The Weekly Round-Up: Columbus Day Edition

It’s Columbus Day Weekend and my schedule is off kilter. JB has some vacation days that need to be used before the earlymorninglightend of the calendar year, so we picked individual days that would dovetail with holidays to extend our weekends together. So, he came home on Thursday evening and didn’t return back to work until Tuesday morning…an extended weekend mode of living has been in effect.  The calendar may say today is Tuesday,but it feels like a Monday…and I am 2 days late here…but hopefully not a dollar short. 😉

Mostly weekend mode for us includes no alarm clocks and spending most of the morning out on the deck. Despite my usual love of mornings, I haven’t gotten out of bed before 8:30 all week. My body is obviously craving more sleep, but when I have my first cup of coffee so late in the day, I look at the clock and kind of panic: where has my DAY gone???

Mornings are my productive hours, so I am feeling a combination of relaxed thanks to the extra sleep but stressed thanks to not “getting enough done” each day.

And that’s the rub, isn’t it? The treadmill of To Do Lists is that there will always be items on the list, so trying to get everything done isn’t a possibility now, is it?

This photo, by the way, was done in response to a prompt from Catherine Just to show “inside light” but I think it fits the theme of a long weekend in the early fall.

What I’m Writing (& How It Dovetails with Work)

Let’s begin with the fact that it was a Busy Coaching Week. I am so energized by my clients and in AWE of the way they are choosing to do their work and immerse themselves fully into their life and their art.

sexkitten_gumroad_onepaymentI finished the final edits on Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar on Saturday! I cannot tell you how good it feels to complete that project. After the final round of edits, I reduced the book down to 52 Lessons in 6 Modules and 356 pages. I could have shortened that a tad more if I had deleted the intro page for each lesson, but that made the text feel overcrowded. In addition to the Book, I created a companion Workbook so that folks could more easily print out the exercises and worksheet…it weighs in at 131 pages.

I also discovered – quite by accident – that my choice to use Gumroad means purchasers of Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar can send the document to their Kindle as a way to read it if they don’t want to read the eBook on their computer screen.

It was another week, though, of not much writing. Just eeking out the blog post about presence and happiness and finishing the newsletter is the best that I managed to do, despite the fact that my YourTango Editor sent me a study on clutter that ties right into my brand. I got the article about the study drafted, but it isn’t finished…so, of course, this is where that Inner Critic of mine pipes up and says – well, if you would have gotten up early this weekend instead of sleeping in with JB, you could have finished that article.

And in all honesty…maybe my inner critic is right. Then again, maybe that Inner Critic is wrong. Wrong because as much as I love words and crafting words, I’m was feeling overwhelmed with words with the looming deadline of completing the editing of Sex Kitten, which wound up just over 79,000 words.

Please know that I am not complaining, I am being nakedly honest about what the process of immersion in my own words does emotionally and physically.  I think we need to be honest about how the process of making our art does to us. Otherwise, we can be cruel  and critical masters to ourselves and demand unreasonable amounts of output.

Because, there are still meals to cook, laundry to be washed, and people to spend time with.

Quotes-From-Elizabeth-Gilbert-Big-Magic5I believe that will continue to be my challenge during the next few months. This balance of being immersed in my words, not beating myself up for not getting enough done, and still living my life.  To continue to move towards that next deadline – the one for my Book.

What I’m Reading

I picked up Big Magic as my morning read. I had the book on my little table by the chair since it came out but had been letting it sit there after only reading the first couple of chapters. Until, that is, a girlfriend insisted that I needed it. NOW. And she was right. I did need it… I highlighted some of the text, of course, and will be referring back to some of it in the coming months.

I read The Luckiest Girl Alive. I kept reading it, wanting to like it more, hoping to “get” it. And even though I finished the book, I didn’t connect with any of the characters as they felt surreal and made me think if THIS is what the young 20’s are like, no wonder I don’t get them.

And then…because I was so tired of my own words…I did some re-reading and dove back into Catherine Coulter’s early romances about the Sherbrooke Family – and shamelessly read 5 of the first 6 books in the series. Sometimes, we just need mind candy with predictable little endings. I read these while JB played XBox or while sitting next to him while the Chicago Cubs played baseball.

What We’re Eating

Veggies. Eggs. Veggies. Eggs. Chicken. Chicken. Chicken. Are we sensing a theme here?

I typically cook a big brunch on the weekends…and so for four days we had Veggies and Eggs – red onions, multi-colored bell peppers, fresh tomatoes and spinach sauteed and then combined with eggs for a fritta like meal. Some days, I added a bit of ham or a sprinkle of cheese.  Served up with juice (orange for him, tomato for me) and Toast (for him).

Dinner has been predicable this week: Chicken with veggies, either tomatoes and spinach or just spinach.  Rice or Pasta (for JB – I’m still trying to minimize my intake of starchy carbs). Oh, and BEANS. Last night I made skillet BBQ Chicken and served it alongside some dark red kidney beans that had been sauteed with some onions and tomatoes.

I am desperate to spend more time in the kitchen, but I have to take the advice I give to clients: you cannot do EVERYTHING. You can’t create NEW RECIPES and EDIT A TON all on the same day or maybe even the same week. So, in crunch times, I go back to our tried and true meals. Fueling us with quality protein and great veggies….and reminding myself that just because I am laying off the starchy carbs doesn’t mean JB has to. It takes next to nothing to throw together some cornbread, rice or pasta for him.

And….I did amazing when it comes to managing my food. I didn’t stress eat a bag of chips or endless pieces of toast. And two weeks of reduction in those floury carbs is showing in my skin. I have this spot of eczema on my hand and I thought I’d experiment with eliminating gluten just to see if it helped…and it has. I don’t think I have a real gluten allergy, I think I had just so overwhelmed my body with gluten that it needed a bit of a break.

A grocery store run is on the top of the list of MUST do’s today. Because, we are out of eggs and veggies. And out of chicken.

What I Am Obsessing Over

Remember when I mentioned not loving “campers” at the coffee shop or bookstores? Well, last week I was struggling to finish my blog post. The internet can be such a delicious distraction and I tell myself that “I’m working” if I’m lunchandlearncafeposting on Twitter or Facebook….or diving into research for an article.

So, I went to the Bookstore in an attempt to be in a quiet space without internet. I decided to treat myself to a little lunch (and buying things there helps keep the Bookstore open). Lunch was delicious yet there were two other women working there…and BOTH OF THEM WERE ON THE PHONE.

One woman ended her call and  left, but the other woman talked on the phone the entire time (over 30 minutes) and, dear Lord, she was LOUD. Like no headset, speaking UP so the person could hear her loud. I had my lunch, did very little work and went back home.

And the thing is – I want to understand this new phenomenon of people working in public places. I know they say that all the great writers wrote in Paris cafes and were surrounded by their fellows. Now, they gather with their electronics and conduct business as if the public space were their private office.

((And call me Miss Manners, but often I see these folks bring in their breakfast or lunch and maybe buy a coffee, but not always.))

I want to know WHY they do this. Why they choose the places the choose. Why they stay there all day. WHY they don’t work at home or at their office.  I am not speaking of students who are studying and away from their dorm or roommates or the homeless in a big city seeking respite from the weather. I am talking about middle class folks, driving nice cars, wearing nice clothes and having a lot of expensive electronics in tow.

Becca Rowan wrote on Sunday about her desire to know about the routines of writers…and I am the same. So, I want to understand this new subculture of people working in public spaces.

When I mentioned this obsession of wanting to know why – to understand this – JB pointed out that I am THERE TOO. And I tried to explain to him that on occasion, I want a change of scenery or just need to be around people.  Or like when we were in Boston and I needed to get work done and the hotel internet was too slow.

But many of my observations have been when I pop into Starbucks to buy a pound of coffee and the same people are there that were there the week before and three weeks before. They are there at 7:30 in the morning and 2:00 in the afternoon. And when I worked from Barnes and Noble that time in Boston, the same people were there each day, in the same chairs, watching movies on their iPads or surfing on their laptops.

I am honestly considering doing some research – interviewing some of these folks, asking others to fill out a survey. I think there is *something* here in this. It’s like the little inspiration fairy visited me and told me to satisfy my curiosity and see what is shifting in the way we work.

I’m open to suggestions on where to go with this survey and the research…

The week ahead is a short one. We’re heading to Chicago on Friday to attend a family gathering and won’t return til Monday, so we have another 4 day weekend on the books.

Here’s to being productive til then.

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