And in my copious spare time I….wait what?!

So, a short while back, a good friend challenged many of us to blog about what we do in our “spare” time, with a link back to her blog:

http://accordingtohoyt.com/2013/05/01/in-my-copious-spare-time/

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers to “What do you do?”

Some answers include:

  1. Keep Micki alive
  2. Writer
  3. Slush Editor
  4. Beta Reader
  5. Jill of all trades
  6. Household CEO/CFO

The other fun hiccup to all of this, is that I am both a daysleeper (which means I don’t keep anything close to resembling normal hours) and that between Rheumatoid Arthritis and some other health quirks – I have some limitations that most people don’t have, and that even I don’t like to admit to.

Some of you might have heard of  “Spoon Theory”.  In a nutshell, it’s that:  everyday, each of us is given a set number of spoons to complete all of our tasks for the day.  A typical healthy person has a lot of spoons, and can accomplish a lot of things per spoon.  A not so healthy person like me, has not only fewer spoons, but it costs more spoons to do even the simple tasks.  There are some days – getting out of bed and interacting with people – maxes me out.  There are some days just getting out of bed maxes me out.  And on better days, I get more done.  (Don’t we all?!).

In any typical day for me, I get up in the mid-late afternoon/early evening, depending on how late in the morning I finally crawled into my bed, and start with three daily journals.  Two are of some affirmations I’m working on.  I’m not the kind of person that can look themselves in a mirror and repeat a chant 20-25 times in a day without feeling like an utter idiot.  I admire the people who can, but it’s not me.  So instead, I write them out – once a day, every day – to try to begin my day on a positive note.  I also write “daily pages” longhand, stream of consciousness.  I used to write hard and fast 3 pages.  Day in, day out.  Lately, I’ve been allowing myself to be a bit more lax on that after managing to maintain the habit for a bit over a year – so on busy days, if it’s half a page or a page, that’s ok…another day might be four pages or even seven…and that’s ok too.  From there it’s processing my way through the blogs I keep up with, emails waiting on answers, social media, taking care of any items Micki needs handled, processing the mail and bills and budget – all that kind of fun stuff.  I try to blog once a week (yes, I’ve been remiss recently, I’m trying to fix that). Thanks to 24 hr markets – I usually do my shopping at about 3am or so.  It’s lovely and quiet and no people to annoy you – bliss!

On VA days – I have to be up during the daytime…and sometimes have my entire day spent at the VA Hospital.  If you’ve ever been to the VA Hospital in Detroit – you understand why.  VA days, Sundays, and any other day where there’s an appointment that requires me to be up and active during “normal business hours”…are days I know in advance I’m going to be looking at 36-48 hours awake, as a given.  They’re long days.  And I usually crash when I’m finally able to crawl into my bed after that.

Some days and weeks are full of this kind of activity and eventually it all catches up with me and I get….cranky.  Which is when all the cats hide, the dogs sleep and Micki if she must talk to me usually prefaces it with an offer of either a slurpee or chocolate.  And asking if I’ve had any aleve that day, or do I need to go back to sleep?

One exception to all this, is traveling.  When I go on a trip I know I need to alter my daysleeper ways, and I plan appropriately to shift my sleep schedule as best I can.  If I’m lucky, time zones conspire in my favor so that I don’t have to shift my schedule very much at all.

This month, I have a lot going on.  In this past week, I’ve had birthday, two school concerts, VA appts, my own dental appointment, and various errands that required me up and about while the evil daystar was high in the sky.  Next week is a brief lull in the storm – but deceiving – VA appts begin again on Thursday, Plotmongers on Saturday, Mother’s Day, the VA again on Monday, and then I leave for California a week from Thursday – to watch my cousin graduate from college!  (The best excuse yet, for shifting around my schedule!).  Once I return, there’s more birthdays, more VA appts, Memorial Day and a Dance Concert – all before June 1st!

Add to those highlights the usual – keeping up the house, taking care of the furkids (2 dogs, 3 cats, and the “not-our-cats” who come by for a meal), making sure Micki took her meds, remembered her appointments, and any other “as needed”, catching up with family, friends and co-workers (other writers – who else would keep us sane?!?).  Oh…and yes…reading the slush, reading the beta pieces (which I still owe some folks), working on one or both of two novels in progress and a third piece that hasn’t decided how long it wants to be yet.  Doing crits for Plotmongers.  And the general detritus of life.

Because all the many hats I wear are rather “invisible” jobs – it’s easy for people to think I’m not busy and ask for a favor or two.  After all, I’m…”only a homemaker/housewife”…to some.  And a writer – who “always has nothing but time – after all how hard is it to write”.  And I try to accommodate people where I can.  But sometimes, I have to say “no, sorry.  can’t help you.”  You’d be amazed how many people get upset at that.  “But you do nothing all day!”  No, I do nothing you SEE.  You don’t live with me and you don’t talk to me on even a close to daily basis – so you have nothing to judge what I do and don’t do all day by!  Even a list like this blog – there’s stuff I’m going to leave out, because it’s personal.

On top of this, is the stuff I want to do..you know…in my spare time:

  •  The ever growing to-read pile of books – from books on philosophy to novels
  • the window I’m supposed to etch and turn into a mirror
  • the various honey-do tasks like sorting and boxing the library, Micki’s media room, and the kitchen (just for a start).
  • Begin to teach myself violin.
  • Eventually get the piano keyboard replaced and the piano tuned so that I actually play more often.
  •  Catch up on the shows I want to see and have recorded, but missed because the TV hasn’t been physically turned on in weeks – TV what’s that?

Oh yeah…can’t forget:

  • the learning how to format ebooks in different styles that I HAVE to do – even if I want to strangle the author of a certain style guide that shall remain nameless.
  • Working on making some more pieces of jewelry.
  • Penning down any number of other story/novel/book ideas that fly into and out of my head.
  • Finish the “Letters” book – no, I didn’t forget – I’m just behind as usual (you know who you are).

And then there’s….:

  • Learn all the formats for ebooks.
  • Put out the roughly half a dozen completed shorts before the year is over
  • And if I’m feeling really ambitious – maybe even put them into a kind of omnibus type of thing, so that people can buy all of them in one – rather than individually

It doesn’t sound like much, I know.  It doesn’t even sound like much to me.  But the spoons, they just haven’t been there.  There’s been too much heartache and grief for those I care about, where offering them comfort was more important than whatever to-do item fell on my desk that day.  And there’s been my own heart sludge that gummed up the works as well (emotional here, not physical).  And emotions, stuff of the heart – it eats spoons like nothing else ever does.  I can’t be the only one to have discovered that.

But, that’s life, it’s up and downs and spoon feasts and famines.  And one day I’ll be entirely caught up…or not.  And one of these years I’ll get everything on my wish list done…or not.  And all of that’s just fine!

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