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Live Through Us at The Burrow

Season 1, Episode 4

I’m a huge fan of the Dick Van Dyke show. I leave it running in the background and will even watch some episodes like they’re new. It’s such a well written, directed, and acted show that it continues to shine today.

Then one day, I watched season 1, episode 4. Sally, the great Rose Marie, is set up with Laura’s cousin. Sally never gets a man. Why? She’s too smart, too strong, and speaks her mind. Not in a feminazi way, in a, I’m not pathetically dependent of others. Like, you know, she can change a tire and make a good joke. Apparently this makes her trash to men?

So anyways, she pretends to be a complete imbecile, acting like she knows nothing about cars when, in fact, she can fix one better than the sad sack that is Laura’s cousin. The show eventually pairs her up with a spineless twit because apparently a strong woman requires a child for a husband.

I’m not one to erase history. I don’t think Gone With the Wind, Song of the South, or Looney Tunes need to be adjusted or removed. I think they need to remain a part of our history, studied even, and watched by most. Therefore, I don’t have a problem with this show either. You want people to know what the past was really like? To know what REAL sexism and racism is like? You keep shows like this going. You have present and future generations watch TV and movies that show society’s views. They can argue with a political piece like 1984 or Animal Farm or even The Jungle, but they can’t argue with film. Something about the pictures makes it real, not a person’s opinion of the truth.

Watching that show made me think. It made me see women of the past in a different light. I showed it to my husband. “Would you want a woman who is that stupid? Who can’t change a tire or do any of the things she pretends she can’t?” I asked.

“No!” he answered.

See, some men need a “lesser” woman because they lack confidence, just like a lot of women break down a man to be submissive because they need to feel superior for whatever reason. (There can be many.) Not my husband, and not a lot of present day men. Thank goodness for that!!!

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Down by the Creek Bed

Yesterday we went for a walk in our woods. Before we went, we made sure to carry the right equipment.

Don’t worry. I didn’t make him carry it the whole time. This was just while I was climbing the gate. For those who think I may be going overboard on this, you’ve obviously never encountered a wild boar before. Which we get plenty of. Unfortunately.

Along the way, we ran into many fungi.

I’m pretty sure these two are the same kind.

I think these are called fan mushrooms.

Sorry it’s so blurry, but I love this little purple dude!

It’s the Mario shroom! LOL!!

A full skeleton. Well, almost full. It was missing its legs, presumably taken away by coyotes and the like. Its fur was still there, underneath it. And this, my friends, is why we carry in the woods.

We also saw some very pretty flowers.

And the state flower (lol-it’s poison ivy)

Two Monarchs mating.


And finally, a restful bit by the creek. Please note that Boy, our best mouser, likes to go with us when we hike the woods. He’s such a great cat!

Rosh Hashannah, Shalom!!

The Truth About Saving Money

I keep seeing all these, “How to stretch your dollar” articles that are at best useless and at worst nothing more than an ad to a scam “work-at-home” website. Here’s the truth. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, literally, you can’t save money. That’s what that means. It means you need every last dime you have. So you have to get creative in how to cut corners. This post will be honest. Brutally so. For all of those out there who don’t have the vacation accounts, extra cars, 3 bedroom homes and a maid that are recommended to cut from your budget, this post is for you.

  1. If you do have a retirement plan, that’s great. But if your goal is to save money for something other than retirement, it’s not helping you presently. It might be best to cut what you save there and put it in the other account. Think carefully. While yes, your kids grow up and that one trip to Disney you’ll get to take them on before college is vital, that wrap around porch with a new grill isn’t.
  2. Get another job. Whoa! Did you just tell me? Yes. It doesn’t have to be permanent. Just a couple of weeks, months, or even years depending on your needs. “But I don’t have time for another job.” I don’t either, and I so understand where you’re coming from. That’s OK. Let’s move on.
  3. Do NOT try to sell stuff online or host yard sales unless you know what you’re doing and live in an appropriate environment. If you live on a dead end street in the middle of nowhere, a yard sale isn’t going to help you. If you go around buying used books at yard sales and then try to sell them on Amazon, I’m afraid you’re going to be in for great disappointment when you see Amazon’s charges for you to do that. You will literally be lucky to make a dime. Literally.
  4. Monetize a hobby. Do you knit? Sew? Bake? Write? If you’re going to do it anyway, might as well earn back some of the millions you spent on yarn and icing sugar. But don’t count on this being your financial savior. Consider it part of your hobby, and if it grows from that, great.
  5. Garden. No, seriously, garden. It doesn’t have to be big or difficult. Lettuce is cheap and easy to grow with bountiful yields. You will eat healthier and save a ton! Potatoes do well too. Check with your local area and see what does and does not do well. Even if you do wind up using pesticides, it’s potentially cheaper than buying at the store. Be sure you plant from seed. If you go and buy four cabbage plants for $1.50, you’re spending more than just buying it already grown. Be careful though. You can spend a fortune on “recommended” supplies like netting, tools, and other items. Don’t get dragged into that. You’re doing this to save money, not spend it, remember? If it doesn’t work, you tried.
  6. Don’t eat out and don’t snack. “But… but… but…” I said this post would be honest, not fair. Those snacks cost money. Save EVERY receipt. EVERY receipt. Snacks, vending machines (write it down on a posty), eating out all count as groceries. COUNT THEM. I do. I have little slips of paper in my purse or car or somewhere to write down things like that. I’ll write it on my hand if I have to and add it later. You are NOT going to like what you see, but you need to see it. Pick yourself up (you can’t change the past) and work on the future. That $50 you spent on 20 oz cokes last month? If you can’t live without the cokes, buy a six pack or 2-liters. One 2-liter is cheaper than a 20 ounce.
  7. Eliminate your entertainment budget. This one will hurt a lot of you. I have never, repeat, never had an entertainment budget. If it’s food, it goes in groceries. If it’s clothes, it’s only bought if necessary and therefore goes in that budget. Entertainment budgets are justifications and unnecessary. “But it’s what makes like worth living!” Oooooohhhhh yes. Yes it is. And this is why so many poor people are depressed. We don’t have the privilege of movies, fashion clothing, new cars, eating out more than once a month (if that), more than three pair of shoes (work, home, running/etc) if that, cable, or even a second set of sheets. I lived many years with one set of sheets. Wash and dry and put back on. Get rid of cable or any other services you don’t need. Internet is probably a must at your house, and most shows can be watched without the expense of cable. I haven’t had “TV” in over 10 years. My horizons have been broadened because of it.
  8. Stop using the dryer. If you have time and space, hang your clothes. I added it up, and the dryer costs us $30 a month to use. That’s $30 that could go elsewhere.
  9. Stop wearing makeup. Good golly Moses! I can’t believe the cost of makeup these days! Don’t worry. It doesn’t take long to get used to being “naked” in public. No one’s going to throw rotten vegetables at you. However, you will become accustomed to it and no longer view overly made women as attractive. “But my husband likes me in makeup.” Your marriage is more important. If you honestly believe it would cause a problem in your marriage to quit using makeup, then don’t quit. Maybe you could save it for special occasions? Many men find barefaced women more attractive than madeup ones. Trust me on this one.
  10. Have an allowance. Yes, even adults need limits. We have allowances in our house. Maybe think of it as that entertainment budget you got rid of? Be strict! Be brutal! If you can only afford $20 a month for each adult, then so be it. And stick to it!!! Want something not budgeted, like unnecessary items, makeup, clothes, movies? Use your allowance. That’s what it’s for. Our allowances are also what we buy each other presents with. “I’m not doing that. That’s not fair.” Again, this post isn’t about fair. It’s about truth.
  11. Learn self-control or learn around the lack of it. I knew a girl who could NOT save money. She said money burned holes in her pockets. If that’s you, try to control yourself. If you have tried and tried and simply cannot, then do what she did. While rent-to-own furniture, etc is a waste of money for people who are able to save money for themselves, it’s helpful for those who can’t. Utilize these places. But realize it’s costing up to three times what it would if you could just save it yourself. I’m not trying to make you feel bad. We all have weaknesses, but I want you to be aware that learning to hold onto money is best.
  12. Search the sidewalks. When we lived in Knoxville, we drove around certain neighborhoods and picked up their discarded furniture and stuff. We got a nice TV, several couches, sets of drawers, chairs, old computers. Pretty much everything we owned at one point was found on the side of the road. A little paint and some work later and viola! Good as new. If you’re too good for that, then you’ve come to the wrong blog. I’m proud of my scavenging skills, of my abilities to recycle items others throw away. Others are too. We have some nice things in this house no believes someone else threw out when we tell them. Be sure to ask their permission if they’re around, and don’t take something unless it’s blatantly obvious it’s being thrown out.
  13. Look for sales. This one is more difficult unless you’re a housespouse. Stores have sales certain days of the week and certain times of the day. At work I used to visit the deli at 7:30, because that’s when they offered all the food left at the end of the day for next to nothing. The bakery marks everything expired down at the beginning of the day and then again at 4:00. At 4:00, my produce friend grabs what he wants from that second markdown. Smart man. But we have the advantage there. Visit different stores on different days. Watch their billboards. Browse their ads. Soon, you will pick up that store A has cheaper pizza and store B has cheaper milk, but only on Mondays.

I know you didn’t hear what you wanted. There are no honest get rich schemes. I’m sorry. But maybe there’s something on here that helped you. If you’re already doing all of this, well then I’m sorry. You’re in the same boat I am. Good luck.

Yes, we knew that buggy was stuck

(For the record. Timmy, Clive, the roommate and I are all good co-working friends. All things were done in fun.)

A couple of co-workers thought I was mean because I didn’t help a customer … or seven. Hey, my job’s boring. I gotta get my entertainment from somewhere. Please note, no one was hurt in any way because of this, and in fact, they probably learned something, which is more than can be said for the majority of their days I’m sure.

To refresh your memory, I work the self-checkout section of a large retail store. A lot of times, customers astound me with their actions. Take last night, when a woman kept bending over, peering into where the receipt comes from wondering where to put her dollars. So yes, I did wait until she asked me to come help her. I would have waited longer, this was getting good, but she asked for help. I’m not belligerent. So, I pointed out the clearly marked area with, get this, actual runway lights and the words “Cash in” printed in them. Yes, the area that takes your dollars literally has green lights that light up in sequence like they’re calling for a plane to land on them. No joke. I did this nicely, with a smile, heck I was wearing one anyway.

Another time I watched was when one of the kiosks was shut down. It had a sign on it, and the screen had a big red “X” that said “This register closed”. What more do people need? Please, tell me and I’ll start using it. I stood back and watched, astonished at the woman’s sheer lack of common sense, when a co-worker told me I was mean. Hey, I was about to tell her it was closed. This was my first time to experience this level of stupidity, and I was enjoying it. A story on that co-worker later. Trust me, it’s good. I went over to help her. Yes I was nice. No I wasn’t laughing at her. No she never knew I had been earlier.

So I’m reading a book in my car during lunch, and I go back to tell a co-worker about one of its passages: how the coachman got a kick out of watching the gentry folk try to get him out of a rut when he could have done it himself, simply because he wanted some entertainment. This co-worker, let’s call him Clive, (he’s going to be a common occurrence in these stories) laughs and nods. “I get people all the time that walk around me and all the buggies I have laid out for them to get their own.” He’s the person that stands by the front door and hands you carts. That job curtails a lot more than you would think, at least at my store. You can thank Clive for dried buggies, keeping the sanitizing wipes filled, and many other things you more than likely take for granted. He’s a great guy and a busy man. But anyway, he says, “I just let ’em walk past and try to take it. I know the buggy’s stuck, but I let them try until they give up. Then they look at me and go, ‘You knew this buggy was stuck, didn’t you?’ I nod and smile ‘hmm-hmm. Would you like one of these?’ and gesture to one of the ones already sitting out for them to take.”

I asked why they would surpass those instead of just taking what was already there. His flabbergasted face said, “When you find that out, you let me know!”

So yes, we most certainly have fun with you, and yes, we do it on purpose. You are our entertainment.

So back to that co-worker who called me mean. Let’s call him Timmy. There’s a button on the control panel for the kiosks that allows me to take control of them. It will display a message on the screen and say, “Please wait for assistance.” Timmy was clocked out for the day, and he and his roommate were buying their groceries. His roommate grabbed what he could and used another kiosk to make it go faster. I pressed the button. Every time Timmy would try to scan his 2-liter, I pressed it. He would go to bag it, only to hear the voice. I pressed it again, returning his control. He would wait until the kiosk returned to normal and then try to scan the 2 liter again. That would be when I pressed it again, making his screen change and the voice talk to him. This continued until I was doubled over crying with laughter. It kept telling him to rescan the items and everything. He spent several minutes trying to scan the same 2 liter. It was hilarious. Finally I felt sorry for him, after watching him scream at it, plead to it, and swivel around like someone looking for the hidden camera, and I asked him if he wanted me to stop.

“That was YOU?”

“Yes!” I laughed through tears.

His roommate held up a fist. “Awesome! Double points!”

Made. My. Night.

Help me. I work retail.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, just haven’t had the time. But today I’m making the time. As I’m sure most of you are aware, I work … think SuperStore. Yeah buddy. And just like my Here’s Your Sign series when I worked there last time, I’m posting some of my fun moments. So, so fun moments.

I presently work at the self-checkout area. Let me clarify. The SELF-checkout area. This does not mean you ask me to ring you up personally at a kiosk while all the other customers have to wait on me to stop theirs from yelling at them, “Please wait for assistance!”.

The policy of our store is known to the world. “Steal from us. Please. We’ll even help you.” But there are a few things us employees are allowed to do. One of them is look inside large items being purchased, like suitcases, backpacks, purses, etc. Yes, even in SELF-checkout.

I got to put that allowance in action last night while trying not to laugh at two very sloppy thieves. Over time, you get to know the difference between lazy, disabled, methhead, poor, and many other subcultures of retail patrons. These two were just plain crazy. Hair sticking out all over the place like a cliche cartoon drawing of Einstein with glasses that would make Professor Trelawney jealous, these two old women kept looking up at me, a sure sign of something fishy. Most patrons who come through my area don’t want to be talked to. They want to be left alone. The last thing they do is watch me, unless they need something. So, I get to watching them and their order, and things aren’t adding up. Literally. Like their two foot tall pile of fabric that rings up for 97¢ and is called “baby jungle”. That kind of not adding up.

They had two buggies, one full of stuff, another to put the stuff in after it’s rung up. This is common, so I ignore it, but what I can’t ignore is the large tote they move from one buggy to the next without scanning it with the little wand. This is when I get to make my move.

“Did you get this?” I tap the tote.

“Yeah. Yeah.”

No, no they didn’t. “I don’t think it registered. Oh!” I “casually” look into the tote to see the large pile of fabric with a sticker of a UPC stuck to the real price tag. “Someone put the wrong sticker on here. Let me fix that for you.” I radio for a CSM. They would have to come do the void anyway, but I wanted them to see this. I took the sticker off and rummaged through their items as innocently as possible.

The CSM came by. “This was stuck to one of their tags. It needs to be voided off.” She voided it off, not really caring, and then left. I resumed my rummaging.

Their tote had many items. None of which had been rung up, nor were going to be from what I could tell. The pile of fabric had six UPC’s alone. Stuffed between the folds was clothing. I just handed each item to them, letting them ring it up. Three small plastic doo-dahs, quilting batting, toddler clothes… At that point I moseyed a few feet away, radioed the noncaring CSM, and as quietly as possible asked for the person who stops thieves. They weren’t in yet but would be later on.

Another CSM comes by, along with a manager. They had heard the radio chatter. At this particular time, the kiosks have a glitch where every 7 items, I have to press a button. I use this to my advantage, and instead of standing at my podium pressing buttons, I stand directly with them and fix it right there, acting ignorant as to what was wrong with it, assuring them I would look into their register as soon as they left, and apologizing for its misbehavior. While I’m personally handling this order, I peek down into one of their purses without being seen. It was fairly easy to do.

I kid you not. There in the purse was a big ol’ can of Bushes Baked Beans. I literally felt my eyes grow cold from all the extra air hitting them because of how big they had gotten. Kinda hard not to laugh at it now.

Several items later, I went up to talk to the manager and other CSM to tell them what was going on. The CSM looks over at them and slowly says in an astonished voice, “There is the outline of a can in their purse.” Sure enough, the can had fallen to where its outline could be clearly seen at that point.

I wasn’t allowed to do anything about it. I just told her, “Honey, there’s a whole bunch of food in that thing.” Three sets of lips were heavily bitten for several minutes to keep from smiling and bursting out laughing.

Sloppy thieves.

As soon as they left, I walked over and picked up a price tag they had dropped on the floor. The CSM printed out a copy of their receipt, and these things were left for the thief catcher. She came and talked to me, laughing a lot in the process, then watched the videos. She said she thinks I caught everything but the food that got away in their purse.

I see a lot of thieves where I work. Half the time we just let them go, there’s nothing we can do with a motto like that. Other than laugh, that is, like when they forget to take the sticker price tags off the backs of their shirts. Oooohhhhh, we laugh.

The cost of any business

Recent Catastrophe

I haven’t blogged in forever, but there’s a reason. I’m lazy. Well, and I don’t have time. I’ve had to stop writing for nearly a week at this point. See, my husband got an abscessed tooth and was put on amoxicillin. He had two teeth removed and remained on the drug for a while. Two days after his last dose, he broke out into a rash.

I was at work and having my own rash trouble. It was under my right armpit. When my husband texted me that he had an all over body rash, I put two and two together. My coworkers tell me it’s shingles. Next thing I know, I’m standing topless in the manager’s office while two female managers stick their noses in my unshaved, rashy pit. I was not prepared for this level of intimacy.

I was told it wasn’t shingles, and I figured it to be a wardrobe malfunction and bought me some Body Glide for future use. It is a tiny bottle and $8. I have no idea if it works or not, but it comes highly recommended by my runner friends.

That night’s not that big of a deal, but the next morning, my husband and dad go to Cookeville for the day to run some errands. Good thing too, because the reaction got worse. My husband ran into the walk-in associated with our doctor and was given a steroid shot. A few hours later, on the interstate headed back home, his tongue starts to swell. We’re thinking it’s a reaction to the steroids. It wasn’t.

He ran to our doctor and was immediately seen. They gave him another shot and brought every doctor in the building there to look at him, said it was the worst reaction they had seen to amoxicillin. He was given 4 Rx’s (Pepsid, Sinclair, Medrol-a tapering steroid, and Benedryl) on top of his maintenance Allegra, which he has since doubled in dose.

This was Monday afternoon. Wednesday morning, my dad is in Ohio, and my husband wakes up at three AM itching so bad he can’t go back to sleep. By ten that night, we head to the ER. We’re told his steroids from Monday wore off and he’s filled with a cocktail of IV steroids, Sinclair, Pepsid-basically what he’s already on, just mega doses. A couple of hours later, we’re sent home, better but scared of another attack.

We got home at three AM Thursday morning. I went to work Thursday night, 3-11, but there was another catch. In our late night stupid of terror, we left the inside light on in the car and the battery died. I had to drive the truck. Not a big deal, but I’m not used to it, and so my leg hurt all night from having to use that ginormous clutch. (It’s not a small truck).

The ER doctor told us to ask his regular doctor to double the steroid pack. We called and left a message. While I’m at work, they call to say they’ve called in a Rx. As I’m sure you know, my husband is disabled and unable to drive. He walks down the road begging at neighbors’ doors until he finds one at home. The neighbor takes him to Crossville, a thirty minute trip one way, to get (get this) the WRONG Rx. Gotta love doctors. For whatever reason, my husband pays for it anyway (eye roll). I call the on-call doctor and get the correct one called in. Right as the pharmacy closed. Sigh. So I got to spend the rest of the night waiting to see if my husband was going to go into anaphylaxis, and I was going to have to leave work, drive the 30 minutes home coupled with the hour to the closest hospital that won’t kill him all in time for him to survive. OK. Other than that, Thursday was pretty good. Work was going to throw out seven pounds of chicken tenders, so my freezer now has several meals of chicken in it.

Friday (no, the adventure isn’t over yet, sorry) we took a trip to Crossville, the pharmacy we told them not to send it to, and picked up his new steroids. A bit of relief spread through us. I then set out in the newly charged car that afternoon for work and run over this—

Yee gads!! While I’m trying to change my tire into my donut spare and call work to say I’ll be late, a guy shows up to help. Nice of him, but pointless as I have two different sized lug bolts on this wheel. Great. My husband gets the same neighbor to meet me. They change my tire, find one of the lugbolts is stripped, and follow me to the tire place not far from our house. I’m thinking, I’ll leave the car here, grab the truck, go to work, and pick it up Monday. It needed four new tires anyway, what’s the big deal?

The big deal was they weren’t up for that. They wanted me to stay and wait. So I did. Two hours. By the time I got the car home, there was no reason to go into work, my husband and I are fighting, and I can’t drive the car to work anyway because there’s only three lug nuts on the one tire. I fell exhausted into bed and slept from 8:15 to after midnight and tried to sleep the rest of the night after that.

Yesterday was pretty normal, except for my sore leg, which wasn’t as sore as Thursday. Today is Sunday, my last day until Thursday to work. We already have plans for doctor, dentist, and Dollywood visits (our last trip to Splash Country for the year 😦 ) Monday-Thursday. School starts the next week. Oh, and it’s tax free weekend. Just when you thought work couldn’t get worse. Heaven help me.

Is Publishing Dead? (aka, is making a living as a writer still possible?)

Of course, anything is possible, but let’s answer this correctly. No, publishing is not dead, not yet; neither are agents or traditional publishers. But. It is changing, and quite possibly not for the better. I read a recent article on an agency’s website while querying this morning. We’re not a fit, but I thought I would read their stuff anyway, and I’m glad I did. The agency’s name is Doug Grad Literary Agency, Inc, and the article can be found here amongst their FAQ section. (They’re also looking for an intern at the time of writing this post, something I would LOVE to do but can’t-le sigh!) Here is what they had to say (I apologize for the font, but that’s the best Word press allows.):

Publishing is an odd business, as you will come to learn if you get involved in it.  The business model is completely obsolete, dating back to the Great Depression.  In the 1920s and earlier, books were sold on a non-returnable basis, like clothing, or food (non-returnable from seller to manufacturer—customers return things all the time).  There weren’t very many bookstores in the U.S., the population was about one half to one third of what it is today, and relatively few people had college educations, or enough leisure time to read.  That’s why first editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway are so rare and expensive—it’s not just that they were great writers, but that a first printing in those days would be about 2,000 or 3,000 copies.  When the stock market crashed and the Depression set in, bookstores would have gone out of business if they hadn’t convinced publishers to make the books fully returnable.  It kept the publishers afloat as well as the stores, and maybe even a few printers.  When the economy picked up going into WWII and the post war years, publishers and bookstores didn’t go back to the pre-war model.  But our soldiers had gotten so hooked on reading paperbacks while fighting in Europe or the Pacific, that they took their habit back home with them, and publishing flourished.  In the 1960s and 1970s, a bestselling paperback would sell 6-12 million copies.  But in the late 1980s, hardcovers began to take precedence over paperbacks.  There was a perceived prestige factor associated with hardcovers, and publishers loved the much higher cover price.  As they started to price themselves out of the market, the discount booksellers came to the rescue, as well as the on-line booksellers.  But a recent study showed that while the U.S. population has increased, readership has not.  As technology has taken over our lives, the competition for our leisure time has grown fierce, from TV and movies to cable TV (500 channels!), and the internet.  And it seems as though our leisure time has decreased and become fragmented–we’re all working harder to stay at the same level.  We as a nation have also gotten out of the habit of reading books, especially compared to Europe, but publishers continue to pump out more and more books every year.  As costs have risen and profit margins have shrunk, and per title sales have decreased (a mega-bestseller today is 2-4 million copies), publishers have tried to make up their profits by publishing more titles.  Great, you say, more books are being published!  But since overall readership levels have remained static for 20 years, that means that each title is selling fewer copies.  Kind of a long-winded way of saying, “You do the math…”

I went to a book signing in Knoxville last year for a NYT bestseller, and was saddened, terrified even at what I saw. This man, this man who had a successful career in the technological world and quit all that to write full time was standing before me and dozens of children asking them for help. “Please, tell your friends about this book. Write reviews about this book. Share this book on social media.” How sad is it that we have come to a time when that is required of a NYT bestselling author!!

I still remember querying my first picture book, a sad thing it was, to publishers and agents. The publishers actually responded better than the agents, but the difference was staggering. If I were to query that book now, I would be ignored by every one of them. A great book gets ignored by most now.

So, where am I going with this? Good question! #1, read the FAQ section in the link I provided. I wish we were a fit, because I really like the guy’s personality from what I can tell, but alas, so goes it. His history of publishing comment got me to thinking. At the present time, it looks rather bleak. I asked around (non-writers) “Tell me a household author’s name that’s new since Stephanie Meyer.” No one could. But look how publishing has changed over the last century and surely will again. Everything does. So little is the same any more, not even nature, which is terribly terribly sad. But I see people all the time who have grown sick of tech, who have thrown out their TV’s. Tech may be a fad, it may destroy the world, there is no way to know. There never was a way to know. All we can do is do what we love whether it brings us fortune or not.

I work a terrible job to pay the bills. I write to pay my desires. Maybe one day they will coalesce, but I’m not holding my breath, nor am I going to worry about it. I think the mentality that they must be one and the same is the 40’s cliche, “What do you do?” that still haunts society now. What difference does it make? Shouldn’t we ask instead, “What is your passion?” or “Tell me about yourself.”? (Unfortunately that second one is reserved for interviews and therefore it’s answer is already programmed into our brain and more than likely untrue. So it’s probably a good thing it isn’t used socially.)

What do I do? I try my best to be a good servant of my God. I try my best to be a good wife, mother, daughter (aka family member) in whatever way I am needed. I try my best to take care of myself, and I try my best to balance all of this together. What do you do?

Getting Things Done When You Already Have Anxiety

Anxiety can take many forms and has many beastly heads. For me, one common monster is getting things done. Sadly, I can feel a great sense of success and accomplishment by playing a task management game or any game with labeled tasks and awards or trophies for doing said tasks. But I know that’s not real success and save that form of entertainment for my relaxing hours.

What my habit had gotten to be was listing all my to-do’s and then doing as many of those do’s as possible in a given day. This was a great in between lifestyle, as it kept me from forgetting to do things, thereby creating a great air of relief.

But.

I’ve grown since then, and therefore outgrown this method. My new method, starting yesterday I think, is to list all my tasks somewhere (as that really has to be done if I’m ever going to sleep again!), but then segregating off what I think I can, or should, accomplish today. This is in the beta stage, of course, so I’m sure the lists will change with time. But this way, I’ll feel accomplished at the end of the day.

See, before, I just had this huge list, and though I was doing everything I could on that list, I never finished it. So I never felt like I was done for the day. I never switched off. I never relaxed. I never spent time with my family. This way, I actually feel like I’ve accomplished what I need to, like I’m done for the day.

Today’s list? Well, with my work/sleep schedule, I don’t finish things when I would like, but it’s getting worked on. And I feel pretty good about that.

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