Tag Archives: lists

Another List

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Remember 2016, when I posted a blog every single day? I remember, with lots of shaking of the head and thoughts like, “How the hell did I ever manage to do that???” One of the things that pulled me through was the “52 Lists Project.” One day a week – I chose Sunday – was devoted to making a list, possibly with a little explanation or side-chatter, based on the guidelines offered. Well, the author, Moorea Seal, has come out with a new book!

52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity, Balance and Joy has been on my bookshelf for a few weeks now, just waiting for the new year. Now that 2018 is here, I’m going to start, one day a week, working through the lists. Maybe it will move over to Sunday – that seems a good day to focus on these themes – but, because I’m anxious to get started, this week Tuesday is “list day.”

List #1: List what makes you happy right now

  • Rosa Parks: this little dog, who will ask to sit on my lap only rarely (she’s an independent little cuss), but makes me smile whenever she does. I like the weight of her on my lap, her two front legs resting on my left arm, and the way she seems truly interested in whatever I’m doing on the computer.
  • My bullet journal. I always enjoyed playing school as a child. I love to organize. I adore graph paper. New supplies always make me feel inspired. A new year gives me reasons for new plans. All of that energy comes together in my brand new journal with it’s sea foam green cover, two ribbon page markers, elastic band closure and back cover pocket!
  • Four boxes of new art supplies, delivered to the airport on New Year’s Eve.
  • Cozy slippers, a gift from my sister, Cheryl.
  • Homemade bread – whole wheat with dried cherries and walnuts – toasted and slathered with butter.
  • The new toaster, a gift from my sister Brenda and her husband, Keith. They knew I was without a toaster. Did they also know that the last three toasters I owned were Christmas gifts from my sweet Mom, who is no longer with us? And that that contributed to my dragging my feet about getting another? And that to receive one for Christmas as a gift was the best way to bring Mom back in to the celebration…and a toaster back in to my life?
  • Soft (and red!) pajamas, given to me on Christmas Eve by my friend, Linda. One Christmas tradition I started with my daughters was to always get new pajamas on Christmas Eve, so they were perfect on many levels. Right now, it makes me happy to see the bright red sleeves poking out of my robe as I type.
  • Other gifts: from my daughter Kate and her family, wonderful scents and smells in soap and lotions and candles that give me pleasure every single day in one way or another. From my sister Amy and her husband, Dennis, a packet of fifty-two fold-over letters and envelopes, one for every week of the year. Each one has a unique design, and a different message on the envelope flap. How did they know that I was planning to be better about correspondence this year? “Correspond” has it’s own space in my new Habit and Activity Tracker! From my sister Robin and her friend, Dick, a gift certificate that I used to purchase a recently released, hard-cover mystery novel: one of those decadent purchases that I totally enjoy, but would have never purchased otherwise. From my friends, Bob and Ed, a box of cheese (some of the best cheese I’ve ever tasted). From “Santa,” a big box of wonderful chocolates, delivered on Christmas Eve. Many other thoughtful presents that make me happy, knowing that the givers know me, and know what will make me smile.
  • Hot coffee with cream.
  • The balance of this day off, to do some things I have to, and anything else I want to. I’m going to get going on that right now…or just as soon as I finish this cup of coffee.

The 52 Lists Project #52

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(The last list of the year!)

List the most memorable moments of your year:

(This is not a list of “moments,” but of events that contributed many memorable moments.)

  • Well, there was this thing about committing to publishing a blog every single day, that kind of stands out as memorable. There were days, before I got into the swing of it, when I panicked near midnight, having not yet written anything to post. There were frustrating times when it seemed I had nothing worthwhile to say, or not enough time to do a subject justice. There were days when I – in trying to write ahead – accidentally published two blogs in one day. There were blessings. Like the suggestion that I just put artwork up on Thursdays, and not feel the need to write in depth about it. And finding this 52 Lists Project, which has been a joy to do, and a godsend in getting me through the week. And all of the loyal folks who have stuck with me, reading what I put out there, and sometimes offering comments and encouragement. It has definitely been memorable.
  • In February, there was a paint seminar in Clare that turned into a mini vacation. I added one day to my trip when my sister Brenda agreed to join me. We stayed in a wonderful old historic hotel, enjoyed time in the hot tub and pool, talked and shopped and explored. Brenda brought me numerous presents, including a new computer.
  • In March, I traveled with my daughter Kate, her husband Jeremy, and two of my grandchildren, Madeline and Tommy, to Connecticut to visit my grandson Mikey, his girlfriend, and their new baby, Lincoln. Kate makes all travel memorable, and this trip was no exception. We took little detours to see special sights both coming and going, and had an especially culture-rich experience while we were there.
  • In May, I went to Mikado to visit my friend Linda, who I hadn’t seen in too many years. We talked and laughed and caught up on things. We ate very well. We shopped very hard. We made several visits to a nearby animal shelter, and when I left to come home, I had a new dog – Darla – with me.
  • In June, my grandson, Tommy, came to the island for a long visit. My daughter, Kate, surprised us both by coming to the island for the Fourth of July.
  • In July, my friend Mary came for a visit. We did something special every day. We talked as if no time at all had passed since we’d had a good conversation. We laughed as if the last fifty years had fallen away!
  • In August there was the “Meet the Artists” Art Show at Livingstone Studio, where I had a good response to new work. It was a beautiful, sunny day with good food and wine, too!
  • My sisters came to the island in August, too, with significant others, children and grandchildren for a glorious week of reconnecting with family.
  • In August, I started a “bullet journal,” which has streamlined my life in many significant ways. It helped me to consolidate a dozen lists (titles and ideas for artwork; Christmas gifts purchased, gift ideas and Christmas card list; books I have read and books I want to read; quotes; daily activities; work calendar; self-improvement goals; you get the idea!) into one easy-to-keep-nearby journal. I am not good at using software to do this stuff. I’m better at writing it out. This – so far – seems like a good fit for me.
  • In September, I went across for a mammogram (good results).
  • At the end of November, I traveled downstate for good early December visits with my daughters, brother, sisters and others.
  • In December, I looked back at 2016, and started plotting ahead for an even richer, more productive year in 2017. The handy “task and activity tracker” that I created for my bullet journal makes it easy to see, for instance, that I did not allow myself a single bit of studio time for at least three months. That has to change! Photos taken with my sisters in December showed clearly that I need to lose some weight. I’m getting ready to start a new diet plan in January. Looking toward spring, I will either get my garden in hand, or I will give up on it and turn that area back into lawn. I won’t spend another summer looking at old overgrowth and weeds! So, good feelings about the past year, big plans for the next: that’s a good place to finish the 52 Lists Project!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Joyous Season to all!

The 52 Lists Project #48

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List the things you want to add to your life:

  • Travel. Not a lot, but there are things I’d like to see and experience, that are farther than what my small world encompasses right now.
  • Culture. One big gap in my life right now is the ability to visit galleries and museums.
  • Learning. I have never really quit learning, but I’d love to have time for some classes and workshops.
  • Pleasure. I have a darn good life. I appreciate it, most of the time, and I’m happy. That’s different than pleasure, which comes from interaction and shared experience with others. My dogs bring pleasure to my life. Without them, I’d rarely speak out loud at home, let alone laugh out loud. Still, I could use to add more pleasure to my days.
  • Relaxation. It seems that even when I have time for rest, I turn it into a quest for productivity.  “The German work ethic,” I joke. I suppose I get it from my father, who never took a single vacation that wasn’t a working vacation. I would like to learn to just relax…to walk without needing to have it be a health and aerobic geared outing…to read without having to take notes, underline, remember and – at the very least – be enriched by the experience…to watch a movie without having to be drawing,  crocheting, folding clothes or writing at the same time. By the time I retire (which right now I think of as that time when I will finally be able to devote myself to working in the studio, working in the garden, keeping chickens and finishing a whole long list of home repairs), I hope I have learned to just Relax!

The 52 Lists project #46

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List your greatest comforts:

  • Family. Those people that love me and accept me no matter what, that put up with my bad humor, differing political opinions and incessant whining with grace, that shore me up with their unwavering devotion…they are my greatest comfort.
  • Friends. The gift of understanding, shared experience and laughter is a huge comfort.
  • My dogs, with their trust and unwavering faithfulness, for their warmth and closeness, for how they make me smile.
  • My books. When I read books on simplifying and clearing space, I get agitated when the conversation turns to getting rid of books. I can let go of some stuff…but generally not books.
  • My peach sweatshirt. I found it in a secondhand store, in perfect condition. I  irreparably stained it the first time I wore it. Still, it’s warm and comfortable, and long enough to hide the belly fat.
  • My health insurance. It usually only covers a fraction of the cost of an office call, lab work or prescriptions (though it paid for a flu shot entirely!) but it’s a big comfort knowing it is there if I get seriously ill.
  • My job…because it is awfully nice to be able to pay your own way in this world.
  • My memory. I’m not entirely comfortable that it will always be with me – sometimes it fails me already – but right now, it is a solace to know that I can pull up people and events from my past to revisit loved ones and relive precious moments.
  • My daily journal. To remind me of what I’ve done…and what I need to do.

This Day…

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It seems, these days, that my head is filled with lists of things I need to do.

I wake up, usually, about two AM, running the items through my mind. I’m out of bed by three, with a cup of chamomile tea, shuffling through papers or writing things down. I rarely accomplish anything worthwhile in the middle of the night. If I’m lucky, the tea and a bit of activity will allow me to fall back asleep, so that my nocturnal worrying doesn’t spoil me for the day ahead.

I feel overwhelmed in my life.

There seems to be no area that I’m not behind in.

When I am at my main day job, I’m able to focus on that. It keeps me busy enough to hold my attention.

It’s when I’m home that everything else crowds in.

Housework, laundry, home repair, special projects, yard and garden maintenance, dog-walking, bill-paying and letter-writing.

That’s just my personal life.

The news magazine has a whole list of its own, of things to write…or plan…or send…or do.

Then there is the studio, with paintings and collagraphs to finish and other ideas to flesh out. A daily drawing practice planned and abandoned. A new collaborative project, and thirty canvases waiting. Ceramic wares to be fired…big plans for a new kiln…no time.

There are stacks of books in progress, or waiting to be read.

November is just around the corner. Last year, I wrote a blog post every day of that month. I’m thinking of trying it again this year. It seems my writing has devolved into long tirades filled with whining and complaint. Would writing every day get me past that, or just indulge my self-centered ranting? Do I really want one more obligation? Am I crazy?

Yesterday, facing my day off, I was up in the night plotting all that I would accomplish. I took to the couch at 6AM, and slept until after nine. UGH! Rainy outside, I was able to set aside the mowing, raking, pruning and pulling that might have otherwise competed for attention.

In between loads of laundry, sweeping and scouring, I managed to finish a couple projects that have been waiting.

I assembled a new box spring, to support the mattress of my double bed.

I was not dissatisfied with my single bed. It actually gives me a bit more room to move around in my small bedroom. That is  doubly important ever since I moved Mom’s cedar chest and Mrs. Valaquet’s hand-me-down dresser into the space. However, last year, while attempting to drill through the wooden headboard, to lower the height of the mattress so that my little dog could get on and off on her own, I split the frame. Since then, the single sized flat springs topped by single sized mattress have been sitting on top of a twin-sized metal bed frame. Though the difference is small, it’s enough so that every time I roll over or shift in bed, the mattress slides off one edge of the frame, and sits at a slant until I get up to fix it.  The mattress is not the best, either. Lately, I’ve been looking longingly at the double bed.

I have always liked the double bed. My husband and I found the frame on the roadside, on sale for twenty dollars, many years ago. I had just bought a new mattress for it when – in an allergy-induced fit of purging the house of anything that might harbor dust mites – I got rid of the old box spring and stored the bed.

I tried to make a mattress support for it several months ago, in the middle of the night. With a hand saw, I trimmed a dozen 1 x 6 pine boards to fit precisely between the metal side rails of the bed, arranged them as planned, added the mattress, sheets and comforter, congratulated myself on a job well done, and got into bed…only to have it collapse. Evidently, pine boards have too much sway. So, in the middle of the night, I had to clear away the boards, stash the mattress, metal headboard, foot board and side rails in the attic, pull out the frame and mattress for the twin bed from the same small attic (a task that involves more coordination, planning and ability to pirouette than I have, thank you!), remake the small bed…and done.

This product, designed for supporting a mattress, should be better. It came through the mail several weeks ago, in a surprisingly small box. Though it’s called a box spring, there are no springs. The box contained several pre-drilled pieces made up of boards and spacers, bolts, nuts and screws. In order to have room to assemble it, I would have to commit to – once again – disassembling and storing the twin bed. That alone caused another week of procrastination!

Yesterday was the day for action!

It went surprisingly well. The kit required twelve bolts and nuts (thirteen of each were in the package) and thirty screws. Only 28 screws were sent, which caused a bit of a scramble to remember where I’d stored the toolbox that would probably (and it did!) have a couple screws in it. Otherwise, there were no major issues. Box spring assembled and double bed put together, sheets and comforter in place, I am happy to report this bed does not collapse when I get into it!

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I was so bolstered by this success story, I went on to move the legs on my suitcase coffee table. That also went without a hitch!

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Encouraged by this success, I’m wondering what I can accomplish today!

First, I’m going to tackle the crazy-making agenda of my life. I need a schedule. I am going to plan time to work on specific projects…but it can’t be all the time. I am going to figure out how to have time to do whatever I want, even if just a few minutes a day, without guilt over what I “should” be doing.

On this day, I’m going to start placing as much importance on living this life as I do on any other job.

That is, after all, the most important job any of us have.

Off-Track

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I told myself I’d publish one essay a week.

From years of experience, I know better than to set my sights too high. Lists are easy for me. Charts are a breeze. I excel at the planning stages of any endeavor. It’s the follow-through that kills me.

So, one post a week, usually on Sunday. Maybe an extra one here and there for a special event, but no pressure.

And here I am, less than three months in, already off track.

I have a good reason for my neglect: I took a vacation!

Six sisters, having survived one of the worst years of our lives, convened in Florida to celebrate our survival, our precious lives and our constant love and respect for each other. We laughed and cried and walked and played together. We relived old memories and made lots of new ones. We loved the sand, the sun, the water, and each others company. We filled every single day with wonderful experiences! It was a time to catch up with each other, and a time to catch our breath. It was healthy and healing and just plain fun!

I was away from my computer for ten days, from Friday through the following Sunday. During that time, six of us shared one computer. Two of the six were handling business issues via the internet; one of the six was looking for housing and employment; all of us were using the computer to keep up with family back home.

So, here I am, off-track, but still glowing from the experience!Image

In order from oldest to youngest (as we have posed for pictures all of our lives!), my sisters and I: from the left, Brenda, Cindy, Cheryl, Nita, Robin and Amy.