"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tales of Ridiculosity

Today something stupid happened. It began innocently enough, at 11:00AM. I let the dog out and she immediately started to bark. Incessantly. Fearing the complaints of unhappy neighbours I yanked open the sliding glass door and began to shout at her to shut up. Having no success with matching her noise with my own (who would have thought yelling wouldn't stop another creature from also yelling?), I grumpily yanked on my husband's over sized boots sitting by the door and ran out to grab her.
Now here's where things get stupid. October, up in my neck of the woods, is cold. At this point of the month the leaves have long since fallen from the trees, and more often than not you'll see the kids trick or treating in winter coats and snow boots with barely visible costumes underneath. So, of course I slid the door shut behind me to prevent valuable heat from escaping. Having convinced Maddie (my dog) to stay quiet, I returned to the door and gave it a hard yank, anxious to return to the warm innards of my house. Nothing. I yanked again, frowning. It was stuck. I stared through the glass at the lock handle that had fallen into position when I'd closed the door behind me. I was locked out.
Fighting down panic, I took a deep breath. I had no phone, I was wearing my husband's giant boots and had no leash for Maddie. Therefore, walking to my sister's was out. My husband was in a class and wouldn't be home until sometime after 12:00. I walked (well, more accurately I stomped. It was impossible not to in those boots) over to my neighbours. After several rings and no response I realized I was sunk. Until they, or my husband came home I wasn't going anywhere.
Returning to the backyard, I assessed my options. I needed to stay warm. Luckily, I was wearing a long sleeved, hooded sweater. Which was good, because unfortunately my hair was still very wet from my shower. I pulled the hood over my head to cover my hair. I was also very lucky to have such a sheltered backyard, with high fences and plenty of tree cover, which meant very minimal wind. Really, it wasn't too bad.
I needed an activity that would keep me warm and help pass the time. I opened the tiny metal shed in the corner of the yard and pulled out the rake. I guess there was no time like the present to rake up the obscene amount of leaves decorating our backyard.
I worked my butt off, raking leaves and throwing sticks for the dog until the yard was spotless, except for two neatly raked, gigantic piles. The entire time I kept my ears trained for the sound of my husband's car, desperate to hear the delicious honk as he pressed the lock button a ridiculous amount of times 'just to make sure'. I kept thinking of one of the lines in a prayer we all use to repeat in church. "As we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ." I was waiting in joyful hope all right.
When I finally heard my husband's car pull up, I almost couldn't believe it. I'd just finished with the raking and was feeling particularly full of despair at the thought of nothing to do but wait. I was like a deer, cautiously stepping towards the fence, anxious not to get my hopes up. But I didn't have to worry. It was him! He was home! I ran (or rather, clomped) down the walkway, leaping into the arms of my saviour.
As you can now tell, I'm obviously safe and back inside where I belong. I still feel rather dumb, and have vowed to take the phone with me every time I go to grab the dog from here on in. Because next time, it could be snowing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

There's a Reason Why Productive People Don't Watch TV

I have a headache tonight, and I know exactly what caused it. Whenever I watch too much TV (more than an hour or two), I always wind up with a headache. I've been completely headache free for my entire week off until tonight, mostly because I've been trying to be productive. You'd think the incessant headaches would teach me to get off my lazy ass and do something with my life, but no. I'm positively addicted to my beloved shows. Yes, from Castle and The Mentalist to The Big Bang Theory and Happy Endings, my TV shows just cannot go unwatched.
But, as I sit here with a throbbing skull, I can't help but think I'm being punished for sliding back into my lazy ways. Therefore, I've decided to keep my TV watching in check, and spend the rest of my vacation as I pronounced I would on the first day. No more headaches, lots more productivity. Not to mention I prefer having something to show for my time other than the unrelenting urge to take a power drill to my forehead.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Success at Last!

Yesterday I finally managed to put on a pair of false eyelashes. As it turns out, all it took was a lot of practice, a few swears and trimming them so they weren't too long for my eyes. Oops. That might have been a larger part of my lack of success. (Insert bashful laughter here). In any case, I'm just happy to have accomplished something, however minor.
I'm starting to get annoyed with my lack of writing success. Over the last two days I should have produced a large amount of workable material, and I honestly don't feel I have much to show. It's embarrassing. There really aren't enough hours in the day. Although I guess if I cut out the false eyelash applying part of the day I'd have a little more time for literary pursuits. Whatever. I needed a win! And man, did I look awesome. Those babies were crazy long, cut on an angle so the longest lashes were in the outer corners of the eyes. And it helped that no one asked if I was crazy or wearing false eyelashes. I had to tell my hair stylist and she didn't believe me at first. Double win! Now if I could just get something worthwhile accomplished...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day Two

I've decided to proclaim day two a success. Not only did I steer clear of couch and TV induced zombie-ism, I actually got some stuff done. Not a lot, but enough.
I'm happy to say that I started my day off writing. After a long, restful sleep I got up and ate my breakfast with an open notebook, instead of in front of the TV as usual. After breakfast I worked on my writing assignment for my online writing class, showered, made lunch and walked the dog. When I got home Maddie and I did some yard work in the backyard, followed by some spirited tag and stick throwing. With Maddie passed out on the couch I was free to go to the grocery store. When I got home I started dinner - Baked Pumpkin Ziti. Delicious!
Now I'm doing laundry and after this post I'm going to make my husband's lunch for tomorrow. That's right, I'm channeling my inner domestic diva.
I realize of course that none of this is of any interest to you, I'm merely demonstrating that I managed to knock a few items off the To Do list. In other words, I'm bragging.
Tomorrow I have a haircut and I'd like to do some shopping, but I want to concentrate most of my time and energy on writing. After my vacation's over I'm going to be lethargic, depressed and probably pretty stressed out. I want to take as much off my plate as possible. The greatest gift I could give myself would be a new job, but we'll have to see how that goes.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time to Get Down to Business

Is it possible to be both super excited and kind of depressed at the same time? If so that's me.
Why am I excited? Because I have the next week off.
Why am I depressed? Because I have the next week off.
I know, it's weird right? But hear me out.
First off, I'm excited. I get time off work, which I sorely needed. I get to buckle down and get all my current writing assignments done, catch up on sleep, reading, cleaning and spend some quality time with my pooch. I'm also planning on using the time to go on a mad search for a new job, so keep your fingers crossed for me!
But I'm also depressed. When this vacation is over, I have nothing to look forward to. Literally, nothing. There are no more vacations, no relief in sight. If I don't find a better paying job I'm stuck in retail hell working through yet another (shudder) Christmas season. It's a little upsetting how much working retail destroys Christmas. You think it's bad being one of the shoppers? Trying being the person at the till. It's a nightmare. You thought you were sick of Christmas music last year? Try listening to it eight hours a day, five days a week since November 1st. It sucks all the joy out of your heart and replaces it with a big ball of bitter. Hence, the mad hunt for a new job.
I'm trying not to let it bother me. This is my vacation. I can be depressed when it's over. I know that if I just concentrate on getting all my stuff done and making the most of it, then at least I can hold onto my sense of triumph when I get back. I can soothe myself with accolades of a job well done. So hold onto your hats, I'm about to take this vacation by storm!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wisdom Teeth

Today, my sister had her wisdom teeth removed. She'd resisted the idea for years, but recently they'd grown (literally) rather painful and momentary awfulness became more appealing than a lifetime of irritating. It was necessary for her to be put under for the procedure, so I was called off the bench and into action. I took the day off work to drive her to and from the appointment, pick up her prescriptions and just take care of her in general. Luckily, our very good friend was also free and volunteered to come along and help. I'll admit, at the time I didn't think I'd need the help, I was mostly just grateful for the extra company in the waiting room. As it turned out, her help was not only appreciated but necessary. It's surprisingly difficult to negotiate a semi-conscious individual into a car, at least it would have been alone. With help - easy! The same went with dropping off and picking up her prescriptions, getting her in bed and keeping her company. All was a better with help.
The fact that I'm smug and should never assume that I won't require assistance wasn't the only lesson of the day. Today I realized with abundant clarity that I would make a complete basket case of a mom. It's true, I've never wanted kids and I'm still repelled by the idea, and it's also true that I'm a complete basket case over the care of my dog, Maddie. But the extent of my worry and fear showed itself today in the waiting room of the oral surgeon's. Watching my sister, clearly terrified, get up and follow the nurse into the unknown brought the sincere threat of tears to my eyes. Anxiety and panic took over as I began feverishly texting everyone I could think of to say a prayer for her. My friend had to calm me down in the waiting room as I lamented over the horror that they'd have to stick my darling sister with a needle for the IV. Keep in mind this is how I reacted over a routine oral surgery for my adult sister. Imagine me with a baby. Not pretty.
Yes, today was an interesting day. My sister is recuperating, and now without wisdom teeth, I'm relieved that it's over and happy that she's safely home, as well as grateful that I don't have children and my sanity remains intact. As for anyone out there who would feel the need to comment and suggest that I should have children - save it. My wisdom teeth may be gone, but my wisdom remains. Not going to happen.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tolstoy and Fake Eyelashes

It's amazing how one can be both enlightened and an idiot at the same time. Take myself for example. Lately, I've been broadening my horizons. I'm taking writing courses, had a recent phone interview with an accomplished female Canadian involved in working to better women's health and stop social injustice, and I've even begun reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
But, before I come across too cocky, you should know that I spent the better part of yesterday watching Merlin on Netflix, a show so unbelievably bad I wait until my husband is out and the curtains are closed so no one will see my shameful enjoyment of something so tacky and ridiculous. That's not even to say that I enjoy it, which is probably even sadder. The more accurate description would be that I'm bored and have run out of everything else. But that's not all. My idiocy extends further than a mere inaccurate and poorly executed fantasy show about an awkward teenage wizard (oh Lord the shame!). Lately I've been experiencing an unusual amount of delight in false eyelashes. With Halloween around the corner I've been on the lookout for some seriously wicked false eyelashes. I've been perusing drug stores, Halloween costume shops and even online eyelash boutiques. What I didn't think about is that I have yet to put a pair on. So, a few days ago when I pulled out a set and went about applying them, I was surprised to realize that it's a lot harder than I thought it'd be. Not quite 'glued my eyes shut' bad, but I have yet to successfully wear a pair of falsies.
Which brings me to my point. Here I am, an adult woman reading Tolstoy and conversing with a Phd carrying social activist, while at the same time watching seriously uninspired television and playing with false eyelashes. I'm a walking contradiction. I'm part idiot, part intellectual. I guess it's better than being all idiot. And you have to admit, people that are too seriously intellectual are often pretty boring or snobby. (No one enjoys being seated at the boring accountant side of the dinner table). I think I'm just going to appreciate having a humble, false eyelash wearing side, and continue to develop my more intellectual Tolstoy loving side. If there's one thing I've learned in this life, it's that balance is important. Everything in moderation. It works with nutrition and it works with everything else.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Am I the Only One?

Lately my personal essay class is throwing me for a complete loop. There's one thing I've discovered through all of the assignments, the instructor's comments and critiques and my research into possible markets and that's this: I'm the odd man out.
I love personal essays. I find them entertaining, engaging; they're my favourite part of magazines. But here's the thing. I hate the serious ones. You know the ones where they probe deep into their experiences, are super emotional and look at every angle of their actions and what it means to them and their growth as a person? Yeah. I hate those. I love the funny ones where they make fun of their quirks or sass the Nintendo Wii's 'Wii Fit' for calling them fat. They're hilarious and I love them. Unfortunately, that is not what my class is about, and that's not what 99% of publications look for. So, when it came to finding markets for my essay, I found myself coming up consistently short.
Am I alone in this? Am I the only one that prefers the light and funny when it comes to personal essays? Hello? Anyone out there? Calling all those sarcastic and witty...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Submit! Submit! Submit!

It's been a while since I posted and I apologize, but honestly you'd be very proud of me. Over the last week I've made a valiant (and successful!) effort of dedicating my free time to writing and meeting my various deadlines. My personal essay class is still going very well, with our latest class focusing on the art of submitting your work. It's all about editing and appraising. First of all, getting your draft into the best possible shape before even considering sending it out, and secondly, appraising all possible venues that might fit with your piece. It's important to really look into each venue, reading several pieces from the section you're interested in submitting to and making sure your essay fits in terms of style and tone.
All this talk of submissions got me thinking, and I realized I've really let the ball drop on my own submissions. There are so many contests and open calls for submissions that I need to be taking advantage of. It's true that I won't win any of these contests, or get picked up for publication right away, but treating each deadline as a work or assignment deadline means I'll actually force myself to get some writing done. And the more you practice, the better you get. So far I've made three deadlines and I couldn't be more excited. I'm having fun with all the writing I'm doing and every time I finish a challenge I look forward to the next one. Only time will tell if my personal essay class actually leads to an essay of mine getting published, but so far I've really enjoyed the experience and the kick in the pants its given me to treat deadlines seriously.