A random, eclectic mix of thoughts, feelings, observations, and experiences – LIFE

Archive for March, 2012

Thankful Thursday

This week, Thankful Thursday is difficult. I’m having a rough time. I’m not meeting any of my goals, really. I haven’t been running or writing. Hell. I’ve hardly even been reading. My work days have been very exhausting. When I get home, I really have to drag myself to the shower. I am fatigued by the people I work with. I am convinced that there are all different brands of crazy. Nothing is good enough. Nothing is done fast enough.

Really, everyone is stressed. The event is in 3 weeks. It seems that the committee/board does not handle pressure well. At all. They all fold, crumble, or become as stiff as a board. It’s ridiculous. I’m not the type to freak out. No matter what. The world could be falling apart around me, but I would maintain my cool, and think about the next step. I think it freaks them out that I don’t freak out. It must translate as I am nonchalant and nothing moves me. It’s not that. It’s just that I will not be shaken, and I will not fall apart.

Here are some examples (and feel free to skip them if you like) of the silly things that have been going on and piling up in my mind:

-They asked me to produce a weekly report stating what I have done all week, and what I plan to do the next week. I have done this in MS Word and emailed it to them every Friday. A few months in, one of them emailed me asking that I do not use attachments, but put it in the body of the email as the attachment creates too much work. Fine. I still did it in Word for my own records, and copied and pasted it to the body of the emails. A few months ago, they all got gung-ho about Google Docs (which I HATE). Fine. They decided that sending a bunch of separate threads of emails is crazy. Let’s just share everything in Google Docs. Whatever. So I’ve been uploading my reports to GoogleDocs and sending email notifications of it. Yesterday, S asked me, “What happened to your reports?” Uh… What?! Apparently, for months now, they have all been under the impression that I just stopped doing them. She wanted to know why I stopped sending them individual emails. WHAAAAAT?! Excuse me while I put myself in timeout.

-I’ve been organizing the delivery/collection of promo items from sponsors to be included in participant bags. One of the sponsors I’ve been dealing with for MONTHS just dropped a bomb on me. Their promo items won’t be delivered until next week Thursday. We’re stuffing the bags on Monday and Tuesday. This is a problem. Guess what. The committee thinks this is my fault. Forget that I have called the sponsor numerous times AND emailed with the deadlines. Forget that I left messages for them from Thursday of last week until Tuesday while they were away. Forget all of that. It is MY fault because *I* didn’t translate the urgency to them. HA! I emailed the overall coordinator who is receiving all items since we are stuffing bags at her house. It said, “Good morning [Woman], I just received a response from [Sponsor] on the [promo item]. They will be delivered next week Thursday.” This email is a huge problem because I did not state explicitly that this a problem and does not work with our current schedule for bag stuffing. Why is that necessary again? Do we not all know the schedule? They can’t CHANGE the delivery date MAGICALLY, ok? We have to work with what we’ve got. We may have to drop that item in the bags later, or hand them out with the bags, or have participants collect them at the start line. No, it’s not as seamless, but it CAN WORK. What will not work is harping on the problem.

-They were under the impression that I have not been checking in on the signs we’re having done/revamped. In reality, I have emailed him at least twice per day. I have been calling him at least once per day. He now answer the phone, “Hi, Alicia, from [organization name].” I told S (who called the meeting) that I have been in constant communication with him. She had no response so A (who was just sitting there, doing whatever, listening – I have no idea why she was even there other than to be entertained) said, “Yes, but we don’t know that you’re doing these things. You never told us.” Ok. So in addition to the weekly reports, I should create a GoogleDoc detailing the time I spend emailing/calling people? Please. Do not do this to me.

You know what… At the end of the day, I am thankful for a few things.

  • I know myself.
  • I know that I am competent.
  • I know that I am intelligent.
  • I do not feel the need to overcompensate for issues that people have that really have nothing to do with me.
  • I know my worth.
  • I know that I deserve to be treated with respect.
  • It is not my fault when someone else screws up. It doesn’t matter if it is a committee member, a founder, a sponsor, a supplier, or a participant. I will not hold myself responsible for another person’s mess.
  • I continuously go above and beyond the call of duty.
  • All of my work is a reflection of me, my abilities, and my work ethic. What other people see or know me to be doing is not. That is not the entire picture.
  • There is no need for me to detail everything that I have done when my tasks are clear, and completed as given.
  • There are more opportunities available to me than I can imagine.
  • I have to sit in the driver’s seat of my life. That includes my career.
  • All that glitters is not gold.
  • I need to find a way out.
  • I need to be prudent. My next few decisions must be made carefully.

Enough about me! How about you? What are you thankful for?

Writer Wednesday: ROW80 Round 2

How about a writing challenge that’s specific to your goals? A Round of Words in 80 Days is starting in a few days. On my birthday, April 2, to be exact.

Info shamelessly copied from here:

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

We are all different and we all have different demands on our time.  Why should we all have the same goal?  The simple answer is that we shouldn’t.  If you want to be a writer, then you have to be able to roll with the punches and adapt to your changing circumstances.  If that means changing your goals when your life blows up, so be it.  ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life. For more on why I started it, see this post.

So here’s the skinny:

  • We have 4 rounds a year, each running 80 days.  
  • Your goal can be anything you like as long as it is measurable (e.g. number of words/pages, specified amount of time to spend on writing per day/week, number of pages edited, etc.–for more on what makes a measurable goal, see this post).
  • Once you have settled on a goal, you write it up on your blog (yes, you must have one) and link to it on the Goals Linky for the Round, which will be posted on the ROW80 Blog.
  • If your goal changes before the end of the 80 days, simply write up a new goals post and link to it on the latest check-in day.
  • We have check-ins twice a week on Wednesday and Sundays where you will update us the same way (e.g. write up a blog post of your progress and link to it on that day’s linky).
  • On Twitter we use a hashtag of #ROW80 if you wanna come hang out.  Or if you’re more into Facebook, you can find that here.
  • And if you happen to find us after a round has begun, just write up your goals post and hop on in whenever.  We’re a friendly bunch.
  • Be sure to grab the ROW80 badge from the sidebar on the ROW80 Blog(right click, save image location, then chuck it in your blog’s image widget or grab some basic image html and use a text widget).

So, what do you think? Wanna join in the fun? Read this post to learn how to sign up.

Wordless Wednesday: Phone and Food

The first ever Nokia cellphone, carried by a senior citizen. I didn't think anyone still had them... Or that today's SIM cards would work in them. Remember the changeable faces? Nostalgia dot com!

 

Monday night dinner. Burritos... But in a pita pocket? Yezzz! With an avocado-jalapeno salsa dip. Woot, woot!

Five Question Friday

1. If you were free to just hop in the car and drive, where would you go? Or, if you could hop a plane and go anywhere, where?
Ummm… The beach? There aren’t many places that a car can take me on a 21×7 rock. If I could hop on a plane, I’d choose where I’m going based on how much time I have to spare. I’d probably go with somewhere in Canada.
2. What’s your most recently read favorite book?
One of my favourites is The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.
3. What’s your favorite Spring Break memory?
I never had a spring break.
4. What do you put in your child’s Easter basket? Or, for those w/o kids, what was put in your childhood basket?
I used to get colouring books, chocolate, eggs with candy inside, a chocolate bunny (FAVE!), crayons, and other cool stuff. My paternal grandmother made the baskets herself, so we never got junk. My great-grandmother gave us baskets too. We were the only children who got2-4 baskets every year.
5. Do you get a summer haircut?
I get haircuts all the time. Ok, no, not really. I’m lazy about it. I only get my hair cut every 4-6 weeks. That’s terrible since I should really go every 2 weeks, but I don’t have the time to spare. I just get it cut really short, and when it gets long-ish, I let it curl right up so it doesn’t show that I need a cut badly.
Join the 5QF fun!

Thankful Thursday

It’s one of those days that I have to make it snappy, so here we go. I’m thankful for:

  • Modern medicine
  • Old-school remedies
  • Transportation
  • Hunger Games coming out this weekend!!!!!!!
  • Opportunities to write
  • New ideas
  • Internet resources
  • Education
  • Stir fry made by Babe. SO good!
  • Ice cream

What are you thankful for?

Writer Wednesday: Novel Structure

Sara Toole Miller helps you determine the structure of your novel. Read her post here.

Wordless Wednesday: Burger and Fries

Grain, meat, veggies, fruit... Well-balanced meal, I say!

 

Homemade burger! I like mine with lettuce, tomato, lots of pickles, jalepenos, mustard, (a silly face of) ketchup, and just a little bit of mayo. 🙂

13 Things About The Book Thief

I’m about halfway through The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak), and I’m really enjoying it. I can’t do a real review yet, but here are a few things I like about the book:

  1. It’s narrated by the grim reaper/death.
  2. The author throws away the ideas of subtleties in foreshadowing. You know a lot of things that are going to happen before you think you should, but it works. Mostly because you have no idea how or why those things will happen.
  3. The reader is directly addressed by the narrator. (I really like this because I’ve always wanted to write a book this way. It’s cool that I got to read one that does that.)
  4. Random German phrases. Babe and I affectionately call each other Saumensch and Saukerl from time to time.
  5. The secondary characters are as interesting as the primary characters. Their appearances always evoke a reaction like, “Oh, YAY! Him again,” or “Ugh… Not this prick again!”
  6. The reader knows just enough. Not too little, and not too much. It’s a delicate balance.
  7. I have no idea if this book is supposed to be young adult, or just plain fiction. Gotta love that in a book. (If you’ve read The Hunger Games, you understand the effect I’m talking about.)
  8. The Holocaust. I have no idea why this is so interesting to me, but it is. Movies and books that are directly related to it, or just around that time period grab me and hold me in the air until they’re done.
  9. History. See above.
  10. Awesome quotes. In talking about human nature, the narrator says, “So much good, so much evil. Just add water.” Another great one is, “The words were born on her breath, and died at her lips.”
  11. I think I forgot to mention quotes. “Her teeth were like a soccer crowd, crammed in.”
  12. The Jesse Owens incident. The main character’s best friend painted himself black and ran 100 metres, to see what it felt like to be Jesse Owens.
  13. Won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book. Someday, I’ll have a book to enter in the competition. Maybe – just maybe – that book will win.

Weekend Recap

FRIDAY

  • I like my ice cream on a cone, but I don't like the cone.

    Ryan (my 4-year old cousin) hung out with us for the night while his dad went to a meeting. I love when he visits! (He lives on another island with his mother.)

  • Babe and I took him to a new game room. It’s pretty cool with about 15 flat screens set up with game consoles like XBox and Wii.
  • He chose to play PacMan, a Mario Bros monster truck driving game, and something else I don’t remember.
  • It was hilarious, watching him play the games and get so excited that he couldn’t sit down.
  • We fed him Cheetos, root beer, and vanilla familla ice cream in a cone. The cone was not consumed.
  • When we were about to leave, “Sexy and I Know It” played. Of course, the child stopped, struck a pose, and said, “SEXY AND I KNOW IT!” The woman who was helping us said, “Awww, he’s so cuuute!” Hahaha.
  • As we walked down the sidewalk (in the shopping centre) from the game room to the ice cream parlour, he stopped about 3 times to strike a pose and remind us that he’s, “SEXY AND I KNOW IT!” Hilarious.
  • While hanging out in the ice cream parlour, after we were done eating our ice cream, he told us the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” I kid you not, the boy told the story VERBATIM. It was amazing. When he was done telling the story, we sang a few nursery rhymes.
  • In the car, we turned the radio up and sang and danced.
  • His dad’s meeting went later than expected. We found a spot to park and listen to music. Eventually, I got out of the car to entertain him with dance, and he joined me, dancing in the dark, on the side of the road. FUN.

SATURDAY

  • We didn’t go running. 😦 It rained in the early hours of the morning, and by 6am, it was wet and gross. We just stayed in bed.
  • At 6am, there were two doorbell rings. We were annoyed, and hell-bent on ignoring. Eventually, I realized that it was probably my cousin, meeting us to run. I opened the door, told her we were still in bed, and she could come in and sleep or something until time for yoga.
  • Babe and I didn’t end up continuing to sleep. We chatted and laughed in bed, and then decided to get ready.
  • Yoga was great. It was a rather relaxing class. We didn’t do anything too taxing. Leg raises were the toughest part. We also did sun salutations, warrior poses, triangle, shoulder stand, bridge, and breathing exercises.
  • We left feeling relaxed and refreshed. Off we went to get breakfast!
  • Unlike last week, they did NOT run out of my Saturday morning special. Babe and I had our desired breakfasts, and we watched two episodes of Modern Family (we may be slightly addicted) and an episode of Downton Abbey (another slight addiction).
  • We just relaxed for the rest of the day, with our nooks. Babe is reading Graceling, and I’m still reading The Book Thief. SO good!
  • We were bad girls and had chocolate cake (me), tiramisu (Babe) and nachos for dinner.

SUNDAY

  • No run again. The weather did not cooperate.
  • We did some cleaning, and more Modern Family + Downton Abbey + reading
  • The usual FamJam at my great-gram’s house. Ryan was there.
  • I got lots of spontaneous hugs from Ryan throughout the afternoon. I even got a “Myyy Alicia!” with one of the hugs. 🙂
  • When I was leaving, Ryan started to cry. My heart broke a little. I told him to be sure to call me when he’s back in Nassau. He left for Abaco this morning.
GOAL FOR THIS WEEK
  • 300 word Flash Fiction + 2 edits
  • Complete character development for novel
  • Outline ideas for children’s books
  • Start work on grant proposal for business
  • Find an illustrator for children’s books + Get quotes
  • Complete registration folders for the event
  • Record ideas from The Book Thief, A Secret Kept, and The Forgotten Garden

How was your weekend? Did you do anything interesting? What’s your week looking like?

Five Question Friday

1. Will you run to the store or to pick up a kid looking a mess?
Looking a mess? Not quite. I wouldn’t doll up. A short dress or shorts and a tank would do. I’d put a cap on if my 1 inch hair doesn’t meet society’s standards. Lol. I rolled out of bed one night to get my niece from a party, and I just threw on a short dress and flip-flops. *shrugs* I figure I’m fine as long as I can step out of the car, and manage to put air in the tires.
2. Do you finish a book if it’s boring or you don’t like it?
Never. Babe has tried to get me to read one or two books that I just could not get into. I had to explain to her that reading is something that I do for pleasure. I have always loved it. There are far too many good books out there – books that I can appreciate – for me to waste time fighting through books that I just don’t like. If the first few pages don’t grab me, I don’t see how I can end up liking it. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a prime example (though not Babe’s suggestion). People kept telling me that if I “could just get through the first 100 pages…” Um, what?! No. I’m not supposed to feel like I’m working. The AUTHOR was supposed to do the work. He/She is supposed to make me WANT to read it. Fail.
3. Beach or mountain vacations?
Since I live on an island, I’ll go with mountain vacations. I’d love to be able to climb and hike. I’d still like to have an island vacation (on a different island of The Bahamas) at some point. I think it would be terrible to travel all over the world, but not know/see/experience what is in my own backyard. 700 islands and cays (not all inhabited)… I need to go to at least 5 of them.
4. What thing/event says “winter will end and spring is right around the corner” to you?
When the water gets warm again, I guess. We don’t really have a winter here. When I lived in Halifax, it was tulips. Seeing them pop up always made me smile.
5. Would you prefer couples or family vacation?
I really don’t know. I’ve never had either. I think both would be great. If I had to choose right now, I’d go with couples since we don’t have a family. Yet.
My week has been pretty good. It got rocky yesterday evening. Seriously, it doesn’t take much to change my mood sometimes. I was quite happy and feeling good until ONE comment was made. I’m under a lot of pressure these days, and I’m finding it a lot harder to deal with being told what to do and how to do it, random, unwanted criticism, and negativity. I’m just not in a place to deal with it in a positive way. I’m also not in a place where I can respond to issues as they arise. I am not a confrontational person to begin with, but at this time, I feel that I am a lot more likely to curl into myself. I’m a loner by nature. It’s only by very intentional thoughts and actions that I interact with others. It’s been a work in progress for a long time, and I don’t expect it to just flow every single day. Some days are harder than others, I guess.
I think I may be overdue for a good cry. Or scream session? I am SO not a crier, but because I don’t talk, talk, talk, a lot of things never get out of my system until I actually breakdown and cry. Lucky for me, I’ve been running and practicing yoga. This has definitely been helping. I’m one of those people that needs to be active, and using exercise as a release and refresher. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Took my lunch to the beach. Sat there to clear my head.

This weekend, there were a few things that I wanted to do. Lots of changes have happened with the plans, and now I’m just not interested. I’m not very flexible. I make a conscious effort to be, but right now, I can’t be bothered. When plans change, I get really annoyed, or very uninterested. Especially with things that I talk myself into. For example, a book binding workshop was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Help was needed to bind booklets for another event, so teaching people how to do it was an easy way to get help, I guess. I RSVPed on Facebook. A few days ago, they said they no longer need to bind the books, but will host a free workshop anyway, and people can make scrapbooks. Me? No longer interested. Thanks, but no thanks. I have no desire to express any sort of creativity, or to sit around doing something very basic (because I suck at artsy things) while people around me are doing awesome things. No, thanks. I talked myself into doing the book binding thing that would have simply been following instructions. I’m not interested in pressuring myself to be creative, and make my own scrapbook. Screw it.

Ok, whoooa. Lemme slow down. It’s still been a good week. I got a lot of things done. Yes, there is still a lot left to do. Yes, a lot of people have pissed me off this week. Work is getting crazy. The event is 29 days away. Hooolyyy! I’m getting a lot of flack for a lot of things that have nothing to do with me. When I get home, I really just want to relax. But there are things to do. Cleaning. Cooking. I can’t expect Babe to continue to do it all. I really have to pull my own weight. Then, of course, there’s the writing. It has to happen.
BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE. Balance is what I’m striving for. It’s always been what I’ve wanted in life. Until this point, I have succeeded. Now, it’s more difficult. I don’t want to say that it’s just not possible for the next 29 days or so. That would be quitting. I can’t quit. I just need to wind down and figure things out. Maybe the weekend (with nothing to do) will help. Maybe.
Random thing I just remembered: My birthday is in two weeks. There are/will be no plans. It will suck. I am (mentally/emotionally) ready.
The silver-lining to all these clouds: I am alive. And living. Not just breathing. And there will always be a better day.
How was your week? Do you have plans for the weekend? How do you express yourself best?