I am all scatterbrains and sunshine, summer holidays and flip flops. I want museums and beaches, art galleries and cafes, coffee and naps, dappled light and quilts on the lawn. Which would be fantastic if I were on holiday. It would be great if I wasn't trying to drag this holiday sodden brain into my 8 hour day of working for a living. It's like swimming in jeans trying to stay on the surface of my work-a-day tasks. It's a life of long hot pavements sizzling in the sunshine I long for right now, not the endless expance of Microsoft Word documents.
So let's take a break and meet on middle-ground, shall we? Use that snow white screen and blinking cursor to tug all those floating thoughts and ideas down to the surface of a blog post and stick them there to minimise the distraction and tidy up my mind.
First distraction - Fudge
How glorious! The art of sugar is all about the chemestry and the engineering: ingredients and temperature. Yesterday I picked up the latest (for us in NZ so that means last month's) Jamie Oliver Magazine. And in those homespun pages was a small section on fudge. My stand-by, go-to, fudge recipe is from the Edmond's Cookbook. It's simple, it's chocolate, and it's the quintesential fudge recipe. No fuss, no nuts, no wandering off the beaten track. If there were only one fudge recipe in the world, and this was it, the world would still turn every day happy in the knowledge that that was one thing that didn't need to be worried about.
But these fudges weren't ordinary nor were they stock standard. I tried two: the peanut butter fudge and the white chocolate fudge. The first had three different sugars - dark cane, soft brown, and icing sugar - plus peanut butter - and the result was pure Snickers' Bar goodness. The second had 500g of white chocolate melted into it then bulked out with descicated coconut - it was like the world's most expensive coconut ice.
I'm not craving the eating of these fudges. In fact, they are both so rich and sweet they'll probably end up in the bin. But I really enjoyed making them, and can think of ways of making them better. The former needs to be boiled longer - heated to a higher temperature; the later needed the coconut essence the recipe called for that I didn't have. So there might be a second session to see how that goes.
Second distraction - Webstock
Webstock is my busman's holiday every year. I'm doing two workshops before the actual conference itself - one with Craig Mod and the other with Jim Coudal. I'll be blogging and sketchnoting from Webstock, so you'll be able to tag along if you're interested.
It's interesting to me the amount of resistance and negative feedback I get from colleagues when they discover I pay for Webstock myself. Many people who attend conferences have their employer cover the costs of the event, accommodation, and travel.
And that's perfectly fine - but it's not for me.
In the past, such priviledges come with a price - and rightly so. If an employer is picking up the tab, they have the right to a say in what and how that happens. In the past when I've had an employer pay for a conference they've vitoed workshops, determined accommodation and travel schedules, demanded disemination of information gleened from the conference by way of all-staff presentations, reports, and de-briefs. Not to mention expecting me to keep on top of my email while out of the office, working on anything that comes up during that time, and generally keeping me on the clock.
So I pony up the cash myself, take my annual leave for the week, and soak up all the joy that is Webstock on my own dime and it's all mine. I love it!
Third distraction - Sketchnoting
Flipping LOVE taking notes. In fact, I'm really sure that I have to take notes to remember things I've heard. Last week I went to two talks - one I took notes, the other I did not. I can't recall most of what I heard in the later talk.
I'm a visual person. I'm a doodling person. Sketchnotes suits the way I think and the things I love.
My distraction these days is that I want to do more, more often, and better. So I'm always thinking and doodling little people, and arrows, and banners, and cross-hatching. Makes for cute postit notes around my desk buy a wholely unconcentrationary situation there as well.
Forth distraction - Off the Shelf
This is the newsletter I'm wanting to launch this month. I'm nearly done, but just need to drag my butt across the finish-line and press SEND so my patient subscribers can get their mail.
My fingers are fidgetty about this as well. Maybe I need more arms!
Fifth distraction - Melbourne!
OMG I'm going to Melbourne!! going to a wedding of dear friends, catching up with old colleagues and neighbours, meeting with people whose websites I look after. My social calendar is filling up for while I'm there and I can't wait. Good food, great coffee, and spectacular people.
I'll take photos, with my new wide angled lens - something else to be distracted by!