Sleep hygiene chaos, plus essential knowledge gained

I finished What’s the Alternative?:  Career Options for Library and Info Pros by Rachel S. Gordon, last night…at about 3 AM.  I may want to go back and reread sections of it, and I know that I will want to look back into the books referenced, in Appendix D.

Did I mention this took place at 3 AM?

My sleep schedule is all messed up:  I lay down at 8:30 PM, fell asleep after 9 PM, then woke (2:15 AM), took medication; lay back down, got up (3 AM), ate a little, fell back to sleep (4:30 AM), woke for breakfast (11:30 AM), went back to sleep (12:30 PM), woke about 4 PM.  This is why I don’t like trying to change my sleeping schedule!

I know I need to be going to bed earlier, but I have constant experience with lethargy, unless I have slept for 14-16 hours.  In today’s case it could have been because I didn’t take my (sedating) medication until 2:15 in the morning, though.  And yesterday it could have been because I didn’t take medication until 1 AM.

Hmm.  Now that I’m looking at my records, my medication time has been shifting later and later (I’m supposed to take it at 9 PM, which is why I know I fell asleep after 9, last night:  the medication alarm went off; and I turned it off and fell asleep without taking it).  I can try and do something about that, and hope (?) that it makes it easier to get up in the morning…and that it won’t just contribute to oversleeping.

I mean, obviously I was tired, if I lay down at 8:30 PM, right?

Anyhow…I learned in What’s the Alternative? that, at least as of the time the book was published (2008), it would not be expected that one could learn essential tech skills in order to open up technology-based career paths, just from classes in LIS.  Because of that…if I want to work in Web Design after getting out, I’ll have to teach myself programming.  Either this, or I could re-enter Computer Information Systems training after graduation; I’m just not entirely certain how I’ll fit that in, timewise.  And that’s largely because I don’t know what kind of job I will have at that time.

I’ve compared the Graphic Arts and CIS curricula; CIS is actually closer to what I need.  And I’ve actually compared the two systems teaching this which are nearest me…I can do this.  I might be able to do this by cutting some courses out of my future Master’s program and taking Community College courses in CIS, in person, but that doesn’t seem like the best option.

Alright:  I’ve just sent off an email about this.  I should probably try and get ready for bed, as I did just take medication, and I don’t have anything to do except homework.  (I suppose that’s a good thing, as I have three assignments due in a week.)  The hard part will be actually contacting and setting up meeting times for the assignment I was given last week…though I guess that in a pinch, I can have family test what I need tested…

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Buying, Writing, Doing: The Triad of my Present Dilemma

It’s become increasingly apparent to me that it is much easier to purchase art supplies than it is to apply them in creative ways.  It doesn’t seem that this in any way should really be a problem for me:  I did work my way through an AA program in Art (I couldn’t justify it the first time around with my BA, nor at the Master’s level…at least, currently), so I know that there is some part of me that is creative.  I also know that I’m skilled, though as I said before, when I don’t exercise those skills, they’re hidden within me.

Unless I practice, my skill and creativity won’t have the chance to show themselves, or to develop beyond the point they are at, now.  Maybe the problem I’m facing (starting out with incipient projects) is the one faced by writers of all types (which I’m well familiar with, as my BA actually was in Creative Writing):  fear of the blank page.  Or white paper.  Basically, it’s the same thing.

What I can latch onto right now are the exercises which build increasing familiarity with my media. Right now, I am very, very drawn to water-based media (inks, acrylic inks, acrylic paints, watercolors, water-based block printing).  I have a feeling that this is majorly because I don’t like to deal with toxins when they’re unnecessary, and cleaning out watercolor brushes isn’t a big deal to me, at present.

Ah — and, I used to work more in dry media (pencils, pens, colored pencils, most apparently) — until I got tired of the tiny point of contact with the paper (give me brushes) and the graininess of most of my attempts.  (Keep in mind here that my Prismacolors were purchased well before the year 2000, so I don’t have the advantage of the smoother laydown of the new formulations, in that brand.)  In contrast, inks and paints are much more…captivating for me:  they lay down solid, (usually) unbroken, and (usually) more vivid color.

Color is something that I at one time began to organically grow into (toward the end of my stay in Community College) — and then I restarted the Library & Information Science program.  At that point, my energy focused on the goal of gaining an MLIS in order to be able to be a Librarian, so that I could have a steady income stream, hopefully benefits (though I have heard that these are increasingly being cut in Librarianship proper) and work within one of my areas of interest, while also performing a social good.  In my spare time, and with the spare resources I would gain from being an Information professional (or so I’ve heard), I have planned to work on my Art, thus bolstering my psychological resilience.

Right now…it’s hard for me to formulate or say what my point is, within LIS.  It’s where I am now, and it’s what I know, but that doesn’t really count for much of anything when I realize that I’m already at the top of my pay scale and will have to change positions soon if I want to become more efficient at earning money.

What I want to be doing right now, is helping to construct Web pages.  It’s fairly evident, even just through my experience with this blog and my drive to personalize and edit its structure.  It fits in with my other two degrees in the aspect of being production-based, but not entirely so much in the fact that it’s technical.  I presently do not have the ability to customize pages and sites.  If I keep on in the LIS program, I may eventually gain the skills, however:  and a new perspective on the experience of designing for someone else.

I have a feeling, though, that this will put me about even with the youth coming out of high school in this era — technically speaking.  Technology flows on, and keeping current with it is one of the things to which I’ve resigned myself.  Design, however, is a specialty, and requires skills and knowledge that not everyone has.  And, as has become increasingly apparent, it’s not about me or my expression (as versus Art, which seems to require drilling deeply into myself to draw out something that only I can do).

Right now I’m in a class on User Experience, which is an aspect of Design — and it’s very apparent that Design encompasses much more than the utilization of art skills.  Designing is not the same thing as producing Art, unless the person you’re designing for is you.

And writing for yourself is not the same thing as writing for someone else.

I think that if I did not have the fear of repercussions for expressing anything unique, I would have an easier time with both Art and Writing.  But I’m old enough to know that expression begets consequences.  Whether those are good or bad consequences is unknown and ultimately subjective; whether praise or hatred will prevail is yet to be seen.

This could be the reason why I have seen so many take a brash stance against this psychic wall…because if you don’t stand strongly, the force of that wall could crush your light down into a black hole.

Of course, it helps to have solid grounding and conviction in something reasonable, first.

M has expressed frustration that I have been acquiring supplies — particularly for painting — and have not progressed beyond, “little squares.”  (I’m not sure she understands how difficult the medium of watercolor is, however…)

My little squares, though they could be made in a more aesthetically pleasing manner, are doing something for me:  they’re familiarizing me with the medium.  I don’t feel comfortable jumping from having done nearly nothing into a place where I have no ground to stand on and don’t know how to kick or stroke.

Doing that, and working out my familiarization in a way in which I am likely to destroy my first five paintings (if not more), would be…almost traumatic, for me.  So I’m working on little squares.  Little squares, I can handle; and although the progression there is incremental, and likely to hit a roadblock when I try actually using the colors in application, at least it is something, and I’m learning from it.  Without something, I’m paralyzed because I’m being expected to perform as an intermediate or advanced student without having taken beginner classes.

Maybe M can move forward like that; but I’ve noticed that, in her own design work, she doesn’t think ahead.  She plunges forward and then hits a roadblock and doesn’t know where to go from there.  In contrast, I think things out much further, but then am criticized for my tentativeness and my expensive preparations and my lack of starting.

And actually, now that I’m looking at my notes, I can also see a pattern here:  and not just in the delicateness of my process and my work.

I probably write about art so much because it’s easier for me to write about art than it is for me to get up the courage to actually do it.  I’ve been writing nearly constantly, for all of my life.  Writing is familiar to me, and it’s easier for me to do this than it is for me to sit down with a paintbrush, no matter the chances of coming out with something beautiful as an end product (though maybe I will try and keep that in mind as a goal.  I have a chance of making something beautiful if I risk failure.  If I do not, I have no chance of doing the same).

Writing about work, though, is not at all equivalent to actually doing it.

I’ve got to make a number of lifestyle changes relatively soon.  Many of these — most, actually — are related to my mental and physical health.  I need to floss regularly.  I need to brush my teeth and wash my face well in advance of bedtime.  I need to avoid late nights (sugar cravings come on after 11 PM).  I need to drink more water and avoid excess sugar.  I need to shower more often, and to exercise (and stretch) more often and more regularly; and if I can, I ought to try to meditate regularly (doing all of this may allow me to reduce my medications…and drop down a few sizes).

Along with this — I wonder if it would be too much of a strain for me to try and wake up with the Sun, so I have all the hours of the day to do my work and my art, as versus doing art in the afternoon and taking photos in the late afternoon or evening (when it’s dark).  Or, less optimally, doing art at nighttime with less-than-natural light.

It’s something to think about.  Maybe tonight I can try going to bed early, instead of trying to wring all the good I can get out of the day, and see if I am able and willing to get up at, say, 7 AM tomorrow (as I tried to do, today).  And maybe if I have the art play as a lure to get me out of bed…I’ll actually do it.

At least I have some idea of what has to be done.

And I have a timeline.  Tomorrow and Sunday are going to be fun.  Well; in all seriousness, I should be able to complete everything…I think…because what I have to read isn’t too long.  I will have to spend some time playing around with one or more tools, but …as long as I look at it as hands-on play with the principles I’m learning, I think I’ll be OK.  And before I forget, after I finish my reading, I’ll have to look at a couple more lectures…

Recently, I’ve been getting a little homesick for the watercolors (any mixable intense colors, really — I found myself eyeing the acrylic inks again)…but I can work with those, say, on Monday afternoon, after I’ve turned in my assignments.  I also have one more assignment to make up (I know which class it’s for, don’t worry — it’s just another Discussion post), but the good thing is that it’s the only graded assignment that I missed and haven’t submitted, at this point.

The other good thing is that I should be able to move on, next week.  That is, we will be moving on to other things after my three graded assignments are turned in.  (>_<;;)  As long as I don’t engage my professors for additional time, the pain should be over, then.

And yeah…I am still having issues with difficulty concentrating, but it’s getting better, I think.  I’ve been taking breaks to exercise, and trying not to eat too much directly after that (fruit has helped), as I find that I’m still gaining weight even though I’m exercising and getting stronger.

Right now…I’ve been trying to study since I woke up (though I wasn’t able to get up as early as I would have liked — between 7 AM and noon, I was too groggy to be able to formulate a clear idea [that I wanted] to wake and study, or that it would have been desirable to get out of bed [because a large part of me didn’t want to]).

I’ve also got to keep myself from using the blog as too much of a coping mechanism:  that is, I think that writing is a coping mechanism for me, this being why it was the only constant (I felt) in my life in late undergrad work.  Hey, maybe sleep is a coping mechanism, too.  It actually wouldn’t be too bad if exercise was a coping mechanism…

I’m having difficulty concentrating right now, too, and am unsure whether I should just go to bed…though I wanted to note that I’ve been told that having almost any kind of Master’s degree shows that I can set my mind on and achieve goals…which is helping my motivation, a bit.

Organizing beads…

Well, I did make it out of the house — both to the plastics store (for styrene vials), and to the dollar store, today.  That is, the Japanese dollar store, where they (still) had the little clear plastic boxes with sliding drawers.  I’ve learned to pick these things up while they’re available, as I’ve gone back there for more of an item before (that is, a box to hold watercolor tubes), to find they’re no longer stocked.

Unfortunately, this and what followed ended up taking up the rest of the evening (although I still am really glad I was able to find bobbins for my embroidery thread — which will take perle cotton, but not in a straightforward manner), so I wasn’t really able to even get another chance to study until at least 8 PM.  I’m at the computer right now, and must have started this session around 10:30 PM.  What have I been doing in the meantime?  Reorganization.  And collocation.

What the latter means in non-library terms is that I was taking a lot of time to pull together similar items and relocate them into the same place so that I don’t have to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out where I put that ½ hank of size 8º seed beads I got three years ago.

(As mentioned in prior posts, given a bead size of Xº, the higher the number of X, the smaller the size of bead.)

And I’ve figured out that the Czech seed beads really needed to be brought together in one place, in order to be seen as available to be used.  Czech seed beads are normally sold in hanks (12 strands) or half-hanks (6 strands) or by the strand, as versus loose in tubes or bags.  Although:  the newer types of Czech shaped multihole beads, I have seen sold loose in bags (and stranded, for the larger types), and the small (8g) tubes have been becoming more popular for specialty beads, like the SuperDuos.  I also used to be able to buy 6º Czech seed beads loose in large tubes (20g?) from a local bead store, though that store no longer has a physical storefront.

(The larger Czech seed beads, as versus larger Japanese seed beads, have a relatively different shape; and as I’ve said before, the sizing between Japanese and Czech beads is definitely not identical, just taken on the whole [though Japanese beads also differ in shape between brands, even when you aren’t dealing with Delica-beads-as-versus-everything-else].  However, it’s been so long since I’ve used Czech 11ºs that I’m not entirely sure which is smaller.  I think it is that Czech 11º rounds tend to be smaller and more donut-shaped than Japanese 11º rounds, though.)

Anyhow, buying beads strung on hanks (as most of the basic, small round Czech beads are sold [or were, at least:  some of my earliest bead acquisitions were bought in this manner, prior to the year 2000 — I still have most of a hank of beautiful light topaz {I’d assume the color is light topaz} silverlined beads which must be a Czech size 10º or something — they’re not a standard size, because I didn’t know what I was doing when I bought them]) means that they’re kind of hard to store, unless you have someplace to hang them.  (Even that isn’t ideal, though, unless you don’t mind the beads getting dusty — or have a cabinet with doors for them — or use them up so fast that they don’t get a film on them [which is unlikely, unless you’re seriously manufacturing].)

With the little drawer things, I can lay the half-hanks out in flat layers and then change which beads I’m looking at by opening and closing (or removing) drawers.  I was kind of surprised that some of these hanks weren’t even stored in bags; they were just lying in a drawer or in a box somewhere, for some reason I have long since ceased to remember.

Anyhow, now I have six little clear drawer sets (I didn’t think it was overkill, but), one of which is nearly full of tiny empty vials — I’m going to need that space.  I also have a couple of craft boxes cleared out because of pulling together the perle cotton with the embroidery floss, and emptying another one of oversized vials (which are now in a translucent plastic container — so that I can see them, so that I can remember I have them, and hopefully, use them).

I should get to bed, though.  My second-to-last thought here, is whether it will ultimately be worth it to unstring bits of the hanks of Czech beads, just to make them more (psychologically) available for use.  I do have the vials to hold small amounts, after all…I’ll just need to mark the lids, “C,” or something, as versus “J.”

My last thought here is that I had to realize why it was that I was doing the beading.  I’ve got to decide whether I am doing this for myself (which I ultimately am), or doing this as a business.  If I just want to bead for myself, there’s no harm in using others’ patterns and instructions and being inspired by what’s already out there (because my ultimate goal is something other than making money, and I largely don’t have to worry about copyright infringement if I’m a hobbyist).

If I want to do this as a business, though, I’d need more experience in construction and design.  Working on other people’s patterns and altering them will likely lead to an understanding of fundamentals, but at some point it will become apparent that I actually am creating new patterns, and with those I can gain some compensation.  However, compensation is not the bottom line:  being able to sustain a beading hobby, is.

Which reminds me that I should get to bed so that I can earn some money, tomorrow…

Back to work!

These days off are starting to become an exercise in evading useless procrastination.  I have been able to convert today into useful procrastination, but still.

Sometime this afternoon, I was in bed and realized that I wasn’t tired anymore, and the only reason I actually was still in bed was because I didn’t want to work on the effing DDC homework.  Given that, I got up, and I’m pretty sure that what I did was start on the exercise bike and do some sit-ups.  Then I played around with a fitness game, ate dinner, and took a shower.  Now, here I am, about to restart the d*mn DDC homework.

I initially woke today at about 6 AM, listened to the lecture for Research Methodologies, then did some reading for Metadata which clarified that I have at least four chapters to read in about a week and a half.  I also ate some grapes and a tangerine, then went back to bed, to awake to a ringing phone and the above realization which prompted me out of bed.

I’ve found that hanging out in bed is probably the worst thing I can do, because it causes an even greater loss of time for me than what would occur if I were awake and just doing something I wanted to do (and not whatever I’m avoiding).  That is to say:  it’s very easy for time to slip away from me faster than I realize, when I’m asleep.

Within the next three days, I have 12 hours which are a total loss because I have to go to work.  The rest of the time, aside from sleep, hygiene, food, and exercise, is free…so I hope.

I’ll try and hack at this DDC homework some more now…I did skim over the lecture which this work is linked to, and apparently I just have to read the notes really really closely and not skim them (which is what I’ve been doing, because most of it doesn’t matter).  Even when the notes don’t make sense.

H*ll, at least I’ve realized that I don’t have to add in the Table number along with the number specified in the Table…(complicated, confusing story; sorry I mentioned it)…

Nine days to go!

Well, I’ve got a couple of assignments, down.  I completed the last Discussion Post assigned for Intellectual Freedom (will there be another one? unsure — but at least I did what I could).

I was sitting around trying to figure out whether to write and what to write and where to write it, or if I should just go and draw/write in my art journal, when I realized that this would be a good opportunity to stop procrastinating and get some work done so that I can break the anxiety/avoidance cycle.

All procrastination really gives me is anxiety, and anxiety makes me want to hide, and hiding is detrimental to the goal of getting work done, which is detrimental to the goal of staying in the program, which is detrimental to the goal of having a stable career, which is detrimental to the goal of having leisure time for writing and art.  (The work does have to be done, eventually; and while there is a place for self-care and nurturing, it cuts down on the total anxiety I feel dramatically when I get the work done earlier, rather than later.)

So there are several things left to do now, but the majority of them do not have to be done immediately.  The exception is my Subject Guide for Diversity, which I have the parts for, but which I haven’t assembled, yet (largely due to being grossed out over the dirtiness of the library books).  I have most of the day to work on it tomorrow; it is due the day after.  But if I can turn it in early, that sounds like a better plan than delaying until the (absolute) last minute.

I can also work on my final group project…which majorly involves research (I have a date tomorrow night — by which time I’ll need to have done some work).  In particular, analyzing web sites.  Joy, right.  (It would be more interesting if I didn’t have so many other demands.)

Then I can add in my Reflections on my Librarian Interview paper and turn it in early (it’s already nine pages!!!), plus get started on my Privacy paper (which is as yet, unstarted:  due nine days from now).

As well, Discussion #3 and my course evaluations can be completed:  the latter, at any time.  After that, I just have to worry about my Competency paper and the final Quiz for my Database class.  After everything’s submitted, I should archive it.  Then — I think — I’ll be done.  Of course, there will be more work thrown in there around my Database group, but if I stay on top of things, it won’t matter.

I do wish that I had been listening in on the “Help Sessions” for Diversity class…if I’d known they were either required or extremely useful, I would have been.  But they were called “Help Sessions,” not “Lectures,” and I missed the data in the Syllabus.  I don’t even know if I was expected to read the entire textbook; which, I might have known, if I were listening in on the “Help Sessions.”  Something I can mention in my evaluation.  However, I have learned a number of things, this semester:

  1. Read the Syllabus deeply and thoroughly at the beginning of the course!
  2. Don’t be afraid to include outside research in your answers, even if it is just a Discussion question.  Cite your sources in the document — ALA format.
  3. When you’re responding to a question, don’t assume anyone will remember what the question is or was; as portfolio evidence, you don’t want to have to include the prompts as a separate file.  Either paraphrase the question in your response, or quote the question in your submission.

And, I think I’ve finally managed to learn how to use the Portfolio tool.

I can’t think clearly enough right now to organize this into a list, but I’m pretty sure these are all the commitments I’ve got (besides work).  And I have a little over a week in which to do them.

I’m not sure if I should save getting my pens until the 13th, just to give myself a break and a reward for powering through these last days…