On the lull...

Let's talk about my dearth of personal creativity for a moment, shall we?

I feel like I really have been writing a tremendous amount, lately, just not for anything personal. I gave National Novel Writing Month a pass for the first time in a couple of years, this last month, and i had to reluctantly give up an opportunity to write for our local town paper when I forced myself to recognize that i have exactly 17 spare seconds a day of late. And I really want to use those 17 seconds well. You know, for the important stuff, like seeing one of the kids, or catching up on my missed issues of Conan comic books. Whichever seems easier.

But I've also launched a couple of experiments lately, including the use of blogs at work, in an effort to create a more transparent and collaborative environment across multiple sites and geographies. The team I work with is spread out from California to central Europe to India and beyond, and trying to coordinate across that many people and time zones has always been a nightmare. So I figured I'll take a little bit of the experience I've had maintaining the 'Groove in my personal life, and see if I can't make it work for me in my professional life as well. After all, what's the worst that could happen? Otherwise, most of my writing has been in crafting PowerPoint deck after PowerPoint deck, giving me a tendency to communicate with everyone in bullets or clip art format. Which makes dinnertime conversation a little tricky.

And, of course, there are the holidays to prepare for. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, inviting over a couple of colleagues who had relocated from Switzerland to the U.S. recently. And we felt that they really should experience the Thanksgiving tradition first hand. They were amazed at the amount of food, and we explained that this was part of the tradition. Also, when we set off the smoke alarm by leaving the sweet potatoes in the oven a skosh too long, this also was part of the Thanksgiving tradition. As an added little present, every smoke alarm in our house is connected in some complicated example of modern technology, so that if one goes off, they all go off. Making it Extra Loud. Yay.

In another American tradition, we've moved directly from Thanksgiving into Christmas planning. For the first time, i got up at 4 AM on the Friday after thanksgiving to get over to the local Wal-Mart and snag one of their giant LCD 46" tv's that was on sale! For only 15 minutes! For next to nothing! Get here now! So I did. And it was insane.But my TV is beautiful. True, we had to move the couch back another 6 feet, because as much as I love her and every deep-fried and buttery thing she represents, I'm just not that into seeing every pore on Paula Deen's face in glorious HD detail. But it is beautiful.

We also discovered the Massachusetts tradition of holy-crap-winter-is-really-cold-here. And have discovered that the first cord of wood we ordered was going to be enough to last only about the middle of December. To make it through the winter, we've ordered more cords. Even though people have told me the dimensions on multiple occasions, I still don't really know what a cord is as a unit of measure. I just know that it's going to take approximately one and a half forests to keep this fireplace lit this year. And as much as I want them to, the firewood deliver-ers have not been willing to neatly stack all that wood when they bring it to our house. Which means for a while we had a small mountain of split trees sitting next to our house, until we finished building what amounted to a wall of stacked wood that could have kept out the Picts.

So I keep promising myself that I'll write more, and keep finding obstacles. Mostly in motivation. But also, stacking a forest worth of wood has left my arms sore to the point that doing too much beyond waggling my fingers in a slow, vaguely back and forth motion leaves me weeping. But feeling better about having stuffed my gullet with more turkey than can be good for any three people. But with snow on the way, I'm guessing I'm going to have more 'trapped in the house, gee what can we do' time to fill.