I’ve been absent lately, in an unofficial fashion. Since this has been due to life and its overwhelming responsibilities -furthermore, since no one has gone looking for me in a panic- I can only presume that: either everyone is equally engaged, or everyone understands that I am not only engaged but have married and sired six children.
If you are feeling like panicking, this post is meant to deter that.
I am still alive. My family is alive and kicking. I’ve come through the holidays, have declared a word, and have been mentally planning what to do for this blog.
I intend to include:
More creative stories, although they may be short.
More off-the-cuff posts as was my wont before COVID-19 hit.
Wrap-ups of my Tour of Utah and mystery series, and promises I’ve made to bloggers to read their works.
If you made it this far, maybe you’d consider helping: 1. What would you like to read? Why do you come around here? 2. Would you be a guest blogger? 3. Would you be a guest host for a contest or writing prompt? 4. Is there anything I haven’t listed that you’d like me to write about?
Thank you for joining me on consider the current chaos.
Hopefully, I’ll squeeze out a plan for the year and get back with you. In the meantime, please do answer my questions.
I’ve been having a great holiday, only worrying about considering the possibility of thinking I ought to plan on pondering the idea of envisioning a speculative schedule involving writing on the blog(s).
I promised this was a boring update, so here are the specifics:
WordPress’ editor still sucks.
I sold my arm and part of a leg for a new cell phone and can therefore read (and comment on!) people’s posts again. The new phone ought to streamline that process going forward, instead of gunking it up to a hopeless quagmire like it did in the past.
I’m changing the Weekly Hilarity Contest to poetry again, but intend to definitely bend toward humor and not to the sarcasm and ridicule of terrible poeming.
My #1 priority will be me and my family. Number two will, invariably, be dishes and laundry -okay, really, ’twill be catching blog posts written by my favorite people (you!). After those, I will post some of my own works (see #5, just below).
My blogging schedule will be liposuctioned to something manageable and …less personal. Maybe.
I will write and publish a book. I will write under a modified name, since I’ve never liked my obviously-born-in-a-certain-decade-or-near-there identifier.
If there is any time left after that, I’ll sleep well, eat right, and exercise. I will also cure pandemics.
My thoughts have been all over the place. Efforts to unite them into a powerful subject that can conquer the evil antagonist prove fruitless. So, faithful readers, you’ve a mismatched mess of pottage from which to sup after your travels through the desert:
First, I’m inclined to mention the elephant in the world, Coronavirus. I’ve been home for about 2,365 days. People ask me how it’s going, by way of polite conversation. They don’t ask in person, of course, unless you count our shouts from porch to sidewalk or car window to front yard.
I’m exercising again, too. Yes, I count if I did so today and yesterday. Many stars need to align for exercise to happen, so I may not be consistent. I’d like to align my stars (aka children) to either go with me or stay asleep around 6:30 a.m. so that I might try this exercise thing outside our four walls.
Speaking of, Coronaphant has been running amok of our supply chain. Downside? Shortages and closures. Upside? We’re still open and shipping while others are not. Washing your hands and working from home helps, people. -We just can’t get some of the regular products in at the moment.
I’d like to try gaming with friends. I understand that many games are available as apps. We have Ticket to Ride and know something like chess would be easy. Have any of you tried games online with friends? What works well? Are they freeeee?
Despite deciding I need a plan for this ol’ blog, such a plan is still not forthcoming. I’ve grabbed bits of idea-fluff here and there but not a substantial soup. Here’s a rough idea so far:
Monday – Quote. I have them scheduled till July, anyway.
Tuesday – Currently, it’s poor Ron the postman. Once he’s finished, I’ll do poetry.
Wednesday – My IRL observations with a weekly review.
Thursday – An Open Day for poems, shares, an interview, or book review. Ooh! Maybe I’ll have guest posts.
Friday – Terrible Poetry Winner.
Saturday – Announcement of the next prompt for terrible poetry. As fun as being terrible is, I anticipate this evolving into a different prompt soon.
Sunday – Carrot Ranch’s 99-word prompt answer.
I know we’re all busy holing up, but let me know if you’d like to contribute a story or interview. Let me know if you think my schedule’s potty as well; can’t no one ever say Chelsea’s not open to new ideas.
For slightly more organization, here’s last week’s stuff: Wednesday, April 8: Instead of going political, I shared a photo of my fifth son.
I haven’t felt like writing. My busy blog-posting indicates otherwise, except that I’ve mostly written about Real Life. The world of fiction is not a place I want to go now that it’s knocking on my door and popping into my e-mails and being re-posted on my social media.
Dystopia is one of my favorite subjects. I intend to write a science fiction and/or futuristic novel someday. Maybe I’ll do Skinwalkers or Since the Bombs Fell or “Open the Sky“… But, like I said, that future is here. It’s not so intriguing when I’m living it.
I think I assumed I’d not be alive during a post-apocalyptic scenario.
I definitely assumed I’d be fit, well-armed, well-stocked, and driving an army Jeep.
It’s not quite as awesome to be wearing pajamas, carrying around postpartum baby weight, caring for five children, and occasionally driving a minivan.
The day-to-day sitting around involved with Coronavirus is precisely why they never showed Jack Bauer using the bathroom in his 24 hour days.
I do better in the midst of chaos; needing to grab that last Clorox wipe, save the child from uncertain school days, or stumble to the wall while the world shakes. When all is calm and all is bright, I stay awake as anxiety gnaws at my conscience. What if we get sick? Will the boys ever have school again? What, exactly, do we do in a stronger earthquake?
My husband says worrying does nothing. I say it’s all I can do. If I don’t remember to worry about it, then I am doing nothing. He then says something about the Serenity Prayer…
Which helps me realize that waiting may be difficult, but it may be what we all need to do right now. Realizing this helps me realize I need a plan besides buy, worry, panic. Realizing all of those things helps me realize I ought to accept the things I cannot change and write up a schedule for life and blogging.
It may be infrequent, but I’d like to include the following:
Interviews with my friends, especially those who have published and wish to share their work(s).
Book reviews of the books I will get myself to read, especially if I manage to read the work(s) my friends have published.
Bad poetry, of course. I think we need it.
Some creative projects outside of writing. I art on occasion. I could share more.
Favorite books, music, art, people, whatever.
I never have time for me when the children are home all day, so my chance of daily posts is not very high unless I schedule ahead. Still, I need this outlet. Twofacebook may have a lot more people on it now, but it’s mostly chainmails and reposts. No one likes my informational statistics on COVID for some reason…
If you have ideas of other things I could include on the blog, let me know. If you would like to be interviewed, let me know. As always, thank you for joining me on…
Well, thank you for joining me on my blog, anyway.
Here’s the past week: Wednesday, March 25: “Going Postal, II,” the second in my serial story about Ron the postman.
Friday, March 27: Wrote an update on the Coronavirus situation ’round here.
I’ve been swamped lately. More than usual, I’m afraid.
I …may have taken a bit (a lot) onto my plate -a plate that was a bit (a lot) full to begin with. I believe I did so because I was bored, and/or may have finally had a good night’s sleep.
Besides this lovely blog that I love writing upon and the lovely people whose blog posts I actually do read, I’ve also been attending school. Of sorts. It’s called Pathways, and is like preschool for adults. This quarter (?) is on math (or, maths, for Brits) and has a teensy bit (a lot) of busy work each week.
Add a few life events like almost-everyone’s birthdays, a birthday party, and a baptism this Saturday.
Then sprinkle in a paid job I was doing but (perhaps fortunately) am not any longer.
Plus the children’s school is winding down.
Plus the ever-present duties of house and home (and now yard).
Plus caring for an at-home dice business that I don’t think I’ve ever talked about.
And, just for kicks, throw in a planned visit from our relative who has 8 children….
I’m not actually the Supermom sort. I’m not the Superanything sort; really, I’d settle on an edible chocolate ribbon for Best Example of a Flawed Human Being.
But I’m toast. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Even a bit ill.
I can’t help but look around at other people and wonder how they do it, especially those who work as full time teachers at my kids’ school and have children of their own. I asked one of their Vice Principals that question in jest. She laughed and said her kids tease her for running their house like her classroom.
-But that may be the answer I seek.
So, for reals, how do you run your household? Do you schedule the hours? Minutes? Especially when you have a job and/or children, was it all set up? Outlined? Assigned?
I really do want to know.
I sort of wrote things this week, and here they are: Wednesday, May 8: Questioned the legitimacy of personality tests and their appeal in “Are We Our Personality Types?”
Times have changed. Teaching has far more demands than it used to. Required paperwork, overcrowded classes, and lack of support begins to take its toll. At first it all seems manageable. That fire of wanting to teach keeps the motor running. Then bit by bit, as demands and expectations increase, it becomes more difficult to keep the fire burning. The love becomes lost.
Teachers are quitting.
Children have changed, too. Their lives have less (or little) room for play. Most of their waking hours are structured – from school to sports to after school activities. Oh, and then the homework. Frankly, homework in the early grades should be reading. Period.
Children are often coming to school feeling everything from anger to being overwhelmed. They may not know why, they just know they aren’t feeling happy.
Is it any wonder that America’s children are ranked 26th in reading among the world?
Let’s roll out of bed after not sleeping well, glare at our alarm, blame everyone in the world for how terrible we feel, and stalk off to the bathroom to read our phone get ready.
With a winning morning routine like that nearly every day, why are we confused when the days continue to suck?
Did anyone ever watch The Lego Movie? D’ya remember that Emmett had an instruction book literally subtitled: “The instructions to fit in, have everybody like you, and always be happy!”? We, the viewing audience, laughed as Emmett breathed deeply, greeted the day, ate, exercised, showered, and even said, “Hello,” to all the cat lady’s pets.
In true exciting story form, the film suggested that Emmett’s real, interesting life began once those stupid instructions blew away. Sorry; but this is not how life works.
Life is really long, and we need to want to live it.
Following a routine like Emmett does is not bad. Routine is not a swear word. It’s actually a magic formula, far more magical than Expecto Patronum or even Avada Kedavra. A routine gives us a little, workable guide for getting through our foggy cloud of negativity and hopelessness.
And, you’re following a routine as we speak. It just may not be a good one.
So! *rubs hands together eagerly* Let’s get started on following one that is good. Here’s a sample morning that I threw together:
Wake up, preferably early.
Yep, we’re starting there. You already blew the early-to-bed thing. Plus, if we start with bedtime, you’ll be like me and procrastinate starting a routine until you can finally get to sleep before midnight -so we’ll get started, like, NEVER.
Tell yourself you love you.
This is not vain, it’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s good for you; and you are worth it, you beautiful/handsome person.
Do something active.
If you are following my advice to exercise daily, this may be the time to grab those workout clothes you set right by the bed.
OR, to not stress you out at all, just do a little stretching. L’internet has loads of simple yoga day-greeting moves that only take a few minutes.
Eat food or get ready for the day.
I am the only woman in a house of males (all family, don’t worry), so I have to get dressed pretty much right away. For you, though, maybe you can slouch over to the toaster in your skivvies. Whatever; just go. Keep moving.
Whatever you eat, make it healthy. Healthy also doesn’t need to be a bad word. Toast is healthy, at least compared to a breakfast of peanut M&Ms you found behind the couch cushion when you sat down to read your phone instead of stretching.
Shower and/or get dressed.
Just do it. Don’t give yourself time to think, What am I getting dressed for? Life is…. Ending that sentence is never a good idea for a depressive mindset. Like I said, keep going.
Take your meds, if you do that.
I don’t know your dosing schedule, but most are taken after a meal and in the first part of the day.
Yes, to your computer chair to check into a freelance job is “somewhere.” I know that some of us are recluses by choice and/or mental condition. If you can get outside to at least stand on the porch and watch the sun, please do.
Otherwise, I highly recommend getting completely out of the house. Go on a walk, pick up groceries, visit a friend, see a museum, or go to work if you’re employed.
Obviously, this routine is not a hard-and-fast rule. If you decide to pack a lunch in between steps 7 and 8 I won’t leap through your screen and slap you. I mean, you gotta eat lunch, too. I understand.
Still, it’s a good format. Use it like a foundation, something to plagiarize completely for yourself and adjust according to your personal flair.
In terms of the rest of your day, I feel that people’s schedules vary too widely to tailor as much as I did above. If you work, the day’s pretty much planned out for you because you have to do that. If you’re at home, set up activities similar to the morning one.
The main idea is to have assigned tasks; to keep moving.
Depression loves to settle on us like a putrid cloud. We let it. Making life pointless and then dwelling on the pointlessness of life is a vicious circle, but a daily routine will help break you out of that.
Now, if you’re still with me, you may be wondering about a nighttime routine. I mentioned this in a previous article on sleep, so I don’t want to bore anybody. That, and I’ve exceeded my morning routine writing time. If I wait much longer, I’ll finish the rest of the chocolate almonds and will somehow decide to not exercise due to post-sugar crash.
Don’t get caught up in writing the perfect routine. Use mine for now; I gave you permission. As you follow it, you can slowly change to what works better for you and your lifestyle and work schedule.
“Step forward -that’s right! Now, grasp this sand -yes, in both hands. That’s right, sir.”
Wondering, he thrusts both hands forward. Sensing the weight against calloused palms it overflows, draining with the pull of gravity to spill upon his shoes, the floor, the table legs.
“That’s right: step forward to the table. Quickly, now! Choose which of these bottles in which to pour your sand.”
Gravity is cruel. It pulls more and more from his hands as he frantically searches for an identifier on the glass bottle fronts. Which is which? How will he know what he is choosing -!?
“Your time is running out and you cannot get more until tomorrow…”
A blue bottle catches his eye; a portly one which reminds him of a fat man. He leans and manages to dump a measure in, to a halfway point. -Not too much, though; what if he chose poorly?
“That’s it. Good. But what of the others? Do you wish to spend all day at that one?”
Probably not, he thinks, and thrusts toward the nearest bottles. A squat red jar, two narrow green-tinted vases, and a pinkish jug each receive a bottom’s full. The red jar’s neighbor, a dubious black container, accidentally receives a bit more than even the first.
The booming tone frazzles his nerves, already high-strung from the continued loss of sifting hand-sand. With not much left, he jerks his cupped palms hither and thither. The table claims much if not most of what’s left. Ten random jars each carry a small dusting. He looks round; no one seems to be watching. Quickly, he gathers table sand and deposits it into a comely emerald urn. He dusts any lingering pieces from his fingers, his heart racing.
“Ah, I see you are done. Let’s see: Fortunately for you, your first choice was sleep. Some poor fool last hour completely neglected that one. Not a bad number in exercising, either. Work has even more than sleep; yes, this black one, here. I’m not sure how you’re going to feel much accomplishment from only a few grains in household upkeep, budgeting, personal hygiene, nor expenses. The fewest grains seem to be, here, in leisure….”
His hopes raised at the news of sleep; deflated somewhat at the exercise. He was just going to ask whether leisure might be a bit higher than budgeting when he notices a shadow frowning over the green urn.
“Hmmm. Odd. You’ve a fair bit in meals, here, but they’re not the best quality. It’s almost as though some other, older bits of grit are in here. …Perhaps the urn wasn’t quite cleaned -or the sand. Well, I’m afraid your nourishment will not be the best sort. At least you’ll have it though, eh? Not like that woman just yesterday…”
He watches in astonishment as arms wave over the table and every bit of sand within the containers rises into the air. They’re colored like the vases or jugs or urns they traveled from and dance in a dusty swirling cloud which follows the circling arms. The cloud condenses within the taskmaster’s shaping hands and resolves into parchment.
“Your day. You’ll see it has everything you chose. Now, take it and exit behind me through the large wooden doors. Move along, move along.”
He stumbles unsteadily out the exit indicated, an exit he swore was not there when he first entered the room with the pouring sand and the table. Between his careworn yet clean fingers he clenches his hard-won paper prize. From the closing door behind him calls the echoing voice again:
“Next! Now, don’t be shy -don’t be shy. Step forward, ma’am, and take your sand…”