I should post more often. Either nothing's happening and I have nothing to say or so much is going on that I wouldn't know where to start!
Also, asking y'all what you're up to is the only way I can get most of you to drop me a comment or an email and tell me what's new in your lives. :)
Me? Diet-wise, I'm now down 7 pounds with another eight to go to reach my goal. For reasons that I'll go into below, I plateaued for the entire month of April and most of May--neither losing nor gaining, but I'm making progress again.
This is good. At some point I'll have to travel again and it will be useful if I fit into more of my wardrobe than my shorts and a handful of tee-shirts.
(Okay, no, I hadn't gained that much weight. But enough. Too much.)
So, what happened to that resolution to blog more regularly, you ask?
Well, work became--insane. Entirely insane.
After what I posted at the end of March, The Big Crunch seemed to explode in size and complexity every other week.
After a desperate attempt to regain the control I lost with the client's 80,000 oh-so-NOT-helpful edits, I turned to another of Mother's Little Helpers and offered to exchange coin of the realm for an automated script that would take at least some of the pressure off. He and I worked together for most of April to get the functionality we wanted in place but once it was--let me tell you, I am now a FAN of automation.
NewBroom's account continued to pull a modest amount of traffic but it took six weeks of begging before I could get feedback on what kind of results we were producing. This slowed down optimization--without data on results, you can't really optimize--but I think I have the client convinced to give it all just a bit more time to produce.
The Laddies continues along--producing very little, slowly. They may need to be fired--or at least convinced to move elsewhere. Their market is not my area of expertise and I don't think I can really help them.
The March & April stress from the attempt to improve things for both the NewBroom and The Laddies, along with the turmoil in The Big Crunch landed on my brain like a boatload of bricks at the end of April. I basically just shut down for three or four weeks.
I've never had quite such a thorough meltdown before--at least, not one that wasn't related to an undiscovered need for medication. (That is, not since I had a bout of panic attacks and was diagnosed with a low thyroid hormone condition. About 10 years ago, now.)
In May, I worked the bare minimum to keep most of the accounts running, virtually ignored The Big Crunch, and spent a lot of what should have been "work hours" in reading, walking, and playing video games.
I don't regret it a bit. By the end of May, when it became necessary to do month-end reporting and when Louie Louie came back to me with a full list of additional changes & expansions The Big Crunch had just requested, I was rested, refreshed, and ready to go!
So, you know. That's what I've been doing for the last 60 days. Completing a slide into complete exhaustion and then resting up for the climb back out of the pit.
I'm surprised, me, being me, that I had the self-awareness and good sense to take that kind of break.
On the other hand, my brain's complete refusal to engage in any activity more stressful than turning the page of a book may not, strictly speaking, be counted as "self-aware" behavior. Regardless, life is good now. I'm taking time off (no longer working weekends), getting out of the house several times a week, still walking for health and enjoyment, and determined to avoid that particular pitfall in the future.
I'm on a diet, which precludes most of my planned culinary experiments. Also, the weather is warming up and I don't have a lot of appetite in the summer. I go for soups or salads in the hot months.
I'm still knitting and crocheting. Not so much at the moment, since these are more autumn/winter activities as well, but I'm working on one gorgeous dark green scarf that I do want to finish, so it's available to me this fall, when the weather starts to turn.
I've done a bit of writing. Nothing spectacular, just dabbling with a couple of ideas, but it's nice to feel that old creative urge reawakening.
I haven't gotten around to picking up my drawing and sketching tools again. The idea occurs to me more and more often these days, though, so it may just be a matter of time, especially with my new determination to balance between working and "having a life."
(Look at me now! It's "work time" but here I am, writing a personal blog.)
The R.C. and I continue to dabble in painting. We took another oil painting class this past winter, producing reasonably acceptable results.
(We, or at least I don't pretend to aspire to actual Artist status. "Not entirely embarrassing for an untalented, untrained amateur" is the most I hope for--the goal I'm shooting for.)
Although oils are easier to work in (easier blending, slower drying time, etc.), they're also a lot more toxic. You have to gather up all paint-related waste, including used paint thinner, and have it disposed of via hazardous waste procedures. Only work in a well-ventilated area even wear protective gear if you really want to be safe. These are not really restrictions I'm looking for in a hobby, okay?
So, for home use, instead of oils, we decided to try acrylics.
There are, of course, significant differences, the main one being that acrylics dry so quickly that it's difficult to paint faster than your paints can dry out. There are products on the market designed to alleviate this issue and we're testing some of them. The R.C. is doing better with the products than I am, but then she's always been a procedural person and a rule-follower.
That snark aside (she's also producing much better results than I am, which is the source of my aggro), I get involved in what I'm trying to do and basically just forget to use the products. For the record, they don't do you a lot of good when they're still in the bottle. Brain, brain, what happened to my brain?
In the meantime, we've each completed a couple of canvases and I invite the bored, the masochistic, and the morbidly curious among you to go ahead and click the link to see my own results.
For the rest of you, the ones who are going to stop reading here, post a comment or drop me an email and let me know what's up in your lives!
And I promise I'll try to blog more regularly.
A winter scene in shades of purple and blue:
After this, we decided to focus on practicing techniques (i.e., producing recognizable trees) and getting more comfortable with the acrylic medium.
To that end, we chose a more monochromatic image for our next experiment. I decided to complete it in a sort of sepia, using only brown and white.
Although these images are poor, they show that I continue to struggle with painting trees and grasses--a handicap if you aspire to landscape painting.
More practice is needed--further bulletins as events (and output) do and or do not warrant. :) It's my blog--I'll trash it out with bad pictures of worse paintings if I want to!posted by AnneZook on 06.08.15 at 01:05 PM
Glad you had a good breakdown... that didn't come out right, did it?
Just got back from my annual conference: tolerable presentation myself, heard a fair quantity of good ones (and some of the usual tedium). Now I have to start thinking about next semester, getting some writing done, maybe even NOT abandoning my research until next spring....
Assuming Kansas has any money to pay us essential folks.posted by: Jonathan Dresner on 06.08.15 at 04:34 PM [permalink]
Yes, it sounds odd, but I know what you mean. :)
And it is good, in that the worst is behind me, I'm reforming my way of life for better balance, and the sun is shining today--a thing that we normally take for granted in Denver, but not this spring!
If there was a "fair quantity" of good sessions at your conference, then it was an exceptional one! If I walk away from a conference with even one half-good idea or the memory of one really engaging session, I count it as a good event. To have *several* good sessions seems like an embarrassment of riches!
Budget, budget, budget. A frightening thing to have to worry about. My fingers are crossed on behalf of higher education.posted by: Anne on 06.10.15 at 02:29 PM [permalink]