Self-employment has its privileges

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The view from the office right now. Nice eh?

Unfortunately, I'm not doing anything terribly creative, just writing up ads for tomorrow's Craigslist postings. I have two days of dedicated writing time this week. The rest of my life is consumed with condo selling. With any luck, the place should be out of my hands (and into my realtor's) next week and back into the writing life I go. In the meantime, I blog.

Update #1: South Beach Phase 1, or who knew I ate so much bread?

You never know how much junk you consume until it's three o'clock on a Tuesday and you're contemplating snack food. Ordinarily, I would have gone for one of the following: peanut-butter sandwich crackers, a 100 calorie pack of Cheese Nips, or two pieces of "whole wheat" bread (with butter and strawberry jelly and a glass of milk, of course). Obviously, all of these were off limits so I spent the week of Phase 1 dutifully counting out my 15 almonds or taking a handful of cherry tomatoes from the fridge. And you know, it worked. Also, I think I broke my boredom eating habit. I think. It's only been two weeks. The jury may still be out on that one.

If nothing else, doing Phase 1 of SBD helped me realize two very important things. Number 1: I ate/eat way too much sugar and flour. Number 2: It's not terribly difficult to prepare a meal that is without these two ingredients. In the end I think I lost about 6 pounds. The book estimated losses between 8 and 12. I would have been happier with 12, but oh well. I'm going to continue on into Phase 2, but as the holidays get closer, I may opt for less South Beach and more, "eat as little starchy stuff as possible." We'll revisit the idea in a few weeks.

Update #2, The big 3-2, or at the stroke of midnight the New Yorker will call and want every short story I've ever written.

Yeah. Didn't happen. Didn't expect it to except in that dreamy way that I wish literary journals would suddenly call and say they'd like to publish me. You know, without ever submitting anything.

But the big day came and went with as little hoopla as possible. Hubs and I had brunch with some friends, then browsed the Domain, and then had dinner with his folks. It was a nice, low-key birthday. I did feel a little bit melancholy about the idea of hitting thirty two and being knee deep in dieting and condo selling and not yet able to focus on my writing. In fact, I had a bit of a temper tantrum this morning when I realized that I had yet another day of cleaning the condo and endless non-writing-related errands to attend to. I feel a little like an imposter, ya know? All that talk about writing full time and two weeks into it, I'm still dragging my feet and doing a lot of not writing things. It's kind of like I replaced the job with all the unrelated errands: the condo, the diet, cleaning, etc.

That realization led me to establish at least two writing days this week. As for today, if I can't give my all to writing yet, I can at least not focus on it in a pretty place.

Yes, Yes..

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yes, it has been weeks since I last posted. In that time I've finished Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet and celebrated my 32nd birthday. Both are entirely bloggable events and updates are coming just as soon as I have a second to sit down and breathe.

Back soon.

It's A Tough Life for a (Fake) Coach

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Would you trust this man to coach your football team? Apparently the FNL folks think Hubs makes a pretty good blue pixel because he's been called twice to come to a shoot.

The picture is from our extras experience last month. See how happy he was? How thrilled he was to be picked to be Extra #204 (Panther Coach)? Yeah, that happiness is long gone.

We got our paychecks this week. Now, extraing does not pay a whole lot. It's hourly, and it's kind of crappy hourly pay. You hope for overtime, because that means you're getting time and a half.

Anyway, Hubs was released from his "specialty" role at two-thirty in the morning, giving him only an hour and a half of overtime. Us lowly fans weren't released until four-thirty, thereby giving us four hours of overtime. Also, the powers that be took pity on us cold, hoarse fans and gave us $50 bonus for sticking it out. So when Hubs looked at my paycheck, he was not thrilled to notice that it was double the amount of his.

"It's not fair," he said. "I was there as long as you were and I had to stand the whole night and I had to go through wardrobe."

"Right. Poor, mistreated you that got to chat it up with the actors and crew. And, wasn't that Kyle Chandler you were tossing the football around with before they started taping?"

"All I'm saying is, any job that makes you take off your pants should pay more."


Candy Corn vs. South Beach

Monday, October 15, 2007

I started the South Beach Diet this weekend. I know, I know... this blog is supposed to be about writing and writing goals and turning thirty-two and what not, but I started a diet. *I* started a diet. This is bloggable.

I'm not sure what inspired me to check out the official South Beach diet book last week, after all, for the last few years my health philosophy has been eat well, move a lot. This philosophy served me pretty well until I turned 27 and got a desk job and at the same time my metabolism decided to take a few years of vacation. After that, it was just a short slide into candy corn and Funions and so, South Beach.

A couple of words about diets: Any diet that tells you that you will not miss the food that you are giving up is LYING. Any diet that tells you that you will not be hungry IS LYING. Also, water, even eight glasses of it, does not fill you up.

On the other hand, there are positives. For one thing, the recipes in the book are idiot proof. I can make almost any of them, which is saying something coming from me, the girl who considers boiling frozen broccoli cooking. In the three days that I have been on the diet I have made a Mediterranean green beans, balsamic chicken, ginger pepper chicken, and a baby spinach salad with tomatoes and mozzarella. Not bad. And Hubs is happy because he gets to have all this and a piece of cake for dessert.

And yes, I've already gotten the fad diet lecture from a few friends and there are a couple of more who scoff at any diet that doesn't include running 10+ miles daily. However, I read the book. The book doesn't seem so bad. And, if at the very least, this diet gets me to replace candy corn with cherry tomatoes, well, that doesn't seem like a step in the wrong direction, now does it?

On Patience

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's old news by now, but earlier this week the Austinist interviewed fellow SWT alum [1]
Scott Blackwood about his upcoming novel, We Agreed To Meet Just Here. The interview offers some encouraging words of wisdom for aspiring writers:

I think the thing I try to get across to student writers is that they need to be patient—the typical writer's apprenticeship is probably ten years. You can't rush it much. There's a lot of falling down and getting back up again.

I think you have to read like a writer reads all of the time, for the sensibility, the techniques, the craft your favorite writers are using. I think that some people think talent is enough, but from my experience, it's the knowledge of craft and the development of a writer's sensibility, the sense of rightness and proportion, that evoke talent—not the other way around.

I like the ten-year theory better than the everything-happens-at-thirty-two theory. For one thing, it's shorter to type. For another, it acknowledges that writing is work, a skill that takes practice and perfection rather than something that one day bursts forth from a wellspring of talent.

And I like Blackwood's take on talent as well. It's hopeful. During my three years in the writing program, I felt like a magnificent impostor—a no-talent hack who was somehow mistaken for a writer. But I watched my stories improve as I practiced daily and as I studied writers I admired. In the years since graduation, I've felt my skills decline again. Thinking of talent as a consummation of study and practice gives me hope that I can get my skill back.

Anyway, I've started up my short story journal (journal) again and I'm going to add a regimen of daily reading and thinking about writing to my schedule in hopes of getting back to the "study" portion of the writing life. I'm good at studying. At writing, well... that remains to be seen.

[1] Sadly, no claim to fame for me. Scott graduated at least a year before I got there, though I did, apparently, inherit his TA office as evidenced from the stack of manuscripts I had to clean off the bookshelf.

Support Good TV

Friday, October 5, 2007

Remember Firefly? Remember how you watched the first few episodes on DVD and thought, "Gee, this is such a great show. Why didn't I watch it?" And remember how guilty you felt when you realized that if only you had watched it (when FOX would let you) then maybe FOX would be running it tonight instead of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Season two of Friday Night Lights airs tonight on NBC. Please set your DVRs for 8 p.m. CST. If you want to catch up, all of season one is available here. You don't have to be even remotely interested in football to fall in love with this show.

Also, Kyle Chandler is hot.

That is all.

Ravelry, Chuck Woolery Ain't Got Nothing On You

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The new fad in the knitting community is a nifty site called Ravelry. I put my name on the waiting list for membership a month ago and, as of yesterday, there were still approximately a gazillion knitters and crocheters in queue ahead of me. (This is what you get for being the last to know everything.) But then my very awesome coworker and fellow knitter got a second invitation and turned it over to me, and today... Ravelry!

So here's a little confession: I love organizing, cataloging, and recording. It may go beyond love into a slight psychotic obsession. As a child, I made a game out of trying tocatalog our family books, photos, and videos on index cards. When I was ten, I actually created a template so I could record results of (sigh)... Love Connection. Yep. For at least a week I could tell you who went out with who. Who went out with who again. Who the audience thought the best match would be. And possibly even what tie Chuck Woolery was wearing. I was a weird kid. I was a born librarian. Only, you know, I'm not.

So of course, I was spastic when I realized the possibilities with Ravelry. The opportunity to categorize my yarn? To keep track of my stash. I can actually show progress on my knitting!

Except I haven't actually done any knitting since the wedding whirlwind began.

My knitting basket? Luckily, not quite empty, but as I look at it, I have to wonder am I really going to finish that 2x2 ribbed sweater... on size five needles... with fingering weight yarn? (To my credit, I managed a full twelve inches around thanks to the Alamo's Firefly marathon.) But I refuse to let Ravelry be wasted on a knitter like me! I will perservere! I will knit again. I will knit lots of little things from Weekend Knits!

I may not be the best knitter. I may not have the most complex projects, but Ravelry, I promise you I will be the most organized.

Leap of Faith

Monday, October 1, 2007

I did it.

I gave notice on my job. Starting mid-October I will officially be back to starving artisthood.

Oh good grief, I hope this was the right decision.