Spring hail – making plans but remembering to stay flexible

It is just gone 8:30 on Sunday. I’ve been up for hours and I don’t know that I have that much to show for my efforts.

I’m in a bit of a rush…

I have a stack of writing to do. Some of it will be fun. Some of it I’m dreading – but I have to do it. (I should possibly have started with the must-do writing rather than this post.)

I’m dressed to go to the gym.* I must go to the gym. I must, I must, I must. I’m not convinced this afternoon’s weather will be walk-friendly. I could take one of my little notepads and pencils with me so I can jot down ideas for this afternoon’s writing. That would make sense.

Finally, I’ve decided to reinforce the sense of being in a rush by passing over my regular Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven options for writing. Instead I’m listening to The Black Eyed Peas. The idea there is that I won’t settle into the mooching about that is so tempting on a Sunday morning.

Mooching is especially tempting today after yesterday’s storms.

Light hail falling on the Reid Library moat
I always want to stop and watch hail as it falls

The photo I’ve chosen doesn’t really show the hail shower from yesterday. It is, however, one of my favourite views from the reading terrace.

The hail stones that fell outside the Reid were just pebble sized. They fell and bounced on the turf. The water lilies closed in protest. Everyone on the terrace stopped to watch the shower. The hail melted in minutes.

The storm was much more severe in other suburbs. My social media streams have had a flurry of images showing flooding and destruction. Some of us were able to have fun with the storm. My thoughts are with those who didn’t have that luxury.

The last hail storm I was caught in was terrifying. It was back in 2010 and a freak storm hit Perth. I’ve never been so scared.

Yesterday’s storm – for me – was ‘gentle’. One of my favourite people had called by uni for a quick chat and cup of tea. The booming thunder made us jump and laugh. We took pictures of the hail. We sat back and talked about various approaches to study and revision. We planned blog posts.

The storm went on around us. The air cooled and after a while we went inside, but for the most part we sat on the terrace with our tea and enjoyed the weather.

We passed the time. The storm passed.

Hitting twenty

Despite the louring clouds, yesterday’s storm took me by surprise.

So did the realisation – despite the regular ‘You’ve posted your xth…’ message that pops up after posting – that this is my twentieth post.

Twenty posts seems as good a time as any to step back and think how things are going.

My original plan was to create a space to ‘think out loud’. I think I’m doing that.

I’ve realised that the space I wanted wasn’t just about the physical space of the blog. It was also about the time that I made in my schedule – for reflection and planning as well as writing.

I know that I spend a lot of time – perhaps too much time – thinking.

I like the processes that go with analysis and planning. I like putting ideas together. I like just playing with them – for no reason or purpose other than the moment of play.

Riffing on an idea is my idea of a good time.

Turning up to write a post is proving to be a useful tool for reflecting on whether I’ve made any progress and setting out what I’m planning to do next.

There’s also the bonus of being part of a community of bloggers. I can see that reading, liking, commenting on, following other people’s blogs is part of being a member of the community.

I’m afraid I’m not a terribly good community member, though.

I’ve just finished Blogging 101 and I have a lot – read most – of the activities left to do. There are people whose blogs I follow and I don’t get to check in on them nearly as much as I’d like. I hardly ever leave a well constructed, thoughtful comment. There never seems time and I worry about being trite.

I like to take time to think before I write. (There it is again. That whole thinking it over before making a commitment thing. I do a lot of paper-free drafting before setting words down.)

The community element is so important, though. Otherwise, I can see this blog might be just self-indulgent alternative to a personal journal. That’s not my intention. I’m happy to be a part of conversations. I like conversations.

That said, I can also be pretty quiet during face-to-face conversations. You might know how it is; I listen and find myself just thinking things through. Sometimes the conversation ends, people move on and then, then, I work out what I want to say.

I might need to take a moment to sign. I tend to sigh a fair bit. I should stop.

Fully blown yellow rose
A week on and fading

I took another picture of the rose bud I used for last week’s post yesterday morning. It doesn’t look like the same flower but it is.

Time moves on. Roses fade. Hail melts. Opportunities to relevantly articulate a thought drift away.

Where am I going with this?

I don’t want to be wasting time. Mine or anyone else’s.

In the past week I’ve been thinking a lot about how quickly time goes. Whether you’re having fun or not. I’m fortunate in that I mostly have fun.

It is one of the most helpful things about having an irreverent sense of humour. I don’t always share it but I do tend to amuse myself.

It’s just over 10 weeks to the New Year. That’s ok. I’ve made pretty good progress with the goals I set myself earlier in the year but longer-term planning is critical for me right now.

If I take the full 8 years maximum as a part-time student for a PhD I have 416 weeks. I’m three weeks in, so there are 413 weeks left.

If I can do it in the minimum 312 weeks as a part-timer, I have 309 weeks left.

I think I’ll need to spend more than the 309 weeks. I hope I don’t need to use up all 413.

As I move through the next 350 weeks (splitting the difference, more or less, seems like a fair thing), I think that the thinking out loud element of this blog is going to be important to me. I’m aware that I lost touch with reading for enjoyment and just plain fun while I was completing my MMEMS. I prefer that not to happen again.

The fact of the matter is there is reading and writing that I want and need to do that is outside my topic.

I’ve been loving reading on public transport, for example.

My car is back from the repairer and I need to use it to get to appointments after work. I’m one (short) commute from finishing Slaughterhouse 5 and I’d really like to report back on how that went for me once I finish it.

Plain clock face showing 8:00.
Time flies

The year is ebbing away. Today is slipping away. (How is it nearly 10:30 now?) I’ve reached this twentieth blog point in almost no time at all. Or, so it seems.

Thank you for stopping by to read – and for reading (skimming, skipping) to the end.

Thank you for letting me think about all this out loud.

*Apart from my shoes. I tend to leave putting on my shoes to the last possible moment. I take them off as soon as I can. There’s no getting around the fact that I’m not a huge fan of shoes.

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