Thursday, June 26, 2008

Away Message

I just wanted to let you know that I will be away Friday June 27 - Wednesday June 2.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Tuesday, June 24, 2008



Monday, June 09, 2008

The Girl with the Curl

There Was a Little Girl

    There was a little girl,
    Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
    When she was good,
    She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I used to hear this a lot as a child, and also this one:

Mary Mary, quite contrary
how does your garden grow?

It was the quite contrary part my mother or father was referring to, of course.

Someone called me a drama queen.  I was always accused of exaggerating, and I probably did.  And do.  But I also think I feel and experience things more deeply than other people do.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, but also my laughter, my pain, my tears, my anger, and everything else.

I am "oversensitive."  But you can't just tell someone who is oversensitive to "get over it," and expect them to suddenly be normal.  I can't switch it on and off.  It seems to be hardwired into who I am.

The reason I am writing this is because I read somewhere that bright lights help you reset your biological clock  AND my doctor Muna Beeai suggested that I get a "blue light" for depression and insomnia.  I haven't done so yet.  But what I've been doing is going outside and sitting in the sun for 20 minutes when I first get up--I do my exercises, meditate, draw, paint, read, whatever.  But this morning, my quiet neighborhood is suddenly transformed into Busytown!!!  I sat in the backyard which is usually really quiet and peaceful--and cherish, truly cherish, peace and quiet--and there was ll this banging, crashing, sawing, hammering, loud radios, cell phones, yelling vices.  A team of carpenters is putting a new roof on the neighbor's house.  So I went out front.  There was a crew of people working on the road and another wheeling wheelbarrows full of dirt to another neighbor's yard.  Construction come home!

I am very sensitive to load noises; they really disturb me.  The vacuum cleaner sends me into paroxysms of panic, and has since I was very young.  It's worse if soemone else is doing it--I can deal with it better if I am doing it.
BUT. not much better, which is an issue for me.  I tried to sit it out and ignore it, but I was getting tenser and tenser.  Soon my shoulders were up around my ears and starting to HURT.  I had to give it up and go inside.  I can still hear the pounding and sawing in here, but not so intensely.

So, I am contrary, oversensitive, easily disturbed.  Sometimes horrid.  And loving, cheery, intelligent and creative.  AK!

Friday, June 06, 2008

92 + in the shade

It's 92 in the shade, but not TOO humid and there a nice breeze so it doesn't feel all that bad but I walked to the store and forgot my wallet--it was in my jeans, so I had to walk back and forth twice and phew!  HOT!

Sand and Stone

"Sand & Stone"

Two friends were walking through the desert. At one point, they had an argument; and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:

"today my best friend slapped me in the face. "

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

"today my best friend saved my life'

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, 'after I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?'

The friend replied 'when someone hurts us, let us write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, let us engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.'

This is a forward I got, and it has probably been around multiple times, but I thought it might be relevant to our discussion and shed light on attitudes about forgiveness.

(Photo by me [mary taitt].)

{I have to say that the gap between what I believe and my success at practicing it is very wide.}

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Assigning value, Intrinsic Value

Assigning value, Intrinsic Value
Wings Challenge part II

How does one value the activities one engages in?  How do you value them so that you can make choices?  I keep telling myself, "First things First," but . . .  what are those first things?  How do you achieve an appropriate balance between work, obligations (family, community, environment), play, rest sleep, eating etc?

For example, I wanted to clarify something I said in the last post.  I said that for me, art is play.  I am not a professional artist, so when I do art, I do it for fun.  I like it so much that I have a tendency to do it when I should be doing other things--like my work, my family obligations etc.  I'm 62 years old now, and I STILL feel confused about prioritizing my activities.  How can I make a to-do list and prioritize it when I'm not sure how to do that?

I usually make daily lists.  I wonder if weekly lists would be better and less intimidating, or actually MORE intimidating, since there would be more on it.

In my fantasy about myself, say five-ten years in the future, I would like to be healthy, vigorous and ORGANIZED!  (In a balanced way).  I'd make subgoals for it if I knew how.

I think being organized in a reasonable way has intrinsic value.  If one isn't organized at least to some extent, one cannot function.  One can't find things.  One doesn't really know what to do next.  So I assign a theoretical high value to it, but I have never made it a priority to learn HOW to do it.  To actually MAKE it the priority it deserves to be.  In areasonable and balanced way.  I don't want to be one of those neat freaks.

I would like my house to look like a relaxed, backwoods version of Better Homes and Gardens.  Ha ha.  By this, I mean neat, clean and appealing.  Welcoming.

But I need to streamline the process of getting it that way and keeping it that way so I can do my work, sleep, eat, and social relationships, etc.  I wonder if that's even possible given the constraints within which I exist.  (I feel discouraged about it).

To-do: one thing to make me feel less discouraged.  Hmm.  I wonder what that would be and when I would do it.  Not while blogging about it.

A Big To-do about To-dos

A Big To-do about To-dos
A Wings Challenge

It is interesting how these Wings Challenges seem to come just when I need them,  I am not sure this one is going to give me any answers, maybe just questions to look at.

I just had a big birthday.  All birthdays are big, in a sense.  But this one seems somehow bigger.  I am now officially, in this area anyway, a senior citizen and a crone.  I am 62.  I get discounts now, and I get constipated.  I get fat easily and don't have as much energy as I use to.  I'm a lot more forgetful and more disorganized.  I didn't want to look 20 years ahead in case I might be dead or dying.  My parents both died at 83 and weren't doing to well at 82!  I want to be different.  I want to live longer than that.  But there is no guarantee that I will with my genetic time bombs ticking.  I have a brain tumor, a meningioma, same one that essentially killed my Mom.

Does any of that have anything to do with my to-do lists and priorities?  You bet.

First on my to-do list?  Take good care of myself.

First to be ignored?  Exactly that, way too often.

I get tired, I get stressed, I do stupid things.  Unwise things.

So, how do I organize my priorities?  Very poorly, but I keep trying!  Maybe I should mention that I also have ADHD!  AK!

I have tried many systems and read many books on "getting organized" and have tried over and over and always failed.  (A fourth step note:  I am very disorganised!)

Here are some of the things I've tried:

  • notebooks of lists.  Sometimes, this works well, until I lose it in a heap of $#|^!  (otherwise know as piles of unsorted stuff or archaeological dig sites.)  I've tried both loose leaf and spiral notebooks to keep lists in.  Each has its advantages.
  • I keep lists on my computer
  • I keep lists on-line
  • I keep lists at my yahoo calendar
  • I keep lists in my journal
  • I keep lists in my PDA
  • I write notes to myself on scraps of paper and promptly lose them,or some of them.
  • I keep lists in my head.  This works very poorly as I promptly forget anything but the most appealing items.
  • I sometimes make lists for my husband and son--they aren't very task oriented sometimes.  But it's not up to me to take their inventory.  But things need to be done.  Sigh.

OK, like I said, I have no answers, only questions.  Like HELP!  How can I do it better and make it work?

At New Year's and at my birthday and randomly throughout the year, I like to look at how I am progressing toward my goals.  Usually not very well, but I've always made some progress.  Then I reevaluate my goals, set new subgoals and priorities, and march forward.  And promptly get distracted by a variety of mew projects or old projects newly surfacing and rearing their tempting heads.  For example, I have multiple books in progress, poetry books, novels, children's novels, children's picture books.  One goal is to complete each of these in turn and send them off to publishers.  Another goal is to unpack from my not-so recent move.  I try to alternate between these tasks, as otherwise I would only play (eg: do art).  So I was unpacking a box from my move and found an old manuscript.  We were just leaving on vacation and I spent my spare vacation time writing new chapters to this old manuscript rather than working on one of my nearly finished works.

OK, I am not finding any solutions here.

Here are (some of) my goals: 

  1. to be as healthy as possible and take the best possible care of myself
  2. to take good care of my mind if possible (my mother had dementia)
  3. to be a loving partner and mother and friend
  4. to finish my novels, poetry manuscripts and other projects in an orderly way and send them out
  5. to create a sense of order and a pleasing environment for myself and my family (that will never happen at the rate I'm going!)

 There are (some of the) subgoals to each of these:

  1. eat right (a major problem), get sufficient exercise, sleep well (a major problem for me), rest, play, work in balance
  2. use my mind creatively and for various problems, read, etc
  3. take time for husband, son, friends
  4. do the to-do lists associated with each project, in an orderly as possible way, starting with the ones most nearly completed
  5. unpack and get rid of stuff!, clean and neaten

Of course there are lots of other goals, large and small, and ongoing things always cropping up that have to be factored in like my son's upcoming recitals and graduation, etc.  How to organize everything?  I have no answers.  AK!  I tend to feel overwhelmed and unworthy because I cannot seem to be able to orchestrate all this as I feel I should.  The evidence of my failure is all around me.  The world has expectations of me--and so do I!  How does one DO IT?

Simplify simplify simplify?  But the world and I keep trying to make things complicated and overwhelming!

First thing on my to-do list:  take a deep breath.  Change my clothes.  Take my son to Piano recital rehearsal.  Make dinner.  Something healthy.  Put one foot in front of the first.  Cram some exercise int here.  Try to get to bed at a reasonable time.  Stop blogging and start working.  (Blogging can be just another form of procrastination for me.)


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