Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Personality types

So here's the post I promised earlier. I find personality types fascinating, and I love taking personality tests. There's an excellent one here. My results are always the same when I take these tests, which makes me fairly certain that they are accurate. My results are always ENFJ. Once you find your type, you can google the letters and find out all kinds of interesting information about your type. Here are some things I found out about myself...

ENFJ's are outstanding leaders of groups, both task groups and growth groups. They have the charming characteristic of seeming to take for granted that they will be followed, never doubting that people will want to do what they suggest. And, more often than not, people do, because this type has unusual charisma. ENFJ's place a high value on cooperation from others and are most willing to cooperate themselves.

Found in only 5 percent of the general population, ENFJ's place people as being of highest importance and priority. As a result, ENFJ's may find themselves feeling responsible for the feelings of others to an extent which places a burden on the relationship. An ENFJ communicates caring, concern, and a willingness to become involved. Thus people turn to ENFJ's for nurture and support, which an ENFJ is usually able to deliver. At times, however, these kinds of demands can overwhelm ENFJ's, who find at this point that they lack the skills to dissociate. ENFJ's do not seem able to turn away from these demands even when they become unreasonable. Or, if forced to let go of the burden through sheer unavailability of time or energy, ENFJ's experience a guilt all out of proportion to the realities of the commitment made to the relationship.
ENFJ's are especially vulnerable to idealizing interpersonal relationships, raising these relationships to a plane which seldom can sustain the realities of human nature. Because of this tendency to raise interpersonal relations to the ideal, ENFJ's may unwittingly overpower their friends, who believe that they cannot possibly live up to an ENFJ's perception of them. The fact is, ENFJ's are extraordinarily tolerant of others, seldom critical, and always trustworthy.

ENFJ's have an unusual ability to relate to others with empathy, taking into themselves the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of others. This can pose a danger for ENFJ's because they can unconsciously over-identify with others and pick up their burdens as if they were their own. In the process, ENFJ's may risk their own sense of identity. They have a natural ability to mimic because of this highly developed ability to empathize by introjection. They are likely to be very concerned about the problems of those close to them, but they also may get as deeply involved in the problems of those not so close and may find themselves over-extended emotionally.

For the full text of this particular description, go here. What's interesting to me is that this description is frighteningly accurate. I put the most accurate passages in red, just for fun. What's interesting is that most of these passages in red are things that I've found myself struggling with recently, and with particular relationships.

So why do I care about personality tests? I was having a conversation with my boss and mentor just today about how important it is to look at yourself every now and then and ask the question, "who am I?" Taking stock is something that not everyone does, and I think everyone should. It's always important to look at yourself and ask the tough questions, to realize what your strengths and weaknesses are, and to figure out ways to fix what might be wrong. Now I know a personality test on the Internet is not the best way to take stock, but it really does force you to look at yourself honestly and say, "this is a problem that I have." Of course, if there is something in the description that doesn't apply at all, I ignore it. But I always spend a good deal of time making sure it doesn't apply to me. Does that make sense? I hope so. But if not, chalk it up to the advil pm I took 30 minutes ago and the fact that it's 11 and I didn't get any sleep last night. So now it's time for bed.

I'd love to hear other people's personality types! The quiz only takes a minute or two to take, and it's so interesting!

A return to the stage

I'll wait until I've actually done at least one performance to cross this off my 101 list, but I had to officially announce that I'm returning to the stage! Last night, Rhea and I went to audition for a play at Theatre 98, a wonderful company in my hometown that has been around since the early sixties, and I got the call today. They offered me a part and, of course, I took it! Unfortunately, Rhea was not offered a part, but the director did encourage her to try out again because her audition was great. They just didn't really have a part for her in this play, which is sad because I wanted us to both be in it, but I think she's going to do some backstage work. She has lots of experience with lights and other aspects of backstage work (I have no experience in any of that but want to try it sometime) so I'm sure they will take her up it and give her a good job backstage!

Anyway, the play is "Fuddy Meers" by David Lindsay-Abaire. I'm playing Heidi, who is a "tough-guy" kind of girl, which is very unlike me, so I think it'll be fun. The play sounds quite funny and the bit of the script I read for the audition was hysterical. Really off the wall. I think it's the perfect way for me to return to the stage, although I actually assumed my first would actually be a musical. But that's okay. There's another local company doing a musical later this year, so I might actually audition for that once this one is over. I have a feeling that I'm going to be bitten by the bug again. It's all about being in the moment, becoming someone else, and hearing the instant reactions of the audience. I love it!

I think this is just the kind of thing I need in my life right now. I need involvement, something to really sink my teeth into, something I can have passion for and enjoy while also being in the company of others. So many of my passions are solitary, it's good to have one that is not, especially since I'm an ENFJ. (Hmm... that sounds like a good topic for another blog post. Maybe tonight...)

Monday, February 26, 2007

"What do you need to write?"

Devon tagged me with this question, so here goes. I'm with you, Devon. The only thing truly needed is something to write with and something to write on. I do have a particular pen and a particular blank book that I like to write in when I'm writing by hand, and since I carry them everywhere I go, it's easy to get my hands on them, but if inspiration strikes and I don't have them, I'll grab any pencil/pen/crayon/marker or whatever and anything I can write on, whether it is a napkin or some kind of paper and will write away. Most mornings, I write a little at each red light during my commute. Since there are about 10 red lights between my house and the Interstate, it equals about 20 minutes of writing every day (I don't usually count that in my writing time, though!)

Ideally, I would rather use the computer when I'm writing for longer periods of time, mostly because I type faster than I write, although I really enjoy the physical act of writing. I think it's a more creative action than typing, which is more mechanical in my mind. But since it doesn't hinder the flow of creativity and since it's faster which means I'm more productive, I use it most of the time. I always have music playing when I write, usually from my iPod. I plug it into the external speakers and pick a playlist that fits what I'm writing and just listen and write. Sometimes I make a playlist just for each different story I'm writing, so that when I start working on that particular piece, I just choose that playlist. I find music very inspiring, and it can help shape a scene that is unformed in my mind. If I'm writing fairly technical nonfiction, I prefer instrumental because the lyrics distract me. I find myself singing instead of writing! But with fiction, I can listen to anything. With grants, I prefer something Celtic, because it is soothing and wards off the headache I always get when I write grants. I usually write at home, although I do enjoy getting out to a coffee shop every now and then. One reason I prefer writing at home is my chair. It's the most comfortable chair in the world. I bought it when I was doing medical transcription at home and would sit for 8 hours at the computer. Comfort is key when you have to sit that long!

So that's it, and thanks Devon for tagging me! I now tag Ed and Chris. (Chris thinks he's not a "real writer" but I think his words are beautiful!)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Photo Hunters theme: Soft

What is softer than a sweet baby? This is my youngest nephew, Kohl. He's 3 years old now, and is just as cuddly as he was when this picture was taken!

All by myself!

Usually the phrase "all by myself" would be sad, but this time it's great! Last night I bought a new video card for my computer (because a game I bought wouldn't run with my old graphics card) and I installed it all by myself! It was easy! I mean it was REALLY easy! And it works! The game is really fun, by the way. It's called City Life, and it's a city building game that focuses more on balancing the subcultures in your city than on the financial aspects of running a city, which is really cool. So anyway, I'm so excited that I was able to do a computer thing (that had to do with hardware rather than software) by myself!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My Dark Day

On an episode of Gilmore Girls, Luke experienced his "dark day." It was a day that he wanted to withdraw from everyone and just be by himself. His dark day was the day his father died. Mine is the day that would be my anniversary. Mine is today. Ten years ago today, I got married. Every year since my divorce 8 years ago, I have remembered that day on this day, and have wondered what my life would be like if I had made a different choice. Usually, I don't even realize it is The Day until it is almost over. That's what happened today. I was sitting in my office, reading emails, and I looked at the date stamp on the email I had just sent. I got a little jolt when I realized what day it was, and of course, that sent me into that moment of silent reflection. What if I had turned around and walked away, rather than walking down the aisle? Would things be different? I think they would be. Would things be better? I have no way of knowing that. Being a writer, I can't help imagining what my life would have been like in different circumstances.

For instance, if I had called everything off, I never would have quit school to put him through. I would have graduated much sooner, but possibly with the wrong degree. At that point, I was still studying music. Would that have offered the career satisfaction I have now? Or, on the other hand, if things had worked out and we had stayed together (impossible, but for the purposes of this exercise, what if...) If we had been happy, I would probably be a mother by now, probably more than once. I would most likely be doing medical transcription and suffering from carpal tunnel and all kinds of back and neck problems. I definately wouldn't have career satisfaction, but would being a wife and mother be enough? (I actually don't think so, and I know that would cause problems) So I guess things worked out the way they were supposed to work out. Yes, I'm single and sometimes I wish I had someone in my life, but I know he wasn't the right someone and I also know that I had to do a lot of growing up before I could be in a real relationship. We were "playing marriage," and while there were fun times, we were nowhere near ready for those kinds of responsibilities. But even though I'm single and often feel lonely, I'm still very happy with the way my life has turned out. And that's what's important.

I always come to this conclusion on my "dark day," but I think it's important to go through the moment of reflection that I go through every year. It helps me remember where I came from, which is important when I'm trying to figure out where I'm going.

I did some writing today. I worked on the short story I was talking about, and did a couple of pages on After the Storm. I wrote lots of letters (about 20 total) last night and sent them off today, so I'm caught up with that for now, which is good because I was a little behind this week, and I took on a few extra soldiers from the TLC forum. So now that I'm finished with that, I'm going to spend the weekend working on Under the Magnolia Tree and possibly Deadly Council.

Another weekend project is going to be more challenging. I have to get a new video graphics card for my computer. Advice is welcome! I have no idea what I'm doing in this arena. My computer is almost 2 years old now, and it's time for an upgrade, so I decided to use a little of my tax refund to get a new video card and some RAM. I'd rather get a new machine, but they are just too expensive and I'm happy with it except for those things. I can't imagine having to reinstall all my programs on another computer, so I'm going to hang on to this one as long as I can!

I've been sick for almost a week now. It appears that my best friend and I might have been the victims of undercooked chicken at a restaurant we went to Saturday night after the Mardi Gras parade. We've both been sick. Even today, I was queasy and couldn't eat lunch. I haven't been eating very much at all since Saturday, and yesterday I weighed myself and found I had lost 5 pounds! Not really the way I wanted to do it, though... I hope I feel better by the weekend, because Rhea and I are going to see a movie on Saturday and I want to write for several hours on Saturday and Sunday. Those activities are much nicer when you aren't feeling queasy.

Work is going well. It's been hectic for the last few days because my boss is taking a political trip next week, but all the appointments have been made and the information packets are almost finished, so the job is almost done. I usually go on these trips too, but they decided I needed to stay at the office this year. I'm okay with that, though. After being sick, the last thing I want to do is fly all day. I'll have several nice, quiet days at work to finish three grants that I'm working on, which is great!

I know I promised a recap of my LA trip, and I haven't forgotten. I will do it at some point. But right now, I'm tired and it's time for bed.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The most un-exciting Fat Tuesday ever

Not that I'm complaining or anything, trust me. I was excited about being off today because I thought I might get caught up on some things that I need to catch up on, especially the writing. I haven't been doing enough of that lately, mainly because of various illnesses, family obligations, and some unbelievably stressful days at work. Not to mention the business travel and everything involved with that.

But, today was spent in other ways. My mother has been having some back problems the last few days, only she hasn't felt the need to share that with anyone. But, this morning, when she could barely get out of bed, she thought it might be a good time to talk about it. (she's as stubborn as I am, I swear!) So I took her to the doctor today. It turns out that she could have a disk inflamation, and they gave her some medication and told her to take it easy. Of course, that's not easy for her, so I've been making sure she doesn't overdo it all day today! This might sound odd, but I am happy that I am able to take care of her like this. I mean, she took care of me all those years, and especially after my divorce when I really needed some love and support, so it is my pleasure to take care of her when she needs it. I guess I see it as a way to repay her for everything she did for me when I was a kid, and even as an adult. She seems to be fine now, which is good. I find myself getting very worried about her and about my dad. When did my parents get old? I don't remember it happening, and I don't like it at all.

Anyway, so in between checking on her and gently reprimanding her when she gets up off the couch, I did manage to write the required stories for the SA newsletter, and I even jotted down some ideas for a work project I will have to start on first thing in the morning when I get to work. Yes, I have become one of those adults who thinks about her job constantly. Yikes! When did that happen?

I'm going to schedule in writing time every night for the rest of this week, and a huge chunk of it during the weekend so that I can get some real work done on a couple of my stories. I'd like to start a short story idea that has been bouncing around in my head, so I'm going to start that during the next few days. More on that later.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mobile Mardi Gras

I shot this video on my digital camera at the Mystics of Time parade Saturday night. I've never used my digital camera for video before, so it was an interesting experience, to say the least! Anyway, I used Windows Movie Maker to put the clips together and add the titles and credits, just for fun! I thought it might be nice for my friends who are out of town and are missing Mardi Gras to experience the fun a little. Enjoy!

Oh, and Chris... I am aware that the correct French term is actually "Laissez les bons temps rouler" but I found it both ways online and really liked "roulez" better for some reason. So that's why it's spelled that way at the end of the video. I figured I'd better say something about that, otherwise you would be correcting my French, lol.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Photo Hunters theme: Antique

This is a picture of my favorite collection! This is the Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction, printed in 1917. These are the oldest books I own. I wish I could say there's a long and beautiful story behind them, involving my great grandmother purchasing them for her children to read during long winters while they were forced to stay indoors, but the truth of the matter is, I bought them on eBay a few years ago! I'm sure these books have stories to tell other than the ones between the pages, though. I often imagine the lives of the previous owners and wonder what kinds of homes these books have had in the past. Anyway, it's the only antique thing I own, so there you go!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

interesting days...

Wow, it's been a busy few days. Work has been crazy, and I've actually been having more of a social life than usual (which is a good thing.) Nothing serious, no dates or anything, but I have been spending more time out with friends and with my sister and less time at home. It's pretty much at the point where I would like to spend some time at home just to collect my thoughts and do some much-needed work around the house! The laundry situation is becoming desperate, as evidenced by what I had to wear to work today, lol. I can't complain, though. I was going to go home last night and spend Valentine's Day sitting at home watching Bones and Lost and working on one of my novels, but instead a friend asked me if I wanted to have dinner. I'm glad I went, because it was better being out and enjoying great company than being in and wishing I wasn't alone. Only occasionally do I feel lonely, and on holidays that are all about being with someone, that loneliness tends to come rushing to the surface. Normally I'm really happy about being single, because it means I have complete control over my life and I don't really have to consider someone else when I make plans. So anyway, it was a fun diversion and I'm glad I did it. However, now I'm behind on some things that I was going to do, so tonight I will need to kick it into high gear! I have a few letters to write, and I've recently gotten a fun brainstorm for one of my books, so I'm going to work on it for at least a couple of hours tonight while I'm getting my laundry done, and I need to write some stories for the SA newsletter by Sunday, so I'll probably work on one or two of those as well. Also, there's a new magazine in my area and they are looking for writers to contribute pieces, so I'm going to contact the editor today and see if they would like to see some writing samples. I found out about this through my local writer's guild, so I'm sure it's legit. I'm also going to start looking for other opportunities like this, and will hopefully find some steady jobs that I can do in the evenings after work. One thing about me is, if I have a deadline, I will cancel all plans and work until it's done... early. I always aim for several days before deadline because you never know what might happen.

So anyway, there's a lot going on, obviously! And in the midst of all this, I look at my 101 in 1001 list and realize that I haven't done much on it lately. I need to get back to it, because there are several things on that list that are time sensitive. There are a few things in the works, though. As soon as my fundraiser is over in May, I'm going to officially join the Mobile Writers Guild. I've been trying to join for awhile, but our fundraising committee keeps scheduling meetings on the same night as the guild meetings. So as soon as that's over, I'm joining! Also, I just found out that a local library has a "Classics Revisited" book club, so I'm going to join that next month. That will be two things on the list.

Anyway, I'm going to stop here, but look for a recap of my LA trip (hopefully) tonight. I'll do that after I work on the book. So much to do... so little time...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Well, I'm back...

Okay, so this isn't going to be a long post about my trip, because I don't have time, but if you want to see the pictures from it, go here: and click on the LA album. I'll probably post a few on here at some point, but I finally learned how to post to the photo album on my official site, so I had to do it! There are some other photos there as well, mostly of family and friends, so have fun looking around if you're bored and have some free time.

The trip was great, and I'll do a long description of it sometime this weekend.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

out of town

I'm leaving tomorrow morning to go out of town for work, so I might not be able to post until I get back on Wednesday night. So for the next few days, I'll be in sunny California! My first trip to LA was a lot of fun, and I'm sure this one will be too. Of course, since I'm going for work, I'll be doing conference activities a lot of the time, but there is some free time and I intend to take full advantage of it! I'm actually looking forward to learning what I'm going there to learn. It's for our direct mail campaigns, so there is a lot for me to learn!

If I have internet access, I'll post while I'm away, but if I don't, I'll have a full account of the trip on Wednesday or Thursday.