Sunday, November 8, 2009

Preparations Galore

Darcy had a new bathroom put in this week. Rather than have him take time off work, I attempted to work at home with varying success due to the interruptions.

Recap of SWIM goals 1-7 November
*Begin each weekday morning with dissertation intro writing to re-establish the writing habit and draft at least 2000 words by Friday.
*Adapt my daily morning pages to something more akin to late afternoon/early evening journaling
     These didn't work for me at all. My brain is not firing fast enough when I wake up, especially now that it's still dark at 6 a.m. I need to be sharp and awake for this kind of conceptual writing, and waiting until the end of the day to journal didn't work either. 2k words only happened in the form of transcribing notes I had taken as preparation for this section while in the States.
*Complete and mail out the two job/postdoc applications due
     
Managed one.
*Complete and mail AAH conference abstract
     Check, and managed one other as well.
*Begin tailoring interview presentation
     Only mentally. Does that count?
*Return to my regular M-W-F-Sun Yogademia posting schedule
*Comment on all my SWIMmers and their blogs!
*Practice yoga for at least an hour 3-4 times this week
*Run twice
     Not even close on any of these. One yoga, one run, no comments or posts.

So what the heck did I do this week? Major rewrite of my dissertation abstract and the attendant posting on the website, some other conference abstracts, dealt with the final details required to put the first issue of the journal I co-edit to bed, began charting a major new class that needed at least a plan on paper in preparation for my upcoming interview, tidied other class plan and syllabi, sorted some ideas and sources for my intro, and spent a bunch of time dealing with the bathroom. 

Reward: Artist Date to see An Education at the independent cinema with a glass of wine.
Even though I didn't really meet my goals for the week, I did take myself to see An Education, minus the wine. Excellent all around: story, cast, acting, visuals, soundtrack. Definitely a must-see for this group.

SWIM Goals Nov. 9-15
*1 hour writing intro & 30 min revising cross-cultural paper every weekday
*Monday: fully check chapter sample & course plans to submit for interview; presentation
*Tuesday: Afternoon - S---- postdoc letter and app
*Wednesday: Revise postdoc plan for C---- and O----; presentation
*Thursday: Afternoon: presentation and interview prep
*Friday: R--- letter and app; presentation and interview prep
*Saturday: any final tidying in preparation for interview and presentation

Reward: Sunday trip to London with Darcy for Christmas shopping; cinnamon buns at Nordic Bakery, Melody Gardot show at Southbank Center

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm back! I'm back!

Cripes, it's been six weeks since I posted here. That's absurd. The past six weeks have been absurd, especially this last week. There's a rambling post up at the Locker Room about all this, and how it's seriously messing with me.

So, HELLO!!!!!!!  I have missed all of you so much! If there was ever a group of ladies I would love to have over for tea or a glass of wine on a regular basis, you are it. I would have loved to swing through each of your cities while I was traveling in the States just to meet you for an hour in a café somewhere.  Your good company and sage advice would have been so welcome.

Hello and welcome especially to Sara Rose - I'm sorry I haven't been around to welcome you before this, but I was working 18-hour days while in the States, hopping on a train or airplane to a new city every few days, and then on a computer-free week with my family and my guy. I'm still catching up on posts, but I'll be back in the regular comment-posting saddle starting today!
 
I'm just going to jump right into this week's goals, because I put the most important crazy background noise buzzing inside my head up in the Locker Room. 

SWIM goals 1-7 November
*Begin each weekday morning with dissertation intro writing to re-establish the writing habit and draft at least 2000 words by Friday
*Adapt my daily morning pages to something more akin to late afternoon/early evening journaling
*Complete and mail out the two job/postdoc applications due
*Complete and mail AAH conference abstract
*Begin tailoring interview presentation
*Return to my regular M-W-F-Sun Yogademia posting schedule
*Comment on all my SWIMmers and their blogs!
*Practice yoga for at least an hour 3-4 times this week
*Run twice

Reward: Artist Date to see An Education at the independent cinema with a glass of wine

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Where'd I go???

Gosh, sorry its been so long, all.  Happy Halloween all, first off.  I hope this weekend is so much fun for all of us.  How have you all been?  I feel so bad that I've basically been out of commission for so long.  To be truthful, I sort of lost track of everything so now it's time to get recharged and restarted, huh?  Ok.

So.  What happened?  I got h1n1 of all things.  It seems I've had this 3 month stretch of nonstop sickness, so my immune system must just really be exhausted.  Anyways, I got h1n1 and I *thought* I would get over it relatively quickly.  In fact, I seemed to be on the mend two weeks ago and life was going on in a merry little way. Suddenly, two Fridays ago, I woke up and was so.much.worse.  I mean, could barely move, felt like I was dying worse.  Nolan had to go into work that morning and I was here struggling to even deal with anything.  Anyways.  Nolan came home from work early and I got up to go to the bathroom to cough up a lung.

Next thing I know, I'm in the ER with Nolan and my friend Jordan (she's a nurse) and she tells me "You passed out.  Nolan and I brought you here and I think you've got pneumonia."  I spent the next 5 hours fading in and out of dozing during tests and lab work (luckily, the dr gave me morphine so I'd just sleep.  The results?  "Walking pneumonia", aka all the symptoms of it but not the actual virus or infection.  Apparently h1n1 can either mimic the symptoms of pneumonia or develop into it.  Thankfully, it was just mimicking the symptoms. 

So, I've spent a week and a half resting, medicating, and slowly working on writing projects.  I still have a wicked cough and lots of sinus congestion but each day I'm seemingly getting better.  I really need to commit myself to restoring good health.  I always sort of just get myself back to functioning but not actually doing "really" good, health wise.  I need to do that.  I need to focus on eating well, getting good sleep, taking my vitamins, meditating, and exercising so I can be strong and healthy but most of all productive.

Got any tips for me?  Honestly, I'd love and appreciate any and all advice or suggestions.  Isn't it kind of the chronic American lifestyle of just slugging through things but not really making the effort to make sure our wellness is a top priority? We're all so busy that we just run ourselves ragged but don't stop to take the time to make sure we can actually handle everything we're doing.

So.  On to writing.  I backed off of my blog to focus on doing a few things to get paid.  In my last BIG blog, I wrote about deciding to just take the jump and commit to being a full time writer.  I'm still finding my sea legs doing this but I'm so much happier than I was trying to apply myself to a job that wasn't going anywhere.  The trouble comes in just learning to balance working from home with being a mom and a wife.  So much easier said than done.  But I've found a few ways to focus myself, one of which being . . . .

NaNoWriMo!!!!  That's right.  Go to nanowrimo.org and sign up to spend a month writing a 175 page novel.  The goal is quantity, not quality for your writing.  You spend a month writing furiously to produce a verrrrrry rough draft of a novel.  The purpose?  Get your creative juices flowing, get yourself trained to spend significant parts of your day really writing, and also to not shoot yourself in the foot by constantly self-editing.  Sometimes writers block comes from the fact that we're always trying to make what we're writing "perfect" when really we just need to get it all out first, THEN edit.

I've been working on notes for a story for about a month now, so I'm going to use that as my NaNoWriMo project.  I'm really excited to just apply myself to this and I'm really hoping that its going to help me overcome some of my own personal hurdles with writing.  More on those later.

I got hired on by The Examiner and I'm writing 3-4 articles a week!!!  Hurray!!!  I also got a few freelance book review projects starting up, and am working slowly on developing two new blogs- one for my book birthday project and one devoted to political commentary that I'm doing with 4 other writers.  When those are up and running, I'll let you know!

For this weeks goals, I'm going to try to keep it simpler.  I need to really devote myself to the rhythm of meeting my daily nanowrimo word count so I don't fall behind and I get a running start.  I need to get back to regular posts on my blog, articles and pieces for The Examiner and other jobs, and development on the other blogs.  That sounds so overwhelming! Argh!  We'll see how I do.

My other goal is to get back on track with Weight Watchers.  Two weeks of being sick really got me unfocused, but since health and wellness is a priority . . .well time to pay the piper.  Anyways, have a wickedly fun little evening!  Talk to you all soon!

xoxo-
Sara Rose

Monday, October 19, 2009

Drriftwood: Week 7 Goals

Hi all,

Hope everybody's doing great!

I've been busy, but decided I just have to post this week.

Week 5 (and 6) Update:

This week's goals (Oct 5-Oct 11)

Academic

1. When I get feedback on my paper, hopefully this week, work on it. Haven't gotten feedback yet.

Creative

1. Write a few scent related blog posts. Wrote 1. 1 more in the drafts.

2. Everyday, for atleast one hour before sleeping, either do WPs or read a book. Did this for a few days. Must make a more conscious effort.

3. WPs - atleast 10 mins 3 times a week. and half an hour on Sat, Sun. 1.5 hours - Not much. Though I did write some free form food related stuff

4. Morning Pages for work related stuff Again not really..:(

Week 7 goals (Week 19th - 25th)

Academic:

1. Work on a document/proposal explaining my experiment with pilot results/plots and rationale. This has to be more detailed than my previous one

2. Work on programming the new version of my experiment

3. Reading for a class I am sitting in. - 3 Chapters

Creative

1. Do some research for a short trip, I'll be making soon. Will post details in the locker room soon

2. Finish a post waiting in my drafts section

3. Finish reading Middlemarch/resume reading. I started this book ages ago (I am talking years..lol). Was loving it, but life caught up and I stopped reading it. Each time I begin at the beginning and then again stop reading for some reason or the other. This time I am going to finish it..lol. It is such a lovely book

4. Work on my novel a bit- have been neglecting it.

Have a great week everyone!

Tomato: Behind!!

Hi friends!! I know i'm uber behind here, and yes I totally failed all the goals i posted last time. Eek! Am hoping to catch up on life in the next week or two so please be patient with moi. :)

xoxo!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Update Later, Read My Post

Hi all!

I'll writ, update, and comment later today or tomorrow.  But I wrote an important blog over at the chatterbox about a major life decision to focus solely on writing, and would love you to check it out.

http://chatterboxsara.blogspot.com/2009/10/little-secrets.html

xoxo


Sara Rose

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vienna again: Quick update

Marking while listening good music is always better! I am actually enjoying it now or at least I'm more relaxed about it. Ay, life!
How is your creative week going?

Vienna: Too tired, too busy and fed up about it.

Hi ladies!

I'm sorry I've sort of vanished from the SWIM scene but my life has been absolutely non-stop for the last two weeks. In a positive note, just to say the Yoga course is amazing. I am very excited about it. However, I am working like mad from Monday to Friday at uni (I hate grading, or I hate grading soooo many papers) and I was away for the weekend (my yoga course takes place on weekends) so I feel exhausted. I was about to write my goals or to see what I've accomplished this week and, really, I don't even know where to start. I hate working at such intensity that life becomes work, work, work. Since my teaching load is so heavy,I feel like a teaching machine with very little space for development. I'm tired and I don't particularly want to be here right now. Sitting by my desk, marking more coursework. No time for writing. I feel I'm getting nowhere with all what really matters in life. Anyway! I'll give myself time till Sunday to re-think my goals and I'll get back to you. I'll also try at some point to catch up with all your posts.
Have a nice weekend.
V.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sara Rose: Oct 7- Oct 13 Goals

Encore, bonsoir, mes beaux amis!

So last week, I got a bit accomplished, but it always seems I have this huge pile up of more/more/more I need to get done.  Where do I strike a balance with this?

One of the things I need to really work on in the next few weeks is carving out a writing/work schedule since I work from home now.

I have Owen home with me too and am trying to make the hard decision . . . do I have him at a babysitter a couple mornings a week while Eva is at preschool so I can work uninterrupted? Do I try to work when he sleeps and in the evenings, thus potentially cutting into family/couple/me time?

Also, since I work from home now, I feel more pressure (from myself mostly) to be the one entirely responsible for my household.  Since I am a bit of a neatnik/clean freak this presents the problem of cutting into writing/work time.  ARGH!  I need balance!

Ok so goals for this week.

1.  10-20 minutes character development & research for my short story.  It's rounding nicely into what I hope is going to be a good piece of work.

2.  Send of writing samples and resume for a few jobs I found, preferably by Friday afternoon.

3.  Rough drafts of first Weight Watchers articles by Sunday morning.

4.  Journal more!  Even if it's short entry journaling.

5.  I've got two new blogs I've been a part of developing and Im excited to get them rolled out.  Hopefully in the next two weeks.

6.  Finish editing the content for my mothers website.

7.  Get my butt to the gym.  Period. Amen.

8.  4 posts on the Chatterbox.

9.  Make my husband get my hard drive and flash drives.  Get to work on cookbook/recipes.  Refuse to do his laundry if he keeps forgetting.


Ok thats more than enough.  Good night all! 

Sara Rose

Update on my first week here! :o)

Bon soir, mis amis!  Here's a recap on my goals last week and my progress with them.  I've still got lots of work to do but feel like I made a bit of progress last week.  It's a bit like chipping away at a proverbial iceberg sometimes.  Ahh well.

1.  I've embarked on a new project that I started the week of my birthday.  I decided to start reading a book a week until I've reached 1500 (yes 1500) books.  So far its going well but now I am faced with another conundrum-  Do I start a new blog for this project or just do posts on it ony Chatterbox Sara?  Thoughts, anyone?
    -I'm going to do a separate blog.  I've been struggling for awhile with really focusing the content of Chatterbox Sara to present a more cohesive block of writing.  I need to really separate out different areas of interest (more on this later) so I can get to the "meat" of what I want Chatterbox top be about.

2.  I've got a short story rolling around that I've been brainstorming for about a week on.  I want to do 10-20 minutes of brainstorming/character development/free writing to see where this story goes.
    -I did do about 10 minutes of brainstorming just about everyday this week.  My husband has been a great help in this.  He's also a writer and while he doesn't actively pursue it anymore, he wrote a number of plays.  Character development is one of his strong suits with writing so as part of my brainstorming, I talked over my story with him almost daily to get input on where I am going with this.  He's really helped me hone what I want the story to be.
3.  Catch up on blogging.  I've got 4 posts I've been meaning to get done.
    -Done for the most part.  A couple important posts I wanted to do are in notes on my computer still but thats  I'm really working on a more coherent and concise writing style for my more topic driven posts.
4.  Sign up for Weight Watchers.  Use it.  Consider if I want to blog about it in the locker room or on my own blog.
    -Signed up AND got an opportunity to write about the experience!  Still unsure as to whether I want to write about it on my blog or not, but Ill talk about it in the Locker Room for sure!
5.  Retrieve all my recipes and free writing on my cookbook from our external hard drive.  Edit 1-2 recipes/write ups daily.
    -Nolan has the hard drive and our flash drives at his office.  Grrrrrr.  He keeps forgetting to bring them home.  If this keeps up, I may "forget" to wash his boxers anymore.
6.  Pursue 3 new freelancing opportunities.
    -Done!  Got the job writing about my weight watchers journey, and submitted writing resumes/queries/samples 3 other places.  Also got a job reviewing three books for next month!  Woot!


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Monday, October 5, 2009

Driftwood Week 5 goals

Hi all,

Hoping you are all doing great. I am loving the chill in the air and the prospect of curling up in my bed, in the evenings, with a big fat book. Also, I think autumn and tea sort of 'go' together. Since, most of you are tea-lovers, I thought I'd ask if you could suggest some must-have/must-drink teas that I should try. I thought I'd compile a list of must-haves that I'd work through.

Now on to last week's goals:

Academic:

1. Write up the proposed changes to my experiment, the rationale behind the experiment etc. Yes! I also got some feedback at the end of last week. Lots of work ahead.
2. When I get feedback on my paper later this week, work on them. Haven't gotten feedback on this yet

Creative:

1. Taking a leaf out of Revisionista's book, I am going to start doing timed/untimed writing practice. Atleast 3 times a week for 10 mins and 1 hour each on the weekend. That is atleast 2.5 hours this week. I did WPs once this week. But for more than 10 mins, maybe 20.

2. Morning pages, to sort out work related ideas. Yes, on most of the weekdays.

3. Let the writing practice lead into 'novel' writing. Sort of. Wrote a page..Not sure if the WP led to the novel writing. Was in the mood to write one morning , so wrote..:)

Also wrote 1 blog post.

This week's goals (Oct 5-Oct 11)

Academic

1. When I get feedback on my paper, hopefully this week, work on it.

Creative

1. Write a few scent related blog posts

2. Everyday, for atleast one hour before sleeping, either do WPs or read a book. I have been trying to this, this weekend, and it feels soo much better than checking my email and twitter a million times before I sleep..lol..I noticed Carolyn had posted a similar goal..Good luck to us..:)

3. WPs - atleast 10 mins 3 times a week. and half an hour on Sat, Sun. 1.5 hours

4. Morning Pages for work related stuff

Have a great week ahead.

Tired Tomato

Bonjour, fellow SWIM-ers! I am all kinds of tired today, but trying to stay as upbeat as possible. Also feeling really good about last week's SWIM goals...

1. Write 3 snail mail letters. Yup! Granted I did them last night but that counts, right? Nothing better than getting fun little somethings in the mail.

2. Write letter to myself to read when overwhelmed at work. Check! This was a great exercise prescribed to me by Jennifer. I did the same exercise back when I was painfully slow at work and needed to cheer myself up. After printing it (in cute font of course), I laminated it and decorated it with gorgeous fabric tape. Plan to do the same with Letter #2!

3. Practice nothing, then discover my truth. Admittedly I did not follow the nothing part as strictly as I should have, but the truth, oh my, the truth was all over the place! Read more about my experience here.

Now for this week's goals...

1. Respond to blog comments. I'm really bad about this (and it doesn't help that i'm terribly behind on blog reading as it is), and it's completely unacceptable. I've gotten such lovely comments, and i really want to make it a priority to respond so i'm making it a goal!

2. End my evenings with either journaling or reading a book. Absolutely NO laptop or TV watching when i'm about to go to sleep!

3. Pink Heels HW: includes fun activities like creating a life mandala and answering big picture journal questions. I promise to share a picture once I'm finished!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

gussying up fall finale

ladies aaannndd, well, ladies ;)

quickie review on my quickie week 7 goals:
  • work on city girl's guest blog post - holla yeah!! and i loved every second of it. if you missed it you can read it here.
  • focus on schooling - keeping up with assignments - yes but barely. when there is only 6 months of schooling there is a LOT to do in a short amount of time, which i'm sure you could imagine. which leads me into...
photo credit ici
i hate to say this, but i am gonna put my swim suit away for the season. this past week has felt as though i've been drowning. i do plan on coming back when the weather is warmer (aka when school and life in general has calmed down). i will miss you all terribly but if given a chance will definitely be checking in on my swim team and cheering you on from time to time. this has been such a fantastic lap while it lasted and no worries, i will definitely be back!

much love & hugs to all of my swim team!!

Vienna: Survived the first teaching week.



Hello ladies,


Here I am. Sitting by my desk. Seeing my garden gaining life and going absolutely nuts with what it looks like a gigantic hurricane. What's going on today in the middle of the UK? Sunny spells, rain, grey clouds, clear blue sky, all-in-one type of weather. I even had to rescue the bin container from flying away and crashing against the neighbour's new car. Ayyyyyyyy!


Anyway, day ooooofffff! After the first week of teaching this feels like heaven. Up late (-ish, I can never sleep until late anymore...), Wild Swans, Zest magazine, new Autumn Mslexia, Yogi tea and cereal in bed (does that counts as an Artist's Date?). A bit of tidying up, 30-minute-yoga session and 25-minute-meditation, light lunch and down to do some work at my PC. Sorted out a few financial issues and now working on an application form for a grant for my Dru Yoga Teacher Training course, which starts next Saturday. Yes, yes! I made my mind up. I'm doing it. Universe help me!


Let's check my previous goals:


  1. Last July I was accepted in a Yoga Teacher Training programme. I've been wondering for ages whether I should go ahead or not. Mainly only financial reasons hold me back. There is a grant I can apply for; however, there is nothing guaranteed and I am afraid of struggling with the payments. The Yoga Centre has been fantastic and offered me all sorts of alternatives to make my life easier. I need to make my mind up this week. So I will explore the issue in MPs and/or journaling. Yes, yes and yes!!!!! I'm doing the course and I am trying to apply for a grant. Starting next Saturday. Hooray!
  2. Figure out how long it takes me to plan my lessons and grade students' work. This first week has been quite mad, as expected. Students constantly knocking on my office door (despite the signs directing them properly...) have slowed down my work rhythm. I teach 19 hours a week, which personally I find excessive, given that I also hold managerial and research responsibilities. Anyway, I suppose next week I'll get a clearer idea of my actual workload for this academic year.
  3. Work out a fitness routine, both at home and in the gym. At home I've managed the usual twice-a-day yoga so I'm happy with that. I need to work out how to get to the gym for my studio classes and my cardio. The nearest gym is quite far away. Well, maybe not for drivers, but I rely on public transport and it takes me an hour to go and another to get back, so I'm finding it pretty difficult to get organised. I know, I know, I need to get a driving license, but for various reasons (mainly financial) that will have to wait (still) a bit more. I have a deal with R and he picks me up from the gym twice a week but now is away filming so I'll have to wait till he's back. Hate being dependent though.
  4. 4. Figure out WHEN is the best time for me to write creatively, squeeze it in my timetable and STICK TO IT. I might try to start with little writing every day to get into the routine (Revisionista style! Thanks for the idea!).5. Work out a time for blogging and reading blogs (I found it so difficult last term). FAIL. BIG TIME. This week I've had no time at all with the classes and I'm scared that is the way is going to be during term time, which I hate. I WANT TO WRITE. I cannot bear another year without a writing routine. When I come back from work I'm so so tired. I really cannot write at night, plus I need to get some decent sleep if I'm to get up at 5:30 am.

Well. And that's all for now. Overall it's been a positive week, even though I still need to figure out a few things, as you have read above. Hope you are enjoying your weekend. I'm really excited because R comes back tonight to spend Sunday together, which will be great. Miss him.

Loads of love,

V.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sara Rose: Sept 28- Oct 6 Goals

More later on a few different topics I've got going around in my thousand mile a minute brain but for now let's start with some goals.

1.  I've embarked on a new project that I started the week of my birthday.  I wanted some way to give this birthday a bit of importance since we're so broke and I was soooooo due with Owen that we couldn't do a whole lot.  I decided to start reading a book a week until I've reached 1500 (yes 1500) books.  So far its going well but now I am faced with another conundrum-  Do I start a new blog for this project or just do posts on it ony Chatterbox Sara?  Thoughts, anyone?

2.  I've got a short story rolling around that I've been brainstorming for about a week on.  I want to do 10-20 minutes of brainstormiung/character development/free writing to see where this story goes.

3.  Catch up on blogging.  I've got 4 posts I've been meaning to get done.

4.  Sign up for Weight Watchers.  Use it.  Consider if I want to blog about it in the locker room or on my own blog.

5.  Retrieve all my recipes and free writing on my cookbook from our external hard drive.  Edit 1-2 recipes/write ups daily.

6.  Pursue 3 new freelancing opportunities.

Alright, thats more than plenty!  Time for coffee!

xoxo-

Sara

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Introduction, I Presume?

Well, hello!  I'm new here.  I'm all fluttery feeling right now. This is totally first day at a new school type jitters, sans my wearing strange 80's paraphernalia like a pair of high tops or bangs sprayed and tamped down with a gallon of Aqua Net.  So I assume I need to tell you all about myself while you apply Lip Smackers and snap your gum, eh?

Here goes.

My name is Sara Rose, which I go by in real life.  In the blogosphere I also go by Chatterbox Sara, The Chatterbox, and White Chrysanthemum (pen name sorta).  I have guested on a few blogs and write for my own and several side projects.  More on those later.

I live in Satan's Left Arm Pit, also known as Vermillion South Dakota.  The easiest way to describe it is totally confusing and complex.  We're in the middle of corn and soy fields on the Plains and we're a college-meets-farm-meets-trailer park sort of town.  Thats what there is here- a university and its respective students, a lot of farms, and miles upon miles of trailers.  We even live in one.  Awesome, huh!

I never meant to end up here.  See, my parents were the free wheeling hippie kids who happened to actually make money so we lived all sorts of places but basically ended up back here when I was about 12 going on 13.  It was a strange sort of culture shock to come to South Dakota.  People eat things like chislic, wear beer goggles to weddings, and rail about being a red state.  Huzzah!

I'm not built for small town living for the most part.  I prefer anonymity, I prefer to be seen in a crowd, I want culture, but there are aspects of rural living that do agree with me.  I love the geography here, I really prefer being close to nature, etc., but there's only so many potluck dishes a gal can eat.  Anyways, I ended up in Vermillion via an unlikely turn of events.

When I was 18 my dad killed himself.  I basically spent a few years in college, in pageants, travelling Europe, and just avoiding myself.  I met a guy, thought I was in looooooooove, and decided to "get it together" and follow him to school here.  Well "getting it together" meant breaking up, start sleeping with a guy who was a loser and getting pregnant.  Funny how that worked to actually make me get it together.

Baby Daddy and I decided he sholuld terminate his parental rights and contact with my daughter, Eva.  She's amazing.  She's like fire, in human form, really.  Then I met my husband, we eloped, and have been happily at each others throats ever since.  I just had my son, Owen, he's now 12 weeks old and he's already very opposite his sister in so many ways.  In the meantime I got a perfectly useless degree in psychology and worked in an organization for developmentally disabled people as a glorified social worker.

That didn't last long.  It's a high stress/quick burnout environment because you spend your days fighting the system for decent care for people and get told to "stick to procedure" and make them look good on paper.  I decided to go back to school for nursing.  My husband is finishing a masters for software design and I wanted a job I could take everywhere.

I've always been a writer.  From a very young age, I realized I wanted to work writing into my life plan somehow.  However, I had one of those evil fathers who enjoys destroying dreams so I backburnered that for a very long time.  When I met my husband I decided to actively start writing again in bits and pieces.  I blogged and journaled and have slowly been building up from there.  This last summer, I realized that nursing would never be a career or a passion for me, just a j-o-b and that I was going to make myself miserable if I continued to head down that path.

There were lots of other factors behind this as well, but basically a few months ago, while on bed rest with being pregnant, I started sending out query letters, emails, ads, signing up for all sorts of networking for my blog, you name it.  As I was in the thick of an existential pseudo-quarter-life crisis, suddenly I started hearing back from people . . . who wanted me to write for them, freelance, write on my own, etc.  It was like a sign from God, honestly.

So I dumped nursing down the drain.  And, here I am.  I'm so glad to have found you!  I have a special request too.  Do you all have backlinks wiuth your own introductions, so that I may read them?  I'm so happy to have found an environment where I can write, track my progress, assign myself some goals, and help other people do the same.  This sort of community effort from other writers is exactly what I needed and I'm glad to be here.

Phew.  There.  I did it.  Now did my scrunchie look ok?  Tee hee!

xoxo-

Sara Rose
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Driftwood Week 4 goals

Hi all,

I am not going to dwell too much on last week's progress as I didn't do too much writing. I am going to focus instead, on what I accomplished and what I want to finish this week.
(Also can somebody tell me how to change the color of part of my text. I have tried for two weeks now, and can't seem to find the option anywhere..lol)

Academic:

1 Read work related papers, the whole of last week
2. Managed to do some brainstorming yesterday and came up with some proposed changes to my existing experiment

Creative:

1. Morning Pages, except for the weekend and Monday.
2. A paragraph of the 'story' which I am probably going to discard..boo.
3. Two food related blog posts

I didn't find time to excercise much though..:(

Week 4 Goals(29 Sep - Oct 4)- Going to keep this short and focussed..:)

Academic:

1. Write up the proposed changes to my experiment, the rationale behind the experiment etc.
2. When I get feedback on my paper later this week, work on them.

Creative:

1. Taking a leaf out of Revisionista's book, I am going to start doing timed/untimed writing practice. Atleast 3 times a week for 10 mins and 1 hour each on the weekend. That is atleast 2.5 hours this week

2. Morning pages, to sort out work related ideas

3. Let the writing practice lead into 'novel' writing.

The reason I am thinking of doing both MPs and WPs, is that I've been using MPs more to get more focussed for the day and sort out work related ideas etc. I want to use WPs for more creative writing. Does that make sense?

Have you explored the similarity/difference between the two?

Good luck with all your goals this week.

Lotsa love

Kiki: And the beat goes on

By now, you all probably know that I did not get the job. (Boo! Hiss!) I'm putting my creative energy into my work/applications to move all that forward and regain a little bit of control.

Dudettes, the academic job search totally sucks. But I digress. Let's check in.

Goals 18 -27 September

*Finish postdoc app due 5 October (inc. research plan, class plan, writing sample, etc.) 
Not so much. Good chunks of it are done, but not all of it.
*Complete draft of conference paper/presentation to be delivered 3 October 
This, at least, has been completed. And not just the draft - the final thing. 
*Work up practice "job talk" to receive feedback when I'm in the States
Not so much. But the room has been booked for 8 October, so I'm on the hook for it!
*Begin revising dissertation (I see this happening on the planes)
Yes, in the form of my writing sample for the postdoc apps.
*Try not to get worked up about not working when I'm attending my oldest friend's wedding
Here, I actually succeeded. It was a gorgeous wedding, and the bride was truly radiant.
*Three dailies: morning pages, yoga, and something creative - Tiny, if necessary
Haven't done any of these since Wednesday. Not even Tiny. I can't really explain why.
*Think positive about the job interview
Yes, well, I tried.

This week sees me in Boston, with a daytrip to Providence on Saturday for a conference. The nuttiness is firing on all cylinders. I leave today, and have meetings scheduled with everyone but my adviser WHO STILL HAS NOT RESPONDED FOR MY REQUESTS FOR A MEETING!!!!! There has to be a special level of Hell reserved specifically for AWOL Ph.D. advisers. Or at least some very bad karma. Plus, the stupid plane from England gave me contact dermatitis, which resulted in an infection and antibiotics. ARGH!!!!
-------------------
Dear Universe,

I appreciate that you've got my back. But the lessons of self-reliance that you're teaching me with an AWOL advisor (lesson: find your own professional development support) and economy-class rashes (lesson: bring your own pillow, or don't touch ANYTHING in coach) don't have to be quite so rough. If you could lighten up just a touch, that would be superb. There's a lot going on right now, and I could really use a wee bit more support.

Love,
Kiki
-----------------------------------

Goals 29 September - 4 October
*Write sample cover letter by Thursday 1 October
*Complete and mail postodoc app #1 by 2 October Friday
*Read and return comments on a paper by 2 October Friday
*Draft Job Talk and presentation for next Thursday
*Begin Edinburgh job application
*Ambush advisor - politely
*Write one morning page and do five minutes of yoga each day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tomato: Moving On

Hello, my darling amies. After a whirlwind of emotions the past couple of weeks, I am finally starting to feel a bit settled again (although I'm in a TOTALLY different place than I was one week ago). We're all self-help junkies here, and even though I know that about myself, it's always amazing to actually see myself growing, maturing and moving on in life. That often translates into letting go, a notion that becomes increasingly transparent as I move through the different phases of my life. It's a journey, n'est ce pas? Must remember that.

And on that note, let's review last week's goals, shall we?

1. Continue journaling daily with gratitude lists. Work on adding "art" to my journal via stamps (i have TONS of rubber stamps), stickers, markers, collages, etc. (I've gotten uber lazy about this.) Check! I busted out my many rubber stamps and have had lots of fun using them, not just in my journal, but on snail mail and in my planner pad. I have so many fun crafty things that i often forget to use them. ;-)

2. Work on creating a vision and mission statement throughout this week (as in don't put it off til Saturday). Find inspiration in others' statements. Check! Wow this was really tough for me at first. In the end, I'm happy with what I created, but I have a feeling they will change in small ways or big ways. My assignment was to not only create them, but to express them creatively. Being a huge collager, I decided to use jumo size index cards and write my statement on one side and collage it on the other. This way I can keep them handy and portable and not just stuck on a wall. I guess I should share them, huh? ;-) (Sorry the pics are kind of small.)


My Mission: I strive to make the mundane sparkle and the everyday beautiful. Nurturing relationships, creative play, simple joys and unabashed enthusiasm for the color pink are the key ingredients to my happy life. Beige is BORING!




My Vision: To live simply and joyfully, wake each morning with excitement and feel gratitude each night, travel teh world, be a loving wife and mother, love every inch of my body, read and write daily, and constantly GROW.

3. Write locker room post CHECK! Merci beaucoup for all your touching comments. I really really really needed and appreciated them. *BIG HUG*

Moving on to this week's goals...


1. Send 3 people snail mail. I already sent oodles this past weekend, and it felt GREAT. I love making it extra special by throwing in some goodies, confetti, and decorating with stamps/stickers/glitter glue/whatever!
2. Write encouraging letter to myself to read when I'm overwhelmed at work. This is actually a Pink Heels assignment, but hey, if I make it a SWIM goal too then i'm BOUND to do it, right?
3. Practice nothing, then discover my truth. This is from The Joy Diet, and I think it's going to be hard for me. First, finding (and remembering) to do 15 min of nothing per day is tres difficult. Adding another component, truth, makes it even more challenging. I know there are oodles of my truths bubbling on the surface, waiting to break free.
That's all for moi - have a LOVELY week!!


Vienna: New beginning and little goals

Hi everyone!

In 15 minutes I'll be teaching my first class this semester so I'll be quick. Everything now is so hectic! I know it will all settle down in a couple of weeks, though. I am a bit nervous but excited as well about this new beginning. There are many things I need to figure out during this week so I'm going to make them my writing goals:

1. Last July I was accepted in a Yoga Teacher Training programme. I've been wondering for ages whether I should go ahead or not. Mainly only financial reasons hold me back. There is a grant I can apply for; however, there is nothing guaranteed and I am afraid of struggling with the payments. The Yoga Centre has been fantastic and offered me all sorts of alternatives to make my life easier. I need to make my mind up this week. So I will explore the issue in MPs and/or journaling.

2. Figure out how long it takes me to plan my lessons and grade students' work.
3. Work out a fitness routine, both at home and in the gym.
4. Figure out WHEN is the best time for me to write creatively, squeeze it in my timetable and STICK TO IT. I might try to start with little writing every day to get into the routine (Revisionista style! Thanks for the idea!).
5. Work out a time for blogging and reading blogs (I found it so difficult last term).

And that's all for now. Just a few last words to let you know that I'm feeling so much better and things are still moving. Thanks for all your advice and for always been there.

Have a lovely week.
I'm heading to my first class now!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Alison - week 4

My week has been filled with a cold (2nd one in 5 weeks so I am obviously run down) and also the little ones are full of cold and teething. So short of energy so I am glad that my goals were short for the week.

* 3 blog posts YES
* Plan return to work (and put info into diary) YES - had a meeting with the head of nursing and the dates are in my diary.
*Update blog roll (VERY out of date) NO - went to local Starbucks to work on this whilst the in-laws were baby-sitting and the local store does not have wifi! Way too fiddly to revise on my iPhone.

Again, simple goals for the week...

* 3 blog posts
* Update blog roll (will complete at home this time around!)
* Appointment with friend for meeting regarding abstract submission for a conference next year

Reward:- it is my birthday on Wednesday and I am hoping to get a digital SLR with a combination of birthday and my own money so some time spent "playing" with this next week-end would be perfect.

Loving the new photo on the header.... perfect and very autumnal.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

gussying up week 6

"what keeps a dock floating above water?" pier pressure

lame, yes, but do i care, no!! :)

ya know, with all of this swimming that i'm doing, i should be loosing some mondo weight but alas, i am not. haha let's revisit week 6 goals and outcomes:

week 6 goals:
  • try to forget about (yeah right!! ok minimize) the impact of my recent storm. yes, it is still rearing it's ugly head. i refuse to let it interfere with my fantabulous weekend!! i gotta say, i did pretty well at this one and i was surprised at myself and happy that i was able to do it so easily. there have been moments but overall things are looking a little better. thank you all for your kind words. hugs!!
  • work on a guest blog post that i have been asked to write (this made me incredibly happy!!) oh yes! i have done this and have been asked to do another guest post by miss city girl!! holla i'm so excited and honored to be guest posting :D
  • find some cute sailor terms so that i can use them in my posts to come :) and/or lame ones, um yes, i have that covered ;)
reward - went to a weekend retreat, went to the local wine & jazz festival, and indulged in a vinyasa yoga class tuesday.

week 7 goals:
  • work on city girl's guest blog post
  • focus on schooling - keeping up with assignments
i'm keeping my goals short, short this week for obvious reasons - i start class tuesday!! :D

photo credit ici

Friday, September 25, 2009

locker room

hello ladies. i just posted in the locker room and fair warning, it's a LONG post so get your eye drops (or re-wetting drops) ready ;)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomato - Locker Room!

I met one of my SWIM goals already - just posted in the Locker Room!

Revisionista: New Badge & Goals Sept 21-27



I just created a new badge for our Fall SWIM.

This post will be uber short as I need to get to bed. But I'll look forward to commenting on all your doings Wednesday since that seems to be my blog posting/SWIM updating day.

So, last week was *crazy*~~lots of meetings, writing, students, etc etc etc. But I did manage to accomplish the following:

YES! (6hrs) *60 min of writing practice (10min/day) + 3hrs on Sat & Sun
YES! (12+ hours & 6pp of intro) *5 hrs of research book (aim for freewriting 5pp single spaced of intro)
D'oh!*Revise article & return to editors
Several Book Baths, but nothing planned*Artist Date: ???? (need to plan something yummy!)
Not enough *Play in my garden (try for: 2 blog posts, 2 Italian podcasts, & a book bath)

So this week will probably be equally crazy, especially since I have a stack of papers to hand back.

But I hope to do the following:

*60 min of writing practice (10min/day) + 2hrs on Fri, Sat, & Sun
*5 hrs of research book (aim for freewriting 5pp single spaced of intro)
*Revise article & return to editors
*Artist Date: candle shopping for the season & if I can swing it, lunch at a Victorian tea room in the next town over
*Play in my garden (try for: 2 blog posts, 2 Italian podcasts, & a book bath)

Bon nuit, cheries!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Driftwood: Week 2 Update

Hi all!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

This week was not very productive, work-wise and writing-wise. On the other hand, I re-discovered a lot of music that I love, met an old friend, ate at a hole-in a wall Thai restaurant that served super-yummy food, cleaned the 'TV room' and vanity space. So, trying not to feel bad over stuff that hasn't been accomplished.

Week 2 Update:

1. Finish the paper today and submit it to my advisor. Today! Yes! (one of my few 'yeses' this week).
2. Resume working on my other experiment. Analyze data and collect some more. started reading some related stuff, but didn't accomplish much
3. Start outlining the dissertation proposal (related to 2) Nope!

4. Continue with Morning pages. I've decided to also use it for my academic work- to allow it to let me look at my research from different points of view and also think of my research creatively and not as if it was just 'work'. Yes- except on this weekend
5. Work a bit on the novel as outlined last week. No..:(..Actually I did write a few sentences, but that doesn't really count, does it?
6. Post on the blog once or twice. Yes- 3 times!
7. Incorporate exercise into my regular routine No- I really feel bad about this and need to figure how to do this
8. Start yoga again No- but will do so, once the new quarter starts


This week, I plan on being more focussed. Maybe waking up earlier in the morning and getting writing done, instead of going online

This week's goals:

Academic/Work related:

1. Finish a couple of chapters and a few papers connected to the new experiment. Analyze data based on that
2. Start thinking about the Dissertation proposal

Creative

1. Novel!!
2. Morning Pages
3. Blog posts


Other

1. Exercise!!!!! I would like to exercise atleast 3-4 times a week as well as do breathing exercises
2. I have been wanting learn French forever now. Will seriously think of how to take baby steps in that direction. Any suggestions?
3. Want to read the Upanishads. Might begin with isa Upanishad- I am curious about some of the older literature such as this.The bits I've accidentally come across, I love. So I need to read more.
4. I also want to resume Indian Classical Music classes. I've been trying to find a good teacher, but keep giving up. Will try again to find somebody to teach me (especially Hindustani Classical)

I know some of the above goals were not strictly writing goals, but thought I'd keep track of them here along with my writing goals.

Have a great week!!

Tomato is Back!

I apologize for my brief hiatus last week. As most of you read my blog, I'm sure you know that it's due to an impending deadline for a project at work. Boo. I worked ALL weekend, and now I'm confident I'll make it. And that means I can enjoy The Rachel Zoe Project tonight! Ha. I'm obsessed...

Anyway, let me revisit my goals from way back when. I've been doing the 3-goal thang for awhile now and find that it's so much more manageable for me, esp. right now.

1. Journal daily with gratitude lists - YES! Maybe not daily daily, but most days. Gratitude lists really are genius.

2. Finish Pink Heels homework by Saturday - FAIL. I had to push back my session another week due to work. The homework I have is FUN (creating a vision statement and a mission statement and expressing each of them creatively in some capacity), but omg, kinda hard no?? Have any of you created a vision and/or mission statement??

3. Finish The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - YES! And oh my gosh, I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The entire book consists of letters (which I thought I'd hate), and it's both light and heavy at the same time. I highly recommend it. (Sadly I was unable to attend the actual book club mtg. Boo.)

Now onto this week's goals...

1. Continue journaling daily with gratitude lists. Work on adding "art" to my journal via stamps (i have TONS of rubber stamps), stickers, markers, collages, etc. (I've gotten uber lazy about this.)

2. Work on creating a vision and mission statement throughout this week (as in don't put it off til Saturday). Find inspiration in others' statements.

3. Write locker room post. I had a really emotional and difficult weekend. This is normally the type of thing I'd blog about, but for privacy reasons, I cannot. That being said, I'm aching to get it off my chest and get some feedback. Voila the genius locker room! I'm SO glad we have this place to share such things in an intimate and private setting.

Alison week 3 - checking in!

Checking in to review my goals from last week and put down my thoughts for this week:-

*3 posts regarding my trip to France (which was fantastic). YES
*Sign up for this travel writing workshop. I know that I will never be able to give up my full time job to pursue this ambition but it would be fun to develop this on the side. YES - starts Sept 28th
*Purchase and read a digital photography magazine as I am getting a digital SLR for my birthday this month (birthday money and additional money from my savings). YES (not read it yet!)
*Meeting with a friend/work colleague to work on a professional article which has already been accepted in a peer reviewed journal (based on some previous work that we have done). YES - awaiting editors comments
*Writing an abstract (with same person) for a conference in October 2010 in San Antonio, TX. NO - but a date is in our diary to do this!
*Catch up on google reader which is about to explode after holiday trip away from the computer. YES
*Pick up a copy of the book which I have 2 chapters in (launched on Friday). NO as the launch date has been put back but I did not realise as I am not in the office right now!

My uni friends visited so we had yummy food, shopping and some wine - the perfect reward!

My goals will be simple this week as I have a crazy week with another meeting re) return to work that I need to prep for.
* 3 blog posts
* Plan return to work (and put info into diary)
*Update blog roll (VERY out of date)

Reward - hubbie is out on Friday night so I will get some yummy food in and make a meal for one (with a dessert and a glass of wine!).

Hope every-one is well.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New locker room post

Just posted on the locker room. Would love to hear your thoughts/feedback.

gussying up week 5

week 5 - already!! my how times flies when you are swimming along. :) i am checking in early as i'll be away all weekend sans computer. hooray for disconnecting!

week 5 goals and outcome recap:
  • i am going through a bit of processing some negativity out of my life at the moment so morning pages/journaling is key here. i thought about posting on the locker room but haven't committed. i'm still torn. um, yeah, my negativity hit me head on so hard that i in fact couldn't write at all. i am going to put up a locker post about this later next week after i sort through some details. i'm afraid it's going to be a terribly long post so my apologies ahead of time.
  • since the tea trading fun is almost here, i plan on sending everyone who joined snail mail thank yous. now here is one thing i did and can be proud of! i got all of the snail mail thank yous mailed this morning in fact!
  • seriously getting back into a regular reiki practice (and i mean it this time!!) again, boo for melita. have you all ever heard of a psychic vampire before? neither had i until my nerdy boyfriend pointed this one out to me. i will go into details about this in the locker room post but this is exactly why i've been a wreck recently and why i didn't do my reiki practice.
image credit here. it's called "freeing myself" - i thought it to be well fitting!

recently the waters have been very choppy for me. i have sent some of you emails regarding the situation but some of you are still unaware. don't worry, you will learn about this after my locker room post.

week 6 goals:
  • try to forget about (yeah right!! ok minimize) the impact of my recent storm. yes, it is still rearing it's ugly head. i refuse to let it interfere with my fantabulous weekend!!
  • work on a guest blog post that i have been asked to write (this made me incredibly happy!!)
  • find some cute sailor terms so that i can use them in my posts to come :)
you all have a lovely weekend! i hope that all get your goals met in this week to come. i will let you know when i have posted my locker room post. it will take me a while to formulate it.

Kiki: Staying Grounded

I've just caught up on all your posts for the last week in one fell swoop. SO FANTASTIC! Reading about goals, rewards, Artist Dates, hopes, fears, troubles, and triumphs all together makes me feel really connected to all of you. We should seriously start thinking about having some sort of get-together in the future. Kind of like a Hip Tranquil Chick Retreat, SWIMmer's style. Rent a big place somewhere, do some yoga together, drink lots of tea...I'm sensing this might take at least a year to sort out. But I can't help dreaming big on this one!

Here's what happened this week:
1) Spent way too much time preparing for a job interview
2) Rocked the interview
3) First facial in several years (good, but I think the aesthetician overdid the Vitamin A mask a little)

Here's what didn't happen this week:
1) daily morning pages - I missed at least two days
2) yoga - actually, no real exercise at all
3) writing the research plan for my postdoc applications
4) Tidying up a writing sample for the same applications

And next week I'm back in the States for a month, flying madly up and down the East Coast over the course of four weeks. Things are going to get wackier before they get calmer.

This always happens when I get busy: the "non-negotiable dailies" fall to the wayside, which leaves me guilty for neglecting them, angry that I "don't have time" to do them, and feeling unmoored and ungrounded. I'm determined not to let that happen this time.

Goals 18 -27 September
*Finish postdoc app due 5 October (inc. research plan, class plan, writing sample, etc.)
*Complete draft of conference paper/presentation to be delivered 3 October 
*Work up practice "job talk" to receive feedback when I'm in the States
*Begin revising dissertation (I see this happening on the planes)
*Try not to get worked up about not working when I'm attending my oldest friend's wedding
*Three dailies: morning pages, yoga, and something creative - Tiny, if necessary
*Think positive about the job interview

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vienna: Moving


Hi, everyone!
First of all just to say I don't have enough words to thank you for all your amazing support, advice, and well, for just being there fore me. It means the world. I absolutely love being part of this group. I was actually thinking, if we are still SWIMming in, let's say, a year or two, maybe we should organise a SWIMMERS CONFERENCE somewhere to meet each other. I would love to!

I will post the usual goal revision and setting here and I will also post a follow-up on the Swimmer's Locker room again. Just a short one, this time. The picture and title of the post refer to MOVEMENT. That's where I am right now. Moving. I read somewhere that suffering is being stuck. I only guess, the perfect medicine for suffering is then movement. I wrote a post in Ona explaining my little MOVES this week.

Last week's goals:

Give myself time to re-adapt at work and prepare for the new academic year. Yes! I have even written the Autumn term exams!!!
2. Yoga every day, twice. Yes! It has really helped so much. I feel so safe on the mat, and that'a a feeling I've tried to take with me to all areas of my life.
3. Breathing exercises. Magic! Even when it seems they are not working and you are wasting your time. You are not! Thanks to all your recommendations.
4. Journal writing + gratitude lists Yes! However irregular, short. Good tool to get rid of negativity.
5. Reading 'The Self on the Page', by Celia Hunt (A Creative Writing book for Personal Development). Yes! And I have used some of the exercises as inspiration in my new post in Writing in Spanish, my Spanish creative writing workshop, which seems to have more and more participants from all over the world. I love it!
6. Slowly get back into 'The Artist's Way' and both, MPs and Artist's Date. Ermmmmm... MPs have been mixed with journaling and all over the place, since the new academic year started. I didn't feel ready for the Artist's Way. I can see my main goal was to feel grounded again and, basically, to breath.
7. Re-assess my overall situation (financial, emotional, professional, artistic) through my Journal writing and re-plan the academic year in an accepting and self-supportive way. I suppose this is an ongoing issue. I'm still on it. I'm afraid I will have to say 'no' to some of my new academic year's plans. I'm still thinking the way around but I have managed to be supportive and understanding with myself since the opposite is not taking me anywhere.
I think I will wait a bit to post my next week's goals. Having missed a week I feel a bit mixed up with the time! I caught a cold aswell (ayyyyyy!) so maybe after the weekend I'll be able to think clearer. In a strange way I am enjoying this cold. I am enjoying taking care of myself.

Just in case you don't visit Ona, I'll leave you here with the same song I posted there. It's called MOVING and it has been 'The Song of the Summer' in Spain. It's half in Spanish and half in English'. It's really uplifting. I think you can enjoy it. Here it is: MOVING, by Macaco.

Loads of love to everyone.

Have a great and creative weekend.

V.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Revisionista: Update & Goals Sept 14-20

Bonjour mes amies!

So, the one thing I can't seem to keep up with now that the semester is in full effect is tweeting and blogging. I'll have to figure out a way to make more time for this. I think one problem might be that the fun silly stuff going in "real" life is connected to my uni job & friends, and since I'm trying to keep my blogging/noveling habit in the closet (for now), I've become a bit paranoid about what I post.

Anyways, I'm making progress on my research & creative writing. Let's see how I did last week:

YES! (4 hrs) *60 min of writing practice (10min/day)
YES! (9:30 hrs & 4.5pp) *3 hrs of research book (aim for freewriting 5pp single spaced of intro)
YES! (made mix cd + cover art for peep's dance party)*Artist Date: cozy evening in my reading corner with candles, tea, journal, & a stack of books
Not Enough *Play in my garden (this could include anything from planning my Italy/Paris adventure next summer, listening to Italian podcasts, and reading for fun to journaling, collaging, blogging)

This week I'd like to focus on doing a few more things for moi, such as blogging, reading, book bath, Artist Date, etc.

*60 min of writing practice (10min/day) + 3hrs on Sat & Sun
*5 hrs of research book (aim for freewriting 5pp single spaced of intro)
*Revise article & return to editors
*Artist Date: ???? (need to plan something yummy!)
*Play in my garden (try for: 2 blog posts, 2 Italian podcasts, & a book bath)

Hope everyone else is having a good week!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Alison - week 2 check in and goal setting

My two weeks holiday has flown by and I am back checking in with my goals for the next week. I now have 12 weeks until I return to work (SOB!) and have just received my work-load for my return (which has doubled) and I can already feel the stress in my shoulders, my head is pounding and a knot forming in my stomach. This group and its support will take on an even greater significance in the next few months as I go through this transition period.

Right then.... goals for the week..

  • 3 posts regarding my trip to France (which was fantastic).
  • Sign up for this travel writing workshop. I know that I will never be able to give up my full time job to pursue this ambition but it would be fun to develop this on the side.
  • Purchase and read a digital photography magazine as I am getting a digital SLR for my birthday this month (birthday money and additional money from my savings).
  • Meeting with a friend/work colleague to work on a professional article which has already been accepted in a peer reviewed journal (based on some previous work that we have done).
  • Writing an abstract (with same person) for a conference in October 2010 in San Antonio, TX. Am having a total undecided moment about this application as the twins will be 18 months then and unsure about leaving them (so unlike my "old" self that would travel alone with no issues). My hubbie would be looking after them and has been on a business trip to Geneva since they have been born and no-one seemed to think that odd but have mentioned my opportunity and have had that "bad mother" look from a few people so totally unsure on what to do - HELP!
  • Catch up on google reader which is about to explode after holiday trip away from the computer.
  • Pick up a copy of the book which I have 2 chapters in (launched on Friday) and show to any-one who will look (ha ha - I am joking at this part).

REWARD:- uni friends are visiting at the week-end so quality girl-friend time (couple of meals out whilst hubbie baby-sits. Possibly with a few glasses of sparkly stuff).

Sorry if I have gone a little off topic but I am trying to give you some background as to where I am!

This was initially posted in Locker Room - have now deleted from there (sorry) and reposted here....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Driftwood: Week 1 Update

Hi all!

Thank you for the wonderful welcome.

This is going to be a short post as I am running slightly behind on my last week's goals.

Last week's Update

Academic Writing:

1. Rewrite the Results sections, with updated figures - Yes!
2. Add the Discussion/Conclusion section- Almost but not quite..:(
3. Read a couple more papers which will contribute to the building up of the discussion section- Sort of! have been re-reading parts of some papers

I am not thaat pleased with the progress as I wanted to finish most of the paper over the labor day weekend, but I wasn't feeling too well on one of those days (Excuses! Excuses!) so that ate up a little bit of my time.

Creative Writing:

1. Morning Pages- Yes! Everyday- though not always in the morning. Sometimes in the afternoon/evening, but mostly before I start my academic writing. It works really great as a focusing tool-almost like meditation
2. Work on the novel- Nope! But that was inevitable as I needed to finish the academic paper first
3.Post on the blog, once or twice- Yes! Twice!

Also, I had several artist dates last weekend- went to several Barnes and Noble stores-leafed through books. Quite enjoyable. Also decorated a composition notebook to use as my 'morning pages' book and had a lot of fun doing that as well.

This week's goals

Academic:

1. Finish the paper today and submit it to my advisor. Today! (I am at Barnes and Nobles trying to finish it. That way, I don't have to wander too far if I want a fun artist date-like break..:)
2. Resume working on my other experiment. Analyze data and collect some more.
3. Start outlining the dissertation proposal (related to 2)

Creative
1. Continue with Morning pages. I've decided to also use it for my academic work- to allow it to let me look at my research from different points of view and also think of my research creatively and not as if it was just 'work'.
2. Work a bit on the novel as outlined last week.
3. Post on the blog once or twice.

Other:

1. Incorporate exercise into my regular routine
2. Start yoga again

Artist Date ideas: I am trying to carry out a lot of my 'house duties' positively. An example is to turn cooking into an artist's date. This isn't difficult as I enjoy cooking, but it is easy for anything to become a chore. To make things interesting and to also ensure I get my veggies, I have been trying to buy a new-to-me veggie every week from the farmer's market.

Rewards: Not sure I really deserve one- but I plan on getting a blank moleskine book and a book on green cleaning that I've wanted for a while

This didn't end up being a short post after all..:)

Good luck to every one in the coming week.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

gussying up week 4

hello lovely swimmers!

week 4 was good for me. i got a lot accomplished and got a lot of rewards along the way :) cue the recap...
-did paperwork for my massage therapy program - check!
-doctors appointment - check!
-regular blogging - check!
-morning pages - check!
-regular reiki practice - fail!
-read massage therapy text - check!
fun stuff:
-seeing wheeling symphony orchestra - check!
-thai massage - chiggity check!
-celebrate 4 years with ryan - chiggity check!
rainbow over the hills of morgantown. photo by moi

week 5 goals:

it feels like my goals are the same week after week. so this week i'm gonna cut them a little short:
  • i am going through a bit of processing some negativity out of my life at the moment so morning pages/journaling is key here. i thought about posting on the locker room but haven't committed. i'm still torn.
  • since the tea trading fun is almost here, i plan on sending everyone who joined snail mail thank yous.
  • seriously getting back into a regular reiki practice (and i mean it this time!!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vienna: almost drowning and learning to SWIM again.


Hey, everyone!




It's been one week since I came back home and it has been a pretty intense (and not too good) week. To start with, my laptop CRASHED with loads of data in (I had backed up some but not everything), including my portfolio + MA application form + most of my summer writing+ my Spain pictures. Well, you know exactly how I felt. Anyway, there have been other things that I'm going to write about in the SWIMmer's Locker Room. Please, join me there.

For several reasons my goals for this week have been tiny and basic. They are:


1. Give myself time to re-adapt at work and prepare for the new academic year.

2. Yoga every day, twice.

3. Breathing exercises.

4. Journal writing + gratitude lists

5. Reading 'The Self on the Page', by Celia Hunt (A Creative Writing book for Personal Development).

6. Slowly get back into 'The Artist's Way' and both, MPs and Artist's Date.

7. Re-assess my overall situation (financial, emotional, professional, artistic) through my Journal writing and re-plan the academic year in an accepting and self-supportive way.


And that's all for now. I'm determined to SWIM again and overcome these unexpected difficulties in the journey. I leave you with another picture I took in Nakpaktós, in Greece.
See you all at the end of the week!
Besos,
V.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tomato: Week 12

Bonjour, fellow SWIMers! I hope you had a lovely long weekend. As for moi, I had a divine time in Canada and got some much-needed quiet and rest. Needless to say, I did not get any work work done while I was there. But it was kind of nice to just say, "It's okay. I'll get to it when I return to Austin." And that's just what I've done. As such, this week and this weekend in particular are going to be very work-intensive. I've already scheduled my 90-minute deep tissue massage (despite not meeting my SWIM goals from last week..)!

Speaking of last week's goals, I had 3:

1. Journal daily with gratitude lists - FAIL. I did journal, but failed to make any gratitude lists... oops!

2. Turn trip to Vancouver into one giant Artist Date. Take oodles of pics, write a lot, enjoy the scenery, and enjoy yourself even while working (I'm going to try and find a fun coffeeshop w/ free wifi so I can work AND indulge!) - Success! My trip was a huge artist date indeed, and despite the rainy weather, I had a great time exploring the city. Look out for a big post all about it on my blog later this week.

3. Respond to reader questions on blog - Check!


As for my Week 12 Goals, I'm keeping them to trois as well.

1) Journal daily with gratitude lists (FOR REAL this time!)

2) Complete Pink Heels homework by Saturday (my hw this week is kinda hard and tiresome, and i kinda want to put it off until forever...)

3) Finish reading The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (it's my book club book, and i started it in Vancouver and just adore it!).

REWARD: None b/c I already gave myself a somewhat undeserved reward this weekend. ;-)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Revisionista: Update & Goals Sept 7-13

Bonjour Mes Amies!

Welcome to our new swimmer, Driftwood! And welcome back to Kiki!! (Missed you!)

Before I dive into my update, I wanted to check on some of our other SWIMmers who I haven't seen too much of lately. Just want to make sure no one's lost or stranded ;)

I can't believe we're already in the second week of September. Overall, things are going pretty well at school. I'm really liking my job this year. In addition to getting to know my students, there have been all sorts of happy, silly distractions like agreeing to lead a book club discussion on the zombified adaptation of Pride & Prejudice for the undergrads, snarking at the annual welcome back parade with dept peeps, & making a mix cd for a dance party to celebrate the publication of a peep's new book. That said, I must make research the priority this week so I can finish this book and keep my job.

I feel like the fiction writing is coming along pretty well, especially since I picked up a few helpful hints from Driftwood's recent comments on my blog. But I'm definitely beginning to tread water with the Research Book Introduction.

So, let's see how I did last week:

YES! (6 hrs) *60 min of writing practice (10min/day)
YES! (5 hrs)*3 hrs of research book (let's see if counting hours will lead to increase in pages written)
YES! (looked but didn't find any shoes I liked)*Artist Date: might go shoe shopping later today if it's not raining when I get out of class; need to make a list of some other artist dates that don't cost any money (must start saving for European adventure next summer!)
YES! (blog post, made vision page for week, read for fun, book bath) *Play in my garden (this could include anything from planning my Italy/Paris adventure next summer, listening to Italian podcasts, and reading for fun to journaling, collaging, blogging)

Here's what I'm hoping to do this week:

*60 min of writing practice (10min/day)
*3 hrs of research book (aim for freewriting 5pp single spaced of intro)
*Artist Date: cozy evening in my reading corner with candles, tea, journal, & a stack of books
*Play in my garden (this could include anything from planning my Italy/Paris adventure next summer, listening to Italian podcasts, and reading for fun to journaling, collaging, blogging)

Overall I think my TINY goals are working, especially for the fiction writing. But I might need to amp up the research goals so I actually feel like I'm making progress.

Hope y'all have a lovely week. I'm about to clear off my desk and dive back into this intro for Le Rsch Book!

Kiki: Waving, not drowning

Oh, ladies.

It's been two weeks since I've been SWIMming. Since coming back from Scotland, things have just been completely nutso. Family in town, then I got sick, had to send in a conference paper, working on my CV, drafting class plans and syllabi for job and postdoc applications, and set up my own professional website for those apps and personal branding.

Even my morning pages have been nothing but professional stuff these days. Plus, I've been back on my computer all the time again. Well, when I haven't been sleeping, which has been a lot, even though Stress-Induced Whirling Brain is still waking me up before 5:15 every morning. This week I'm also giving a conference paper, back up in Scotland. Can you feel it? Can you feel the anxiety?

I'm going back to the timers. It's too easy to spend too much time on perfection, and there are lots of other things that need to happen. 

I'm working through your posts, but it's going to take a little bit of time - thank you to all of you for your patience. September and October are going to be a supremely nutty months for me with all the applications and work-related writing that needs to go out. And welcome to Driftwood! Thanks for all your comments at Yogademia recently :-)

Writing Goals September 7-13
*Spend maximum 2 hours each to finish job application & conference presentation due Wednesday
*Keep my Morning Pages at minimum 2 pages each morning rather than succumbing to work.
*Write at least 1 post for my new professional site (I'll divulge either by e-mail or at the Locker Room)
*Draft two class plans for job and postdoc apps
*Draft research proposal for postdoc apps
*Deliver a kickass presentation and paper at St. Andrews on Saturday morning
*Do some yoga and something creative every day, without exception, even if only a Tiny practice.

Reward: Sunday morning Artist Date in Scotland, with longhand fun writing and lots of photos
(Can I just say how awesome it is to be able to write "have an Artist Date in [another country]"?