Thursday, May 31, 2012

Where is Julie?

Sorry to be skimping on the blog lately. I've been working hard on my illustration project and apparently don't have enough oomph to do both consistently. I'll work on that. The key to getting into the illustration seemed to be hanging a good carrot. A friend had asked me to watch the TV series Jericho because it sounded like something I'd like and she had no one to talk to about it and it was driving her crazy. SO, I decided I was only allowed to watch it if I was or had just finished working on my project. Success! Problem is I'm burning through it too fast. What will I use to replace it when I'm done? Suggestions?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Taking the Bridge
Counseling appointment today: I need to attack my illustration-block the same way a bridge-phobic conquers going over the Bay Bridge. I need to suffuse myself in it. That means going back to Freshman Chemistry (where my to-be-boyfriend-husband carried me down the stairs to our freshman basement study lounge against my will and locked me down there with my materials because I was procrastinating studying so badly).

I have my desk clear. All I have to do is commence, starting tonight. I will touch the project EVERY day until it is done. I will enlist my husband in propelling me to the desk each night. I don't like it but trying to deal with it as usual is not working. I am to be very soothing and talk comfortingly to myself to get past the initial anxiety, which is what I have been avoiding. Once I am started I do fine. Once it is part of a routine I'll progress rapidly, I think.

Also I need to lower my caffeine intake so that I will stop staying up until 3:00AM reading and eating frozen raspberries with sugar.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Social Media & Loneliness
Today's Diane Rehm Show (2nd hour) is a discussion of the role of social media in the so-called US "epidemic" of loneliness. I am listening to it and typing as I go, noting some of the main points. The premise asks why we are expecting more of technology and less from personal contact in this time of social media (Facebook, Twitter, text messaging).

I'm hearing arguments, said to be supported by studies, on both sides: social media help users be more social vs. it makes users less social. Mainly they're talking about Facebook (FB); they said 40% of Americans have a FB page.

The view that seems correct to me is that you get out of it what you get into it. Most people interact intensely with a few people and then more weakly with the rest of your FB "friends". Yes, that rings true for me. Here's a new acronym for you: FEOMO = Fear Of Missing Out. This refers to how we're always "on" and always performing, when using social media. It is more pervasive if you use a art phone and are then constantly plugged into social media.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Two Father's Days Instead

I had comments and replies with a good friend over my school fundraising rant and got to talk with her and one of the main powers behind my daughter's Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) today.  Boy did I feel like a jerk.  Although, actually, I kind of expected to have more people rake me over the coals, I do have some teacher friends.  Maybe they're too angry.   I got the teacher appreciation week thing cleared-up, my daughter was to bring an item each day for her homeroom teacher and whatever special she had for that day, so two items, not seven.  BIG difference.  I wonder why I just assumed that my understanding, though it seemed over the top to me, was correct?  It's not like I couldn't've called my friend to check.... I just jumped straight to feeling put out.  I guess I feel so out of step with regular non-narcissistic moms that I can't judge what's a realistic expectation of parental participation.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Procrastination Continues...
It's late Thursday night and I still haven't cleared the Christmas ornaments off my big desk downstairs so I have a dedicated work surface for my illustration.  I didn't get even remotely close to considering tackling that today.  I was supposed to give a nature walk today for the Mothers Of Preschoolers (MOPS) group I have been a member of for some six years now.  Nobody showed.  This was actually OK because I couldn't bring myself to go there ahead of time or prepare (knowing there were no real acceptances on the evite) yesterday.  I could've winged it without too much stress and elected to do that if necessary.  Last night I fell asleep on the floor next to my son's mattress  (we trundle his crib mattress under his sister's bed; neither likes to sleep alone) and didn't wake to take my meds until  3:30AM or so.  Then I had trouble falling back asleep.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Cutting Through

JB. 2012. Chalk Pastel: Prefrontal cortex plants paper bag over
raging & luminous inner self. Inner self fights for release.

Monday, May 7, 2012

And Then Again...Every X Is Sacred...
Boy was I in a terrible mood when last I ranted at you. I really did feel that way though, and likely would again if I reread it now, but now I also feel a good bit chagrined because I am pretty sure that I probably really offended some friends of mine who then may not return to read this post. Sigh.

I went without really giving weight to the "well DUH" side, except to chastise myself as a hypocrite. I was all about my own individual self who wanted no additional requirements at the expense of the individuals who would be the recipients of the gap between what is budgeted for public schools and what is needed to give the level of instruction students really deserve and that we expect. How convenient.

Not to excuse this, but it occurred to me this afternoon that there is an unexpected link between this subject and my former work life in wildlife management.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

LONG RANT: Really? Am I that selfish? Sigh. Yep.
I can sum up this post in two words:

I suck.

First, I am having a problem with my emotions not agreeing to be OK with the decisions made by my executive functions.

Saturday was my day off for years. But this spring my daughter is doing soccer. My husband is coaching. He is an excellent father. They have games on Saturday mornings. This means that I need to watch my three-year-old son and we should obviously attend the games and cheer our team. Fine. I say that's OK and agreed that Sunday could be my morning to sleep in. Fine. I really am intellectually OK with this. It's completely fair. Well, my emotional self is not. She is resentful and annoyed and sulky. When it means she has to get up early, she is angry. She resents the intrusion into the pattern that she was happy with. I don't like her. I try to reject these emotions but that is not making them go away.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Do I Keep Choosing The Short-term Payoff?

It's looking like I need to rein in my petulant inner teenager.  I was really a pretty good teen at the time, no major rebellions or anything.  But now, I am finding that the force that kept me alive during the worst of my anxiety and depression is not terribly willing to be relegated to the role of passenger after having that taste of being the driver.

It seems like in almost every situation of short-term vs. long-term gain, the short-term gain is chosen even before things are really thought through.  The teenager, in league with my lizard brain, pounces on any present comfort, completely disregarding the effect of this choice on future outcomes.  For this reason, for example, I am having a terrible time working on the illustration project I've promised to do because I have to get my stuff together, find a clear place or clear a place, and print out some pictures before starting.  This is all too much for me to make myself do, apparently... so far.  Which is, of course, ridiculous.  In short, my Christmas tree ornaments are scattered all over my big desk and I have been unwilling to deal with putting them away in order to get started.  That and printing out the pictures involves my bringing my laptop downstairs and plugging it into the printer.  It sounds so ridiculous!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

There Are No Original Stories, Really

I have now finished reading all of Stephanie Meyer's novels, including The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and The Host. The main thing these seem to have in common with The Hunger Games trilogy is that the pacing is set by having almost every event that develops the plot be a life or death choice.

I've been thinking some about characters of my own. I really feel like I could write something like these if I could come up with a premise that would generate that kind of plot development. Something where all the events lead to development of the self while also being choices that are crucial to maintaining the life of the character.

That is the hard part. The premise. THG has the main character's survival dependent on her own resourcefulness. Then she becomes the involuntary symbol of the resistance against the government where she is suddenly responsible for the lives and deaths of many many people. In the Twilight novels the main character, a master predator, falls in love with a prey item that is specifically and uniquely extra-attractive to him alone. In The Host, human lives are at stake when they are captured to become hosts for a parasite species that takes over their body and consciousness. Then the parasite protagonist's life is in danger from the strength of her host's resistance and later from the group of humans she joins. Then there are also love interests and angst and joy and pain from these added into the mix. This is why these novels fly off the shelves.

So now to come up with a premise that I can use my strengths to create...something that is not vampires, werewolves, post-apocalyptic gladiator matches, or alien bodysnatchers. What does that leave us? Hmmmm...