Perpetually Overwhelmed

My life seems to be a little out of control right now. Well, maybe more than “a little” out of control… more like a lot. My to-do list is quickly growing to the size of an epic novel and that feeling of being overwhelmed has taken over. I alternate between a panic state, where my mind is racing and never seems to shut down, and a kind of deep lethargy in which I can’t seem to find a coherent thought in my mind and all I really want to do is sleep.

By nature, I’m a procrastinator from way back. I’ve always put things off until the last possible moment. For the most part, that’s worked for me. I have a tendency to over-think things anyway so whenever I get something done too early, I can’t leave it alone. I go back to it, picking it over, tweaking it again and again, until I end up hating whatever it is. In many ways, I can be too much of a perfectionist and the only way I’ve figured out to deal with that is to work on things at the last minute so I don’t have the time to keep picking at it, forever trying to make it just a little more perfect.

I want things to be perfect. I yearn for that perfect world where peace and tolerance prevails, people accept each other just as they are, and everyone has reasonable expectations of themselves and others. Realizing that the world isn’t perfect, I want to try to make my little corner of the world perfect and that isn’t possible either so unreal expectations becomes another of my problems. I seem to think I can do it all, and when the realization sinks in that I’ve over-committed myself and I can’t do it all, I just freeze up and can’t get anything done.

It’s a dilemma. This is one of the issues I’m working on in my therapy and sometimes I feel as though I’m making progress, but other times (like recently) I feel as though I’ve taken a few steps backwards. The last week has been very shaky with a couple of panic attacks and a sense of dread taking over my life. I’ve spent a lot of time writing it all out in my journal, which always helps. I know what I need to do: I need to reign in my unrealistic expectations of myself, work on my procrastination behavior, and try to focus on right now. The old adage “take it one day at a time” really applies here.

Besides writing my way through my dilemma, my other coping mechanism is to turn to books for answers. My therapist recommended The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle so I ordered a copy of that through Amazon.com. I also dug out a book called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen which I started a while ago but never finished (procrastination in action). So this week I’m going to focus on setting reasonable goals at work, spend some time at home reading, and not bring work worries/concerns home with me. Sounds like a plan!

Take care,
Karen

Bravo, Perry Panthers!

Wow! I’m still trying to wind down after an exciting high school football game. My alma mater, Perry High School, played the Canton McKinley Bulldogs tonight and beat them! Yeah! The final score was 21 to 7 and the mighty Perry Panthers played an awesome game. Not only was the game great, the half-time show featuring Perry’s marching band was terrific. My niece Caley plays flute in the band so it was a double treat for me.

Why a high school football game on a Thursday night? This was a special event… the game was televised live on Fox Sports Network so they had to change the day. It was weird seeing all the cameras around. It was even weirder that the temperature was in the upper 70s… and it’s October… in Ohio. Very unusual, but it was nice once the sun went down. Perfect weather to sit in the stands, listen to the band, scream my head off in support of my favorite football team, and enjoy the company of my sister-in-law, whose name also happens to be Karen.

Ending my Thursday with the usual Friday night football game just seems to be a perfect ending to slightly off day. I had trouble sleeping last night so got up and did a little work on my laptop. I caught up on email and worked on a few other things I needed to get done for work. When I finally got ready for work it was nearly 9am and I was exhausted. Since the day started off a little bit backwards, I was starting to get worried about how the day would turn out. As usual though, Starbucks saved my life. One hot caramel macchiato and my day was suddenly looking better.

I spent part of the morning working with our new part-time temporary cataloger on some of the cataloging oddities involved with archival materials. We also talked about the differences between public and academic libraries, particularly how academic libraries support professional development more readily (or at least in our joint experiences in the public library realm, financial support for professional development seemed very, very sparse). We also discussed faculty requirements, the advantages of being an academic librarian in Ohio, and typos in the catalog. A variety of topics and an interesting conversation overall. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

The rest of the day was much as normal. Statistics (the growth of the University Libraries’ collections), more email catch-up with some of my committees, and then off to the October Faculty Senate meeting. This is my second year on Faculty Senate and today I felt more comfortable with it all. Last year, I spent most of my time just trying to figure out what was going on but today it all seemed to come together. Maybe more about that later…

*Yawn* I think the excitement of the football game is wearing off and my lack of sleep last night is catching up with me. Time to think about sleep.

Take care,
Karen

Caffeine…

Hello, my name is Karen and I’m a caffeine addict… yes, it’s true. I’ve been addicted to caffeine as long as I can remember. As a child I remember worshipfully gazing at those tall bottles of Coca Cola that my parents would bring home from the grocery store. The taste of that sweet nectar was always carbonated beverage perfection. It wasn’t just a treat; it was part of life.

By the time I was in elementary school, iced tea joined Coke as a staple of my life. Couldn’t get enough of the stuff! Picture this: A tall glass, filled with ice. Slowly pouring fresh brewed tea over the ice and listening to the refreshing crackle. Filling the remainder of the glass with cold water so the tea wouldn’t be too strong. A little sugar. Maybe a bit of lemon. Ah! Can’t you almost taste it? From my first sip to the present, no matter what the season, I can still drink a glass of iced tea and be content.

Coffee and hot tea soon joined my list of caffeinated beverages. I began drinking coffee when I was eleven thanks to a diet doctor who curtailed my eating to nearly nothing but said I could drink all the coffee and tea that I wanted…. and on such a restricted diet, I wanted a lot! Between the diet pills (to this day I don’t know what they were) and the highly caffeinated state I kept myself in, I had lots of energy and lost lots of weight but it didn’t last. Diets never do last for me but my love of caffeine remains steadfast and strong.

Although in the last few years I have nearly given up sodas altogether and my love/hate relationship with coffee resulted in years of never wanting to be near a cup of coffee again, a daily dose of caffeine is a requirement for me. No one wants to be around me on a day without caffeine. It’s just not pleasant for me or anyone else.

Thanks to Starbucks, I’m in love with coffee again. Coffee and tea are my daily pleasures and both are absolute requirements if I want to function in a sensible manner. A morning without Starbucks is like… like… well, it’s like a weekend! I’ve gotten into a habit of starting each work day with a venti caramel macchiato (yum!) and that infusion of caffeine and sweet caramel gets me through a big chunk of the work day. The weekends are often spent sipping cup after cup of hot tea or tall glasses of iced tea, depending on my mood. Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Assam… ah, the lovely sound of those perfect teas!

Herbal teas are fine and dandy, but please, please don’t take out the caffeine! I need my caffeine! I really do! Thank goodness most of my friends are equally addicted to caffeine. It helps to be amongst kindred spirits. No matter what the health professionals say, caffeine is in my life to stay, and as an addiction, well, it’s not a bad thing. Yes, I’m a caffeine addict. I’m so proud of my addiction that I proclaim it loudly to one and all… I even have a blue hoodie with a caffeine molecule emblazoned on its front courtesy of ThinkGeek.com!

Whew… glad I got that off my chest! Time for another cup of tea…

Take care,
Karen

Welcome to my blog…

Hello world! Did you ever have one of those days when nothing seems to make sense? Well, this is one of those days. I love to write. I’ve always loved to write, so why has it taken me years to decide to start writing my own blog??? Just doesn’t make a lot of sense now, does it?

Anyway, moving to a new ISP for my website and playing with all the cool add-ons that Bluehost.com provides seems like the perfect time to start keeping my own blog. I don’t promise that I’ll write daily, or that anything I write will be of interest to anyone other than myself and my friends, but, hey, it’s time to really break into the blogosphere.

That’s it for an introduction for today… For more information about me visit my website at http://www.karenplummer.com/ and check back often!

Take care!
Karen