Thirteen for ’13

I decided to limit my goals to 13.  I could list 100 and still not address all that needs overhauling in my life.  Little by little, I feel that I’ve let things get sloppy.  There is only one way to fix it.  Fix it.

GOALS

1) Silence.  No computer.  No people.  No kidding.  I’ve always had a value for silence.  Maybe because I am an only child, I “got it” from a very early age.  I don’t know.  Whatever’s the case, I haven’t been alone systematically for months.

Looks like: setting an alarm, no matter what time I go to bed.

Start: now.

Finish: none.  Death is the ultimate meditative silence.

2) Move in my strengths.  I actually know a thing or two, and in one or two areas, I am an expert.  A couple of months ago, I had a bit of a wake up call when my brain screamed,”You haven’t accomplished [thing I want] because you have no self-confidence to try.

Looks like: *sigh* making a list of my strengths and deciding in what ways to use those resources to encourage others.

Start: today.

Finish: the list, Feb 1.

3) Rock the kitchen.  The fact is, I avoid cooking food and feeding people.  It’s unloving.  It’s irresponsible.  It’s wasteful.

Looks like:  Keeping enough food in the house for people to eat. I am bad for getting home without enough snacks.  This drives my children to eat all the chips, pretzels, carrots, celery, crackers, cheese, lunch meat, green beans. Then, when meal time comes, there is no li’l side or something.  Planning dinners but also, *sigh* lunches.

Start: Today.

Finish: I can shop today.  Menu planning needs a longer finish date.  The best idea I’ve heard is to create a number of menus and rotate them.  Gimme….two weeks.

4) Get a choke hold on the family finances.  Choke. Hold.  I hope that’s not too harsh of imagery for my more delicate blog guest.  I checked us out on Global Rich List.  I have no excuse.

Looks like: Giving systematically to God’s Work (not always strictly to the local church). Saving like a mad woman.  Possibly refinancing.  Executing a will. Aggressive debt re-payment. It might be a service like Manilla.  I don’t love being here, but I know I am not alone in the world and this is my blog and I’m collecting on the accountability, real or imagined.

Start: Today

Finish: I need to set individual times on each one.  So, today’s action is that.  By night fall tonight, I will have estimated finish dates on these.

5) Get serious about writing. I could post a “knock-knock” joke a day on the blog for the rest of my life.  I could continue to analyze my navel lint for the next five years.  Am I writing or not?  Am I any good or not?

Looks like: submitting something for publication to a legitimate source like a magazine or newspaper or a nice website.

Start: yesterday, I bought The Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Yearbook 2013*.   It has a number of websites for writers.

Finish: Submit something by the end of February.

6) Love my blog.  It seems that when the adoption was final I lost my niche. I still believe in my blog’s name.  What-We-Can’t-Explain is a part of God’s Perfect Design for our lives.  That’s the best description of my life so far.  The greatest things that ever happened were because of what looked like a slip on a banana peel or a cosmic clothesline.

Looks like: a design, a blogging calendar, guest posting, and monetizing.  Creating my own or using others daily blog checklists.

Start: Dec 28–The design is underway. January 3 or something. I’ve been invited to guest post I have to accept.  I’m shy, see.

Finish: The design stuff I have no control over…could be in a week or two.  I will accept on the guest post today.

7) Hold out for quality.  My children have developed a general expectation of life that’s mediocre. I commented to someone the other day that kids will appreciate quality if that’s what they’re exposed to.  It was like I slapped my own face.

Looks like: Resisting the “I can do that later.”

Start: When I Dress for work this morning.

Finish: When they are educated and have found a husband or wife.

8) School. I am burnt out, but I’m not giving up. At least, public school kids are impelled. This is my gig. Only the ISP headmaster gets to tell me what to do.

Looks like: Getting all my paperwork prepared so when it’s due, there is less stress.  Planning the rest of the curriculum until graduation.  Looking at college degree plans so I know what they need.

Start: today.

Finish: Feb 1.

9) Take better care of myself.  (See #1)  I am a big girl.  No one is going to take care of my body and mind and spirit.  End of discussion.  Sure, I’d like to call this one exercise and eat right, but there might be one or two things I need before that.

Looks like: List of needs.  Plan to execute.

Start: When I started writing this post.

Deadline: one week.

10) Make a house that I’m not ashamed to have in the background of my photos.

Looks like: Fill the space in the attic that I gained access to when I was in there.  Give away junk.  Throw away trash.  Plan for Renovation work.

Start: this isn’t rocket science.  Tomorrow’s Saturday.

Finish:

11)  Stop waste in the house.  I think this is redundant, but, it is a mindset.  Instead of seeing my goals in terms of their worth in sacrifice, I get in the habit of medicating my feelings with a “pass”.  Well, $#!@’s out of hand.   Money, Time, Food, Utilities, Late Fees, Brain cells (we have watched some really stupid stuff).

Looks like: setting the example myself.  Shut up.  I hate my life.

Start: with shorter showers and not using the fixture with six bulbs unless I am putting on make-up.  List other areas and work on them.

Finish: When kids can run their own homes.

12)  The organization thing– create systems that make the obnoxious work easy.  Then USE THEM.  Even if it is a to-do list.  Making the list isn’t the objective.  It’s coming under the authority of the list that counts. Looks like: starting that list.

Start: in a minute.

Finish: when I no longer rely on a pile of paper to know what I need to do next.

13) Trust God– I’ve been mad at him over some things that happened really close together that we didn’t get a good outcome on.  But even before that, I was going on the feeling that He wasn’t really showing up for me.  I was having to do this all myself.  I know better.  I wouldn’t be even so much as alive without Him.  If He doesn’t have me now,  none of this really matters.

Looks like: Being joyful when I feel down and discouraged.  Not in a fake way, but acknowledging my feelings and listing what is still good or given in the midst.  There’s a blog challenge, but I think I might do it privately.

Start: ASAP

Finish: Every moment and start again.

 

*It’s a magazine… not Writer’s Market.  I couldn’t find a link.

 

 

 

Dear Santa, Not that I Need to Tell You Any of This…

Dear Santa:

First, let me say, the coffee mug from last year is still rocking the mornings the dishwasher hasn’t been run.  You know exactly how to bring the trumpet shaped ceramic noise.

I hope you enjoyed the low-fat, high-fiber, refreshments we provided.  They are approved by the American Heart Association. Please let Mrs. Claus know we appreciate her kind note and will be serving those again this year.

We are looking forward to hiding in the drapes and watching you lay a finger aside of your nose.

Just to streamline your preparations and help you stay out of the mug aisle at Wal-Mart, I thought I’d give you a few ideas.

1) Santa, let’s just dispense with the formalities and get down to business on this, shall we?  I don’t just want, I need a new camera.  Three years into my brave attempts at blogging, the camera that started out as merely adequate, has gone downhill.  It really seems to want to retire.  The daggeurrotype produced a clearer image.  It served me well throughout several births, but is now less current and capable than phones I see in the hands of 10 year-olds.

Pony. Up.

pcmprd187800050016_sc.jpg Front Detail

 

2) Since we are on the topic of outdated technology.  Let’s talk about phones.  I am carrying this:

LG COSMOS

It is a good serviceable device and should offer clear talk and utilitarian texting well into the next decade.   But please. If I am on the good list, do something…  I know the girls would like to carry this phone, so do it for them.

3)  Dishes.  You saw it last year under your organic field greens with balsamic vinaigrette.  Chipped and cracked.  I’ve shopped and shown Mickey what I want for everyday use.  Yet, I went to the store’s website to check for specials and found this.

 

Mikasa® Threads Modern Dinnerware

Mikasa Threads @ Bed, Bath, & Beyond 

 

Yes, that’s right.  Our wedding china pattern hasn’t been discontinued.  That’s where you come in.  The everyday dishes are a given, so to speak.  Given, meaning, “He’s givin’ ’em to me or I’m givin’ ’em to myself.”  But to have the china completed would be really, really nice.  So I’ll have at least something for the girls to fight over who has to take it when I die.

4)  While we are making me happy with what I see under the tree, let’s talk about the man I send off to work everyday.  Looking like a scarecrow.  You know what we are dealing with here.  He hates to shop.  He went from one workplace where the boss wanted everyone to “Dress for Success”  like it was 1984 to another where the hipsters set the dress code.  He feels a little like Urkel in a One Direction video.

What would make me happy is for you to just take care of this.  From the skin out.  Thanks in advance.

5)  The girls.  Ditto.  Not because of the workplace.  They need jeans. Because they’ve worn out the ones they currently wear.  WORN THEM OUT.  That doesn’t even speak to accessories, anything for a dressy event or shoes.  Oh my Santa, SHOES!  All that heroic nonsense about the thrift store aside; I am too exhausted to even start the process. You see them when they’re sleeping.  You know when they’re awake.  Blech.

Get to work old ma-….

Sorry.

Now I’m so glad you know I have PMS and I didn’t really mean that.

6) The boy.  Rock. His. World.  This kid would seriously fade away into Angry Birds and never be seen again.  He has a magnificent wardrobe courtesy of all our friends and fellow church members cleaning out their boys closets when he came.  Like he cares.  He needs stuff to play with outside and inside.  He’s a bit like an only child in that he and his sisters just aren’t entertained by the same stuff.  he bravely tries to join in and knows all the lyrics to all their cds.  That’s not good for anyone.  He needs more than the light sabre and the trampoline.

7) Howsabouta nice stockade fence around the backyard.  So we and our next door neighbors can enjoy our yards at the same time without looking at each other.  Remember what they say.  Good fences make good neighbors. I’m sure the feeling is mutual when I say, they would be a lot better looking from the other side of a privacy fence.  The *ahem* ‘cyclone fence’ that came with the house is an embarrassment.  I’d just like to wake up on Christmas morning and look out the window and not see the alley.

8) The peace on earth thing.  Peace has so many different meanings.  Practically one for every living person.  Let’s talk about that mom whose child is on the battlefield.  In a foreign country or an urban back alley or a cancer ward or a rebellious season.  Bring that momma peace.  For that Man who’s imprisoned by the pressure.  To conquer.  Work. Marriage. Fatherhood.  House.  Car. TV.  Money.  Give. Him. Peace.

Bring them peace.  And the earth will follow.

9) Underwear and socks.  Seriously.  We all need them.

10) An orange and some nuts and a peppermint stick in my stocking.  To remind me of the olden days.  And those who wished before me.  You know who they are.

Bonus: It would cost you nothing to send some Facebook likes for the blog.  Or some comments.  Or some reason to keep persevering with this.  Since the muse has apparently moved to one of Money Magazine’s Best Cities to live in.

Thank you, Santa for reading my letter.  And being magical.  And letting me on the good list.

Maggie S.

This letter, while genuinely heartfelt and sincere, is also linked with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Mama's Losin' It

 

 

 

Oh, Yeah. It’s Also That Time of Year

I think it is going to turn out to be a really good idea to make that list I was referring to in this post.  The list of ‘Expectations: Met’ has come to mind over and over again.

See, the last week has been grueling in terms of getting where we are supposed to go, with what we need, for whomever needs it.

Tuesday Night’s Choir concert was meant to be a last hurdle before a short breather.

We had to make another trip to the Orthodontist because the “mouth guard, retainery thing” the boy wears, disappeared.

The tree is up in the living room.  No lights or adornment of any kind.

Then something happened that could be a routine thing, but in the twinkling of an eye, you know.  It won’t be.  Hassle.  Stress.  Dealing with something that wastes time, energy and money.

Did I mention, next week is the anniversary of Mickey’s mother’s passing?

Yeah.  The office Christmas Party is on her birthday. She passed the evening before her birthday.

I desperately need a list of things that are going right.

THE ACCIDENTAL ACCOUNTING OF EXPECTATIONS MET OR EXCEEDED

1) The house is warm and solid and looks freaking sexy when decorated for the holidays.

2) I worked in the attic for several hours the other day and “found” massive amounts of space to store things up out of the way.

3) The veterinarian’s office had the flea control tabs for both dogs this month.  The medium can get back ordered.  After the new year, I’m hoping to buy several months at a time.

4) Daughter’s solo?  Please.  She is not afraid of being on stage.  She nailed it.

5) One of the other youth leaders called me Wednesday and took my group.  Some other families brought the kids home, so Mickey and I could chill.

6) The coffee maker works.  Every day.  It’s over $100, new, but I got this one for $10 at the thrift store.  Five years ago.

7) Whatever the little cold was we were passing around, it didn’t turn into the viral brochitis-y thing that we were warned about.  And we completely dodged the bullet on the stomach thing.  (I wouldn’t mind a little round with something that would blow a pound or two off me, but only if no one else got it.)

8)  I got to volunteer for the home tour.  In so doing, I had the opportunity to visit with a near neighbor.  It was pretty great.  The house was ultra unique in that the couple are artists and they converted a warehouse to a residence.

9) The weather has been fantastic.  So we are not fussing with boys about being adequately dressed or misplacing hats and gloves while all this intense action is going on.  And the gas bill is not gouging us more than usual.  Someone told me we were supposed to have flurries by the 7th.  This is why weathermen need to figure out another way to do this.  And I need an emergency kit.  One of these days, someone’s gonna say,”It’ll miss us.”

10) Today is the last day of Co-op before the holidays.  Hip hip…you know the rest.  Oooh, the catching up with non-co-op schoolwork that will get done!!!

Bonus: Compared to last year at this time? The cupboard is full and the new TV is this season’s “Soft glow of electric sex”.

 

 

 

 

 

For Once It’s About Me{me}!

Lady Jennie @ A Lady in France was so gracious as to invite readers to join her in answering the questions she wanted the answers to.    Because I worship her from afar, literally  am the laziest stalker ever like her so much, I am joining up.

1. What’s your guilty pleasure? You know what I mean? What do you do that you know is probably not the wisest thing for you but you can’t seem to help yourself?

It’s coffee, I could almost cut and paste Lady Jennie’s answer to this question.  Though, her cup is prettier than mine.  I have cut back so seriously, since August, that my kids have noticed I’m nicer.  And commented.  Dang.

less attractive vessel for drinking

2. Have you ever been able to overcome a bad habit? If so, how?

No. {See number one}.

The habits that I’ve broken don’t seem that bad.  And the bad ones won’t break.  Or I don’t care enough, yet. (I hate blogging.  It’s like a freaking mirror on my heart and motives.) [I really love it.  I just say a lot of mean things.]

3. What’s your first memory?

Looking out the window of the farmhouse to the dirt road.  I don’t know how young I was, but just tall enough to look out the window.  Probably could place my chin on the sill.  It was late fall or winter.  The sky was gray.  The road was red.  The wind was blowing.  It was in Oklahoma, of course, the wind was blowing.  It was beautiful to me.

4. Have you ever had an experience with a ghost?

I’d like to think so.  We’ve had a few poltergeist type things happen in this house.  They’ve always preceded emotional cataclysm with the twins.  Which is what poltergeists love.  Remove the emotional charge, remove the activity.

One time, my husband, son, and I were in the back of the house, and we heard a knock on the door at about 7:00 a.m. I went to the door because I was dressed and the others were still bedhead.  There was no one there.  No one in the street.  No one along the sidewalk.  It had been an assertive and unmistakable knock.

Another time, the family was moving around the house doing their own chores.  At one point, one of my daughters and I stopped in the living room at the same time.  Movement caught our eye and we looked up.  The living room fixture was spinning lazily.  Back and forth.  This fixture has been hanging since 1920.  It doesn’t move when both powerfully strong girls are dancing in the very room.

During a really horrible time…before I knew what was going on, our house was surrounded by cats.  Wailing, howling, spraying, screeching.  Day and night.  Nights were especially horrible.  Neighbors speculated that a feral colony was migrating.  Whatever.  They were aggressively inhabiting our porch and storage area and it was nearly impossible to sleep.  This lasted a couple of weeks.  Animal control would bring me a trap when they had one free– in about six weeks.  One night, tucking my daughter in bed, I looked at her face and for a flash thought, “She’s dying.”  My baby was transfigured into a macabre visage.  In two more days, a dark secret was exposed to the light.  The cats were gone that day and never returned.

5. Have you ever had a significant dream? One that came true, or one that meant something to you?

No, my husband has the significant dreams.  I interpret.

My grandmother often dreamed of a house– large and empty, not a home.  I’ve had a house dream a couple of times.

Mostly, my perception stuff happens in waking.  I frequently awake at exactly 5:22.  It started when the girls were 3 years-old.  In the last few years, I note the time in the evening at that time, as well.  I’m hoping one day to know why.  I have a friend who has the same thing at a different time.

6. What’s your most embarrassingly funny memory, and if you dare, your embarrassingly embarrassing memory?

Weird…I have a fart story, too.  I was standing in the store that sells baseball caps.  Paying for a cap for my husband.  The clerk and his buddy, who was “hanging-out-in-the-cap-store-at-the-mall-because-he-was-a-winner-that’s-why”, were standing there, and while the guy prcoessed my check there rose around me a stink such as the world had not known.  If evil has a funk, this was it.  Grease and Sin.  I gagged.  I made eye contact.  They froze.  Perhaps they didn’t yet know whether their buddy had served it up.  Never ever in my life before or since have I delivered one that bad.

That’s copying, though.  When I was a junior in high school, I fell asleep in U.S. History.  I drooled on my desk.  When I awoke, I was lying in a puddle the size of the desktop.  My hair was wet and my arms and body were keeping it from DRIPPING OFF THE DESK.  I couldn’t move until class ended, in order to keep others from seeing it.  I have no memory of how it was resolved.  I vaguely remember telling the teacher.

7. Alright moving on to more distinguished topics. Favorite book. Why is it your favorite?

I hate this question.  I am like the little boy who was an optimist…when he there was only a heap of manure under the tree on Christmas morning, he leaped upon it and started digging.  When someone asked him what he was doing, he replied, “Pile of shit poopie this big?  Gotta be a pony in here somewhere!!!”

I can never remember the book that held me by the heart in shock that I was finished and it was over.  Because I didn’t just dig through…I closely examined a lot of individual… [lightheaded; head between knees] turds.

Books that have made me sob:  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls;  Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Eliot;

8. Last question – most romantic. At what precise moment did you know your spouse/partner was “the one?”

Looking back, I think the first moment I saw him was a sign.  I’m not saying a shaft of light came out of heaven and the angels sang, but there was definitely a jolt. I didn’t believe in that kind of nonsense and didn’t see him for some time, but he called me once just to see how I was doing. Another six months passed before I saw him on my way out of town and he asked me out.

I’m sure Lady Jennie would be delighted for you to stop by and participate as well.

 

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