Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting Over the Midday "Blah"

Today, I felt extremely "blah."

You know the feeling -- that sinking weight in your chest and tight shoulders, a head full of pressure, heavy arms and legs, fingers that don't want to type, eyes that don't want to open, and a stomach full of knots.

That's what I call feeling "blah." Others might call it feeling unmotivated, lazy, stressed, moody, or a combination thereof.

I don't get this feeling often. I've been working my butt off, sure, but mostly I don't let it get to me. I'm typically at peace with most everything around me, even with all the bad news (layoffs, the economy, people all around me freaking out). The meditating has been very good for me.

Today, though, I couldn't seem to shake the "blah" feeling until I resorted to some old favorite pick-me-ups combined with a few new tricks.

A fast, hard run to force the heavy feeling out of my limbs.
A long, hot bath after the run -- complete with herbal bath salts and soaps.
Playing Queen on the stereo at full-blast; dancing around my room to "We Are the Champions."
Thick lotions, filing my nails, applying a mud mask.
Re-reading that beautiful note my girlfriend gave me for Valentine's Day.
Cleaning the kitchen and fixing myself a tuna sandwich (I love sandwiches!).
Taking the Husky for a walk around the block and watching his tail wag excitedly.
Knocking out a couple of small assignments so I'm free to tackle the big ones when I have more energy and motivation.
Playing tug-of-war with the Husky and letting him win.
Making faces at myself in the mirror; not taking everything so seriously.
Reminding myself that I have accomplished so much in the last couple of years and will continue to conquer my fears and let go of my resentments.
Smiling at goofy facebook status updates (Cindy Tingley) and happy celebrations (Sarah Spieth).
And finally... cranking out 3,000 words for a new book.

That's how I beat the "blah" today, and I feel great -- ready to tackle my management and business law classes tonight.

I love you all. Have a great week!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is it time?

Should I do the Breast Cancer 3-Day event this year? I've been wanting to participate for a very long time. But it involves a lot of time commitment and fundraising.

I want to throw myself into something that'll actually help people.

In other words, I want to do something good.

Is it time? And more importantly, will my peeps be there to help?


I just realized that my last post was about this kind of a decision...

So, I need to just go ahead and do it. In the coming weeks, I'm going to speak with a friend who is equally interested in the 3-Day to see if we can set up a team and do this thing together.

Is it time?

It's always time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

If not now, when?

I was talking to a friend the other day, who wanted to know when I find time to go to school, write, run, keep up with facebook (the ultimate time-suck), and still have time leftover for my friends and family.

The honest answer is that I'm frequently overwhelmed. The stress typically coincides with the waves of exams every three or four weeks. This past week? I was totally swamped. Hence the lack of new short stories and blog posts.

We can all find justifications for why we don't do the things that matter to us. And those justifications can range from bullsh*t excuse to very valid reason. ("I just wasn't feeling with it that day" versus "I had three exams that day").

But here's the thing. If something is really important -- you want to write a book or run a marathon -- you have to fit it in. You have to make it work. You can only take so many shortcuts. For me, the number of excuses a person will make for not doing something they claim they "want to do" really says something about their true commitment and dedication.

In other words, like my Dad says, "Shit or get off the pot." Do it or shut up about it. I know so many "one-day" writers (one-day as in, "One day I'll be a writer") who never amount to anything.

I didn't have time to write the novels I did. In fact, the first book was pieced together from e-mails that I wrote and sent to myself when I had a few minutes of downtime at work. Instead of surfing the net for ten minutes while waiting for a phone call, I wrote five or six paragraphs. Over time, it became a novel. And if that's what you have to do, then do it.

I don't want to sound negative about this. I just want people to be happy and do what they need to do to get there. If not now, when? Just admit that the reasons you're not doing something are excuses. Cut the excuses and get moving.

At any rate, I need to go transfer some notes I scribbled at the bar while waiting for my friend. It's all about making the best of your time. Every time.

Have a beautiful weekend!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A (Good) Sign of the Times

So Valentine's Day was definitely different this year.

Last year, Sarah and I went out to eat at a very nice restaurant near Fort Worth's arts district. Then we went dancing. I bought her a bouquet of flowers and left them on her front porch. She showed up with red roses and a chocolate covered strawberry when she picked me up for our date.

This year -- like so many people -- both of us are struggling with money.

But, as our teacher at the Buddhist temple says: A problem is only a problem if you see it that way in your mind. You should never be upset by a problem. If there's a remedy for the problem, you should be happy that there's a remedy and start working toward the remedy. If there's not a remedy, you shouldn't be upset about the problem because there's nothing you can do about it anyway and being upset will only disturb your inner peace. Seen that way, problems become challenges instead of problems.

So our tight budgets don't upset us. They just force us to be creative. There are many remedies to a Valentine's Day without a lot of spending money. A.) Don't celebrate, just skip it. B.) Do something special for very little money.

I made four dozen red velvet cupcakes, decorated them with heart sprinkles, and sneaked them into her office at work so she could share the sweets with her staff. She wrote me a wonderfully sweet list of 25 reasons why she loves me. We made an awesome dinner at her house and enjoyed it by candlelight.

Cheaper? Oh yes. Less romantic? Absolutely not.

Lack of money isn't a problem. Lack of money just makes you think outside the box. You don't have to blow a bunch of cash at a restaurant to be romantic.

The economic downturn might be terrible. It is a very real crisis. People are losing their homes and their jobs. But they are also losing that extra spending power that allows them to just throw money at their problems. Kids acting up? Just buy them another Wii game. Trouble with the wife? Just buy her a diamond necklace.

And what about spending quality -- and super-cheap or free -- time at the park together? What about long walks, or cute notes, or a nice, homemade meal? Personally, I think there's a silver lining in all this economic drama. Call it a nice side effect. Without money to spend at the mall or on a new flat screen TV, we might just be forced to be with each other more instead.

Just a thought...

I hope everyone had a beautiful Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Picking Up Pennies

About a month ago, I was listening to an NPR program on the way to visit a friend. A guy was talking about how he started picking up change he found on the street and had saved over a thousand dollars in one year. He said his neighbors thought he was a bit crazy for searching the streets, but that he didn't care what they thought because he'd found a thousand dollars.


In the past three weeks, I've found $50.89. That dude was on to something.

Maybe I can make this my retirement plan. Better yet, maybe I can make this my plan to afford this year's Golden Crown Literary Society Convention ticket. I'm almost at 30 percent already!

So go ahead, folks. Drop a penny? Don't bother to pick it up. I'll find it.

Friday 2/6 -- $0.11 from the 7-Eleven parking lot on Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth.
Saturday 2/7 -- $0.30 found near the middle school down the street on Thomas Place.
Sunday 2/8 -- $1.05 found in three different locations along my running route.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hard Choices

Every summer, I attend a writer/editor/literary fan event called the Golden Crown Literary Society Convention. The society was founded to support the lesbian literature community and sponsors the annual event so we can get together and talk about the books we love so much.
It's a ton of fun -- much debauchery (and some learning with workshops) -- there's even an award show and following dance, which I like to call the "lesbian prom."
Last year it was in Phoenix, AZ. Hotter-than-hell Phoenix. It was good times, as usual, but seemed more sleepy and quiet than past conventions. Fewer people attended the event. The hotel was spread out and everyone was scattered.
I wonder... How many people are going to be there this year? It's in Orlando, Florida, and the rates are a bit cheaper. The society has done away with upping ticket prices for latecomers due to the economic situation. But still... Are there going to be even less people than last year? Is it going to be even more quiet? Am I going to have to throw another party in my room to shake things up?
Can people afford plane tickets accross the country?
I'm just concerned. It's such an important organization to have around for the lesbian community and an even more important event for readers and writers. With so many organizations hurting and failing during these hard times, I don't want GCLS to fizzle out. We need more people! We need people who want to party! We need people who want to network!
Good writers. Good editors and designers. Avid readers and fans.
If you're a lesbian and like to read, get off your butt. Join GCLS. Beg, steal, and lie to get to the convention this year. Bring your friends. Come on. Let's do it.
And even if you're not a lesbian -- if you just want to support the community and have a good time, you're absolutely invited to this event. We don't bite.
And I'll be there, one way or the other. If I have to rob a bank or crash in somebody's room on the floor, I'm still going to be there.
Here's a link for more information. They'll start posting schedules and more details within the next month or so. http://www.goldencrown.org/.