Thirteen Things to Do in 2013

So here we are, it’s 2013 already. I feel good about this year, but truthfully the odd numbered years seem to be better for me. 2005 was full of parties and going to California, 2007 I graduated with a Bachelors and spent a few weeks in Italy, 2009 I spent a lot of time with Sarii, went to New York City and Martha’s Vineyard and I turned 25. In 2011 I went to Memphis and visited Graceland, Shaylin got married and I met Francesca Lia Block and some other various firsts.

That’s not to dis-count the even numbered years though. I just feel better about odd numbers.

Anyway, I’m not making many resolutions this year, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead I am listing things I want to do and focusing  to start, on eating real food. I’ll move on from there.

1. Watch the sun rise (Already got this one out of the way, but I’d like to do it more).
2. Finish Nana Sprinkles. Edit it to completion, fill in the gaps, make it ready to submit.
3. Make cheese. Probably mozzarella.
4. Go to The Strand bookstore in New York City
5. Participate in guerrilla gardening
6
. take a water yoga or water aerobics class
7. participate in a flash mob
8. go to a psychic and have my cards read
9. put my ad up for this blog in at least 3 blogs
10. submit a piece of writing to Rookie Mag
11. Submit a short story for publication somewhere

I guess this list isn’t finished but I plan to revisit it throughout the year.
Do you have any suggestions?

xo

Advertisements

The First Sunrise

IMG_0045

For years I’ve been telling myself that I want to see the first sunrise of the new year. I want to get up way too early and venture toward the ocean and experience nature. And for years I’ve let this idea slowly slip away, because I wasn’t ready for it. Because I didn’t want to wake up early. Because it’s damn cold in January.

But this year, I did it.

IMG_0046

I convinced my friend Heather to wake up way too early with me and meet me near the beach. I bundled up in two pairs of socks, a sweatshirt and wool coat, scarf, and gloves. I brought towels to sit on.

We were going to picnic there but decided to get coffee and breakfast sandwiches after our adventure. (I did, however, have an amazing Gingerbread Man coffee on the ride back to my house).
IMG_0027IMG_0042IMG_0043

IMG_0060

I wanted to do something that was different, though. I wanted to write everything down that I wanted to let go of and do something symbolic to let it go. So I bought pretty scrap book paper and some cut out things from Michaels. I brought Sharpie markers. We wrote our secrets on them, I listed the health issues, weight and habits I wanted to be rid of and then we took the cut outs and made confetti of our problems. We talked about how we wanted our new year to be, what we wanted to do different or strive for.

IMG_0062IMG_0065

A lot of people think it’s cliche to make “resolutions” or goals for the new year. They think it’s dumb that people at parties are going to talk about all the things they’ll probably never do and make all these plans and ideas for things they’ll forget about tomorrow. But I think it’s important to take the time to think about change. I think that, even if you don’t actively follow through with these new plans, it’s good to think about them. Because you can’t improve on yourself or change anything unless you think about it first, right?

IMG_0072

So when I got home I took out a piece of scrapbook paper and wrote all over it words for my new year. My WORD of the new year is PRESENT, as in BE MORE PRESENT. But I wrote lots of other words I want to incorporate into my life or hold onto. It’s basically an inspiration world cloud of insight and hopes and goodness. I’m going to pin it above my desk to look at daily.

photo (1)

I hope everyone is having a great day, no matter how they spent their New Years Eve (hungover? I went to bed at 9pm…) or Day 🙂

xo Melanie.Kristy




 

 

 

 

 

The World Would Be a Better Place If We Just Stopped Judging Oursevles

20121005-074256.jpg

Seriously, guys. Just stop it.

You are worth so much more than this.

You deserve to like whatever it is you like. And you deserve to feel okay about liking these things. There’s nothing wrong with liking Real Housewives or Taylor Swift or Twilight or NOT liking traditional girl things or boy things or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with being single or rushing into a relationship because you love someone oh so much (even if you realize later you don’t love them as much as you though. Because what if you do???) there’s nothing wrong with wearing yoga pants out to go shopping or not even liking shopping or spending more money on books than clothes.

The only thing that’s wrong with all of this is that we are judging ourselves.

We are adding to our own self consciousness by judging ourselves before anyone else can. </strong. And them in turn we are judging others. And I'm so fucking sick of it.

Go eat your donut for breakfast, listen to One Direction, stop hiding Fifty Shades of Gray under your mattress.

Be yourself and be proud of who you are and what you like. And remember that everyone else is allowed to have their own likes and dislikes and actions and thoughts that work for them.

The world will be a better place because of it.

Xoxo
Melanie

Online Learning and Important Lifeskills

(credit)

As some of you probably already know from random announcements, Facebook or whatever, I’m starting an online Library Science degree just about… right now. Apparently I forgot to mention it to my mom, who is not on Facebook and I guess can no longer read my mind.

If this all sounds dry and school assignment-like, it is. But I think it’s good information to share anyway.
While I’m just starting up taking classes again, the first graded classes since 2007, there are a lot of different personal skills that I have to have or acquire to be a successful student. A lot of these skills aren’t my strongest ones but I’m determined to use this Masters Degree to make them much stronger.
Time Management

I’m awesome at time management on paper. I can make great lists and schedules. I even get excited about making them. However putting them to use is another issue (this is another reason why I never ended up running in the Color Run. I walked, sure. But I couldn’t get myself to the gym enough to work up my running endurance. So I ran for about a minute. More on this later!). I just can’t get myself in the game enough to consistently be on top of everything I need to be on top of. This can be solved by sticking to a set schedule and hopefully the resistance will melt away. I plan to have certain hours blocked into my schedule as class and homework time. And I will stick to those because otherwise procrastinating will make it really difficult in the long run.

Organization

I like to think I can be organized. I’m easily overwhelmed but when I put things on paper I can sort it all out rather well. I think taking online classes will actually improve my organization skills because I’ll be organized in that one aspect, keeping notes in separate notebooks, tracking tasks and assignments in a calendar (or maybe even two) and regularly checking e-mails and discussion messages. And responding. I don’t have an issue with already checking them. This rolls over to real life though, in many different ways. At my current job I have to be organized. I need to keep track of money and customers’ problems and people I need to get back to. At home organization helps you from losing things, it keeps the overall energy of a room flowing better and it makes people feel more calm in general.

Discipline.

When I was a freshman at MCLA I took a writing class where the professor told us to set a time every single day, the same time that is, to write. And you might sit there for days on end getting a line or two out but eventually the words will come. Inspiration will show up. You train your brain to think in certain ways when you are doing certain things. So planning in certain times for class work, or writing novels actually helps you to be more inspired. It’s like Nike says, just do it. Discipline comes from within. It comes from that place where your mind overrides your emotions and you fight through the resistance. You need discipline to change any habit, to improve yourself in any way. Part of my plan of attack involves aromatherapy. I bought Badger Balm’s Focus Balm which is Citrus and Ginger scented. I plan on having it around/ on me when I am writing or doing school work and at no other times. Eventually the scent will get me in that mood to do work. I’m excited about this little experiment.

Teamwork is another huge aspect of online learning. Projects are assigned to teams where you have to work with people online who you’ve never met before and may never meet in person. All of the life skills I mentioned above are necessary, but there are other ones likes patience and acceptance and negotiability that come in handy when working with other people also. You need to be willing to see others’ points of view, willing to work just as hard or harder than everyone else and to respond to everyone promptly so the project doesn’t fall behind. Many people don’t like the idea of teamwork because they think it really means that they have to do all the work if they need to get the grade they want. I think it’s important to trust your team mates and communicate effectively to make sure you all have the same goals in mind. Teams exist everywhere in life, not just in distance learning. They’re part of most peoples’ every day life whether it’s through their job responsibilities or outside groups or projects or just trying to manage a house hold and a family.

There are a few things I learned recently about working in teams, especially when it comes to school work and online learning. Dr. Ken Haycock spoke at a presentation specifically about teamwork related to distance learning and the real world. He illustrated different types of teams including permanent and temporary. Permanent teams are made up of groups such as children’s librarians where their careers or job positions make it so they will be part of this group for a long period of time. Temporary groups address a specific issue or problem that needs to be solved. Teams for distance learning are temporary groups because they are assembled for a small period of time to accomplish a specific project goal.

Dr. Haycock says there are five dysfunctions of working in groups. The five dysfunctions are: absence of team, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidable of accountability and inattention to results.

These dysfunctions can be avoided with:
*clear expectations within the group,
* addressed roles and responsibilities to create accountability
* picking a team leader who will work to keep the group in order and who will also assign tasks
* ground rules (such as arrive on time, be prepared, etc.) that will help teams work together smoothly

Enid Erwin suggestion that the benefit of working in teams is it allows students to apply experience from teams to real life situations (specifically in jobs, organization and committees). Being on time, helping out others, showing up to be a part of something and collaborating are all skills that can are necessary to work on problems in work environments.

Overall I’m looking forward to accepting these new and necessary challenges to help me to succeed with my Masters in Library Science. I have quite a road ahead of me but I’m excited to finally start the journey.

On Running…

photo courtesy of The Color Run dot Com

Have I told you that I signed up for a 5k? No?

I’ve never been able to run. In grade school I was that girl who finished twenty minutes after everyone else’s 8 minute run with my steady walk. I cheated around the corners of the track and fields we had to lap, I decided that one lap really meant to, I didn’t give a shit about stupid health exams. They ask you to run once a year and record your time. Like that means anything in the grand scheme of healthiness.

But anyway. I still can’t run. And the 5k I’m doing is in a month from today. I realized yesterday that it’s been a month (!!!!) since I attempted my Couch to 5k program.

The 5k I signed up for is called The Color Run. (Because Gala was talking about it, really). It looks amazing. And the only reason I signed up really is because at every kilometer people on the sidelines throw colored talc-like powder at you. And you end up all sweaty… but colorful at the same time. And I’ve always wanted to do a 5k. It seemed like the perfect motivation.

Obviously it hasn’t been the perfect motivation.

Because my sneakers started to hurt, I needed to wait until I had the money to buy running sneakers (and be properly fitted and run on a treadmill while a girl videotaped my legs running), and running is hard, man. And then I got a cold. I can run for about 30 seconds at a time. In intervals between that and walking, I Can do about twenty minutes. Something tells me that won’t get me very far.

So I figured out what 3 miles is near my house (if you didn’t know, a 5k is 3.1 miles). I plan to walk around the blog every day I can, timing myself and aiming to go faster and faster. If I do it in under an hour, that’s 20 minute miles,  out of shape me walking very fast. (While my out of shape friend Karen, who agreed to get all rainbow-y with me is aiming for a 35 minute 5k. I am practically running this thing ALONE).

So I’m still not a runner. I’m not even really a fast walker. I’m a girl with a cold whose throat is too dry to allow her to finish sentences who weighs too much to really run who has a month left to “train” to get colored talc powder thrown at her.

I’m hoping it’s not one of those 95+ degree days like the ones we were having last week. But otherwise, I’m still pretty damn excited.

I’ll update you in a month, assuming I survive this endeavor.

xo.

A Room of One’s Own

Credit: Fresh Design Blog

I totally wish this desk was mine!

I’m not really sure how to describe myself except to say that I need my own space. I need a part of my life that’s untouched, nights after work where I don’t socialize. I need my room to be my room and not for anyone else to come in and clean it or move my things around or hang up winter laundry that needs to be put into storage or take down Christmas lights I’m not done admiring.

In some ways, the internet feels like my own space. This blog, I mean. It’s the part where I can choose what I share and how. It’s my voice, the one that gets lost in groups of people. I’m that person who is never quite heard. Insisting my ideas for five minutes while others around me talk. “Oh hey maybe your grandfather and my mom’s grand father are brothers.” I said that once while we were camping we met some people with my mom’s maiden name and they were trying to figure out the relation. Five minutes later someone actually heard me. At parties where I’m not close to people, I mostly observe the conversation. I am part of it without having a voice. I am absorbing. In ways I am recreating the event in my mind. I’m filing my life under the headline of Fictional Scenes and creating characters out of people I barely know. Or, if I’m in a coffee shop eavesdropping on the interestingness of other people, I am creating their lives. I am documenting what I think their lives should be and writing Morning Character posts about them.

The thing about being a reader is that it’s so easy to be absorbed you sort of forget to live. Like sometimes I get jealous of characters who have lives. Who are out living while I am there watching them. Hobbies that include fiction or television shows or watching films are passive hobbies.

I write because I don’t always want to be passive and this is the only way I know how to be. I write in my blog because I want to be heard when subjects and conversations

One time someone told me that if I spoke with the same peace of mind I write with, maybe people would know me better. Or maybe they would understand. (I’m sorry I forget exactly what you said. You might not even remember saying it). But a lot of times that peace of mind comes when I have a keyboard beneath my fingers or a pen and paper easily accessible.

I’ve recently realized I’m introverted. You’d think, knowing all I know about myself, I would have realized this sooner. But to be honest I never really thought much about it. But reading this article Nourishing Your Inner Introvert made me think even more about it. Made me think about how it’s okay to be introverted. It’s okay that I don’t always want to hang out after my social schedule is over booked (by my own definition). It’s okay that I don’t always want to watch TV with my entire family lounging around the television in the living room. And while it’s okay, and I know it’s okay to be this way, to be ME the way I know how to be me, it’s often that people don’t understand. I ignore the constant requests to watch TV when there’s stuff I need to be doing. And I can’t always make plans five times a week when every person I know seems to be demanding my attention. Sometimes I can’t immediately respond to text messages. And I think part of this explains sporadic blogging. Because sometimes using my voice and speaking out and going through the motions of writing a coherent post, finding pictures for it and publishing it all feels a little too demanding.

But all of this is okay. It’s just part of who I am. And I need to stop hating on myself for being lazy or for not writing or whatever. Because it’s not laziness that causes this overwhelming fog of exhaustion sometimes when I think about needing to write another blog post. Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE blogging. I just can’t adore it every hour of every day all of the time (to infinity and beyond, 24 hours a day in color).

And this isn’t an exercise in making excuses, it’s an attempt to dig deeper, accept more and to reach out.

Would you consider yourself introverted? Do you have a hard time feeling like other people understand you need for alone time? Do you have any tips of other introverts?

2nd Day of Spring, Wanderlove and Little Changes

It’s the second day of Spring.Spring is the day I count down to starting every January first. The sun is shining and the weather is unnaturally warm and the best feeling in the world is driving without a jacket while wearing sun glasses and really listening to music. Letting it move you.

Every once in a while I impulse buy a book that’s simply amazing and exactly what I need. It doesn’t happen very often, but I’m sure it’s the reason I can’t stop myself from impulse buying. Because sometimes it’s just about the simple act of buying a book. And other times there’s something more, a subconscious pull to the entire world that’s about to unfold around me.

And those are the books that make me feel alive.

And yearn.

This most recent find is a YA book called Wanderlove about a girl traveling in Guatemala. It was enough to make me start up a new savings account. Enough to make me think that maybe things are possible.

I’ve made a lot of little comments recently where the person I was speaking to corrected me, told me to think about what I said different. “Don’t say never” or, “it’s all about attitude” and I remember how my negative thoughts make everything feel like it’s a drag. How it’s so easy to forget that anything is possible when you can’t imagine anything really happening. When you imagine yourself stagnant, because that’s how you feel, that’s how you remain until you have the courage to pull yourself out of the water.

And so I changed my saving habits (or at least, I will when my direct deposit goes through) and practiced saying no to the demands of others. (The hanging out, spending money, wasting dollars on things). I’ve decided to start playing around with cooking. I can create my own to-die-for meals so that I can cook for other people in the future instead of just myself.

And also, I’ve decided that I can write for 15 minutes a day. And go to the gym (or work out) for fifteen minutes a day. These are the commitments I’m making to myself. Just to make things possible.

Little changes amount to something big. Another little change I’m making is, starting in April, accepting swaps for ad space. If anyone’s interested e-mail me at starsgoneblue at gmail.