Taking a break

We all need to take a break once in a while. Whether it be a break from our daily routines; a vacation from work; or a break from relationships in our lives. I have been dealing with a virus, or cold, in my eye since New Year’s Eve…and as a result, I’m taking a 48-hour break from my electronic devices. This causes a problem in that I promised myself, no-one IMG_0020else, that I would post on here every Sunday. In anticipation of trying to live up to this self-imposed deadline and my, also self-imposed break, I’m writing this on my Friday off from work, and will post today. When I get up on Saturday morning, I will not be reaching for my cell phone to check messages or scroll through Facebook. I won’t turn on my PC to pay bills, I’ve taken care of that today, nor will I use it to do additional research. I won’t boot up my laptop to work on this post. I won’t turn on my tablet to read my ebook version of “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff…as much as I want to finish this one. No, for 48 hours I will be reading through notes on the pieces I’m working on, put them in order, make notes on next steps and plan daytrips for additional research needed. I’ll may read more of “What Happened” by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the hard-copy version, and listen to some relaxing music. I’ll take some time to meditate, which I haven’t given myself the time to do in longer than I care to think about. I may try to find my resources on Reiki and start practicing this again, as I promised my hairdresser this morning. Hell, I may even write a letter. You know, those things we use to get in the mail from friends and family and which have now been replaced by quick little posts on social media. I’ll catch up on the TV shows I’ve recorded, or want to see on Netflix. Some may not agree this is taking a break, but I’m more concerned about the strain on my already sore eyes from electronic devices closer to my face. My TV is up on the wall a good 15′ from where I tend to sit, so I don’t see this as an issue. I also don’t see reading from a book, or my printed and hand-written notes, as a problem as they are not accompanied by the artificial light eminating from electronic devices.

So be warned, if you send me a text, I won’t reply right away. If it’s urgent, those who need to call will, and I’ll answer. I simply will not initiate the use of any of these devices from the time I wake up on Saturday, until after supper on Sunday. My eyes need a break from brightness of the light from these devices and my brain needs a break from the constant streaming of negativity online these days. Sure, I can adjust the light, but that isn’t all this is about. It’s about taking back control of my time. I work all week on a computer, then I come home and spend my evenings messaging, posting, scrolling. When you think about it, how much time in our lives have we handed over to electronics? Again, I don’t mean TV, because that is a whole different issue but it can provide an escape….or background noise when you need a nap. I’m talking about social media, that just draws you in to other people’s drama.

Funny, I’m posting on social media about avoiding social media…ah, the irony of it all!

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What’s next?

NotebookIt’s the start of another new year and with that comes my personal need to make some new starts and clear out some old ‘stuff”. I feel compelled to pare down and clear out what isn’t necessary in my life and to do that, I’m starting with my house. My home has never been what one would call cluttered, but I’ve spent the last month or so going through every single room, closet and box and deciding what I’m keeping, and why. As I recently told my daughter, just because something was received as a gift, doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. At some point, that gift may become just another item that needs to be dusted; that needs to moved to make room for something else; or that simply needs to be passed on. I have gifts that I’ve held onto for years upon years, and others that have served their purpose and been passed on to someone who can use or appreciate it within a few months of receipt. In no way does that mean I didn’t appreciate the gift, or the sentiment behind it, I simply feel it has served its purpose with me, and it’s time to pass it on to someone else who will appreciate it.

One of the items I’ve kept for a very long time, is this small wooden cat. During the summer after I completed Grade 5, I went to live with my oldest sister. I recatmained there while attending Grade 6 and this meant I was away from my very best friend, who I’d met on my first day of class at Bright’s Grove Public School in Grade 2. We were determined to maintain the friendship, even though we were living about three hours apart. To do this, we wrote each other weekly. I wish those letters were something I’d kept, but the jabbering of two pre-teen girls wasn’t something I thought I’d ever want to reference again. The cat has followed me since, and held a place of pride on my dresser in each of my bedrooms. While she has lost part of her neck bow along the way, she carries with her the security of friendship I so badly needed when my life was being pulled apart, yet again. That period of my life is one of the writing projects I’ve promised myself I’ll focus on this year. I’m happy to say, the friendship that little cat represents, continues to this day. While my friend has now been the one to move away, the bond forged those many years ago remains just as strong, if not stronger, quite possibly because all we have gone through together. The process of eliminating the unnecessary in my home, has so far resulted in more than four large boxes of donated clothes, ornaments, dishes and other items. Now that Christmas is over with, it has also included the passing on of my 15-year old artificial tree, and a number of ornaments that have no sentimental value to me. It feels good to know that, while I’ve enjoyed and appreciated these items for many years, they are now going to someone who will get many more years of use out of them.  

Part of my process, when promising myself to blog regularly, was to write down possible Blog booktopics for future posts. My nattering away about clearing out my home, was not one of those topics. I guess that’s part of what I enjoy about blogging. Sure, I have topics for the future in the notebook specifically allocated for that…yes, that one with the floppy eared pup on the cover, but generally it’s me taking the time to sit down and let my thoughts out. As a good friend said, reading my blog is like sitting down to have a coffee with me. I hope you’ll continue to join me with your coffee, tea, water, wine…or whatever you might feel is appropriate, as I wander my way through this process and see where it takes me, and us.

A New Year – New Goals

After a day of feeling absolutely horrid, and much of it spent napping on the couch, I’ve started to feel better and decided I’d start my 2018 promise to myself, on the last day of 2017.

The new year brings with it the promise of new goals, expectations, adventures and so much more. For me, it brings a determination to change the path I’ve been on for the past two years. For those who have read my blog in the past, you know I had a stroke in July 2016. This followed several months of extreme stress and pressures that I normally wouIMG_0004ld be able to handle. I’ve dealt with things like this my whole life, as they say, it seems to be “my lot in life”. Unfortunately, my body decided I needed a break and a stroke resulted. Given a choice, I’d preferred a different type of break, you know; a trip to somewhere exotic, a lottery win and all financial worries taken care of… but I guess it was the natural defence mechanism of my brain forcing me to take a step back to realize I don’t have to try to handle everything at once. Thankfully, the stroke was minor and I’ve pretty much recovered, although the gal who always had a problem remembering names, sometimes finds herself not able to remember the name of someone I’ve known forever, even when they are standing right in front of me. I hope this will change in time but there is so much we don’t know about the brain and the parts affected by my stroke have to do with vision, balance and memory. My vision and balance are fine….memory…well, it’s getting there.

This health issue, as well as my knee replacement surgery in April 2017, just seemed to put what I wanted to do on the back burner once again. I had to focus on what I needed to do to get physically and emotionally healthy again. Had I really thought about it, getting emotionally healthy would have happened faster if I had focused more on what I wanted to do. So, once again I’m promising myself to write more in the new year, only I’ve recently had the passion for a couple of topics reignited and I can’t wait to get started. Tomorrow, the first day of this bright new year, I’ll be organizing the information I’ve already researched, making notes on what I need to source, and starting online research to add to my current knowledge.

That all has to do with three main projects I have in mind, the fourth is regularly posting on this blog again. I was doing so well, and then life got in the way. To start this on the right foot, I’ve taken the first step in blogging regularly again by jotting down some blog topics. Drop by tomorrow for Mistakes and Lessons.

Until then, I hope everyone has a happy, warm and safe New Year!

 

Pet peeves and adjustments

We all have our little pet peeves, you know, things that kinda drive you nuts. It might be an open cupboard door, or a milk jug put back in the fridge with half a swallow left in it. Maybe someone left wet towels on the floor or even worse, dirty clothes when the hamper is…right there! Honestly, these things don’t really bug me. I mean, they bother me enough that I just automatically fix them so they are a bit of a peeve I guess. For me though, the real pet peeve….labels. You know how when you buy something and it’s got this huge label identifying the company, probably has the bar code for scanning at the cash register, and it’s right there. You know. RIGHT THERE! In your face every time you look at the thing.

Those who know me have undoubtedly heard me say, “You own it now. You paid for it. There is no reason to keep that label on there. Let’s just take it off. It’s OK. It’s yours!”

I’ve been known to take shelves off of walls that had stickers on the bottom of them, or spend an hour peeling the HUGE, half worn off label from the top step of a step ladder. Sorry Barb & Nadine but really, don’t they all look much better?

I recently had an occasion where I so desperately wanted to peeltravel-mug a label off, two actually, and I was gently reminded that it was fine. It was fine just how it was. This travel mug came into my home last weekend and my need to peel off not one, but two labels, went into overdrive. OK, so it wasn’t my mug, but I was washing the dishes and it was in with those dishes. That gives me peeling rights doesn’t it? I mean really! Coffee is undoubtedly going to dribble down over the label, it’s going to be washed and rewashed. The label is going to start peeling and making the whole mug look worn. Wouldn’t it be so much easier just to peel the damn labels off now and have it over with?
label
Again I was gently reminded that, not only wasn’t it my mug, but it was just fine the way it was. The label didn’t have to come off. It wasn’t a life or death issue. It was a label. A piece of paper with glue on the back. That’s it. Just a little piece of paper.

So, I finished the dishes, dried out the travel mug, and took it to the dining room where I took these photos. I realized that this wasn’t just about label, not in this instance anyway, it was also about making adjustments. I’ve always been very independent and have lived on my own for a number of years. I’m use to doing what I want, when I want, and having things how I want them. Yet this calm voice simply said, “It’s OK, you don’t have to take that off. It can stay there,”and I listened. Yes, I rushed through washing the mug, to avoid my urge to peel, but I overcame it. I realized that not everything has to be perfect, or my kind of perfect, and I can let go of a bit of that control once in a while. I

I’m sure that mug will be in my sink again this weekend. I’m also sure the label will have started to peel. Will I resist the urge to help it along? I believe I will….the big label anyway. I don’t think he’ll notice the little one missing.

What’s a blog?

A friend recently read my blog for the first time, the first blog she’s ever read actually, and she said, “So that’s what a blog is, chatting about your daily life.” I let her know that all blogs aren’t just about that, some actually address very important topics. Some blogs provide information to new parents on what to expect with your newborn, some are specific to certain illnesses and diseases, some are a way to exchange recipes. Really, there are a variety of reasons and topics on which to blog. My blog…well, it’s still in its infancy and I’m still figuring out what it will be when it grows up. Right now, yes, it’s sharing my daily life, or experiences that happen to me. I hope the sharing of these stories will do several things; make me focus on writing more, allow people to learn from my experiences, and most of all, bring a smile to the faces of my readers.

This actually brings me to my topic this week, that things aren’t always as they may seem.

I had visitors a while back, my best friend and her sister, who is also my friend and has stayed here when she is visiting town alone as well. My friends’ sister co-owns an alpaca farm. She’s also an artist, in various mediums, and is always looking for ways to use the alpaca product – yarn and fleece mainly – to create art, clothing, household ite
ms. I happen to be the very pleased owner of one of their alpaca duvets.IMG_20160429_180540

Anyway, this gal always seems to think she needs to leave a gift, usually flowers, as a thank-you for the use of my spare bedroom. Hmmm…maybe I should forward this blog to my son. One visit resulted in this beautiful orchid, which has died off and blossomed again. This particular visit, she decided to gift me with a pair of alpaca slippers she’d started making for the farm store. Yes, they are as soft in person as they look in the picture. I immediately put them on, and have continued wearing them since.

A few days later, I walked in my basement door with my daughter. My alpaca slippers were sitting my regular slippers normally would and my daughter immediately said,”What happened to your slippers? Did you wash them?”

IMG_20160429_180752These are my regular slippers. Yes, almost the exact same colours, so I can see how my daughter might look at them and think they’d puffed up when I’d washed them. Believe me, it’s happened in the past with stuffed animals of hers that went from being cute and cuddly, to unrecognizable blobs of fluff.

I chuckled, and told her that no, these were new slippers from the farm. I then thought about it a bit and realized, there are a lot of things in life that are like my two pairs of slippers. It’s human nature to glance at something, or someone, and immediately make an assumption, but as the saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover”.

I’m thankful that I live in a world that is changing, not quickly enough for my personal taste, but it’s changing. We are learning to accept people for who they are, not who we assume they are when we make that first glance. And we are accepting of everyone, or more of us are. People are people, no matter how they appear, or how you may see them through your eyes. Under our personal masks, whatever they may be, we are all the same. We are human beings who just want to be accepted for who we are, find happiness and live our lives in peace.The only thing we do by judging others, is judge ourselves.

P.S. My next blog, which this one was suppose to change to but technical issues (go figure) kept that from happening, will be an explanation for the three weeks delay in posting. Yeah..it has to do with yet more technical issues. It’s a good thing I like to share stories!

Changing the way we communicate

There was a time when you’d call someone to wish them a happy birthday, offer condolences on the passing of a family member, or drop by to check in on them when they were feeling under the weather. Now, with modern technology, everything seems to be done on whatever ‘platform’ you prefer. The majority of the crowd seems to go with Facebook, although Twitter, Snapchat and so many others seem to be gaining ground.

A few things you’ll never see me do, and this is for my own personal reasons. I’m not judging others for how they deal with things, but just putting the thought out there.

  1. You’ll never find me posting my relationship status. Why? Because that is between the person I am seeing and myself. Anyone else who needs to know, should hear about it from me directly, or my partner. Others who are curious, I’m sure it’ll get to them through the usual gossip grapevine. The rest of the world, well to be honest, it’s really none of their business.
  2. You’ll never see me ‘share’ a post saying anything along the lines of “If you have the most beautiful/handsome daughter/son; if you love your daughter/son” or any of the other number of similar posts. The people who are important in my life hear that directly from me. They don’t need to see me sharing what milIMG_20160319_152409lions of others are. I share what I feel directly with them, and that has much more meaning and impact.
  3. While I understand the sharing of news of someone’s passing, sometimes it’s the only way to try to ensure all of those who cared for them, or their family members, find out; you will never (I hope) find me offering condolences on that post. Again, for me personally, if I am close enough to that person for me to know how this loss has affected them, I’ll contact them directly either via personal message, phone call, or card. Otherwise, I don’t feel it’s my place to say anything as I may express condolences on their loss, when really, they didn’t feel it was much of one and they were just posting the information for those who might care.
  4. You’ll never see me sharing pictures of abused women/children/animals; people in hospital beds or born with some sort of medical deformity with the comment to say “Amen” and share, or just share and either whatever deity you believe in will help them, or a large multi-national organization will donate money for their medical bills with each share. Wake up people! These are all scams! There are numerous ways to track the clicks and provide more crap in your feed. If you want to make a difference, make a donation directly to an organization that will help a person or animal in that situation. Make the donation yourself, don’t expect someone else to do it for you so that you can feel better.
  5. You’ll never see me share a contest to win a car, beautiful round chair for two, tickets for a cruise, unless I’ve done the research. Many of these contests are valid, but they are in the UK, Australia or some other country where they sure aren’t going to ship the prize to you. The majority of these contests, if you click through, are pages that were just created, specifically for the ‘contest’. Again, scam….lots of clicks and lots of data collected to fill your feed with more junk. Others are local businesses trying to get their name out to people in their area. Again, they probably aren’t going to pay the shipping cost to send the prize to you, no matter how much you ‘like’ and ‘share’ their information. There are a few who will, but take the time to check out where the contest originated. A grocery store in British Columbia is not going to ship me a 25 pound turkey, and if they don’t operate in Ontario as well, a gift card in lieu of the turkey is just a piece of paper to recycle.

I am going to clarify myself. Throughout this blog I’ve said, “You’ll never see me…..”, and I hope you never will see me do any of the above. However, no matter how diligent we are, we sometimes trust a post shared by a friend, or are caught by a headline (which is what they are suppose to do…draw us in), and we click through or share and then regret we did. I know I’m guilty of doing the ‘Happy Birthday’ post on Facebook. Those I’m close to also hear it in person or get a card, and those who only get the message through Facebook, I probably don’t have their address or phone number and it’s the only way I keep in touch with them. I may have to work at changing that.

For things like kids who are missing, suspicious vehicles, the death of a famous person; I generally Google the name of the star, or click through to the originator of the post for the missing person etc. They have sometimes updated information and the person was found a year ago, yet the post is still being passed around, or it helps you verify if it is a valid post or not. Another great site of confirming information is Snopes.

I guess what I’m saying is that we have to be careful in what we share, and be smart enough not to believe everything we hear, or read. Just because it’s on the internet, certainly does not mean it’s true. When it comes to celebrating an important milestone in someone’s life, pick up the phone, buy a card and a stamp. Let’s get back to a bit of the ‘personal’ in our personal interactions. It’s easy enough to click a button, but sometimes more difficult when you have to write the words down or say them in person.

In the words of Mark Twain, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see and you’ll be right most of the time……of course now days I’m not sure you can believe half of what you see either.”

It’s all in how you put the words together

When I started my freelance writing business, I was doing mainly technical work for a local energy plant. I wanted the documents I provided to them to look professional, so I made sure I bought a quality laser printer that printed in colour. Sure, the toner cartridges were more expensive than the inkjet printers, but the resulting product spoke for itself.

I’ve used this printer for six or seven years, and never had a problem, until about a year ago. Looking to save some money, I purchased the printer brand name ‘high yield’ toner cartridges. All went well for a while, and then both the magenta and yellow toners started leaving ugly blotches along the side of the printed page. Definitely not professional!

Not only did it leave ugly blobs of toner on the sides of my pages, but it also leaked within the machine itself, making a complete mess.

So I picked up new toner cartridges, not high yield this time, and cleaned and replaced things. I then disposed of the cartridges, as they were leaking toner on my floors every time they were moved. I sat down and emailed the company to advise them of the issue, and received a courteous, yet ineffectual response. They wanted some numbers off of the cartridges, and were willing to offer me 25% off of any of their online products, for the next seven day. Wow!

Since I’d already disposed of the cartridges, I wrote this off as a bad experience until this fall. I’d forgotten that I’d also put a high yield black cartridge in the machine and…yup, you got it…it started to leak.

I decided to try a different tactic this time and called the local service centre for this brand of printer. Their representative came out, opened up the machine and advised me a toner cartridge was leaking. Really? They said the cartridge would have to be replaced, as well as the tray that held all four cartridges, and the transfer belt would have to be cleaned. A total estimate was around $400 in parts alone. I told them to just leave it as I was going to contact the Customer Service Centre again.

I started my email by apologizing to the employee who won the luck of the draw and got to deal with my complaint. My opening line, “I am going to start by saying I worked in a call centre/ customer service environment and this email is not directed at the employee who has the luck of the draw to receive it. I am extremely disappointed in the (company name) products and their response to issues.”

I proceeded to detail the steps of what had taken place, and the costs associated with the original issue, as well as anticipated costs for the new, or reoccurring issue. I advised that 25% off of their product, that was what was causing the problems with an otherwise suitable machine for my purposes, was not sufficientIMG_0206 to appease me. “I’m not going to spend my time printing, photographing, scanning and sending you information that is going to get me 25% off more product that will continue to ruin what was an adequate machine for my needs. I would hope to receive a more appropriate response than the one I received last time but you may want to contact your authorized service centre in Sarnia Ontario to get more details before responding.”

I was quite pleased to receive an email response, within 24 hours, from the escalations department. They apologized for the issues I was having, had contacted their service representative here in town, and were willing to have all repairs complete, at their expense. I just had to get it to the service centre. I’m very happy to say that, two weeks later, I have my printer back, and it’s working wonderfully again. When this machine eventually prints its last page, will I purchase the same brand? That has yet to be decided although the response to this issue has certainly earned the company some ‘brownie points’.

I guess it’s like writing a story of any type; you have to do the research,state the facts, put your words in a cohesive order with emphasis in the appropriate places for the most impact, and make sure your reader has all of the information they need to reach the outcome you are anticipating. If you are able to do that, your reader will return to continue to buy what you have to sell.

To write, or not to write

Well, the time really does seem to roll by quickly and while I’ve written a lot of notes on topics for upcoming blogs, I look at each of them and wonder, where do I start? Believe me, I’ve read my notes and there are some damn interesting topics but I have to decide what will be the topic when, and do I have a photo to go along with it? I much prefer adding pictures as I’m sure it’s quite boring to just read what I’ve typed without the break for a photo. It also makes it look like I did a lot more work than I really did. As for the ‘damn interesting topics’, don’t worry, they’ll make it here, eventually.

Throughout my life, in English classes, at writing workshops, retreats and seminars, I’ve always heard, “Write what you know.” It’s worked for me since I know a little about a lot, and I’ve always been happy to share (some may say I share too much). I’ve been fortunate to work with people throughout my life who enjoy my stories, and I have a story for pretty much every situation you can think of. These are the people who continue to encourage me to write what I know, to put my story down, and help others work through their own difficulties by seeing how I’ve done it.

I’ve staMississippirted to do that in that I’m researching missing pieces of my life. Well, they aren’t really missing, other people know what took place when I was either too young to remember, or for innumerable reasons, chose to block out. I’m in a more secure and confident point in my life now and able to face those periods of time I had no problem dealing with, but others may not have been as welling to talk about. I’m comfortable asking the questions, and doing the research that I’ve put on the back burner for many years. This is an ongoing project and I’m sure bits and pieces will show up here as I put the missing pieces in place to sort out the puzzle of who I am.

Going back to writing what you know. Does that mean murder mystery writers have personal knowledge on how to commit murder? Are science fiction fantasy writers all astrophysicists? No, I don’t believe that’s what it means at all. I think it means these writers have a truly remarkable interest in their topic of choice and are dedicated to doing the research needed to ensure every detail is accurate. Whether they delve into archives and technical volumes themselves, or make the connections needed with people who are trained in that specific topic, they do what they need to in order to provide the base for their story. This in turn allows their imagination to soar and, with any luck, they’ll bring their audience along with them.

This doesn’t mean we should only write or do what we know, or what we have a special interest in. Very much like other parts of our lives, we can run into a roadblock, or in this case a writer’s block, and simply not move forward. That’s when you have to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. For a writer, it may be attempting a style of writing you’ve never tried before; poetry or on-the-spot writing for example. For life in general, it may mean stepping out of your daily routine and trying something completely new. For me personally, it sometimes means getting behind the wheel of my car and driving down roads I’ve neveIMG_0034r traveled before. It means discovering places that are new to me and letting my thoughts roam. I do some of my best thinking while exploring roads and communities I’ve never been to before, and I’ve had some of my best adventures finding new ways to get where I want to be.  As my children are use to hearing, “I never get lost. I simply find new routes to where I am going, or new places to be.” MJM

The things we say

Now that I’ve gotten into the habit of sitting down on a weekly basis to blog, I find myself thinking about topics during the week. I’ve made some notes, you know, in one of those journals from last week’s post. It’s funny how simple, everyday things now make me think…hey yeah, that would be a good blog topic. So, a tag line is written in my blog journal and a red check mark goes through it when I’ve used that topic. I’m happy to say there are a lot more topics without check marks than there are with, so I’ve got topics to keep me going for a while anyway.

This week, it’s catch phrases. It seems most of us get caught up in the “phrase of the moment”. These days it seems to be, “Can we take this off line?”; when someone wants to take a phone meeting, usually a conference call with multiple people, into a discussion with fewer people involved. A few years ago it was, “due diligence”. Everyone had to make sure they were performing due diligence to ensure things ran smoothly….what the hell were they doing before the phrase became so prominent?

Those are more work and business related phrases, but we have them in our personal lives as well. Some come and go with the times, and others seem to stick with certain people, or geographic locations. “Cool” was a big one years ago, and some people continue to use it when their age just makes it kind of awkward to hear from them. Back in the days of the TV series, Happy Days, “Sit on it”, was also a catch phrase. Or from the show Alice, “Kiss my grits!”. OK, I’m really dating myself here.

For those of us in Canada, well sure, eh is a part of our general vocabulary. No, we don’t put it into every discussion we have, but I can pretty much guarantee is shows up in conversations without us even realizing it. It’s a part of our heritage and who we are and I’m damn proud of it, eh!

A currentIt is what it is one we, or I at least, hear a lot is, “It is what it is”, meaning there isn’t much you can do about it because, well, it is what it is. I know some people who use it regularly, and others who absolutely abhor the phrase. Love it or hate it, it’s one of the phrases of the times.

NOTE: photo is courtesy of my sister Sheree. She uses this phrase regularly and I happened to see this engraved sign when I was shopping one day. I just had to buy it and gift it to her and she was kind enough to take a photo and send it to me for this blog post.

I heard one recently, which is where the idea from this blog originated. An older gentleman contacted me to help him with some writing work. We had a wonderful chat, and repeatedly throughout the conversation he said, “The thing of it is….”. The phrase caught my ear and I jotted it down as we continued to speak. I actually did some research on this particular phrase, some of it quite interesting.

From Wiktionary;

The thing of it – English – Noun 1. (idomatic, colloquial) The important point to consider. Usage notes: In casual speech, and occasionally in casual writing, the verb be following this phrase is doubled, as “The thing of it is, is….” or “The thing of it was, was….

I also found that “The thing of it is”, is the title of a novel. Written in 1967, by William Goldman it’s the story of Amos McCracken, a 31 year old man who has written a popular show tune and who is having marriage troubles.

I know I’m going to have to get a copy of that book now as this author went on to write many wonderful pieces including; Princess Bride, Marathon Man, as well as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, to name just a few.

The thing of it is, we hear these catch phrases throughout our day and we quite often associate them with a particular person, period of time, or region of the world. Sometimes, upon hearing one, we may have a quick flash of memory of someone or something from our past. Love them or hate them, they are here to stay, whether temporarily as a passing fad, or written into our history.

With that, I’d done for the day. I’m out to enjoy the beautiful warmth and sunshine we are experiencing today. That’s it, that’s all, I’m done…apparently (as another friend would say).

 

It doesn’t seem to get easier

You know, it’s one thing to make a commitment to yourself to start a blog and post to it on a regular basis. It’s something quite different when you actually have people read it and mention they are looking forward to seeing your next post. It seems to quickly go from a thought of, ‘OK, I’ll basically start an online diary and write things when I feel like it’ to, ‘Damn, it’s Sunday again and I haven’t posted anything this week!’

Really, it’s not that bad but I do find myself thinking more about what I should post next. This is actually a good thing. For a writer, who can’t seem to find time to write, making myself sit down for half an hour a week to do this is pushing me to do other writing. I keep a small notebook handy to jot down blog ideas. I keep another, larger notebook, to keep track of projects I’m working on for, and with, others. I also keep two journals; one I should write in daily, but don’t right now, and one I that was given to me a number of years ago from a dear friend, that I write in when I take the time to meditate. That’s also something I should do more often but really folks, one step at a time!

I can hear people saying, four notebooks! No, there are actually more.IMG_0006

There’s the one I write my own story in, the one I am slowly researching and pulling together. The history of me. Then there is the small spiral book I keep by my PC where I track stats from my newly launched website. I guess it’s my way to pat myself on the back for finally putting the thing live. I check the numbers fairly regularly and it’s nice to see ‘hits’ coming from those who aren’t just friends and family. It’s only been live for just over a month, but still…it’s exciting to see the numbers change.

Finally, there is the pad of paper, also at my desk, where I write lists of call, emails, research, all the things I want to try to accomplish each time I sit here. I cross them off as I complete them, and move the ones I don’t get around to over to the next page for my next attempt at being productive. Yes, it’s the ‘So Many Men’ one shown there. I sometimes need aspirin when dealing with both, men and the lists.

One might ask, “Why so many notebooks? Why not put everything into one?”

For me, it’s simple. If everything is in one notebook or on one pad of paper, you can pick it up with the intent of dealing with one thing, and end up dealing with the numerous other items in that notebook or pad of paper, never getting around to the item you intended to deal with. Much like life, we can’t deal with and move on from one thing, if it’s all jumbled in with everything else. We quite often have to take a step back, sort things out, put them in their place and deal with each issue one at a time.

Well, enough of that! There are things on that list that still need to be crossed off today, or moved to another page for another day.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone and I hope you’re happy exactly where you are in life right now.