Con Season!

Tomorrow is my first convention of the season, and as anyone who’s followed me knows, I always come home from cons feeling super creatively energized, though often directionless in terms of where to channel that energy.

This year, with two projects already under my belt, I feel like I have gained enough momentum and have enough ideas to carry me through another two or three projects on my own, so my hopes for this convention are a renewed sense of creative energy, and maybe some new inspiration for subject matter for the future.

I also hope that it will help me to put into words a few things I’ve been wanting to write about, and should that be the case, I’ll be back with a few new posts in about a week.

Also, woo, long weekend!  Hope you all have a safe and happy one.

Friday, Friyay: January 4th

& (1)I think with it being a new year and all, I might be due for a new Friday Friyay image.  I’m not in love with it, and if I’ve been learning anything recently, it’s that I should only keep around things that spark joy.

So, welcome to the new year!  It’s probably a shock seeing something from me three days in a row, but you know that “new year, new me” energy that buoys you up for the first two weeks or so of January, right?  I’m just bursting with that at the moment.  My house is clean, I have ideas for things I want to make, and I feel good about things.

Things that have been making me feel good:

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, which premiered on Netflix on January 1st.  I’ve only watched the first couple of episodes, but I would kill, I think, to be as organized and cheery as Marie Kondo is.  I think her methodology is a little intense, but I also don’t disagree with it – I don’t want to even talk about the amount of stuff I got rid of in the week prior to the new year, and it wasn’t even a matter of that stuff not “sparking joy.”  It was stuff I didn’t use, couldn’t remember why I had, or was legit just broken.  So why was I hanging on to it?  I love home transformation shows, and this one so far has been super relatable, in that it’s mostly just people going, “I have no concept of  how to organize/conquer this myself.”  It speaks to  my little executive dysfunctioning-heart on a deep, visceral level.

We submitted our son’s application to charter school’s kindergarten lottery!  I can’t believe Bear is old enough for us to even be thinking about kindergarten, let alone applying, but if all goes well, he’ll be enrolled for the 2019/2020 school year.  I think my mom is already mourning the loss of seeing him everyday, but I think overall it will be better for the both of them; she’s getting older, and while she adores him, I know he wears her out.

As a holiday treat to ourselves, my husband and I bought this wall-mounted, magnetic Scrabble board It’s been great to take turns at our leisure, and I think it’ll be a fun talking point when guests come over.  It reminds me of the quiet leisure activities my husband and I used to do together before we had a pet or a kid, like 500 piece puzzles – the kind of thing you can sit and consider in quiet contemplation together for hours, or pop a piece into place while you’re waiting for dinner to cook.  Sadly, with a four-year-old and a cat, puzzles are off the table (literally; that’s the problem), and this is a nice alternative.

We’ve been getting new Steven Universe episodes weekly since Christmas Eve, and will have new episodes until January 21st (we don’t speak of what may come after that).  I have said and continue to say that it feels dangerously close to endgame, given the current plotline, and while I would love for SU to continue indefinitely, I don’t want it to grow tired with endless attempts to “top” itself (…looking at you, Supernatural).  Still, this past season (which ends with the episode on the 21st) has been intense.  If Season Six is in fact the last one, I am hopeful it will go out with a fittingly epic finale.

I have so much to do on this blog!  I’m still moving over all my OctPoWriMo posts to a side blog that will, from now on, host all my attempts at writing challenges and other creative writing endeavors, and I’m working on some organizational planner sheets/checklists/layout both for my own life and for sharing with you all.

I hope you all have had a hopeful, happy start to the new year, and I look forward to sharing 2019 with you all!

When Drive is Detrimental

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This is going to sound like a complete contradiction to my previous post, but rest assured, I live both experiences, and if it’s confusing or frustrating to read about it, imagine living it.

I spend so much of my time creatively stalled out, that when The Muse hits me, I grab that shiz by the horns and ride her as far and as fast as she’ll carry me.

Sadly, this rarely yields quality results.

When I get something in my head that I really want to do (and that I think is a really cool or exciting idea), I jump in with both feet, often so eager to reach the end product I neglect to put any real thought into the process.  The last time I tried to teach myself to paint, for example, I jumped in with the most ambitious project in my mental repertoire (because it was the one that excited me the most!).  I spent no time reading up on or experimenting with the medium; I didn’t draw up a sketch, or an outline, or rough draft; I tried to complete the whole painting in a few hours; and when I was about three-quarters of the way through and realized it wasn’t exactly as I envisioned it, I grew agitated and gave up (see my previous post about being a raging perfectionist).

Part of the problem is that there is a natural appeal to the excitement of a new idea, and it makes me want to see that idea materialize so eagerly that it’s all I can do to produce it as swiftly as I can.  The planning stages: learning about the medium I’m working in, gathering appropriate materials, brainstorming, drafting are not nearly as exciting as the making.

And they don’t feel as real.  You know?  I don’t know if this is a quirk of my neurotype or a nuance of my own personality, but there’s some part of me that views the planning stages of something as lesser than the doing – even if the planning is integral to the doing, even if the planning is necessary scaffolding in order for the doing to be successful.  It feels, in some ways, like just sitting and spinning my wheels.

Maybe because that’s so often what it turns into.  Maybe I rush into projects because I know that, if I don’t, it’ll become just another entry on my Eternal To-Do List, and I’ll never see it through to completion.

But my ideas deserve more than that.  They are project that deserve to get done, but they deserve to get done well, you

🎉 🎉 🎉 Let’s Pace Ourselves 2K19! 🎉 🎉 🎉

  1. Remember that there will be a tomorrow.  I mean, not forever, obviously, but let’s not dwell on the existential bummer that is mortality.  My point is, yeah, sure, you don’t want to drag your feet on getting things done, but let’s, like, set up a timeline, or find a consistent chunk of time to devote to working on projects.  On that note…
  2. Find a reliable time to devote to working on projects – a little time each day to brainstorm and work through ideas, and a larger chunk of time at least once a week devoted to actually working.  Knowing that you have that time coming up (instead of perpetually asking yourself, “when am I going to get this done?”) mollifies some of that anxiety and restless energy that normally makes jumping into a project just to get it done seem like a good idea.
  3. Find a place to work, and keep your supplies on hand, organized, and accessible.  Good job, Jess, you are actually making some headway in this direction already.  The craft room (ahem, basement) is starting to actually look inhabitable, and your art supplies are corralled, organized, and easy to find (for once in your life).  Now you can find what you need when you need it, instead of getting frustrated, grabbing whatever’s on hand, and regretting it in the finished result.
  4. Carry around a notebook (for me it will be two, one for art, one for writing) to jot, sketch, and plan projects.  Date them.  Choose one (two, tops) at a time to work on.  You have a huge problem with 1.) forgetting your “best” ideas, and 2.) having ideas that are woefully un/underdeveloped.  Jot them down.  Flesh them out.  Let them sit and come back to them.  See if you can improve.  Cycle through this process at least once before you even think of sitting down to work.
  5. Do not start new projects until you finish the current ones.  No, not even if you get stuck.  If you get stuck, open that notebook back up.  See where you went wrong.  See what you could do differently.  Run to your blog or Twitter or your artsy friends on Facebook and ask them to take a second look, ask them for advice, ask them for new perspective on the problem.  It feels better (and is better for your mental health) to have one or two projects in meaningfully and thoughtfully in production than to have a dozen nascent projects being hastily and sloppily thrown together.

I don’t think I’ve asked you all yet; what are your creative goals for this year?  Is there a particular project you want to tackle, or are you like me, and interested in developing a reliable method to make creativity as a meaningful part of your life?

The New Year, Executive Functioning, and This Blog

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday!  (For those who don’t celebrate, I hope you still got some time off to relax and spend with loved ones).  After some touch-and-go moments the prior week where Bear seemed to be picking up every contagious stomach bug, cold, and infection known to man, he was feeling like himself by the 23rd an had a wonderful Christmas.  My family (in particular, my husband and my mom) also made a point on going crazy when it came to gifts for me, so I’m coming out of this holiday season with a ton of crafting supplies (so much paint!) and a lot of inspiration.

Speaking of inspiration, it’s been a goal of this blog since the beginning to be a tool to help with recovering my sense of inspiration and creativity.  As someone with a neurodivergence, time management and organization are notoriously hard, as is the “simple” act of sustained attention on certain things – even things I ostensibly want to do.  Keeping a blog introduced me to some great creative challenges that had enough external structure and gave me enough positive, affirming feedback that I was marginally more creatively productive than I have been in the last several years, which is great.

However, that self-same neurodivergence meant that, going into this, the purpose of this blog was incredibly vaguely defined.  I’ve said before that I don’t love niche blogging – I like to talk about whatever comes into my head – and that remains true.  However, I’ve noticed that a number of my followers come here during my challenge months, when I’m posting poetry or creative writing, even though the rest of the year I’m not a creative writing blog.  I started to wonder if maybe posting fiction and poetry on this blog wasn’t the best idea.

When I started this blog, my whole “thing” was, I didn’t want to feel boxed in as a “niche” blogger.  I didn’t want to feel like I could only post poetry, or only write about children’s literature, or only post recipes.  I kind of just wanted a space to talk about life and share my interests.  I still feel that way; I just also feel like, without being boxed in too rigidly, I should step back and think about perspective: who am I?  I can write about my life, sure, but through what lens am I experiencing my life?

At the beginning, when I chose the name of this blog (Rarely Tidy Ramblings), I loved it because it encompassed the messiness that was the inside of my mind due to my ED et. al.,, and because it came from a wonderful quote (of ambiguous attribution) framing a disorganized mind as the hallmark of the creative individual.  I thought, initially, that this could give me leeway to post just about whatever I damn well pleased.

But really, what Rarely Tidy Ramblings should be about is my life through the perspective given to me by being neurodivergent.  Parenting with ADHD.  Working with neurodivergent kids as someone likewise ND.  Planning, organization, list-making, goal-setting.  Trying to be creative when your brain works against you.

Does that mean I can’t post my son’s weekly book rec from the library?  No.  Does that mean I can’t photo dump when we take a fun family trip?  Of course not.  Hell, even the niche-est of niche bloggers have chatty and personal posts, sometimes.  It just means I can’t forget that I’m writing about my life from a perspective colored by something particular, and I should use that as a way to focus my writing, and as the impetus to produce new writing.

It also means no more posting creative writing.  I can talk about the process, about the pitfalls and difficulties and successes, but I can’t post the finished work (here.  I’m considering opening and linking a sideblog for those interested that would be accessible via the navigation menu).

This is not an overhaul, or a revamp – just a refocusing.  I’ve gathered enough followers through endeavors like Inktober and NaNoWriMo and OctPoWriMo that I thought I’d perform a courtesy and explicitly let you all know that those instances were the deviation rather than the norm.

Relatedly, I’m currently working my way through The Adult Executive Functioning Workbook, which has made me really think about organization, focus, and goal-setting, and in part is what spurred me to really think about what I’m using this space for and if I could use it better, with more focus and purpose (the answer was “yes”).

I doubt I’ll be back before the New Year (I might!  I have something I’d love to post either prior to or very, very early in the new year, but I make no promises), so I will wish a happy, safe New Year to my followers, and I look forward to being more active and productive on this blog (and overal!) in 2019

Fri-day, Fri-yay: November 30th, 2018

& (1)I made it!  I don’t talk much about work, but I went through a substantial change at work this past week that I was not negative, bus was (as I said) a big change and, subsequently, incredibly stressful.  I’m immensely glad for the weekend, and for celebrating Bear’s 4th birthday tomorrow with some friends and family.

Things carrying me along this week:

I just discovered Sugar Rush on Netflix and I’m so upset that it’s only eight episodes!  It doesn’t have quite the same level of drama as some of the other cooking shows I watch, but I think that’s because unlike some shows (Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped) there’s no “bizarre” ingredients they need to add or outrageous challenges they need to overcome, and unlike others (Worst Cooks in America, Nailed It), the contestants are professionals.  The biggest obstacle is the time limit, but still — the cakes they make!  Ahhh!  I’ve been a Cutthroat and Chopped fan for a while, but I’m seriously grooving hard on baking shows lately.  Well done cakes are just so damn aesthetically pleasing.

Also – speaking of Netflix – if you have kids, you should think about checking out Brain Child and The Who Was? Show Both of them are ostensibly “too old” for my son, but he asked me to put them on,, and he’s watched them both a dozen times now.  He can now talk quite authoritatively about germs, human cells, and the sleep cycle, so that’s cool.  I find them genuinely funny and charming, too, which is again, icing on the cake (I’ll tolerate a lot if my son likes a show and I can see educational value it it, but some of them are grating as hell.  These aren’t (I mean, your mileage may vary, but I sincerely like them)).

Guys, I don’t even like eggnog, but I tried Winterhaven Farms Eggnog at Friendsgiving on Saturday and it is chock full of holiday goodness; “holiday goodness” here meaning rum, whiskey, and brandy.  It legit made my ears burn.  It’s not something I would recommend drinking a lot of, but I could see having a holiday party and pouring out a round or two for friends.  Given the price, I might have to buy some for myself, and I’d wager my father and brother might appreciate it as well.

I’ve got some work to do on this blog this weekend, and I’m happy with what I’ve got to share — I have updated checklists for daily life, holiday checklists and organizers, lists for kids, planner reviews and suggestions, new mail art/exchanges, and a menu options to find and read my creative writing.  I’ll go more into all that later, but I’m happy to make this a more comprehensive compendium of my life and interests.

That’s all for this week.  What’s keeping you motivated?

Friday, Fri-yay: November 23rd, 2018

& (1)I’m trying so, so hard to stay positive about some changes going on right now, guys, I really am.  I never react well to change – I adjust, of course, and I’ve learned to conceal the emotional turmoil, but while there are a few situations in which I enjoy being sort of surprised, I internally freak out and hand-wring bout disruptions in my routines and expectations.  So while I know that I will be fine, I’m a little on edge.

Here are things that are keeping me cheery and distracting me from my anxiety for a while.

I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last weekend, and I loved it.  I know there is a significant disparity between the critic’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes (62%) versus the audience rating (92%), but I just loved seeing my boys up on the big screen.  Queen were an essential, formative part of my life growing up; I can’t explain exactly why I loved them with the intensity that I did, but Freddie and his story were a big, big part.  I could easily have sat in the theatre and nit-picked – besides owning and knowing by heart the entire Queen catalogue (including several solo albums, all the music videos, and numerous officially released and bootleg concerts), I’ve also watched four separate documentaries and read five books written about the band.  The movie is not wholly accurate, but it’s just so, so good to see “Freddie” humanized on screen.  Rami Malek is amazing, and seeing so many new fans flooding the fandom is invigorating and beautiful.  Tomorrow marks twenty-seven years since Freddie died.  If I had the budget to see the movie again tomorrow, I would.

Tomorrow we are celebrating Friendsgiving at our friend Raeanne’s house, followed by game night, which it feels like forever since we’ve done.  It’s been a pretty regular monthly occurrence for – wow – almost four years now, plus we’ve done lots of other parties and celebrations in the intervening weeks, and then more recently we ht a patch where people were busy, I guess, and so it’s been a while since we’ve gone to one.  I’m excited to hang out with Raeanne and company, and have a last culinary hurrah before I start calorie counting again (yes… that’ll be another post, but yes).

My husband and I celebrated our engagement anniversary (yes, we occassionally celebrate it, still – he calls it “Ring-a-versary”) at a place called Yujo, which is actually a really good sushi joint.  Our first date and his proposal both took place at the same sushi restaurant that has since closed down, and we had yet to really find another one we liked as much.  This one was really good, and had the strongest drinks I’ve ever had in my life.  I had one (I swear!) Long Island Iced Tea, and I was smashed.  You certainly get your money’s worth.

That’s about it for this week.  What’s been making you happy?

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate!

As much time as I spend complaining about the little things, I have to step back and recognize how many big things I have to be thankful for.  I’ve got a good husband, a sweet son, a working car, a house we own, a decent-paying job, food on the table, and some pocket money.  That’s pretty damn good.

Hope you’re having a wonderful time with friends and family.