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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why I Failed at #reverb10

Maybe "fail" is too strong of a word. Maybe "chose not to continue participating" is more accurate.

When December began, I had great intentions of spending the month putting my thoughts in order so I could form a plan of attack for the future. Newly unemployed, only my final papers and one final exam stood between me and a quiet, thoughtful mind. That meant the #reverb10 challenge of "reflect and manifest" was perfect for me. Thinking back and planning to move forward, just how I intended to spend my entire month of December.

Except, that didn't happen. Between the holidays and my last exam dragging out to the 20th, it looks more like January will be my time to start manifesting. To be honest, I'm a bit tired of looking back. I've learned a lot from the past and I don't intend to forget those lessons, but I'm ready for action.

So I'm officially letting myself off the #reverb10 hook. I think a lot of people were blessed by it. Some of the prompts were great and I have given them off-blog attention.

In the next few days, I'll set some goals for next year and choose my official word for 2011. Such a funny looking number, 2011. But I've decided to embrace it and make it my year. I'm ready!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How I Measure Christmas Success

Today is December 26th, safely the day AFTER Christmas. Looking back (all the way to yesterday), I thought I'd weigh the pros and cons to see if Christmas was a success.

What unit of measurement did I choose? Dollars spent? Cards mailed? Smiles on gift recipients? Laughs shared?

No. The best measurement of Christmas success is dependent on only one thing:

That damn song about the shoes. You know the one. I've mentioned it before.

And no, I didn't hear it. I was afraid the few times I went into stores where I was at the mercy of their mood music but they spared me the horror. I didn't even hear it on the radio.

So by my standards, Christmas was a huge success. Yay!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Remembering the lonely on December 25th
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or just plain Saturday and whether you're separated by distance, disagreement, or death, I'm remembering those of us who aren't in the middle of a densely populated circle of love today. If someone or something is missing, my thoughts are with you.

Bonus Six Words (hey, tis the season for giving!):
Merry Christmas to you and yours


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Cards

I don't send a lot of Christmas cards. Because, like a lot of things Christmas-related, they've turned from a warm fuzzy thing into general suck and obligation. Rather than sincerely expressing an interest in wishing those near and far a wonderful holiday and awesome next year, they're more about "my family did ALL these amazing things!" or "my life totally sucks, wah wah, feel bad for enjoying your good life" or "look how cute my kids are!".

Okay, a bit of a generalization but look who owns this here blog. Uh huh. Me. So I can generalize if I want when it suits my purposes.

Anyways, I don't send a lot of cards. I try to send some email greetings. Or I deliberately drop individual notes on Facebook walls throughout the month. But cards only go in the mail to family, old people, people without computers (some overlap there for sure), and a very few select friends. In other words, if you get a card in the mail from me? You're one of a lucky dozen. And it totally means you owe me money and this is a gentle reminder something.

And now, my annual holiday card delivered to you via blog. It's about saving the planet. Or laziness. Or not having your address.

So from my home to yours...





Doesn't get much more sincere than that!

P.S. Despite my bah-humbugness regarding sending cards, I do actually really love to receive them. Most of them. The ones from people who are sincere. And I know who you are.

P.P.S. So as not to be grinchy, the pretty snowflakes are from here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Celebration: Doing it Wrong

Remember how when I resigned from my job I celebrated by enduring my annual gynecologist exam? This is like that. Only worse.

Yesterday, I took my final final. I freaked out twice before it started. Once because my ever-so-helpful GPS takes ten years to acquire satellites. Maybe quit trying to negotiate acquisition and just borrow them for positioning, okay? Because I was only going about 6 miles away, it never DID figure out where the hell I was until I was already there. And until I had already called Joe completely spazzed out that maybe I was going the wrong way and why hadn't I bothered to check the directions before I left because I thought it was safe to rely on the GPS YOU bought me so really it's all your fault if I miss my exam and fail and die. All this over a 6 mile trip that involved exactly 3 turns.

Freakout #2 occurred once I arrived successfully at the testing center. My exam was open book, open notes. This handy information was written all over the syllabus and course instructions. I even verified it with the exam proctor last Wednesday. So imagine my complete meltdown surprise when she told me that I wasn't allowed to have anything but a pencil in the testing room! Wait, umm, what? She showed me where it said exactly that. I insisted she go back to her desk and check because I had verified with her on Wednesday. She said she'd call the school. Brilliant, since it was 9am at my undisclosed east coast location and only 6am at my California-based university. In the five minutes it took her to find the cover sheet indicating that indeed my study materials were allowed, I was already figuring out how to deal with failure.

The exam itself wasn't too bad, though it was hella-long. There were 16 questions. 17 if you count the fact that there were 2 completely different questions that the genius professor numbered as 15. Each was an essay, usually with multiple parts. The final question had 10 parts to it! I finished and probably did just fine but I hate feeling so rushed.

The rest of the day was fine. I did some final online shopping for Joe. Invoiced a client. Watched a marathon of something on HGTV. Enjoyed a lovely celebration dinner cooked by my husband, read a book, and went to bed.

It was in bed that I had the worst panic attack I've experienced in approximately a year. I've had attacks that seemed horrible but this was completely back in the old territory. Immediate freakout with no clear trigger. Stomach in knots. Cold sweat. Shallow breathing. All of the intense physical reaction that comes over my body over the span of 30 seconds. The longest and shortest 30 seconds ever, as I feel what's happening and I try to fight it but it can't be stopped. Joe brought me a chill pill and I eventually settled down.

I'm fine this morning. In fact, I'm going shopping at a busy plaza as soon as I hit post. The type of shopping plaza that makes me uncomfortable with crowds and traffic and craziness. The kind that brings on anxious feelings. But today is the 21st and the crowds won't decrease between now and Saturday so it must be done.

So off I go, fingers crossed that last night was an anomaly. Terrified that it wasn't. Determined to keep going.

P.S. No idea when I'll have an actual grade on that exam or receive my actual program completion. And in the calmness of this morning, it's easier to recognize what I've achieved. And easier to be so glad that school is over!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

Ho ho ho Are You Ready?
Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, December 17, 2010

Freshman Flashback

I remember well my first semester of college. Specifically, that first Christmas. It was a major change from how I had experienced Christmas in the past.

As a member of our high school's very own glee club (minus the talent, apparently, to barf up killer choreographed performances at a moment's notice) and the church choir, we began practicing our holiday tunes in September. By December, I was pretty much over it. I always looked forward to the Advent season at church though, as we lit candles in the Advent wreath and listened to stories of how the world prepared for the coming of the Savior.

Then, college. After having church crammed down my throat for all of my early years, I did what most college students do - I didn't attend a single church service all semester. Our school had no music program so I wasn't buried in holiday rehearsals. All focus was on completing the semester and passing final exams.

Suddenly, it was mid-December and I hadn't given Christmas any thought but BAM there it was! It was hard to shift gears and find my Christmas spirit on such short notice.

That's the freshman flashback I'm having this year. Buried in classes that mostly ended ten days ago but still dealing with a straggler - my self-paced PR class still has an outstanding final that won't be complete until next Monday. Add to that so much work-related drama, and suddenly it's December 17th and I'm staring down serious gift-buying deadlines.

For extra fun, I'm disenchanted by the commercialism of the holiday and the greediness of my family as gift recipients. I'm completely uninspired to buy gifts for them. I'm also at an interesting place regarding my personal beliefs about religion so that skews the season a bit as well.

Any advice for how to find a little Christmas cheer when you're just not feeling it? Because I need to seriously find mine ASAP, otherwise it will be too late.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Esteem

Earlier this morning, chatting while watching last night's episode of The Sing-Off...
me: why are panels of judges always 'esteemed'?
SomeMonkey: bc it's a vague term and "talented" and "successful" are not
Ahh, good point. Though, I expect nothing less from SomeMonkey.

I think it would be more entertaining if panels of judges were steamed instead. Sitting out there at their table with product-placement soft drinks (spiked during the commercial breaks), completely aggravated and hating life. Hmm, now that I think about it, that's not so far off probably.

And, a bit o' #reverb10:

Day #10 Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? - Susannah Conway (@photobird)

Without a doubt, the wisest decision I made this year was to start making myself a priority. Blah blah again about resigning from my job but the first step was deciding to go back to school. I took a really aggressive approach and it's almost done now but even when I was stressed or feeling overwhelmed, I loved it. It felt amazing to be in a focused learning frame of mind for the past few months.

Now, to figure out how to sustain that into the new year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Catching Up

I was supposed to be catching up on some of these #reverb10 posts. Except then I remembered how fun it was to just write a post without any prompts. It feels wild and free. Kinda crazy and reckless.

And then I realized that I have some pretty serious issues if that's my idea of living on the edge.

Here's edgy for you - Christmas shopping? Not so much. Yeah, today is the 13th and I still have barely touched my Christmas shopping. Gramma, niece, and nephew are done. Parents, bro, SIL, sis, BIL, husband? Nope. I should probably think about doing that.

I suppose I'll also think about those #reverb10 prompts.

Day #7 Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? - Cali Harris (@caligater)

One place I've definitely discovered community is here, and on Twitter. You've all been a tremendous support to me. And this is the part where I feel like I'm repeating myself over and over with these prompts. Could I thank you or write about leaving my job just ONE MORE TIME?!?!? Ugh, I bore myself.

Anyways, I've started referring to my Twitter pals as "Twitches". This confused Joe until I explained that's just a shortened, more polite form of "Twitter Bitches". Yeah, you're welcome.

I can't answer about 2011 because that's another post for another blog on another day - but I do have plans.

Day #8 Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful. - Karen Walrond (@chookooloonks)

I think I'm different in many ways, though it's sometimes hard to see them as beautiful differences. Because I grew up in such a sheltered environment, I try to look at the world with a sense of openness. One of my favorite things to say is that "different doesn't automatically mean wrong" - and as much as I like to apply that to different cultures, religions, and daily practices (like driving on the left-hand side of the road), I suppose it also applies to the idea of "Beautifully Different" - different doesn't automatically mean wrong. We should all work to remember that.

Day #9 Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. - Shauna Reid (@shauna)

I'm not a very social person. Large crowds tend to make me uncomfortable. Therefore, I suppose I didn't do much partying this year. Probably this is one of those areas I should manifest for next year.

Also, coming soon, I'll be manifesting some better blog posts. Because these aren't doing much for me, which means I'm sure they're not doing much for you. Final final on Thursday - almost there!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

Too tired to count to six

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, December 10, 2010

Almost Done!

I'll return to the regularly ignored scheduled #reverb10 prompts sonish, but for now, a little update on me. Because it's my blog. Were you expecting an update on someone else? Sorry to disappoint. Go read their blog then.

Monday and Tuesday, I handed in all of my final papers for the semester. And despite losing big points on two of them for things that I think are completely ridiculous, I ended all three Fall courses with an A. Go me!

That's not a brag. I hope it doesn't come off braggy. That's more of a - you all listened to me whine but it's because I was working seriously hard and look it paid off! So really, it's more of a thank you. Yeah, that's it.

All that stands between me and program completion right now is my self-paced PR course. I should've had it done months ago but it took a backseat to the crazyfest that has been my life since August. I'll be mailing my final project for that course early next week and then next Thursday morning I sit for the proctored exam. Which sounds a lot dirtier than it is. I think I confuse proctor with prostate but I don't have one of those so it's all good.

It felt good to scribble out an actual blog post just now, as opposed to a response to some prompt that I'm feeling or not feeling. I think my recent commitment to daily prompt thingys is just a carry-over from the whole structured assignment feeling of classes. I much prefer this sorta thing. Look for more of it!

In other news, 15 days until Christmas and I'm completely NOT done with anything for anyone. Except the niece and nephew because I bought them ridiculously adorable hats from C. Beth, who not only blogs but also runs and crochets. But probably not all at the same time. Unless she's way more talented than I realized, and considering I already think she's pretty talented, that would just be somehow unfair to the rest of us.

Have a lovely Friday, folks! And stay warm. Because I don't know about weather where you are but Tonya is freezing off her whiskers to the point of desperation. Aka sleeping on the bed with me at night.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Make

Day #6 Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? - Gretchen Rubin (@gretchenrubin)

I'd like to "make" something creative now that classes are almost done. The most creative thing I've made recently was dinner for Joe on Saturday night, but that was Gordon Ramsay's recipe (no, I didn't swear or call Joe a donkey).

I'm ready to "make" some stories and do some writing soon.


Let Go

Day #5 Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? - Alice Bradley (@finslippy)

This year, I let go of putting myself last. Instead, I grabbed onto the idea of making my own decisions, perhaps consulting others for input, and then making my own choice.

It's why I went back to school. It's why I pushed to work part-time. It's why I ultimately walked from my job. I always thought that being married to an over-achiever meant he should come first and I should support him. I had to let go of the idea that what was best for us was for me to be employed and making money in an environment that was making me miserable. And I had to let go of the idea that he wouldn't support me.

I let go of thinking I'll never be happy and started actively looking for myself again. And next year, I really hope I find me.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Wonder

Day #4 Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? - Jeff Davis (@JeffreyDavis108)

Growing up in a small rural town with over-protective parents who believed the world outside was evil, I grew up missing out on a lot of experiences my friends had.

As a result, my travel-obsessed husband (then boyfriend) loved taking me to new places so he could watch my sense of wonder. Even today, the situation most guaranteed to induce wonder for me is traveling to somewhere new and spectacular.

I try to take a moment whenever I'm experiencing something new to think about what is happening and appreciate it fully. However, extra moments have been in short supply this year. The best thing I can do to cultivate a sense of wonder is to slow down and be fully aware of the circumstances around me. The holidays are a nice time for that and I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Moment

Day #3 Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). - Ali Edwards (@aliedwards)

Yes, I'm a few days behind. Yay finals!

The date: November 29, 2010.

I threw my bag over my shoulder and took one last look before heading to the elevator. Down it crept, so slowly. Around the corner and heading for the exit, I imagine it's how a runner feels at the end of the marathon when they see the finish line. Finally! A huge smile across my face and I felt lighter than I had in many years. It was all I could do not to skip across the parking lot.

As I drove away, I didn't look back. No last glance in the rear view mirror. Just looking forward, eyes on the road ahead, both literally and figuratively.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

Holidays?  Not until finals are submitted.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Thursday, December 02, 2010

Writing

Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?

The first answers that came to mind were activities like television (which has already cut way back), my job (resigned already), and my classwork (no, can't eliminate that until next week). But then I realized that those things don't really keep me from writing.

The number one thing I do that doesn't contribute to my writing is the self-doubt. It's not good enough. It's not creative enough. Who am I to think I can write anything worth reading? And, of course, the self-doubt reaches far beyond just writing.

Can I eliminate it? I'm trying. I'm even making progress. Whether or not I can conquer it completely remains to be seen.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Words

Prompt: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you're choosing that word. Now, imagine it's one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

This is a great prompt for kicking off #reverb10. Especially since I started picking a Word of the Year in 2009. My word for 2010 was:

Here's what I wrote at the time:
...(2009) was about surviving. It was about learning to handle myself and the world but I did a lot of that from the semi-comfort of a safe routine. This year will be about not just muddling through but also about making an "effort" to move in a direction that makes me happy. I actually considered "happy" and "change" as my words but felt "effort" could be applied in a more widespread manner.

I'm planning to make an effort in my health, my career, my writing, my reading, my relationships, my self-image, really my entire life. Some steps will be bigger than others - I can't do it all at once. But it's important that I realize I have to make an "effort" if I don't want to keep on as things are currently heading.
I made some great efforts - in a week, I'll be completing a graduate marketing program that wasn't even on my radar when the year began. That plus resigning from my job definitely mean change for my career. I did a lot of reading and writing. I also made nice progress regarding inner peace, even if I didn't solve my self-image issues. There were areas where I fell short, specifically regarding my health. But that's on my list now.

Next year's word? I'm not 100% sure yet. I always have to try a word on to see if it's going to fit. Right now, I'm thinking better. I'm tired of trying to achieve some definition of perfection that's completely bogus anyways. If I can just do better, be better, workout better, write better, love better, work better, play better, 2011 could be one for the record books.