My New Bedtime Story … is Staying Awake

I’ve got a new bedtime story for myself, and it goes something like:

STAY AWAKE!

Over the past six months or so, and especially the first few months of this year, after I got laid off, I got into some bad habits. I wasn’t writing as often and regular as I wanted, my sleep cycle changed. but now that I’m getting my mojo back, I need to reshape my schedule.

And if I want to get to all things I say I do–predominantly write my books– there seems to be pretty much only one solutioI’ve got a new bedtime story for myself, and it goes something like:

STAY AWAKE!

Over the past six months or so, and especially the first few months of this year, after I got laid off, I got into some bad habits. I wasn’t writing as often and regular as I wanted, my sleep cycle changed. but now that I’m getting my mojo back, I need to reshape my schedule.

And if I want to get to all things I say I do–predominantly write my books– there seems to be pretty much only one solution: sleep less.

LOL!

Seriously.

Whereas I was going to bed pretty regularly around 9:30 and asleep by 10 pm, I’ve been pushing myself to keep busy until 10 pm, with the idea of being asleep by 10:30. The first few days have been a little rough, but I’m adjusting. Ultimately, I hope to get myself to a regular 11 pm bed time, but we’ll see how that goes.

At the moment, my alarm goes off at 5:20 a.m.–plus a usual 9-minute snooze–but I may have to adjust that as well, having my alarm go off at 5 am. Trust me when I say that thought doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies.

Naturally, this is all in theory, so until or unless I can actually function on six hours sleep–which hasn’t always been the case–this could just be me spinning my wheels. Still, I’m hunkering down to chisel my sleep down from about 7 hours a night to 6, and then see how that treats me.

Wish me luck …

Sweet, Sweet Back Relief

About a year and a half ago Liz and I were in Bed, Bath & Beyond doing some shopping, and as we circled around toward the front registers, I saw it.

I went right to the bin, and had a huge grin on my face. Liz just rolled her eyes and chuckled, because, well, in all fairness to her, I’ve made a few clunker impulse buys in the past (Abdoer … d’oh!). But this one … I just had to have it. It cost $99, which I thought was a fair price all things considered.

So I loaded up the portaAbout a year and a half ago Liz and I were in Bed, Bath & Beyond doing some shopping, and as we circled around toward the front registers, I saw it.

I went right to the bin, and had a huge grin on my face. Liz just rolled her eyes and chuckled, because, well, in all fairness to her, I’ve made a few clunker impulse buys in the past (Abdoer … d’oh!). But this one … I just had to have it. It cost $99, which I thought was a fair price all things considered.

So I loaded up the portable back massager with rotating shiatsu nubs.

It’s 18 months later, and as I’m proud to say–and as Liz will attest–I use it probably three times a week. After a long day slumped over a desk, sometimes I just need that that deep digging into my back. It’s brings me back (no pun intended). It re-energizes me. Simply put, it’s sweeeeet. And I plan on using it again and again and again.

Now, if I can only get Liz on board to buy the $3,000 [i]massage chair[/i].

Ah. For another day ….

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/04/09 07:26

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/04/16 15:48

Writer’s Milestone – An Awesome Day!

Today is a major day. Major. Day.

As a writer, I have many milestones to shoot for, and I’ve finally reached a big one. After more than a year of tinkering away, I finally completed the first draft of CROSSLINE, my follow-up novel to FINDERS KEEPERS.

Man, that feels good!

I’ve still got work to do, however. Now that I’ve got a first draft, I have to read it through, edit, tighten, change, tweak, re-arrange, cut, add and rejigger any sections that need rejiggering. It’s a big tToday is a major day. Major. Day.

As a writer, I have many milestones to shoot for, and I’ve finally reached a big one. After more than a year of tinkering away, I finally completed the first draft of CROSSLINE, my follow-up novel to FINDERS KEEPERS.

Man, that feels good!

I’ve still got work to do, however. Now that I’ve got a first draft, I have to read it through, edit, tighten, change, tweak, re-arrange, cut, add and rejigger any sections that need rejiggering. It’s a big task, but one I can’t wait to get to. When you hunker down with one project for so long, it’s easy to get lost in it sometimes, so it’s just a great feeling to reach the finish line, or, at least, a finish line.

If all goes well I’ll be done with my edits within 60 days, but hopefully less, and then I’ll be able to step away from for it a while as I circulate among my writer buddies for feedback.

More work to be done, but for today, for right now … it’s time celebrate. Today is a damn good day.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/04/08 20:41

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/04/09 07:27

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/04/09 07:28

Subway Stories: My Crippling Pain

I’m probably a broken record at this point, but one of my absolute pet peeves about riding the subway are those occasions when I can’t get a seat.

And this is really making me sound old and cranky, but when I was younger (in my 20s, that is), if I had to stand up the whole way to or from work, well … I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I did it, and it wasn’t so bad. But now that… gulp … I’ve got 40 in my sights, my back just can’t take it. I hurt my back five years ago, and it’s never bI’m probably a broken record at this point, but one of my absolute pet peeves about riding the subway are those occasions when I can’t get a seat.

And this is really making me sound old and cranky, but when I was younger (in my 20s, that is), if I had to stand up the whole way to or from work, well … I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I did it, and it wasn’t so bad. But now that… gulp … I’ve got 40 in my sights, my back just can’t take it. I hurt my back five years ago, and it’s never bounced all the way back (no pun intended).

Typically, this hasn’t been a problem. I’ve only had to stand the entire way–either way–maybe four or five times total over the past several years. And yet, now that my morning schedule has changed, it happened twice this week alone. Not good.

After standing for 40 minutes, my back is in agony. It’s bad. And it really ruins my morning, not to mention whatever damage my back is incurring. Now, I’m sure I’ll work out my morning schedule again so that I can get back to getting a seat every day, but I’ve had two really rough mornings this week, and it ain’t no kind of fun.

The worst part is when I’m thinking, [i]does that old lady really need to sit? Is her pain any worse than mine[/i]? And then I slap myself really hard (in my mind, that is). Hey … at least I don’t act on those thoughts. But when my back starts barking like that, logic and good grace start becoming more and more elusive.

It’s just a matter of time until I get my schedule figured out, but until then, every morning is a roll of the dice between reasonable comfort and intense pain.

Riding the subway used to be much less complicated…

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/04/08 20:42

Holy Fast Food. They’ve Got Burger King Too!

One of the key elements that comes with every new job is to scout out the food options. For the past year I worked in Midtown Manhattan, and the choices were weak. In fact, the weakest–and most expensive–I’ve had since I started working in the city back in 1996.

But things have certainly changed. Now that I’m a little lower down–around the corner from the Empire State Building, one food element is as prevalent as it’s ever been in my career:

Fast food galore!

Holy cow. ThereOne of the key elements that comes with every new job is to scout out the food options. For the past year I worked in Midtown Manhattan, and the choices were weak. In fact, the weakest–and most expensive–I’ve had since I started working in the city back in 1996.

But things have certainly changed. Now that I’m a little lower down–around the corner from the Empire State Building, one food element is as prevalent as it’s ever been in my career:

Fast food galore!

Holy cow. There’s Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s. There’s Taco Bell. There’s pizza, pizza and more pizza. KFC. Dunkin’ Donuts. Baskin Robbins. And I’m sure there’s a whole lot more I just haven’t stumbled across yet.

Now, I’m not saying these food options are good options, but man are there choices.

So far I’ve had pizza a few times, but otherwise I’ve stayed clear of the fast food. It sure does taste good, but it’s pretty harsh on the system, so I try to stay clear. But I have a funny feeling that I’ll be breaking into a Whopper soon enough.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/04/08 20:44

My Brain is Cluttered

My brain is cluttered.

I’m in the process of getting a bit uncluttered, but there’s a lot of strands and shrapnel floating around in there. This weekend was one of the good, stay-at-home, not-go-out-too much lay around weekends were I watched a lot of TV, took a few naps, and just got my brain to settle down.

Typically, Saturday is my big, get a lot of stuff done day, but I didn’t have it in me. The culmination of the past few months caught up with me, and I just didn’t have the focuMy brain is cluttered.

I’m in the process of getting a bit uncluttered, but there’s a lot of strands and shrapnel floating around in there. This weekend was one of the good, stay-at-home, not-go-out-too much lay around weekends were I watched a lot of TV, took a few naps, and just got my brain to settle down.

Typically, Saturday is my big, get a lot of stuff done day, but I didn’t have it in me. The culmination of the past few months caught up with me, and I just didn’t have the focus to deal with the various piles that had been, well, piling up. Unopened mail. Dishes. Laundry.

Sunday started out the same way. Liz and I spent the morning on the couch watching the last few episodes of Dexter Season 2–so good; I’m so totally hooked on Dexter–and then … I started to get my mojo back. I went to the gym. I showered. And I finally … finally … finally got to the mail, and paid some bills and just started to unclutter my living space, which just helped unclutter my brain.

I’m not quite totally uncluttered up there in the old noggin yet, but I’m a lot more focused than I’ve been in a while. It feels good. Over the past few months I let a lot of little things slide, and as we all know, those little things can add to up a big, messy pile that just seems to spawn and mutate until it totally takes over.

Well, it didn’t take over, but it sure moved in for a while. I’m glad to see I’ve kicked it’s butt out the door, and that I’m started to get back to my old routines.

My brain isn’t totally uncluttered, but it feels a whole lot better than it has a long while.

Everything that Happens is the Best Outcome

We’ve all heard the saying: everything that happens, happens for a reason. Some people by into this, some don’t.

Although I admit that I sometimes have trouble seeing–and accepting this idea–in the moment, I do believe that there is rhyme and reason to all that happens. When I got laid off at the beginning of the year, I certainly didn’t say, [i]Yay! Woo-hoo! I got laid off! Awesome[/i]! But now I have a new job, and if the Universe really has a plan, then this new job will end up being We’ve all heard the saying: everything that happens, happens for a reason. Some people by into this, some don’t.

Although I admit that I sometimes have trouble seeing–and accepting this idea–in the moment, I do believe that there is rhyme and reason to all that happens. When I got laid off at the beginning of the year, I certainly didn’t say, [i]Yay! Woo-hoo! I got laid off! Awesome[/i]! But now I have a new job, and if the Universe really has a plan, then this new job will end up being better–or more beneficial in one way or another–than the one I had.

In fact, within just a few weeks of getting laid off, my old shop was hit with a series of tragedies, including a guy I knew–a nice, young guy–who died in a surfing accident. My being gone spared me from having to be in the mix of the grief that office still feels about this and other rough events that occurred in succession.

Psychologist Carl Jung has this particular take on the theory of everything happening for a reason, and I’m paraphrasing: Everything that happens was meant to happen, and the reason I know this is because it [i]did [/i]happen. If something else was meant to have happened, then that’s what would have happened.

Taking this theory one step further, Chris Prentiss writes in Zen and the Art of Happiness: "Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that [i]can[/i] happen to me." This means that, according to Prentiss, whatever happened to me was not only meant to happen, but there was no other possible occurrence that would have been better than what actually did happen.

Wow. That’s a pretty exciting way to think about my life, and letting myself think and feel that way really gets my juices flowing.

If I break my leg falling down the stairs, does that mean that was the best possible occurrence that could have happened? If I’m a glass half empty kinda guy, then I’m thinking, [i]this stinks! Why did I fall and break my leg at all?[/i] But if I’m a glass half-full kinda guy, then I’m thinking, [i]wow. I’m really lucky. I could have broken my neck, and all I came away with was a broken leg[/i].

I want to say that without any hesitation I believe that everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me. I try to embrace this idea as much as possible. And the truth is, the more I do think this way, the better I feel, the more optimistic I am and the more successful I become. And the less I think this way, the more I tend to struggle, get depressed and stressed out.

What I come away with is that–similar to any number of thinkers on this topic–it just seems to be in my best interest to see opportunity and upside in everything, even if grief, frustration and disappoint are staring me in the face. Zig Ziglar says that while positive thinking unto itself won’t bring you anything, positive thinking will help you do [i]everything better[/i] than negative thinking will. That’s pretty tough to dispute.

So I’m doing my best to always embrace the idea that everything that happens to me is the best thing that can happen to me, even if I can’t quite seem to think this way in every moment. But I’m going to think this way as much as possible. I just feel better about life–and myself–when I do. And if that’s the case, then that’s the kind of thinking for me.

New Job, New Mojo – I’m Back in Action

Well, I gotta admit it. Getting a steady paycheck again is sure better than not! My time being unemployed is now over. It’s nice to be getting back into a steady routine again.

My time between full time jobs was only six weeks, which, in the grand scheme of things isn’t very long at all, although I knew about the impending layoff about six weeks before that, so all in all I was carrying the weight of it for about three months. Still, I know, all in all not so long, but it was happening to Well, I gotta admit it. Getting a steady paycheck again is sure better than not! My time being unemployed is now over. It’s nice to be getting back into a steady routine again.

My time between full time jobs was only six weeks, which, in the grand scheme of things isn’t very long at all, although I knew about the impending layoff about six weeks before that, so all in all I was carrying the weight of it for about three months. Still, I know, all in all not so long, but it was happening to me, so it felt pretty darn heavy on my shoulders. It wasn’t fun.

But now that I’m back–and grateful for it–I can get back to a normal rhythm, and back to writing.

Besides the money part, which was a drag, it really bummed me out during my time off, because, even though I had more time on my hands, I had more stress, too, and I had a really hard time writing. I didn’t get nearly as much done on my book as I wanted to, and I was only blogging here and there, rather than a few times a week, like I’ve been doing the last few years. The stress of unemployment messed with my mojo. I just didn’t have it in me, which only bummed me out more. And on and on.

That’s old news, now! Going forward I plan on being my old writerly self, pumping out my books and blogging away, including getting back to the message boards with updates on the Philosophy and Positive Thinking threads. Truth is, I wasn’t feeling all that positive for awhile, and so that part of me kind went into hibernation. Well, that’s old news, too. And the reason?

I’m back, baby. I’m back.

Henned Yet Again- My Bloddy Duel w/ a Razor Blade

File this under my weekend of getting Henned …

Saturday morning, after a night of beers with Rich Henn, I’m up fairly early, and take a shower to wake up. I’m feeling moderately OK, all things considered, and am just looking forward to a relaxing morning. Before I get in the shower I was standing in front of the sink with my shaving kit, and when I reached into it for my travel-size shampoo, I recoiled.

Out came my finger, covered in blood. While rummaging around in the shaving kitFile this under my weekend of getting Henned …

Saturday morning, after a night of beers with Rich Henn, I’m up fairly early, and take a shower to wake up. I’m feeling moderately OK, all things considered, and am just looking forward to a relaxing morning. Before I get in the shower I was standing in front of the sink with my shaving kit, and when I reached into it for my travel-size shampoo, I recoiled.

Out came my finger, covered in blood. While rummaging around in the shaving kit, my razor managed to come loose, and my pointer finger ran roughshod right across the blades.

Not the worst thing that ever happened to me on Henn’s watch, but I’ve still got the grated finger as proof of my visit …

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/03/25 17:17

Hangovers and Beer Farts – I Got Henned. Again.

I got Henned. Again.

Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment. I spent the weekend with Rich Henn down at his place (he lives in the Baltimore suburbs), and, as should have been expected, I came away in pain.

I didn’t slide into any subway doors this time, but I did sport a wicked hangover, especially on Sunday. After a day of lounging around watching movies (I took in Predator and Waiting), we took a trip out to a small comic shop about a half hour away, and then came back for a HenI got Henned. Again.

Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment. I spent the weekend with Rich Henn down at his place (he lives in the Baltimore suburbs), and, as should have been expected, I came away in pain.

I didn’t slide into any subway doors this time, but I did sport a wicked hangover, especially on Sunday. After a day of lounging around watching movies (I took in Predator and Waiting), we took a trip out to a small comic shop about a half hour away, and then came back for a Henn staple meal: baked ham with mash potatoes and raisin gravy. And then, of course, came the beer.

We headed out to a local restaurant, and sat at the bar for an hour or so. We took down a few drinks, ate a side of meatballs and sausage, and around 11 or so, hunkered down at Henn’s basement bar. When his buddy, Ed, stopped by, the beers really started to flow, topped off by some liquored concoctions, which really did us in.

It’s also possible that we drunk dialed a few people–four or five times each between 1 and 3 am–but I suppose that’s another matter all together! It’s also possible that I was pushing the idea that we keep drinking, long after we’d passed our expiration dates, but I’ll also leave that out of the narrative for now.

When Sunday morning rolled around and I’d had at least three or four hours of poor sleep, I realized just how much alcohol we’d put down, and just how truly bad an idea that was. My head throbbed, and, well … there were beer farts. Lots of them. And it wasn’t good. My stomach was a mess. I really felt bad for the other passengers on the Amtrak back to New York, because anyone within five rows of me probably needed medical attention! I’m not proud of it, but sometimes there’s nothing you can do. If it’s any consolation to those people, I was in agony most of the way home. Apparently, Rich felt every bit as bad as I did.

It was only around 4 pm Sunday–when I finally got home–that my headache finally went away.

So, yes … I got Henned. Again.

I never learn …

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