Facing the Future Part 2

On a different, but related subject, today while dredging through my workload, my mind wandered to a variety of other tasks I would rather be doing instead of my daily grind. Things like cutting out patterns, playing video games, trying to catch up on recorded anime while crocheting, sleeping (which I actually did before noon; I took a half hour nap because I was so drained), etc.

As it was, I managed to push through my work so that I could spend the rest of my evening watching Netflix and cutting out a pattern. But these wandering snippets got me thinking on how much I dislike my work. Lately, it really does feel like work. Whereas other things like crocheting and gaming make me feel energized and alive. Even the prospect of cutting out a sewing pattern was more appealing than working.

Which got me thinking on how much better (or worse) life would be if I could actually spend my time making things for other people. I love crocheting blankets especially, but I can also make hats and I recently began making amigurumi, but as long as I have a pattern, I could make pretty much anything, because crocheting soothes my anxiety. And I might still be learning how to sew, but I think once I became skilled enough, I could probably do some cosplay stuff for other people beside myself. I think I would enjoy creating beautiful cosplay items.

This also comes on the back of someone close to me wanting to make and sell jewelry on Etsy, and this makes me want to do something similar because I have this love of creating things. I already work on my own schedule, but it would be nice to not have to be at a laptop all day since I also have problems with my eyes. Still, there’s no guarantee of success there either, especially not right now. Crocheting blankets is great and all, but blankets take time and on top of my other work, they take that much longer.

So while it was a nice thought to get me through my day, I’m not sure it’s quite right for me at this particular moment. Still, I’ll continue to make things as a hobby to soothe my anxious mind. Until next time…<3

Post Vacation Madness

So I’ve had a crazy day. In coming back from vacation over the past five days, I was sent an email saying that I had gone into the negative with my paid time off and that technically I shouldn’t have been able to do that, but it happened and so I would not be able to take any paid vacation off for the rest of the year in order to “pay back” the time I’m currently negative. Quite frankly, I don’t think it’ll take an entire five months to pay it back, but what do I know? But the good news here is that I have no foreseeable “planned” vacations coming up in the next five months to worry about needing that paid time off.

That one email put me into panic overdrive mode and made me feel quite overwhelmed with things I wanted to do today. Not even things that absolutely needed to be done. To put it simply, my mind felt like a very busy train station, with six different trains running on six different but criss-crossing tracks and they continually ran the risk of colliding with each other.

After taking several deep breaths, I calmed down enough to make a list of things I wanted to get done and slowly did them one by one throughout the day. One of them was to sort through a massive pile of stuffed animals, mostly monkeys, and pick ones to donate/get rid of. While I was in college, my favorite band was called 100 Monkeys and my family and friends made it their mission to get me 100 monkeys and some time last year they succeeded. So I took one massive “family” picture of most of the monkeys and then sorted through them to divide them between keep and donate. Part of my desire to do this I blame on the show “Hoarders,” which I watched while I was on vacation because my best friend loves it, and while I don’t mind watching it, it makes me want to clean and sort and organize, etc. The other part of this desire to clean is from a genuine place of reducing clutter and initially I wanted to clean out the laundry basket these monkeys were sitting in so I could actually use it as a laundry basket. However, that didn’t work out so well because now the basket is full of the Disney toys that had been sitting on top of all the monkeys!

Now, granted, I still love monkeys, so I’m not getting rid of all 100, but I also realize that, with all of the other stuffed animals and other miscellaneous “nerd” stuff I have neatly arranged in various places in my room, I need to make space for new stuff and move some of the old stuff out. This is, in itself, a process and a time consuming one at that. Ideally, I’d like to go through all of my dressers, my closet, and a clear stacked “tower” and see if I can’t weed some non-essential things out of there. But I need to find time first.

So monkey wrangling was only one (well technically two) item on my list of things to do. The next two were fairly simple. One was to write a check to my dad to pay him back for several things he paid for me while I was gone. The other was to do some math for a store I wanted to buy from and find out how to get the best deal. Well, turns out the store had a flash sale so I ended up completing my transaction immediately and within my self imposed budget based off my latest paycheck. This will be my birthday gift to myself when it arrives. As for the check writing…well, I haven’t gotten to it yet, because I still need to finish working and then I need to balance out my checkbook.

The third item was actually making up a blog post. Since my mind was going a million miles a minute, making up this post actually helped to calm me down and slow down enough to remain calm throughout the day. This was probably the easiest one to do once I got rolling. I did a lot of venting this morning to my best friend so most of that was already off my chest.

Last on my list was making up several YouTube video playlists for working out. I have yet to find a good balance for me, since I love yoga for the stretching out, but I also like/need more cardio and strength training, which is where Pilates comes in, and a lot of the videos I end up watching become too challenging for me and it takes me a good hour just to get half an hour of actual working out done because I have to keep stopping. So my mad plan this morning was to do my cardio/Pilates once a week on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and yoga for the rest of the week. However, the yoga won’t all be just stretching routines. I know of some that include body weight based strength training in the flows. This task is easily the most time consuming. It will require making multiple playlists with multiple videos for different groups of body parts and searching for said videos to put in the playlists. I wholeheartedly believe this will be the definition of madness. If I get it done yet tonight, it’ll be a miracle.

The only relaxing thing I’ll get to do is some crocheting while watching one of my cooking shows. I’m making a very small, 3-inch figure of the spotted elephant from Rudolph for a friend. Last I recall, I had finished the head, body, and ears. Oh! Speaking of which, the Bumble has been finished and delivered to its new home. The recipient was absolutely delighted by it, even if mom did sew the arms on upside down.

So yes, my day has been quite hectic by my normal standards and to top it all off, last night on my ride home, I learned that I would have relatives coming up this weekend for our town’s annual festival for the drunks, and quite honestly, my first thought was, crap! That’ll cut into my gaming time!

Until next time, read on, peace out, and find time to chillax once in a while. Everyone needs their chill time.

The Power of Creation

As a writer, creating is something that’s ingrained in me. You might say it’s my lifeblood. I absolutely relish that feeling when something in my stories finally clicks and comes together in total perfection.

But lately, I’ve been feeling stifled in the writing area and every time I feel like writing, or have some urge of thoughts that need writing down, once I get to the page, they’re gone. Or as is in most cases, I can’t fully express whatever thoughts are going on in my head and I’m left unsatisfied.

Instead, as I’m sure most writers can appreciate, in the artful pursuit of mastering procrastination, I’ve been diving headfirst into my crochet projects, which give both a visible and tangible sense of creation. Take the abominable snow monster I was working on in the last post. I can pick him up, fill him with stuffing, touch and feel him…He’s a visible, tangible source of creation. The same goes for the blanket I’m working on, which has been set aside for the moment due to the Bumble. And just this morning, I had a burst of ideas jump out at me for future crochet projects, like an amigurumi Link and cosplay Silver/Gold Gauntlets from Legend of Zelda for my friend Jerad as a housewarming gift, and a My Little Pony Princess Cadence hat for my little niece.

Now I can’t be entirely sure why I’m getting all these creative bursts for yarn-related crafts; however since I’ve been crippled with what I can only describe as writer’s block since, well, January maybe, I’m guessing that’s what it is. There are still creative juices flowing. They’re just being focused through another outlet.

Writing isn’t as tangible, even if you’re writing in a notebook or printing off pages you typed up on the computer. You can’t see or touch or smell whatever it is you’re creating (unless you’re truly gifted and/or writing in a specific location that you’re basing your writing on, like a coffee shop, etc.). For me, anyway, there’s only the visualization process, where I can only see the characters and places I create in my mind’s eye. And lately, even that’s been getting more and more difficult for me to accomplish. It’s awful. It feels like an essential part of me is missing and I don’t know how to get it back. (Which is really resonating with me because I watched Moana last night before bed and it seems like that’s what happened to the “villain” of the story.)

Even now, in just trying to finish this post, my mind has gone completely blank. I hope this is not a sign of my gift with words is gone. I still have a book to finish writing/editing! But it’s more than just sitting down and getting it written, more than simply waiting for inspiration to strike (because let’s face it, sometimes inspiration strikes as rarely as lightning). It’s about being in the right mindset, being in the right mood, and being willing to shut everyone and everything out temporarily to get something, anything done on the page. And in such a fast-paced world, finding time to slow down is a challenge in itself.

What do you do to overcome writer’s block? Or overcome a challenge you’ve met in other ways, like a crafting project, a new workout routine, or even getting your dream job? How do you find the motivation to sit down (or stand up) and get whatever you’re working on finished? Please share your thoughts and comments below! Much love!! ❤ ❤

Writing on Command

Does anyone else have issues writing on command? I can bet that in at least every single creative writing class, you’ve been given a subject and five minutes to write about it. And I don’t know about you, but for at least the first 30 seconds to a minute, I stare at the page and my mind goes completely blank.

It could even be about something simple like apple pie. I’m sure there are a lot of people whose first thought is about the smell or the taste. Me, I’m trying to come up with the “Why” of the matter. Why apple pie? Why not blueberry or peach or cherry? And then half a dozen other questions arise, like who’s making the pie, who are they making it for and why, etc. and I’m being battered by all these thoughts.

Eventually I’ll come up with something plain like “Grandma’s apple pie sat on the windowsill waiting to cool off while the grandkids played outside and grandpa slept in the recliner in front of the tv.” And that will be all I can do in 5 minutes. Now, given ample time to think through all the random questions, and more than 5 minutes to write, I can make a paragraph that’s completely different and more descriptive.

“Grandma set her freshly baked apple pie on the windowsill to cool off. Its warm, spicy scent wafted through the house, as she had added a little extra cinnamon, just how grandpa liked it. She and her grandkids, Todd and Lily, had picked the apples that morning at the orchard just down the dirt road. Todd and Lily were still outside playing a game of hide and seek while grandpa dozed in his recliner in front of the old tv with the wire rabbit ears. Grandma smiled as she started to wash the dishes in warm soapy water. Once those kids smelled the pie, they would abandon their game and come running inside, begging for a piece of it while it was still hot.”

This paragraph covers more of the senses and is more descriptive that the initial sentence (and yes, it took me about an hour to craft just this last night). This is something that plagues me as a writer. I can work with writing prompts, but not time limits. My brain needs time to process and think through all possibilities and even then, I may not actually perceive ALL the possibilities.

It doesn’t help that I’m mentally bored with my job so naturally my mind kicks in to autopilot halfway through my day. There’s just not enough stimulation there, and then when I’m done with work, I need a break from the mental monotony and instead I dive into more hands-on crafting like my crochet projects.

I know I said I would work more on my writing this year but the last month I’ve really slacked off and I need something to jolt my creative juices again.

Over to you guys! How do you break out of your own ruts and get the creative juices flowing again? I’d love to hear your suggestions and tips!

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And now for a special update!

The past couple days, I’ve been working on one of my mother’s crochet projects because I thought it would be small and easy to crank out in a few hours. Well, it’s turning into a few days, but it’s not all that bad. I needed a break from my blanket and this has been fun. It’s my first amigurumi, the Bumble snow monster from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He still needs a face and arms, but I’ll work on those later.

Bumble Amigurumi

In addition, I have to commend my mother on starting one of her own sewing projects, which is a quilt of valor for my godmother’s son, who’s a Marine, and she is making considerable progress on it without my prompting. I’m really proud of her for putting as much effort in as she has over the past few days, whenever she had some free time. What she has done looks great. I’ll try to get pictures for next time.

True Freedom

It’s very freeing, being out from under the yoke of your oppressor.

This was the very first sentence used to start this blog, and now it’s never been truer. When I started this blog, I had only made the mental decision to rid the toxic person from my life. I hadn’t deleted contact info, or social media contacts. I was always worrying about having to reply to awkward texts and having to be polite in them, even though I didn’t want to.

Now I don’t have to do any of that. I’ve deleted the contact info and social media contacts. I no longer expect to get any more texts, especially after I didn’t respond to the last one, though for now I’m keeping it as a reminder of what manipulation looks like. I am truly free.

Which means I can focus all my energy on my hobbies, my gaming, my writing! I’m on my second to last major character profile, which is proving difficult because he’s a mercenary. But I’m still there! My elemental ripple blanket is going so well also. I’ve moved onto the green, though I haven’t taken a full photo with the green on it.

And I’m working on my Final Fantasy gaming challenge, just got past Nibelheim in FF7 and I’m hoping today I can get to disc 2. However my cousin and her girlfriend are up for the weekend, and I don’t know how much time they’ll be spending up here visiting so maybe I won’t get to disc 2. But I’m still going to try.

And with that, my lovelies, I bid you adieu and never forget that you are the key to your own happiness. No one can make you unhappy unless you let them. Be true to yourself, let your nerd flag fly high, and rejoice in whatever makes you happiest. Much love ❤

Embrace the Chaos

Chaos is part of every day life. I can’t say that right now I am enjoying the chaos I’m currently in, but for me, chaos means keeping busy and work, and I have been swamped for two whole weeks. Possibly three if this week continues the way it has been.

It’s funny that this is the theme I’m going with today because as a general rule, I hate chaos. And by that I mean I hate unstructured chaos. I tend to be a perfectionist with a touch of OCD so I like to have my chaos be a little more structured, and preferably by me. This is why I have a set routine every day, to keep the chaos in check and my anxiety in balance.

But sometimes you just have to go with the flow and embrace the chaos. Take my work for example. Last week, I was expecting to go through stuff for a specific client and be done. I ended up spending several days trying to correct someone’s mistakes and actually got a person disqualified from the project because of their massive screw-up. On top of that, there were two more with massive mistakes that I spent a majority of my time correcting and corresponding with another coworker to get things straightened out. Today and yesterday, I spent all day mostly working on this same client, typing up notes for my new trainee, and fixing a cluster of mistakes. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my day, but it kept me busy at least.

In the evenings, I’ve learned to chill out by doing some of my favorite hobbies. Lately, that’s been writing character profiles and crocheting (which in the warmer temperatures is quite the task due to all the extra sweating!), and on the weekends, I’ve been gaming. I’m up to Final Fantasy VII so yay! My crocheted blanket is at about 35 inches wide, and I’m intending to make it about 80 inches so it’s almost halfway done. And I’m close to finishing my character profiles with the template form I’ve been using (I have a few mythical creatures that wouldn’t fit the same mold as the humans).

Forgot where I was going with that…

Anyway, some days you can follow your normal routine and be just fine. And other days, you just have to roll with the punches and break free from your routine. Spontaneity can be a good thing, as long as you have a way to wind down after whatever brought you out of your routine.

Finding the Silver Lining

It’s another one of those days. Those slow days of work that I’m starting to unfortunately get used to. And yesterday, we had a conference call that indicated an eventual possibility of limiting hours so that our night staff has some work to do. Which I totally understand; I wouldn’t want to not have any work at all just because I work nights. But limiting hours means less money coming in and I’m seriously considering looking for other work, even though I have no idea where to start looking because I’ve been doing this for four plus years and I’m no longer well trained to be around people. Plus waiting to get busy again is testing my patience.

So instead of looking at only the negatives here, I’m trying to find the silver lining to this mess and “enjoy the break,” as our supervisors told us. For me, enjoying the break is likely more difficult than for others because of my anxiety issues and needing a set routine as opposed to just going with the flow. But anyway, I guess my silver lining is being able to work more on my crocheting, which I’m also actually thinking about doing as a side business, because if I have all this time, I can get a lot more done than I have in past years because I was purposefully taking my time on those projects. Currently I have three or four blankets in the pipes, one of which I’ve started and had to restart because it ended up being bigger than a king size bed and I only want full size. But I have yarn for three additional blankets, one of which is going to be a reversible blanket, so it’s basically like doing two blankets and sewing them together into one. Additionally, in the past couple weeks, I’ve finished three hats and although I don’t wear hats myself, I’m happy to make them for someone else. I can also do scarves and probably whatever else gets thrown at me. I’m pretty adaptable with crochet items.

I could also do more weekly gaming and free up some of my weekend time for watching anime (or playing catch-up as it is now) or hanging with family. I’m two dungeons away from beating Final Fantasy V, but seeing as the second dungeon is the last dungeon, it’s likely going to require a bit more time than the other ones and I just want to be done with it. I can hardly wait to move on to Final Fantasy VI because it’s one of my absolute favorite games, probably tied for first with Final Fantasy VII. It’s also the one that got me started on Final Fantasy so it has an extra special place in my heart.

And I could probably be doing more writing, especially in working on revisions for my novel, which desperately needs my attention, and there are a couple character profiles I need to finish working out yet.

But most importantly, I need to focus on taking care of myself and getting back to a more normal sense of balance. With my aunts here last week, and my dad home this week, I haven’t really had much time to myself to mellow out since going off my birth control and I still have the lingering twinges of a tension headache and some stiffness in my neck from yesterday. (I also wanted to punch my dad in the nose when he said he should be telling me to “suck it up” whenever I have a migraine or headache of any kind. Even though it might have sounded like joking, it wasn’t funny. You don’t just “suck it up” when you have a migraine. Unless you have really good meds to make them go away, you basically have to wait for a migraine to pass and hope it doesn’t eat up too much of your day because you really can’t do much with a genuine migraine. Or at least I can’t. Nothing helps except laying down in a dark, quiet room.)

So my silver lining in not having much work and being limited on hours is finally getting time to take care of me and make sure my body and soul are nurtured and soothed before I try to take on anything else. As Albus Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”