Monday, July 21, 2008

Not to say that I'm an old dog, but...

It was quite a week in the woods of Maine. I'll admit up front that I saw no moose other than the ones stitched into my favorite flip flops (indeed, the dead porcupine we saw by the side of the highway on the drive home doubled my total wildlife encounters for the week) but the adventures of THAT DOG more than made up for it.

You see, after twelve and a half years of absolute refusal to have anything to do with the water, THAT DOG learned to swim! Or, to put it more precisely, to boogie-board. I'm not entirely sure how it happened. One minute, I was bobbing along happily in the lake in my noodle chair, THAT DOG crying pitiously from the shore like always. The next thing I know, she's scrambled onto my niece's boogie board, and is being pulled through the waves to me by my sister. It was hysterical. I pulled her off into my arms, and she wiggled furiously and swam back to shore. But she swam! Like an Olympian! It was truly a sight to behold. The lesson of this vacation: you CAN teach an old dog new tricks :)

Which is good to know, given that I'm trying to mix things up a bit now that I'm back at home. A week with no TV, internet, or phone made me realize how much time I "fill" with little things--checking my email for the 97th time, running a Google search for the names of the all the Backstreet Boys, watching snippets of reruns of The Biggest Loser to see if it will push me out the door to the gym (it hasn't yet, and some of the food segments make me hungry)... You know, mindless time-fillers between one thing I have to do and another.

Now, I may never get to the place where I'm "mindful" every moment (perhaps because that word gets tossed around so much that it's become annoying). But being less mindless than I was before seems like a worthy goal.

So today, I instituted a new approach to time management: No internet until 3pm. No looking up the name of an author on Amazon, or checking the NYTimes Magazine for my friend's article. No pulling up the track titles for the CD I downloaded, or checking to make sure there wasn't an email emergency circling my in-box waiting for me to save the day.

My choices today, before 3pm, were good ones: writing, which I love (and which is, technically, my job and therefore what I should be doing with my daytime hours) and reading, which compliments the whole writing thing well when I give it space to do so. I'm finally at the stage of life I dreamed about in Algebra class, where I can focus on these two things and leave arithmetic out entirely. In it's own way, it made for the perfect day.

And yet... it was WAY harder than I expected. I'm astonished by how much my little dashes to the computer (which usually take at least a half-hour once I'm hooked in) are programmed into my psyche. It took everything I had not to invent some excuse to sign on, but somehow I didn't. And I had my most productive writing day in weeks.

Today's message? Here's to dogs on boogie boards inspiring us to try new things!

How was your week? What did I miss?

14 comments:

A Life Uncommon said...

I think your idea not to get online until 3pm is awesome. The internet distracts me so much from writing and reading... which, as you said go hand in hand at making one a better writer. Unfortunately, I have no self control. ;-)

Patti said...

i have tried to do this too....i will be better after WEDDING WEEK! I am sure.

Liza said...

I had my 3 nieces with me last week, so my internet time and reading time was almost zero. I had a blast with them, but missed talking with my online friends and seeing what was going on everywhere.

Sarakastic said...

I can't watch the Biggest Loser because I always feel like I need to eat in behalf of the participants, which also why I can't watch America's Next Top Model

Alyssa Goodnight said...

What are the names of the Backstreet Boys??

And dog boogy-boarding?? My sons would love it if we could teach our dog to do that. Sounds like a project for our next trip to the lake!

~Virginia~ said...

i LOVE the biggest loser! last season was my 1st one watching and i'm hooked. i'm ready for my regularly scheduled programming to come back!

part of me wants to see a moose, but the other is scared i'd run screaming and end up making it chase me.

Suzanne said...

I'm with you, constantly amazed at how much time I waste once online, not doing what I'd originally intended but sidetracked in a 100 different directions by whims to look up this or that or open yet another browswer window.

L Sass said...

The fact that I have to do a lot of web stuff for my job makes it so easy to be online 24/7. Not super productive.

I'd say that I'll join you in trying to change my habits, but I'm outta here in 10 days! So, I have to be honest, I'm not planning to try.

Larramie said...

Imagine how proud THAT dog must have felt! *G*

Paige Jennifer said...

Maybe it has everything to do with Maine and nothing to do with THAT DOG on a Boogie Board?

When I did my program, I was internetless from 7am until 10pm. Madness, right? I mean, COMPLETE madness! Yeah, turns out it was the best thing ever. Of course, now that I'm back in Philly, I'm all refresh this and refresh that.

Baby steps, I say. Baby steps.

Stacy said...

Cute flip flops. I want the dragonfly ones. I waste way too much time online. I should adopt your rule.

Manic Mom said...

I just skimmed this cuz I have to put diva to bed, but I am LIKING this no internet rule. I must go back and check into this further... right after I check out the photos on people.com! LOL!

Patricia said...

Well this old dog just got "hooked" on the Internet last year. Before that I didn't even know what a browser was. It is addictive and a real time waster, but there is so much good information and I like the community feel of it. So how do you control your time on the Internet? I've decided to set a timer. Two hours a night and that's it. I work on the computer all day and I don't sneak onto the Internet because I'm too busy, but when I get home I blog and check out other people's blogs and the next thing I know it's midnight and I didn't do what I wanted.
I had my little nieces over the other weekend -- nieces are great for getting you off the Internet. Real life is much better... We went to the beach, we went shopping, I read family stories to them and we had a nice lunch together. We need to balance real life and virtual life. I haven't figured it out yet though, but when I do... I'll blog about it...you see, I'm totally hooked...

LEstes65 said...

Good for That Dog!!!! I'm impressed. This old dog (ie - me) went tubing on Lake Morey in Vermont a couple of days ago. TUBING! Is That Dog impressed?

Oh - and by the way - where's the post gushing about how much fun you had picking me and the boys up for church? HMMMM???? Honestly - I thought that would earn me my very own post! (insert pouty face here)