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Category: Getting Things Done

Testimonies to the daily grind of getting things done.

Throwback Thursday and The Epidemic of Hard Working Women

Throwback Thursday and The Epidemic of Hard Working Women

Everyone is talking about Hillary Clinton’s “health scare” from this weekend, but not in a, “Gosh, I hope she’s doing okay,” kinda way.

No, they’re talking about her pneumonia diagnosis like it’s the key to uncovering her secret robot chromosome the doctors have been hiding for all these years.

Even if she does have a secret robot chromosome, how could that possibly be a bad thing? It would certainly explain a few things.

But whatever, I’m so over the drama. Anyone who knows mankind knows this is what happens when men get sick:

This whole pneumonia thing is a non-story, and the attention it’s getting is maddening.

It’s only recently that I’ve actually taken a beat to rest while I’m sick, and that’s because I can. Before? I couldn’t. Because I couldn’t. It was literally not possible for me to be sick. And I even have backup.

Back in 2008 I got the flu, and Bryan couldn’t take time off to help me because he was on a deadline death march. Netflix didn’t exist yet, or at least it didn’t have streaming. The kids watched Finding Nemo and PBS shows while jumping on me as I played dead on the sofa.

It was ugly, but I soldiered on. Here’s a slice of that week, brought to you by my weird need to document life like it’s a mashup of The Notebook and The Truman Show:

I give The Flu the finger and start my day with two Advil and a cup of coffee, laying helplessly on the couch as I wait for Advil to kick in. I’m staying ahead of the pain.

When it does kick in, I clean the bathroom. I spray the entire thing down with Lysol, including all the door knobs and cabinet handles. I spray all the door knobs in the hallway. I spray the front and back door. I spray the couch. I spray my chair. I spray the phone. I shut down my laptop and give it a good rub down. I scour the kitchen with Lysol All-Purpose cleaner with bleach. My nostrils are now burning, and my children are growing extra toes, but my house sparkles (read the full post here).

(That is quite an epic post. You should really read the whole thing.)

Twelve days later I was diagnosed with pneumonia. After a week of coughing all night, I had a scare where I couldn’t inhale after coughing, so I went to the doctor.

She prescribed an antibiotic, and I said, “Can I go running tomorrow?”

And she said, “Don’t be stupid.”

So yeah. What’s the big deal about pneumonia?

The Curse of Unexpected Freetime

The Curse of Unexpected Freetime

20130818-181025.jpgAngel/devil graffiti art: “The hidden truth of every woman.”

My plans for this evening got derailed when Ruthie came down with strep throat. So instead of being gone most of the afternoon until late evening, we’re now hanging out at home where she is resting in bed with a movie.

This sort of unexpected free time doesn’t come often. There was a day in July when the boys were at Cub Scout camp and Ruthie was at a friend’s, but I had to work. And there are times when Bryan takes the kids so I can work or finish a project, or pack for a trip.

But when I’m staring down the barrel of multiple hours of free time all in a row, it generates more mental chaos than Jesse Pinkman’s conscience.

My brain starts shouting at me to relax! No, clean the kitchen! Wait, finish hanging pictures on the wall! Shut up, you should journal, or write a blog post, or catch up on work, or paint your nails, or, OR!, OR!!!

And then I end up wishing I’d done something else anyway, and so there’s regret to top it off.

Today I thought I’d try something different. I’m going to do whatever I want for fifteen minutes, then do something responsible for fifteen minutes, then alternate back and forth all evening. My hope is that I’ll fully enjoy my downtime and not worry about everything that is undone, then be fully present in my chores because it is, after all, only fifteen minutes.

I’ll let you know how it goes. My alarm is clanging, so off to clean the kitchen!

How do you cope with unexpected free time?

The Amazing Race: Cupcakes or Die Edition

The Amazing Race: Cupcakes or Die Edition

I stayed in bed forever on Friday morning, trying to figure out how I could manage to bring cupcakes to school for Ruthie’s birthday.

Because Ruthie told her teacher I was bringing cupcakes to school for her birthday… and didn’t tell me.

But truth be told, it wouldn’t have mattered if she told me days in advance. I’d still be laying in bed on Friday morning wondering how the cupcakes would arrive at school in time for the party.

I’m terrible at planning things. I wait until the last minute, throw stuff together haphazardly, and hope for the best.

Like today, for instance. I had forty-five minutes to find two and a half dozen cupcakes, but apparently I live in a cupcake blackout zone. Two neighborhood grocery stores didn’t have cupcakes at all, a third had enough bite-sized cupcakes for $50, and the place I called in Belltown was happy to sell me cupcakes for $35 a dozen.

What the WHAT?

Bryan and I finally drove (all the way out!) to Ballard (practically the suburbs!) and bought two and a half dozen cupcakes for $18, drove (all the way!) back to Queen Anne, and made it to the party with five minutes to spare.

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These are the adult beverages we consumed at 2:30 in the afternoon following our harrowing adventure.

Earlier in the day, while still hiding in my blankets and wondering how it was all going to work out, I read this:

Long, long ago [God] decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. (Ephesians 1:3-6 MSG)

What a pleasure he took in planning it!

He wanted to celebrate with lavish gift-giving!

I always end up turning happy occasions into a stressful obstacle course of doom, but God provides a great example of celebration and generosity. This birthday season (March Madness!), I want to take pleasure in planning a lavish gift-giving celebration for my kids!

Let’s All Be Glad I’m Not Crafting Christmas Anymore

Let’s All Be Glad I’m Not Crafting Christmas Anymore

This is the time of year when I struggle with feelings of not measuring up. Christmas can be a pressure cooker for a parent, especially when you’re a great visionary but don’t have the time, resources, or discipline to follow through on all those great ideas.

My biggest enemy at Christmastime is EXPECTATIONS.

I have them of myself, my kids, my husband, and how I want things to go. These expectations inevitably lead to “GET BACK IN HERE I’M TRYING TO MAKE THIS FUN!” type of outbursts, which are hilarious in retrospect, but no one in my family thought I was very fun at the time.

20121218-225113.jpgMe, not controlling this moment.

Bryan is great at setting realistic boundaries for me. I usually hate him in the moment and seek to plan my escape from his rationality, but the truth is he’s annoyingly good at saying no when it matters.

I used to insist on making Christmas cards every year. This was back in the day when I thought I was super creative and really great at crafty stuff. I’m not. We all know that now and are very glad someone took the glue sticks away from me, but it took a couple years for me to accept that I’m not defined by my holiday craftastic accomplishments.

So when I got out the construction paper one evening a few weeks ago to make an Advent Chain, I sensed a here-we-go-again posture in Bryan’s shoulders. And then he passed out on the couch, his memory of The Grinch Who Obsessed Over Christmas so traumatizing he had to sleep it off until morning.

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But I went ahead and made that Advent Chain with the kids, and it sat in a pile for a week because I didn’t know where to hang it. When I finally found somewhere to hang it, we read three days worth of verses in one sitting, then didn’t touch it again. I’m pretty sure the chain will still be hanging on the wall in July.

(If this scenario baffles you, read this post for an interpretation of events.)

Even though I’m in a better place now and not bitter about ignoring the Advent Chain, I still feel a twinge of discouragement and panic about the coming week. We don’t have a present for Ruthie yet; I’m running out of time to take the kids shopping for each other; we don’t have anything fun or crafty to send the grandparents; what are we having for Christmas dinner???

In the end, I’m reminded that Christmas is when The Rescuer came. I’m certain my kids get this, even if they didn’t read it on a paper chain.

INFP acronym: I Never Fucking Prepare for anything.

INFP acronym: I Never Fucking Prepare for anything.

sunny day

I’m an INFP on the Meyers-Briggs type indicator, and there’s only 1% of us in the universe with that personality type.

(I just heard all the ISTJ’s of the world breathe a collective sigh of relief at the low probability of running into one of us).

I’m not really sure how we INFP’s get along in the world, what with our inability to stay on task and all. Bryan calls it my LOOK! A SHINY BALL! syndrome because I get so easily distracted. I think he’s spent the better part of our marriage with his head in his hands, or perhaps pulling his hair out or sticking a fork in his eye – he just doesn’t get me.

But I mean that in a good way.

jen

We are pretty much opposites of each other, which as we all know is what we found attractive about each other. He loved my passion and flare for drama, I loved that he had a plan and knew where he was going. But as a wise married sage once told me, that thing you love most about your spouse will be the thing to drive you crazy in the long run.

Boy howdy, was she right.

But I mean that in a good way.

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Bryan and I somehow make it work. Somehow we still Get Things Done together despite our…how shall I say?… drastically different approaches to Getting Things Done. Awhile back did some research on INFP’s, and I have to say we are quite entertaining on paper:

Exhibit A:

INFPs are quite disorganized. But when tasks at hand are important and best done in an organized way, INFPs strive to do so. Practicality is not a driving force for INFPs. Things that traditionally belong together may not be placed together because the INFP does not see it as necessary. They have trouble finishing what they start…. When they do finish a project, they may not consider it done ‘for good.’ …. Because they are able to visualize the finished product long before it is done, the actual completion is of less importance.
(INFP – The Dreamer)

This might explain why I still haven’t finished painting our bedroom. It might explain all the really cool (unfinished) craft projects on the shelf in our basement. It might explain the piles of important paperwork I leave lying around in random places in the house.

headshot

Exhibit B:

For example the “Perceivers” of the world are habitually late, have a strong tendency to “procrastinate”, and will be less attracted to the tried and true time management techniques recommended by the experts for all of us to use. Consequently if a “Perceiver” is working for a organization or a boss who values promptness, neatness, timely and structured decision making, more traditional methods of time management let us say, the “Perceiver” will have to work a bit harder.
(Personality Power for Everyday Living)

I particularly love the phrase, tried and true time management techniques recommended by the experts. It should be noted this couples well with the phrase from the previous paragraph, practicality is not a driving force for INFP’s.

OKAY, I GET IT. It’s true, I’m irrational and dramatic. I get there when I get there. I wake up at 3am in a panic, wondering if I paid That Bill. I make my husband, who “values promptness, neatness, and structured decision making,” just a teeny weeny bit crazy.

So yeah, I have to work a bit harder.

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Exhibit C:

When it comes to the mundane details of life maintenance, INFPs are typically completely unaware of such things. They might go for long periods without noticing a stain on the carpet…. (or the tiny pieces of streamer paper still stuck to the wall in the corners of their dining room).

INFPs do not like to deal with hard facts and logic. Their focus on their feelings and the Human Condition makes it difficult for them to deal with impersonal judgment. They don’t understand or believe in the validity of impersonal judgment, which makes them naturally rather ineffective at using it. Most INFPs will avoid impersonal analysis, although some have developed this ability and are able to be quite logical. Under stress, it’s not uncommon for INFPs to mis-use hard logic in the heat of anger, throwing out fact after (often inaccurate) fact in an emotional outburst.
INFP – The Idealist

I spewed my coffee all over myself when I read this one:When it comes to the mundane details of life maintenance, INFPs are typically completely unaware of such things. This explains my sporadic tooth brushing habits. And my inability to rely on a daily pill to keep me from getting pregnant.

I also love the line, INFP’s do not like to deal with hard facts and logic. I mean, it’s true, I don’t. But SAYING it like that makes me seem like such an AIR HEAD.

Seriously, though, it’s not like I’ll be on my death bed wishing I’d been more logical during my life, right?

bed head

All joking aside, I think a lot about these personality traits. What are my strengths? What is my Achilles heel?

I am the way God made me, and while I recognize the way I am is wrought with faults and weaknesses (as everyone is), I still have God’s fingerprint on me.

Psalm 139:13-15 (New International Version)

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

God was intentional in his creation of me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Knit together with precision. Intricately woven.

jen2

While I know I can be frustrating in my aversion to finish what I’ve started, in my tendency toward the dramatic, in my easy distractability, I am also all of these things (taken from the already mentioned links):

INFPs, more than other iNtuitive Feeling types, are focused on making the world a better place for people.

INFPs are highly intuitive about people. The goal at the end of the path is always the same – the INFP is driven to help people and make the world a better place.

INFPs are good listeners and put people at ease. Although they may be reserved in expressing emotion, they have a very deep well of caring and are genuinely interested in understanding people…making the INFP a valued friend and confidante.

The INFP tends to want others to feel as if they belong and that everyone is pulling together.

For the INFP, love is a very deep commitment.

The INFP is deeply committed to their beliefs and values and to the circle of those around them—family, organizations, and those they feel need them, particularly those who cannot stand up for themselves.

INFPs are deeply loyal friends, spouses, parents, and life partners. [They] have an inner sense of joy and contentment that is infectious to those around them.

I originally wrote this post over a year ago after a fight with Bryan. That draft took on a different tone because I was mostly interested in justifying my disorganization and proving what a slave driver my jerk husband was. I literally spent hours researching my personality type, and as I collected each quote I was all, “SEE?? THIS IS JUST HOW I AM! SCREW YOU!”

Quite wisely, I didn’t publish that first draft. As a rule, I don’t publish anything to my blog out of anger or spite.

When I started writing this a year ago, I worshipped my personality type. Being an INFP was more important to me than loving my husband, and I was willing to crucify him with my words.

Today I don’t even remember what the fight was about, specifically, but this latest version makes me laugh out loud. Between my dementia and my disorganization, we laugh at a lot of things around here, mostly related to my shortcomings.

And that’s way more fun than arguing.

domesticating

domesticating

poor chicken

Last October we spent three weeks visiting family in southern California and stayed with Bryan’s brother for part of the time. My sister-in-law keeps a very clean house, and I kept grilling her about her routine as if documenting an anthropological study.

“So, you sweep the floor EVERY NIGHT then?”

(Thoughtful head nod.)

“Oh, so you clean up the kitchen RIGHT AFTER dinner.”

(Rubs chin, then writes in tiny notebook.)

When I returned home from that trip I was inspired. We walked in the door around 3 in the afternoon, and by 3:30 I was scrubbing every inch of my kitchen counter tops, cabinets, and wooden floors. I dusted the entire house from ceiling to baseboards, and captured every dust bunny.

By 7:30 I was exhausted, and collapsed into bed.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone dust a bathroom before,” said Bryan.

For the next couple weeks I faithfully maintained my clean house, picking up clutter and cleaning the kitchen every night after dinner. But after awhile I tired of spending 3 hours a night in the kitchen – cooking, serving dinner, then cleaning up.

I was beginning to understand why my sister-in-law didn’t cook a lot of elaborate meals – it was too messy to clean up afterward!

It wasn’t long before my house went back to it’s normal dust bunny, finger smudgy, dish piled self. The daily maintenance was just too much. I’m more comfortable in a weekly sweep and vacuum routine, a monthly dusting routine, and a can’t find a mug so I’ll clean the kitchen routine.

Despite my lack of domestic skills, Bryan and I practice the Art of Hospitality on a regular basis. Weekly, for sure. Sometimes even more. This means I invite people into my home despite the dust bunnies under the table and the stack of books on the piano.

Every Thursday we host a small group from our church community. We share a meal and talk about what it means to love Jesus while living among, as Conan calls us, people of the earth. Before everyone shows up I perform some sort of cleaning task. Sometimes I am successful, other times I dim the lights to hide the dirt.

If I didn’t host this group on a regular basis, I’m scared to think what it would look like around here. In fact, the other day Thomas observed my sweeping and said to me, “Do we have community group tonight?”

“No. It’s only Tuesday.”

“Then why are you sweeping?”

In fact, even the dog knows cleaning is the trigger for company arriving, and slinks away at the sight of my hustle and bustle, knowing her time in the kennel is nigh.

Recently someone new attended our weekly group – a couple with a toddler. They came once, and we never saw them again. Later I received third-hand feedback that they thought my house wasn’t clean or safe for children.

Upon hearing this, my attitude swayed between stabby and superior. One minute I wanted to give them a piece of my mind, the next I felt so much more evolved than they were. One minute their opinion defined my reality, the next I felt there was nothing to gain from it.

Anger, pride, anger, pride… the revolving door of my heart.

The Flylady feeds this idea that no one can see my imperfection, that my incomplete self is not good enough. She calls it C.H.A.O.S – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Obviously I’m not saying it’s bad to clean or get organized, but if we wait for perfection we’ll never do anything.

But I love the idea that Jesus calls me to hospitality despite my lackadaisical personality. I try to remember this when I filter that family’s feedback through my anger, pride, anger pride. Jesus calls me to a life of worship, not perfection. I don’t have to keep my house like a state certified day care, but sometimes worship means I mop the floor once in awhile.

It is absolutely true that I should probably work harder at cleaning my house. But I also have to triage my chaos. Sometimes when approaching a deadline, a Project Manager has to ask, What’s the least amount of shit that can be working before I ship something?

So I ask myself every Thursday afternoon, Do I vacuum the playroom or sweep the dining room? Do I clean the bathroom or the kitchen? Do I fold and put away the laundry or pile it in on the dryer? If I delayed hospitality until my house was clean from top to bottom, it would never happen.

Sometimes I need reminding that my motivation doesn’t come from another mom, or the Flylady, or even my own self-justification. It comes from Jesus. Sometimes he tells me to get my lazy ass out of the chair and clean, and sometimes he tells me to let it go and take a nap.

The epilogue to all this proves God has a sense of humor.

Last Thursday as we all sat around our living room – 10 adults and maybe 8 or 12 kids running around – Ruthie hands Bryan a flier she brought home from school, and he read it out loud:

This notice is to inform you that cases of head lice have been found at school. We are asking your assistance in order that it may be controlled and quickly eliminated.

I laughed out loud. It really doesn’t get any more imperfect than head lice.

keeper of the house

keeper of the house

housework never looked so good

There are better house cleaners than me. This is fact.

I’m not in denial of it anymore, either. In fact, I wear this badge proudly. I see it as one of the benefits of approaching my 40’s – I really don’t care what you think about me anymore, because I know I’m awesome. And if you see a few dust bunnies under my dining room table? I think I’ll survive your quiet judgment.

In the summer my house gets particularly funky, what with all the being outside and all. This is why I never understood Spring Cleaning. Why clean like crazy in the Spring? I go crazy in the Fall when I become reacquainted with my broom and duster again.

But where I am lacking, Bryan takes up the slack. He ACTUALLY CLEANS the house, while I just make the house APPEAR clean with trick lighting and strategic furniture placement.

I used to feel guilty when he cleaned the house. I took it as a sign of my failure that I couldn’t manage to pick up a broom while he worked outside the home all week.

Lately I’ve been working on taking responsibility for my actions.

Instead of blaming my bad day or the fact that I’m too tired or something else came up, I simply accept the fact I am a little bit of a slob. This may sound like the opposite epiphany to have, but bear with me. If I admit I am a slob, then I can either change or live with it. No more making excuses or blaming someone else.

So now I practice thankfulness instead of guilt.

If Bryan cleans the house, I thank him for helping me instead of barking at it him that I CAN DO IT, ALRIGHT? I WAS JUST ABOUT TO DO THAT. And if I have to apologize because I played Plants vs Zombies all day instead of emptying the dishwasher, I apologize and thank him for picking up the slack.

Guilty feelings breed drama, and I’m kind of over the drama. I’d rather own it and move on.

She Got Up Off the Couch

She Got Up Off the Couch

she got upOccasionally I work long hours after the kids go to bed, and Monday was one of those nights. I was a little manic, and despite being tired I couldn’t shut my brain off. As I tried to tear myself away from the laptop and just Leave It All Undone, I remembered how I gazed longingly at the Shelfari line-up in my blog’s side bar recently.

Those were some mighty fine books I used to read, I thought. I kinda miss those days.

So I pulled this off the bookcase and read until I dozed off and the book crash-landed on my face.

It’s a follow-up memoir to one I read last year titled, A Girl Named Zippy, and this one promises to be just as good.

Then Tuesday, as I sat in my car waiting for Ruthie’s bus and obsessively checking my work email (I’m telling you, I tend toward work-a-holism), I realized I’d be better off leaving the iPhone at home and reading a book while I wait instead.

I seem to be making a transition re my devices. My computer and iPhone are no longer the avenues by which I connect with the outside world for community and entertainment, but are now tools used for work, and work is definitely something I need to cut off with some pretty clear boundaries.

‘Tis the Season to be… bawl-ly?

‘Tis the Season to be… bawl-ly?

Christmas09I hate feeling like I “survived” Christmas, but that about sums it up.

Regular life typically feels overwhelming to me, particularly during the depressing rainy months. Christmas adds more errands, more spending, more pressure to perform, and more guilt when it all falls short.

I know what the season is about – Joy, Peace, and the Gift God gave in his Son who redeems us. This is what I treasure about Christmas.

Is it possible to embrace the MEANING of Christmas, but still hate Christmas?

Pick your sliver well, my friend.

Pick your sliver well, my friend.

business cards_back

Last night I escaped to my garden for a few minutes right before starting the kids’ bedtime routine. The sun was going down, the air was cool, and as soon as I reached for a tomato off my plants the anxiousness of our Days slipped away from me.

As I continued picking my Sun Golds and pruning branches and weeding weeds, I fell into a familiar rhythm of movement and thought – the same rhythm I get into when running or cleaning or cooking – my hands are busy so my mind can process.

It was a peaceful few moments that recharged me.

What I found myself processing through was how my gardens – both the vegetable and flower – were sorely neglected this summer. The water pressure issues with the automatic drip system and technical difficulties with the spigot didn’t help, but I was not as consistent in my love or care for the normally full and lush edgings around my yard.

Gardening had turned into a chore instead of a hobby this summer.

I took on some consulting work recently, which is a radical shift in how I spend my time. A few hours here and there spent on the computer or in a meeting displaces something else, though there were enough inefficiencies in my time management skilz to absorb a lot of this. But still, grocery shopping has been haphazard, meals thrown together, and I feel a general sense of disorientation with my schedule.

I know this will improve as I get into the rhythm of my days, and I realize August probably wasn’t the best time to take on new projects, but in the meantime I feel a little frazzled.

But as I tended to my sad little garden I felt the universe plop back into order. I remembered I’m slow to transition the Big Things in life – more like a semi-truck lumbering to a halt than a sports car screeching to a quick stop – and I needed to give myself time to find my way. I remembered that letting some things go doesn’t mean I’ve failed, but I’ve made choices and rearrange priorities.

And most importantly, I remembered my Identity is not rooted in being a stay-at-home mom, or a work-at-home mom, or a consultant, or a wife, and that tweaking any of these things does not change who I am at my core.

The cartoon pictured above – which is printed on the back of my business cards – was drawn by Hugh at Gaping Void, and it’s the matrix by which I make all decisions concerning home and work. Every time I take on something new, I have to decide where it’s going to fit and what gets shifted to the back burner. If I start to feel frazzled, I know I’m trying to do it all.

So if you happen to catch me freaking out, my friend, feel free to ask if I’ve picked my sliver well.

*sigh of relief*

*sigh of relief*

This is the time of the month when I panic on a daily basis over whether I’ve paid all the bills for the month. Never mind that I sit down sometime during the first week to pay them all via online banking – I STILL flew out of bed at 6am this morning to check the American Express account online.

And?

PAID.

Obviously I don’t trust myself. And rightly so, since I forget Important Things all the time. Even with all the various online to-do lists I’ve tried (previously Vitalist, and currently Remember the Milk), my chronic procrastination usually sabotages it all anyway.

So this *sigh of relief* is brought to you by a complete set of checked boxes.

watch this space

watch this space

roasted strawberriesWow. That was quite the flu bug. It waxed and waned then struck again with a vengeance of ear aches and sinus infections in Ruthie and Bryan.

Me? I came down with it on Monday, and it was Saturday before I could take a shower without needing a nap.

By Tuesday my flu was in full swing, but Ruthie was feeling better. So I did what any sane person would do when everything down to her hair hurts – WE WENT TO THE ZOO.

I’m pretty sure if the gorillas were allowed to roam free they would not act this stupid.

The makers of Ibuprofen should pay me money out of their marketing budget, because for about three hours that morning I felt like a normal person.

AND I TOLD THIS TO EVERYBODY I SAW – which may or may not have made me look like a crazy person.

Shortly after lunch I lost Ruthie. We were there with a friend and had four kids between us. If you’re ever in charge of multiple children you know the counting game you constantly play in public – one-two-three-four – over and over again. But after lunch I only came up with three.

WHERE’S RUTHIE? I said.

Squinting into the bushes, spinning around in circles, looking for that blond hair bobbing.

WHERE’S RUTHIE? I shouted again.

My friend masked a snicker and nodded down to my side – I was holding Ruthie’s hand.

And that’s how I knew it was time to go home.

But now it is Tuesday again and I’m busy digging myself out of this pile of laundry and clutter and bills and receipts.

I’m also working on a writing project with an actual deadline that is only two weeks away, so watch this space for more news on that.

The strawberries pictured above were roasted under the broiler and served with chocolate pudding, just a little gift from me to you. Try it!

weekend sun

weekend sun

blowing bubbles

What a gorgeous weekend! Our first spike into the 70s and it was purrrrfect. I spent the weekend filling in holes Lucy dug in my garden and digging up part of the lawn where the dirt was so compact grass wouldn’t grow anymore.

And? There were bubbles.

I created this mosaic over at Big Huge Labs, thanks to a link from Dacia. It was so easy, I’ll definitely try that again.

What’s the weather like where you are? Did you have a fun weekend?

carbon dating

carbon dating

Recently I made a list of one-hour projects, and this weekend I spent an hour (and a half) cleaning our refrigerator. As a point of reference I’m trying to remember the last time we ate corn on the cob, but I honestly can’t recall. I know it was likely in the summer, but which summer is still in question.

At any rate, I found two decayed ears of corn that had fallen behind the shelving and were wedged behind the veggie drawer, so the last time I cleaned was either before last summer or the summer before THAT. Sadly, both options are possible.

The good news is, the money we spent on this brand new refrigerator was worth every friggin’ penny, as every drawer comes apart (including the decorative facing), every shelf comes out, and the glass shelving separates from the plastic casing that holds it in place.

Which means?

No nasty drippy unreachable goo. It’s all spotless, now, as if we just bought it.

Cleanliness has never been my strong point, as we already established when the contractor couldn’t determine the color of the grout in my bathroom.

But when YOU come over to my house? I always clean. I promise.

Snow Day! (Groan…)

Snow Day! (Groan…)

The Plan for today WAS:

  • Wake up hours before the kids to work on finances
  • Get BOTH kids to school
  • Spend TWO HOURS writing while Thomas is in school
  • P/U Thomas & feed him lunch
  • Put Thomas in rest/nap time
  • Spend TWO HOURS writing
  • P/U Ruthie and spend afternoon with kids

The way today is going down so far:

  • Wake suddenly and before alarm – realize puppy is mauling me with “kisses” and crazy paws in the face
  • Realize Thomas is in my bed, is woken (waken?) up by crazy puppy, gets excited about snow, wakes up Ruthie
  • Stumble around the dark house looking for snow suits, which have been packed away since the conclusion of Snowpocalypse 2008
  • Recover from jolted awakening just in time for kids to come back in and demand hot chocolate
  • (oh look! it’s not even 7am, yet!)
  • Finally feed kids breakfast and put them in front of the t.v. so I can work on finances.
  • Stare at my computer, hesitating to dive into focused work while interruptions are inevitable
  • Oh gee, reading blogs is a very interruption-friendly activity!

And this is where I shook it off, jumped in the shower, and got dressed down to my shoes.

On days like this when my morning doesn’t begin with a quiet moment to focus my thoughts and get some uninterrupted work done, I have a difficult time getting back on track again. Today I realize it’s because I spend the rest of the day trying to get back to that one activity I needed to do first thing – in the case of this morning, update my Quicken and print budget reports. Since the kids are awake and continually interrupting me, I get more and more frustrated that I can’t get this task done, and either lose my temper with them or spin my wheels in a forced attempt to make it happen. Or both.

Today I will try to reset. I will leave behind the notion that can get this task done right now, and move on to the next thing. I hope this will make me more productive today than I was yesterday when I had another morning that didn’t go according to the plan.

The challenge is, this task is now nagging me, haunting me, taunting me that it’s incomplete and hovering over me. What will you do about it? it says.

The answer? I don’t know. We’ll see how the day goes.