Princess travel day

I’m currently sitting in the Houston airport waiting for my connecting flight to Orlando. It’s been a multi-hour layover already, which allowed me to eat an egg sandwich, buy a couple of products from Kiehl’s (I forgot to pack body lotion), and contemplate ordering a milkshake from Potbelly. Also, it means I have time to sit here and write a little something. Even though there was an empty middle seat next to me on my flight from Orange County this morning, there still wasn’t enough room for me to comfortably use my laptop. And that was in a United Economy Plus seat. Fortunately, the plane was incredibly empty so I could relax a bit more than usual. I decided to watch “Jojo Rabbit” to pass the time, but it turned out to be much darker and more disturbing that I expected. Really only the first fifteen minutes of the movie were the comedic romp that the trailer promised. The rest was very unsettling. I wish I had queued up “Frozen,” or at least stuck with CNN while inflight. Current events are upsetting enough without adding fictional angst to the mix! If I was trying to make better use of my free time, as I alluded to in my previous blog post, I would have opted to read a book instead. The fact that I didn’t should tell you all you need to know about my progress on that front. I’ve been wasting just as much time while off social media as I did before my break this month. But that’s a story for another post.

I’m headed to Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. (Like since my previous trip in January 2019.) Unfortunately I’m not in satisfactory shape to run the half marathon itself, but I’ll still be participating in the 5K and 10K. I haven’t done much running in the past year or so and I really miss it. My endurance just isn’t what it should be anymore, but I am still going to enjoy running at Disney World this weekend, even if it is only the shorter races. The weather is mostly going to cooperate too. It’s hot in Orlando today, but there’s a cold front coming through sometime tomorrow so Friday and Saturday are going to be lovely. By my standards, at least. I’d much rather be cold than hot, especially while running. However, I didn’t think to check the latest forecast before I left for the airport this morning, and that means I only brought a medium-weight hoodie with me. There’s a possibility I’ll have to buy something warmer if we really do get a couple of days with highs in the 50s and 60s. Not that I mind shopping at Disney World. I’ll look around the race expo in the morning to see if there’s a jacket or sweatshirt that I can’t live without. I only brought my small suitcase with me, though, so I can’t go too crazy. There was a little free space in there when I zipped it up this morning, but not much!

I’d better get going so I can find the gate for my flight to Orlando. I’ve been camped out in a quiet corner of IAH for the past hour so I could write this post without worrying about a whole crowd of people reading over my shoulder. I’m sure this description of my travel day would bore them to tears, but I’d still rather have a little privacy if I can find it. It’s funny how quickly I penned this post, considering how much time and brainpower it usually takes me to craft something that I feel is worthy of publishing. I definitely overthink my blogging at times. OK, most of the time. Funny enough, I have a copy of The Artist’s Way in my backpack which I’ve been dying to read. I’m hoping to find a few creative strategies that I can implement to improve the quality and volume of my writing. Since I probably won’t be able to use my laptop on the plane, I’ll crack the book open on my way to Orlando and see what wisdom I can glean. It’s sure to be a better way to pass the time than watching “Jojo Rabbit!”

Social media break

As January came to an end I wasn’t feeling very well. After a week of more physical activity than usual my energy level was incredibly low, and I spent a lot of time on the couch. During this prolonged rest period I realized that I was nearly always scrolling through content on one social media platform or another. Now, I’m not young or hip enough to hang with the cool kids on Snapchat or TikTok, but I am a heavy user of Facebook and Instagram. I generally prefer to post photos more than anything else, which makes Instragram my favorite app, but I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends. Not only old friends that I made long before social media existed, but also friends I met through social media. And I have been known to argue with misogynistic jerks on Twitter from time to time. (Now that I think of it, I’ve been argumentative on every platform. I’ve even been blocked by a few accounts for pestering them with crazy stuff like acceptance and equality. Some nerve, huh?) Basically, given an internet connection, I can waste time like a pro. The real problem is that I have absolutely nothing to show for all those hours on my laptop and phone.

Reflecting on my downtime over the last two weeks I realized that I should have been participating in an activity that was actually fulfilling – like blogging (hello lovely readers!), reading, making videos, uploading photos (I’m so far behind on Flickr), or even picking up cross-stitch again. You know, basically anything except staring at a screen like a brainless zombie. To see what I could do to turn the tide, on January 31st I decided to take a social media break during the month of February. I logged off Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that evening hopeful that this would allow me to refocus on endeavors that are productive in one form or another. (Plus, the cumulative effect of social media on my psyche has always been unfavorable, so getting away from it for a while should be beneficial.) I read a few books towards the end of 2019 about forming positive habits and finding time for creative endeavors, and now it’s time to put some of those ideas into effect. First up, my blog. I always lament the state of it when I don’t post as often as I’d like, so I’m going to use a large portion of my reclaimed free time for writing. I get a good deal of satisfaction out of this creative expression, even if no one else reads it. I’ll never be a career blogger or anything like that, but I’d like to write something meaningful from time to time. That’s going to take practice. We’ll see what I can about that do over the next four weeks.

Blogging is my self-care

Written on 5/20:
Self-care comes in many forms, both mental and physical. Tonight I sat down and wrote a long webpage post rather than doing numerous other chores that were waiting for me before the end of the weekend. And in the end, hitting publish was better for my soul than having all the little aspects of my life fully in place for Monday morning. It’s gotten very quiet in Seal Beach as midnight approaches and I know I should have gotten into bed a long time ago, but here I am with my laptop still on my lap. It brings me comfort in a way that nothing else can. Finding the words to document my thoughts and feelings is so cathartic, and it just doesn’t happen that often. The constant stresses of life often prevent me from being in the proper head space to write more than a couple of decent sentences at a time. just about every night I sit down in my final hour or so before going to sleep and hope that the words will flow into an eloquent paragraph that I can share with the world. But more often than not I find myself staring at the WordPress interface and not even knowing where to start. My brain and heart are so full, but I lack the skill or the motivation to transcribe anything meaningful. Unless there’s a new sunscreen to review – then I’m in my element! It seems so shallow to expound upon the virtues (or lack of them) of a cream or lotion that protects my annoyingly delicate skin from the ravages of the sun, but that subject has inspired so many posts. On the other hand, when it comes to my innermost workings I regularly can’t get past the blinking cursor in a blank box. That doesn’t stop me from trying though! There are probably some writing exercises that could help me with that, but I feel like I already have enough going on in my life. Currently I am endeavoring to remove all unnecessary stressors from my routine. I am giving myself permission to allow anything that doesn’t absolutely have to get done to fall by the wayside. Life is too short for nonessentials, and happiness is more important than having all my chores done. I’m nearly 40 and finally figuring out my life!

Added on 5/26:
P.S. This is remarkably eloquent considering my Ambien was kicking in when I wrote it!

Goodbye January

The first month of 2017 has come and gone. Usually I love January, even with the usual mild case of the post-holiday blues, but this year it was a little uneven for me. On one hand I had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of successfully completing my first marathon at Disney World so that was absolutely amazing. But then I got sick shortly after getting back from Orlando and the rest of the month was basically a disaster. I missed a lot of work, my fitness routine was all but abandoned (I haven’t gone to the gym since January 6th), and I’ve eaten more comfort food than I’d like to admit. Luckily things are starting to turn around. I’m finally getting healthy and I’ve started running again (my 4 miles tonight weren’t pretty, but I’m improving). Hopefully I’ll make it back to boot camp on Friday too. It’s going to be a rough road to get back in shape, but I’m glad to be getting started. February is going to be better than January, I’m sure. I already have a lot of plans with friends and running buddies that I’m looking forward to. Traditionally my blogging tapers off in February, but I’m going to try to keep it up in 2017. I’m really enjoying writing on a regular basis and I hope there’s at least one person out there who enjoys reading it. Here’s to eleven more months of 2017!

NaBloPoMo 2016

It’s November 1st and that means National Blog Posting Month 2016 has begun! My attempts to update my webpage every day in November have been utter failures for the last few years so we’ll see if I can be any more successful this year. It’s not that I don’t have a lot to write about this time of year with race season starting and all of my favorite holiday excitement, but finding time to do so is the real problem. It doesn’t help that I’m on week 9 of my marathon training program right now which includes 24 miles of running, and my weekly mileage is only going to increase as the month progresses. So I have no idea if I’ll actually be able to post something all 30 days in November, but at least I’m going to try.

November 1st also means it’s time to shift focus from Halloween celebrations to Thanksgiving preparations! The last few days of October – including the Rock ‘N’ Roll Los Angeles half marathon, my annual chili cook-off at work, and trick or treating with friends – were busy, but a lot of fun. I’ll write more about those activities in another post (gotta save something for later this week!). But now that we’re into the second to last month of the year it’s time to exchange all of the jack-o-lanterns for turkeys! I actually put up my Halloween decorations on October 2nd, unlike last year when I was negligent with my holiday revelry until early December. Since my Thanksgiving decorations are scarce I may leave my Halloween items out until I unpack all of the yuletide decor. At least the pumpkins. The last three months of the year are my favorite so why not enjoy them as much as possible? Speaking of which, it’s time to go plug in my string of pumpkin lights for a little ambiance on this lovely fall evening!

Goodbye July

It’s been so long since I posted anything but pictures. Every weekend I sit down in front of my laptop with the intent of writing a post, but then I manage to find a reason to not follow through. There’s always something else I could be doing, whether that activity is more interesting than writing or not, so I put off a new post for at least another week. In my defense it’s been an amazingly busy summer so far! That doesn’t excuse my absence, though. There’s no way I’ll ever catch up on all of the stuff that’s been going on since April when I published my last substantial post. Maybe I’ll still give it a try. But right now it’s time for me to get changed so I can go for a run. Today is the last day of Boeing on the Move 2016 and I want to finish strong! Without the burden of the pedometer I might have a little more free time coming up soon. We’ll see how it goes!

Goodbye July

It’s been so long since I posted anything but pictures. Every weekend I sit down in front of my laptop with the intent of writing a post, but then I manage to find a reason to not follow through. There’s always something else I could be doing, whether that activity is more interesting than writing or not, so I put off a new post for at least another week. In my defense it’s been an amazingly busy summer so far! That doesn’t excuse my absence, though. There’s no way I’ll ever catch up on all of the stuff that’s been going on since April when I published my last substantial post. Maybe I’ll still give it a try. But right now it’s time for me to get changed so I can go for a run. Today is the last day of Boeing on the Move 2016 and I want to finish strong! Without the burden of the pedometer I might have a little more free time coming up soon. We’ll see how it goes!

2015 Resolution #4 (sorta)

New Year’s Resolution #4: Blog about events in a timely manner

As hard as it’s going to be for me to comfortable wear a bikini this summer (gulp!), this resolution might be even more difficult. I’ve gotten into a terrible habit of waiting so long to write things that happen in my life that I never get around to it at all. Like my trip to Orlando last month. In spite of my knee injury during the Disney World Half Marathon it was a great vacation, but I’ve barely blogged about any of it here. I hate that. Granted, I don’t have the most exciting life, but the purpose of this webpage is to share my experiences. Even if no one wants to read about them but me! So to try and stem the tide of blog amnesia (did I just coin a phrase there?), here’s how I spent my week.

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, in anticipation of working all weekend I took last Friday off. It was supposed to be a nice relaxing day for me to unwind before spending Saturday and Sunday working. And it mostly succeeded. I know you won’t be surprised when I say that I started Friday off with a with a morning visit to Disneyland. I hadn’t been there in a few weeks and I love the smaller winter crowds. Unfortunately there were a few more people there last Friday than I expected. I ended up walking around for a while, seeing the “Cinderella” sneak peak in California Adventure, buying a pin for a ride that’s closing forever soon (Luigi’s Flying Tires), and going home after a few hours. The rest of the day was extremely relaxing considering I didn’t do much but watch TV (I’m trying to catch up on Oscar Best Picture nominees from the last few years) and do a few chores. When the weekend officially arrived I ended up working 10 hours on both Saturday and Sunday. Although I got a lot of work done when there wasn’t anyone else around to bother me, it was just a drop in the bucket of everything I had to complete. On Monday I was still working like mad on my own projects, but I had to split my time between that and another activity that was going on. I worked 10 hours on Monday, 14 hours on Tuesday (that was rough), and 10 hours on Wednesday. That’s a grand total of 54 hours in 5 days. It wasn’t fun, and I was completely exhausted on Wednesday night, but I got everything done that I needed to in the short term. And I had earned a day off! So yesterday morning I met a friend and her daughter at Disneyland. It was an extremely hot day for February (I really hope winter isn’t over already), but we had a lot of fun. We went on every ride and attraction that the two year old wanted to, including Ariel’s Undersea Adventure twice. It was a lovely day despite the heat. I need more days like that. And per this New Year’s resolution, when they roll around I’ll make sure to blog about them in a timely manner!

Gearing up for NaBloPoMo

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pushing myself to write more often now that October is drawing to a close. This means that National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) is right around the corner. I missed at least one day of posting in November 2012 and 2013, but if at all possible I’d like to complete the full challenge this year. I’m not sure how feasible that’s going to be, or whether I’ll even have enough topics to write about, but I’m going to try. Most of the time I find writing therapeutic. When I have something to say and I don’t feel like it’s something I’m forcing myself to do, I love writing. I started blogging fifteen years ago as a creative outlet during my days as an engineering student, and a way to share my day-to-day life with anyone who was interested. I think the life of a college student is more conducive to blogging than your average adult’s, though. The whole working, eating, exercising, and sleeping routine doesn’t really lend itself to a lot of sharable yarns. These days I have to dig deep to find something to write about on a daily basis, but I know the NaBloPoMo challenge will be a good mental exercise. But since it’s still October I’m going to take the opportunity to cut this post short while I’ve got a chance. No strenuous exercise for my brain tonight!

Blog changes

It’s time to make some changes around here. At the beginning of the year I was blissfully posting every day without breaking a sweat (January is always the easiest month for blogging as far as I’m concerned), but in April that trend started to slow. Not only did I realize that I was spending far too much time in front of my computer screen at night (probably causing some sleep problems), but I was having trouble coming up with decent content. It’s not that I don’t have anything going on these days, but writer’s block seems to have made it difficult for me to put any of it into words. There’s not much I can do about the writer’s block, but after giving it some thought over the weekend I came up with a few new ideas to shake things up.

1) No posting simply for the sake of posting. I think I’ve said this a few times before, but I’d definitely rather update my webpage with something decent rather than with filler of some kind. Obviously I’ve already abandoned any idea of posting every day in 2014 so there’s no need to hit the publish button unless I really have something to say. It’s very liberating!
2) No photo-only blog posts. Goodbye Wordless Wednesday! I’m going to miss my mid-week crutch that I’ve been leaning on when I can’t put a sentence together to save my life, but leaving it behind, at least for now, is for the best. Of course I’m allowed to include photos in my posts (I prefer it actually), but they must be accompanied by some narration. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but blogs need words too!
3) Only write about running once a week. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, running is a big part of my life right now. I have no problem admitting my obsessions! However, I am fully aware that no one else really cares about my workouts. And that’s OK. So to avoid alienating any readers that I extremely am fortunate to have I will restrict my ramblings about running to once a week. Hello Sunday Runday! (Yeah, I know it’s dumb, but it rhymes so I’m going with it.)
4) Use a writing prompt once a week. I’ve been gathering a bunch of great prompts, but what’s the point if I don’t actually use them? Hopefully they will be a good catalyst for posts about something other than my day-to-day life, and maybe they’ll even help be break through this stinkin‘ writer’s block. Writing Prompt Wednesday, perhaps? This should be interesting!