Small Victories

I find nothing more overwhelming than a massive “to do” list, where you have 87 things that all have to be done right now. Unfortunately as of late I’ve let myself get tricked into looking at the big picture, when what I need to do is stop and focus on small details and victories that I can get done, and let them add up over time.

(Earlier this year I did that to get rid of a lot of old clothes and things I no longer needed, and it worked pretty well.)

On the bright side, now that I’ve started to shift back to smaller projects, things are getting done. One of the big projects that’s been on my list for a while is to clean up the bookshelves, which are choked with extra stacks of books on their side here and there and everywhere; it’s a royal mess. I’ve been focusing on just one or two shelves at a time; pulling the extra books off, finding homes for them, and (in the process) trying to figure out if there are other things on the shelves they’re going towards that I could instead find a good home for, or donate to charity. I’d say about half of the bookshelves in my room are now looking great, so I’m getting there.

The one downside is that I now have about eight bags of stuff that need to be sorted through in order to leave, but that has to wait until the library starts taking donations again, which will be later this month.

The other project, which I’m aiming to start tackling next week, will be to go through my t-shirts and polo shirts and weed out ones I no longer wear and donate them. I have way too many of both type of shirt and could really stand to get rid of a lot. (I like to pretend I could get rid of half of them. If I actually hit 25% I will be pleased.) Since the temperature is shifting to cooler weather it’s time to rotate back out the long-sleeved shirts anyway, so it’s as good a time as any.

Last but not least, after having let it stall out 2 1/2 years ago (yeesh), I finally started scanning in more of the beautiful sketches artists have drawn for me in my wine-themed sketchbook, and starting tomorrow they’ll start showing up on Wednesdays again. You can see the past drawings through this link, and it’ll be fun to start sharing some more of them. The sketches I scanned in yesterday only take me to the end of July 2002, so there are still a lot to come. I finally finished up the book at SPX this year, so it felt like the time was right to get them up and out there again.

(How the heck is it already October?)

Hurricane Greg

I was originally going to start this post by saying that there is no actual Hurricane Greg of note, because my name is trapped on the Pacific Ocean list of names for hurricanes, and as we all know hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean usually don’t hit anything. (Not to be confused with typhoons, of course, smashing into parts of Asia.) But I was wrong! Hurricane Greg in 1999 actually hit the Baja Penninsula in Mexico. So yay for Hurricane Greg!

Anyway, Hurricane Greg seems to finally be slowing down. Several weeks of super-busy stuff at work has kept me plowing through all sorts of graphics and storyboards and other such exciting things (ironicaly, some of the photos were of hurricanes), plus already-determined-in-advance commitments plugged in there as well, but things are a little more sedate right now. I knew things were getting better when earlier in the week I went home and the top of my list was “go through the stack of mail from the past two weeks” and “vacuum.” (The latter of which really couldn’t be achieved until the former had gotten rid of all the piles of mail scattered around my living room.)

I actually hate being overly busy; it gets me tired and a little stressed out the longer that it happens. And once it’s over, I usually end up veering sharply in the other direction so that people ask me if I want to do things and my answer is, “No.” I’m too busy recharging my batteries.

Meanwhile, I have two races coming up and they’re 8 and 16 days away. I’m honestly not convinced that I’m 100% prepared for either of them. I’ve got enough mileage under my belt that a half-marathon and a 10-miler shouldn’t kill me, but I don’t think at the same time that I will do as well as I could. We’ll see what happens. I’m absolutely running the half-marathon no matter what, but I can play it by ear on the latter. (And of course, Charlie is running his very first marathon as I run my half-marathon! He is quite well prepared and I expect him to rock it out, and probably beat my personal record to boot.)

Other than that, things are going normal as per usual. Charlie and I hit our one year mark next month, which is a little hard to believe that it’s already been that long. It honestly feels like it was just a couple of months ago that we met. We were talking about going away for the weekend, but prior commitments mean that it almost certainly won’t happen, unfortunately. Oh well. We actually have (through sheer luck) tickets to see Tamerlano performed by the DC Opera on the actual day, so that’ll do for a celebration.

I’m still trying to decide if I will renew my Shakespeare Theatre subscription for next season, or just pick-and-choose plays. The selection (and pricing) isn’t quite as top-notch as this season’s, although three of the seven are must-sees for me. (King Lear, Ion, and Twelfth Night.) The nice things about a subscription, though, include the ease in swapping out to a different night as necessary, the fact that it gets me out to see things I wouldn’t otherwise, and better seats. We’ll see, I have a week and a half to decide and I keep flip-flopping back and forth.

Now all I need is the temperature to go up just a wee bit and stay there and I will be one happy camper. Hurrah for the return of spring!

(And hopefully more regular updates from now on.)

It’s Already February?

Yeah, I know. Time flies and such similar phrases. But I can honestly say that I feel like I haven’t come up for air all year, and I don’t have much to show for it. Sure, earlier in January was when we saw Tamburlaine, and my friend Rob had hosted the videogame bonanza a few weekends ago, which was a lot of fun.

But since then? It’s funny because it’s hard to articulate what I’ve done but every day has just felt really busy. Some time was spent getting the reviews up and running again, and a bunch of time was spent working on different projects for the day job. (Plus one Sunday working at Big Planet, which was enjoyable but busy busy busy in terms of selling things all day long.)

This afternoon my plan was to go running, but after errands were finally finished, I had about enough energy left to… well, not run. (Stomach problems finally sealed the day on not going running after all. Bah.) So instead it was more sorting through things, some writing, more errands, getting ready for a business trip that I leave for shortly, plus knowing as soon as I get back from that trip I’ll be turning back around and heading out on another trip two days later.

On the bright side, at least one thing is in order—reviews are now “banked” all the way through February 18th, when I get back. So that’s a nice feeling to have all of that taken care of in advance, and looking at the display in WordPress actually let me give off a little sigh of relief. But while my boss very kindly gave us all Monday off as a “mental health day” (I think she knows how much we all need it!), I’m going to probably end up going in for at least part of the day so I can box up all the materials for the pilot test that I have to go run elsewhere in the country, and get that sent off. I don’t want to leave it until Tuesday because I suspect it’s going to be a busy day as is.

(Really, I wanted to get that trip to the office taken care of today… but it’s now 9:40pm and I’m just now coming up for air. Yeesh.)

Once all of this is over, hopefully a social life will start getting rebuilt. I had dinner with Butch on Thursday night and the last time I actually saw him was in November. And sadly I think that’s not even the worst “how long has it been since you’ve seen…?” but I shudder to think what the longest time gap is. Clearly, I need to win that lottery soon so I can finally get that life of leisure.

On the bright side, at least I’ve never been a football fan, so that means I didn’t have to worry about missing the Superbowl. (I’m ambivalent about it, but glad that it wasn’t a priority because it certainly wouldn’t have happened at this end today.)

Ok! A tiny bit of cleaning, maybe a tiny bit of television, but I think the real order of business right now? Just go to bed, and deal with everything else that needs to be taken care of tomorrow.

Radio Contact Has Been Established

I feel like that’s what I should be hearing whenever I update my website, these days. It’s been one of those everyone-all-at-once sort of months; nothing terribly huge, per se, just lots of little things that threaten to overwhelm my schedule.

On the bright side, after this weekend, things slow down a bit. I already had my final long-training-run of the season (a 22-miler) this past Sunday, which went pretty well aside from a relatively recently problem with a foot cramping (and some nasty heat). I did head off to the podiatrist to talk to him about the foot, and he diagnosed it as a strained muscle in the arch of my right foot. So right now I’m not running (as to let it heal) but fortunately the elliptical and swimming are both doctor-approved forms of exercise so that I don’t lose too much conditioning. I’m hoping to start running again on the 21st but like so many things I will play it by ear.

The other big time sink about to vanish is the Small Press Expo, which is this weekend. Even though I’m no longer first or even second-in-command of the show, it does take up a lot of my time. The nice thing is that the one big thing I’m in charge of (the Ignatz Awards) seems to be all under control, and more importantly it means I can get rid of all those boxes of books that were submitted to the jury (we’re auctioning them off) that are cluttering up my office.

Early Light(Oh, and my picture project continues to move towards its conclusion. Some days I get irritated with the whole, “Oh great, stop and think of something to photograph” aspect that it can create. Other times, like very early this morning, I find myself glad that I have my camera with me as I got to see the morning sky over a church in DC. The shot may not come out quite as I’d wanted, but with each photograph I still feel like I’m really learning.)

There are a bunch of things I kept meaning to write about, like going to the opera for the first time ever (it was nice), or an overly-friendly employee at the CostCo (the fine line between being outgoing and flirting and how to recognize the difference), or the terrifying person who really was flirting with me at a Baja Fresh (next time I’m faking a seizure). But after long days of running, or e-mailing jurors, or scanning and scanning and scanning in covers and excerpts, it’s just felt like there’s no real energy left. Things definitely came to a head last week when I finally ended up crashing (energy-level that is) and having to stay home because I had finally hit empty.

So while I’m looking forward to SPX this weekend, and Karon’s birthday party at the RennFaire next weekend, and the marathon in November, and continuing to spend quality time with Charlie, I’m also looking forward to some quiet time. Scaling back on running (although I am in taper mode now anyway so that’s happening), actually getting some reviews written (I literally have three half-written reviews all begging for an ending), doing a little redecorating (new bookshelves in the living room), and just sitting down and reading.

Speaking of which, I must say that one of the things I’ve loved doing the most lately is reading the two Jaime Hernandez Love & Rockets re-issues over the course of the past couple weeks. Dave introduced me to the comic back in 1991 down at JMU and it was pretty revelatory. The new reprints are beautifully designed, an easier size to handle, and most importantly they’re just full of amazing material. I thought I’d read Maggie the Mechanic over the course of a month or so, but a week later I was picking up The Girl From H.O.P.P.E.R.S. to head right into. Gilbert Hernandez will be at SPX, so I’m looking forward to getting copies of Heartbreak Soup and Human Diastrophism from him with which to do the same thing. It’s so great to re-discover an old favorite.

Anyway, yes, I am alive. I really will try and update a tiny bit often with something of vague interest. In the meantime, you can imagine me looking at the lovely gray skies and cool temperatures outside, sipping some green tea, and just giving a sigh of relief because I can finally push my office chair back without smacking into boxes of books. A small victory, but a great one.

Long Delayed Update

In FlightA friend pointed out to me recently that I haven’t really updated since going to West Virginia three weeks ago. “What have you been up to? People want to know!” he insisted. Well, all right then. What I’ve been up to.

I started raising bees after getting back, because if one of my favorite authors can do it, surely I can too. It’s been quite fun, I’ve given each of the 500 bees their own name based on personality. There’s Fuzzy, Spunky, Flighty, Zippy, Sluggy, Bashful, Dizzy, Spazzy, Giggly, Loudmouth, Horny, Lazy, Chatterbox, and Purple Nurple… to name a few. I’ll spare you pictures of all of my little bee friends, but here’s just one. I think this one is Zsa Zsa. Or is it Portly? I get the two so confused.

Last week I met Delta Burke. For those who don’t know what’s up with the former-Suzanne-Sugarbaker, she’s now living in a gorgeous plantation-style mansion in the Deep South, also known as the Fairlington neighborhood of Arlington. Her twin daughters had been kidnapped by Gary Coleman by order of former mayor Marion Barry, and I had to wrestle Coleman and his flunkies on top of a Metro train speeding underneath the Potomac River. You’ll be relieved to know that Delta and her adorable children (Sigma and Theta) are now reunited. After all that was over, we ate rhubarb-strawberry pie, the perfect end to all adventures.

Then, earlier in the week, while at the public library I found a copy of the Necrocodex mere seconds after a bratty little kid summoned up That Which Cannot Be Named from the depths of the sunken city of R’leyh. (Due to its power to sap electricity, I couldn’t get a picture. But here’s an artist’s rendition of the event.)

Now, this was not good. First, the Dolly Madison Public Library will need all new carpets, because that slime is not coming out no matter how much cleaning solution and Stain-B-Gone they use. I mean, seriously, that is some putrid stuff. So who’s going to pay for that? The unfortunate tax payers of Fairfax County, that’s whom. (Good thing I live in Arlington now.)

Second, I am pretty sure that I lost my retainer in the scuffle. My orthodontist is going to kill me. I’m sure he’s going to think I accidentally threw it out with the rest of my lunch while at school. Those things are expensive.

Third, have you ever actually fought That Which Cannot Be Named? It’s a real pain in the rear, believe you me. Just tentacles and eyeballs and nothing to really punch. Honestly, if there hadn’t been a nearby cement mixer just parked with the keys still in the ignition, I’m not sure just what I’d have done. As it is, I was only able to immobilize it long enough to rename That Which Cannot Be Named to something that rolls of the tongue a little more. And I’ve always liked the name Raoul.

So, with Raoul scurrying back off to R’leyh (Raoul had to go fill out all sorts of name change forms), that just about wrapped up what I’ve been doing these last three weeks.

Oh yeah, and last night I went running for 10 miles.

…Yeah, who am I kidding, I didn’t think you’d believe that last one either.



(Hopefully everyone else has been having a more exciting last couple of weeks! I think I can sum it up as being nothing but working, running, playing Phoenix Wright and Puzzle Quest on the NintendoDS, watching some HBO shows, and a tiny bit of reading. Bring on something more riveting in September!)