Moving

20140401-235945.jpg

This is what my room looks like right now.

It is also sort of what my brain looks like.

I’m almost done going again, moving for the 9th time since freshman year of college. I’m getting a little crazy and honestly not all that much better at it. I would be okay with not moving so often for awhile.

But I did promise myself to blog every day in April, so a last minute picture post is going to have to do for today.

Good and bad

Good things this week:
Our windows were finally replaced today- no more freezing while inside.
I downloaded final fantasy tactics- so good to have a game I enjoy on my iPad. It feels like games have advanced so much since I first played this one.
I’ve written every day this month, in blog and in practice. 3 days is better than none.

Bad things:
I didn’t sleep much last night after downloading it. Oops.
My bank account is not looking as good as my iPad.
My apartment might be warmer but it is not clean. Things to work on.

Continuing my education

20140102-211340.jpg

This is not a very good textbook. Especially not upside down…

As much as I enjoyed most of it, I honestly don’t miss college. That is, I don’t ever wish I could go back and do it again. The good times, the mistakes I made, none of it. But there are certainly times when i miss being a student. I like learning new things, I like being able to discuss them with other people, and I actually really like being graded- at least in terms of receiving feedback from others and getting an idea about how I am doing at something and whether or not I’ve improved.
As unhelpful as I’ve found most advice teachers have given me about creative writing, i don’t think I have ever worked as hard or as often at it as when i was in a creative writing class. The same goes for acting, music, or any language I’ve taken. I try to brush up on things from time to time, and I try to practice, but like probably a lot of people I just can’t get myself to do it when I don’t feel like anyone is actually watching. Fear of looking stupid is a huge motivator for me, I guess.

So how do you motivate yourself when the only person who knows you look stupid is you? Well, I’ve tried taking classes online. For awhile i was doing some fairly structured ones through the library at home. I actually really liked them, but when the homework got to be more time consuming than just a few sentences and pages of reading,I stopped doing them. I haven’t checked, but I’m sure I failed due to simple inactivity. Which is ridiculous, even if the classes were free.
I also tried taking a class on reddit. It was a singing class, taught by someone with a performance degree and teaching experience. Also free, obviously, but it sounded like such a great opportunity for feedback that I had to sign up. Of course, reddit university has even less oversight than universal class, the site I had used before. I found myself working more hours than usual the first couple weeks, missed a few deadlines…and I haven’t checked the website for the class since. Once again, no one knew about my failure but me…not until now, anyway.

I thought I had made a big step this fall when I signed up for Hebrew class. I have wanted to learnth e language for awhile,and my roommate wanted to as well. It also was at a real place, with a real teacher. It cost actual money. We got a textbook. Sure, it’s cpntinuing education, but the class is at a college.

Unfortunately it was still only once a week. The seven days from one Thursday nightto another offered a hundred excuses for why I didn’t have time to finish my homework. And worst of all, nobody ever actually checked it. I’m not saying I didn’t learn anything at all that first class. I mean, i got the aleph bet down. A few vocabulary words. I started to think I could get this.

But then I started the second set of classes. This set has a new teacher, a different method. She is so knowledgeable, so outgoing. But so hard to follow. For the last two months, I’ve found the homework harder and harder to sit down and do, and the vocab and grammar from each week harder and harder to recall when class time comes. Not only that, but a missed class last term and one this term means our 6 week course has dragged out to over two months. Which of course leads to the last straw- today I went to our make up class only to learn that it was rescheduled to next week, when my roommate won’t even be in town, and neither of us were contacted. Not only that, but I specifically requested tonight off to make sure I didn’t have to work during class hours. Next week I am scheduled to close.

So now as I begin 2014 in earnest, the dust (or, well, snow) settling over the first of the year and the general holiday season, I’m hoping that I can still learn new things and be an intelligent person. I’m hoping that I can really set learning and study goals and then rise to meet them. And that I will be able to find good teachers and fellow students to help motivate me along the way, because otherwise I’m never going to do my homework.

Review

I don’t like to put too much weight in things like New Year’s Day or eve or any other beginnings and endings based in a calendar. It is too easy to put things off until the next calendar change, or to start something at the new year when you aren’t really ready to change things yet. It can just be too easy to get caught up in the holiday.
As it is I think it is important to give yourself time to reflect now and again. And the new year can still be a good time to do that reflecting. Sphere they are, my reflections on how I ‘did’ this year.

Writing- this is a big one I did not do nearly enough of all year. It has gotten way too easy to give myself excuses for why I can or cannot sit down to write. This needs to change in the new year, starting now.

Working- yes I have a job, and I guess in many ways that still makes me better off than a lot of other people I know. But it’s be frustrating to have a job that isn’t my passion and that keeps a schedule I don’t really want to keep. I love the discount though. And I like that my job allows me to learn things all the time, even if they aren’t necessarily things I expected to learn about. I need to make a change, though, and find something better. More like what I want and better paying. Writing will be the first step to getting there, I think.

Acting- this was a no go most of the year. I need better head shots, and I need to start auditioning for films or TV or something. Moving is not out of the question. In fact moving basically is the question.

Singing- other than for my own amusement I barely did this either. And I need to be doing it. So that needs to be made a priority with the new year as well.

Running- I did run a lot, and I did a few races, including two 10Ks and two 5Ks. But I didn’t stick to a plan or try to do any longer races, and that’s something i really hoped I would do this past year.

Biking- I didn’t really think biking was something I would ever be able to say I did, so I think that this is one of my bigger personal accomplishments. Being able to bike places, and therefore get there on my own, especially since I don’t have a car, felt very freeing. It is also a great workout, obviously, although I mostly started it for the sake of practicality.

Saving- in my head I am a great budgeter. In my life it comes and goes. I am proud to say that once I had been getting paid for a few months, i was able to cover my rent easily and make a few other practical purchases. But my savings are close to nil and that is something I really cannot live with for much longer, so 2014 is going to be my year of budgeting and saving. Although at least I have a 401K now (something that sounds way too grown up for me to be allowed to have).

Spending- I spent too much money this year, of course. However some of the things I bought were things I am glad I spent good money on- a pair of water proof winter boots, a nice wool coat, a new tablet computer, a bike. But since this year I need to make more purchases- a better bike, maybe even a car, almost certainly a more expensive apartment- spending intelligently is going to be just as important as saving intelligently.

Reading- I certainly read a lot. I finished all the A Song of Ice and Fire books ( I had previously only read the first), several other novels, a lot of young adult stuff as well, and even some nonfiction. Other highlights included The Thirteenth Tale, A Map of the World, Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies, and Seraphina. I hope i can still find time to read in the new year.

Cleaning- I’m not very good at doing it, at least not as regularly as I should. But I think I can do better.

Eating- this year I spent a lot of time trying to eat better, still having problems, and finally going wheat and gluten free. I hope to write about this soon, actually, but for now I’ll say I think it works.

Knitting- I knitted a lot, but like everything else this year I struggled when it came to finishing things. Sigh.

20140102-000520.jpg

How Comcast ruined my NaNoWriMo…and other recent events.

I spent a week without internet last week. I was doing okay on my NaNoWriMo mostly, deluding myself into thinking I could turn those 5000-ish words into 50K, I just had to hunker down on my next day off and really go for it.

Then our modem stopped working. I can’t believe how dependent I am on internet when doing things that require absolutely no internet:

 

Writing.

Most days, I use 750words.com to write. It helps me to record my stats and see how I’m doing, and even when my story was going poorly I was able to write 750 words of stream-of-consciousness, character ideas, random musings, or whatever else. it helps to know that you can write something every day, you know? But even for my novel, which was a word document, I was not motivated to do it when I didn’t have internet- I liked having random music to listen to, and to check reddit every 10 minutes, and other stupid distractions. These things don’t actually help me write, but that’s clearly not why I do them. And once my writing streak was broken, I basically gave up. I started another story and got a few K on that, but still probably had less than a fifth of the necessary words by November’s end.

Knitting

 

Now this one is just silly. I have several patterns in the works that are from magazines, booklets, or files on my computer. It’s not like I need internet for that. And even though I like watching stuff while I knit, I could have, well, not. Or watched movies I haven’t seen in awhile. And yet still, when unable to use Hulu Plus to watch TV shows, I barely knitted at all. Sigh. 12 in 12, I swear I haven’t given up on you (I mean I have a whole, like, 25 days, right? Right?).

 

Cleaning

I have no legitimate explanation.  But it’s hard to get motivated to clean when you haven’t gotten to do any of the other things you wanted to do today.

Studying

This one is moderately legitimate. It’s hard to watch videos about Hebrew and review Hebrew letters and things when you can’t get online. Although I still haven’t done my homework for the most recent class, even though it should have been last night but was canceled.

 

So basically I read a lot. And when black Friday/cyber Monday hit I ended up ordering things from Amazon, Knit Picks, and Best Buy like I might never get internet again. I am also now taking a self-imposed break from writing until tomorrow night. I still want to finish something, at least the draft, by the end of the year or at least end of January.

 

 

So

So I moved. In April. And then I got a job, and worked a bit, and worked a bit more. And wrote a bit, and not as much, and then more and more. And I did a lot of reading and knitted quite a bit in there too.

 

But I haven’t blogged. And then i got scared to actually go back and write again, even though I’m pretty sure I’m at least 50% of my own readership. This blog has mostly been a personal accountability thing, and I guess I didn’t want to feel personally accountable. But no more. I am a grown up now, of sorts. I don’t live with my parents anymore, and I have a job, and I get myself t work (mostly), and in order to be a creative grown up person, I need to get back to blogging. So here I am. Back soon with more, and this time I actually mean soon, not “see you in 7 months” soon.

Missing Istanbul

Image

View of European Istanbul from the ferry to the Asian side.

As February draws to a close, I realize it’s been over a year since I visited Istanbul, Turkey. Even longer since I went anywhere else except Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary(not like that’s small zemiaky, but, you know, those 3 countries basically all meet at a corner and that corner is pretty much where I was living).

I’ve been in the same country for over 6 months in a row! Where is my sense of adventure?…although I guess that I have been to New York, California, Minnesota, and various spots in between, it doesn’t feel the same somehow. There’s this feeling I get when I’ve traveled somewhere for the first time, and I get back, and some time goes by, and I look at my pictures, and I think, “You know, I could do that so much better now.” Like I got smarter at traveling or something, even if I know I really didn’t.

You see, when I was in Istanbul, I got lost a lot. Or rather, we got lost a lot, dear Willow (travel name) and I.

slovakia 2011-2012 079

One of our first encounters in Asia- firemen getting a cat out of a tree.

We took a ferry to Asia with nothing but an address and her iPod’s GPS to get us where Willow wanted to go (we didn’t get there).

We wandered around the bazaar for hours one day, getting heckled by various sellers- “Hey Britney! Hey Christina! Hey insert-popular-celebrity-white-girl-name!”- and then not knowing what we actually wanted to buy.

We tried to get to the airport with little knowledge of how to do so, beyond a rough knowledge of which buses might get us there and some idea of the direction and how long it might take us if we stopped at the Chora church on the way; a trip that ended in us grumpy, almost walking off in opposite directions in some mad competition to see who was smart enough to find the airport.

This is kind of our relationship the entire trip.

This is kind of our relationship the entire trip.

Shortly after that, we were at a loss for finding vegetarian food that our end-of-vacation budgets could afford, and were only sustained in the end by a strange and mysterious stand right outside the city walls, where a man was sell mozzarella-like sandwiches for practically pennies right when we’d given up hope; I was seriously considering huddling on a park bench and waiting to see if my family or my coworkers missed me when I disappeared.

Willow and I went on several trips that year, sometimes with other people, for anywhere from a day to nearly a week. Istanbul was by far both the most expensive and the most poorly planned. And yet, looking back, I still miss it and wish I could go back and try again, petting the cats and eating the street doughnuts and trying to haggle less pathetically.

slovakia 2011-2012 087

Sometimes I think I miss the street doughnuts most of all.

Oddly enough, I sort of hate traveling. But I hate staying in the same place for too long even more.

I also miss Rabbit Face, my absolute best friend for about 15 minutes.

I also miss Rabbit Face, my absolute best friend for about 15 minutes.