Thursday, February 19, 2015

Create before you consume

I recently read this, I think on Instagram, and it strikes me as world-changing for us creative-types. Like, most mornings, the first thing I do is check my phone to see all the alerts that came through while I was sleeping--my first act is to consume.

And I thought: what could I accomplish if I don't do that until after I write my pages?

It's something I'm working on. It's not easy, breaking the habits that happen when you're still mostly-asleep. But I'm working on it.

What could you do, if you did your creative work before phones and email and life? Hell, even before breakfast?

Winter weather, finally! But at what cost?

I was starting to think that spring would happen before winter did, and that made me worry about my plans for this big fancy food garden--which would be unfortunate, for sure. Last week, we had most of the days in the 50s or 60s, a little rainy, a lot not-like-winter. And then starting maybe Monday this week, the temperature plummeted and the weather men started preempting TV shows, and the schools all peaced out, and then it snowed

Not the sweet, fluffy, deep snow we had for a month by this time last year, but this hard, icy snow that has glazed everything an inch deep and made it so it's almost impossible to walk on the ground outside.

Dad fell getting groceries the other day. 

My nephews have been waiting on snow for months since the leaves fell, and it's too cold for them to go out and enjoy it.

My sister and my niece have been sick since the day the temperatures went all The Day After Tomorrow. 

My tulips, that had several inches above the soil last week, are now iced over, and the baby bok choi that had just broken the surface is, I'm pretty sure, slime now.

I wanted winter, but I didn't really want a winter that's unusable.

I guess I need to be more specific.

And I also need to complain less, because I know a lot of you have it worse.

So I'll go back to planting my spring plants, and I'll drink my hot tea, and I'll think warm thoughts.

How're you guys holding up?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Be everything that you are

I'm probably about 80% geek in my daily life. Most of my likes and dislikes are based on how geeky a show or a book is; I read mostly fantasy and watch mostly scifi. But I'm not only a geek.

One of my Core Desired Feelings* this year is to feel Unconventionally Whole. I decided that I needed the unconventionally part because a lifetime of trying to feel whole and steady in conventional ways has gotten me nowhere. That idea that all I need is a house I own, a husband, and a kid or three is a nice one, and I'd one day like to have those things, but not only those things. Because that would totally neglect and deny the fact that I can't stand being hedged in or trapped--so owning a house I don't love in a place I don't love would be like prison, and dating someone just to have a boyfriend, just to get married would be like killing myself slowly.

And really, that's all external stuff that has nothing to do with how well I integrate my own disparate parts.
  • I'm a geek
  • But I'm also overly educated**, and I have a strong literary bent to me and my worldview because of it
  • And I grew up overseas so I don't really feel like an American maybe a third of the time
  • And I love to travel and see new things
  • But I'm also often riddled with fear and anxiety, and it makes new things hard
  • And I love to eat and cook
  • But I also had an eating disorder that still plagues me sometimes, and I have health concerns now that stop me from eating and cooking everything I want
  • And I'm basically a hermit
  • But I get really bad wanderlust and cabin fever and I need to get out
  • And I'm smart
  • But also very shy and recovering from a lifetime of acting dumb
  • And I'm a romantic
  • But also practical and wildly uninterested in the reality of the general view of romance a lot of the time
  • I'm a writer and a natural storyteller
  • I'm artistic but unfocused
  • I'm soft and small and easily hurt
  • But trying to be tough without losing that
So basically, I'm being dragged in a lot of directions right now, and I wanted to make sure that one of my CDFs was to address that--to find ways to integrate and to make peace between all these disparate parts.

I'm building a life where all of me informs the structure and the outcome of what I do. 

And I think you should, too. Because how many people all over the world feel stifled? I'd say probably most of them, or there wouldn't be so much depression, violence, suicide, sad people drinking alone, weird movies about all the various abuses of the world. I think everyone should try to integrate more and more of their forgotten and pushed-off other interests and truths. And if more people did, maybe more societies would be open and welcoming for the weirdness of having so many people who aren't all the same. And then the next generation wouldn't have to go through this same struggle.

And maybe it's first world, and maybe a lot of people don't have time for this stuff, but maybe also a world where people weren't crammed into some other idea of how they should live would be one where there's less of the divisions and hardship we're all faced with.

And I'm done acting like I'm not an idealist.

What are you done acting like?

*You can find your own Core Desired Feelings in the Desire Map, linked up there in the Affiliations tab!
**I made sure I am! And I'm probably not done yet!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ways I'll know I'm alright and maybe even successful

- I can both buy geeky limited-edition tee shirts AND food, without complicated mathematics

- My books will sell well enough in whatever format they're in to keep me out of debt

- My garden will produce more food than I need and can therefore feed others too

- Sometimes I'll stop and look around and just feel so lucky that this is what my life looks like

- I'll have time to do more than one thing at a time and people interested in hearing what those thing are

- I won't need to worry about health because I'll both be easier and I'll have good healthcare

- I'll get to wear pretty dresses because there's no reason they'd be impractical or too expensive

- I'll live near my friends instead of way far away from them

- I can keep all my books because my space is big enough to hold them and steady enough that I don't need to move

- Happiness is the default

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Three ingredient chocolate-hazelnut salted-caramel mug cake

(Which I made in a bowl)

So easy! I looked at a couple flourless mug cake recipes, merged them together, and made this:

4 tbsp Jif Salted-Caramel Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread
1 egg
1/8 tsp baking powder

Scramble the crap out of that egg, until it's as uniform as possible
Add the not-Nutella and mix it until it's totally blended and no egg-streaks remain
Put into a single-serving bowl or an oversized mug
Nuke for one minute

It'll puff a lot when it cooks, and then totally collapse because there's no gluten to hold the puff. That's fine; the bubbles you whipped into the egg should hold some volume, and the rest will be fudgy awesomeness.
Let it cool; when it's fresh out, it's eggy. 

It's yummy.

I think I'll try whipping the eggs separately with the electric mixer and fold in the fluffed whites and see what that does. And I'll try the other million favors that everyone has come up with while trying not to plagiarize Nutella!

And maybe I'll try oat or rice flour and see if it is worth that complication, like some of the fancier recipes I looked at.

Do you make mug cakes? What's your fav?

Using your weirdness as strength

I'm so right-brained that I had to learn to visualize math so that it makes sense. So I taught myself to do algebra from the equal-sign out and only had to go in front of the class once--ain't nobody else knows what's going on with that.

I think in branches, like lightning, so making up stories is easy--but following linear plots is hard. So I write multilayered stories and I help other writers by editing for structure and noting where they can add branches in. And I was a good game editor because I could hold all those branching narratives in my head at once.

I'm shy and introverted (they're not the same but tend to go together), so I watch and listen and know a lot of things other people don't, so I also do fact checking and I like telling people about stuff and sharing what I find.

Which is to say, these things that people will tell you make you weird--an inability to do math normally, nonlinear thinking, introversion--are not really problems if you own them and noodle around with them. There's always a way to make it into a strength. There's always a use, or you wouldn't have that thing.

Everything is an adaptation, and a tool to be used. Everything is a gift at some other angle.

Let's find out what our gifts are.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Core Desired Feelings

In Danielle LaPorte's The Desire Map (linked in the Affiliations tab up above!), she talks about planning your life besed on how you want to feel, rather than what you want to own, and then picking your actions based on what will make you feel the way you want to feel. Being a schedule-averse and overly-creative sort, I'm in love with this take. And I'm putting my words here for accountability.

She suggests three words, but I picked five because five is my fav number.* 

Abundance - encompasses the necessary income increases I'm working on, but also the feeling that I'm not lacking, and that I can afford to be generous.

Fulfilled - applies to emotional, lifestyle, creative, aspirational, basically all active and interactive parts of my life.

Secure - because I spent too much of last year worried we were going to be homeless or hungry, worried about my health, worried about whether or not my friends actually like me. No more.

Inspired & Inspirational - because I need to remember to fill my well, because I want to surround myself with people on trajectories I like, and because I want to be so overflowing (abundance again) that I inspire others to live better just by being here.

Unconventionally Whole - because the usual ways don't always fit me, and I need to remember to be myself. All of myself.

Do you have Core Desired Feelings? The trick I found was to pick words that apply across categories to multiple areas of your life. What would yours be?

* five is like a wheel, it spins. My other fav number, three, is like a trinary star revolving, but between them is four, which is too rigid and doesn't go anywhere. It's like solid slate-blue stone. It's like the Pandorica.^
^This is number-syn messing with me again.

List of Brain Sorbet!

You have to say Brain sorbet with a swoosh of the hand across the face...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A different outfit every day in February - week 2!

I didn't explain this before, but I have this closet full of clothes that I just got out of storage, and I wear basically, like, one laundry-loads' worth of clothes most days. So this is a project to force me to go into that closet and actually use the clothes I have!


I forgot to take pictures of Tuesday and Wednesday! ::face palm::


(Jeeze, this front facing cam)

Not pictured: I smell amazing because of my Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab bottle of Annabel Lee!

This is one of my fav shirts.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Today's Tea - Celestial Seasoning's Blueberry Breeze

This is also known as the No Mom Tea because my mom is allergic to blueberries. Also, my chosen cup for today is classy AF, so there.

This has a fantastic smell--like blueberry jam, made with actual blueberries, not really that fake blueberry smell like markers or something. Judging by the lack of purpleness in the tea, though, I'd guess that it's flavoring and not actually blueberries, which is sad because then you get the flavor but not the antioxidants. This is white tea, however, which has more antioxidants of its own than any other sort of tea, so I guess there's that.

The tea itself is not sweet, but there's also no bitterness at all. White tea is like some delicate spirit of tea-ness--it tastes like tea, and here, it brews pretty strong, but it doesn't get bitter, so it doesn't need sugar or milk...though it might be good brewed London-fog style straight in warm milk with some sweetness, if you leave it to get strong enough to taste it over the taste of milk.

I think I'll try that next...

I've had these around for a while, and the flavor is still strong and not at all stale or skunky, and since I have so many teas, that's definitely a thing I look for.


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