Word Problems

Whew!

So I’m attempting to apply for a seasonal job at Anthropologie.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to work there?  I can only imagine that the discount is amazing, and getting a chance at their clothes and merch for cheaper sounds like a win.  Unless I end up spending my entire paycheck and giving it back to the store… But I digress from my blog topic.

Word problems.  I thought I left stuff like that behind in grade school.  Nothing more confusing than when you got a math test and it asked:

If Jack has a three gallon pail of water, and Jill has a two gallon pail of water, how fast will they fall down the hill if the water buckets are half full?

But man, I just took the little intro quiz thing these companies make you do to try and weed out the thieves, stoners, and lazy people, and it was tough.  It wasn’t easy like when I applied to Taco Bell years ago and the questions were “Is it okay to steal?”  I mean, that one is pretty straight forward.  Urban Outfitters ups their game and has you answer from 1 – 10 on an Agree/Disagree scale.

I felt like I was going through a subtle psyc eval the entire time I was taking the quiz.  I’m really curious how the results pop out.  Is there a ratio for giving strong agrees/disagrees vs giving weak responses?  I think I failed some of them, but the questions are a bit tricky.  Most of the questions are two parters– so it’s hard to say if you’re answering for the right part. For instance;

I used to always show up late, but don’t anymore.

If you agree, then you are saying you show up late.  No one wants an employee who rolls in late all the time. So do you say you don’t show up late?  If you disagree too strongly, does it look suspicious?  I’m very anti stealing, and have very strong opinions on it, but is being too disagreeable seem like I’m overcompensating?

It’s very interesting.  I would love to know if anyone out there gets to look at results from “opinion surveys” like this.  Is it like a mini psyc eval? Can you tell a lot about a person by what the answers are?  Or does the computer just spit out a yes or no based on the results?  Can it tell what sort of issues an employer is going to have with an employee?

Success, and the fear of

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Success.

That word is packed with so many things. Hopes, fears, aspirations, and conflict. At least, the idea of success in my mind fills me with conflict and conflicted emotions.

I have a fear of success.

I know that it’s bizarre, and completely irrational, but it doesn’t make me procrastinate any less or try to avoid being successful. I know that it stems from my childhood and where it comes from, but that knowledge doesn’t make the nervous whirl in the pit of my stomach go away when I think of actually trying to go after something I want. It’s the same feeling I get when I think of the times I was successful as a kid and then other kids made fun of me. I’m not sure that there is a worse feeling than being made fun of for doing well– you succeeded, yet you are still a loser. I ran my hardest in cross country and managed to come in second place! My less successful teammates mocked me for running the B group instead of the A group, taking away my hard won success. So my brain equates success with losing, and that’s not really a good way to get to where I, or anyone, wants to be in life.

I just did some research on the fear of success, and it’s a legit thing. It is nice to know I’m not the only one who suffers from this. So I want to share some of the articles and found and what I am doing to overcome this fear.

Step 1: Buckle down and do it. I overcame my fear of talking to strangers and being shy by just doing it. I live in LA, and an ability to network is a requirement. If I can’t make small talk with strangers I’ll never get jobs or make connections. And, more importantly, I would be spending all my time alone at home because I wouldn’t have any friends. Most of my current friends are people I randomly met at a party, started talking to, and found that they were fantastic. So I’m applying that same logic to my fear of success. I know I have the fear, but I just have to face it head on if I want to overcome it. It will be a struggle, something I probably always carry with me, but the more I do it the easier it will get.

Step 2: Ask myself these questions. I found these questions today, and I’m going to include them in my ‘diary’ on a regular basis. (My diary is more a reflection of my day and musings about my goals and where I want to be.) The questions are these:

How will my friends and family react if I accomplish this goal?

How will my life change?

What’s the worst that could happen if I achieve this goal?

What’s the best that could happen?

Why do I feel I don’t deserve to accomplish this goal?

How motivated am I to work toward this goal?

What am I currently doing to sabotage, or hurt, my own efforts?

How can I stop those self-sabotaging behaviors?

This questions came from an amazing article, very worth reading: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/fear-of-success.html I highly recommend spending time every week thinking through these questions. The article recommends 15 minutes to really think about them, and that’s what I’m going to. Every week.

Step 3: Stop beating myself up. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be successful, yet I then turn around and sabotage myself. After sabotaging myself, I beat myself up for failing, yet again, to overcome and strive for what I want. Condemning myself doesn’t do anything to help, and only re-affirms the concept that I don’t deserve success. So from now on I’m going to value my successes and forgive myself for any stumbles. As the photo says, mistakes mean I’m trying. And what could be better than trying to be my best?

My current sabotage involves not writing on my screenplay and doing everything under the sun to procrastinate. I want more than anything to be a writer, yet if I never write I don’t fail and I don’t succeed. I just stay exactly where I am. …which is a hallmark of a fear of success.

This article: http://99u.com/articles/14347/are-you-subconsciously-afraid-of-success also looks at what some of the subconscious fears are, and what to do about them.The Fear of Not Coping with Success, Fear of Selling Out, and Fear of Becoming Someone Else are all fears that lead to behaviors that keep you right where you are. Never changing, never advancing, never being the person you truly can be.

In the words of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
yoda

Do any of you out there suffer from the fear of success? Has anyone overcome it?

Leftovers

Leftovers… for so many people it’s such a dirty, hated word.  I was out to lunch with a friend and suggested what she was eating would make good leftovers.  That was one of those times in life I wish was a movie, because the face she made would have been an amazing photo.

Before marrying my husband, I too was a leftover hater.  Now, however, I am a huge fan of leftovers.  The trick is to cook them properly. (It also helps if you start out with good food.  Growing up the food was burnt to begin with, and it’s hard to improve on something that already tastes bland.) Using the oven or stove top when possible will always mean better taste than cooking in the microwave.  If you do have to microwave, adding a bit of water or butter will help keep food moist or add flavor, respectively.

This week has been a trial on even me.  My husband came home with an entire tray of Spanish Rice from a shoot.  An. Entire. Tray. A person can only eat so much rice, right?

Please note that this photo is not an accurate depiction of our rice tray. (I’m still working on taking pics for the blog.  I’ll get better.) Our tray of rice was one of the very rectangular, very long trays. At first, I was dismayed.  How could we possibly eat that much rice? Especially since we just made a giant batch of white rice to use as leftovers?  My dismay was not going to eat the rice, so I decided to accept this challenge and get creative. My first step was taking a container of rice over to a friend’s house. That left us with one gallon bag and three tupperware’s left. (Think about that for a moment.  A gallon bag.  A medium sized contaner.  A medium sized container.  A medium sized container. That’s a lot of rice.)

The following list is what I’ve made with the white rice:

rice + raisins + cinnamon + milk = warm breakfast rice cereal

rice + crab + butter crackers + egg = crab cake stuffed salmon rolls

++add Spanish rice as a side

rice + soy sauce + peanut butter + egg + shrimp = shrimp fried rice

With the Spanish rice:

rice + ground beef + beef grease + skillet fry = amazing beef rice

++ add beef rice to bell peppers and you have a delicious meal

rice + lettuce + cheese + salsa + corn tortillas = vegetarian tacos

rice + black beans + ground beef + lettuce + tortilla chips + lime juice = delicious taco salad

We’ve been doing slight variations on the tacos and salad, but almost every meal has contained rice this week. These are the “recipes” that are more innovative ways to use rice.  Rice has been a side dish to fish or chicken as well, but that’s obvious and boring, so I’m just listing the more pizzazzy options.

Has anyone ever had to find creative ways to use up an over abundance of leftovers?  Does anyone have any advice for how to eat up more of this rice?

New Blog Format

So the magical blog experts out there say that a successful blog has certain characteristics. It ought to have:

A THEME: something to tie everything together. In this blog I try to both tie my posts back to writing and I am, obviously, writing each blog post, so I count that. Honestly, you could get anything depending on what I’m feeling at the moment, which is the idea behind living in the Write.Now. But the goal is to make it writing related.  🙂

CONSISTENCY: I will admit, I am not consistent with my posting. Apparently successful blogs post every day with one day off. And if you’re a super successful blog like Design.Sponge you aren’t even doing that! As I am but one person, I’ll be taking a day off, and trying to be more consistent. Monday will be my day off. Mondays can be rough on everyone, and while the advice column thing suggested a Monday “joke” to keep things light, that sounded like a cop out to me. So Mondays you get nothing.

ORGANIZED DAYS: posting certain things on certain days to make blogging easier for you, and so your audience knows what days to care about and/or check into.

This I was a fan of, so not only will I be trying to post every day, dear lovely three people following, but I will try to theme my days. The days will be thus:

Manda Monday: taking a self day and not posting

Tasty Tuesday: things culinary, tasty, and delicious. Hopefully with a writing slant since this is not a cookbook blog.

Work Wednesday: either dealing with my job as a script supervisor, work on set, helpful work tidbits I find, or info about working out and fitness (see how I pulled a combo there?)

Theater Thursday: I will be critiquing and reviewing movies. Old movies, new movies, documentaries, scripts, and occasionally a TV show.

Fun Friday: This could be anything. Anything at all! It’s a mystery and surprise!

Story Saturday: Some real writing on Saturdays. I am working on compiling short stories from my life, so these will appear. Maybe a poem, a scene from a script, or some type of creative writing that is not a blog post.

Superficial Sunday: This day is for listing awesome things in stores, sewing projects, home improvements, or anything that the Jonses might be interested in or want to put on Pinterest.

So…that’s the new blog plan. Having a plan and road map is supposed to help smooth things over and make posting easier. Much like creating an outline is supposed to make writing easier. Consider this my blog outline and buckle up!

Charlie

This is a based on a true story I wrote for a contest called Story Lotto, where a selected group of writers share their stories aloud.

It was love at first sight. Charlie was a bit of a mess, but what boy isn’t a fixer upper? I mean, that’s what young love is all about, right? Looking past a rough exterior at what you know is inside. Our conversations where fairly one sided. He didn’t talk much, but he was deep. You couldn’t find larger, more soulful eyes than Charlie’s. He was a bit on the hairy side, and his personal hygiene left a little to be desired. I mean, what lady really wants a man with no regard for where he takes a dump, but you can’t have everything in life.

I met him at my grandpa’s ranch. He was just one of the many eligible bachelors vying for my attention on that fateful morning. The popular song is a little off, it should really go “My milk bottle brings all the calves to the yard, And they’re like, I’ll be all yours, Mooo, I’ll be all yours.” Incidentally I sang that enough times while helping with the milking that my grandma actually looked up the song.

That was also the end of my singing that song.

I could tell right away that Charlie was something special. He had a tan coat with a big black splotch right on the end of his nose. It was easy to spot him from far away with that giant beak of a nose. And his nose, with its moist skin and tiny peach fuzz hairs; it was on the softest out of all the calves. He would just make your heart melt. When trying to bottle feed he would stick out his giant pink tongue and indiscriminately slobber all over both my hand and the bottle until he found the milk he was looking for.

My summer crush might have come to an early end if I had not convinced my dad to bring Charlie to our farm. By “farm” I mean we kept one cow at a time and had three chickens. Live it up dad. As Charlie grew we became closer. Even though he no longer needed to be bottle fed, I would still slip him some extra grain now and again, and I was the only one who could give that perfect head scratch right on the top of his head where his horns were starting to come in.

As Charlie grew, so did our love. Or, at least I thought it did. Come Spring, he started to change. My mom had talked to me about this sort of thing, but it was still unexpected. He no longer enjoyed the things that brought us together, a gentle head scratch, or a stolen moment before I dashed off to school. Instead he spent his time at the fence bordering the neighbor’s property. While I liked to think he was just pining for the grass on the other side, I had a feeling it was that fat black and white Bessie that drew his eye.

How am I supposed to compete with that? I was skinny tween with pimples and only two legs. She had a glistening coat and a layer of fat to be envied. So I did what any rational, loving person would do in this situation. I held my head up and convinced my dad to lock him up on the far side of the pasture.

I practically skipped home from the bus stop, sure that my love had remembered me at last. I entered the pasture and called to him. His ears perked up, his head turned in my direction. The grass in his mouth fell to the ground. He came running, and it was like a scene out of Baywatch as we ran in slow motion to one another. Only, he didn’t stop running. I stopped, and started to back up, but he kept charging full speed ahead. It was at that moment I realized I had made a terrible mistake.

WHAM!

I don’t remember much after that, only that the giant yellow and green bruise the length of my thigh was a constant reminder of the fickle, fickle nature of men. And that Bessie was a bitch.

Violins & Ribs

So I was walking into my local Sprouts and they were grilling slabs of ribs for purchase. My husband and I decided to snag a half slab as we were leaving. We were about to get in our car and leave when I heard the sound of a violin. There was a man playing off to the side of the store. I was immediately reminded of this article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

So we decided to take the time, stop, and eat our freshly purchased ribs outside on a picnic table instead of rushing home.  It was extremely pleasant to eat outside, enjoy some live music, and take some time to enjoy life rather than rush through it.

Death & Taxes

So it’s tax time, and I’m sitting here avoiding doing my taxes by doing everything else I can possibly think of.  (I’ve now cleaning out my email inbox, responded to every email, done dishes, cleaned the apartment, played with my cat, and drafted a couple blog posts)

I hate doing my taxes.  I know everyone does, but doing taxes makes me feel like I fail as a adult.  Whenever I do my taxes I’m always reminded that I should do a better job of keeping track of bills, payments, incoming funds, etc…  As a freelancer there are whole other aspects to doing taxes that I never had to worry about when working a 9 to 5.  And since my husband and I both freelance it feels even more difficult.  Maybe I’m just being a whiny baby, but it’s hard to remember to keep track of the receipts that have mailing envelopes on them, much less plane tickets or equipment costs.

Doing taxes just reminds me that I hate dealing with paperwork.  I know I’m better than some people.  I was raised by two accountants, so at least I try to balance my checkbook every month and I save what receipts I can.  I guess I just know how much better I could do, and it is disheartening to realize that I fall way short of what I could be doing.

Death and taxes: the only certainties in life.  I feel like you can do both exceedingly well or exceedingly poorly.  I plan on dying exceedingly well when I’m 111 and after I’ve given my Bilbo Baggins speech, but I’m pretty mediocre when it comes to taxes.

Spring Cleaning, with Flowers

Spring Cleaning, with Flowers

Apartment Therapy does what is called a “January Cure” where you go through your home (in my case apartment) and spruce up and organize your place based on a monthly schedule. Click the link above to check it out. I looked doing it last year but never got around to  it.  Even though I’m coming late to the party (January is basically over) I’ve decided to go ahead and take the cleaning plunge (notably since I still have Christmas decorations up).

The first step is making a list of the things you would like to organize/change/fix.

* * *
Easily done. The next step is to buy flowers, thoroughly clean all your floors, and stock up on green cleaners.
Eh… It’s late at night and I’m not feeling the floor cleaning. I have laundry going and that will occupy me once it’s done, so I will save the 2nd task for another day!
The real purpose of this post is that I think flowers are something people should buy more often. I grow flowers on my patio and cut them regularly to display inside. If anyone is looking for a lovely addition, Lavender makes an excellent garden plant: it keeps spiders away, the flowers are edible, the leaves are versatile for cooking, it looks gorgeous, and the flowers smell wonderful.
In addition I like to buy flowers from a local flower shop– they sell a bunch of daisies for $5 and I am always cheered up by having the fresh bouquet in the house. My favorite flower to have around is a lily. They smell divine and are lovely in shape and color. Just be warned if you have a cat that eats plants– lilies are poisonous to pets. Luckily my cat has eyes only for cat grass and leaves my flowers alone.
When I go over to friend’s places I rarely see flowers, or plants at all. I think it’s a real shame since bringing nature inside really brightens your day and often leaves an amazing aroma. I’ve even given flowers to female friends on their birthday’s and they seem bewildered, like they don’t know what to do with the flowers.
Anyways, I’m glad my Spring Cleaning Cure starts with flowers. If it’s still winter where you live, bring some nature inside to keep you company while you clean, or hibernate. You deserve it.

Recording the Win

Recording the Win

So often in life we record the bads, the days that don’t work, the times we’re frustrated, the moments when people disappoint us. As I was reading Real Simple this month I was struck by the idea of making a Victory Log each day. This is “a list of everything you’ve accomplished that day, including small acts of kindness and good choices.”

This really struck me because it would be a self-feeding list. If I’m recording when I opened the door for the lady with two kids, or the jogger I waved at I am more likely to continue doing these things, and begin looking for them. It would also be a better meter for life than a diary list of grievances if you are looking back.

Since I try to write down a few things every night to accomplish the next day, adding a tally of things I did to make others lives better or good choices I made that day would be a nice way to wrap up today and remember the wRight.Now before moving on to the tomorrow.