Ticking the Boxes

IMAG0695

It’s Monday morning.  The week and my new to-do list has begun.

Check – I’m blogging.  Check – I’m blogging and not still in my pajamas.

I love to make list. I love to mark things off and smile at my hard work — or sometimes not so hard work. I tend to put things on my list that don’t take a lot of effort so I can easily mark them off.   Examples are watch Jeopardy, walk up or down the stairs ten times (with a brain like mine that one’s a given), get dressed, or my personal favorite - eat chocolate. The sweet taste is still on my tongue as I proudly check this off my list.

 This morning, as I was running upstairs for the third time because I still didn’t have my sweater, I realized that we don’t live in a world made for ticking off boxes.  Rarely do I have a day when everything goes as planned.  People get in my way, work gets in my way and, frequently, my procrastinating self gets in my way.

 It was on about my fifth trip up the stairs when I realized that my time was going to become my time when I was ready for it to be my time.  Making a list doesn’t assure that I’ll carry out my tasks each day.  I have to take action.

Let’s see, I can cut down on allowing people to get in my way.  The truth is that most of the nonessential things I’m doing for others are things I choose to do for others.  It was after one of my ‘rare’ whiny moments when my, so-much-smarter-than-her-mother, daughter brought this to my attention.  She reminded me that she’s done her own laundry for a couple of years and she doesn’t ask me to do it while she’s home.  Every time I do her laundry, it’s because I’ve volunteered to do it.  Oh dear.  That, of course, is an example of me getting in my way.  Maybe I need to rethink the idea of other people getting in my way.  This may happen less often than I imagine.  And I could do a whole series of blogs with a psychiatrist on why I feel obliged to coddle my grown children.  I, of course, blame my mom and, as a mom, that’s a scary thought.

 Back to my list.  Every list I’ve ever made has some listing about writing.  Some days I accomplish this and some days I don’t.  I want and need to write and writing a to-do list doesn’t count.   Somehow the things I need the most in my life don’t always get checked off my list. I say things like, “I’ll write first thing tomorrow” or “I can do that while I’m doing laundry”.   It never works that way.

 Today’s revelation or ‘aha moment’, as Oprah says, is that I can’t do it all. I’m not one of those ‘super women’ whom we always suspect has a nanny or two in the closet at home or maybe a drinking problem in the closet. Surely no one can have a perfect house, a perfect job, perfect children, and still bake sixteen dozen cookies for the bake sale that she organized.

 And with my ‘aha moment’ I realized I didn’t want to be that perfect person. I want to be me. I want to write and paint and take an occasional class.   I want to enjoy a good book and a cup of tea everyday without feeling guilty.

 I’ll still make list because, let’s face it, that’s just fun, but I’ll make sure the list isn’t completely cluttered with things I don’t enjoy. I’ll do what is required to maintain a clean environment but I’ll also maintain a closet to throw things in when company is coming.  I’ll carve out time each week for work because that’s just not optional.   But I’ll also spend time writing or painting or studying without distraction.  This crucial tick box will move to the top of the to-do list, right above the chocolate box!

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Getting My Groove Back

Hello to anyone?  I haven’t blogged in so long that I doubt anyone remembers except the Lisa’s (yes, they are relatives).  At Christmas they asked me if I was ever going to blog again.  I, of course, assured them I would but never did — until today!

Oh my, WordPress has changed in the last year.  I’m sure it’s all for the best but being a complete computer imbecile, it may take me a while to get back into the swing of things.

Things popping in my head right now-

How was it I used to load pictures?

I probably should have looked at my page to remember what my background looks like.

Have they gotten any new really cool backgrounds with maybe Doctor Who on them?

What is the word for backgrounds on blogs because background sounds wrong?

Will this be the year I figure out when to use who vs. whom?  I hate to admit the many times I’ve restructured a sentence to avoid this dilemma.

I miss having the children home to answer my computer and grammar questions.

Oh yes,about the groove thing- I really hope I’m back in the ‘groove’ for a while.  I’ve started working on a play and since I will definitely need to use my astute procrastination skills to avoid that at difficult times, maybe I’ll find my way back over here.  I hope so.  I’ve missed this part of my life.

I pledge to myself to get with it.  I’ll not fret for days when I discover grammar errors because I don’t have time to check for them ad nauseam. Some of the best writers have trouble with grammar and everyone makes mistakes, yada,yada,yada.

I have better things to do with my time, such as discover what LinkedIn is and how I got on it and is it beneficial in any way?

 

 

My Beautiful Blogger Award

I went in today to blog and I found that I had written this entry a while back and never posted it.  I felt bad because I was so proud to receive the Beautiful Blogger Award and I hadn’t acknowledged it.  Okay, I did acknowledge it but since you cannot read my ‘drafts’, I thought I better go one step further in acknowledging the award.  As they say- better late than never.

* * * * *

Thank you, momshieb, for this award.    I  love that someone would connect the word ‘beautiful’ with my writing.  Any writer gets a little tingle when the words come together and it feels right.  Usually, we appreciate this on our own.  We quietly marvel at the thought that we found time to compose something more than a grocery list.  We smile, maybe have a glass of wine and then wonder if we are wasting too much time at the computer.  Oh yes, and then we remember we write to remain sane in this crazy world.  Thank you, momshieb, for noticing me in this crazy world.  The award is much nicer than a glass of wine and causes no headaches in the morning.

Since I started blogging, the beauty I have found in the words of others has astounded me.  My world has changed.  I have found people to make me think, people to make me cry and people to make me laugh.  I have found a support group of empty-nesters and (surprise, surprise)  they understand what I’m going through.  I needed this in my life.

I used to assume everybody felt like I did about life and then I begin to suspect no one felt about life as I did.  I became alienated at times.  Blogging has given me a chance to connect with people I can relate to on many levels.  It still amazes me that there are people who read what I write and know what I mean.  Some even get my humor or, at least, pretend to.   I thank you all.  You, my blogging buddies, make my life more beautiful.   I offer this award to anyone reading my blog and trying to connect with others to make the world a better place- one good deed, one kind word or one belly laugh at a time.

The instructions for the award are:

Instructions for the award: 1. Thank the person who gave you the award 2. Paste the award on your blog 3. Link the person who nominated you for the award 4. Nominate 7 bloggers or less 5. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominated

This award was given to me by momshieb at Post Departum Depression.  She is my beautiful blogging buddy.  She and I are working together to get through the joys of motherhood and the lows of empty-nesting.  (I am still trying to appreciate the highs of empty-nesting).   Thank you, my friend for this award.  Without a doubt, you are a Beautiful Blogger.

Something for the Weekend (4)

This week maturestudenthanginginthere gave us a beautiful picture for a prompt.  I struggled but finally came up with something today.  It’s short but it’s what I first saw in the picture.

This lovely picture is from Karl Chapman.

Perspective

Two brothers view a rainbow,

Their future paths unfold.

One sees sun reflecting rain,

One sees a pot of gold.

Hope Unites Globally-HUG Award

I have been awarded the Hope Unites Globally – HUG Award by kianys at Thirty Years of Growing Pain(s).  I spoke of this young lady in  The Long Overdue Post but I have more to say before I speak of the award.  If I’d gotten this award from anyone else, I would have given it to her because she gives me hope.  She’s a young woman who lost her mother when she was two years old.  She speaks honestly about her life.  I don’t know her whole story but I know she is kind and compassionate.  She would make any mother proud.

The day before kianys awarded my the HUG award, I’d written on a piece of paper, “I need to make a difference.”  I believe this award gives me this chance.  I  spent the first half of my life focused on me, me, me.  I spent the second part of my life focused on my children.  As kianys says in one of her post, the mother becomes the frame and the children the picture.  I think most mothers would agree.

I hope to spend the next part of my life embracing the idea that we’re all connected.  Usually we make our connections through blood or proximity.  I’ve failed at many connections and I haven’t tried hard enough to maintain others.  I hope to work harder in the future.

I’ve made some great connections through this blog.  It’s been exciting but now kianys gave me this award and, at least today, I want to connect through my blog on a different level.

Free Hug

Free Hug (Photo credit: Extra Medium)

The HUG award was initiated by Connie Wayne to promote hope, love, peace, equality and unity for all people.    I want to recognize two people whom I feel deserve this award.

The two people are from my small community.  Since I haven’t told them of this award, I won’t use their last name.  This couple, Mark and Karen, had a simple idea.  They decided it would be nice to offer a free meal, once a month, to anyone in our community.  It started small but has grown.  Many of the members of our church prepare vegetables, casseroles, breads and desserts.  Somebody goes to the Salvation Army and the Good Samaritan offices and hands out flyers.  We hold the meal at our church but the meal is not about growing our membership.  The meal is about kindness.  Karen and Mark are about kindness. We just feed people-no pressure, just love.  We connect with the people and honestly, we’re better for it.  I have met some fascinating people in my community whom I would never have met if it wasn’t for Mark and Karen. They had an idea and they made it work.  Thanks, Mark and Karen, for providing this opportunity to connect with others.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Image via Wikipedia

One last thing I would like to do is share a documentary about connecting.  The director is  Tom Shadyac.  I’m sure many of you are already familiar with him or his work.  Tom Shadyac is the director of movies like “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”,  “The Nutty Professor”, and “Bruce Almighty”. After an accident he decided to simplify his life and live in the best possible way.  He, being a director, made a film about his journey.  In the documentary, he speaks with people making significant strides in bettering our world.   His film is, “I Am, The Documentary“.    It’s really worth a look.  I don’t get anything for promoting his film but I’m hoping for a little feather in my angel wings for each viewing because of this post and, trust me, I need all the feathers I can get.

Kianys, thanks again.  The nice thing about this award is that once you get it, you can give it to anyone at anytime.  I want to spend the next year getting to know others better through their blogs.  I want to connect with others and learn how they feel about the world.  I’ll continue to blog about the humor in my mundane life in posts dealing with things like  jury duty and the empty-nest of a crazy lady but, watch out, I may have started something.  Maybe, every once in a while, I’ll use this blog to ‘make a difference’.

Spell Cheque

I like to think I’m a semi-intelligent person and a good speller but I find that lately I’m checking the spelling of words more and more.  This never used to happen.  In elementary school, I participated in the Spelling Bees and I always made a good showing.

I took a chunk out of my childhood free-time learning to spell ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’.  (Quick, close your eyes and try to spell it)   To date, this is the first time I’ve had any reason to write this lengthy word, and yes I did double-check the spelling.  Can you believe my spell check didn’t include this word?  The point is I’ve always loved words.

Words have a power all their own

I’m a reader like most writers.  I have lots of contact with the written word.   It’s not that I’ve lost my ability to spell, it’s that I’ve lost confidence in my ability to spell.  Spell check is available  when I’m writing a blog post but I need it when I’m making comments. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve consulted the dictionary more times than I did in the last ten years.

And although this is mainly a confidence problem, it stems from a few isolated incidents.

The first confidence shaker has to do with double letters. It seems I want longer words.  I want two l’s in hilarious.  I want two s’s in occasion.  And the funny thing about this word is that I spell it ‘occassion’ and then I realize it looks wrong so I change it to  ‘ocassion’. (Spell check is going to love this post)

I’m a little embarrassed to share this incident, but last week, I asked my daughter how to spell ‘resent’, as in, ‘I resent the fact that you have a young brain.’  I knew ‘resent’ seemed correct but didn’t that word mean to send something a second time?  Sometimes words look strange in their proper context and this was one of those times.

Even with my shortcomings, I’m still a spelling snob.  If I read anything I haven’t written and words are misspelled I’m critical.  I’m especially critical if it’s something the person is getting paid to write, like a newspaper article or a book.  I’ve noticed this more and more in my readings.  I think we’ve lowered our standards in the editing department.

I hope the longer I blog, the more confident I will get in my spelling ability.  I hope I get past the double letter dilemma.   If not, I’m going to change my location to some tiny island in the Pacific and tell everyone that’s how we spell ‘occassion’ on the island of Kewsmith.

Resolutions-No,No,No, not Now

For all of you – or one or two of you - sitting around waiting to hear my New Year’s Resolutions, it isn’t going to happen.   Instead, I’ve noted three things I won’t work on this year.

For the record if I was going to make resolutions, I think it would be telling that I waited until January 4th to ponder this list.  It’s too late to start any of those write everyday or meditate everyday or celebrate everyday of 2012 kind of plans.   Three full days have passed.  I’ve already blown No Procrastination in 2012 so let’s just not put it on the list- if there was a list.  Anyone who waits until January 4th to make resolutions is a chronic procrastinator and probably needs serious help.  I can’t worry with this.

And speaking of worrying, if I don’t make a list, will people think less of me?  Is having resolutions something I need to do to be a functioning part of society?  Will my children be judged because of their nonconforming mother?  No Worrying in 2012 is not going to make the list of resolutions either-if there was a list.  I will always worry about things like will we have the money to get all the kids through school and still retire, where should we retire, and of course, did I turn the iron off or am I going to burn down the house while I’m at the grocery store and then we will never retire?  It does worry me that I worry about so many things. The first step to recovery is being aware the problem exist, right?

If the children weren’t keeping me so busy during the holidays, then I’d probably have a list.  I’ve gotten used to an empty nest and now I can’t get back on track. Blah-blah-blah.  I can toss blame with the best of them.  No Excuses in 2012 is now off the list-if there was a list.   My mind just runs to excuses.  It’s certainly not my fault I can’t seem to get the Christmas decorations down or the refrigerator cleaned out.  Maybe I’m afraid it will signify the end of the holidays and that mean old, brightly feathered, metal bird will  head this way to fly away with my last birdie.  Darn you, Southwest Airlines.  Actually she’s here for two more weeks.  Children are a parent’s best excuse for almost anything.

English: Southwest Airlines 737-300 N310SW. I ...  

In years past, I have always made the obligatory resolutions.  By February I couldn’t remember these promises.  If I had a written list (I didn’t), it would be lost, but I’m sure on January 1st in long gone years, the list always included the things above and goals of weight loss and writing deadlines to spice it up.  Then, the next thing I knew, it was February and I was too busy to dwell on forgotten resolutions.  I still needed to clean the Christmas leftovers out of the fridge.

And another thing- aren’t we suppose to try to live in the ‘now’?  With resolutions, I become focused on the future and not the ‘now’.   So now, I’m not eating chocolate and I’m writing therefore I wouldn’t consider this wasting time. ( My readers may disagree)  The only thing I’m worried about is getting a post out and I’m not making excuses about why I can’t get this done.  Consequently, I feel pretty good on January 4th, 2012 about my non-resolutions.

At least for ‘now’.

Why My Laptop is my Favorite New Accessory

laptop

Image via Wikipedia

I moved up recently from a desktop to a laptop computer.  I had a notebook but I like a full-sized keyboard and screen.   I actually sent my middle child to Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving night to get my laptop at the cheap Black Friday cost.  That should be defined as child abuse but he graciously went and now the laptop has become an accessory I can’t live without.

I frequently encounter the guilt of inactivity.  My beloved mother is always busy with something so I feel I shouldn’t waste time during the day.  I’m also inclined to believe that my life might be more productive with less television.  But now, with this wonder of technology, I can avoid the gnawing guilt of inactivity in front of the T.V.   The laptop gives me permission to occasionally plot down and watch the tube.  When I pop open the laptop and start searching for interesting posts, well, I’m doing research to better my blog.  So what if I do it on the commercials during “House”.

I look forward to using the laptop as a travel accessory.  When I fly, I’ll carry it close.  As a writer, I know, I should be searching for quirky travelers with insanely funny stories to share in my blog, but I’m lousy at small talk.  I’m the unsociable, middle-aged lady at the airport with her nose stuck in a book.  The only problem is people often look past my little book or Kindle and strike up a conversation.  What could be better than a laptop?   It has a built-in barrier called a screen.  I can easily whip it left or right to cutoff would-be intruders.

Headphones

Image by James F Clay via Flickr

I know headphones can also serve as a deterrent to bored travelers but I usually forget to grab them when I head to the airport.  If I do think of headphones, here is what runs through my head-
Headphones=ipod=running shoes=larger suitcase=inconvenience=stress=I’ll exercise when I get home
 It’s got to be a big suitcase trip to warrant headphones.  Usually, if it’s a big suitcase trip, I’m traveling with my husband or my children.  If I do forget my headphones, so what,  I can talk with my kids.  Interestingly,  my children always remember their headphones on these trips, and their laptops. Hmm?

By the way, I wrote this post in front of the television.

Where Do I Get a Shelf?

The Versatile Blogger Award

Image by nhighberg via Flickr

I want to thank happilyeverafterorsomething for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger award.  If you haven’t read this blog, you need to check it out.

The last time I won any kind of award was a few years ago.  I got second place for my age group in the local FunRun.  I think there might have been five or six women participating in my age group.  It’s a small town.  But trust me, like with this award, I got a great amount of satisfaction.  Who doesn’t like to be noticed?

PAPERWORK

My first job in this prestigious position is to list the four easy rules.

  1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

JUST THE FACTS,MA’AM

Now to list seven things about myself that will not get me thrown in jail or institutionalized.  Actually there is nothing that would get me thrown in jail but the institution, I’m not so sure.

  1. I’d love to be onstage for just one production of Les Miserables. It was my first Broadway musical.  I’m too old for my favorite role of Eponine.  I have children older than the character.  Maybe I could stand in the background looking French and lip sync the songs.  Did I mention I can’t sing?
  2. I love dreams and fancy myself a decent dream interpreter.
  3. Just once, I’d love to know every answer on Jeopardy.  And the day I do it, I want someone watching with me.
  4. I directed a play at my local Community theatre.  The theatre closed shortly afterwards.  I try not to believe there’s a connection.
  5. I love Google sky map.  I find comfort in knowing what the stars look like above me-day or night.
  6. I don’t understand the fascination with reality tv.  It makes me very uncomfortable.
  7. I love to travel. I’m looking for a new angle so someone out there will pay me to travel and do a humorous blog.  I’m sure no one else would want this job!

AND THE NOMINEES ARE

Next I must list fifteen blogs I have recently discovered.  I’m sure some of these blogs already have lots of awards on their shelves but they are new and fun for me.

  1. dawnsdorkydisneydiary
  2. worrywarts-guide-to-weight-sex-and-marriage
  3. Write Now
  4. You’ve Been Hooked!
  5. Matt’s Monthly Musings
  6. Robotic Rhetoric
  7. Chicks With Ticks
  8. The View is Great!
  9. onmysquare
  10. Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge 
  11. mind over Madness
  12. Post Departum Depression
  13. julia
  14. imonthebandwagon
  15. vintageglamgods

My work here is done.  You probably now know more about me than most of my neighbors.  They should really read my blog.

My Plethora of Thoughts Mused in a Bucolic Setting

Just as I’m getting in the habit of writing again, I’m afraid some outside alien might be infiltrating my brain.  Last month I started a post about my three favorite words and as soon as I hit ‘Save Draft’, almost every blog I read was about favorite or interesting words. What’s causing this synchronicity?   I’m relatively new to the blogging world, so I don’t know if this is a common occurrence.  I’d like to think it’s some cosmic merging of all the greatest of minds leading us to all blog simultaneously on the same subject. Okay, maybe  it’s a merging of the greatest creative minds.  I’d even settle for a mind merging of decent typist suffering from lexophilia.
Master Minds

Image via Wikipedia

Because of my tendency to procrastinate, two of my favorite words have already been raved over by others.  I’ll just take a moment to add my thoughts. The first word I love is ‘bucolic’. What writer doesn’t love this word?  It instantly places you in a rural scene without the writer having to go into a lot of description.  As you visualize the setting, you can almost smell the nature.  It’s a much nicer sensory trip than the sensory trip experienced when writing the similar word ,’bulimic’.

The second word is ‘plethora’.  Although this lovely word, which means a large quantity,  is often found on standardized test, I somehow missed it in the SAT study guides of high school.  I’m sure I’ve read it many times in books and  intended to look it up,  but never did.  I was in my thirties before I actually heard it used in conversation and I fell in love with it.  Of course when I finally had my first chance to use it months later, I pronounced it incorrectly and continued this mistake until someone had the nerve to correct me.  Luckily I hadn’t used it often enough to cause a great deal of lost sleep over my blunder.   For years, it remained my #1 favorite.

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis Image via Wikipedia

I have to thank Mr. C.S. Lewis for my new favorite word.  The word is ‘quisling’.  Now by itself it’s an intriguing word but Lewis actually referred to ‘filthy quislings’.  Well that’s just doubly intriguing.  I’m sure to some this is not a new word but I can’t remember ever seeing it before reading Mere Christianity.  A quisling, especially a filthy quisling, is basically a traitor.  I don’t remember my History books using this term when we discussed Benedict Arnold.  Of course, there’s not a lot I remember from History classes, so it may have been used frequently.

Now my problem is trying to fit this word into conversation.  It’s hard to throw it around if you’re not in the military or politics.  My friends and I rarely talk of traitors.  Maybe around Easter I can start a heated discussion on  Judas and throw in my new favorite word.  And, don’t worry,  I double checked the pronunciation in the dictionary.

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