Symptoms of Move-itis

Y’all, March has been somewhat of a booger-bear for me, through no fault of my own.

Okay, that’s a lie – the insanity of this month is entirely my fault.

You see, I thought it’d be interesting to schedule both surgery AND a move to a new city within the same month! And I was correct. It is interesting. Interesting in the way that makes you want to commit yourself to a mental hospital just to get some rest. Forget the idea of this month being named after a Roman god – I’m pretty sure the name March means “Life’s gonna march across your face, sucker!”

Let’s take a look at the month:

March 17: Had my wisdom teeth forcibly ripped from my gums. Interestingly, I am still numb on the right side of my face/mouth. I don’t feel a thing, even when I poke at it with knives and fire! According to the surgeon, this means one of two things: 1. The nerve has gone dormant, and will return to normal within the next few weeks, or 2. I’m turning into a cyborg.

Stay tuned for the outcome of Amanda’s face, coming soon to a theater near you.

March 31: I will finally, thankfully, after 3 months of commuting, be moving to Austin! It’s an exciting change, but as you all know, even exciting changes come with stress-induced acne, sleepless nights, unforeseen expenses –- and a crap-ton of cardboard boxes.

 

 

 

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If you’ve ever moved before, you know that the process is somewhat daunting. Dishes need to be carefully wrapped, boxes neatly packed, and holes in the wall gingerly spackled. But you also still have to live in the hellhole you’re trying to leave, which means re-using the same plastic fork, re-wearing the same outfit, and making weird meals out of hotdogs, noodles, and Jello.

It’s no wonder you start to get a little frazzled. It’s a condition that I like to call, “Move-itis.”

Symptoms of Move-itis:

  1. Second-Guessing. Happens in the beginning stages of a move, when you realize how much you have to do, and how many places you have to contact with your new address. You start to think maybe you should just stay put to avoid the whole circus. Forever.
  1. Anxious Tetris. When you find yourself overly concerned with packing the boxes so perfectly, that a single grape could not fit inside, and yet – it’s not overstuffed. It’s neatly filled to the brim. This feat of engineering is basically impossible, so you find yourself trying a number of different combinations with frustration, before finally giving up.
  1. Rage-filled Unpackings. Taking several minutes to thoughtfully pack a box and adhere it closed with several layers of tape, only to realize you need an item from inside of it. This symptom may be met with amusement and mild-mannered face-palming the first 7 times it happens, but on the 8th time, you’ve lost patience with yourself and with the whole idea of moving, so you find yourself ripping into the box with your talons and fangs, and soon all you can see is bits of tape and cardboard flying everywhere, and all you can hear is the sounds of growling and roaring, and then you realize it’s all coming from you, but it’s not enough to stop you until you’ve reached the goddamn item you so stupidly packed.
  1. Box Begging. You run out of boxes and containers, but still have a lot left to pack. You wander into various businesses and ask them, with desperate eyes, if you can have theirs. In the severe stages, you may stalk people in the grocery store for signs that they may have recently moved and therefore have boxes to share. (Sign 1: They’re sweaty, dirty, and buying large appliances.)
  1. Cyclic Wandering. Being unable to find the packing tape, so you wander around your apartment looking for it, only to get distracted by the pile of bedsheets you meant to box up earlier. After filling the box, you realize that you need the tape again, so you go look for it in the kitchen, only to notice the growing pile of trash and be reminded that you need to take it the dumpster. On the way back in, you see all the open boxes and go hunting for the tape again, but this time you see your bed looking all lonely and decide to take a little nap. The longer this cycle goes on, the more severe your syndrome is.

If you suspect you may have Move-itis, call your doctor immediately. He won’t be able to cure it, but maybe he can prescribe you something strong enough to find the whole situation highly amusing.

 

 

 

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5 Antidotes for Road Rage

In early January, I left my agency counselor job in order to pursue new adventures in private practice. Although I’ve been working in Austin, I’ve continued to live in the same rural town about 45 minutes outside of the city, mainly because the expenses are a kajillion times cheaper.

Did you just Google Map Austin to try and figure out where I live? What. A. Stalker.

For all the money I’ve gained by staying in a cheaper area, I’ve probably lost an equal amount of my sanity from making this commute every day. Thankfully, we’re not talking about highway rush hour gridlock here. Instead, I’m forced to make the journey on an open, winding highway with scenic views of the Texas Hill Country – complete with lakes, rivers, and newly budding wildflowers.

It’s just as awful as it sounds.

Okay, I can grudgingly admit that the commute is actually quite lovely. Most days, I can enjoy it on my drive into work. But when I’ve had a full day of clients and networking, I couldn’t care less about the views. I just want to go home.

And all of these other drivers, on their slow, scenery-enjoying drives, are making me feel a little … irrational.

Let’s put it this way: if it were possible to murder people with only your thoughts, I’d be a serial killer by now.

I’m excited to say that this problem will not be a problem much longer, as I’m moving to Austin at the end of this month! Woo hoo! However, it’s still a problem now, and I recognize that my road-rage-induced stress is not doing great things for me. Therefore, I’ve been trying to think of ways that I can improve the commute so that I feel a little less murdery.

These are the ideas I’ve come up with so far:

Antidote 1: Take a moment to actually appreciate the scenery

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Only problem: My appreciation for beauty is destroyed by my rage. Fuck off, flowers!

Antidote 2: Channel my frustrations into a rap song

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Only problem: Hard to write when my hands are on the wheel. Also, not a good rapper.

Antidote 3: Keep a vat of melted cheese nearby as a comforting snack

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Only problem: Unlike most cars, my car does not contain a built-in crockpot. Or, as I like to call it, a Cheese Keeper Warmer.

Antidote 4: Assign background stories to my fellow highway travelers.

Maybe the huge red pickup with oversize tires belongs to a sweet-faced, hot-cocoa-making grandmother who’s on her way to bridge club. Meanwhile, the purple junked-out minivan belongs to… I don’t know, Matthew McConaughey.

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Only problem: Thinking of McConaughey reminds me of his Lincoln commercials, which I hate. I want to know what drugs the writers were using when they wrote his lines.

Antidote 5: Turn it into a drinking game (for once I get home).

I can have a sip of wine every time one of the following occurs during the commute:

  • I have thoughts about the other drivers that are aggressive and/or not in keeping with my career as a mental health professional.
  • Someone pulling to the side of the road so they can take pictures of their dogs romping around in the wildflowers.
  • Someone not moving from the passing lane, despite going ten miles under the speed limit.
  • Someone driving a gigantic automobile that’s clearly meant to compensate for non-gigantic body parts.

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Only problem: None. This is genius. Off to buy some wine.

On a less-goofy note, I have actually found some luck with a couple of podcasts – This American Life and NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. If you’ve got other suggestions for podcasts (preferably humorous ones!), I’m all ears 🙂

 

Letter to Past Me

Approximately one year ago, inspired by a blog challenge by Bubbles & Beebots, I wrote a letter to my future self. Which is now my current self. Back then, I was pretty certain that I would forget about the letter and never remember to write a response back, but somehow that memory managed to claw its way into my consciousness.

High-five, memory! I forgive you for all the things you’ve lost over the years. Minus the time you left Grandma at the airport. That’s unforgivable.

Anyway, it’d probably make much more sense for you to read my 2016 letter first. But if you don’t want it to make sense, then you don’t have to read it. Perhaps you prefer to live dangerously. I like that.

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Dear 2016 version of me,

Hey look – we’re still alive! Well, mostly. Up until this point, you have tested a whopping twenty-two different queso dishes. That’s a lot of dairy and dead animals. Medical professionals might call it excessive, but I call it sensible. This gal ain’t gettin’ no osteoporosis.

Back then, you wondered whether Sazón would still in the lead, and it is, BUT it’s now sharing the cheese crown with your beloved Mamacita’s. Sadly, my friend and fellow cheese-tester and I have not gone on a quest in a few months. You see, we got into a fight over which flavor of cheese is the best. Things got heated, and then I accidentally whacked her on the head with a block of aged gouda.

It happens.

So, 2016 self, I know you were hoping that I would use this year to become older, wiser, and fancier. Listen up, because I have good news and bad news. The good news is – you’re indeed a fully-licensed professional counselor, and you’re now in private practice. Never saw THAT coming, did ya? Your biggest fear is uncertainty, and you frequently thought about sticking with what you know for the sake of security, but something inside kept pushing and poking you to do more.

And it was not a food baby.

Okay, now for the bad news. I know you were really hoping that you’d be cooking more well-balanced meals by now. You’re nearing thirty, after all. But it turns out, 2017 You still really likes eating ham cubes straight out of the package. If it makes you feel any better, you’re still paying bills, doing laundry, and even vacuuming – which you loathe more than corgis loathe large vegetables.

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You’re clearly not lazy. But you seem to have been born without the part of the brain that enables you to plan normal meals and follow through on them. Instead, you stand in front of the open fridge and stare at the plentitude of foodstuffs that you bought with the ignorant hopes that they’d inspire you to change. Then, you start thinking about how many steps are involved in making those meals, and suddenly you feel a little less inspired and a little more apathetic. Pretty soon, you’re gnawing on a cold hot dog while you stand there – still staring. Still waiting.

And then you give up on the idea of dinner, like the sad, cold-hot-dog-eating pretend-grown-up that you are.

It’s okay. It’s a disease. You can’t help yourself.

Let’s see, what else did you want to know about me? Oh, right. You’ll be amazed to know that you’re typing this letter on a decrepit 11-year-old laptop. That’s right, IT’S STILL ALIVE TOO! Mwahahahha!!! (Sorry, that was the laptop laughing.) At least you purchased a cuter and smaller one to use strictly for work purposes. You’re convinced the old laptop knows you’re cheating on it with the younger model, and will soon have its revenge, but you’ll cross that bridge when you come to it.

So, 2016 self, a lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same. You still have weird eating habits, but your arteries haven’t give up yet. You’re not sure why you’ve become a nursing home for elderly laptops, because even your father thinks you should get rid of this one – and he owns a robe that’s older than you are. Hopefully, maybe, these charming oddities are balanced out by all of your successes, such as your impressive vacuuming, your big job change, and the fact that you washed your car the other day.

Just as you suspected, 2017 You is doing just fine. Okay…maybe even more than fine 🙂

With love,

2017, Still-a-work-in-Progress, Me

 

 

Sins and Friends

Just a few days ago, my blog friend Erin made a very clever post that tied the seven deadly sins to American holidays. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to do so, because it’s a fun read. And then come back! I’ll be waiting with snacks.

After Erin made her post, she suggested that I take the same topic and apply it to the Friends characters. I love the show, but what I love even more is when other people humor me for my love of the show! Brilliant of her, right?! I may only know Erin online, but she would totally be my friend in real life if we lived near each other. I mean, unless she didn’t want to be my friend, because it IS a little sketchy meeting people you only know from the internet. It’s smart of her to be cautious. For all she knows, I could be a 104-year-old bearded man.

In fact, it’s more fun that way. Assume from now on that I actually AM a 104-year-old bearded man. One who depicts himself as a young blonde woman. And who is in a committed relationship with cheese.

I decided to jump on Erin’s awesome idea before she could change her mind and use it herself. I set aside important work tasks, like any true Friends fan would do, and began brainstorming which sins would apply to which characters. It goes without saying that all of the characters have their strengths and high points (yes, even Ross), but of course, they have their vices as well. They make mistakes just like the rest of us, and some indulge more often in certain areas than in others.

Although there are seven sins, there are only six main characters, so I chose to add in a not-primary-but-still-often-seen character.

SIN #1: WRATH
Character it most closely fits: Ross

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Justification:

  • He reacts with fury when he finds out that Monica and Chandler are sleeping together
  • He loses his temper at a guy who cuts in front of him (earning him the nickname “Red Ross”)
  • He becomes enraged about the unauthorized consumption of his beloved turkey sandwich.

SIN #2: SLOTH
Character it most closely fits: Chandler

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Justification:

  • He admits to never exercising, and is often teased for being physically weaker than everyone else
  • He spends entire days sitting in his recliner, eating snacks, and watching Baywatch

SIN #3: GREED
Character it most closely fits: Rachel

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Yes, I know she left her orthodontist fiancé and rich dad in an attempt to make it on her own. Yes, I know she worked hard to become successful in her own right. Clearly, the woman’s got some pluck and courage. But you can’t deny that she also had some moments of greed.

Justification:

  • Of all the Friends, she cares the most about expensive and trendy brands
  • She demands presents, and then winds up exchanging them for stuff she’d rather have
  • She encourages Monica to marry Pete for the sole purpose of having an extravagant wedding (complete with a “money salad”) – despite the fact that Monica barely knows the man and isn’t sure she wants to marry him

SIN #4: LUST
Character it most closely fits: Joey

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Justification:

  • Do I really need to provide my reasoning? Have you not watched the show?

SIN #5: PRIDE
Character it most closely fits: Phoebe

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  • She refuses to sell “Smelly Cat” to the kitty litter commercial…and then that jingle bitch screwed her over.
  • These song lyrics, which she sings with great passion: “When I play, I play for me! I don’t need no charity!”
  • She doesn’t mention to anyone that she can’t ride a bike, despite receiving one as a present

SIN #6: GLUTTONY
Character it most closely fits: Monica

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Justification:

  • I know her issues with overeating are technically in the past, but nothing else really fits Monica, okay? Plus, there is that episode where she becomes addicted to Brown Bird cookies and her friends have to cut her off.

SIN #7: ENVY
Character it most closely fits: Gunther

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Justification:

  • He was super jealous of Ross’ relationship with Rachel. That’s about it.

 

Of course, a few of these characters can fit in more than one category of sin. Joey in particular can be assigned to almost all of the sins! What do you think of my selections? Are there any ones that you would have done differently? What other examples can you think of to justify certain match-ups?

Flashing and Other Talents

On a mildly cool winter night 25 some-odd years ago, my family and I attended a Christmas music program at our church. I was going to be singing a few songs with my preschool class, so I arrived dressed to the nines in a pretty red dress, white pantyhose, and black patent shoes.

I was ready for action.

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Once my tiny classmates and I were neatly lined up on the sanctuary steps, the pianist took her seat and began playing the accompaniment. Under the direction of our teachers, my class and I sang the first of our Jesus-related songs. I don’t remember what song it was, but I’m sure we butchered it, because preschoolers are terrible but hilarious performers. I’m sure there was lots of fidgeting, blank staring, and nose-picking going on. Nevertheless, we made it through our first song, and then the music began for the second one.

And that’s when things got weird.

No, that’s not true. Things didn’t passively get weird. I made them weird.

Those of you who read my blog regularly might have gotten a slightly inaccurate impression of me. In my writing, particularly on a blog where I’m unidentifiable to the majority of readers, I’m free to get a little … goofy. Theatrical. Totes inapprops.  On here, I use language and make jokes that I wouldn’t typically make in person, except in the presence of my closest friends. In a way, y’all know me better than many of the people I see on a regular basis. In real life, I’m a bit more reserved and professional until I’m comfortable with you. Then I unleash the crazy.

I was just as quiet and well-mannered as a little bitty girl. I was no one’s definition of a wild child. I want to make sure you fully understand just how much of a goody-goody I was, because it makes my behavior that evening that much more bizarre.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe I zoned out and thought I was at home. Maybe I was bored and thought the music program needed a little spicing up. We will never know what was going through my warped little brain.

Okay, enough stalling. Let’s get down to it.

Pop Quiz: What did Amanda do in the middle of her conservative Baptist Christmas music program, attended by her pastor and lots of impressionable children?

A. Barked at the audience
B. Punched a kid next to me
C. Lifted my dress up above my head
D. Muttered “red rum” in a demonic voice
E. Both A and C

If you chose A, B, or D, you probably didn’t pay much attention to the title of this post. The answer, my friends, is E. While my classmates sweetly sang songs about angels and mangers, I decided to take the performance in a different direction. I began by unleashing some ferocious barks at the audience, and when that didn’t seem quite “spicy” enough, I lifted the skirt of my dress right above my head, exposing my panty-hosed little tummy and bare chest to the world.

I turned every adult in that audience into accidental and unwilling pedophiles.

Here’s a photo that my parents were kind enough to snap before they hunched down in the pews and pretended not to know me. As you can see, my teachers are frantically motioning for me to put my dress down, while my pilgrim classmates stare at me with either judgment or jealousy.

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Admirably, I was undeterred by my protestors. I didn’t let their negativity hold me back. I cared not about my family’s embarrassment, and my barking noises intimidated others from trying to remove me from the stage.

Like the determined creature I am, I continued my peepshow-slash-animal-impersonation act until my class’s performance was complete.  As the audience awkwardly applauded my religious striptease, I like to think that I took a confident bow and strutted off the stage. I also like to think that I then made a full transformation into a werewolf and began climbing on the furniture.

But I probably just stood there, unblinking, until one of my teachers hurriedly pulled me away.

We all know that the Christmas season is all about peace, joy, and junk food, but I think it should probably also be about making amends with people you’ve wronged. I’m willing to be the one to get this fad started, so here are some holiday-themed apology notes I will be writing this year:

Dear preschool classmates,
I apologize for overshadowing you in the Christmas program. I’m pretty certain NO ONE in the audience, including your own parents, was watching you be adorable and well-behaved when there was a disaster to behold two feet away. If it makes you feel any better, I’m sure your moms and dads were thanking their lucky stars that they were going home with you, and not me.

Dear preschool teachers,
I apologize for my artistic, but nonetheless unauthorized, change to your fine program. Training toddlers to memorize and perform songs is a maddening task, I’m sure. I’m certain that you wish I hadn’t chosen that particular venue to unveil my new talent, and I’m sure Jesus wishes that as well. I’m also sorry if you later had to apologize to traumatized church-goers for my skanky behavior.

Dear parents,
You probably deserve an apology for the immense embarrassment I caused, but heck – you’re the ones who raised me in the first place. You should just feel lucky that I didn’t do that shit more often.

Does anyone else have a history of flashing or streaking? What other things did you do as children that embarrassed your parents?

 

 

Hell Cats and Hives

Even though Halloween and the season of scary stories ended a few weeks ago, I was recently reminded of a terrifying, monster-filled anecdote that happened in my own life. I’ve told a story over MS Paint illustrations before, and I thought it might be fun to bring it back again.

Behold, the scariest story of all:

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I know this story has a somewhat abrupt ending, but I didn’t want to leave you all feeling tense and terrorized for too long. The quick ending was for your sake. You’re welcome.

This story has a happy ending because after a shower and a few days of cortisone cream, I was good as new. Happy ending #2 – I later found a nice little desk job that didn’t involve being pelted with rocks by a couple of little hellions.

What’s the shortest amount of time you’ve ever worked at a particular job? What lead up to you quitting? Do you have any regrets for leaving so soon?

Happy Birthday, Just in Queso!

This blog-child of mine has officially been in existence for one year now! Yay! In honor of this event, I’ve decided to write an EPIC  poem that shamelessly links back to previous posts.

Just to be clear, I’m not calling it “epic” in order to compliment it. (Although I DO compliment my blog. I love you, blog. You’re beautiful.) No, an epic poem is one that is long, and usually about some sort of heroic feat.  The definition doesn’t stipulate what “long” means, nor does it specify what entails a “heroic feat,” so I’m going to take advantage of this loophole and refer to my work here as epic.

After all, one MIGHT say that keeping a blog is a heroic feat. I don’t know who that person is, but they very well could exist.

I’m just going to leave this here and back away slowly before you can argue with me…

It’s my one-year blogiversary
And of that, I’m pretty proud
So I thought I’d write a little ditty
Reliving my posts out loud.

How many posts have I written?
The answer’s one hundred and seven.
And in a moment of poetic perfection,
My followers are two hundred and eleven.

As you may have figured out by now,
I am a dedicated fan of cheese
I’ve tested many quesos in this joint
In search of the ones that please.

Texican Café’s was too greasy, and
Super Taco’s was way too thin.
Chili’s was a revelation:
Calling that shit “queso” should be a sin.

Shady Grove was pretty good, but
Even better was Jack Allen’s Kitchen
I could really go for some of that right now
That pork was really bitchin’.

The most recent trip: Texas Chili Parlor;
The journey started with Kerbey Lane.
Sazon was in the lead for months,
Until Mamacita’s set us aflame.

Some quesos are spooned in tortillas
Others have been dipped with chips
Some let us make our own concoctions
But they all had us licking our lips.

Let’s move on from queso now
‘Cause I could talk about it hours.
Don’t believe me? Read this love poem
That stuff has magical powers.

I’ve written about my hatred of birds
And my love for all things dolphin
I’ve admitted my desire to kidnap dogs,
Which would be an easy feat in Austin.

I’ve  penned a letter to my router
And another to my laptop
I’ve made a Christmas drinking game
And I’ve narrowly escaped a cop.

Let me think what else I’ve done
Oh! I’ve house-sat like a boss.
I’ve learned a lot from Jerry Springer,
And I’ve also defended Ross.

At times I’ve confessed to telling lies
Like that time I called 911
Or that genius scheme to steal all the chocolate,
Or what I do for Sunday fun.

My family isn’t safe from spotlight –
You’ve heard about Mom, Dad, and Grandma.
They weren’t too thrilled with my “pantyless” tale
(But they should be used to my choices by now.)

In an ideal world I’d include ALL my posts
But that poem would be meters long.
My brain is too full of useless info,
But for my finale: here’s the carb song.

Thank you to everyone who’s taken the time over this past year to read my posts, and even better, leave comments with your thoughts! I love you all, and if I were having a birthday party for my blog, I’d totally invite you over for cake. Unless the cake was that multi-layer fudgy chocolate kind, and then I’m not sharing any. You understand.

I’ve had a lot of fun so far, and am looking forward to the next kabillion years of blog-keeping! ❤

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Winner Winner – TWO Chicken Dinners

One of the best things about living alone is that you can eat whatever you want, and however much you want, and in whatever clothes you want, without someone else around to ruin the ambiance with their disapproving looks. As a side note, this is also a downside of living alone.

I’ve recently started on an eating plan (not to be confused with a weight loss plan) where I eat multiple dinners a night. Lots of people swear by eating 5-6 small meals or snacks a day – but this isn’t what I’ve been doing. I eat a normal-sized breakfast at 8, a normal-sized lunch at 12, and then TWO normal-sized dinners in the evening. Sometimes the dinners happen back to back, and sometimes they’re more spread out. I suppose it’s not so much an eating “plan” as it is an eating happening.

And I’m not going to lie, I’ve been enjoying it.

It started out innocently enough. One day, I ate breakfast really late in the morning, so I skipped lunch, and then found myself starving at 4:00. I decided to go ahead and eat an early dinner like the elderly person I am. Three and a half hours later, I was hungry again, and helped myself to another meal. It didn’t seem all that unreasonable.

The next day,  I ate on a more regular schedule, but when dinnertime came around, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted taco salad or nachos – so I ate both.

THAT’S RIGHT, BOTH.

Another day, I ate a chicken sandwich before I was due to babysit my friend’s daughter, because I wasn’t sure if she would’ve already eaten or not. When I got there, I learned she hadn’t eaten, and  she requested leftover pizza. So I ate some with her. It was the polite thing to do.

I realized days ago that I was headed down a problematic path, but I seem powerless to stop it.

At least twice, I’ve had a reasonably nutritious dinner cooking on my stove, and am suddenly overcome with a wave of hunger so powerful, that I’m convinced I will faint away from fatigue before my meal will finish cooking. If that happened, I’d probably knock the pan over on my way down, causing the lava-hot food to scald me and then fuse permanently to my skin. It happens. Probably. The paramedics would arrive to find me unconscious and pantsless, with bits of food stuck to my face and arms. It’d be traumatizing for them.

In order to avoid that whole scenario, I thought it best to curb my ravenous hunger by eating something else while Dinner #2 finished cooking. And that’s how I found myself eating Dinner #1 while hunched over the sink like a guilty rodent.

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Look, the US Constitution says nothing about how many dinners a person can have, or how healthy they have to be. I will exercise my American right to take advantage of that loophole! Plus, let’s face it, if this were all happening closer to the holiday season, my overeating would practically be fashionable. It’d be RESPECTED. But no, it’s early October, so gorging myself on fatty foods is suddenly “unhealthy” and “concerning.”

You know that cliché that says that the first step to making a change is to admit you have a problem? Well, they’re wrong. I admitted early on that eating two dinners is not normal or necessary, and yet, nothing changed.

As it turns out, the true first step toward change comes with the realization that your clothes suddenly fit more snugly. Step #2 is waking up one morning to discover that you feel ill and gross and walrus-like. I’m ready for change, but I’m unclear how to go about it. My plan right now is to spend a couple of weeks on a desert island, where my meals will consist mainly of coconuts and raw monkey. I clearly won’t want two dinners there.

Anyway, I shall miss you all. Send tacos. ❤

Has anyone else ever found themselves eating multiple meals like this, or perhaps indulging much more often than you normally do? What made you realize you needed to change? What did you do to help yourself get back on track?

The Space to Write

Right now, I’m participating in a Blogging U. course called “Everyday Inspiration” in which WordPress emails me a daily writing assignment to help me get my creative juices flowing.

(I’ve always been slightly grossed out by the phrase “get your creative juices flowing.” Instead, let’s say that the course helps me “get my creative cheeses melting.” Catchy.)

Anyway, today’s assignment was to describe the space and circumstances in which I write. What type of setting do I need? What supplies or tools do I use?

Here’s what’s been working for me so far:

Tools

I write on my crabby 10-year-old laptop. I wish I could say that I use fancy apps or programs, but to be honest, I use Microsoft Word –  and not a modern version of it, either. Because the nicer ones aren’t compatible with Windows XP. #Conspiracy.

I use one document for keeping a list of blog post ideas, and another Word doc for holding my in-progress stuff. If I want to edit a picture in a funny way, I use Paint.

If blogging styles were types of dessert, mine would probably be a slightly old candy bar. I’ll leave the crème brûlée and chocolate soufflé to other bloggers 😉

Timing

I do the vast majority of my writing in the evenings after I get off work. However, I love writing really late at night, and I think some of my funnier (and goofier) stuff has been written then. (Probably because my brain is tired and confused.)

Setting

Most of the time, I write while sitting on my super-comfy-but-lacking-in-the-looks-department couch in my living room. I’d like to be able to write in more delightful settings, like at a coffee shop, or inside a gas station, but I really do my best writing and thinking from my own home.  Plus, pants are optional here.

The most eccentric thing about my writing space is that I like to keep the television on, but muted. If the sound is playing, the noise distracts me from my line of thought – which is understandable. But if the TV is totally off, I tend to freeze up and go blank. For some reason, having the visuals on seems to take the pressure off.

The view from my elderly computer:

space1

Purpose

Anything that gets my creative cheeses melting makes me feel better. And anything that makes me feel better, and doesn’t cause harm to anyone else (which my blog hasn’t yet, to my knowledge), is a good thing.

To my fellow writing nerds (meant in an affectionate way, of course), what does your writing space look like? Are there any habits or rituals that you follow? I found this to be a super interesting question, so if any of you want to make your own blog post on this subject (even without being enrolled in the course), I’d love to read it! Commenting on here works too, of course 🙂

P.S. – Today’s writing prompt also came with an additional assignment: to invite my readers and fellow bloggers to submit your ideas for what I should blog about in the future. What burning questions do you have for me? What silliness or seriousness would you like to see from me? All ideas are welcome, and your idea might just appear in another Blogging U. assignment in a couple of weeks. Go to my new contact page in order to send me your thoughts!