Making time is harder than it sounds

I understand that writing is what you put into it, but I did not expect it to be so difficult to “put into it”.  Shortly before I started this endeavor, I started back at school (as I’ve mentioned before).  I scheduled all four of my classes on Tue and Thur.  I gave myself a lunch and dinner break, thinking I could get some writing in between.  Instead, I’ve ended up using those breaks for homework.  I try very hard to stay ahead and keep from working on assignments every day of the week since I’d like to have some time for myself and my family.

So here I am, by myself with some time to write.  Now, I’m struggling to find words to type.  I’d work on some of the projects I have in mind, but there isn’t much accountability unless I post something on here, which I’m scared to do because I don’t want someone to plagiarize my material.  Not like I’m conceited enough to assume someone wants to steal my ideas, I’m just paranoid.  And who knows, maybe I have a mental goldmine!

In any case, I think my best bet is to start putting my ideas to “paper”.  If you don’t hear from me in a while, there’s a chance I’m actually writing.

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Procrastination?

If all I have to do is write, why do I find it so difficult?  A couple of theories: I’m concerned my children will try to take away my chromebook, I’m scared I won’t have anything to write, or maybe I don’t always feel like it.  Two out of those three involve fear and insecurity.  Why is that?  What do I have to be afraid of?

Sometimes I worry that I’m not capable of writing or that nobody will read what I’ve written.  I’m starting to think that maybe that doesn’t matter.  If that is why I’m writing, no wonder I have concerns about substance.  I have a feeling that I should be writing from the heart.  Then the issue becomes one of heart.  I think I am scared of being vulnerable, which is silly.  I want to write because I feel I have something important to say.  I have experiences that I want to share because I want to pay it forward.

I have lots of ideas and lots of memories to draw from.  I need to pick one and start writing about it.  My strength is in writing first-person narratives.  I can write poetry and short stories, but writing with my voice is what makes my perspective unique.  

Now as I type this, my one-year-old is spinning along the sofa.  It’s probably hard to picture, but he is standing up and basically rolling in that position along the sofa, where I am sitting.  His head is tilted back and he is making burbling sounds.  Poor thing is so tired.  So for now, I’m done, but I’ll be back again later.  Maybe today, maybe tomorrow.  Either way, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Spanish class

Today I worked on my homework for Spanish.  Our assignment was to read a news story on BBC news in Spanish, write a summary, and include a sentence or two in response to the article.  It’s not long, maybe half a page or slightly more.  The funny thing is any time I do any work for Spanish or have Spanish class, English feels foreign.  What makes it funny to me is that I never experienced that in my last two Spanish classes.  

In high school, I took Spanish through level 3.  I also went on a language immersion trip to Costa Rica for a week and a half in both my sophomore and senior years.  In Costa Rica, it was easy to speak Spanish automatically.  When it is all around you, you stop thinking in English and translating every word sentence by sentence.  After high school, I didn’t use Spanish so it seemed to slip away.  Because of UVA’s requirements, I am taking Spanish in college.  I earned A’s in both Spanish 101 and 102, probably due in part to my previous experience with Spanish.  After a year and a half break, I assumed I would struggle to succeed in Spanish 201, but I haven’t.  Our instructor speaks in Spanish almost the entire time and it is making a huge difference.  Not only is my Spanish coming back, but it is coming more easily as well.  Even in something as superficial as reading headlines in Spanish and summarizing.  Clearly my instructor is doing something right.

Practice Makes Perfect

They say that “practice makes perfect”.  We’ve all heard it a million times and we say it just as often to our own children, but how often do we “practice what we preach” (pun intended)?  I am guilty of this very common fallacy.  I say I’m going to do something, but rarely follow through.  However, I have a tendency of doing this, or rather not doing, only when it affects something I want.  For example, this blog, or even writing in general.  I had a passion for writing as a child and still have my journals, notebooks, and creative writing assignments from school.  After I started working though, writing never even crossed my mind.  I was too busy.  Now that I’m older and I’ve climbed the management ladder, I want to do something more productive with my time.  Making money is productive, but hardly fulfilling.

In seeking a degree, I’ve wrestled with choosing the right major.  I try to evaluate my passions and cross-reference careers that would provide some financial stability.  Painting: outdated (unless it’s computer generated); photography: requires additional facility; acting: ridiculously impossible; writing: too time-consuming with too little profit.  To be honest, I don’t habitually engage in any of those hobbies.  Can they even be considered passions?

The one thing I know for certain is that I love my children.  I am passionate about my children.  They are the reason I feel so compelled to acquire a financially secure position that does not require me to go to work within an hour of calling me for the purpose of selling a product that serves no benefit to anyone.  They are the reason I can’t get a degree that fails to provide me with a career, even if I love it.

Here’s the thing, I always feel that the dreams I have are too difficult or unrealistic to achieve, and yes, I may have a point.  I probably will never live in Costa Rica and study sea turtles for an income; however, I can write.  Perhaps I won’t earn a living, but maybe I can do something important.  Maybe I can provide some experience that may benefit someone.  I’ll never know until I try.  The only way I’ll try is by doing, by writing.  That can only occur through practice.

Cupcakes

Today a little girl had a party.  She invited seven of her friends to join her at a cake shop off of West Main Street.  This bakery was like no other bakery in town.  It was removed from the main drag, about fifty feet back from the road.  From the outside it appeared as a hut made of metal and glass.  Reflections peek back across the front of the building in big rectangular windows supported by a metallic frame.  It’s like an old gas station with robin’s egg blue paint.  There’s a small black and white awning over the door with the bakery’s name emblazoned on the front.

Inside the door were all sorts of sweet treats: candy, cakes, and cupcakes of all colors.  They had gummi worms, gummi bears, even gummi lips.  There were block shaped sweet tarts, rock candy sticks, and unicorn horn striped lollipops.  Everything looked tasty and very sugary. 

Down a hall and to the left, past a counter with bar stools overlooking the bakers at work, there are benches in corners and couches in a sitting area.  There is a small area that is walled off with sliding doors thrown open.  Inside are seven girls sitting at a square table with three mothers, one father, and one party planner provided by the bakery for events.  One little girl with short brown hair walks in and sits down with the others.  She knows no one other than the birthday girl.  The other girls don’t seem to know each other either.  Some are buddies from camp, classmates from school, and others are fellow gymnasts from gymnastics class.

The girls squeal with delight as they are given cupcakes to decorate.  One to eat and one to take home.  They squeeze buttercream, strawberry and chocolate frosting onto first marble then chocolate cupcakes.  Finally they add sprinkles and jimmies.  At last their masterpieces are complete.  

Yesterday the dentist

Yesterday I went to the dentist and wrote a blog post about it on my other blog “Hey, so today”.   Before going to bed, I wrote a poem about my dentist visit.  It just popped in my head as I laid in bed (rhyme mostly intentional).  I ended up typing it in Google docs because somehow I forgot my password for WordPress.  Not sure what happened, but I reset it this morning so here I am.  Below is my dentist poem from last night:

 

Dentist

Today

I went to the dentist

The dentist, you say?

Yes, the dentist. I said.

What did he say?

Was it good? Was it bad?

Did you have lots of plaque?

Um, it was good, I guess.

If you can say that 

about the dentist.

Plaque, why do you ask?

What an awkward thing to ask.

It’s the dentist.  Of course, there’s plaque.

Less so, still no

Pass for the next

dental checkup.

Early Break

Again it has been two days since posting.  I realize this is a bad trend; however, it is a trend that involves me actually writing.  I have no excuse and I will not make one.  Let’s just move past the apologies and the guilt.  As a heads up, there is likely to be another break in posts as I will be in Washington D.C. this weekend to celebrate my third anniversary with hubby.  Who knows, I might find time to share some events from the trip.  If not, we’ll be home by Monday and posts will likely resume then.

In other news, I’ve spent a lot of time researching phones and bachelor’s degrees.  The phone is something I’ve been working on for a few months.  The degree I’ve worked on for years, but keep changing my mind about what to declare when I transfer.

Earlier this summer, I finally bought an LG G2.  My EVO 4G LTE was starting to freak out periodically: disconnecting from the network, force closing, and losing voicemails.  All of which was occurring even after a factory reset.  I decided to get a new phone before it shut down completely.  I did a lot of research on specifications like battery life, processing speed, and especially the camera.  I went back and forth between a Samsung Galaxy and the G2.  My husband has the SIII and while it’s nice, it also experienced the freakish SIII Sudden Death.  It’s the Samsung version of Xbox 360’s Ring of Death.  The G2 had a great predecessor in the Optimus G, which I got for my mother, but hadn’t really proven itself against the big dogs of smartphones.  Realistically, I probably would have been happy with an Optimus G, but as I’ve mentioned, my mom has that phone.  I was under the opinion that I should have a nicer phone that my mother so I looked at the G2.  I was intrigued by the back buttons and the KnockOn feature.  I took the plunge and bought a barely used one from Ebay.  I fell in love with the KnockOn feature.  After using it for a couple weeks, I wanted to tap every screen to turn it on.  It’s also as fast as people and specs indicate.  My problem was that the 13 MP camera couldn’t capture my fast moving kids.  It did a weird blurring thing to compensate.  Basically, it had to go.  So after more research, I went with it’s successor, the LG G3.  The camera is much better so far and I like the interface.  Overall, I’m pretty happy with it.  I can’t say I don’t have a bit of buyer’s remorse, especially considering the extra money added to my phone bill each month, but I’m glad that I’m not screaming at my phone any more because it can’t take a simple picture of my children.

The research on degrees has been equally time consuming, but much more stressful.  Here’s the deal: I graduated high school and went straight to George Mason.  I went in with an Anthropology major because I thought it would better suit my interests.  I could learn about language, sociology, and a variety of topics so I was unlikely to get bored.  The problem is that you can’t do much with a degree in Anthropology.  I felt like I was locked into teaching if I pursued that degree so I switched to undeclared.  I withdrew from school when my father died and focused on work.  I got married, had a child, and became a store manager.  After doing that for two years, I found myself burnt out on retail and disillusioned with the position.  I wanted to go back to school and get a degree that would secure me a job that didn’t feel like a high opportunity cost.  It sounds shallow, but financial security would be appreciated.  I want the degree for more reasons than that though.  More than anything else, I want the pride of saying I have a degree.  The problem is what degree.  I don’t have time to waste on a degree that doesn’t pay off.  I’m not opposed to hard work and dedication.  I’m opposed to getting a degree that has little to no demand.  I want to find a career that I feel good about.  If I have to be away from my kids, I’d like some sort of pay off.  I need to either make some money or gain some fulfillment.  My preference is to have both.  I don’t want it to sound like all I care about is money, but I have three children and a husband living on a teacher’s salary, which is not even close to where it should be for what he goes through teaching at a private school.  The educational system is a whole other topic that deserves a lengthy discussion.  Point is, I have a lot of reasons for wanting a degree, but no real clue about what career I want to get out of it.  There are facets of my job that I want, but I’m struggling to pin down what I would enjoy doing.  So far, I don’t like history and I’ve fallen out of love with biology and environmental science.  I’m looking at local universities to see what majors seem like a good fit.  The next step for me is to meet with an adviser.  Hopefully then I’ll find some direction.

 

Not Gonna Happen

     There are those that can power through and maintain a routine no matter what.  I am not typically one of those people.  I’d love to say that I am so that I could advise you on how you could be one too.  

     The reason I bring this up at all is that my day started with getting my daughter on the bus to camp at 8 am, then became a day of math from 9 am until 3:30 pm.  As I mentioned before, I wanted to take a math placement test and score well enough to get into Statistics and Finite Mathematics.  The problem was that I was sorely out of practice.  My husband and I spent two days working on the practice test provided to help prepare me.  Today’s math began with me reviewing for four hours and culminated with me taking the placement test.

     Thanks to our work, I was able to successfully test into both classes that I wanted.  Now that that is all done with, I can get back to focusing on writing…tomorrow.  That is, until next week when I start all my classes.

Do math problems count as writing?

Today I worked on math problems for five hours.  I’m brushing up on my skills before I take a math placement test.  To register for any math class for college credit, I must take the placement test.  You may be wondering why I can’t use my SAT scores.  It has been ten years since I took them.  Last I checked, which was when I first registered for classes two years ago, I would have to go through a lot of hoops to access my scores because the records get shelved after six years or so.  In any case, since I haven’t taken a math class for over ten years, I’m better off having my math teacher husband tutor me.  So far, we’ve moved through Algebra I, Algebra II, and some Pre-Calculus in two days.  To be fair, I did complete Algebra I and II in middle and high school with A’s, or high B’s at the very least.  However, I was never taught Trigonometry so when I got to Pre-Calc and our first day was spent covering the unit circle, I knew I was screwed.  Since I already had a part-time job to help support my family (a story for another day), I wasn’t always available for extra tutoring after school.  Suffice to say, I was not going to pass with a high grade and since I didn’t need the math credit, I withdrew and transferred to a creative writing class.  Trust me, I was much more productive and successful.

 

The good news for me is that I’ve written for almost thirty minutes by simply relaying this information.  I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a small victory.  Eventually the action of writing each day will become a habit.  As it becomes a habit, the content will get better.  The more I flex my mental muscle, the stronger it will become.  Sometime soon, I will work up to a poem or a short story.  For now, the only short stories I have are anecdotes from my day.  Again, bear with me as I mold my behavior.

I’ve already failed

  I said the goal was to write thirty minutes a day. If you can read dates, you might have noticed that my last (first) post was two days ago.  Ouch.  Barely started and I’ve already failed my own mission.  To be fair, I had every intention of writing yesterday, but when I logged into WordPress, I spent twenty minutes sampling themes so that this blog is visually satisfying.  I still couldn’t get it quite right and then True Blood came on so that was that.  Because after True Blood, we watch The Strain.  Then it’s bedtime because I have young children that exhaust me and that wake up around six in the morning.  That’s excluding any night wakings that may occur, further disrupting my sleep.

Today will be more successful.  In fact, it already is.  I created a post on my original blog “Hey, So Today” on Blogspot talking about this writing project and blog.  After typing that, I’m wondering what kind of formatting a blog title requires.

PS. This post will show up today although it was written yesterday.  I left it unfinished, planning on writing more, and then I forgot about it until this morning.  Not an uncommon practice of mine.