There’s an acronym out there on the Internet that’s used whenever a long and boring article is presented for consumption and the user can’t be bothered: TLDR, “too long; didn’t read.” I would like to add my own variation on this phrase: “too long; didn’t write.” This is how I feel about everything from blog and forum posts to email responses to my own personal journal entries, basically anything except IMs. Seriously, if you are my friend and you want to keep in touch with me, IM is the best way to do it because I seem incapable of communicating otherwise. If you call me, who knows when I’ll get back to you. I might as well throw in “too long; didn’t say.” At least I am now keeping up with other people’s blogs again.
Miraculously I happened to feel up to blogging tonight, so now I will run through some of the things that have been going on in my life that were too long to write about.
– Doctor update: A month after my colonoscopy I went back to the doctor, who told me I would have to take this colonitis medicine forever to greatly reduce my chances of another flare-up. That was slightly depressing, but I’m used to it now. To answer Kaz’s question from the comments, I asked him what drugs he had given me during the colonoscopy, and I wrote them down somewhere, but I’m too lazy to find it right now. He also told me that I was asleep during the procedure and only woke up toward the end. Oh well. I still defeated the amnesiatic effects! I’m supposed to see him again in the fall. I’ll go when my prescription refills run out.
– Chili’s with Joel: I invited my coworker Joel out to eat a few weeks after that. I had been wanting to develop more of a friendship with him, and he has responded well because he’s just a great person like that. We’ve hung out a few times since then. The most recent was last night, when we went to Panera Bread with our old coworker Don (more on him below), during which we had a really good, 3-hour conversation. I might start attending Joel’s weekly prayer meeting with his group of friends.
– Leaving small group: After a year with my small group at church, I decided to reprioritize my life and focus on other activities that I thought would be more beneficial to me, and I left the group. And indeed it has left me feeling more free to pursue other activities. But I made it clear that I still wanted to be connected to the group and said they could invite me to things. So a couple of weeks ago I helped them move one member of the group to her new condo, and it was a good experience. I felt more at ease with them than I typically had before. I’ll write more about that group in a later entry.
– GTD: In May I read a terrific book called Getting Things Done by David Allen. As the subtitle says, it’s about “the art of stress-free productivity.” The basic idea is that one reason life is so stressful is that we keep too much of it inside our heads, when it would be much easier to write everything down in an easy-to-use system that was organized in the way that we actually think and live. That way you wouldn’t have to think to yourself, Oh yeah, I need to buy milk, 50 times. You could write it down and not think about it again until you’re at the store.
I was excited about all this at first and bought a nice planner and set it all up, but my excitement has waned since then and I haven’t been keeping up with it as much, I think because Allen’s organizational scheme doesn’t quite work for me, so I’m going to try reorganizing. Otherwise it really does help me get things done that would otherwise sit there forgotten.
– IT: Back in November our art director/IT guy left, and it became my job to take over most of the IT functions. I never thought I would learn about networking, but it has been kind of fun and not too stressful. Fortunately we haven’t had any major disasters, and most of people’s computer problems seem to solve themselves. We joke that I have a good computer aura that makes them work whenever I’m around. With the regime change we’ve been taking the opportunity to upgrade our MS Office, our Internet connection, and our server. The server will be installed soon by an outside person who happens to be newly married to one of our project managers. It will of course be very educational to watch him set things up, and I’m looking forward to having it in place because it will hopefully solve a few of our problems and give us some extra features to play with.
– Accountability with Don: One of the new activities I’ve picked up since leaving my small group is an accountability partnership with my friend Don. I have been thinking of this year as a year for self-improvement, and one aspect of my life that has definitely needed it is the spiritual, and I really need help. I am just not good at keeping up with my devotions and such. Well, Don has been a good person for the job of keeping me accountable because he cares a lot about people’s relationship with God. I can’t say that I spend time with God every day now, but it’s up from none, which is an improvement. And interestingly, the devotions I do have are almost always meaningful, which I’ve had trouble with in the past. I think it’s partly the more relaxed approach I’m taking now. And also my devotional desk.
– Devotional desk: On June 3 I made a spontaneous decision to act on an idea I had had for a while–to create a sacred space for myself in my apartment where I could have my devotions. I call it my devotional desk. The basic idea behind it is to give me a specific place that I associate with time spent with God and to make it a place of visual reminders of spiritual truth. I had an idea of what I basically wanted it to look like, and after that it would be like a rotating art exhibit that I would continually be adding to as I gained new insights from my devotions and found ways to symbolize them.
It took a week to gather my materials and put it together, and it does indeed impart a sense of specialness to my devotional times. I will most likely write about this in more detail later and post pictures of it. I wanted a secluded place to put it so I would feel closed off from the rest of the world, but the only place in my apartment I really had room for it was in the corner of my closet, so now I have a literal prayer closet. Now if only I would use it more. I think the next thing I need is a fixed, sacred time of day to spend in my stationary sacred space. That will be a challenge. I have never been good at following a self-imposed routine. In fact, I have always been bad at it in the extreme.
– Stephen Ministry: Another activity I’m trying to involve myself in is a ministry at my church called Stephen Ministry. It’s sort of a lay counseling ministry but not really, since Stephen Ministers are there to encourage people and listen to them and pray for them rather than giving them advice. I’m hoping it will get me more connected at church and teach me about caring for people (with 56 hours of training, I expect so!). I had my interview for it on Sunday to see if I would be a good fit, and in the next couple of weeks I should find out if I made it in. The training starts in September.
– Apartment hunting: In June I spent a stressful week looking for a new apartment, since our apartments have been converted to condominiums and I didn’t want to buy. My lease was ending on July 31. Well, I applied at two places in rapid succession and cancelled both, the first because it got horrible reviews at Apartment Ratings and I didn’t feel like living among drug dealers and gangs, the second because I took a second look at my budget and realized I couldn’t afford it. But I ended up finding a nice studio closer to work, and I’ll be moving at the end of August. My nice apartment manager let me stay past the end of my lease and isn’t even charging more. So now I’m trying to get rid of stuff and figure out how I’ll fit everything into this new apartment. I measured all my furniture and made sort of a scale model of my new apartment on paper so I could work out the arrangement. It turns out I’ll just barely have enough room to breathe. 😉
– Harry Potter (This paragraph has no spoilers.): I had listened to all the previous Harry Potter books on audio, read by the terrific Jim Dale, and I wanted to finish out the series that way, so I put the audiobook on hold at the library. But then I decided everyone else was probably doing that too and it would be months before it would be available, so I bought it on Amazon for a very reasonable price. It arrived on Monday, and people at my work scheduled a lunchtime book discussion for Wednesday, which meant that I had two days to get through 21 hours of listening. And despite already being sleep deprived, I did it. If only everything were as easy as listening to an audiobook! I would get so much more done. Anyway, it was a great book and a fun discussion, and now I’m tired.
– Drupal: As a final note, I am planning to redo my site in Drupal sometime in the hopefully near future. WordPress is great, but I think Drupal is a more natural fit for my ideas for the site. I have to do a lot of WordPress hacking to get it to do what I want, and even then it isn’t quite the way I want it.
Well, that was a successful experiment. I gave myself an hour to get through the list of topics I had planned, and it turned out I was able to pull out of my brain what I wanted to say about each one and say it without worrying so much about phrasing everything the right way. I believe I will continue this practice.
And with that, my blog is finally updated!