Tag Archives: goals

Finally, My Own Place

I’m moving to my very own place! My whole life, I’ve never been on my own.  So now I’m going out on a limb.

I upgraded to my very own domain!

Mermaids Don’t Do Windows has moved to dianabeebe.com.

You know what this means for you, don’t you?

  • Go over there and follow (subscribe for free), so you’ll get email notifications when I post something new. This site won’t get the new stuff forever.
  • No more annoying ads!
  • All the same great content to browse when you need to laugh at me.
  • CommentLuv for you bloggers who’d like to share your recent posts.

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasy

It’s still needs some tweaking, since some of the widgets aren’t behaving as expected, but I’m pretty happy with it.

Thankfully, I’m still not out on my own.  I’ve got TechSurgeons to thank for helping me get the site up and running in one day (as soon as I finially decided to go out on that limb).  I have my very own TechGuy now!

What are you still doing here?  Go here and subscribe.  😉 See you soon!

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What carrots taught me about patience and goals

There is one thing that a home garden doesn’t provide: instant gratification.

The instant I harvest something is only one moment of gratification. Eating it is another.  Two moments of gratification–cool, huh? Three, if you count the successful feeling of sowing the seeds in a well-ordered garden.

Give carrots room to grow and reap the rewards

Give carrots room to grow and reap the rewards

Carrots are the ultimate vegetable for teaching patience.  They take the longest to sprout. In fact, they take so long, I sow a few radish seeds with the carrot seeds so I can keep track of the row. By the time the radishes are taking shape, the carrots are pushing up through the ground. By the time I harvest the radishes, the carrots are tiny, little bitty hints of roots.

So why not run to the grocery store or farmers’ market to buy a bunch of carrots and have instant gratification?

Because home-grown carrots are the best tasting carrots I’ve ever eaten.  We start thinking about our orange root vegetables the second we plant them.  Yes, they are that delicious.

While the little tiny roots are taking shape, we have to take care of them. They need the usual water and sun but not too much heat. They also need space and soil that allows them to grow down, or they will grow around each other and at odd angles.

If we want the biggest, best carrots, then we have to thin the row and wait. Even pulling the smaller carrots to make room for bigger ones later is a reward. These “baby” carrots are tasty, too.  They also remind us that better veggies are still to come and that we shouldn’t give up on the goal.

Sounds a bit like patience and working toward a goal, doesn’t it? We have goals that we want to achieve, but we can’t expect to complete them overnight. We must take baby steps or have smaller goals that lead us to the ultimate goal.

I have friends who climbed Mt. Ranier last summer. They planned for it and worked up to it. They didn’t show up at the base of the mountain and start climbing the minute they decided to do it.  They were patient, organized, and safe. They trained and climbed smaller mountains until the time was right to conquer the big one.

If we have too many goals (too many carrots crowded together), then we have a hard time focusing (have nowhere to grow) on the ultimate prize.

In our digital, fast-paced culture of instantaneous chatting and information gathering, we can’t rush quality work.  We can do things that help us be more efficient, but a carrot takes about 3 months to grow. Some take longer if they didn’t have room from the beginning.

If you look closely at the picture of my first harvest, you’ll see a tiny pale root next to the largest carrot.  It got pulled when I thinned them. If I’d seen it, I would have put it back into the row so that it could keep growing. I can’t be devasted that I missed it–the space will be taken up by another, bigger carrot.

We have to reevaluate our goals from time to time, which means throwing out ones that don’t fit our needs anymore. Then we have to wait some more.  Even mountain climbers have to change plans if the weather turns unsafe.

Maybe this post should have been called, “How carrots and mountains teach patience.” 🙂

While some of my goals take longer and require more patience, I’m going to be happy with my small steps of achievements that are getting me there. And eat a few carrots along the way.

What goals are you working on right now? What things do you do to help yourself be more patient?

Don’t wallow in monotony. Create your own fun!

A long, long time loop ago, in a repetitive land far, far away…

I taught college freshman writing and basic English grammar classes.  I was wrapping up my master’s degree in literature and found a part-time teaching job from a four-line ad in the newspaper classified section.  (Actually, I answered four tiny ads despite my husband’s complete doubt that anyone could find a job that way. I got called back on two of them. Ha!)

The next thing I knew, I had a master’s degree and was moved into a full-time teaching position(that’s what I get for swearing I’d never be a teacher with five to six classes a day) at that business college (it wasn’t a university, but it helped pay bills).

Groundhog_Day_(movie_poster)After about three years, the Groundhog Day effect wore off. I couldn’t grow in that job anymore. Believe me, I tried.

What is the Groundhog Day Effect?

The Groundhog Day Effect has two main parts to it: Monotony and Growth. (The part in the middle called Giving Up, doesn’t apply–ever.)

In the movie, Phil finds himself reliving the same day (February 2) over and over again. The same things happen to him everyday–the same routine, the same conversations, the same meals…the same monotony.

He can’t escape this repeating insanity, so he tries to change it.  However, he chooses antagonistic behaviors. He insults his co-workers, punches an old acquaintance just for greeting him on the street, lies to people, and eats donuts until he makes himself sick.  When these behaviors don’t change his day, he escalates by trying to commit suicide. He gives up. It’s a good thing that didn’t work, because the movie would have had a sad ending.

Now at rock bottom, he tries a different direction. Sure, he starts this new path just as selfish as before, but something starts to change. He relaxes, learns new skills, reads poetry, makes friends with the townspeople, finds ways to be kind to his coworkers.  He discovers growth.

Harnessing the Groundhog Day Effect

When the daily grind starts to look and feel like it did for Phil in the first part of the movie, then it’s time to change things up.  If we sit in the same position for a long time, we get sore.  We have to get up and stretch.  We have to move around.  Eat chocolate.

I had already lived the growth part to make my teaching job enjoyable.  That is often how it is with a new job–lots of growth.  Even when the job was no longer new, I found every chance to learn new skills, overcome fears, make friends, edit a college English grammar text book…

Monotony set in, despite my best efforts. I had to leave or risk punching a student for misusing compound objective pronouns or getting subject-verb agreement wrong in every sentence in her essays. I couldn’t tweak my lesson plans anymore or edit the near-perfect grammar tests or grade another essay that could be written better by a twelve-year-old or be told that a failing student had to pass–again.

I’d reached my limit. There was no room for promotion, salaries were frozen (yet the director enjoyed plastic surgery and many overseas vacations), vacation time was impossible to take (no summers off either), and rumors of unethical practices were rampant. I’d taken on as much responsibility as I could, sponsored a student organization, and added Microsoft Office classes (MS Word was version 2 back then!) to my already long list of courses. During terms when I had all writing classes (no grammar or tech classes), there was so much grading that I might have thought about giving up, but I wasn’t Phil.

It was time to stretch. I started a new career as a technical writer, where 17 years later I’m still finding things to learn.

But what if we find ourselves in a monotony from which there seems to be no escape?

We have to create our own fun–just like Phil did. Even if we have to work within the limits of our environment, we can set goals that allow us to grow and break the monotony. We have to harness the positive Groundhog Day Effect to keep ourselves fresh and happy, even when the environment is stifling. At some point though, we have to decide when it’s time to stretch somewhere else.

How do you harness the positive Groundhog Day Effect? What do you do when faced with daily monotony? How do you stretch to find growth?

Can We Ever Have Enough Time?

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. Mostly because I don’t seem to have enough of it to do all the things that I want to do.  Many people I know say the same thing.  Who needs sleep anyway?

Time04

I don’t get up this early everyday…

I lie.  I’d love to be a golden-eyed Twilight Saga vampire who doesn’t need any sleep.  Ha!  If it weren’t for the blood-sucking tendencies, being a vampire would solve my issues with time. Wouldn’t it?

But what is time, anyway?

At some point in human history, we stopped looking at the sun to tell us when to wake up and when to go to bed. Then we measured the way the planet traveled around the sun to create the units of measure Earthlings call days, hours, minutes, and seconds. Then we devised these arbitrary sets of measurements to schedule our lives and count our years.

Time02Maybe “subjective” is a better word.  It’s not any different than any other forms of measurement. Sure, the mathematics and logic work, but so does the imperial units (aka US customary units), which were based on the size of a person’s foot.  However, there was very little standardization for what a foot meant from one time period and country to another for centuries.

Back to time…

So I know what time it is in my middle grade WIP...

So I know what time it is in my middle grade WIP…

Whatever we call the day, we can’t change the length.  We could have had 48 thingamajigs hours each divided by 30 whatchmacallits minutes divided by 120 doohickies seconds, but we’d still have the same amount of time that elapses as our planet travels around for a day and a night. Could you imagine trying to remember 48 different time zones?

I suppose someone could lasso an asteroid to interfere with our orbit and then change the amount of time it takes us to revolve around the sun.  But only as long it gives us more time.

What?  A girl can dream.

Don’t you wish somedays that the planet did take a little bit longer to make a day?

But…

  • If the day were longer, would our To Do Lists be longer, too?
  • Would we ever feel that we have enough of that thing we call time?
  • Wouldn’t it be better to relax into the day with a flexible but prioritized list and do what is right for the moment? KM Huber said it wonderfully on her blog:  To be present with the present.

Diana Beebe's Blog

Let the day unfold and see that we have all the time that we need at that moment to do what we need to get done, even if that means reading a book or doing laundry or working the day job or washing windows.

I’m kidding about that last one.

Ooops! How did that time waster get in here? *hides phone*

Ooops! How did that time waster get in here?
*hides phone*

While being a wife, mother, and volunteer, I can and will do justice to my day job and finish writing one novel while completing the edits on another. I have all the time I’m going to get, so I better use it wisely.

Look for more time-related posts on Mermaids Don’t Do Windows.  Don’t worry it won’t all be about time management, learning to tell time, and calendars.  I’ll throw in time travel and parallel worlds just for fun.

I’d love to hear from you!

How do you fill your day?  Do you feel as if you need or want more time?  How would you have divided up the day’s units of measure and what would you call them?

2012 in Review and Looking Forward to 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for Mermaids Don’t Do Windows.

In the almost six months that I’ve been blogging, here are my top 5 posts and my theories for why they made the list:

  1. Mermaids Aren’t Real? — This War of the Worlds moment (remember the radio program that had people panicking?) had to be shared.  If they are real, they are smart enough to elude Animal Planet film crews.
  2. My Very Own My Little Pony — Ponyfest12 was a success!  I couldn’t believe that my pony won, but then again, I have awesome friends.  Look for a pony reveal soon.  In the meantime, you should check out Rebecca Enzor’s blog, because Ponyfest is hers and she’s great.
  3. Totes, Selfies, and Sharpies — Why did this one make the top 5?  Because there are people searching on teen selfies.  Not kidding! Exactly 25% of the known Google searches that linked to my blog were about selfies, and most of those were looking for teens! Ick. Parents of teens, monitor your kids’ phones and uploads.  Just sayin’.
  4. Welcome to Gattaca — Who doesn’t love that movie?
  5. We figured that one out a long time ago — I just can’t help myself when I hear of discoveries that shock scientists about the intelligence of women.

These fabulous people were my top 5 commenters. I love their blogs.  I hope you check them out:

  1. Pauline B Jones
  2. Julie Glover
  3. Ryan King
  4. Debra Kristi
  5. Jordan L. Hawk

I launched this blog at the end of June last year with a ton of support and encouragement from my WANATribe Blogging for Brand classmates and WANA founder, Kristen Lamb.

So what’s in store for Mermaids Don’t Do Windows in 2013?

  • Three posts a week.
  • Pony reveal!
  • A visit from a Norse god. Yes, Thor is coming to visit me soon!  He will get to see what Texas is all about.
  • A blog upgrade and some tweaks.
  • A posting schedule.  What?! 
  • More housework avoidance (and maybe some decluttering projects).

Happy New Year to you all!

Thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to hear what you have going on for the new year.

New Phone, Apps Recovered!

A few days ago, I posted about losing most of my apps when I upgraded my phone.  The Sprint store didn’t move them over, nor did they tell us (my in-laws and me) the trick for getting them back.

My paid apps were easy, because I found them on Google Play and reinstalled them.

Then my friend, Rachel, who knows all things Android, commented on that post.  I should have asked her about it in the first place! *face palm*

I’m going to go all technical writer on you now (although I’d never use purple callouts in my day job) to show you what I did to recover my free apps.

1. From the browser on your phone or on your computer, go to https://play.google.com/apps.

2. Log into your gmail account.

3. The Google play page displays your application libraries. Every app you ever installed on a phone is listed on the page.

newphoneapps01

4. Click a phone icon to view the apps installed on that device, or view your library to locate the apps you want to install on your new phone.

5. When you find an app you want, click Install.

newphoneapps03

6. The Send to Another Device list should should your new device by default. If it does not, click the down arrow to select the correct device.

newphoneapps04

7. Click Install. The application will be pushed to your phone or device.

8. Click OK to close the window.

There is one caveat.  If the application or game had data from your old phone, you will not have that data after the fresh installation.  However, if you have to log into the app develper’s server, then you should be able to recover your game progress or saved data from them.

I guess that means I have to start Angry Birds Star Wars over from the beginning!  😀

I hope you find these instructions helpful!

#ROW80 Goals:

  • Declare war on the caterpillars eating my broccoli plants.
  • I finished editing my middle grade WIP vomit draft. (Yay!)  Now, I have to make the changes and fill in plot holes before my 14-year-old’s birthday.  That gives me less than 2 weeks to surprise her with a rough draft of the story she helped inspire.
  • Getting closer to fitting into those smaller jeans.
  • School PTA minutes need approval.

My Mermaid Gets a Pet

My family has dogs.  Two of them.  They are both very much part of the family, even Demon Dog.  Everyone should experience the joys and responsibility of owning a pet at least once in his or her life.

My mermaid laughed when I told her I thought she should have a pet.  She asked, “I don’t do windows, why do I need the responsibility of a pet?”

Well, because pets are loving and huggable and fun.

“And they require care and feeding,” she pointed out.  She laughed and pointed at me again. “Besides, I’m a mermaid, hello?”

Pets offer companionship and love.  My dogs are almost always close to one of us in the house.  They hug by leaning into a good ear rub.  They greet us when we come home.

“Have you seen the underwater creatures around here?  Not many ears.  And I’m always home.”

She was really resisting this idea to have a pet.  I could find her a pet that was self-sufficient and pretty and had ears that could be rubbed.  She rolled her eyes.

Then, I gave her this:

Created with the http://www.dolldivine.com Merpony Maker

My mermaid squealed with delight.  “My very own merpony?”

Yep.

“I promise to take care of it and feed it and do all the work.”

Yeah, right. We parents know how that one will end.

If you’re checking, here are my ROW80 goals for the week:

  • Finish the minutes for the PTA meeting and send them for approval.  I haven’t even touched this one!
  • The back garden beds are ready, so now I need to plant kale, spinach, and carrot seeds.  Finished just before cold snap! 🙂
  • Write as if I’m not a NaNoWriMo rebel this week.  😀  Training at work makes for long days and short evenings.  Sigh.
  • Make chicken soup and venison stew for the week.  Chicken soup–check!
  • Get back to 3 or more blogging posts a week.  Check!