Monday, October 15, 2012

Taking time to relax, create

My daughter Genevieve recently decided to learn crocheting. Her lessons have not been going well, because I am not a good crochet teacher. It would seem that I learned it incorrectly and have been doing it wrong for decades. This weekend, while shopping, I decided to grab some crochet hooks, beautiful soft yarn (Lily Sugar 'n Cream), and a beginner's book. I started over from scratch, and I made this:
Sure, it's only a little square consisting of three simple stitches (chain stitch, single crochet, and slip stitch). But it is a start, and I hope it will inspire my daughter to try again. I forgot how relaxing and centering crocheting and creating can be! As I worked, my mind was flooded with fond memories of my childhood, when a cherished babysitter taught me how to knit and crochet. She used to make little outfits for my Barbie dolls and help me make special gifts for my family. Now I hope to do this for my little girl and create for her some special memories! So it isn't always about work. Sometimes it feels wonderful to make something out of nothing and share the beauty with the people we love most.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happiness is an awesome workspace

It has been years since I worked full time, away from home, in an actual office, but some of my earliest workspace comfort habits persist. I think we all have a ritual to prepare ourselves for the workday. For me, it was always important to have a hot cup of coffee at the ready as I checked my email and browsed my favorite news sites. It focused me. Not much has changed in the intervening years, except now the coffee is decaf and I check Facebook first. Having more recently worked in a classroom environment, I haven't had an actual office or desk for years. I've been on my feet and engaged with kids in a wonderful and positive way.

But work circumstances change, and I was forced to reinvent my work persona after a layoff earlier this year. We discovered that I had the luxury of flexibility to create my own work, and I spent the last six months developing my own business opportunities and structuring our living space to accommodate my new ventures. (More on those in a future post.) It has been fun! I love to nest, and work-nesting is really something!

As you can see, I still have my coffee, outfitted in a cool Dunkin Donuts mug (I have a collection now). This aerial view was achieved by standing on my cushion-y desk chair in a way that was probably unsafe, but necessary, I assure you. My favorite computers are poised and ready to work, with a new iPad on hand just in case. My desk is covered in gadgets and toys. After all, who says work can't be fun?
My awesome best friend and love of my life, Jesse, hung my uke and baby banjo on the wall for inspiration. I can barely play either, but having them looking down on me every day is bound to guilt me into practicing. We recently built an inspiring collection of Lomography cameras and Jesse gave them a display shelf. I have found that having things in front of me and ready to use increases the chances that I will actually use them.
I couldn't function without my shiny MacBook Pro. This is my third MacBook, purchased last fall after the Great Iced Tea Disaster of 2011 destroyed its predecessor. I do almost everything on this wonderful machine! I love that a laptop makes every room a potential workspace! I am running OS 10.7.5 and recently started exploring new productivity tools in the Mac App store. I also have a red HP laptop, but it just sleeps on my desk and angers me when I am occasionally forced to use it.

I have tons of computer-based organizational and note-taking tools, but I still think best when I have everything on the wall in front of me, organized with brightly-colored sticky notes. I am using the memo board in the background to sketch plans for this blog.

Squeeze is my favorite band of EVER. I got this poster on a recent tour, after which I probably stalked the band for hours. I love having a reminder of all the fun I have following my favorite musicians. It gives me something to work for!
Music has always been an incredibly important part of my workday. When I was a teacher, I used music to help my students learn math. When I worked in nonprofit development, I always had a stereo in my office. For years, I worked to the accompaniment of the University of Pennsylvania's WXPN. These days, I alternate between Sirius/XM radio, Radio Paradise, and a bunch of fun online radio stations (including XPN). All of these great sources of music are made better by our seriously awesome stereo! Regard the gorgeous Vestax turntable that frequently spins my vinyl collection. Music is absolutely necessary as I build my business and find my rhythm as a writer and creator.

This is where I get to spend my workdays. I honestly don't think life can get any better than this!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The unifying theme in my life is happiness

For weeks I have been pondering whether to start a new blog to tie together my work and personal interests. Being an eclectic person with interests all over the place, I was unable to find a unifying theme. This morning, while enjoying my coffee and listening to Radio Paradise, I hit on an idea that just seemed to encapsulate my mood over the past few months - Happiness.
Yeah, I know it's corny. Extremely corny. But that is ok, because it is true. Everything I do today - my freelance work as a content creator with Lion Tutors, selling personalized purses and bags as an Independent Consultant, and experimenting with photography - is tied to, and contributes to, my happiness. The people I see every day - especially my precious daughter and my beautiful partner in crime, Jesse, are the reasons for my happiness. And this over-the-top sense of being HAPPY motivates me to work, love, live, and create in this crazy world.
So it is settled. I christen this blog Enjoying the Happy. And herein you will find nifty tips and tricks to harness your own happy. Because why should I have all the fun? How is that for corny? I think it works.