Lack of Perfection

boy-facepalm-child-youth-exasperated-tiredI have a problem and it’s often called perfectionism.  It isn’t really that, but I think that’s a close enough word for it, but Adulting is hard and this seems to be how I deal with it.  You see, I often seem to have two modes: hyper-focused on being super perfect at something, or eh, close enough.  It’s done.  Neither of these modes is exactly conducive to being productive or doing good work, but more than that they’re both a good way to self destruct.

As an example: I’ll have a good idea, like create a weekly list of chores that need doing so I don’t forget any of them as I am somewhat prone to doing.  But… it’s Tuesday.  I missed Monday so I can’t start this list project until NEXT Monday because obviously, I can’t just start something like that in the middle, right?  Then I’ll have this list-idea in my mind for a day or two as I think about what all I’m going to need for it (the right paper or journal, some pens, maybe a few awesome stickers!  Because stickers are always awesome no matter how old you get! Oh, and a ruler because I can’t draw lines to save my life…) and then it gets to the weekend when I can go out to acquire these things, and… I’ve either forgotten it entirely or getting up and going out is too much work.

And then, because I don’t have the supplies I’d thought about, I can’t just grab a piece of paper that I already have and a pen from my cup, because those aren’t perfect materials.

You see my problem?  Anxiety Gome stealth attack.

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It bleeds into my work, too.  I have missed a bunch of blog posts this summer and I’m woman-sitting-at-table-and-working-with-computerbeating myself up over it.  But then I write something and I think ‘I’ll post it next week!’ And then I get to posting time and my laptop sits there while I stare at it morosely thinking ‘but I can’t find the right pictures to put with it, and looking will just take me away from family time and I’ve missed so many posts already…. And yeah.

Often I can manage to get my work done anyway, but for some reason, this summer’s been extra tough.  But it’s sliding into autumn and I don’t know.  The slight change in the weather and the strange allure of the new school year (in the U.S. anyway) which still holds so much power over my brain even after so many years of theoretical adulthood is all adding up to a strengthening resolve.  I make no promises, but I’m starting a new bullet journal style thing and we’ll see how it goes.  How do you all keep track of your Adulting?

Our silverware drawer

The Boy, if I haven’t expressly mentioned it before, is both on the autism spectrum and also ADHD. He has difficulty out in the wider world sometimes, crowds making him anxious even though he loves people. It sometimes makes our life difficult, to put it kindly.
A few weeks back, we were out running errands in Akihabara on a moderately busy boy-facepalm-child-youth-exasperated-tiredSunday. It was lunchtime and we had two options as we emerged from the JR station. Both were family restaurants, both serving what he wanted for lunch: pancakes. The problem? He remembered being to one but not to the other, and even though the second place was pretty much exactly the same as the first, and made more sense in terms of logistics (it was much closer to our next errand,) The Boy dug in his heels and refused flat out to even consider the place.
This is a remarkably common experience for us.
Usually, The Boy just starts melting down at this point and it becomes a huge ordeal and nobody ends up happy. About half the time I give up and take him home and we both stew in our misery for a while. But that day I had, I swear, a moment of being touched by the divine and I crouched down to look the kid in the eye and asked him if he was trying to conserve his spoons.
cutlery-panel-cutlery-knife-forks-spoon-silverwareIt was amazing. His eyes got really big and he actually smiled at me and said, yes. Yes, he was. This led to a long conversation about spoon theory and autism and our own spoons and different kinds of spoons and the whole day was really pretty lovely. Understanding what he was trying to tell us made a thousand percent difference.
This all happened in the middle of a streak of my totally failing to post here on the blog. Over the days that followed that outing, it occurred to me that I was, myself, conserving spoons without even thinking about it much by staying away from my social media more.
See, I’m a fairly introverted person. Unfortunately being an indie author means I have a lot of business stuff to take care of all on my own, and frankly even authors published through one of the big houses have to promote themselves via Twitter and Facebook and all that social media stuff. That can be pretty rough for those of us who just don’t have many Being Social spoons to hand out in the first place. I hadn’t even noticed that I was running low on my ability to be out there in public until my son forced me to think about it.
So now I have thought about it, and I’m trying to come up with a better way to conduct my online life. I’ve started changing up my morning and evening routines, and have started trying to do this meditation thing on something approaching a regular basis.

I’m going to try to keep up with posting again, but you know how it can go. Especially in the summer when the heat and humidity of Tokyo reaches a crushing degree. Hopefully, I can find some nice air-conditioned room to hang out in and work on my social media. Then I can go back to my Introvert Cave and hide out with my Kindle again where it’s safe and quiet.
What do you do when you’re socially overwhelmed?  I’m taking suggestions.

Space Patrol

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Photo credit: darastar via Visual Hunt / CC BY

The packing continues.  The Boy’s sheets and most of our winter clothes are in a box and in a couple of hours I’ll trek down to the post office to ship it all to Tokyo.  We’re not really taking much, but that still ends up being a ton of stuff.  So much that I’m surprised, actually.   Clothes take up a remarkable amount of space, it turns out.  I’ve been going through all the stuff I don’t wear, or don’t love, and the pile for the charity shop is getting to be fairly substantial.  That doesn’t even count the kid clothes I’m pulling because The Boy is growing like kids do.

It’s a good thing he’s got a fancy whole-apartment-in-one bed from Ikea, or we’d never have anywhere to put The Boy’s things.  In addition to the clothes and the bedding, he’s got an army of stuffed animals that he will die without.  And books (in English and Japanese) that he requires for his continued good health.  And Legos.  I have tried to explain that we won’t have all the space there that we have here in his grandparents’ house, but it’s like shouting at a rock.

And, of course, all his school things are there already as well.  We’re sort-of homeschooling until his Japanese reading and writing catches up a bit to his peers, and the online school we’re going through has sent two boxes of supplies, from books to an inflatable globe to art supplies.  His desk and shelves and dresser will be full to overflowing with his things and it’s going to be an adventure keeping everything tidy.

Meanwhile, I get two shelves in closet and no room for all my books.  I’m heartbroken, my bed doesn’t even have fancy drawers under it!  Kids get the best stuff.    What would you take if you had to live essentailly out of a suitcase?

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But where do I put all my books?!!!      Photo credit: OFTO via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Everything hurts

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             Jacob’s Sheep are super adorable.              Photo credit: Alan Weir on Visualhunt.com / CC BY

This weekend, I took some time off editing to hang out with my family.  We all bundled off to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival because when you have the chance to pet a Jacob’s Sheep or an angora bunny, you take that chance.  Seriously, you guys, so soft and adorable!

My mom and I always love seeing the sheep (she was a Future Farmer of America, back in the day.  You know what they say about the best-laid plans and all that.) and I’ve been a knitter, spinner, and weaver since… for as long as I can remember actually.  I can crochet, too, but somehow I never got as hooked on it. So we love wandering around the festival when we can get out to it.  All that fiber!  All that yarn! All those amazing projects and beautiful craftsmanship!  Last year it took us a good 4 hours to see a small fraction of the event, and we basically only left because it started sleeting.

The Boy went with us this year.  It was super fun to be able to share this with him, and I was looking forward to taking him through the fleece barn and show him around the sheep and the goats and poking around the craft stalls to find some wonderful treasure that was small enough we could take it to Japan in our luggage and not have to pay a million dollars to ship it.  We could spend a lazy sort of day mostly outside in the pleasantly not-too-hot weather, and learn maybe a little about how we all end up not wandering around naked all the time.

The Boy, on the other hand, was on a damn mission.  He arrowed into the festival and

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Ok, to be fair.  Picking the right button is always a challenge.

went straight to the first stall and pointed to the pink yarn like “This one, Mom.”  Um… we just got here, sweetie.  We can buy some yarn but let’s look around a bit.  Finally, he put his foot down and we got a skein of candy pink yarn for him (me…) to make a hat from.  Once he had his bag of yarn in hand, he was done with the festival.  Mom wants a fun kit to play with? Tough.  Gramma wants to see the sheep? Nope, time to go home. There’s a whole main barn we haven’t even reached yet?  Meh, who cares, we’re done here.  The Boy had his button and his yarn.

 

Fortunately, there was ice cream available for bribing the kid with, so we did manage to make it through the main barn at least, mostly by carrying the post-growth-spurt first grader piggyback through the thick crowds and now my whole body hates me.  Still, the only other things he stopped to look at after his purchase?  The biggest spinning wheels he could find.

That’s my boy.

Life

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How to spend the day with a sick kid.  Hopefully, at least, cause I’d like less cleaning up vomit…  Photo credit: kristen & todd via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Funny how it gets int he way so darned often.  I don’t have a lengthy post today because who’s got time for that when their kid is sick?  So I just have a few quick updates.

Some of you got to Beta read Sarah’s Inheritance, and I’m going through my final edits now!  I hope to have it ready to go in early January, so keep your eyes peeled!  Want to join my Beta reader/ARC team?  I will be asking for volunteers for the 2018 releases in my newsletter soon, so if you want to be involved, sign up and you’ll get the chance at first crack at my new books for free!

I have been working hard on my new series.  I’ve had several of the characters whisper things to me that I don’t really understand.  I’ve been assured that they’re important puzzle pieces, but I don’t see the whole picture yet.  It might just be that I haven’t gotten to that part of the story yet, or even haven’t gotten to the right book in the series!  We’ll see.  These people are both fascinating and pushy.  I hope you like them as much as I’m getting to.  Hopefully, you can meet them come springtime.

Meanwhile, Brian is being extremely stubborn.  He just doesn’t want to do things my way, which means I’m going to have to tackle this story from another angle somehow.  I’ll figure it out soon, I’m sure, but it’s probably not going to be out there till March maybe.  We’ll see.

So that’s the State Of The Universes over here in Casa de Sick Kid.  With a little luck, I’ll get some edits in tomorrow while The Boy sleeps off his fever.

In-formed

 

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Someday I hope to escape from the questionnaire mines…

So this past few weeks have been pretty nuts in my Real Life.  I’ve been working outside my home again (I’m a freelance theatre technician in my copious spare time…) and there’s holidays and social schedules and crap to organize, I’ve caught a nasty cold.  And then there’s my son who’s been having trouble at school, both academically and otherwise.  If you read my tweets then you know that there’s been some playground drama, and it’s just sort of spilling into all aspects of his behavior.

 

Thing is he’s a kid dealing with being on the Autism Spectrum for whatever that tells you.  Seems that everyone hears that phrase and thinks something different, and I guess that’s partly a result of the ‘spectrum’ part of it all, but really it’s just mostly exhausting for everyone involved.  So we’ve been going through all this evaluation stuff and I filled out a literal inch of paperwork the other day, answering insane questions like ‘does he operate a car safely?’ and ‘Does he get to work on time and appropriately dressed?’

Dude, seriously, he’s 7.  The first questionnaire was for “ages 5 – 21” and I’m sorry.  But a

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After this, I’m going to borrow Dad’s car and go drag racing!

kindergartner and a college kid are WILDLY DIFFERENT on the old age appropriate stuff scale.  So I’ve gotten to wade through all that sort of thing, and try to find solutions for classroom problems with his teacher and all sorts of other fun things, almost all of which involve filling out yet another form of some sort, to add to the many forms that they already have on file that ask basically the same things.  I filled out a full one-inch stack of papers asking the same questions over and over.

 

 

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I have some more forms for you…

 

Really, I’m just tired of answering foolish questions, and being sick, and coming up with solutions when I’ve literally run out of ideas.  I’m much better at solving problems when they don’t involve real people, honestly, and I just want everyone to be happy and deal with it in real life so I can get on with the business of leaving bodies in alleys.

 

Okay, he’s not actually dead.  Just almost dead.  You’ll have to come back later to find out if he makes it though…

Ouch

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This is basically my house today.   Photo credit: kristen & todd via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

I spent all weekend clearing out my storage unit near San Jose.  This was no mean feat and I did a lot of the work all on my own over two days, lugging nearly all my worldly possessions to put them in a U-haul shipping box.  So, basically, I was far away from my computer and now everything hurts.

Seriously, everything.  I am not 20 anymore.

And naturally I came home to a sick first grader, so basically I am just jotting down a quick note here apologizing for not having something witty and entertaining for you.  I just need a day or two to recover.  My son and I might be spending the day on the sofa playing a Paper Mario game in our pajamas.

If you’re bored, though, may I suggest a good book?   A Demon Saved is out an ready to be enjoyed by all and sundry!

Just Awesome

Summer vacation means travel for so many.  Images of fun family vacations, time spent at the beach maybe with the kids getting sunburned and building sandcastles. Maybe everyone going camping and toasting marshmallows.  Me?  I don’t travel so much, and I never have.  The one exception has been various geek-culture centered conventions.  For a while in college and just after, I would travel up and down the east coast and hit a fair number of events, hanging out with friends and trying not to be too bad a leech (and let’s be honest, probably failing.)  It was fun and I met some amazing people.

These days, thanks to that whole “adulting” thing that is so trendy anymore I’m back to not traveling much, but when a con comes to town I like to swing by if I can, and when I know some of my friends will be there too, I make extra effort.  So yesterday I loaded up my dad and my son and we hopped a Metro train down to DC and went to AwesomeCon.  It was busy.  Very, very busy.

Unfortunately, for a newly-minted first grader who gets stressed out by both loud noises and crowds, it was not quite so laid back a day as I’d hoped.  It can be so easy to forget that something you are comfortable with can put someone else straight into survival mode, and when that someone’s your kid…  well.  He handled it well enough, mostly,

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Who doesn’t love a nice cup of exothermic expanding foam-turned-solid?

thanks to having some ear protection and finding robots at more than one booth.  He didn’t speak to anyone, though— not my friends who he’s met before and is a shy fan of,

 not the nice library lady who had a cool programable robot at her booth, not the NASAand NIST scientists set up with fun activities for kids (who were very cool and seemed honestly excited to talk to him even when he didn’t answer,) not even Santa Claus (who was likewise

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Santa and Krampus looking for targets in Artist’s Alley

cool with the kid and gave him a candy cane anyway.)

Still…  He managed to convince me to buy him a comic book, and hit literally every booth in the not insignificant science area, and when we were finally walking out he pointed and got very excited to see a girl about his age in a Ladybug costume.

On the whole, I thought he’d done pretty well for a silent, wide-eyed kid insisting that his mom carry him through most of the event.  I figured he’d put the experience in the back of his mind as something he’d done and lived through safely, and maybe someday he’d want to go to another convention.  As I was tucking him into bed, he asked a new question as part of his long, well-practiced stalling routine.

“Mom, can we go back to the convention tomorrow and get another Star Power book?”

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That’s my boy.