and I’m getting plenty of sleep and taking care of myself. And of course all my loved ones are taking care of me too so I am very spoiled in that aspect. They say relationships can help you live longer and I am very happy that I’ve got some really important ones that keep me going healthily.

I thought I’d take this moment to talk about a few things on my mind.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and I somehow fell upon the skinny confidential which is probably not a good fit for me since I am a decade-and-a-half older than them and I will never hope to be a famous instagram model or influencer… but it’s been really interesting to listen to thirty-somethings give me advice on business and life. There is a lot to be learned in between bare naked cucumber jokes and skin care commercials.  I really am impressed with their work ethic and not that I hope to become as crazy busy successful as they are but I’m subscribing to a few things here and there.

  1. time blocking
  2. systems not goals

 

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I tried out the time-blocking trick right away and the type A part of my personality loved it.  I created a google calendar so full of blocks I can’t even find my regular appointments and special dates. But it has helped me stay on track and more importantly realize where I’m losing time. Payam commented the other day that I punctuate my day with house-cleaning when I need to think. I do! This is a handy habit for a clean house but when I’m supposed to be focusing on work, I am not. It’s a real challenge to force myself to leave a sink full of dishes and go sit at my desk and think or blog or come up with new craft post ideas, self promote or, gasp, learn a new skill! Ugh. I hate teaching myself new skills. I have Learning Curvitus.

The systems not goals idea was a new one for me and of course I’m applying it to my ongoing war on weight gain aka genetics. I always go on diets and calorie track and then sabotage myself immediately, as if I get some kind of pleasure out of doing the exact opposite of my original goals. It’s like there is a rebel inside me who’s says, “Oh Yeah? You think you want to lose 20 pounds? Hah!  Let’s go eat something in secret. It tastes better when nobody is looking. Bwahahahahaa!”

So maybe if I stop making diet such a big thing and just make it a daily system, I’ll stop letting out this inner rebel. I don’t know. I’m skeptical. But it seems like a good plan. Sometimes you just have to look at things from a different angle. You know?

I’m sure I’ll find more meaningful tips as I go on with these podcasts. I’m on podcast number 20-something of hundreds. (!) And that’s only one feed. There are billions more!!  Podcastsing is an interesting medium. Too bad it’s already saturated. I can see Bug and I coming up with a really fun broadcast. Maybe someday we will. If she doesn’t invent her own medium first. She’s been using google docs to tell animated fan fiction stories set to music. It seems like such a backwards way to do something but it works and it’s creative so I’m standing back and letting her do her thing.

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Basically I’ve been listening to all these podcasts and thinking a lot about my future as a business and an artist. I’ve been looking at the numbers too and realizing that I am more successful at illustrating than I’ll ever be at blogging, content creating or even graphic design. It’s funny, I didn’t expect it to be this way. I’ll never give up blogging or content creating but it’s putting a weird spin on my brand. I’ve always felt so strongly about photography. Does this mean I need to replace all my pretty pictures with illustrated cartoons? Half the time I don’t even like my silly vector creations. So I’m chewing on that. Maybe I need a life coach to help me navigate. Maybe I need to poll my hundred readers (who are also customers and I love you so much for sticking with me all these years!!!)…

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But speaking of pretty pictures…. Don’t you love these dying peonies? In life they are amazeballs but even in death they take my breath away.

We have this old ratty dining room table that is stained a dark espresso brown. It was a nice table when I moved in but I’ve done about a thousand crafts on it and now it is covered with nicks and scratches. Payam wants to refinish it but I don’t want him to. I need a ratty table. I can’t have nice things because I use them to their full potential until they are gasping their last gasps. (You should see my camera. It’s totally covered in paint and flour and barely works.) I need a beat-up table so I can be free to spill paint on it and cut on it and not worry about the fancy finish. So far I’m winning on this table issue but someday I’ll probably have to move my crafting to another room.

I bring it up because this ratty old table is the perfect backdrop to these fading petals. I love the contrast. I don’t even see the scratches and if I did I’d probably like them. There is so much charm and patina to this old table that has seen a thousand crafts and a thousand more family dinners. I love this table. It’s almost like the more worn it is the more loved it is.

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I was so in love with these peony photos that I took on our old ratty table that I day-dreamed for a week or two about getting one of them turned into a canvas. The problem is turning a print into a 42×70-something inch canvas is a whole lotta EXPENSIVE! Like super expensive. I even mocked it up I was so in love with the idea:

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(Ignore all the clutter on the buffet table. I would of course clear all that off if I had a big print there and replace it with more subtle clutter.) I hemmed and hawed and Payam even thought about buying it for me for a birthday present BUT then Payam mentioned that we might be ready for a KITCHEN REMODEL! Wha-wha-what?!! Did you hear that right?

Yes, you did. So maybe there won’t be a wall where I want that print to be. In that case I’ll just shelf the whole silly giant print idea because a kitchen remodel trumps everything. Of course this won’t happen for a really long time and I’ll be cooking on a hot plate in the garage and up to my ears in dust but I am really excited to be part of it. Pinterest boards have commenced.

Before I go I thought I’d share my latest desktop. Download HERE.

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And HERE it is without words! :)

xoxo!