Michaeline: Wasted Time? Or Not?


Lady taking notes in 1920s Manicure advertisement originally so lovely hands

I should take better notes as I go along. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

I just had a long, lovely holiday at home, thanks to the Emperor’s Birthday, but you know how when you were a kid, and you spent the whole weekend doing nothing, and then suddenly the Sunday Afternoon Boredom hit? After In Search Of (a TV program devoted to exploring mysteries of history and fiction, like Atlantis or Bigfoot), there was NOTHING to do until Lawrence Welk. And that is a measure of how dull and deadly the afternoon was, when Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music was something to look forward to. (I’m not dissing LW; I’m just saying that the show was no American Bandstand.)

OK, back to this century. What with the internet and DVDs and everything, the blahs didn’t really hit until Friday afternoon, when I realized that I’d WASTED an entire week. This was going to be my chance (one chance in a lifetime, I believe I said in last week’s blog) to try out a new lifestyle.

Well, I tried out a new lifestyle, all right – one of laziness and sloth. And I didn’t like it.

But I can’t have been doing NOTHING, right? It’s all too easy to feel like we’ve done nothing, when actually we’ve done tons of little things that move our goals forward in small ways. I actually thought on Saturday that maybe I should journal my accomplishments so I could reassure myself when the Sunday Afternoon Boredom hit. But, that went by the wayside by about 10 a.m. Saturday morning, filed with the other Great Ideas that I had for the week.

Fortunately, though, I took screenshots through the week, so I can trace a few accomplishments.

1. Research for last week’s blog. Yay! I did another blog post! Hooray! I’m doing another blog post! Don’t say I never did anything for the Internet.
2. Found a picture of a “cat papa” who put his cat in a sling and continued to work on the computer. Devised a sling for my cat, and was able to ride my exercise bike in comfort for the first time since October. So, now we’re up to 1 1/2 blog posts, a cat sling, and exercise. (The exercise is actually a big thing for me; I’m naturally sessile.)
3. Ukulele chords for Peter, Paul and Mary’s cover of “Lemon Tree”. This was connected to school, where one of my teachers created the passive voice sentence: “It is said the taste of love is bitter.” It’s been driving me crazy – I’m sure that’s an actual thing! Closest thing I could come to, though, was “I fear you’ll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree.” Well, this was a failure on several counts. Did not find Wise Old Saying. Did not find more passive voice. Did not practice ukulele. Boo.
4. “the sexy lamp test holds ‘If you can replace yr female character with a sexy lamp & the story still basically works, maybe u need another draft.’ If you can replace your ethnic minority character w a teddy bear that says ‘I believe in you!’, that may also need another draft.” – Ellen Kushner, quoting and condensing Helen Gould on Twitter. Hooray! None of my current minority characters in any of my WIPs can be replaced by sexy lamps or teddy bears. Uh-oh: my sexy white man character in almost all my WIPs could be replaced by sexy teddy bears. Must think further. Current score: 1 1/2 blog posts, 1 kitty sling, 75 minutes on an exercise bike and one small step for the WIP.

(Kushner got it from Helen Gould at: https://blackfemgeekery.wordpress.com/2019/04/20/subtle-forms-of-racism-to-avoid-in-sff/ Recommended reading.)

5. “Every Dutch police car is equipped with a teddy bear to give children that are scared.” – Quite Interesting on Twitter. Hmmm. That must mean something, but I can’t assign any points to it yet.
6. Video chat with youngest, where I am relieved to see her well-organized fridge, and also discover that my phone can do a split screen chat (but I do not discover HOW to make it do that – I just hold the phone up to my ear until it toggles again). Again, I can’t score that.
7. Earthquake. Epicenter is right under our feet, practically, so it was long, loud and yet nothing fell down. Thought about restocking the earthquake supplies, but thinking doesn’t score any points this week. Only doing.
8. John Scalzi wrote a story about yogurt taking over the world. No points, but I think I’m on the right track with my writing.

9. Leonardo Da Vinci died in France in a really cute house made of white bricks and pink stones. Possible story seed here. Spiral staircases involved.
10. Found a great artist on Twitter. Have nothing for her to illustrate. She’s on Tumblr, too.


Be the Life of the Party a 1926 advertisement selling ukuleles

Promises, promises. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

11. Found a crazy link between music and Japanese (and Chinese for that matter) imperial rituals. There’s a secret song that’s so secret, they kick out all the other musicians and dancers, then perform it for the Gods without making any sound. Mind Blown.
12. Hypochondria, horoscope check that tells me I’m in for a wonderful season if I’m trying to get something published, more Scalzi (who doesn’t outline, and doesn’t revise! Note to self: Don’t Be Afraid to Be Like Scalzi. But maybe create male pseudonym.).
13. YouTube screenshot of a very old Bowie song (new to me) where the first lines go: “A winter’s day, a bitter snowflake on my face. My summer girl takes little backward steps away. Jack Frost took her hand and left me. Jack Frost ain’t so cool.” Must write a story about Olivia’s old boyfriends.
14. “Please do not fall prey to the idea that any activity that does not measurably advance your career is somehow necessarily harming it. You have only this one beautiful life; do not avoid living it for fear that your total productive output might be less than the theoretical max.” – Katie Mack on Twitter (Throws out score sheet. Stops worrying about production until catches sight of the neglected piles of junk on the kitchen table. I can’t live like this, Katie Mack. Must keep score.)


Oh well. At least I got that cat sling thing figured out. One cat sling, three hours of exercise, two blog posts finished. Maybe I can do better when I go back to work and have to structure my time again. Have a great weekend, folks!

8 thoughts on “Michaeline: Wasted Time? Or Not?

  1. As a sloth myself, I understand how it happens that after having a week off, one can point to no “accomplishments.” Still, how important were the items on the to-do list? If they were really important, you’d have done them. I think it’s okay to “waste” time; you enjoyed what you read or watched or listened to. These activities don’t need to be justified, as in: “I’m filling the well,” or whatever. They are good in their own sake, because you enjoyed them, or you enjoyed the noodling.

    I would love to read that Scalzi story about yogurt taking over the world. In my life, all it does is take over the refrigerator. 🙂

    • Thanks for the reassurance. There’s a follow-up. For some reason, I thought I went back to work on Monday, but it turns out that Monday is a “make-up holiday” for the holiday that fell on Sunday (Children’s Day). So . . . last night, I found out I had a “second chance”! I must admit, here I am, back on the computer. But, I did brush the dogs, do some transplanting, and did one of the important little items that had been staring me in the face all 10 days. Also played ukulele!

      I think Scalzi said that yogurt story got turned into a TV show? Found it! https://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/10/02/when-the-yogurt-took-over-a-short-story/ I think the show was an episode on Love, Death + Robots. (Not sure at all, just guessing from the Google blurbs.) The story is super-short, and worth a read, and a good long think, I think.

  2. I actually think it’s easier to accomplish things in busy weeks than wide open ones. Those free weeks seduce you with the promise that nothing is going on, so there’s no need to do anything right now.

    BTW–I attended a bookstore event with Donna MacMeans, an author from my local chapter. She had with her a copy of her first published book, The Education of Mrs. Brimley as translated into a Japanese graphic novel. She said, “I can’t read a word of Japanese, but I can tell you exactly what’s happening on every page of this story.” Including the kiss scene, which was a double-pager with fireworks and chrysanthemums..

  3. It is odd, but I find I get more done when I’m busy or, say, plowing through my email box to clear it all out before vacation, than I do when I have plenty of time. Maybe because with plenty of time it’s easy to put things off or do other tasks because, “oh, I have plenty of time still to do x or y or z”.

    Anyway, it sounds like your holiday at home went just the way it needed to with plenty of downtime for you to recharge. I think the value of “wasting time” is underrated.

    • Maybe it’s a function of not having the luxury of overthinking? Maybe I let my perfectionism get in the way when I’ve got lots of time.

      Or maybe I’ve got delusions of grandeur! I think I can get so much more done than I’m actually capable of. Anyway, I didn’t get a ton done yesterday, but I did clear away a few pounds of stuff.

  4. I have questions!

    First, what on earth is a cat sling? Why did you need it? Is there anything I need to know about our horoscope ;-)? And finally, not a question but a comment: very cool when you find an old-but-new-to-you Bowie song that inspires a story or stories. You could start a discovery playlist with that.

    It sounds like you had a really good week (and hurrah for no injuries or fallen things in the earthquake), and it has probably helped your brain in ways you don’t yet realize.

    • LOL, I DID START A PLAYLIST! I couldn’t believe I didn’t already have a Jack and Olivia playlist, but there it is. GMTA.

      More practical matters — a cat sling. Did you use a baby Snugli with your kids? A piece of fabric that cradles the baby close to you so you can . . . read a book? Well, this is what it is, but smaller for cats.

      Why do I need it. My dear kitty Yuta is a real pest when I get on the exercise bicycle. There’s a table right next to my bike (charging station, book rest, etc.) and he hops up there, and then stretches over to pat me on the arm. If I’m not quick about picking him up (while peddling 20 km an hour), he’ll jump up, and we have surprised each other more than once when that happens. Fortunately, not much blood was drawn.

      If I put him in the cat sling, I can use both hands to read a book or browse on my phone, and I can hold him longer. Plus, he seems to . . . well, there’s no reading the mind of a cat. He either gets a lot of satisfaction out of it, or he gets sick of it. Either way, I have a cat for ten minutes, and then he wants down. (If I don’t use the sling, he’s on my breasts/shoulder for 20 to 45 minutes.)

      Honestly, it’s probably the most productive thing I’ve done all year, and it only took two minutes to find a length of fabric and tie it up. Of course, you can buy something much more sophisticated. https://www.amazon.com/iPrimio-Dog-Cat-Sling-Carrier/dp/B01M1L8TY6

      (-: I don’t know if it’s a horoscope or thing. Did your magazine astrologer say, “Watch out for overly affectionate friends in 2019?” He’s been doing it since I started exercising in earnest in October, though. Not before, oddly enough. Maybe the table was not attractive before.

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