A Mandoline for Time

I could use one, if you happen to have one lying about — yesterday I sat down and wrote out A List of the major projects I happen to have going on these days. The result was daunting, and I found myself annoyed. Am I supposed to be a nearly-expert in this time/task management/workflow stuff or what? Project manager, manage thyself. Because trying to slice your days into ever-thinner bits in order to make Zeno-like progress on everything at the same time is not the way.

Remember last year, when I was all about leaving space for things to happen in? Well, things have certainly happened. It might be just about time to do some weeding. Job hunting in particular takes up a fair amount of energy, and it might be sensible to push off a few other things until something there lands. I could be making better use of my bullet journal, too, in order to keep on top of the major projects while still pecking away at daily habits.

And I ought to celebrate more — when there’s so much going on, it’s easy for wins to get swamped in “that’s great, but what about all of this other stuff,” which is no way to treat a win. In that spirit, a few of the week’s wins:

  • The novel draft is at 54,000 words.
  • I increased my run speed by 1/10 of a MPH.
  • I finished reading a book that has taken me a while to get through, bringing my total to six for the year.
  • A meeting of the professional group I co-organize went so well last week that I had to gently evict a couple of people 45 minutes after it was supposed to end.

Not too shabby. The week ahead is packed with activities, so I’m not going to beat myself up about missing Duolingo a few times.


Been a While!

For the first time since starting this blog, I have managed to whiff two weeks in a row (three if you consider that it’s Monday, but since it’s a long weekend I will give myself this one). Despite that, I don’t have a whole lot to say at this point. Brevity becomes ever briefer, I suppose? This past weekend was Boskone, which was a lovely time. Saw a few people and some great panels, bought a few things, and generally felt both edified in mind and restored in spirit. (Body was not neglected in the meantime–the Orange Line is partially out of commission during the weekends, and I did quite a bit of walking.)

The weekend before that was the Farm and/to Fiber (they seem undecided themselves) Festival, at which I purchased an embarrassing amount of yarn and other items, and generally had a fantastic time.

In between these things I have been assiduously job hunting, caught up on my email, did some baking, wrote a few thousand words, went to some meetings for various volunteer efforts, and attended to all of the business of normal life with the notable exception of updating this blog. Mea culpa. I have a lot of thoughts floating around today, about how I can possibly organize all of these efforts so as to neglect nothing, provide value where needed, and enjoy my life.

First, however, I am engaged in a baking project with my teenager before trying my hand at a couple of Indian recipes, and also preoccupied by watching my cat sleep in a sunbeam. Sleeping cats look very dedicated to their work. May you be as into whatever you’re doing as he is.


Too Soon to Tell

In the course of the past week, I wrote one page. This is more than I have written in the preceding several weeks; perhaps there will be more to come today, or tomorrow.

Also this week, I have been to the gym a few times; I have worked on my knitting project; I have encountered a setback at work; I have played Super Smash Bros. with my son; I have helped my daughter with her homework.

I have done so many small things that a recounting would be exhausting, and only dubiously illuminating. I have not been outside much; the weekend has been mild, but the week before notably cold. Moods have been unpredictable.


In Search of Adequacy

2020-01-18 07.48.46
An adequate amount of seed stitch blanket border

It’s not a new disease, although social media certainly hasn’t helped any–this persistent feeling that whatever you’re doing, is not enough. It doesn’t matter that flipping through my bullet journal provides evidence that I did in fact do quite a few things this past week; it wasn’t enough things, or it was the wrong things, or….

Of course, there is no such thing as “enough,” and we know that, which makes it particularly annoying, on the lines of forgetting the thing we not only wrote down on the grocery list but circled to ensure that we would definitely not forget it. Really, brain? What in the world do I carry you around for, if this is all the use you’re going to be?

Thus far this weekend, I have been coping by means of buying food, making soup, and knitting. (I talked myself out of going to the yarn store; Farm & Fiber is coming up in a few weeks, and I will need my stash space then.) For today, that is enough.


Insightful New Decade Reference Here

Five whole days into the new year, and I still don’t have a writing plan. So I’m going to do one now.

Yesterday I finally wrote out a scheme to address the thorny chapter of Fairy Hills on which I have been stuck since NaNoWriMo, so I am out of excuses not to just sit down and write the damned thing. I think it’s going to end up rather longer than the version in the previous draft. I have 43k words to go in order to hit my 90k target. That is do-able in a month where I have little else going on (I’ve said that before), but I’m going to give myself through February to finish this draft, if only because I do have a few other things going on.

Who knows, maybe I’ll have something ready for Pitch Madness this spring. Stranger things have happened.

After that, I think I will be more than ready to change gears and work on something different. This next project will certainly qualify. And I have learned my lesson with Hills: this time I’ll do an outline. Exploratory writing is one thing if it’s something short, but this looks like being a long, complicated story, enough so that I think it’s reasonable to allocate the rest of 2020 (except November) to research, outlining, and first draft. I’ll shoot for a solid outline by June, just to put a date on that; I have very little idea how long this process will actually take. My main writing goal this year is less to accomplish a certain number of projects than it is to make steadier progress than I did in 2019, which was marked by repeated stall-outs that lasted weeks at a time.

I may try to fit a few smaller things into the margins of the year, and I do still want to give self-publishing another try. We shall see if the world cooperates with that.

In other news, I have been working steadily on my current hat, which is now halfway done. It uses some of the alpaca wool I’ve picked up at the Sandwich Fair over the years, which is butter-soft and feels better than anything. I’ve been watching Ever After High with my teenager, who is currently into that, and Power Rangers RPM with my pre-teen (involuntarily, as he has been binge-watching it in view of my workspace). I have been reading Hannah Fry’s Hello World, which is educational and infuriating in roughly equal measure. I’ve been using my new CD player to revisit music I haven’t listened to in years or decades. The apartment has been de-Christmas-ized.

Let us all try to avoid quoting overmuch from “The Second Coming” this week. I don’t really talk about current events on this blog because God knows there are plenty of places to get that sort of thing, but they do weigh on the mind.



The Year in Knitting – Pictures

Plus a cowl I don’t have a photo of, which I made for a co-worker, the scarf I made for my MIL, ditto, and three projects in various stages of barely-started, because they don’t count until they’re done.

The only goal I had for knitting this year was to use up random single skeins I had bought or been given. Most of those were on the small side, hence the numerous hats, but a couple were hefty. I have little room for storage, and want to keep the stash size under control. This modest goal was met, as eight skeins went out over the course of the year. I have probably at least that many again still waiting for inspiration to strike.

I bought a fair amount of new yarn in the fall, but it’s for specific projects, and won’t be taking up long-term residence in my single storage bin. I find myself getting a bit more confident with practice, although as you can see, I’ve been sticking with simple projects.

2020 will probably see a continued working through the backlog, and finishing what I have started, which will mean mastering yarnovers finally.