the Alphabet of Right Now, 2015

The last time I wrote an Alphabet of Now was in 2011 and when I saw Lindsey's updated list on her site, I thought it might be interesting to record a list of right now.

A is for Aunt. I love being an aunt to my niece, Grace. I wrote about this during #reverb, how grateful I am for our relationship, one that I hope to see grow as she gets older. Our bond was fast, and she brings so much light into my life. I adore her. My father was an only child and my mom just has one brother. M is close to her aunts and has special relationships with them that I hope to foster with Grace. In a few months, I'll be an aunt to a little boy, and Grace will be a big sister. It will be amazing to get to know this new person in our family. I can't wait to be part of his life.

B is for Books. I'm trying to do more reading. I actually checked physical books out of the library and though I love reading on my iPad, it's nice to hold books and flip pages again.

C is for Collaboration. I'm in the process of collaborating with some really smart people who continually ask me to raise my game. I'm learning from them and really dig having people to share ideas with; I feel a lot less lonely in my research these days.

D is for Dishes, which I'm constantly doing. I love to cook and every time I do, I make a big mess and use a lot of dishes. I have a shallow sink so it feels like it's always full. Thankfully I have a dishwasher, which also seems always full. I'm glad I don't pay for water.

E is for Exploring, my word for 2015. I'm hoping to gain a new perspective, to add to my ways of understanding the world, myself, my relationships. I'm barely 2 months in but I can already see the ripples of my word taking root in some important ways.

F is for Friendship. I'm continually reminded of the amazing people I have in my life. I love that I have friends I can see once or twice a year and it's exactly like old times. I appreciate the connections I've made over time, and the genuine affection I have for new friends. My grandmother told me once that if you can have 2 people in your life that you can count on no matter what, then you'll never feel lonely. I tend to agree with her.

G is for the Gym. Getting back to the gym, treadmill, elliptical, getting moving and motivated again.

H is for Habits. I'm recommitting to changing my habits, particularly where my health/body is concerned. I sit for long periods of time and need to move more. I need to eat better, more nutrient-rich food less filler. I'm trying to cultivate better habits where my sleep is concerned though I fail at this often, and make more time for personal reading and quiet.

I is for It's Already Been Decided. I am a wonderful procrastinator. I can think of loads of excuses not to go to the grocery store, to continue sitting on the couch, to not clean out my car, or do laundry. But, I recently read something from one of my favorite blogs, Zen Habits that is helping me say something different to myself: "It's already been decided."


J is for Jinx. The older I get the more superstitious I'm finding myself. I hear myself saying, "Don't jinx it," whenever an opportunity is on the horizon. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, how we say, "don't get your hopes up." But shouldn't we live with hope, with possibility. Sure, I might be disappointed or discouraged sometimes but if I walk through life not expecting anything, then nothing will happen. And I don't like that idea. If I want something really badly like to publish in a specific journal or get accepted to a conference or win an award, would it hurt any less if I wasn't hopeful about it? I don't think so. I told my students yesterday that failure is part of life and that it's okay if they don't figure out photoshop on their first try. The point is to try. I think I need to take my own advice sometimes.

K is for Kitchen. Of course, the kitchens of my lives, but also because I'm trying to spend more time cooking, using good ingredients to feed my body, and it's also fun to discover new tastes and recipes.

L is for Love. Love winning as marriage equality slowly becomes a reality in places like my home state of Alabama, which I never thought I'd see. I know we have a long way to go for LGBTQ rights and we're a long way from having deep-seeded issues and homophobia solved, but it still feels nice to celebrate small victories.

M is for Measuring Cups. I go through some measuring cups; I feel like I need several sets for how often I'm using them.

N is for Never Mind. I have a tendency to stop and start sentences, to get new ideas midway through my current train of thought. It's an annoying trick my brain plays on me, distracting me with something my mouth is saying and then boom, hitting me with the better idea or plan. It could also be for New Orleans since I'm planning to visit for a conference at the end of May.

O is for Opportunities. Part of exploring as my focus this year is looking for opportunities to learn, to do something, to get out of my comfort zone, to take myself less seriously, to have fun. There are opportunities everywhere. I just have to be willing to go for it. 

P is for Pinterest. I scour Pinterest for recipes, particularly smoothies and lower calorie desserts. I also look for font/typography inspiration and color palettes.

Q  is for Quality. I'm trying to focus, whether I'm grading, reading a book, relaxing, talking to family, prepping for class on the quality of energy I'm expending rather than the sheer amount of time. If I don't have the mental energy to stay in the moment and offer my full attention, then I know it's something I need to set some time aside for. Trying to manage not only the hours in a day but the quality of those hours is becoming increasingly important to me.

R is for Rowing. I took a rowing class at the rec center and loved it, but unfortunately it was canceled this week because not enough people showed up for it. The instructor said she'd work out with me next week even if class is canceled so there's that.

S is for Skin Care. The older I get, the more skin care products I accrue. I don't know if any of them are helping but I want to do what I can to take care of my skin. My favorite right now is the Vichy 3 in One Cleansing Milk and the Vichy night cream.

T is for Teaching. I'm really enjoying teaching right now. Of course, I have assignments that need my attention, feedback and grading but I'm thrilled with getting to geek out about technology and rhetoric. I'm hoping some of it sticks.

U is for Undoing. Sometimes we have to come a little undone. Also, undoing bad habits like high calorie coffee drinks and drive thrus, ignoring emails, procrastination (see I for details).

V is for Variety. One of the driving forces in exploring is including variety in my life. Reading books I might not have read, or listening to music I might have otherwise shunned. Exploring is about varying patterns, habits, ideas. I am also trying to eat a variety of foods, looking on my plate to make sure I have veggies, fruit, a variety of colors and tastes.

W is for Wandering. I am a bit of a wanderer. In stores, I wander to look at something that catches my eye. On the drive home, I sometimes wander through different routes. I wander off during conversations or meetings (in my mind, at least). Like exploring, wandering can be fruitful, a way to discover something new. I think you can wander without being aimless.

X is for XOXO. How I sign a lot of my emails and texts to M.

Y is for Yogurt. M and I have an obsession for yogurt. I love it. I cook with it, put it in shakes and who doesn't love fro-yo? Yum.

Z is for Zip. I will be glad when I don't have to zip up a coat or fleece and go out in the cold. My mornings are full of zip, zipping lunch bags, zipping boots, zipping coats. Zip, Zip, Zip.