Archive | Time Off

The End of Summer

I hate premature declarations. If I walk into a store the day after halloween and see Christmas decorations, I am likely to leave. Likewise, I hear people talk about the end of summer in July and can’t help but think “whaaaa?”

That said, for me, today does in fact mark the end of summer. For one thing, the kids start school on August 16th (?!?!) and for another, I have been highly remiss in getting any work done over the last two months. Continue Reading →

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How To Spend A Saturday

It’s not often that Daniel and I go on vacation just the two of us. In fact, I think this last weekend was the third time in six years. It’s hard to leave both kids behind, both logistically and because, well, you know, we actually like hanging out with them. Nonetheless, sometimes it’s really nice to spend some time on our own.

We went to Chicago for a dear friend’s wedding this weekend. The formal event was Friday night at the Drake Hotel, and the less formal celebration was on Saturday night, which gave us all day Saturday to explore the city – or lay in bed all day reading, watching TV, and doing certain other things that no longer get done in the middle of the day (by which I mean Mad Libs, of course).

I’m all for exploring, and we did rally some friends for a cool boat tour of the city which I totally enjoyed, but after that I headed “home” to the hotel room where I closed the drapes, napped, read, and napped again.

After Daniel and his sister went to the Willis Tour (aka Sears Tower), decided to skip the two hour line and rode the train to different parts of the city for fun he came in to find me in my dark cocoon and commented that he doesn’t know how I do it. He says (in all sweetness) that he would feel like a heroin addict if he spent his vacation holed up in the room like that.

To which I responded by pulling the blanket over my head and going back to sleep.

I really do wonder how long I would have to live with nothing to do to get tired of it. I mean, I’m actually a pretty active person (for the record, I ran three miles that morning), but when given the option, I will happily lay in bed and do nothing. I have to limit myself to one room service order per vacation because otherwise it would get way expensive.

I guess I’m less inclined to reclusive habits when my vacations are more outdoorsy. I just have trouble getting excited about going to the top of a really tall building. I mean, it’s a tall building. Sure, fun, but not as fabulous as the feeling I get when I finish one book and start another within five minutes.

Hold up.

In re-reading this, I am realizing that I know EXACTLY how long I can lay in bed with nothing to do before I go a little nuts. I spent three effing months on bed rest to finish gestating my baby boy. I was crazy after week two. So hey – I guess I answered that one for myself.

Still, it was a lovely, relaxing weekend. Would love to have more like them.

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Last Sunday I fell and fractured my elbow.

Since then my left arm has been in a sling and I’ve been hunting and pecking and it’s making me CRAZY. To go from 60-70 wpm to this painfully slow method of typing is a jarring adjustment.

So for the next few weeks I’ll be saving all my patience for work I need to do, and my dear blog will be on hold.

Check back next month or follow me on Facebook. I’ll be sure to let you all know when I get back to it.

Til then.

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Step Away From The Computer

There was a great article in Poets & Writers recently. It was by Ellen Sussman, and she offered up four simple steps to get more out of your writing. Basically it came down to 1. Write every day, 2. take breaks regularly, 3. meditate for a few minutes before starting to clear your head and 4. turn off your internet. It’s criminal to chop up her prose so inelegantly, but that’s the gist.

Number one is taken care of.

I do occasionally sit for a few quiet minutes before I start working, but usually only when I’m making time for my fiction.

I’m 50/50 on turning off the internet. Since I’ve been working so much on the guide book lately and it’s so research intensive, I do leave my internet on, but I turn my email client off. That works pretty well for me.

The thing I most need to work on is taking breaks. Sussman sites studies that show people are more productive if they take a quarter of each hour to step away from their work, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe because my writing time seems so precious, since the rest of my day belongs to the family, I just don’t want to stop. I feel like break time is wasted time.

Still, it would probably be good for me. Just to get up and walk around a bit. Maybe I could get back out in my garden for a few minutes a day. That might actually be nice. But I don’t think I can do 15 minutes every hour. That’s a quarter of my work day.

I’ll start with baby steps. Maybe two 15 minute breaks mid day. I’ll have to set an alarm or something, but I can do that. If it seems to have a positive impact I’ll consider upping it, but that’s all I can do right now.

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Back to Reality

My guy and I had all weekend together without the kiddos. His folks watched them, and we went to a wedding in Connecticut, where we stayed up too late, and watched movies in bed in the middle of the day. It was awesome. We realized it was the first time we’d taken a trip away together for fun (as opposed to work) since Celeste was born in 2007! It was long over due. 

We flew back to San Jose Sunday night and stayed for a screening of Daniel’s new film Knife Fight on Monday night. I’m contractually not allowed to say anything about it, but I’ll press my luck a little here and say I was so proud. My guy is freaking cool. 

So then yesterday morning we made our way back to LA. We dropped Celeste immediately at preschool and headed home to a world of mess. My dad had been visiting when we left and after they dropped us at the airport they packed up to go and hid the key in our super secret hiding spot on the side of the house. Only thing was, when we got home the key was missing. Now, put aside the fact that Daniel had forgotten his keys at his folk’s house in San Jose, and we were totally locked out. The super weird thing is that there is no where the key could have fallen. Someone had to have taken it. So we called a lock smith, and after paying him to break us into our house (which he did in about five seconds without even asking for ID or any proof that this was in fact OUR house) we proceeded to pay him HUNDREDS of dollars to rekey every lock in the house. Arg.

Then, while he’s working on that, we deal with the garbage disposal which has started spewing half rotten food ick all over and the black “water” that is pooring all over the floor. And oh yeah, it smells like shit. 

Welcome home!

Thankfully, by the end of the night everything (except our bank account) was back to normal. I had a couple glasses of wine while sorting through emails and went to bed early. And now I’m back at the computer, where I love to be. 

I’ve got more to tell you about work stuff, but I’ll save that for Friday – as I actually have to do some of that work stuff before the day totally gets away from me. 


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