I was sad to open the newspaper this morning and see an obituary for Nora Ephron. I remember reading her novel Heartburn when I was in high school. And then, of course, there's When Harry Met Sally …, one of the best romantic comedies ever and one of the few that has me saying, "Yes, that's exactly how that is." Since I don't have choir tonight, I may do a memorial viewing of that movie. Part of the research I need to do for an upcoming project involves finding the archetypal/stereotypical romantic comedy, so I'll need to watch it anyway. And, yes, it's the same project that requires research on totalitarian/police state regimes. What could I possibly be cooking up with that combo? Mwa ha ha haaaa! Actually, romantic comedies might be a fun topic for a blog post series, since I'm always griping about not getting the right kind of romantic comedies. What is the right kind, and what's wrong with the ones that exist?
Oh, I just thought of a possible answer to the tea mystery. There's a possibility that I forgot to pour out the hot water I use to pre-heat the Thermos before I poured in the tea. The way I make tea, it's strong enough that an extra half-cup of water in the pot doesn't make enough difference for me to taste it. That just goes to show that I need a cup of tea before I'm capable of making a pot of tea. I guess I'll never know what happened, since there's no way to prove it.
You'd think that getting a new contract (even though it's not a big one and not enough to ease all my financial woes) would have made me feel more secure, but last night I had another one of those "returning to school" nightmares that usually indicate insecurity. I'm always dreaming about going back to high school or college, at the age I am now and with the experiences I have now. Last night, I was in a high school English class with a relatively young, new teacher. I'd been in the class for a week when we got an assignment that had something to do with creating charts of the character arcs for the Twilight series, and I told the teacher I'd read the first book, but I hadn't read the rest of the series. She told me that she'd given the assignment, and I reminded her that I'd only been in the class for a week, which wasn't time to read that series. I could plow through Thomas Hardy or Charles Dickens quickly, but those books were a real slog. Normally in those nightmares, this would have been one of those "I didn't study for the test/didn't do the assigned reading and am unprepared" things that leaves me in a panic, but I started snarking at her about the assignment, and later an older teacher came to ask me what I'd said to this teacher to make her cry. It turned out that she felt really insecure having me in her class, since I was a published author, and my criticism of her assignment really hurt. Perhaps it's a sign of growth or progress that I got that twist and maybe have grown out of the "unprepared" nightmare. In the dream, I just kind of rolled my eyes and did the assignment based on what I'd heard about those books, throwing in some critiques. It still felt kind of nightmarish, given that I, at my age, was having to take a high school English class, but I think it was my first back-to-school nightmare where I ended up feeling like I had the upper hand instead of ending up in a panic. Even so, I woke from that dream and somehow messed up making a pot of tea, so it must have left me a little addled.
Meanwhile, since there are so many books I want to get written, in addition to the contracted one, I'm going to be really pushing my productivity this summer. My goal is to not only put in a good amount of time at actual work, but to also fit in time for exercise and organizing my house. The one thing that can easily go is my Internet time. I can cut back severely without losing anything because I tend to get into doom loops, where I check the same sites over and over to see if they've changed. I can get exactly the same info by checking once in the morning, once in the early afternoon and once around close of business. To make me less likely to get drawn into the Internet doom loop when I take a break to check e-mail, I've started not turning on the ceiling fan in my office during those Internet breaks. It gets really hot and stuffy up here without the fan, so I'm more likely to check e-mail and then get back to work. During the summer, especially, I work somewhere downstairs, like the living room or bedroom and leave the office for tasks that require the Internet. No WiFi here. I'd never get anything done.