Monday

Monday has dawned a little chilly and a little rainy. It’s the last day of October and I spent the weekend thinking about how I was glad I wasn’t driving a cargo van full of textile equipment home from Connecticut in the middle of the snow those folks just had.

I’m pouring coffee down my throat and looking at the blinking red “ATTENTION” light on my printer. The status screen says TRAY 2 LOAD PLAIN LETTER. But first, my caffeine situation is reading CUP 1 LOAD STRONG COFFEE. My desk is also blaring SURFACE 1 CLEAN TOTAL MESS, but I think it unlikely we’ll be doing that today. Printer paper and more coffee? Those will happen. But after that, I’ve got a long to-do list and desk cleaning is definitely one of those things that is going to get tabled for another day, and then another, and another, staying on the list for… um, well, probably a while.

Thank you all for your suggestions and thoughts and comments on how “blog” lately means “backlog” for me. I especially liked Deb Robson’s:

Maybe we should declare “old blog posts” week once a month. I’d do one of my half-finished ones, you’d do one of your half-finished ones. . . . I’m sure other folks have a backlog, too.

Oh, I bet that’s true. Who else is up for that? Let’s hear it. I’m sure Deb is right and we’re not alone in having backlogs of partly-written posts.

In terms of what else helps with actually generating content, I know from experience the only solution is to spend time writing. I also know I just don’t do that with any real zeal on a phone or a tablet; I haven’t even done it longhand in decades. I need a full-size keyboard and chunks of time. But you guys are right — that doesn’t mean “not blog posts.” Blog posts don’t have to be elegant, fully-fleshed articles every single time, right? Right. So my major goal for this week is “post every day, even if it’s stupid and lame.”

So my to-do list: let me show you it. Here’s just the stuff I figure I’ll work my way through today.

email. This goes on all day, but on weekends when I’m with my family, I don’t always do anything beyond throwing away junk mail and flagging things for followup. So a Monday morning email pass includes other action items and longer responses and so on.

Mount Laundry. Before it’s too late. It’s not a crisis right now, so that means I had better take action or surely it will be a crisis by dinner.

print nametag for manchild’s halloween costume. It needs to say “Hello, My Name Is: The Stig.”

batts batts batts. Finishing up the second Graves Island run for the Bosworths.

wash my hair. With a staple length of 36+ inches, this does not happen daily, and can require planning around other events in my day because I don’t blow dry it, ever, and that means it takes all day to dry, plus it needs to be up and out of the way while I’m working.

bookkeeping. Oh yeah baby. This is every day, of course.

Andean Textile Arts internet type stuffs. moving mailing lists around and writing documentation and that sort of thing.

cat needs medicine. Just a couple more days of cat medicine.

daily errand run. I think this involves the bank, gas, and stocking up on toilet paper because I’m one of those people who panics if there isn’t at least a month’s worth of toilet paper on hand. Toilet paper is one of my most favourite parts of the developed world.

cleaning off my area of the kitchen counter. This involves stacks of action item papers (anything from interesting magazines to school function notes to shopping lists to the insurance card I need to put in the Trans Am before I go anywhere in it since this one’s good as of 10/13 and the one in the car already *expired* then) as well as knitting needles, a spindle or two, and a stack of books that need to be shelved. I also need to put away my dyeing materials stuff for the winter. I never dye in the winter. I just don’t.

The Big Class Booklet Project. They’re all going to be organized and firmed up as far as text and images and then I’m taking them to a dude in town who’ll lay ’em out pretty and print ’em fancy. And then I will live in a fantasy land where I have pretty, shiny booklets for the classes that need them, and I’ll just take them off a shelf, never again to be taunted by TRAY 2 LOAD PLAIN LETTER. Note to self: this isn’t happening today. But it’s firm policy that all handouts must be made to fit within this plan. Or else.

ponder where the small loom can go. This needs to be determined for several reasons. First, winter is coming, and I don’t wanna have to scrape ice off cars, which means the truck must be able to park in the garage. The garage space where that would happen has been cleared of great wheel, Ashford Traddy, and the colonial barn loom for which a special shelf was acquired… but the small loom is still in the parking space. Well, and “small” is perhaps a misnomer. It’s small, in that it isn’t a cube 7 feet on a side like the big loom is. It’s not so small, in that it’s a floor loom with a 36″ weaving width, which means it’s at least 48″ wide, and long, and deep. So it’s small, in that it needs maybe 70 cubic feet as opposed to 350 cubic feet like the big loom (if you don’t count warping frame, but I digress). And this has the potential to be a very complicated decision indeed, as there is a chance it could result in the complete reorganization of the first floor of our house… or worse still, contingent upon a complete tear-down and re-imagining of my office.

So apparently, I honestly believe I’m going to get to at least some action on all of these fronts today, plus there’s taking the manchild over to his friend’s house for a final trick-or-treating. And whatever I forgot. I’m definitely gonna need more coffee.

Eternal Backlog Is Eternal.

So one of these days, I swear I’m going to come up with a way to viably, meaningfully blog from my phone. Why? Because then I’d be able to pull it off when I have a big span of heavy travel and not being home.

I have really mixed feelings about moving to a lifestyle where I can do most of what I do online using a smartphone. On the one hand, it’s a little like using a spindle instead of a wheel, in that I can pull the phone out of my pocket and perform a few quick tasks in a moment of standing in line or waiting for a plane. But on the other hand, actually writing content? Ugh. Not on a tiny touchscreen keyboard. And ultimately, I have a self-image problem about it: am I really, truly going to be one of those people who lives her life from a smartphone? How does that fit with… you know, everything I think of myself as being?

But the truth is I have so few times now where I sit down at the computer and have a chunk of time to write, organize photos, and do real posts. So I need to find a way to shoehorn that in better, into those small chunks of time. Because otherwise, I end up with a half-dozen started posts that aren’t finished, sitting there mocking me. Like the one about spiders from September; you guys would totally get a kick out of that. Or the one about my trip to New Mexico, which was awesome. I even did well taking pictures that time. And then there’s the one about going to my mom’s house, and then Rhinebeck, and then back to my mom’s house and loading up a slew of textile equipment into a rented cargo van and driving it home. And as these get to have been sitting there unfinished longer and longer, I feel more and more like a dolt when I contemplate trying to finish it, because “Oh yeah, sure, everyone wants to hear about stuff that happened more than a month ago. That’s ancient history now. Geeze.”

And so it piles up: a writing backlog not unlike Mount Laundry. Except it isn’t that I don’t want to write the things; I do. I just can’t seem to come up with a good ten-minutes-here, ten-minutes-there workflow for some of it. So I think maybe doing it from the phone would be the secret, because surely, there’s a technological solution for my workflow and lifestyle problem, right? Right? Hrmmmm.

The truth is it’s time to sit down and rebalance my work schedule. The one that worked 5 years ago doesn’t work now, not even with the patches and modifications I’ve stuck on there over the past several years. I have to totally re-engineer it. I have to rewrite my job description, and then retrain myself. And this is what sucks about being self-employed. That’s a job for a boss to do, clinically and realistically. And I’m the damn boss. But also the employee. Damn.

On the bright side… there may be an eternal backlog, but at least I’m not in a rut or stuck without job growth.