Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Do You 'To Do?'

I think I have been down this path before
but it is an ever evolving journey so
I am visiting it again.

I am a list maker.
And as I get older, I don't trust my brain to keep things for very long.
("very long" being 5 minutes - and
sometimes as short as the time it takes to get across my condo.)

It is fair to say that if it isn't on my To Do list, 
it doesn't have a chance of getting done.

In fact, I have had to resist the impulse to put Get Dressed on the To Do list,
 because somedays if I am not stepping out the door - 
I get to 2:00 in the afternoon, look down, and find I am still in my PJs and slippers.
It just wasn't on the list!!

My way of keeping organized has changed over the years.  Maybe it is a reflection of age, maybe it is a consequence of a less busy life, or maybe I just get bored with one way of doing things and want to try another.

I am always curious about how others maintain order in their lives.  While almost all keep some type of a list, it looks different for each individual.  I thought I might share my 3 step process to an orderly life and would love to hear what yours is.

Mine starts with the Step #1 - the bedrock  ....

The Big Wall Calendar

The appointments, engagements, baby / dog sitting, shopping trips, birthdays ... all go on a large wall calendar.  This works pretty good if I actually LOOK at the calendar!  Ah, that's the rub.  Looking.  Sometimes I wish my calendar was actually the size of a wall or so big as to be impossible to miss from space.

Without this calendar hanging right in my face - the future is just a big black hole.  And very very important ... those dark daily strike outs help me keep track of exactly what day it is!  Sincerely, once you have been retired for a number of years, knowing the day of the week without a prompt can be chancy.  I live in fear that one day I will sit across from a Neurologist who is checking me for dementia and he will start his little check list of questions by asking me what day it is.  If I didn't check my calendar before leaving the house - my response will be, "Can I get back to you on that?" or "Who cares what day of the week it is.  That is just a label and I am not into labels. " or, my personal favorite ... "Do you know what day of the week it is?  You first."  I am pretty sure that none of those responses will be good answers.  Just to paint a complete picture of this - my son or daughter would be sitting beside me rolling their eyes!!

In fact, I remember just such an appointment with my mom 10 years ago - the doctor asking various questions, and I was sitting beside mom who was attempting to answer them, and as I listened (not rolling my eyes) I realized with a little anxiety - that I would need to study up for this dementia quiz myself!!!  I won't stop rehearsing my deflection responses to this question - you know, just in case!!

So a big bold calendar is step #1.  (Checking it every morning is step #1.5.)

Step #2 is the heart ...

The To Do Lists

"To Do" lists are different animals entirely.

I used to keep daily To Dos in a bound book similar to the Bullet Style Journal - where you hand write in the daily To-Dos and checked them off as 'complete' or marked them as 'forwarded' to the next day if not completed. There were many other symbols to use on each 'to do' in that system of organization.  But mostly I completed or finished an item.  I used that method when we bought and sold property and it was a life saver that year.

Previous to that in my professional life - before the world went crazy over electronic options -  I kept a large 8x10 loose leaf binder book in a leather case - very expensive if I remember correctly - like a Steven Covey or Day Timer book - with my entire life within its covers.  Lots of fancy pre-made inserts with many many spaces to fill.  It was an Epic Tome that was inches thick and very impressive!!  It sort of announced to all - I am a busy important person with so many balls in the air I must write them all down inside this expensive leather binder that has my name on it!!

Did you ever have one of those?

But life changes and so does your perspective on stuff.  I have reverted back to my old friend - the simple  3 x 5 index card - for the day-to-day stuff.  Almost everything goes on the card.  My life has become so simple - no job, no property transactions, no nothing - (thank God!!) the index card works just fine (as long as I don't lose it.)  Besides - on the index card I can be brutal.  Putting a small X or a check mark beside a completed item just isn't good enough.  Even a line through the words isn't good enough.  For me 'completed' has to be a Statement of Fact - an emphatic bold magic marker crossing out the existence of the To-Do entirely so it cannot be seen ever again.   "I am done with you To Do ... never to see you again."  "You other To Dos ... live in fear ... you too will be entirely obliterated with a bold line very soon."  Well ... as soon as I get off my new LazyBoy chair.  :-)

When a card is complete - full of bold strike out marks - I rip that card up in a bunch of tiny little pieces and pitch them into the trash - a final assault on that offending list.  Of course, another to-do 3x5 card list has already been born so the process starts all over again.

The 3x5 card is a flexible tool as well.  It starts out with the day of the week on top (mini-dementia quiz to see if I remember without the big calendar, Ha!) with my list of to-dos.  If I don't complete them on Monday, I simply add the next day to the top of the card.  The card might start out as a Monday card, but end up as a Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday card.

If the to-do card (step #2) gets stalled, (like I lose the card), then I try to recreate the list from memory - and you can imagine how well that goes when I sometimes need prompts for identifying the day of the week.

(I sure said a whole bunch of stuff about the simple 3x5 card!!  Maybe I should write a book!  Ha!)

Lastly - step #3 - the big picture ...

The Reference Book

My big picture is smaller these days!  But I still need a slightly larger and more permanent tool to house it in.   It is called the Reference Book.  This book is still in development.  I keep forgetting to develop it - but I have purchased the book - all new and shiny - with many lovely blank pages just waiting for me - in lovely bright orange cover which should be easy to find if when I misplace it.  

I even have a matching orange case to store it in (the case is not new but how serendipitous that I had it and the color was a match.). The cover doesn't have my name on it.  I consider that a plus and a minus.  The plus - that I have evolved from needing any status symbols.  The minus - if I forget my name I have no prompt!!  Ha!  But it does have all the lovely pockets for stuff - and a place for pens. And it zips closed.  

The book will house all the information that is spread over the course of a year - or longer - stuff like big projects, items in development, plans for hobbies, future goals or big tasks, activities that need tracking, budgets, birthdays, anniversaries, quotes I love, or stuff that is just stuff and fits no where else.

While Step #3 isn't as important as the first two steps in getting through a single day, it would be a big loss if misplaced or destroyed.  It would be like losing detailed road map while on a trip in a strange  large city.

So ... 
Do you Calendar or To Do?
Do you use a specific method for organizing your activities like To Dos?
Do you talk to your To Do List ... threatening it ... like I do?
Do you know what day it is?
 (and no cheating by checking your calendar.)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

In Love Again

Before Christmas I fell in love again.

It wasn't with a being - human or animal.

It was with a thing!


Once was with a vehicle I named Maxie!  She was a beautiful, fast and comfortable car - a Maxima.  I saw her as the fancy lady with pearls and lipstick and running shoes.  She and I had been through some eventful parts of my life.  She served me well.  Tears came to my eyes when I found out she had an oil leak that would cost more to fix than her total worth at age 11 years.  She had body and internal wear and tear - not particularly the beauty she started out as.  But after 11 years of road experiences with her behind her steering wheel - it broke my heart to trade her in. I was forced to buy a new car.  Am I attached to that new car?  Not at all!  It is just transportation.  End of story.  I wasn't making that mistake again!

And then there was a beautiful mature Japanese Maple in my townhouse front yard -  the showiest tree in my neighborhood - admired by all .... until we had a broken water pipe in our basement.  The fix involved digging up my entire front yard - landscaping and all- to lay new pipe. On the day they needed to remove that beautiful tree, they cut it in pieces and then pulled out the trunk with some large equipment.  It was brutal.  I had to shut my blinds while it was going on.  It hurt my heart to watch the tree's destruction. When we planted the new landscaping did I fall in love with any of the new plants?  Nope!  Stupidity shouldn't be repeated.

The biggest love loss of all was my townhouse of 30 years.  That was 2 years ago and regular readers know how hard that was for me to part ways with that home.  So much love, and sorrow and happiness and joy were imprinted by our family into its very foundation.  When we moved into this condo, did I fall in love with this abode? Dear God - No!  That way lies madness!

I learned my lesson!
  No more loving objects!
It is stupid!
It is insane!  

Then my new Laz Boy recliner rocker was delivered.

My husband and I had talked about getting recliners for a long time.  Our 50 years of marriage was filled with furniture that had minimal fabric.  Cats, you know.  They love fabric for their claws and we loved cats.  So the choice was easy.  Get sturdy, wood type furniture - and keep the cats.  Comfort was never a consideration.

Now we both have these ever so comfortable chairs - all padding and fabric.  Very very comfortable.  So far our cat Wally has shown no interest.

I can hardly believe that at age 71 - I have finally gotten real grown up furniture!

Here she is!!

Resisting the temptation to give her a name.  But I am open to suggestions!  😂

Please ignore the clutter that is to her left! It is all my knitting stuff.
She is electric - buttons on the side - and she has a port for charging electronics!
Woo Hoo!!!

She just reclines - no heat, no vibration and she doesn't lift you to a standing position!  Just reclines.  She is electric so all I have to do is push a button and she lifts my feet up and tilts me back into the most comfortable of positions.  She supports my back perfectly when it aches from standing in the kitchen too much (You will never find me falling in love with anything 'kitchen.')  She also has a USB port so I can charge my electronics.  I know she like me - because I always feel hugged when I sit in her.

My husband got the same chair in a darker color. (left)
Sorry these pictures are so dark.

And, yes, she is a 'she!'  I checked. 
A 'he' wouldn't make me feel this comfortable.

So I have gone and done it again.  

Jumped into the deep end of insanity.
At least it will be a comfortable landing.

Legs propped up looking at my Christmas Tree in December.
Also you can see the kind of furniture we usually got - mostly wood.

Isn't it ironic that I should follow up a post on exercise
with a post about my new LazyBoy recliner chair?

Did anyone notice that?  

Friday, January 25, 2019

Eyes on 2019: Exercise

!! Exercise !!
It should be one of those bad 'four letter words.'
And yet when I do it I feel so much better.

At my age - exercise is not an option.
And I am not happy about that. 

Various parts of me stop working well when they rest for too long.
Trite but true - Use it or lose it!
Don't you just hate it when 'trite but true' is ... well, true!

In 2018 I had no exercise goals, but I did do stuff.  I participated in an aerobic class 2 times a week and on the weight machines 2 times a week.  Routine - magic word.

But all that fell apart at the end of last year.   I hurt my shoulder and was advised by my doctor to leave the weight machines alone for about 8 months.  Toning - gone. Then my aerobic class changed from Mondays Wednesdays to Tuesdays Thursdays.  I can never do Thursdays.  Aerobic activity - gone.

There goes my routine.
Couch potato time!!
For 2 months I did pretty much nothing beyond thinking
on the couch -
 (by the way ... thinking is not an aerobic or toning activity ... just in case anyone was wondering.)  

Everything needs to change in 2019.  And man ... do I hate change!   I found a Monday Wednesday class called Power.  It uses free weights, a step lift, exercise ball and bands ... and is designed for toning and muscle strength.  I have given Power a try and I like it a lot.

I rented two DVDs from the library.
This DVD does not use weights but I thought I would purchase
with this one to begin with.  

I discovered in class that getting down on to the floor and get up again
was so much easier using a step up of about 4 inches.  There are
graduated risers just like in class to increase effort.
In fact I liked it so much I got a step lift for the condo - and an exercise DVD to use when I miss going to Power.  The work out is similar.  Now to just work it into my day.  One problem solved.

Aerobics is a stickier problem.  The DVD I purchased does address aerobics as well so maybe I can kill two birds with one stone.  Or I'll go back to walking.  It won't be an ideal solution in my neighborhood because it isn't really walker friendly.   But no matter.  I have a blogging friend who walks in her basement on bad days.  If she can walk in her basement  (for 6 miles of steps, I might add) I can walk in my neighborhood.  If you don't believe me about 6 miles a day, check out Life is Good - a blog by my friend HappyOne - Karen.  She inspired me to blog.

It is a plan, at least, for now.
  Without a plan or a routine, I will do nothing,
(and doing nothing is not toning or aerobic activity ... just in case you were wondering.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

It is Eskarina time again!

You guys are a captive audience.

If you were sitting in front of me - visiting - knitting - having coffee - just talking ... I would whip out my iPhone with the latest pictures of my sweet grand daughter - just like a gun slinger with a fast draw - I'd be showing off my pictures of this most beautiful child before you could find an excuse to leave.

So consider this my periodic proud grandma moment that I am forcing on you (one of many in the future - you have been warned) - while we visit here in blog land.  I can hear you oohing and aahing politely at appropriate times even if you are clear across the country.

This child is just my sun and moon and stars.

I have showed this picture before - but she is just so darn cute in the sweater and hat I knit for her.
Esk and the second sweater that I made her - both were Christmas gifts.  

Esk and her Aunt Kris - my daughter - who is teaching Esk the finer points of drumming 😆.

And she is a fast and enthusiastic learner!

Esk in her first tutu - compliments of her Aunt Kris. Hair bow to match, of course.

Esk and her Aunt Kris on a "Grandma and Aunt Kris" babysitting night.
Just two girls sitting up watching TV together late at night at Grandma's house
because a there is no actual 'go to bed time' here!!  💗
 One girl with her phone and one girl with her thumb.
Life is good.

Esk and her Mom - first snowy day!
Esk is blessed with two wonderful dedicated loving parents.
All children should be so lucky!
Let's not forget the doting Grandmother and very cool Aunt Kris!!
And that is just on her father's side.  Her mother's side another layer of
loving relatives.
This kid has it MADE!!!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Go Deeper Not Wider

So I have been tootling around the blog world looking for interesting blogs - blogs with ease of commenting.  In my search I discovered this one:

(Just a tiny point of clarification:  
no one should think I am interested in getting better at being human
 - and that is the first sign that 'bettering' is probably needed!!) 

No, I was pulled into the blog by the current post called  Go Deeper Not Wider.

As I read this post I can honestly admit I felt a "wow factor."   It was like this guy was peeking in the window of my brain and finding something growing there that I was aware of but did not or could not express.  And he expressed it so well.

In his own words his thoughts on Go Deeper Not Wider:


No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.
You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more.
You read your unread books, or even reread your favorites. You pick up the guitar again and get better at it, instead of taking up the harmonica. You finish the Gordon Ramsey Masterclass you started in April, despite your fascination with the new Annie Leibovitz one, even though it’s on sale.
The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.” Drill down for value and enrichment instead of fanning out. You turn to the wealth of options already in your house, literally and figuratively. We could call it a “Depth Year” or a “Year of Deepening” or something. 

I encourage you to read the post completely.  I believe it reflects and compliments a lot of current thinking in areas of minimalism, anti-consumerism, finding joy in what you have, and other growing ground swells of thought.   

I am not sure I am up to any formal challenge or experimenting (his term) of 'deeper vs wider.'  But it does feel comfortable in my brain - and it is nice to have this image in my mind.

You see, I recognize the pattern of 'going wide' as a common pattern in my life.
  • I have a room full of yarn and about 5 three inch binders full of patterns - and I need to stop that expansion.  I won't live long enough to use all the yarn and patterns I have now.  That is not an idle statement.  I have counted the yardage and averaged the usage.  There is yarn in my yarn room that will outlive me!! I have three weaving looms.  I am not weaving.  I have two tapestry looms - I do have plans to do that.  I have fiber spindles and fiber - I don't spin.  I used to have a spinning wheel but in a moment of mental clarity I gave that to a cousin who was interested in spinning.
  • Adult coloring was all the rage a few years ago.  I got hooked.  I have several types of color pencils (not the cheap kind either) and probably 6 books - beautiful books.  I have colored about 2 1/2 pages ... only!!!  When I look at this hobby I think - yes I would like to return. I really enjoyed it.  But seriously, 6 books with only a few pages completed?!?!
  • I have a iPhone phone with lots of memory and 61 audio books are housed there.  61!!  If each audio book averages 10 hours a piece of listening time and I have 61 - that is over 610 hours of listening or about 25 days of listening round the clock!  Ridiculous!  
  • My Kindle library is about 6 screens long with titles just waiting to be read.  I kindle read only before bed and while I eat - at that rate I could read these titles probably for a year without adding to them.
  • My Craftsy account has 9 previously purchased classes.  I have viewed a few, but when Craftsy went to Bluprint they offered a one year membership - at a reduced rate - which would allow you to select 12 classes to keep permanently - AND a year to view any of their classes on line for free.  Wow - great offer - a large savings on their class costs - so I joined right up because this would be the year I would take some instruction.  I can't travel to it - so at home instruction is PERFECT!  But ... really, now instead of 9 classes that I haven't fully viewed, I will have 12 more.  I probably went 'deep' with some advanced instruction in current hobbies, but I think I went 'wide' by expanding of the class numbers I have yet to view.  *sigh* 
  • I have a pantry that is a hard-hat area!  And yet, my grocery shopping adds more to the stack of food stuffs then I use up.  What's with that??  I HATE cooking.  Sometimes I feel like I am unconsciously preparing for the apocalypse.
I could go on, but the bald-faced truth is this - I need to go 'deep'  ...  not 'wide.'   I think I have been moving in this direction unconsciously over the last year.  I avoid yarn stores, and yarn websites and I try to limit my purchases at yarn fairs.  I have de-stashed yarn and books and patterns, but to the casual eye - the dent is hard to see even with a microscope.  I did give away a full size spinning wheel  and a lap loom and that felt wonderful! We will not even address the pantry issues here (but I am ready for Zombies - in case you are wondering.).

Final thoughts on the Raptitude blog:
  • He has a deep inventory of posts on various subjects.  He currently does about 2 posts a month - and many of the titles are intriguing.  I have only read this one, but I know I will visit again to look at his other posts.  I did subscribe to his blog.
  • His blog is not a personal life sharing blog like mine or like so many I follow.  He does have a tab where he documents individual experiments (on himself) and logs the process.  And I noticed that while there is some commenting, he closes his commenting after a bit.  
  • Finally, the blogger doesn't claim to have any professional expertise - and that is fine by me.  Sometimes when a blogger has professional creds and lets you know what they are - I can't help wonder what they are trying to 'sell.'  This blog appears to be just his thoughts and ideas.  He appears to be just a writer-guy out of Canada that thinks a lot about these subjects and wants to share his thoughts.  Not much different from us other bloggers, I guess.  
In previous years I picked a word to point in the direction I wanted to go.  It is a popular habit among bloggers.  I didn't plan on picking a word this year, but after reading this post - 'Go Deep' fits me like hand to glove. 

  Check him out - or at least check out this post
 and let me know what you think.

Do you prefer going 'deep' or going 'wide?'

Saturday, January 19, 2019


Here we are in my favorite season.


Yes, I know I am odd. I look at this seeming perversity this way ...  no sense in joining the fan club a season that is already crowded with tons of fans - all those folks that love  💕 spring, or live for the heat of  😎 summer, or are blinded by the beauty of  🍁  autumn.  The fan base for those seasons ... just too crowded.

I love winter.
And I think winter loves all its fans special because we are so few.

My holiday season passed without problems - thankfully.  Family and friends filled the days with happiness.  It is always a hard season for me, but my reward, as always, is reaching Winter.  Lovely, cold, crisp air, at times white, wet and pure.  Weather that draws one inside for indoor activities - like reading, hot coffee, knitting, binge TV shows, blankets and shawls, soups and stews, and ... time to think.

Think on it!  Who wouldn't love sitting by a warm fire, with comfortable fuzzy slippers on, a tasty drink beside you and a favorite book or favored hobby on your lap - while Nature covers the outside with a dressing of white snow.

Of course, it would help to have a fire place, which I do not.  But you get the idea.

Forecasts for our area promise an 'active' snow-filled winter.  Living in a condo means snow is not a problem.  I can enjoy the beauty of this season without effort. Win-win!

When I was younger and working - snow was still beautiful but a challenge.  First I would fight my way shoveling down my short sidewalk from the front door, then down 20 snow filled steps filled with the shovel  - then across another short side walk until I reached my car - and then (not done yet ...) dig out the car and the space behind it until I could reach the plowed areas.  I get exhausted now even talking about.  So glad I left that behind.

I am a good snow driver even though I don't venture out much now.  I was taught to snow-drive by a father who was raised in Pennsylvania.  Those Pennsylvania folks know what they are doing in snow.  I learned the survival techniques of not getting myself stuck as well as how to avoid all those nutty drivers who have no skills and no snow capable vehicle.  Those skills saved me more times than I can count.  Working in health care I was one of those folks who needed to get on the road and arrive at work no matter the weather.  My boss was a Cardiologist who arrived at work on skis and if one of his heart patients showed up in bad weather (and they usually did) he would see them.  I personally would have thought driving in those tough conditions was enough of a cardiac 'stress test' and that putting them on a treadmill was redundant!!  Ha.

So I am looking forward to my exciting weather season ... just as I do every year!

Welcome Winter!
Your small but dedicated fan base is faithfully here.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Blog Soul Searching

Blogging has grown from a solitary activity, where I wrote for myself only, into a community activity where I visited folks' blogs, and they visited mine, and we converse through commenting, and a friendship of sorts develops, and the sharing of life experiences deepens the whole experience for everyone.

Unfortunately that process has totally stalled for me.

No matter what approach I take, I am not recognized as logged into Blogger or Google when I visit most blogs.  I used to be able to leave a comment if I was persistent and stepped through pages and pages of screens matching "cross walks" and "cars" and "buses" and "bikes" to prove I am not a robot. Now even that option is gone.  After many tries it dumps me out of the system.

The only way I can participate on your blog is if your blog uses 'pop up comments' rather than 'embedded comments.'  Only one or two blogs in my reading list use pop up comments.

I thought long and hard about quitting blogging.  
An important piece of the process has been taken away.  

Then I remembered how I started!  Just me and my computer and this blog.  Nobody else.  So actually I am back to step one - but with readers now that I cannot return a visit to any more.  That makes me sad, but until something changes in blogger I am stuck with it.

So after thinking long and hard, I am going forward. Over time, if I am blocked from commenting because I am unable to prove I am not a robot ... I will unsubscribe.  I'll build another reading list of folks who use "pop up commenting."  I have no choice. I want that 'give and take' of conversation back again. I don't want to visit your blog like a ghost and pass on without saying hello.  My reading list will be substantially smaller, I fear, because I think the default when a blog is built is "embedded commenting."  But that will have to be OK.

Starting again!

I'll be back to blogging again soon.