Posts Tagged With: lists

Tick Tock Tick Tock

My latest attempts at achieving organizational nirvana involve the computer, colors and willpower. After two days using this self-created self-help tool I’ve recognized a few fatal flaws.

  • I shouldn’t rely on a computer for something so critical
  • The color coding doesn’t make much sense except in an advertising kind of mentality (oo, oo, pick me, pick me)
  • My willpower varies widely with the time of day, how much sleep I got, if I remembered to take my medications and how much caffeine is in my system.

I might have to resort to stronger measures. Like a sheet of paper and a pencil.

Someone one December suggested abandoning the lists altogether.

It was a man.

You know, those creatures with the one track mind. Aim them toward something and nothing will distract them. No multitasking there. Do Item A. Ignore everything else until Item A ends successfully. In fact, no other items even exist until Item A reaches completion.

Oh, to be a man.

Abandon all lists.

As if.

Ha!

Here’s a sample list of things to do between now, Friday afternoon, and Monday, three days away.

photo-18 copy 27

I hope your list doesn’t look this long or this silly.

If I cloned myself and hired someone to help it might begin to make a dent. And this doesn’t include the seven or eight things at the top of the list. Nor does it involve the unwritten mental list I carry around all the time. And it certainly doesn’t have anything written down that might suddenly come up and take total precedence over the entire list. Even the red, or blue or highlighted or underlined or bolded items. Nope. There’s always that kind of stuff hovering nearby.

If you’re like MSH, or almost any other man, you’d suggest the ABC123 approach of prioritizing.

That’s all well and good.

But, honestly, I’m just venting. Your job is to read and commiserate or shake your head and think I’m a nut case. Whatever.

If you also have a list that looks like this, or worse (bless you) then you understand. My list is just here to make you feel better about your list.

Nothing more.

What gets done will get done. What doesn’t, doesn’t.

Oh well.

Life goes on.

Except when it doesn’t.

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Categories: Family, Holiday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Flexible, Spontaneous or Just Simply Chaotic

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for a plans and goals and lists. I’m sure that sounds odd to most people.

Windswept

Windswept (Photo credit: Kathrin & Stefan)

You see, I’m not normally a goal setting sort of person. I prefer to be flexible and goals seem to get in the way of that flexibility. I do, however, have a wide assortment of lists, which aren’t quite the same as goals.

I suppose I see plans as a happy medium between goals and lists. It falls right in the middle of inflexible and flexible.

“You can devise all the plans in the world, but if you don’t welcome spontaneity; you will just disappoint yourself.” ~ Abigail Biddinger

I’d have missed out on some of the greatest things in my life if I weren’t willing to let go of plans and goals and just ride the current I found myself in.

Of course, a person can’t always just be all “whatever.” I guess there needs to be a sense of order and control and sanity as a foundation in order to be able to be spontaneous. May be that’s where I fall short and why goals don’t work so well for me, not enough of a foundation of order.

Hmmm.

Well, so far, I’ve managed to get by fairly well with my many lists, my few goals and the plans I make.

I’ve always liked this saying because I think it justifies or proves my somewhat hectic life of flexibility mixed with chaos.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~Allan Saunders

I’m always on a quest for balance in my life. If I ever achieve it the planets may cease spinning.

Well at least, I’m fairly certain, I keep God laughing.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Ways to Drive Yourself Bonkers

A delayed evening flight is a bad excuse for imbibing in caffeinated beverages. Don’t do it. As soon as you do, the flight will miraculously depart and arrive on schedule. And you? You’ll still be wide awake at 3:45 in the morning writing drivel on the computer when you should be dreaming of a deserted island with a hammock and unlimited iced lemonades.

A Hammock on a tropical beach.

The Perfect Dream Hammock on a tropical beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure myriad other ways exist for driving yourself bonkers. But this list seems pertinent to my week as I prepare for a wedding reception for my daughter who got married last week. Remember last week? It feels like months ago.

If you have a big event coming up maybe you can learn from my short list.

Five Ways to Drive Yourself Bonkers:

  1. Worry about things you have no control over.
  2. Assume you can do everything yourself and don’t ask for help, even when help is offered.
  3. Wear something brand new to an important event without having sat down, stood up, walked around in and gotten in and out of a car while wearing it.
  4. Try to find something interesting to watch on broadcast television after 10 p.m.
  5. Put off important details until the last-minute. (See number 4 above)

That felt a little negative and sarcastic. (Ya think?) Let’s try a different tack:

Five Ways to Recover from Your Own Mistakes

  1. Pretend that you planned for things to work out the way they did.
  2. Learn to delegate and to graciously accept help.
  3. Take a power nap and then eat some chocolate.
  4. Read a great book while sipping a cool beverage and ignoring your texts, tweets, reminders and calls.
  5. Fall asleep while reading (see 4 above) and stay that way as long as possible.

Not very realistic, for me anyway. Maybe I should fling caution to the wind (sorry, a cliché) and go all out:

Five Things I Would Do Differently Next Time I’m in Charge of Something Humongous.

  1. Rob a bank and hire out all the work. Every. Last. Detail.
  2. Start a meticulous daily to-do list months in advance and don’t allow myself access to any media or chocolate until the days’ tasks are done.
  3. Book a cruise to anywhere for the week of that event.
  4. Just say no? (See how effective that was…I can’t even write a sentence that sounds declarative and forceful.)
  5. Develop amnesia.

Okay, Okay, I can do this. Really, truly. Seriously. One more try for the Gipper. (What does that mean anyway? Remind me to look it up.)

Five Brilliant Insights That Will Save You Heartache and Improve Your Life and Save Your Sanity:

  1. Understand that you’re human and things aren’t going to turn out perfectly.
  2. Accept that life happens and that detours, side trips, distractions and worries are part of the process.
  3. Someday you’ll be able to look back on this and laugh. Someday in the far, far future.
  4. Remember the Beanie Baby. (Not sure if that really applies, but it just came to mind, it must mean something.)
  5. Love these people in your life, even when it gets bonkers.
Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Best Books Ever, At Least for This Week

Someone asked me for a list of my favorite books. Or maybe it was, “If you were stranded on a desert island with only three books…” I don’t know. They demanded a quick answer and I had none.

Happy Children Playing Kids

(Photo credit: epSos.de)

May as well ask a mother to pick a favorite child.

Apparently, I’m just a fraud, masquerading as a literary aficionado.

And yet if someone knew nothing else about me they’d need to know that I. Love. Books.

When we pack up to move, the book boxes outnumber the kitchen boxes. Surely I have a shelf of favorites. Actually, I have categories of favorites. And not just genres. Books are favorite reads because of character development, or amazing descriptive writing, or a compelling storyline. Books are favorites because I recognized myself and my quirks in a particular character, or because the writing felt familiar and comfortable. Favorites find their way into my heart through no reasoning whatsoever. Some are such masterworks of genius I read them just to remind myself that such art and perfection exists.

My yearly goal is to read twenty-five books. (That’s two a month plus one for we math illiterates.) That’s been going on for upwards of thirty years. And some years I read much more than that. Being conservative, that’s 750 books I’ve read as an adult. As a kid and a teen I read like most people breath and I didn’t keep track of them. A book a day during the summer, perhaps? Given that impossible to estimate number, lets round it up to a thousand books I’ve read. Narrowing that down to ten favorites seems impossible.

Just as a sort of point of honor, I read all of these before they became movies, or musicals, or whatever else they’ve morphed into.

Yet, in the spirit of answering last night’s book club question, here is a list of a few of my favorite books, in no particular order. (If they have a star, it’d be in my “deserted island” backpack.)

  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee*
  • The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
  • Les Miserables – Victor Hugo*
  • The Book Thief  -Markus Zusak* (Surprising narrator)
  • Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper*
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife  – Audrey Niffenegger
  • Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
  • The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon (The best first lines of a novel ever!)
  • Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen*
  • Ender’s Game  – Orson Scott Card
  • Matilda – Roald Dahl*
  • The Whistling Season – Ivan Doig* (Stunning!)
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (Yup Mr. Beck, your favorite author made the list, aren’t you a proud teacher!)
  • Ella Minnow Pea – Mark Dunn
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A River Runs Through It – Norman McLean* (Better than a hike in the woods)
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens*
  • Banner in the Sky – James Ramsey Ullman
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  • Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks
  • The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Talk Before Sleep – Elizabeth Berg (Beautifully heartbreaking)
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg (Towanda!)
library shelves

(Photo credit: jvoss)

I feel like I’ve left hundreds of my beloved children behind. I also realize after reviewing my list that it’s all fiction. I do read non-fiction, they just don’t fall into my favorites lists apparently.

Simply reading the synopsis of each book will entertain you, I’m certain of it. Pick one or two that you haven’t ever read then get back to me about what you thought. I’d love a dialogue like that.

I ramped up my reading goal this year to thirty-six books. That seems reasonable. Three great reads a month. Okay, maybe they won’t all be great. But the more I read, I figure, the more likely I’ll find some real gems to cherish. I’ve read eighteen so far, so given that it’s the beginning of July, I’m right on track.

If you have a favorite you think I need to read or you don’t see here, I’d love to know about it. Please leave a comment so I can enjoy  and share the treasures you’ve found among the world of reading.

I’m always looking for another favorite.

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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