Production Value

Despite all of my leanings, I must be an optimist, because I keep thinking that the 6-week summer semester is a good idea. The subject material in this class is interesting, but it’s not 3-hours-a session interesting, and I find myself fantasizing about leaving every break. I’m pretty sure I’ll be skipping on Thursday to get some headway on the second paper, and look through the notes. That is sadly a better use of the class time.

So I tell you this to mention that I recently used my Dick Blick gift card from Ada to buy myself a 5×7 sketchbook and a full set of Sakura pens, and I’ve taken to making a Zentangle in every class. I’m not sure if it’s helping to assist me in learning the course material and “zen-ing out,” but I’m definitely getting out there and producing.

I find myself having the same conversation with people about producing things. Mostly, it was a lot of deep theoretical conversations with bona fide artists (visual, performing, and musical), but recently, it was with someone who would not have considered themselves and artist in the traditional sense.

Basically, I encouraged him to produce not fr of accolades, but for production’s sake, and that eventually the accolades would follow. It reinforced to me that I need to just keep producing if I wanted to get back into the arts, which I am desperately missing and craving. As a result, I’m seeing the budding that’s occurring within me as far as working on 2 to 3 Zentangles per week.

Now, I just need to continue to leverage that production back here into my writing. I do eventually want to be published again in a non-fiction magazine for one of my personal essays, but the only way I’m going to a) generate a large enough body of work to draw from and b) re-hone my skills as a writer that have atrophied over the years is by staying in practice, and keeping up here on the blog is going to be the way to do it.

What I need to stop saying is, “I should…” and I need to start saying “I’m going to…”

(Alomst) Done

In the dregs of this semester, the last 4 weeks were spent trying to wring as much time out of my other group members as possible, trying to think forward, trying to plan for all contingencies, trying to have an answer to any off-the-wall question we would be bombarded with while presenting. The last two weekends were spent nearly entirely downtown with my group. The last two weeks, there was no real respite from the grind between work and school: I’d have a busy and productive day at work, but know that I’d get a break for about an hour between driving home and eating chow, and having to hole myself up for the evening in front of the computer doing research and arranging the material into PowerPoint slides.

At one point, I was fantasizing about all the things I couldn’t wait to do when I had time again. I even made a little list:

  • ride my bike through the Metroparks
  • go out to Lake Milton and bake in the sun
  • go see a movie, with a huge bag of popcorn and a gallon of soda
  • get a pedicure
  • read a book all afternoon
  • watch an hour of E! News while sitting and not working

For the record, I rarely go out to movies and it’s way too early in the season to be heading out to the Lake to bake in the sun. But the mind does crazy things when you’re chained to a desk.

It just made me glad that I can balance my checkbook and can go back to doing laundry again. No time for chores, Dr. Jones!

But, the presentation is complete, I have passed the course, and I’m clear to graduate when I accumulate the requisite amount of hours. This means I still have three electives to finish, and I will be able to start my alphabet soup at the end of my name.

Since I won’t be walking until next year, this all feels a little strange. All of the members of my team will be graduating this year, so for them, it’s crossing the finish line. For me, it’s like “hurry up and wait.” And while I’m all on board with everyone celebrating with me and this accomplishment (it was hard work), at the same time, I don’t want to use up all of my well-wishes, if that makes any sense.

I just feel so much lighter. I’m looking forward to this summer, and even though I’ll be back down at CSU 2 nights a week throught August, it doesn’t feel nearly as overwhelming.

I’m glad I got through it, I’m glad I learned as much as I did. But I am also so, so glad it’s over.

Friday 5 for May 4, 2012 – Takeout

May the 4th be with you!
I could tell you all about how my MBA capstone presentation is on Tuesday, May 8th at 7:45 pm; it’s then that I will find out if I am eligible to graduate. I could tell you that my group is 90% done, and that we are close, so close to having the presentation done, and that we are moving into finally trimming it down to presentation length and practicing it. I could tell you that I’m managing the stress of this surprisingly well, despite the fact that both laundry, summer/winter clothes traffic jam, and two days of group work downtown this weekend have totally piled up.
But if I told you all of that, this blog would totally be a repetitive mess of me telling you about the end of the semester, every semester. Let’s just say, I’m handling it well, I’m feeling pretty good about the presentation, I think I’ll be ready to go on Tuesday, and I haven’t cried. Not once.
It’s bittersweet, though. Charlie will be running in his second Capital City Half Marathon tomorrow, this time, doing the “quarter marathon” (10K), and I won’t be there to see him cross the finish line while cheering my head off. He trained very hard, and I am so proud of him.
I’m going to try to make my lunch for my long day, tomorrow, and in the meantime, you read this week’s Friday5:
  1. What was the last thing you took out of your microwave oven?
    I made gorgonzola cheese crackers last night, and melted the cheese a little. It was pretty tasty, but my my stomach turned itself inside out. So, probably a bad idea.
  2. What was the last thing you took out of the washing machine?
    My delicates, last Sunday.
  3. What was the last thing you took out of the trunk of your automobile?
    I took the recycling out to the drop location. All-in-all, I had 8 bags of cans, glass, and plastic to put in there. I had a small mountain of recycling in the garage.
  4. What was the last thing you took out of your mouth?
    Since quitting smoking, I’ve had a few different things to keep my mouth busy while I’m in the car (I spend a lot of time in the car). Recently, I’ve taken to degloving the skin off of raw almonds. I’ll work on one until I’ve peeled all of the skin off, and then put the naked almonds in an empty pop can in the car.
  5. What was the last thing you took out of an envelope?
    The wedding invitation of a high school friend. I’m really excited to go, to!!


So, I’m Grateful That Didn’t Go Worse…

I’m dragging pretty hard today after a long day yesterday. We were doing introductions/networking in my capstone class last night and that ran until 10:30. I didn’t get home until 11:15, and didn’t fall asleep until midnight. I still got up at my regular time of 5:45 though.
I’ve uncomfortably noticed how awkward I feel/am when I’m talking to large groups of people. One-on-one, meeting new people is no problem: I’m pretty good at controlling the word vomit. When I’m giving large presentations, I’m fine: the focus isn’t on me, but on the subject I’m presenting, so there’s no room for over-sharing. But when I get up in front of large groups and have to talk about myself, it’s just this awkward diarrhea of the mouth that I can’t control while at the same time knowing that I’m not controlling it and wanting so bad to STFU.
That was last night, during our classroom networking/introductions; it was so painful. I’m still trying to not obsess over it, but we all know how good I am about not vortexing through negative self-talk…
Quite simply, between reliving every awkward moment from last night in my head several times over, and the lack of sleep, I can’t wait to be unconscious.

But there are definitely some things I am grateful for:
  1. Fresh haircut: it actually has shape again!
  2. Being able to grocery shop in a small town in a small store at 8:00 at night. I had the whole place to myself, practically!
  3. I did a Sun Salutation after my workout today, and good gravy, did that ever feel good!
  4. I had a raspberry Life Saver today, which was a nice little treat.
  5. My mini herb garden in my office: I nearly dried them right in their pots, but I’ve moved them around and am trying to save them. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in Grace in Small Things.

New Semester, and Grace in Small Things #9

My first day of class was on Tuesday, and I am taking the “capstone” early (before I finish my electives) so that I can get it out of the way in the beginning of the year, and not have to try to cram it into a shortened summer semester.
I assume that this highly-integrated class is going to be just like a thesis defense, except I don’t have a year to finish it, only a semester. And it’s a group project. Which, given my track record with group work through my MBA, this could be bad news.
That said, I’m very committed to learning as much as I can in this class, and starting work early, and working on it often. I will not get caught with my pants down as far as learning the material is concerned, which is exactly how I felt at the end of last semester.
Here’s some other things I’m feeling grateful for, in addition to not proverbially mooning anyone:
  1. My hand-blown drinking glass I got from Hale Farm. I’ve put a lot of gallons through it.
  2. New pants from the Ann Taylor Factory Outlet. I now have more than two pairs of pants in my wardrobe that fit!
  3. Taco night. Good god-particle, I love me some tacos.
  4. Audiobooks that I can listen to while pedaling nowhere on the recumbent bike at the gym.
  5. The feeling you get when you pull the covers up to your chin when it’s cold out. So snug!

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in Grace in Small Things.