At first, I couldn't figure out the chocolate smell. I do have four big bars of premium Lindt chocolate in the kitchen cabinet, but that's nothing unusual; I try to stay stocked in case of emergencies. I think maybe the kitchen got steamy while I was boiling pasta for dinner, and that released the aroma. I didn't realize it until I came back inside after a trip to the recycling bin and was suddenly enveloped by the scent, rich and dark. I would have opened a window, but I'm sure the chocolate air is good for my complexion.
Maybe this little treat is my reward for a day well spent. I got up and went out for a long walk this morning, right after breakfast, no makeup, no shower, no nothing. I wanted to take my walk early because I was serious about getting a lot done today. I worked on my proposal and started organizing my Works Cited from various lists I had pasted together haphazardly; that took a long time, and I didn't stop until 4:30, when I needed to go to the grocery store. I try to work on dissertation tasks every day, but I'm sometimes a little low on energy after a day at my other job, so in the evenings I'm easily distracted by other things.
Take the Internet, for instance. I was in a libraries teleconference with writer Neil Gaiman a few months ago. Mr. Gaiman talked about the siren call of the Internet, and of how it can lure you away from whatever it is you're supposed to be doing, so that you suddenly look up and realize you've spent a few hundred dollars on eBay for items you don't need, without getting a thing done on your own project.
For me, it isn't eBay -- it's YouTube, and those headlines on the MSN home page, links with enticing titles like "20 Spa Indulgences for Under $50," "Fifteen Desserts in a Bowl," "Sixteen Signs He's Into You," "10 Dating Truths You Can't Ignore," and "How to Wear Leopard Prints." At various times this week, I found myself:
- watching Robert Plant singing "Angel Dance" in the back seat of a car cruising a Chicago neighborhood;
- perusing a slide show of the season's must-have little black dresses;
- learning how to create more style options with hot rollers (I don't have hot rollers);
- looking at pictures of the world's most dangerous bugs;
- watching a video of an octopus making off with a guy's camera (Hey, this one was educational. I learned a lot about octopuses from it.)
None of these were related to my dissertation, but they all seemed compelling at the time.
It's nice to have access to the Internet while working to look up missing citations and do fact checking, but it can be a mixed blessing. I am pretty self-disciplined, but even I have trouble resisting temptation in the form of "The Best Jeans for Your Figure" and "Fourteen Tree Houses You Can Live In." I'm more easily tempted when I'm stuck in my own writing, so there may be fewer tree houses and fashion tips now that things are rolling.
I may sneak just one more look at that octopus video. Here it is, just in case you're trying to get some work of your own done.