Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No Naps Today

You know how you get used to a certain schedule?  Wake up, breakfast, play, snack, play, lunch, play, NAP, wake up, snack, play, supper, play, snack, BEDTIME.

During those NAPS, your much needed break after a morning of play that consists of dancing around in circles, being taken for a walk by your toddler, not to mention the frequent diaper changes, drink refills, is your opportunity to get a little grown up stuff done.  You wait, you anticipate the time when you will be able to take a shower, do a little writing cause holy cow you actually have a fabulous idea for the next short story, an idea you have mulling over and over for months now and just couldn't figure out where it would go has finally become crystal clear and you just want to get it all down on paper as fast as you possibly can, or maybe you don't write and you are anxiously awaiting the moment you can get the house tidied a little, get prepared for dinner, that kind of stuff...but wait.  That little child that should be napping has decided to take it upon herself to change your schedule.  That's right.  No nap today.  Instead just constant screams when you try to lay her in bed.

You've got to be kidding.  Don't get me wrong, I am not so set on a schedule that the slightest deviation sends me into a tailspin.  I like a little spontenaity every now and again.  But it too much to ask for an hour or two of no interruptions, no one needing you for something?  Just some peace and quiet.  No childish music playing from the TV, no bells and whistles from that favourite toy.  Just quiet.  Complete blissful quiet.

It doesn't come often so that little time you do get to yourself needs to be cherished.  Nurtured.  Extended if at all possible but that is unlikely.  Real wishful thinking.

So now, that time of the day that would usually be reserved for slipping away.  Actually it's long gone already as now it is almost time for the hubby to walk in the door.  It's pointless to put her down for a nap now because then she will just be up late and there goes that time I could have later on.  And then I am left with nothing today. 

But there is always tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just when you think your head is about to explode, suddenly, everything just seems to work itself out.
With deadlines looming, I was beginning to think I had bitten off more than I could chew.  Writing deadlines, appointments, programs in the planning stage, presentations and...homework, eek, I didn't know how I was going to balance everything and still take care of my daughter and be there for husband.  It all seemed to be spiralling out of control.  To make matters worse, when I get like this (it's not the first time I have let things pile and pile until I can't recognize the beginning from the end) I start to get confused, disoriented, forget simple things like paying the bills and block out little snippets of conversations that may have been important at the time.  Kind of funny actually.  Well the latter, at least.  Two nights ago, I was sitting in the living room, probably watching the Olympics, but lost in my own thoughts.  My husband was in the dining room playing with our daughter.  He asked me something, which I didn't respond to at the time, it went right past, but somewhere in my subconcious I heard him, just didn't react.  Last night I was cooking dinner, he was playing again with Julianne and all of a sudden, I looked at them and started laughing.  At that exact moment I suddenly remembered that Arie had asked me if I wanted coffee the day before.  Of course he thought I was nuts for laughing for no particular reason.  I proceeded to explain what had just struck me as funny, to which he replied, "And I am still waiting for an answer."

At that moment, I realized I had to find a balance.  To develop a strategy to accomplish all I want or need to get done.  And in a reasonable time frame.  I am usually pretty good at prioritizing, check off the items that need to get done now, by a certain deadline, and get them done sooner rather than later so as to leave enough room to get the other things done without rushing at the last minute.

To this end, I got the presentation I had to do over and done with.  Reviewed the few manuscripts that needed to be done by this coming Thursday, prepped for a meeting tonight, took Julianne for a walk and played with her for awhile.  On top of that, I spent several hours last night working on my novel and actually added another 10 pages to it.  I still have some manuscripts to review before next Monday and a couple of short stories to get completed and sent off but at this point I am finally ahead of schedule and feeling pretty zen.

How do you balance life and work?  Any specific strategies you have found work better than others? Especially if you are a stay at home mom that works from home 90% of the time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Count Backwards from 10...

Take a deep breath, count backward from 10, or forward if that's easier. 

This is something I was taught when going to anger management counciling.  Thank goodness it paid off.  My parents apparently got their moneys worth.

Nothing annoys me more than people butting in, offering their opinion or complaining when something is not going the way they want it to, even though they do not have ALL the information.  Assumptions are made, and then when you try to explain yourself or the actions of a team, you are interrupted.  Unable to get your thoughts across.  The heat begins to rise into your face and feel that familiar tug, like a sink plug, being held back by suction but if pulled just a tad harder, will completely release. 

Count backward...feel the heat begin to dissipate...the plug settles back in place for the time being.  But thoughts still reel around in your mind, you force the emotions down because it would be unprofessional to explode but then you just begin to feel nauseous.  A whirlpool of anger, churning and twisting in your stomach.

Relax, count backward a little more until you are calm.  Drive home, stew for a bit, go over the incident again and again, figure out if there was anything you could do to quell it before it got too much, or was it just destined to be the way it happened. 

Ultimately there was nothing that could be done, no way to go back and change it.  Just move forward.

Try a different approach, although it's gone ignored recently, try again and hopefully find some way to come to an amicable agreement. 

Ugh...some people are so frickin annoying. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I know I have been slacking with my blog postings lately but I do have a really good excuse.  I have been working more than usual, lots of extra stuff to be done and it's coming down to deadlines.  Two big events are coming up that I am starting to feel a little rushed even though they are still months away.  Then along the way we encounter little hiccups that could be better done without.  I come home and I am just exhausted, mentally and physically.

I am taking two writing classes at the moment and that is taking up so much of my time.  I should have only gone with one, because I am finding that trying to get the work done for the two is a little more than I can handle.  I will do it but I will also know better for next time. 

In addition to the writing classes I all this I am trying to do some of my own writing, to submit stories here and there to different markets...

I am preparing our little family for our overseas trip to the Netherlands coming  up at the end of May.  Finally got the passport photos they just need the required signatures then I can make the trip to the passport office and that will be done.

So in baby steps it will all get back to normal.  For now, I am going to post this note, to let you all know I am still thinking about you and as soon as I get some free moments I will catch up on all the bloggy news I have missed.

Spring is just about here!  At least in my little neck of the woods.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Recent Success

Just a little note that I was informed the other day that a book review I wrote is going to be published in the upcoming issue of Freefall Magazine.

One tiny step in the right direction.  I currently have only one more story out there awaiting response.  Suppose I should get in gear and submit some more.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

After much headache and patience we are FINALLY booked for our trip to the Netherlands in May.  Online errors when trying to book kept coming up, then speaking with a Sales Agent and the credit card didn't work for a real live person so we finally phoned the credit card company only to find that a payment that had been made last week was not showing as posted to the account yet.  Aaargh.  So this morning, tried again, but only talking to a real live person and voila!  We are finally booked.  Confirmation number and all.

There are mixed emotions on my part about this trip.  I totally look forward to the actual vacation but I am totally not looking forward to the 9 hour flight involved.  This will be the first time with Julianne on a plane and it's a long flight to try and keep her calm and in one spot.  She is a very mobile toddler, as are most I am sure...but the prospect of chasing her up and down the narrow aisles of the plane does not appeal to me.  I would never make this flight alone with there is some consolation in the fact that there will be help sitting right along side me.  (Granted we get there in time to select decent seats.)

I am sure I am probably worrying for nothing.  The flight will go fine, she will sleep the whole way, and be none the wiser that we are 20,000 plus km above the ground.  Ugh.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Can You Say ANNOYING!!!!!

Been trying to book our flight all morning...

Online got an error saying that it couldn't be processed.  Phoned credit card company to see what was going on and the fee went through but we got no confirmation.  Phoned airline and at first they couldn't find the flight so transferred me to several different departments.  Finally managed to find someone that knew what they were doing only to find out that the whole transaction had to be reversed before we could do it properly.  So now, we have to wait until the money is put BACK onto the credit card before we can book it again. 

What is with these people?  Apparently some new system that they have doesn't allow them to just put it all through properly without headache.  It has to be undone and then redone.  All I can say is they better not screw me out of the seat sale they currenly have posted. 

Did I mention I hate flying?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Backward...Not Forward

You know how we're always told to never look behind us?  The future is all that matters.  Good advice most of the time...if you're a person who dwells too much on the past.  I am all about looking forward most of the time. 
I got a call today from my old boss, offering me my old job back...that I left only because of going on maternity leave.  I chose not to go back mainly because child care is so expensive that it really would not have been worthwhile for me to return, plus with the downturn in the economy, I knew they would be better off if I didn't return. 
Now, I do part-time contract work that really has a lot of benefits to it.  My hours are VERY flexible.  If I can't go in one for some reason, it's ok, I can go another day or work from home.  The company was flexible enough that I was able to start working mostly in the evening so that I didn't have to cart the little one with me and could leave her home with her Dad.  It's been working great.
There are benefits also to go back to a full-time job though.  Paid vacation, EI benefits if I have to go on maternity leave again, sick days, higher income to report toward buying a house...but is it enough?
My gut tells me that I have shut the door on that part of my life.  That there is no need to look back cause it's working out pretty good the way it is right now.  I get to be a part-time stay-at-home mom, which is better than being a full-time working mom any day.  I am in an environment that keeps me inspired to write.  Around like-minded people.  A more relaxed, casual pressure...I work on my own, no one looking over my shoulder to ensure I am getting the work done, my performance speaks volumes and I am acknowledged for the efforts (most of the time).
I suppose I have answered my own question just by spilling the words from my fingertips.