Tag Archives: postaday August

The not-so-good, the bad, and the ugly

Day 24: Your top 3 worst traits

nothing doneI am a procrastinator.

So much so that this should probably cover all three of my worst traits. I never miss a deadline, but if there is any way to put off until tomorrow what I could do today, I can find it. Check email, start a different project, surf the ‘net, take a nap. I’ve perfected all sorts of delaying tactics. I’ve been this way since I was a kid—I cranked out some excellent essays in my school career, but they were always completed the night before they were due. I work well under pressure, yet I hate the stress of rushing to meet a deadline. I’m not sure why this is a habit I can’t seem to break.

procrastinating perfectionistI am a perfectionist.

I feel I have fairly reasonable expectations of others, and am forgiving of many shortcomings, but I tend to hold myself to a MUCH higher standard. I think this comes from a fear of disappointing others. I can’t tell you why I’m so agreeable to being disappointed by others but have such an aversion to causing disappointment.

noncommittalI can be overly noncommittal.

If I have a definite opinion, I will express it, but I’m usually a go-with-the-flow kind of gal, equally happy to explore either side of a fork in the road. In trying to show that I am amenable to whatever others would like to do, I often look like I can’t/won’t make a decision. I’m honestly not trying to be difficult, I just rarely feel strongly about one choice versus the other. See a movie or go bowling? Doesn’t matter to me, both will be fun. Outback or Olive Garden? I don’t care, I have favorite dishes at both restaurants, and either way I won’t have to do dishes. Ironically, it annoys me to no end when someone else does the noncommittal thing to me, so I’m trying to be more proactive in recognizing and correcting my behavior when I enter that mode myself. 



Airing my dirty laundry, brought to you by Jenni’s blog-every-day challenge at Story of My Life.

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Posted by on August 24, 2013 in Challenges, On Me, True Life



Wiser for the experience

Cat-advising-son-300x199Photo from What Will Matter

Day 23: Things you’ve learned that school won’t teach you

  • The smoke alarm will only go off in the middle of the night when your spouse is on a business trip.
  • Don’t eat or drink anything for at least 24 hours before wearing Spanx—on the special night, when you’re dressed to the nines, you’ll never get them down in time to make it to the toilet.
  • Keep a cell phone charger in your car.
  • There are societies that manage to function, and even flourish, without guns. Think about it.
  • Bad things happen when your entire body weight is supported only by your thumbs.
  • No matter how cloudy or cool it is, if you are going to be outside, wear sunscreen.
  • Label all the cords and take a picture of the back of the TV once your media system is hooked up and functioning properly–this will save you hours of frustration if/when you move.
  • If a tea towel used as a potholder touches the heating element in the bottom of the oven, it will ignite INSTANTANEOUSLY.
  • You can hide all sorts of nutritious things in a fruit smoothie, especially if it’s got bananas in it.
  • Change your computer passwords every six months.
  • If you drop something heavy or pointy, it will land directly on your foot; anything soft will bounce harmlessly onto the floor.
  • Hotel room card keys do not like bracelets with healing magnetic properties.
  • The heavier person should sit in the outer seat of high-velocity, circular-motion theme park rides.
  • Cover up the display of your digital clock—you’ll sleep much better.
  • Never, EVER pass up a chance to tell someone you love him/her. Tomorrow might not come.



Things I’d tell my kids, if I had any, brought to you by Jenni’s blog-every-day challenge at Story of My Life.


Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Challenges, On Me, True Life



What’s that vein throbbing in your forehead?

reply to part of emailImage from

Day 22: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. (a pet peeve, a current event, a controversial topic, something your husband or roommate or neighbor or boss does that really ticks you off)

I try really hard not to sweat the small stuff. Not to get worked up about things I can’t change. Not to rant. Not to be that crazy lady screaming in the middle of the supermarket.

Every once in a while, one of those small things catches me on a bad day, and without warning, my knickers are instantly in a twist. I become that crazy lady, but, I’m proud to say, always in the privacy of my home, never screaming in the middle of the supermarket.

Half-answered emails really make my blood boil. If I have taken the time to email you a question (or four), it is because the answer is important to me. I could understand how you might miss answering something if I left you a voicemail with a boatload of questions. But with an email, for Pete’s sake, you have my questions right there on the screen in front of you. Scroll up before you hit SEND to be sure you’ve replied to all of my queries. It’s not hard. When you don’t, I assume you are either lazy or blowing me off, and that legitimately makes me angry.

A recent exchange with our property manager illustrates my frustration:


Hi Cxxxx,
What was the verdict on the A/C? Was a repair required?
Any more info on when the tenants expect to be out of the house?

Property Manager:

Hi Mxxxx,
The condensate line was simply clogged and needed to be cleared. 
There was no charge for the service.
Have a great weekend!

That’s great news on the A/C, but what about when the tenants are moving out? Seriously, I’d have a much better weekend if I didn’t have to spend it wondering how long I have to live in a hotel! It wasn’t like my question was buried in a bunch of extraneous information. I sent a very bare-bones email. How did you miss that question? Were you just lazy or are you blowing me off? Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…



Raising my blood pressure, thanks to Jenni’s blog-every-day challenge at Story of My Life.

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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Challenges, On Me, True Life



Personal faves

101_2971Day 21: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives







Travel Theme: Motion

What can I do for you?




Tooting my own horn, brought to you by Jenni’s blog-every-day challenge at Story of My Life.

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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Challenges, On Me, True Life



You’ve got mail…and more mail…and more mail

inboxImage from

Day 20: Get real. Share something you’re struggling with right now.

I am struggling with my inbox.

I see my husband’s inbox occasionally, when we are both armed with our laptops on the sofa in the evening, and I am ashamed. On a bad day there are two or three emails sitting in his inbox awaiting some further action.

Today, I have 113.

Some are unread. Some need a second reading. Some need a response. Some are there just to remind me of something else that needs doing. En masse, they mock every claim I ever make of becoming more organized.

What I need to do is to set aside a full day (a full week?) to address the needs of every single message in my inbox and whittle the backlog down until there is nothing left. The trick will be staying on task, and not clicking over to my favorite blogs or stalking my facebook friends or shopping Eddie Bauer’s latest sale during the process.

Once the inbox is cleared out, I tell myself that with a bit of day-to-day discipline, I could keep it as pristine as the hubby’s. But I know me, and I know one day I’ll be too busy to act on a new email, and it’ll sit in the inbox until tomorrow, when I won’t feel like dealing with it, then the next day it will have been there two days already, so what does one more matter…and that one undealt-with email will inevitably attract companions like ants to a picnic and before I know it there will once again be 113 emails clogging up my inbox.



Email shame, brought to you by Jenni’s blog-every-day challenge at Story of My Life.


Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Challenges, On Me, True Life



My favorite blogs

favorite-blogs-buttonDay 19: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them

When I began my own blog in January, I started reading other blogs to research page layouts and designs, post topics, creative writing challenges, and photography hints. In the process, I’ve lost countless hours to the black hole of cyberspace, but I’ve followed various links to some truly amazing sites. Here are five that I return to over and over…

Rarasaur…frightfully wondrous things happen here.

I am in complete awe of Rarasaur. First, I think she lives in some alternate universe where there are 48 hours in a day, not 24. She has apparently boundless stores of energy, all of it positive, which come through in every single post. I love the variety she offers–everything from poetry, to how-to instructions, to childhood stories, to healthy eating tips–all of it is presented with humor, grace, and style. Reading a Rara post is like getting together with a good friend for a chat over tea.

Northwest Photographer 

Photographer Bob Mielke posts some amazing shots here, but what draws me to this photography blog above the thousands that are out there in the blogosphere is the fact that he takes photos in locations that anyone can access. He spends massive amounts of time at the zoo, shooting animals and people alike, and shares details about why he chose a particular subject and what he was trying to accomplish with the lighting, exposure, angle, etc. He’s also posted some fabulous pictures from local farms, festivals, and shops. Every time I view his blog, I think, “With a good camera and a little bit of practice, I could do that!” I like that he makes great photography feel accessible to the average Joe.


This is a relatively new blog, started by Dieter Rogiers as a personal challenge on his 35th birthday. He felt the need to write more, so set himself a one year mission to write 300 stories of 300 words or less. He’s 45 stories into the challenge (as of today), and some of them are quite creative! Since I’ve been dabbling in flash fiction myself, I love reading (snooping through) other writers’ work to gather hints on how I can more effectively develop characters and plot in limited space.

Nouveau Scarecrow~A ragged soul investigating the human condition

Michael J. Cahill writes with sensitivity and insight, and something about his style just resonates with me. His posts are always thoughtful, and inspire the reader to think as well. One of my favorite posts is Williker, a finely crafted tale that reminds us all that outer appearance is less important than what lies inside.

helenjameson~Scribble Girl

Helen has a no-nonsense approach to blogging that draws readers in with frankness and humor. I can relate to what she writes, and feel like I’ve just been chatting with a next-door neighbor, not reading a stranger’s online journal, when I close my laptop. I also learn something every time I visit, like alternative uses for Kotex (doggie wound care) and how to get free books (write reviews for




Five reasons I never get anything accomplished, brought to you by Jenni’s blog-every-day challenge at Story of My Life.


Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Challenges, On Me, True Life




ninjaImage from

Day 18: Tell a story from your childhood. Dig deep and try to be descriptive about what you remember and how you felt.

I am so tired of being karate-chopped.

At eight years old, I am convinced that I live with the most conniving, most malicious six-year-old on the planet, and I have the bruises to prove it.

We have finished dinner and have been excused to go play. I am minding my own business in the coolness of the downstairs rec room, cross-legged on the sofa, trying to get the mane just right on the horse I am sketching on the thick pad of discarded computer reports my dad has brought home from work. My brother is upside down in his toy box, tossing trucks and Legos out on the parquet floor, desperately searching for some elusive toy.

When the clattering noise stops, I look up, curious to see what he has been searching so hard to find. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him tiptoeing around the end of the sofa like a ninja, hands in the striking position he has perfected from watching cartoon characters whack the crap out of each other on TV.

Fed up with all of these stealth attacks, I let him approach, then just as he draws back his arm to unleash a chop, I flip my yellow No. 2 pencil business end up, thinking the overhead light glinting off its shiny point will deter him from actually hitting me. I’m not sure whether he doesn’t see the pencil or if his aim is just horribly off, but without hesitation his arm arcs down cleanly in what is going to be a very painful chop if it connects with my ribs as intended. Instead, there’s a strange force pushing and twisting the pencil I am holding, and suddenly his arm reverses course with my No. 2 pencil buried in his wrist.

The howling commences immediately.

He snatches at the pencil and breaks off the tip. Tears stream down his face as he clutches his wrist.

We have heard horror stories about pencils in children’s eyes, but never in a wrist. I know about lead poisoning. I am convinced I have just administered a fatal dose of lead directly into my brother’s bloodstream. He is going to die, then my parents are either going to kill me in turn or throw me out into the world to fend for myself, because how could they live with a murderer?

I am horrified. By the injury I have unintentionally inflicted, but equally by the speed at which he is thundering towards the stairs to find my parents in the kitchen and tattle.

I follow him up the stairs, waiting for him to collapse at any second, then I linger sobbing by the floor-length curtains in the dining room as he shoves his injured wrist toward my mom. Mom and Dad calmly examine the wound and remove the lead, apply Bactine and a Band-aid, and set about trying to silence the howling. I am worried that they are not dialing 9-1-1 before it is too late. Don’t they know about lead poisoning?

Dad notices me cowering by the drapes and comes to hug me. I feel it is important to say something in my defense before I am sentenced for my crime, so I stammer between sobs, “H-h-he ka-ka-kar-a-te-te ch-chopped m-me.”

“I know,” he says gently, “hopefully this will teach him not to do it again.”

Huh? How could this be? Am I really being absolved of any blame in this incident? Don’t you know your son is about to die of lead poisoning? And that it is my fault?

Maybe Mom is going to be the executioner.

But she hugs and comforts me as well, and though she does tell me I shouldn’t point pencils or other sharp objects at people, she reassures me that my brother will be fine. She does not mete out any further scolding or punishment. I have committed a terrible crime and gotten away with it.

As my sobs subside and my breathing returns to normal, I dig deep and offer my brother a feeble apology for stabbing him. My parents have to force him to apologize in return for karate-chopping me.

I go to bed relieved (more that I didn’t get in trouble, I think, than that I didn’t kill him) and hopeful that the ninja attacks have ended. He goes to bed pissed off and plotting his revenge.

Within days, he is perfecting the art of frog punching me right where my bicep meets the bone.

I am sharpening every pencil I can find.


Childhood memories, brought to you by Jenni’s blog-every-day challenge at Story of My Life.


Posted by on August 18, 2013 in Challenges, On Me, True Life