About Me

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A few words about reading…and other noble pursuits.

Recently, I was with some friends and started to tell them about a book I was reading. Before I could even begin to describe the book, one of my friends interrupted me to tell me how jealous he was that I had time to read books. I don’t think he heard a word I said after “I am reading this book…” so focused was he on the fact that I actually have time to read.

The truth is I almost never read books anymore.  My attention span has been so thoroughly worn down by the bite-sized snippets I have become used to reading on the Internet and by massive amounts of television watching. The only way I can get through a book (or even a longer article) is by taking frequent short pauses.  The book I am currently reading is non-fiction, which is always more challenging for me than fiction, and I have to stop after every chapter to just stare out into space a moment. I try not to let myself do anything other than stare out into space as this tactic greatly decreases the chances of getting distracted and not going back to the book. 

Sometimes I feel loss that I have let it get this far. Reading used to bring me such great pleasure. In high school I was known for being a bookworm. As a teenager, I could stay holed up in my room for hours, days even, reading. Nowadays, one hour of uninterrupted reading feels like a Herculean feat.
It is this downward trend that has motivated me to always have a reading goal on my list of goals for the year. Year after year, I have not met these goals.

My friend’s words, however, hit me like a lightning bolt. I do have time to read. I have time to do a lot of things. I just happen to waste my time with foolish extravagance. I make excuses for why coming home after work and zoning out to the television for hours is acceptable. But the constant disappointment I feel towards my level of productivity in my personal life tells me that these excuses aren’t cutting it.

I am trying to do better.  My If You Give a Mouse a Cookie thought process makes it difficult sometimes. For example, I was reading a book. I did my end of the chapter pause. I started typing this blog post. As I was typing this blog post about not using my time effectively, I started to think about the fact that I needed to eat, and get dressed, and get moving. I went to get dressed but instead started to clean my bedroom, then realized that I was having a hard time focusing on doing one thing because I needed to eat, I went to the kitchen to eat, but realized my kitchen needs to be cleaned, then my cat distracted me and I decided to give him some cat treats, then I realized that I was actually trying to finish this blog post. Now I am back typing this blog post, but this still is a distraction from the original goal I was trying to accomplish of reading a book. And I still need to eat, get dressed, get some things done around the house, and get some work tasks done. By the way, this is all only happening because I am home from work sick. Every time I stand up I feel dizzy which is the only reason I was reading in the first place. In this case, forced rest is the key to goal accomplishing.
My brain is almost always working like this. For every task I need to accomplish, my brain overwhelms me with a thousand other tasks that should/could be completed before, after, or in conjunction with the current task at hand. Mindless activities like watching television or playing a game on an electronic device are so addictive and appealing to me because they shut off that endless brain cycle. On the other hand, the reason there is an endless list of tasks running around my brain is because instead of checking tasks off my list, I am zoned out for hours at a time on a mindless activity. What can I say? Vicious cycles are my wheelhouse.

In a happy intersect of all of the above; the book I am currently reading is called, Better Than Before, Mastering the Habits of OurEveryday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin.  I am slightly more than halfway through the book and have lots to say about it already and am gleaning lots of good tips and suggestions. But I want to wait until I have actually finished reading the book to fully share all my thoughts.

I am going to go finish the book now. After I get dressed. And eat. And maybe do 10 other things.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Library Loving: Where'd You Go, Bernadette

I finished this book many moons ago, but am just now posting about it.  I picked up this book after much urging and recommending from my sister.  This book walked a fine line of  funny, smart, and light, while avoiding any "chic lit" plot lines and character development that so many light and funny books about women end up following.  It's the perfect book for a trip or a lazy weekend.

And if it ends a little too happily well...who couldn't use a little too happily these days?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Photographs ~ Rihanna (Volume 7)

It took many, many, many tries over a several hour period to get Blogger to load these pictures. I was almost to the point of just being completely over it. Yay for persistence, I suppose. 

Arizona sunsets absolutely kill it. No two ways about it. My loyalty to my beloved Illinois farmland sunsets has dimmed considerably over the past year or two. I never thought I would say that. However, living in the city and using an iPhone camera, I can never seem to capture the sunsets in a way that does them justice. 

Shine bright like a diamond. I was trying to capture a photo of me wearing the lovely earrings my dad sent me, while avoiding capturing my face. Near miss on both I'd say. 

Agua Caliente Park on a day when I had a few minutes to kill. 

I am in a new office space at work. It gets the best morning sunlight. I continually find myself taking pictures of my coffee or breakfast or whatever is handy in my lovely morning sunlight. Also, for the past 9 months or so, I have been eating Greek honey yogurt with "stuff" mixed in. This bowl features strawberries, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. I thought I would never get tired of Greek honey yogurt, but lately it has lost its appeal a bit. New breakfast food suggestions? 

My niece tried to get me addicted to this game while she was visiting me in December. Where she failed, my co-worker succeeded. I don't think I have made it any higher than the 1024 tile. Such a maddening game! 

Maynard's Market, across the street from my job, has some of my favorite to go cups. So cute. 

But how pretty is this chai latte from Cartel? Another downtown spot to grab coffee when you need to just walk away from your desk. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

2014: Best of Social Media

I will be honest, this is less like the best of social media for 2014 and more like the rest of social media for 2014. Nothing tells the story of how I let my blogging game slip in 2014 quite like social media.

Twitter? I got nothing.

Facebook: I got....not much.  Here is the post that got the most action:

My more personal (non blog connected) forms of social media, Pinterest and Instagram, were much more lively. 

One of my most popular pins lately has been this one: 

Want to follow me on Pinterest? I pin a ton of recipes and a ton of DIYs and I get 99% of them from the original source so clicking on my pins does not take you on a wild goose chase trying to figure out how to get some DIY or recipe goodness in your life. I am a very considerate pinner like that. 

My most popular Instagram post was a pic of my new hair style: