Eating the Elephant

Apparently, I sounded down in last week’s post.  It wasn’t intended that way. I was actually feeling optimistic.  I did make a run to the fabric store and craft store.  Came away with a few things.  I even found some of the items on my list at the local Walmart. 

I have been making progress on the less than pleasant projects.  Little bites consume the elephant. 

A couple of dear friends are eyeball deep in the restoration of a cabin while inhabiting it.  She mentioned having an opportunity to go through her recipe collection that has been in storage and it giving her renewed inspiration and enthusiasm to keep on with the less than pleasant portions of the project.

It models the method I have used for years to get things done.  I will make my list of tasks and then set a timer for twenty or thirty minutes and work on the first one till the timer goes off.  If I am really going great, I will keep on till I stall.  I move on to the next item on the list and do the same thing with the timer.  It is sometimes best to stop exactly with the timer.  If the project is going well and the stopping place won’t cause a problem for proper execution, stop on the high point.  When the project comes back around, it will be easier to pick up and move forward. 

For the less than pleasant tasks, I have interspersed the happier ones to work on as well.  For example, I am trying to sort out a box of his papers and get them filed.  An elephant.  I also picked up a fish bowl and some aquatic plants to make a water garden.  A happy project.  I am moving back and forth on chores and projects to keep from getting bogged down.  I don’t always use a timer.  After so many years of doing so, I can “feel” the time. 

We had a good trip this past weekend to the longhorn sale.  He came home with his pick of the lots.  We got to visit with people we care about and only see once or twice a year usually.  The sale has been going on for twenty-four years and some of us have been there since the first one.  The trip for me was like my friend’s perusal of her recipes.  It has given me renewed enthusiasm to push through the less than pleasant things. 

I have been productive yesterday and today.  I read a book, watched a movie, washed clothes. As mentioned earlier, I have worked on his filing. I have taken pleasure in drinking my own coffee on the porch and watching the hummingbirds battle it out for a few drops of sugar water.  Even the elephant projects have been good. 

Reading back over the above paragraph, I should clarify that reading a book and watching a movie count as productive for me since those items are on my lists of things to achieve for personal satisfaction.  The book was one from the 1960’s by a favorite writer, Rosamunde Pilcher.  The movie was one of Margaret Rutherford’s portrayals of Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.  As an aspiring writer, soaking in the art and craft of storytelling through books and movies is important.  As for the comment about the coffee, one of the only things I struggle with when traveling is missing my morning coffee on the back porch.  Traveling makes me appreciate it more when I do return home. 

Here’s to a good week of creative expression and loving actions, good books and good coffee.  May we have time to play and time to love.  And time to stop and see the beautiful world He has made.

Forgetting

I had a sign on my icebox for a long while a long while back. I still keep the saying close at hand, though for some reason other things crowded it from the icebox front. 

 It reads:

What really important thing are you forgetting to do?

I ask that question on many different levels.  Did I pay the fuel card bills?  Did I ask him to check the propane tank level?  Did I ask the Lord forgiveness for my recent failures of character?  Did I put water in the dog’s bowl? Am I sure I checked all the supply levels for baking Christmas cookies?

From trivial to profound and back to trivial.

One question that haunts me was asked me on the day we buried Mother.  What are you going to do with the rest of your life?  At the time, all I could think of was raising the children.  At ages 10 (nearly 11) and 12, things were just taking off.  And my father was still living and needed assistance.  The Butler sale launched that year as well.  The question didn’t mean much for a long time. 

A few years later, the children were grown and Daddy and his mother and his father, too.  From September 2003 through April 2007, there was a lot of leaving for us.  We also lost a dear friend during that time.  And Hurricane Rita blew through.  We got down to just having our jobs and the cows for the most part.

Eventually, the children married and finally a couple of duchesses came along to add glitter sparkle to our lives. Figuratively and literally! 

Still, there are some long days of not much going on.  I have been retired just past a year. He is still working.  The duchesses are too far to come and go on a regular basis.  I have some hobbies I have dabbled in through the years. I am so accustomed to not having time to really dig deep on them, I still just dabble. 

I am forgetting to dig deep.

I love to plan things.  Have my tidy little lists of things.  I passed that trait on to our son.  I have notebooks of lists.  I have spent my idle hours for thirty years making lists.  What do I list?  I have a list of plants I want for the jungle garden.  I have lists of household supplies I use so I can try to make a more efficient shopping list.  I have lists of my favorite foods.  I have a list of songs I like.  I have a list of books to read and authors whose works I want to read.  I have a list of topics for essays to write.  I spend more time and energy on my lists instead of attending the things on the lists. 

I love to sort things.  An offshoot of listing or the listing is an offshoot of sorting.  I will sort and reorganize my closets and pantries several times through the year.  I haul off stuff to the Salvation Army or bag it up for some of the teen girls at church or a friend I know would love it. I pass through the thrift store and get some more things and then go through the sifting process again.  I thought for a while I was off my rocker. 

When I look around my house, I see the results of the process.  I have several areas that show my love of tropical things.  I have book cases full of a full range of topics.  I have lovely dishes to use every day.  The walls have several original pieces of amateur art.  Some is my even my own work.  I have a modest collection of evening bags of which I plan to start using for everyday as soon as I can get my load of things I think I need to haul around with me pared down to fit.  I hear several of my besties reading this and cackling with laughter over that remark.  And he just rolled his eyes.  One of the things I get called is bag lady.  I still consider it a lofty goal to achieve.  Maybe beyond my scope. Nevertheless…….. 

I am getting better though.  I have been taking the time to read.  And yesterday, I took time to watch one of the movies on my movies to watch list.  I put in a new flower bed this summer.  I have the photos on the table and have begun the sorting process to make a photo album. (This is from the days of film style cameras.)  I have a number of digital photos I want to print and put in the album eventually.  I make time to spend with my friends and my family.  I am terrible at calling to check on folks.  I hate talking on the phone.  I would rather see someone face to face. I text painfully slow.  (I did learn how to talk to text and my phone seems to understand my accent.)  I go with him to check the cows most times. 

Nothing profound.  Just ordinary living. Working on not forgetting the really important things.  Time with him, time with the offspring, time with friends, time with my own creative muse.   Mundane things in a quiet house on a dusty dead end lane in the boondocks of Southeast Texas.