Savor this Fleeting Day–and All the Ones to Come

Christmas lights at twilightI had every intention of getting this post written at least by yesterday, but the rush of company, outings, etc., got in the way. It’s Christmas morning. I’m up early because I couldn’t sleep, so here are the thoughts I wanted to get down, and I plan to get the newsletter out later today in between the biscotti-baking, the green-bean casserole making, and the last-minute gift-wrapping flurry.

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Ignore the Fear—and Press on to the Finish Line.

Feet going down stairsStop me if you’ve heard this before:

My psychology is very weird.

Or maybe not. Maybe you’ve had this experience too: You’re chugging along, making real progress on a project, and then you think, ‘But what will I do with myself when this is finished?’ I used to say this about our various landscaping endeavors at our house in Virginia. What would we do on Saturdays when we got all of that stuff done?

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Where Will Your Month Go?

leaves fallingSometimes I think that this blog wouldn’t have many entries if I didn’t do so much cribbing from other sources. Gretchen Rubin is a big crib, but another one is Laura Vanderkam, whom I’ve mentioned before. She’s quite a gal; I last wrote about her in this post about downtime. In addition to her quasi-daily blog posts she also sends out a weekly newsletter that sums up her week or gives ideas for the week or month to come, appropriately called “A Week’s Worth.” (The link is to the signup form.)

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The Joy of Tackling a Big Project

Building materials and half completed buildingMy current Big Writing Project (BWP) is the finishing up of my commentaries on Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana for publication. I’ve been using the writing software Scrivener, as everybody who’s anybody says it’s magnificent. Well, I’d been finding it magnificently hard to use, to be honest. The final step in my project was the addition of images, and Scrivener just wasn’t cooperating. Until, suddenly, it was. I’m not sure what I did, but I think I had somehow created a table where I didn’t want one, and Scrivener was stubbornly following the

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The Happiness of a Big Event

bowl of foodI have a separate blog called Intentional Hospitality, but my purpose in writing this post isn’t so much to give you recipes and timetables as to talk about a major source of happiness–and nervous breakdowns—in my life: throwing parties.

I have always liked to cook, going way back to my grade-school days. In fact, one of my fondest memories from about fourth grade is the time that my mom put me in charge of cooking dinner and I made everything from the

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Fuzzy Finish Lines

countertop and stove finish line
See how close the stovetop is to the counter!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finish lines, especially in how we view big projects and how we think they’ll advance. We look forward, we long, for the day when everything is done. It seems as if it will never happen. And then, gradually, the pieces start falling into place. It’s not one big ta-da moment like a horse crossing the finish line but a succession. There are bumps and reversals and then bursts of progress. This past Sunday, for instance, was a burst. The in-laws were off on a square-dancing trip until Sunday afternoon, and Jan’s daughter and her husband wanted to come over that evening.

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My Personal Clean Slate

clean blackboardHave you ever heard the proverb “Begin as you mean to go on”? It means that beginnings count. How you start is how you’ll continue. New beginnings are a way to start over. Gretchen Rubin (there she is again!) calls it “the strategy of the clean slate” in her book on habits. (The link is to a video she did on the subject.)

So, although I didn’t plan it that way, I started out in our new life here at Lowell & Jan’s with a clean slate about food: I just wasn’t going to eat any sweets.

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Read about a Sick Girl–and Count Your Blessings!

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends book coverLessons from a sick girl

Both images are from their respective Amazon pages; click on the image to be taken to the appropriate page. I used my two available Audible.com credits to get these books in audio form and am almost finished with Sick Girl. 

I’m not going to write much in the way of commentary here because it’s not needed. The book covers should tell you all you need to know about the worth contained between them. For those of us who are reasonably healthy, it’s good to be reminded of how precious that health and life is. It’s also helpful to be reminded of how utterly tactless we can be to those who are suffering. Even doctors and nurses–maybe even especially them–can add to the patient’s pain by their manner and words.

For an interesting and informative interview with Amy Silverstein about her second book (and her second heart transplant), go–where else?–to Gretchen Rubin’s recent blog post:

“I Simply Have to Put All My Energy into Hope and Life, Rather Than Trying to Avoid Doom and Death.”

That article will sell you on the books if nothing else will. You can get paper or digital versions at your library if you’d like. I was not able to find the audio versions at mine and thus went through Audible.

Nothing Is Ever Simple!

No, I didn’t do any cleanup for this shot. Can you tell?

Today is Thursday (news flash), and tomorrow U-Haul is going to pick up the pods in the in-laws’ driveway unless we call them and extend our rental for another month. But that will cost TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS. We do not want to spend that money. It’s so frustrating, as we rented them in the first place so that we wouldn’t have to move everything in and then move it back out again when the carpet got installed, only of course, as I’ve mentioned, they’re having to re-stretch the carpet in the main living space and so it all has to be emptied out anyway. At least we don’t have to re-do the bedroom.

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Progress Made–The Kitchen Cabinets Are In!

Cluttered kitchen cabinetI said last week that every Monday was going to be a Progress Post. Well, today, Wednesday, is the first post I’ve written this week. Monday our peerless contractor and his son worked most of the day on installing our very small number of cabinet units, and I kept thinking that I should run and take a picture, but I wasn’t sure where my camera was. They were actually supposed to be on a much bigger job but they made time for us. I wanted a before and after set of pictures for today, from all the boxes on the kitchen floor to everything being put away, but all I have is this one shot that was taken partway through the process. (Pretty bad shot!)

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