Huh. When I don't set ambitious goals, I'm utterly unproductive. Not just less productive - completely unproductive. "Meh, that's too easy, not worth reaching for," I think is the internal logic. I have mixed feelings on being able to count the 2.5 hours I spent on the GRE today as "productivity," but that's basically what happened today. That and a couple emails, I'm

Hands hurting, brain churning out junk instead of useful stuff. I'm gonna call a moratorium on output-productivity tonight and clean the house and get myself in order - read a book, think, maybe write a bit with paper and a pen. And get up early tomorrow morning, reset my sleep schedule. I'm not always sure how to fine-tune myself - it changes so rapidly I haven't yet managed to keep up with how my brain works all the time. Self-awareness is a long, slow road of learning - I am better at it than I was a decade back, but have a long way still to go.

All perishable items in my aunt's fridge have been consumed, and I am Very Full.

I'm also managing to stay on top of email for long stretches at a time, a coping skill I'm proud to have acquired (...hey, it only took me 1.5 months at Red Hat to reach this point, yay!) The trick is repeating the phrase "can I really do a better job of responding to this later?" to myself when checking emai, and realizing that 99.9% of the time the answer is no. (Note that this only works if you already don't check email that often. I am doing this about 3 times per day - morning, lunch, and evening - but am trying to get back down to two, or one.)

Someday I'd like to be able to act in a theatrical production - in a role with a name and actual lines (I have stood as faceless/mute/human-prop crowd-rabble in school productions). This pushes so many UTTER FEAR AND TERROR buttons (not to mention areas of current incompetence - hello, speech impediment, physical awkwardness, and shyness!) that it makes a good "get over this crap" gauge/concrete-goal.

There has been one exception, and to this day I don't understand how it happened. In 7th grade, I was Bert Healy in my middle school's production of Annie - so I had a name, actual lines during a scene, and a singing solo - albeit all very, very short ones. Bert Healy is the radio show host who interviews Annie and Daddy Warbucks, then sings a commercial for toothpaste disguised as an upbeat song about smiling. My guess is that I was the only girl with a low enough voice to sing the part - all the guys willing to act had already been cast. I worked with my school's speech therapist for months to learn how to say and sing the word "smile" properly, with the blended vowel and the 'l' at the end, since "smal" and "smile" sound alike to me (and so I say the former). Do you know how much effort it takes to memorize exactly how to pronounce every syllable in a short speech via muscle memory, so you can be... not just understood, but clear and accent-free, and conveying a character that isn't you? And how much concentration a 12 year old with no attention span has to put in to make that happen? And what that says about how badly I wanted to do this well?

My parents described themselves as "cringing in the audience." (It's probably among the weirdest praise I've ever gotten - something like "we're really proud of you! We thought you would mess this up, but you didn't!") Knowing about my speech and hearing and that I talk too fast and everything, they expected to be wincing all throughout my scene - I surprised them by pulling it off pretty well, and was so proud that I could do... if not spectacularly, at least decently enough to not be bad. I know I can do it, it just takes a lot of work. I want to be able to do it again. And... come to think of it, the expectation that I would do not-all-that-well (which I didn't know about until after the show, when they told me) may have had something to do with where my "I am bad at acting!" sense came from. Coming to realize this as I type right now.

Yay, digging up old programming and choosing to rewire it.