Busy or Productive?

I’ve been a little subdued and quiet the last couple of days, and have generally put it down to post-Christmas and indeed post-work tiredness. Without the artificial deadlines to work to I’ve been allowing myself to not get worried about being productive, and therefore haven’t been plunging into being busy. I think I’ve fallen into the creative trap of actively trying to be productive and instead falling into making busy work that hasn’t really satisfied by the end of it. Whether that’s been attempts at drawing that I’ve given up on after a few strokes, or attempts at cleaning that have ended up just moving things around and solving nothing – its been frustrating because I’ve been putting the expectation of things on myself.

So, bearing in mind I booked this time off, I’ve been consciously giving myself permission to sleep – and to just be. It’s made me aware just how tired in my bones I’ve become, and how much rushing around I’ve been doing. Stopping a while has been needed.

With the stepping back from trying to wrestle my brain into a more creative space has come some actual creative work – like the sketch page presented here – which I have quietly developed over the last couple of days while we’ve caught up with tv shows.

The quiet grind of editing short stories has also brought some dividends too, with a growing number of more polished pieces amounting up to a respectable collection of pieces suitable for publication in the near future. I’m very carefully not putting a deadline on that happening, but in my headspace I have an expectation on how much more I need to do and it isn’t as daunting as that felt even a few weeks ago.

So, by stepping back from being busy, I’ve ended up being more productive – and I doubt I’m the first person to notice this or comment on the irony of it. Some people thrive creatively working to deadlines, others don’t – and some, like myself, perhaps are creative in different ways or find more satisfaction in pieces created when not pushing to be busy for busyness’ sake.

I’m going to go and play some games online now, and not feel guilty that I’m not creating something, or working on something, or worrying about some deadline that really doesn’t matter because I made it up and there’s no need to stick to it. The world keeps turning.

Christmas and Beyond

As someone recently noted on social media, I live a strange life, and I embrace that and aim to keep it that way so it doesn’t lapse into being boring and dull. I am proud to include a diverse and vibrant bunch of people in my life and celebrate their individual journeys as well as our commonalities.

This Christmas has allowed us to reconnect and bond with friends, partners, family, and those who might wander between. I caught back up with my brothers, and the Charleesi, with friends who have built their own forge, my parents, my partners, and a variety of children attached to various of the above.

So the plan today has been to sit quietly with Lady M, give our presents to each other, watch TV, play games, and not stray too far from the sofa.

It’s not the family gathering we had planned, but it’s a good substitute and rest ahead of the excitement and busy weeks ahead.

Map-Making Evening

I was just thinking to myself: I’ve not been playing with Inkarnate much – so after sharing a bottle of wine with Lady M over supper, I’ve been making a random map I’ll probably never use. It’s been fun thinking about how I might throw it into a travelling session however.

Anyway, here’s the small and surprisingly rich riverside village of Brookside:

The original map has been published and available to clone at https://inkarnate.com/m/GXvlOw–brookside/ – enjoy!

Christmas Eve

Well, here we are again – well done everyone for getting through another chaotic time. I’ve been purely focused today on chilling out with the xbox after a busy few days – escorting Lady M and boy s in turn to get their booster jabs and running the gauntlet of last minute christmas shopping with them each for starters. Tomorrow is planned to be mostly round with boy s and the cub in the new flat to welcome in their first Christmas. I’m sure the cub will play up as far as he can push things – but then he’s eleven and I would expect nothing less.

So, I’m off back to watch some Masterchef and share some wine and curry with Lady M – see you on the other side

Well, that was unpleasant

I’m not sure if I’m putting it down to food poisoning, a mild case of whatever my stomach is doing, or sheer exhaustion but the last 24 hours were unpleasant.

Between running to the loo frequently and fluctuating temperatures I’ve been wiped out to the point that merely waking up with clogged sinuses this morning has been a pleasant relief.

Oh, and first order of business this morning is helping boy s chase the estate agents as the hot water tap fell off his bath last night and I’ve had to cut off the water to prevent a flood.

Good start…

A Very Polycule Christmas

I forgot to mention last night that boy s and Lady M ended the evening working out between themselves where I would be living for the next few days. They did so by debating among themselves who had the most energy vs the most things to do this week – in other words who had the capacity to put up with me for a few days. It was prompted by boy s feeling a bit down at the end of the game last night as we all packed up to go home. The prospect of going from a house full of people and laughter to it just being him and the cub was just making him a bit low, so Lady M volunteered me. I didn’t get any consultation on this, which I have not failed to rib the pair of them about all day.

My original plan had been to just have a quiet day playing on the XBox, but such was not to be – Lady M had her booster shot due in Kingston so I got dragooned into driving her to that but took advantage of it to sort out some boxes and envelopes for boy s for some items he needed to post so I could at least be useful in the process. Then I gathered an overnight bag, my laptop, a couple of journals and some pens and wandered over to the new flat while Lady M got back to work. I may be on holiday, but Lady M isn’t for a few more days – but that’s largely because I haven’t taken much time this year while she used her leave to recover from some things a few months back. So I’ve left her to it while she sorts things out ahead of her break – much as she let me get on with things to clear the decks for my work last week.

I think I’m just going to chalk this up to “unexpected things that are part of being polyamorous” – where teasing and silliness meet care and compersion, and the quieter partners sometimes bargain amongst themselves as to where the token extraverted person goes next so that they don’t feel overloaded. Its a thing I’ve seen in joking posts on social media before now but never encountered before this weekend. As our flats are about five minutes drive away from each other it isn’t really a huge issue – I’ve already made plans to wander back tomorrow to annoy Lady M and retrieve more of boy s’ laundry as I carry on finding more odds and ends he’s left behind in his moves. Well, that and annoy people by playing Christmas songs on Spotify because I seem to be the only person in the polycule particularly fussed about it this year. There are probably worse roles to have in life.

I think in part its down to having to cancel our plans to visit my parents so we’re having to stock our households up with food and drink, having run down the larders in anticipation of being away for a week or so. Still, better safe than sorry with omicron careening around our communities. I’m taking boy s to get his booster in a couple of days and that catches him up with pretty much everyone else at that point so that’ll be something to celebrate.

I still have difficulty as seeing myself as the extraverted person, but multiple Myers-Briggs tests over the years can’t be wrong – to be fair I do tend to recharge being around people along with being comfortable being alone so I think I’m a borderline case – which no doubt explains how I have no problem standing up in training courses and holding the floor. So that now leaves me sitting on the sofa playing Boney M songs while boy s triumphantly reclaims the cardigan I’ve been wearing today and curls up with a cider and his laptop. Welcome to Christmas

Don’t Split The Party

We descended on boy s at the new flat today to eat, socialise and play D&D along with Mx W and Lady B who were staying the weekend there too. We were enticed there by the offer of a roast dinner, as if we needed any real excuse to go catch up.

Roast gammon, potatoes, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, pigs in blankets and Yorkshire puddings all featured – and with boy s finally having induction pots and pans he was able to whip up a grand feast while we nattered in the other room and I toyed with Syrinscape software to cue up a soundboard for the game.

I’ve subscribed to the site so have access to all the sound packs, and still feel like I’m only just scratching the surface of it. I happily recommend it for DMs looking for some extra atmosphere for sessions.

And what a session – heavy on the roleplay as the group attended the university’s winter fair and interacted with various oddballs and situations before finding that a sage was present who could help with their missing memories from their first adventure – if they could find him as he seemed to have disappeared from inside a locked room in the library’s guest house.

Well, one thing led to another, and now they’re trapped inside a mansion in an extradimensional pocket searching for clues for a keyword to unlock the doors and get home. So far they’ve fought a swarm of animated books, been surprised by a cat, and greeted by homonculi housekeepers. They also split up, and are scattered throughout the mansion. Normally this wouldn’t be a too much of a challenge but they were at a social event and so don’t have most of their adventuring equipment or weapons.

As a result, they’re a little jumpy. I’ve not even started playing spooky music. That said four pickled hands just scrambled out of a jar to attack the dwarf at the end of the session so here’s to the next time we all get together…

And Now For A Break

Christmas is now going to be perpetrated – that’s about the best way I can describe it – across our various households and I have just finished wrapping a hefty chunk of the gifts I’m passing around this year. Our planned trip up north has fallen foul of – well I’d like to just wave my hands vaguely here at world events to encompass the chaos – so a smaller and more intimate gathering is planned round with boy s and the cub to welcome in their first Christmas in the new flat.

To facilitate that, I’ve spent most of this week running around patching and fixing as many little things at work as I can, and now I’ve stepped away and trust the people I manage to carry on being amazing. As is traditional at this time of trying to get away for a holiday, a massive piece of work landed in my lap around lunchtime. Fortunately, being the organised and professionally paranoid person that I am, I had everything I needed documented so was able to complete it with a minimum of growling – which was just as well as I then had a call from the school.

There had been an incident.

Fortunately nobody was hurt beyond some feelings, and the cub’s lesson has been to pay more attention to his verbal filters and to perhaps not make hand gestures when arguing with people. He’d already done all the self-flagellation by the time I got there so beyond some light teasing and a reassurance that he wasn’t in trouble, that was the end of that.

So. Hello my first holiday in a while – if we can just hold off on any seasonal colds, that would be lovely.

Rumble Rumble

The ongoing saga of my unstable innards continued today with the first attempt to try and find out what on earth is going on. I had an initial consult the other week, and by the end of next month I’m pretty sure I’ll have run out of places to be poked, prodded, scanned, and probed. Well, let the fun times roll, I guess. So, today’s trip was to have a CT-Scan which somehow I’ve never had before. I’ve had xrays with dyes injected, which is odd enough, but this was my first ever trip in the automatic polo sweet. So that was something I guess.

As is traditional with any medical testing procedure, I had to don the one-size-fits-none shirt and gown combination and when summoned duly padded through to answer all the questions I’d already answered at least three times already – but better safe than sorry and all that.

If you’ve never had a CT-Scan then basically they get a needle attached to get the dye in your arm, lie you down on the bed which then moves through the large metal loop full of magnets while a recorded voice tells you to breath in and hold your breath from time to time… And that’s about as exciting as these things get. At some point I’ll get the results, but I suspect the consultant will want to wait until after the endoscopy and colonoscopy booked in for next month.

So that’s something to look forward to. Sedations all round!

Tying Up Loose Ends

There’s an unseasonal warmth to the air that has been playing havoc with asthmatics locally, and that led me just now to note with bemusement that I was walking around outside in the middle of December in a tshirt. I’ve just got back from dropping some furniture round to boy s and bringing back in turn some coffee and the present of a new bottle of bramble gin. He’s really been able to start turning his flat into a home and is getting houseproud to a level that many people who have known him for years will scarcely recognise – mostly because this is actually his home, not just somewhere he’s living. It’s lovely to see – both for his pride, but also because I recognise the same behaviours from when I move in to somewhere new as well.

This week is mostly focused then on wrapping up as many loose ends as possible before the Christmas and New Year break – all while also spinning contingencies for any changes to what we can offer as a service in light of the growing prevalence of the omicron variant of covid. I have a mental list of things I need to prioritise tomorrow because they directly impact people’s pay and hours, but I also have no doubt that new and strange things will also pop up that need my input – oh, and I have a training course in the afternoon too – so that’ll keep me occupied.

I suppose I should also add into that list of things to do the need to finish wrapping people’s christmas presents. A fair portion of my family have had deliveries and hampers, but I also have a wardrobe stuffed with things and I really need to go through and double check I have got things for everyone. I’m pretty sure I have. I’m trying not to go overboard this year – so we’ll see how I do with that..! I’m now very conscious of all the people I’ve wanted to spend time with that I haven’t been able to this year – and trying to resist overcompensating with presents, and also to not torment myself given how odd and complicated the last eighteen months or so have been. Being mindful of how artificial most deadlines are goes a long way to helping with that.

On the plus side I do now have a large chunk of empty space where I can sort out some proper shelving in the living room.