Massive writer's block. Just stymied. Or I've got too much floating in my brain and I can't organize it. But I did decide to shut off my syndication feed. I'd rather throw my words out into the black emptiness and see if they coagulate into something more defined. Let the remnants of gravity and cosmic attraction mass elements together. Besides there are too many audiences in the public eye with the potential to be offended. I.e. I don't feel like I can talk about what I want to talk about. And I haven't felt that way for a long time.
(Except to those who I know will come find me. You know who you are.)
I have been told that I keep myself busy, so busy that I avoid the things I really need to do. And I do do that sometimes. But that is not always the reason. Sometimes I'm just stumbling around looking for the path.
A writer once told me that the way she got through her first novel was to take felt tip pen markers and write on big sheets of paper, which she hung all over her walls. That is the only way she could get started. If I could start with something that visceral I would. I suppose that is why I flounder around doing other creative tasks; a hope for a trigger point, for flow. I constantly feel writing in my gut. But it keeps getting stopped up, clogged in my throat before it gets to or out of my head.
At least that's what it feels like. Here you go darkness.
We installed a Little Free Library in our front yard! I fell in love with this program when I heard about it. I asked for the library for my birthday. I guess we could have built our own; there are some crazy cool libraries out there. But I just don't trust my rainproofing skills. Plus, it's so pretty!
I distributed flyers around the neighborhood and only had one person look at me like I was crazy. But not for the library, just for handing out flyers. I mean, we do get a lot of flyers in our neighborhood so I kind of get it. But I'm not all THAT suspicious looking! (Although, I'm not a professional flyer hander-outer so perhaps I was breaking flyer etiquette somehow. Apologies, good neighbors.)
Anywho, we've already had a few visitors and some donations! The kid's books are very popular. Must get more. (Or make Chance clean through his bookshelf. He'll love that!) - wg
It's only been sleeping. It's not like I didn't have anything to talk about, but I was sort of really tired of all I had to talk about. You know? But that's OK, it's time to wake up now.
We have been doing a major overhaul on our yard. The problem with our yard is that our house is a hundred years old and the backyard has been ladscaped to death. Literally. There are spots where nothing would grow anymore. I figured at some point treated wood had wreaked havoc with the soil. And the last time previous owners had landscaped they had rendered everthing in shades of grey and brown and sort of woodland-like but reallly just kind of dead looking. It was like a zombie forest back there, minus the moaning. We also had either a ton of shade or the withering glare of too much sun. So let me introduce you to our new artificial lawn! (the crowd roars)
I'm horrible about before and after pictures but I'm GREAT at right in the middle pictures! This is our new wonderful lawn, and behind it is a patch of nothing-will-grow dirt, and our ugly cement pad. Why am I so excited about plastic grass? Because IT IS AWESOME! So much nicer than the roll out hurt-your-butt-when-you-sat-on-it turf carpet that I remember fed-up grown ups used in the 80s. And you know, this is California and we're in a drought again. And ALSO, most importantly, this...
That patch was previously covered with flagstone. No child could lie there and play with Legos. Seeing Chance on the lawn was worth the purchase right there! We also had the cement pad stained and it looks a million times better. To the point of, people keep asking us when we put in the concrete! (Le sigh, it's been there. It was just blaaaaaand.)
See the offending flagstone, accesory to ants. My dad is happy to take that off my hands, btw.
We've also been working on a million small projects while the garderners are transforming the space into a wonderland. Keen wants an outdoor kitchen so he painted an old picnic table and added sheet metal on top to created a prep table.
I've been painting a metal table set and a bunch of other outdoor items. And because it's me it's totally bright colored.
We're not done with everything yet, but we're getting there. To be continued!
I do this thing when I'm sick where I sit on the couch and plague myself with guilt. I look at what needs to be cleaned, I look at all the emails I should answer, I think about my To Do list, I think about what's critical and what's not critical, I think about my overall life goals and I just berate myself for not having the energy to get up and do any of it. It's like a tenfold mid-life crisis every time I'm sick. I could be feverish and dizzy and it doesn't matter. I could be pathetically tied to the toilet. I tell myself that if I was truly driven, that if I really wanted to get somewhere, that if I was adhering to the habits of highly successful people (I don't remember how many habits there are because I didn't read the book... ALSO on my To Do list!) then I would be working even when I'm sick! I would be pushing through. Because that's what the successful people do. I'm not doing aything else while I'm stuck at home so why am I NOT writing the great American novel?! I mean how sick am I really? Not that sick! Stop messing around, you slacker!
Then after days of that going through my head, one morning I'll wake up and start doing dishes or answering emails and it's not even a question of when I'm going to poop out because I have energy and I just get to work. Clear-headed, motivated, and (relatively) guilt-free. (It's never totally gone, you know.) And that's about the time I realize, "Yes, I WAS sick." I wouldn't have been quite so depressed and tired otherwise. I probably WOULD have had some energy to do something. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself. But then how would I motivate myself when I do have energy? And there the voices go again.
So my real problem is... figuring out when to listen to the voices and when to tell them to just shut the hell up.
Actually it was a piece of rebar. It was sticking out of one of those cement blocks you find at the end of parking spaces. I don't even know what they're called. Bumpers? Pylons?
Whatever. It ripped off my bumper.
I didn't do anything to that piece of rebar either! I don't even KNOW that piece of rebar OR its pylon buddy! It just attacked for no reason. My guess is it has some unresolved anger issues about not being part of a skyscraper or something.
The morning routine. I shuffle to the bathroom, relieve myself, turn on the water for the shower to heat up, and then stare bleary-eyed at the scale as I inch it around the floor to find the perfect "weighing spot" (i.e. the one that shows me the answer I want to see). Once the water begins to steam I ditch the scale and hop into the shower.
Scant moments later (OK, 20 minutes if I'm lucky) I emerge from the shower refreshed and much more awake. I jump back on the scale.
"Huh," I say, inching it around again, "That's a mathematical conundrum."
"Einstein! What are you doing here?!" I exclaim.
"I heard "mathematical conundrum" and assumed someone needed help with the secret workings of the universe," said a white-haired man in a tweed sweater. "If you have questions just ask me."
"Oh," I say, feeling a bit silly, "Well, I don't know about secret workings of the universe..."
"Go on, ask anything," urged Einstein.
"You know I feel awful dragging you away from Heaven... or wherever..."
"No, no, I like to get away every now and again. Go ahead, tell me your conundrum."
"OK, if you're sure," I say, "Well, I was wondering why when I weigh myself before my shower I'm always one weight, and then when I weigh myself again after my shower I'm always one pound lighter than I was before. On the same day and even with variations and everything! I'm always lighter after my shower than before. Now I don't remember much from Algebra II but that doesn't seem like it should happen, right?"
"Oh, that's an easy one but still quite a fascinating subject you've stumbled on to. You see, when you first step on to the scale you've just woken up, you are groggy, limbs dragging, and in essence you are closer to earth. But!" Einstein pointed one finger in the air, in emphasis, "As you take your shower, get dressed, cleaned up, what have you, you start to plan out the details of the day. And so it goes with these details come little bits of anxiety, some little tensions, new ideas, old worries, etc... even for good plans this happens, it is the nature of planning. And as we know all things are energy, and these little bits buoy you up, they straigthen the spine, so to speak, until they lift the whole body and by the time you are out of the shower you have a spring in your step! So my dear," said Einstein with a smile, "it is not so much that you are one pound lighter, but rather that you are floating one pound up in the air!"
"Really?" I say, "That's amazing!"
"Yes, it's quite interesting. In fact, I've been studying the phenomena a bit in Heaven. I'm still in the early stages of research mind you."
"So how do I float ten pounds off the ground?"
"Oh, I think that would require planning something of a very complicated degree."
"Hmm," I mumur, "like doing taxes?"
"Ah!" exclaims Einstein, "Strangely enough, taxes have the opposite effect. They weigh you down terribly, upwards of 50 pounds!"
I brighten, "How about a bank heist? That would take a lot of planning!"
"Hmm, that just might do it," Einstein stroked his chin. "Tell you what, you try it and I'll check back in with you. But please keep an accurate and consistent weight log! I'll add it to my studies."
"It's a deal," I say, "Hey Einstein, thanks for coming to help. It might not be the secrets to the universe, but I'm glad to know how it works."
"Of course, my dear," said Einstein as he starts to fade away in a misty glow, "Oh, one last thing..."
"Even though you are floating one pound off the ground, your pants are still going to fit the same."
Not that I can think of a damn thing to say at the moment but that's always the way of it. In the middle of the night I will be SO eloquent, omg. I am brills at 2:00am! After midnight my high school career aptitude test can SUCK IT! (I know it still cares because it tried to friend me on Facebook. Give it up, career aptitude, you're not getting any validation from me.)
Actually, I don't even remember what my test results were. I just remember they were so far off base I immediately chucked 'em and stomped my disaffected butt out of the "career center". Do they still have career centers in high school anymore? Or are they all "take your SATs or you are a huge failure centers" nowadays? SATs... yet another thing I chose to eschew in high school. Like I need your stinking vocabulary words.
It's funny, I find I'm in my 40s and I still feel fits of rebellion. I guess some of us just have the aptitude for that.
I have the best conversations with random strangers in stores. I was just chatting with this woman in Target about how our kids turn into spoiled rotten terrors when we take them to Disneyland. She said her friend took her kid to Spain and the kid was perfectly behaved. The kid was on a grown-up chosen vacation (I.e. just like in the old days when we kids didn't get a choice) and acted appropriately. But when we take our kids on the vacations of THEIR dreams they totally revert to brats.
Then the woman said, "And I know it's because I grew up poor and so I'm spoiling them!"
And I went, "ME TOO! And thank you for saying that because everyone in California pretends they come from money!"
Which was totally a thought I didn't realize I had until it burst out of my mouth.
But I DO think there's been a trend, especially in the last decade or so, for people to act like they're more glamorous than they really are. In the middle of a recession. In what was once, not so long ago, farmland. For instance, our local mall was recently renovated. It was really nice before and it had good stores, a mix of upscale and midscale, but still had a Forever 21, you know what I mean? But NOW... it has mood lighting and (faux I'm sure) marble-top tables in the foodie food court. I asked one of the sales girls in a store why they remodeled (because again, it was still nice before) and she said, "Oh, you know, our clientele expects a certain standard." I was in Old Navy, on our way to McDonald's in the foodie food court. I'm your clientele lady.
A couple of years ago when Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion came out I quickly downloaded the book to my kindle and tore through it. Partly because I hadn't heard the phrase "fast fashion" previously and I was curious about all things fashion, but also because I HAD noticed the quality of clothing available was going down. There were a lot more options to shop but the t-shirts, and fabric weights in general, were getting thinner. Now I will admit, when some of the newer stores came on the scene I was pretty happy with them. I like to shop and suddenly there were stores like Forever 21 that had a lot of variety to choose from and some cute retro-inspired styles that I wasn't seeing in other places. But that was also back when a "layering tee" - a t-shirt so thin you have to wear another tee or tank underneath it - was it's own category and you could still also buy a regular weight t-shirt on the next shelf over.
Now EVERYTHING is as thin as a layering tee! At some point the demand for quick turnaround "fast fashion" became more important than the quality of that fashion. And honestly I'm not sold on the "fashion" part of that either because I'm seeing an awful lot of basics sold in stores, with nothing special to recommend them. Not to mention how the whole industry has changed and what it's doing to the environment. I'm really at a point where I'd rather pay more money for good quality, interesting styled clothes that will last, than another cheap tee that will have holes in it in a few months.
Of course I started ranting and raving about these trends and most of my friends looked at me like I was speaking gibberish. So I'd like to share this lovely video that encapsulates the major concepts of fast fashion and its impact all in under two minutes.