April 2, 2002
The *FootNotes* Diet

miles to go: 1,786.9
days till daughter #1 gets here: two



"Five minutes," David says again. "I'll be done in five minutes, I promise."

He's been parked in front of the computer since shortly after dinner, feverishly crafting his latest masterpiece for the Super Fun Time start page. (This month: a Yugandan postage stamp from the 1950's, carefully resized and edited, pixel by pixel, to say "Super FunFunFun Time.")

"No hurry," I reply from my spot on the living room sofa, dabbing another blob of Barely Bisque onto my toenails. I don't bother pointing out the fact that he's been promising "five minutes" for over an hour now ... nor the fact that I've had virtually no computer time at all in the last week. Between work stuff and bike stuff and family/marriage/sharing-one-computer stuff -- all of the *stuff* that makes up my life these days -- the online stuff has temporarily fallen between the cracks, once again. I've got half of a three-day-old journal entry languishing on a floppy disk in my purse, an unfinished Recovery Resources webpage screaming Finish me! Finish me!, a message forum that's deader than Milton Berle, and 43,897,621 unanswered e-mails weighing down my mailbox AND my conscience.

Once or twice a year this happens: the pace of my *real* life picks up, while the pace of my creative life bogs down. There is more inflow than outflow: more things to write about than time/energy/opportunity to write them.

It's sort of like being constipated. But in a good way.

It's only going to get crazier in the next couple of weeks, too. We've got back-to-back Tot Visits on the calendar: Daughter #1 this weekend, Son #Only the weekend after. (Daughter #2 will be here sometime this summer ... we hope.)  As if that weren't enough excitement for one month -- as if I don't have enough on my dangerously-overcrowded plate in April already -- I've been drafted for jury duty next week. No wiggling out of it this time, either. Last time they tried to draft me, I'd just come back from two weeks' worth of honeymoon and was able to finagle a postponement. I won't be so lucky, this time around. Plus I'm ridiculously busy at work, getting ready for next month's exciting three-day mold seminar  ... I've got a couple of on-the-side writing projects that are withering from neglect ... we're attempting to get some serious spring cleaning done around Castle Ю僱êrvØ¡ (but so far all we've managed to do is rearrange the snow globes some more) ... etc. etc. etc. ad infinootum.

And then of course there's this little matter of trying to ride 2,002 miles in 2002.

With all of that in mind -- and knowing from experience that feeling guilty and anxious about the website just makes things worse, whenever I'm not able to write as often or as much or as well as I want to -- I'm hereby giving myself permission to scale some stuff back temporarily, just the teensiest-tiniest bit.

And I'm going to start with *FootNotes.*

Since I've stoopidly used up most of my allotted journaling hiatus time for the year already (and it's only APRIL, forcryingoutloud: who the hell uses up all of her *vacation molecules* three months into the year??) -- AND since I know I'm not going to be allowed to get away with another month of re-runs (Cranky Denver Lady: "I'll report you to the Diarist Award people!") -- let's just say that I've decided to streamline your *FootNotes* intake for a while, ever so slightly.

Think of it as being on a diet.

Instead of the huge steaming dollops of cranky self-absorption you're accustomed to being served every day, I'm going to ration you to two or three modest helpings per week for a while. Instead of loading you up on junk food and empty calories every twenty-four hours, you're going to get healthy, home-cooked entries that have simmered on the back burner for a couple of days.

(And once in awhile I'll save up all your *points* for the week and overload you with a big juicy sugar-intensive seven-course entry all about how perfect my marriage is! Then we can all throw up together afterwards.)

Hopefully when things settle down a bit (read this: when the "Miles Left To Ride" meter on my splash page has dropped down to somewhere in the three-figure range), I can go right back to fattening you up with daily marathon entries about toe clips and Q-Tips and little wiry black hairs springing from the center of my neck. You won't know when this is happening, of course. One day you'll just sort of realize that *FootNotes* is updating regularly again -- and that your Happy Pants are getting a little snug around the middle -- and you'll know that the diet is over.

(In the meantime ... I'll probably be feeding these people scraps under the table.)

"Well ... it is a thing of unsurpassed beauty!" David announces finally. And he beams proudly at his masterwork. I do a careful, wet-toenail-polish-crabwalk over to the computer and look over his shoulder at the monitor. He's right: his latest forum creation is a thing of beauty. It reminds me of the Republique du Secraterri stamps he designed a couple of years ago. Except for the occasional CD cover or message board decoration, he really doesn't do enough creative design stuff like this. He's good at it, and he loves it. Maybe now that I'm putting everybody on the *FootNotes* diet, he'll have more time to indulge his inner Picasso.

"So are you ready to sit down and write?" he says, and he starts to get up from the computer chair.

"Nope," I say, putting my hand on his shoulder. "Actually, I think I'm going to go read in bed. Why don't you stay here and work a little while longer?"




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