Friday, May 2, 2014

Why Adrenal Fatigue Makes For Good Blogging

A while ago I addressed how Facebook had become a mini-blog for me, and so I've recently put more energy and thought into blogging. I like blogging. I like connecting with the world outside and starting conversations with my readers, even if it's only in their heads and not exchanged with me. I think this is why Facebook is so alluring for me. I get instant feedback on what I've written.

Part of the reason for the blog distance in the past year or so, is I get mixed instructions on how to utilize my blogs, which is confusing. On the one hand, I see the value and organizational conciseness of segregating my blogs into: Personal, Permaculture/Costa Rica, and Professional.

I alwaysalways--no matter what category in life--overdo it and make things more difficult for myself than they need to be. I have no idea why I do this. But if I want or need to attend to something, I'll make charts and lists and volunteer for an organization that's kind of related and start a blog about it. Even if all I needed to do was buy groceries. It's who I am.

But I don't like that. It's exhausting.

So the adrenal-fatigued part of me wants to consolidate all of them. For instance, the reason I started Eco-Expat was so I could write about my experience of moving to Costa Rica and all that it entailed. I wanted to take all that info and consolidate it into a non-fiction book to sell to other ex-pat wannabes or retirees. But I could just label that shit and put it in my personal blog. That's what the categories on the right side bar are for--searching for posts on specific topics. And the personal stuff that I think shouldn't be on my author blog for fans to read isn't really secret anyway. Duh. It's on the interwebs. And I even have a link to my personal blog on my author blog--and if that isn't an invitation to come read it, I don't know what is.

I think, perhaps, that--despite the professionally excellent advice to only Publish Polished Posts of a Not-Too-Personal Nature--just blogging on my website instead of Blogger (which I totally love, by the way, because it's the easier of the two interfaces to blog on), I will be daring and bold and publish it all on my website. I believe the professional down-sides of baring too much on my website--while off-putting to some--will out-weigh the professional down-side of spreading myself too thinly over the internet. If I can only average one post a week, and I'm writing on three blogs, that means that I'm only posting new content once a month. This will not attract readership.


What do you do to attract readership to your blog?
What do you consider too personal to put on your website?
What information--personal or otherwise--do you like to know about the authors you read?

Please view my author blog here, and sign up for my newsletter.
Mini-blog, or no, you can always find me on Facebook.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Why I'm Not a Realtor


Not a house we looked at. This was in Seattle.

Looking at houses for sale on the internet is addictive. So is driving by them, and going to open houses, and pestering your mortgage broker dude and realtor.


I don't want to do anything else. It's weird. Like I'd imagine a junkie would act--only looking for fixes, not caring about, say: writing, learning more about Scrivener, paying bills, eating healthy, or going to yoga class. But maybe junkies don't do any of those things anyway.

Saturday Ali and I went to two open houses, and yesterday three. But then we drove around for hours looking at more that weren't open and peering in windows, striking addresses from lists because a house was in that neighborhood, or it didn't have a big enough back yard, or it looked too small for our needs.

After we got home, I went through another six pages of listings in the online version of the Eugene Register Guard. I've started a new list of drive by addresses, and one list for the realtor of houses I definitely want to see the inside of. Seriously, it's as time consuming as first setting up your profile and browsing the singles on OK Cupid. Or Facebook.

Of course, this is all very pre-mature, as are lots of things I tend to do. We haven't even met with the mortgage broker to see if we can, together, get pre-approved for a home loan. That's tomorrow morning.

Moving in together will mean big changes for all of us, but mostly not-so-big changes. While Ali likes and genuinely cares for and worries about my teenage children, he's never lived with kids before. I'm worried that occasionally he'll need a quiet place to time-out in (not so much different from traditional parents, actually), away from the noise, chaos, or drama teenagers sometimes bring--depending on the kid. I'm sure Ali worries a little about this, too.

That--plus our three large dogs, and my desire to garden and raise chickens--creates some unique (but not strange) housing needs. We're quite obviously looking for a large fenced lot. And we'll need a certain amount of separation of space in the actual living quarters, not to mention the general square footage required for four people, three dogs, lots of art, and myriads of books.

In our preliminary searching, we've found one in particular that we keep using as a reference. Do we like this house as much as the other one? No? Then, strike it from the list.

As with every home, even "dream ones" you construct yourself, there are things about it that are not quite perfect. You'd change them if you could. But, generally, the positives far out-weigh the bad, and that is the case of this "reference" house we've found.

The back yard isn't as flat as I'd like it, the location of the home isn't in my favorite neighborhood, and one of the bathrooms would rarely be used--given its location in the house. Which just seems wasteful. Other than that, though, it's pretty near perfect to suiting our needs. The property taxes are lower than in some places, the dogs wouldn't bottle-neck in the hallways, there's a great place for Ali to escape to, AND it boosts an artists' studio. With at least three artists in the family, this would be great fun to have.

And, in lean times, if I couldn't manage my rent downtown, I could use the studio as a place to practice massage out of. It has an outside entrance, and an accessible bathroom--one that wouldn't have clients traipsing through my dog-haired living room, or messy kitchen.

All in all, pretty nearly perfect.

But here I am waxing poetic on a house I don't know for sure if I can get a loan for, a list of eight other homes I want tours of, and twelve more I'm going to drive by. Just to see. They fit under the category of: Eh. It might be cool. But it might be too small. I can't tell by the pictures. And I don't even know where Myoak is.

I swear I could make a full time job out of looking for a house to buy. I certainly spend enough time on it--it's even bleeding over into my writing! Though pretty soon I will be sick of it, and will just take whatever house I'm looking at the time. Which is why I'll never be a realtor.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Could

What to do with an unexpected extra afternoon of time?

Any number of things.

I could be productive in so many ways.

I could procrastinate by making another list under the guise of "time management."

I could call Writer's Digest and ask them to tear up the check I accidentally sent them for almost three times more than the monthly subscription was for. (I sent them my car and rental insurance money instead. Online banking can be treacherous--what with the payees being alphabetized and the teeny payment boxes so close to each other.)

I could do some required reading that I've put off for months and months and months.

I could figure out a way to buy Turbo Tax to do my taxes (but I don't have the $79.99 to buy it), or I could send my info to my accountant (but I don't have the $120 to pay him.)

I could keep eating chocolate.

I could email my ex-husband about the visitation changes I need to make for the summer.

I could mow my lawn.

I could clean my son's bedroom.

I could make a behavior chart for my son so he knows what needs to be done before he can play video games.

I could read my book.

I could journal some of my angst away.

I could make myself lunch.

I could write a real blog post.

I could update my LibraryThing and GoodReads wishlists with the new book titles I want.

I could put the last edits into the e-booklet I wrote about grieving.

I could do some playing on Pinterest  social marketing.

I could write my talk on art and processing negative emotions that I'm giving next month.

I could call a winery and chocolatier about sponsoring an event I'm hosting.

I could email my graphic designer and ask her WHY I still don't have the event poster I ordered at the end of March.


But I'm frightened that I won't actually do any of them, and then tomorrow I'll be complaining that I just don't have enough time in the week to get my things done!

How's that for irony?

Blah.


Friday, March 14, 2014

S.A.D. Tales and Renewal's Redemption

I'm struggling struggling struggling. Sometimes S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) gets the better of me and I just have to cry and stare into my Mini Plus HappyLite. I don't know if this actually helps, but it's something I can proactively do, making me feel a little less helpless. (Side thought: maybe listening to Gillian Welch isn't very helpful right now.)

Yesterday and the day before were lovely lovely lovely sunny days. I sat on the back step in full sun and soaked soaked soaked it up. And journaled. I haven't been journaling enough lately, and really feel the effects.

Journaling, for me, is code for "Checking In." If I don't check in with myself, I don't know why I'm making any decisions, why I'm facing a certain direction, or why I feel strangled/restless/unsatisfied. Checking in with myself makes a big difference in my centering and grounding.

Petting warm doggies on squishy green couches lifts my spirits, too.



Spring is around the corner and the evidence is everywhere. I'm really looking forward to feeling healthy and energetic again. This past Winter was more difficult for me than ever before--and I'm not sure why. I speculated that SAD was accumulative not only during the season, but each and every year. But probably that's not true at all. Probably it's that it was colder than usual with two ice and snow storms. Eugene usually gets one snow day a year; this time it was two weeks of snow days.

The Spring Equinox (happening next week) brings me a day of planning. Planning and goal setting for the year. Personal goals, business goals, family goals. Ginger Carlson, author of Child of Wonder, got me into doing this. One year my kids did it with me, and this year I'd love to have Ali do it with me. 

With the budding of newness in the very soil around me, I can't help but think of my own renewal. In the past three weeks I've made plans for my massage business, tried on new ways of thinking about myself as a writer, and created a new financial plan--including a new budget.

In these ways I'm moving out of my winterized shell and into the light. Quite literally. It's coaxing me out of my funk.

What I still need to worry about are my internal expectations. They say we are our own worst critics, and never is that more accurate for me than during the winter, or just coming out winter. Or just going into winter. (Ha ha.) I slow way down, I'm overwhelmed by tasks that don't normally confound me, and I fall off my exercise routine. Lots of things just don't get done--and one of those things is usually self-care.

Despite today being a low-energy day, and one where I spent a good hour in front of the HappyLite, and my continued efforts at not succumbing to a nap for the past three hours, I am feeling grateful for the future and the things I'm about to embark on that will change how I think about myself and how I represent myself to others. I'm grateful for my continued passion and love for my partner and for my continued bond with my two teenaged children. And while I'm currently stressed out about taxes, money, and having to move (or not--I'll know in a couple months), I will get passed all that. I know it.

May Spring bring you renewed energy, excitement, and health.








Thursday, February 13, 2014

February Stinks.

Unfortunately, it is February again.

That means:

I'm cold.
I can't get warm no matter what I do.
I'm old-man-cranky.
I'm exhausted.
All I want to do is either sleep, nap, read, sleep, drink hot beverages, or maybe watch a movie.
(But even that sounds like too much effort.)

I sat down to Be Creative (I set aside time every day for that), and poked around on Facebook for twenty minutes instead. Not feeling creative right now either.

I received a Reiki session today. That helped a lot. I was warm, relaxed, released some cleansing tears, and just felt nurtured. With that needed energy, I was able to go grocery shopping and stalked up on feel-good food, healthy food, and comfort food that's not so good for me. I brought in fire wood and chopped kindling for the cold front that's due to come in.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

World Hijab Day 2014



Recently I decided to participate in World Hijab Day. On February 1st, people around the world (non-Muslim, and Muslim alike) wear hijab as a statement against religious discrimination. At least that's how I see it.

After making it known to a few people that I was going to do this, one close friend AND my loverloverman both expressed concern that wearing hijab could be taken as supporting a religion that, in fact, hurts women and forces the veil on them (in some cases.) My friend said the choice to wear hijab, or not, was largely based on geography. This is most likely true, actually. Which is shitty.

But I digress.

These responses (even before putting on a scarf) got me wondering actually why I'm really doing this. After some thoughtful moments in the car on the way home from dropping my daughter off at high school, and several more in my kitchen in my journal, I came up with this:

I would like to support women's rights to wear hijab, if they choose, without religious discrimination and fear for their safety, in the United States, because that is where I live.


Maybe I'm doing it because I can't support the women's right to not wear the veil in places like Saudi Arabia or Sudan, because I'm not there, and I don't know how to support that--except to not wear hijab. But it would look like I wasn't making any statement at all, in that case, because I don't normally wear hijab. Most notably because I'm not Muslim or an Orthodox Jewish woman--nor do I belong to any other religion or culture that covers their hair.

I had a negative experience with organized religion growing up. So much so, that for years and years (a decade) I abhorred organized religion of any kind, and looked upon anyone who would belong to one with disdain, seeing them as mindless zombie sheep with no intelligence or backbone. I lived the quote, "Religion is the crutch of society." I even wrote it on my bedroom ceiling with a black Sharpee so that I saw it every day upon waking and going to sleep each night. That's how disillusioned I was.

But now--despite still not wanting to sign up for the next rule-based club for God, I admire how some religions can do good for some people and communities. Can bring some people comfort.

And since I'm for peace of all kinds, I want my human brothers and sisters to be able to openly experience life however they choose--whether they are transgendered, grow their own food in the back yard, wear full body tattoos, or practice a faith that means something to them.

I certainly don't live the life of an activist. Frankly, it would be too hard for me (or on me.) And I'm not a political person. I don't know what role Congress or the Senate play; I don't know how laws are made, or why states can vote for a president but still not be counted towards an election process.

But.

I can buy organic or local food, avoiding Monsanto at all costs.

I can donate money to organizations that build personal shelters for the homeless population in Eugene (the city I live in.)


And I can wear hijab for a day, or two, in order to say something about religious discrimination in the United States.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Discovery

After our Solstice hike.
Ali and I have decided that a kick-start in our creativity is in order. We both love learning new things, stretching ourselves creatively, and doing things together, so we are at the same time going to be learning Spanish together (starting in a couple of weeks at the Winter term), and working on Julia Cameron's Walking in This World program.

Many of you are, no doubt, aware of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. I've done the program myself about five times. But I've only attempted Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity, the sequel, once before.

I just read through the first week's reading and tasks, and done most of them. Since Ali and I will be sharing the book, it might be a bit of a challenge, but we'll do whatever works. Our current idea is for me to do it first, and to give Ali the Cliff Notes version without him reading it (or looking through the book), and then he'll do the tasks he wants, as well as the core work that happens every week. I'm a little skeptical about this tactic, only because I find inspiration in reading Julia Cameron. I don't believe I'll be able to convey that same inspiration to Ali when I give him the Cliff Notes version, and then he might not get as much out of the program as I will. (But that's projecting, and telling myself a story, so I won't do it anymore.)

For those of you considering the self-led course, here is a snippet of an outline:

Week 1: Discovering a Sense of Origin
Week 2: Discovering a Sense of Proportion
Week 3: Discovering a Sense of Perspective
Week 4: Discovering a Sense of Adventure
Week 5: Discovering a Sense of Personal Territory
Week 6: Discovering a Sense of Boundaries
Week 7: Discovering a Sense of Momentum
Week 8: Discovering a Sense of Discernment
Week 9: Discovering a Sense of Resiliency
Week 10: Discovering a Sense of Camaraderie
Week 11: Discovering a Sense of Authenticity
Week 12: Discovering a Sense of Dignity

The Basic Tools are mostly the same as in The Artist's Way. The only addition is a Weekly Walk for twenty minutes. Continue doing the journaling of three long-hand Morning Pages, and a solo Artist's Date once a week.

Who's with me?!

I'll keep you updated as I go through the process. I'd love for you to do the same in the comments section. It'll be fun!