Friday, January 30, 2009

Motivational Problems

Sometimes I see all of the work I have to do, and it makes me want to do precisely one thing: crawl back into bed. Well, I suppose I want to do more than one thing. I actually want to crawl back into bed, fall asleep, dream the world into an ideal state, and then wake up to find everything has been done. And done well. So I can do as I please.

I guess that's four things. And anyone who is anyone knows that wishing doesn't make it so. Doing does. (What a delightful language English is sometimes. Sometimes, you can create a sentence by using two conjugations of the same verb. Except that one of the verbs is acting as a noun. Oh, the joys of gerunds.)

Staring at my whiteboard calendar, alas, does not make the assignments I have due in the month of February automatically write themselves on it. Arthur Mervyn does not automatically read itself and form a discussion in my head. (By the way, if I ever wanted to torture someone . . . I'd make them read this novel. About fifty pages in, I'm convinced most of the population would plead for mercy and give me almost anything I want.)

Papers don't write themselves. Proposals don't submit themselves to conferences. None of this happens if I don't do it.

Some people wouldn't consider the consequences to be terribly dire: so I'd have to B.S. my way through a few class discussions. I wouldn't be considered to present at a conference. Such things wouldn't be the end of the world. Life would find ways to march on. I might even still manage decent grades this semester.

But then I would feel empty. I would have no sense of accomplishment, because accomplishments only come with effort. In looking back, I would see a sorrowful stream of missed opportunities. And I know I'd regret it.

So even though I woke up this morning with an intense desire to do nothing but crawl back into bed, I won't. I will read the dreadfully boring book; I will write a proposal for the conference; I will map out my academic actions for the month of February.

And I will do it, knowing that even if today is not my favorite day, it is not a day I will look back on with regret.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Goal Updates

I know I promised updates bi-weekly on Sundays, but I have a good excuse for not making my deadline this first time around: due to its lack of functionality--and it causing me pain--I had my gall bladder removed last Friday. So yes, I'm recuperating from surgery. Yes, I'm back at the house with my roommates and no longer on my parents' recliner. (Yes, I really wish I could eat something more interesting, but in the interest of healing properly, I'm keeping my diet bland.) No, I'm not back at school yet. If I'm feeling brave and slightly insane, I'll attempt my Shakespeare class this afternoon. Also, if I realize I can walk the entire length of the house, go down the stairs, walk the length of the basement, and then walk back up the stairs to my room . . . and accomplish all of that without feeling tired.

So without further ado, here is my progress on my goals:

1. I've actually somewhat succeeded in this. I've gotten to bed around 11:30 and I haven't slept past 8. Until this week, of course. But all goals should have built in exceptions. Besides, you try having a regular sleep schedule when you're taking pain medication.

2. For the first two weeks, I did quite well with this as well. Yoga, yoga, I love my yoga. Unfortunately, this too ceased with the removal of an internal organ. (I'm not supposed to do anything strenuous or stretchifying for a little while yet. On the bright side, there's no way I'll really gain any weight because my caloric intake is limited due to my diet limitations. A good friend brought me ice cream yesterday as a get-well gift--and I'll have to stare longingly at it for another few days until I can actually attempt eating it.)

3. I have most definitely thought about going to a dentist. I even started researching dentists in the area. But then stuff happened, and well . . . see 1 and 2.

4. If I had a camera, I'd take a picture to show you just how royally I'm failing at this goal. And will continue to fail until I can actually bend over. Although I suppose I could kneel and sort of shuffle around in order to pick things up and put them back where they go. Perhaps I'll attempt that if I'm too wiped out for my Shakespeare class . . .

5. and 6. I've not procrastinated as much this semester. If anything, I've neglected cleaning my room in favor of staying on top of my school work. All of which flew out the window when . . . well . . . you can finish that sentence.

7. I've not yet made an unrealistic goal! Bully for me. Unless you count me failing in various ways at the above . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Next Time I Want to Buy a Cute Pair of Shoes . . .

. . . Please, please, please remind me that when it comes to women's footwear, cute shoes are almost always impractical. Painful to walk in. And result in ugly blisters on the under side of my foot.

Or the upper side of my foot. Or either side of my foot.

And if it seems I'm not listening, please feel free to clobber me over the head with those very cute shoes and drag my unconscious body away from the temptation.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 Goals

And so another year and another semester have come. Tomorrow, I start my second semester of graduate school. Now I know that I can survive it; happily, I also know that any correlations between my classes and picnics in the park would involve drawing analogy between me and ants. You know what I mean.

Anyway, the start of a year and a semester means time to make goals. Time to type them up here and periodically report on them. Time to make good on the goals, too, since--as Schmetterling pointed out--I have a few more people to be accountable to this year. (Although let's be honest: most of you would probably be kind enough not to call me out on a blog post where I admit to lapsing. Most of you. There are a select few who would leap on that sort of opportunity. So not allowing them any such opportunities will be excellent motivation to fulfill my goals.)

Last year, I paired confessions with resolutions; unluckily for all of you, I'm not feeling particularly confessional at this moment. At least, not confessional in the same manner I felt then. If that makes sense. I have no clever way of presenting my goals this year. So read 'em and weep (or you know, read 'em and encourage me . . . that would probably be a better tactic):

1. Establish a semi-regular sleep schedule. I say "semi-regular," because I am a graduate student. That means I study a lot. I read a lot. I write a lot. And while I'm studying, reading, and writing a lot . . . I also twirl my hair a lot. (Just thought I'd thrown in a random factoid about me. It has nothing to do with the goal, but you know you're not surprised.) Anyway, my professors expect a lot of me and I expect a lot of myself; naturally, this sometimes leads to late nights. However, such late nights should not always be followed by mornings in which I sleep in until 10. Instead, I will use my morning time to . . .

2. Exercise for at least twenty minutes each weekday. Yes, yes. I know it's cliche. And I also know that I need to do it more often. Last semester, I kept telling myself that all of the exercise I needed was the hike I often took up 200 South to campus. But that just isn't so. Besides, I already know that yoga is my friend. And though I do a few poses in the morning and at night, I tend to keep it to the shortest time span possible.

3. Go to the dentist. You may have noticed (astutely) that this goal is a repeat. It's a goal I failed at last year. But I will not fail at visiting a dentist this year. Before my back tooth falls out. Ignoring a tooth problem does not, it would seem, make it go away. (Silly I even attempted this method with teeth problems. I've already proved its lack of efficacy with boy problems and homework problems, among others.)

4. Keep my room clean. Yes, yes. Technically, we're almost two weeks into the year and I've already failed at this goal (you should see my room right now), but I figure that I can repent and do better for the rest of the year. After all, it would really be a pity if I managed to injure myself because I tripped over something in my room. And let's be honest: although I don't know where all of the bruises I tend to accrue come from, I do know that some of them come from less than graceful tripping moments. Tripping, that is, over clothes. Or books. Or papers. Besides, this ties into my next goal which is . . .

5. Curb some of my procrastinating tendencies. My A #1 way of procrastinating anything important (papers, homework, life choices) is to clean my room. Because let's face it: 95% of the time, my room needs to be cleaned. And by "cleaned," I unfortunately do not mean simply "tidied, dusted, and vacuumed." I mean "picked up, organized, de-junked, and then tidied, dusted and vacuumed." If my room is clean, I will have one less way to procrastinate.

6. Complete all of my homework in a timely fashion. Yea, verily, I shall start on it early and actually complete more than one or two drafts of my papers before I hand them in. Because honestly, I don't have a job at the moment. Graduate school is currently my full-time job, and--at least as of last semester--it needs to be. So since I have nothing interfering with my graciously meeting deadlines but myself, I am reforming myself. Or trying to, anyway.

And last but not least, 7. Don't make any silly goals that I know I can't keep. That is why you see no goals about gloating. No attempts at making myself slightly less a smart aleck this year. (Because really--where would the fun be in that?) No promises to not be silly, not react to things people say to me. I'm working on my realism.

And you, dear readers, because you love me so (or because you love to make me react so) . . . I am going to give you bi-monthly updates of my progress. Look for another post two weeks from today.

Remember, if I'm doing poorly: your mocking is my motivation.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In Re: Alcatraz (Not the Prison, the Person)

Schmetterling made me do it.

Okay, so strictly speaking, that statement may not be entirely true. (And though I've not yet posted the rest of my year's resolutions, one of them certainly is not going to be in any way related to embellishing for dramatic effect. Unless, that is, I decide to resolve to embellish for dramatic effect as often as humanly possible.)

But I had never heard of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians before Schmet wrote that blog review (and I still take a marginal amount of credit, by the way, for him reading something fictional . . . even if he purposefully chose to read something fictional I hadn't recommended). And once I'd heard of the novel, I had a burning desire to read it.

Burning desires, unless they are desires to write epic papers and research my guts out, are very rarely fulfilled while I'm in the midst of the most harrowing semester of my young life. You think I'm exaggerating about how my semester was. News flash: I'm not.

Anyhow, one Christmas tradition has held true for many years now: my well-off aunts send gift cards (generous gift cards) for each of their nieces and nephews to the type of store they know we love most. My little sister's was for Kohl's. Mine, of course, was for a bookstore.

Don't act surprised. It's not like you didn't see that coming.

And so, the day after Christmas, I suffered a particularly hard-to-swallow Scrabble defeat at the merciless hands of my mother. As seemed only natural, I relieved my wounded soul by spending the entirety of the gift card online . . . and the first book I bought was Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians.

It came yesterday. I started reading it this morning. I finished it this afternoon. And I laughed. Quite a lot. Look to Schmet's review for some choice excerpts (although there are choicer still, and I'm tickled pink that I'm pretty sure I caught more references than he did . . . but that is neither here nor there).

As much as it pains me to say it, I agree with his assessment of the voice wholeheartedly. I don't know that I found all of the characters unbelievable or unlovable. And I quite like the idea of having a Talent for klutziness. (Which, of course, has no direct correlation with my propensity for running into walls, chairs, the edges of doors, and the like.)

But seriously: it's a quick read. And most importantly, it's funny. Chortle-and-have-people-on-the-bus-with-you-looking-at-you-like-you're-strange funny. Not that I have any experience or anything . . .

Most importantly, I (more or less) agree with Schmetterling about it. If that sort of consensus doesn't convince you, I don't know what will.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Make 'Em Laugh

I have been called many things in my day. Been accused of being many things. But, to my delight, I have never been told I'm the somber sort of person who takes life too seriously. Do you remember Sam, from Charly, who says that he "laughs responsibly"?

Yeah, that's not me. I laugh as much as possible, unless it's a highly inappropriate time to laugh. Life may be a test, but it's not like the ACT or the GRE: we aren't meant to sit through it quietly while never looking at our neighbors and paying strict attention to what we are doing and only what we are doing.

Part of the test is to enrich each other's lives in whatever ways we can. Sometimes that means being the somber child, but I find it more often means being of good cheer.

So here is my teaser for 2009 goals: I'll give you one in this entry, and the rest later.

One of my goals (achieved every day of this year, so far) is to make at least two different people laugh in the course of any given day. It doesn't have to be a belly laugh. Although, if I do something patently silly like singing along with "Defying Gravity" while dancing around with a broom (for the benefit of my roommate, of course) . . . well, I'd be disappointed if that only brought a measly giggle.

(It didn't, by the way. Tammy found it hysterically funny. So did Sarah, our visiting friend. Incidentally, it's incredibly difficult to seriously sing along and perform a broom dance while two people are practically rolling with laughter . . . because, um, the performer sometimes starts laughing herself.)

So to recap--one of my goals for this glorious 2009 year is, in the words of Cosmo from Singin' in the Rain, to make 'em laugh. Because, you know, everyone wants to laugh.

Friday, January 2, 2009

An Announcement


My hair is now long enough I can wear it in a ponytail again.

A messy ponytail, but a ponytail nonetheless.

This makes me happy!

That is all.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Accountability for my 2008 Goals

So last year, I confessed some things and made some resolutions. In a fit of brilliance, I thought that I might perhaps feel more accountable if I posted goals on my blog.

Well, I'm not entirely sure how brilliant it was, because herein I admit to the status of all my goals:

1. Achieved! Easily achieved. Completely, wholeheartedly achieved. I did not once voluntarily listen to a Celine Dion song. However, since I moved in with a roomie who loves Celine, I have been required to hear Celine twice.

But I'll have you know I didn't enjoy it. Not in the least.

2. I did not follow through with writing or publishing resolutions. Unless writing a heckuva lot of papers for my classes counts. Maybe I'll see if I can re-work and publish them academically since, you know, that's what grad students are supposed to do.

3. I think it's entirely possible I ate a smaller amount of chocolate this year than I did last year. But I have no way of keeping track. So I can pretend, right? If I can't prove I didn't meet this goal, then you can't either.

4. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I didn't see a dentist at all this year. My tooth hasn't hurt all the time. Just off and on. Which means it's psychological, right? (Or better yet, that it will just fall out and then I'll be done with it that way. I mean, it's a backest backmost tooth. Nobody would notice its absence.)

5. My e-mails to my brother never became more frequent, because I'm a slacker pants. However, now that he is home and attends the same university I attend, we spend more time together than before. I consider that an even better type of progress than having sent him more e-mails while he was gone.

6. At certain times of the year, I kept my room tidier. Then I started school, and that goal flew right out the window. Except when I had a paper due. Then my room got very, very tidy.

7. I still can't believe I made a goal for myself to stop gloating. I didn't stop gloating. For me, stopping any kind of gloating would be like ceasing my breath. It would kill me. Or, at the very least, it would kill some of my fun--and that is just as bad.

There you have it. Wait a couple of days, and I may post some goals for this glorious year of 2009. In the meantime, feel free to mock how utterly I failed in meeting most of my 2008 ones . . .