Weekend in Review: Sunshine and Motivation

Photo Sun Through Trees With SnowIt’s no secret, when the sun is out, my motivation is limitless. But if it’s dreary and overcast, well, let’s just say it takes all my natural willpower to get stuff done. Does that make me a solar-powered mom? Possibly.

So I took advantage of the solar-powered motivation to:

  • catch up on three baskets of laundry;
  • finish the first draft of a short story;
  • outline 15 blog posts;
  • troubleshoot the missed schedule problem on my blog – none of the solutions have worked…yet;
  • begin the inventory of my personal library that I’ve wanted to do for two years;
  • begin a painting project with my daughter – I’m no painter but it’s still fun;
  • discuss classic literature with my daughter and order our first set of “complete book with study guide” for such gems as Frankenstein and Great Expectations. She also wants to read Shakespeare and she selected Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream to get started there. Oh, and she begged for H.G. Wells and Jules Verne so, of course, I caved and ordered a box set and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, respectively.

Plus, there was time for movies – yay!

  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) – Jake Gyllenhaal can do no wrong in my eyes! But I’d put this movie off for a very long time because I just wasn’t expecting much. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Great entertainment and, for its genre, did everything it was supposed to.
  • The Disappeared (2008) – I found the pace just a tad slow but Harry Treadaway’s performance kept me connected. And while the story’s been done before, I wasn’t bored. Oh, and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter films) did a fine job; although, it caught me a little off guard to hear him drop the f-bomb. It’s still hard to believe he’s an adult.
  • Blackout (2008) – The less you read about this one, the better. It’s a psychological thriller with some splashes of horror that will probably leave you in the middle of the road as far as overall rating. I’ve seen many “people trapped in an elevator” or “people locked in a room” type flicks so I walked away from this one feeling just okay about it. I’m curious if the book on which it’s based, by Gianluca Morozzi, is better.

Overall, a peaceful yet productive weekend. The time sucks I’ve allowed to creep in the last six months are being eliminated. (Turn off your cable or satellite and you’ll see just how much you’re capable of getting done!) And progress is being made on my goal to finish one story before going on to the next. Good times!

Are you feeling the effects of winter?

Do you find you have [more, less, the same] productivity in the winter?

Photo credit: Sergey Soldatov

8 Comments:

  1. Hi Leah! Glad to see you posted. I was actually going to email and check up on you. 🙂 I don’t mind winter, well yes, I don’t care for the snow and cold, but this time of the year especially, it makes me happy to see that the days are becoming longer. I really like that. I’ve been doing a lot of writing since I have a few months off work. It’s been great!

    • Laura,

      Yeah I have four posts with status “missed schedule” that no matter what I do to edit the status they won’t publish. And work’s been so crazy – end of year / tax season is crazy for bookkeepers – I wasn’t able to seriously troubleshoot until last weekend (that’s when I found one as far back as 09/2010); alas, no solution yet.

      Being the web development geek that I am, the solution will be found *this* weekend or else. (You here me, website?! Or else!) I refuse to give up and create new posts to copy the text into.

      Very excited to hear you’re writing! From what I’ve read in your blog posts – I’m an e-mail subscriber and read every one – it sounded like you were, and that you have a lot of buzz building around Bitter, Sweet (finally!) Definitely looking forward to your next book.

      Fun little sidenote: Whilst doing the book inventory I mentioned in the above post, it made me smile to see your book snuggled in between Through the Looking Glass and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

      I thought to myself, how neat it is to actually know (online) the person behind that particular story. So I hope it gives you a little smile knowing you have a permanent spot on one of my shelves, between two of my fave classics, directly above the shelf filled with zombie books and horror anthologies < giggles >.

      I almost snapped a pic, still might, ’cause it cracks me up to see titles like Crime and Punishment directly above The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women.

      Take care! And thanks for thinking about me 🙂

      P.S. You’ll see after I annihilate those glitch gremlins this weekend that my posts will resume as usual. That schedule function is vital for me because I don’t have the time to post on-the-fly regularly. I do mine in batches in one day with the occasional manual post when something exciting catches my eye or irks me to no end 😉

  2. Solar-Powered Mom! Yes, I’m finally a superhero!

    Seriously, I have to work hard to keep the motivation going in winter. (Not too much caffeine, take my vitamins, listen to favorite music, watch favorite movies, etc.) The dull days are sooooo draining.

    How much fun you are going to have with your daughter, reading the classics – to actually BEG for Verne and Wells! You know you have a special kid there, right?

    I’m looking forward to your posts. Can’t wait!

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only solar-powered mom 🙂

      For sure I count my blessings to have a kid passionate about reading and the arts. And I’m just as excited as she is to read Verne and Wells.

      Like most adults my only exposure to “the classics” was in English class where we were forced to read them and then dissect them, with little to no emphasis on enjoyment. Over the course of the last, oh, five years or so, I’ve built a list of the books I wanted to re-read as well as a list of those I didn’t get to read in school because either we could only pick one from the list or they were only introduced through excerpts or abridged versions. The latter happened a lot: just enough of the story to pique your interest and then you’re rushed along to the next author to “learn” the lesson and move on again.

      My homeschool philosophy is: If the kid has fun learning, she’ll never stop wanting to learn. It’s when you start force-feeding them lessons that they gag and stop wanting to digest it a second time.

      Prime example, three years ago I gave my daughter the YA collection I’d saved for her my whole life and the response? “Oh, thanks.” Now, I could’ve made her read every one of them and write an essay for each. But I knew she would hate them before she even read them if I did that.

      So I let it ride. Meanwhile I nurtured her love of reading through manga books, Magic Treehouse, American Girl stories, the children’s version of the classics (Barnes & Noble puts out a great little collection of those), and anything else SHE wanted to read.

      And then over the last year she has devoured every single one of those YA books I gave her and even fell in love with the L.J. Smith trilogies, loaning them to her cousin who also devoured them. Not to mention the R.L. Stine Fear Street series. Yay!

      Plus, she proclaimed a couple weeks ago, “Mom, we can give away these children’s classics – I want to read the real versions.” Success!

      Whew, I got a little wordy there, huh? < smiles > Thank you for stopping by to read this post. Knowing there’s someone out there who looks forward to reading my ramblings means so much!

      Now I’m off to battle those gremlins. AND WIN!

  3. HAD to comment on your comment about how schools handle teaching the classics! There are a whole series of books I absolutely loathe because of the way they were taught in school. I honestly can’t get interested enough to try them out now because there are so many other books out there I want to read. Sad, huh? I absolutely love your homeschool philosophy, though!

    • Yes it is sad and that’s only one of my problems with public school / compulsory schooling. Rather than raise critical thinkers who love learning, schools are manufacturing workers and consumers who can memorize information long enough to pass tests. Hardest hit by this are, of course, low-income families (aka “the poor”).

      I won’t go on a rant < grin > but read books by John Taylor Gatto (or other former teachers passionate enough to speak up) for a real eye-opener when it comes to our “schools.” I’m currently reading Dumbing Us Down.

      Much like the U.S. justice system, our schools definitely need attention (and a total overhaul) but “we the people” have to make those changes happen because the government most certainly won’t.

      • Right. And all they want to do is throw more money at the problem, as if that would work. Schools now spend more money per kid than at any other time in history, with the result that more children are failing or dropping out than ever before. Sounds like success to me! I know there’s more to it than that, but it just makes me crazy when the politicians pass a bill for education for a ton of money and shake hands all around as if that will solve the problem.

        I haven’t read “Dumbing Us Down” but I must say, it seems apt for this discussion.

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