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The Upside of Being Too Busy

Today, I found my phone in the refrigerator. Middle shelf. Yes, I had been running around like a maniac, hurdling over the dog, trying to get out the door for work when I realized I didn’t have my phone. Uh-oh…the panic set in. This is like leaving without clothes on. I mean, I HAD to find it, and fast. I leapt up the stairs, two at a time, huffing and cursing. Frantically, I ran back downstairs, pulling drawers open, rummaging through bags, turning round and round, like a robo-vacuum.

Then, it occurred to me: hey, I was making lunches, and maybe, just maybe, it’s in the FRIDGE! And, there it was. I couldn’t take a photo of it, which I thought to, because I was laughing, because I’d have to take it with the phone!

This story leads me to my initial thought when I sat to write this blog: I’m doing too many things at once. I am thinking about like 15 different things simultaneously. Part of this is inherent to my job in public relations and marketing, where I have multiple accounts I work on each day, shifting back and forth between them with different tones, voices, styles, and needs. Each account uses a different part of my brain.

My brain hurts, sometimes.

But that’s not always a bad thing. I like that I have to think at work, in particular. When I was an actress in NYC back in the days of yore (imagine me hunched over, telling this story in an old lady voice), I used to temp as my day job.

Me telling you about being an actress

The 8-hour temping days were seriously painful, because I was doing work that my goldfish could do. I remember I’d show up as the new “temp for the week,” sit in whomever secretary’s desk I was replacing, and look around.

I’d notice her pink, raspberry-scented Victoria’s Secret lotion, the photos of her kids, her pilled cardigan hanging over the back of my swiveling desk chair, and her change of shoes under the desk (some sort of beaten up flats). People would by-and-large ignore me, but sometimes there was a nice “coworker,” who would ask me about my life or say hi and bye to me. I was kind of like the fly on the wall. I don’t blame them for not wanting to get to know me, as I was there merely temporarily, hence the name “temp.” The days would drag on and on, and some days, I’d only be given the tasks of making copies or stuffing envelopes. Other days, I’d be given more “difficult” tasks, like writing correspondence. They were always AMAZED at how the office chimp was actually skilled, a graduate of a good college, with significant work experience.

Anyway, I digress. My point it this: I am elated to have a real job now that I get to use my brain and, even, that I sometimes feel harried! I’d rather that than staring at the clock, or trying on someone else’s Payless flats under the desk.

Me as temp with augmented chest

So it’s not all that bad when you’re too busy and leaving your phone in the fridge.

Perhaps I should invest in a phone leash.

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A Day in the Life of Me: My To-Do List Compared to My Daughter’s.

I found this amazing list my daughter wrote titled, “Friday After School List.” It started with the very obvious: 1. unpack backpack. This was followed by: 2. clean up room. Um, pretty sure that never happened. Then, there was, 3. draws/color, and so on…It ended with: 11. go to bed. This list, while somewhat compulsive and hyper-organized, also reminded me that life was so much simpler back when we were young, and maybe we ought to get back to that.

It also made me think of my own to-do list and how it compared. I decided I would write it down:

  1. Get up unwillingly: Dog and child bust into my room. Dog licks my face, and she leaps onto my back, while I let out a hurling noise.
  2. Wash out the coffee pot: Wonder why I don’t just get it ready to go the night before, because it’s so cumbersome to wash old grinds out from yesterday morning, and it takes too much time.
  3. Pack lunches: I LOATHE this task. Like, I envy those whose children have a school lunch. She won’t eat sandwiches, which leaves…chips and carrots and yogurt (which she always lets go to waste. And, they are the Chobani ones, which are not exactly cheap! #annoyed) And we can’t pack peanut butter anymore. He? He’s easier. I hate the water bottles too. It’s like they are hamsters or rabbits and need a water bottle every day. We never had water bottles. Pretty sure the one gulp I took from the nasty, dirty water fountain at field hockey practice was my entire water consumption for the whole day.
  4. Drive kids to school: even though they very well could take the bus, which drives past my freaking house. But, no, they claim they’re too afraid of COVID, and people on it are loud and wipe snot on the windows.
  5. Go to work…
  6. Pick kids up: Wonder how the hell the day went by so quickly. Tell the kids they have to self-entertain for the next two hours, because I still have work to do.
  7. Walk the dogs: Grab a roadie of wine, breathe in some fresh air, run my work day through my head and wonder what else I have to do, and then try to pretend that I am breathing and being present. Pick up poop.
  8. Make dinner: Convince children that it’s important to eat as a family, say grace to Jesus, and tell each other our “rose and thorns” of the day. Implore them that they need to take their time, stop wolfing their food, and tell them “no” to their requests for eating in their rooms, on their beds. #gross
  9. Pour another glass of vino.
  10. Play dolls or Barbies with daughter or make fire pit with son.
  11. Try to find a TV show: Scroll through Netflix, watch a bunch of trailers and realize I hate period shows and am tired of murder shows, so I turn it off.
  12. Go to my computer, read blogs and wonder why I am brain dead. Wish I could write.
  13. Make phone calls and stare at my social media.
  14. Play Words with Friends. Crush it with a few two-letter words, have one eye open because so tired.
  15. Brush teeth, wash face, stare at wrinkles, plan Botox and Fillers
  16. Go to bed.

REPEAT!

I wish I had a manicure like this. But, I don’t.

There are things I’d like to have on this list, like “Draw/Color” and playing with friends, like my daughter did. I might want to add, “Clean Room,” since the armchair looks like a hanging rack for misplaced clothes, and the bed is still not made (I hate this!).

But, maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, and a new list…I hope! Probs not.

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“Was I Better Today Than Yesterday?”

“Was I better today than yesterday?” This is something to ask yourself. And, if you answer “no” today, then you will most likely answer “yes” tomorrow. Or, so this what I heard on an Oprah podcast on Fulfillment. I am not so sure that I can always answer “yes” the next day, though. The idea behind this notion is that we, as people, don’t repeat negative behaviors twice, and we work on making our situations better, not worse. We move forward, not back.

I don’t know about you, but I repeat my mistakes all the time. It’s like I’m sometimes this albino rat in a science experiment, who is missing a receptor firing and can’t learn well. I’m the broken rat in the Skinner Box experiment, who fails to learn that if you press the lever, you may get a food pellet.

Did I just liken myself to a rat? I did. Actually, I feel like that was in my subconscious, because someone once called me an “old rat.” I will leave that story for another day…. but, yes, it hurt my feelings.

I think, tomorrow, I’ll just do the same sh*t

Anyway, so, I am going to try to be better today than yesterday. I mean, it’s already 5:00 p.m., so I don’t have too many hours left before the day is over. I am going to grill some chicken on my new broiler, since my grill outside is still broken. Cooking a meal? That’s better than the ordering I did yesterday. Then, I’m going to try to get some writing done. Ha! That is so not happening. I’ll probably just have time to help my kids with their homework, play American Girl dolls, and zone out with some TV show. I mean, honestly? That’s kind of better than my day was yesterday, in the end. Oh, wait, but was I better…hm…that’s another question.

Tomorrow, I have HUGE plans to be better! I am going to work! Yay! Oh, but the morning will be better, because today I put my travel mug of coffee in my purse, and when I bent over to get the bags in the backseat, the coffee top flew off and spilled coffee all over my brand new car, my clothes, and the bags. I legit started to tear up in the parking lot, and a very nice, compassionate woman asked if she could make me another coffee. I told her, “no, thank you,” but she did bring me a new bag to put my stuff in, which was not covered with coffee. My faith in humanity is restored.

This was me in the parking lot, but covered in java

I’m going to work on being better today now. Tell me about your day!

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The Grind. How Can We Escape it and Simplify Life?

I grind my teeth. And, I clench my jaw. I was reminded of this at the dentist last week. But how do I stop from clenching when I feel overwhelmed? I feel overwhelmed this week…and often. As my editor just remarked, “You’re doing too much. Try to take a break from the book, because you’re rushing it.” I was trying to wrap up writing my book, but it isn’t ready to wrap up. That’s the thing about writing a book: it evolves, changes, and you, yourself, can’t predict the turns it takes and even how it ends. It’s not ready, and I can’t force it, even though I need a break. I wanted to check off the box: book complete. Check. Done. But I can’t. I can’t check off many things. The to-do list just continues to grow, or one thing is added as another is completed. I’ve got to stop clenching my teeth about this before I have none left!

These are nice teeth, and not my lips. But I wish I had sugar lips!

So what are things we can take away from our to-do list to simplify? Here are some constants in my life that will never be “done:”

  1. Take care of the kids. I do this six nights a week alone one week, and four nights a week alone the other. There is no getting around it, as they are still in elementary school. I could work on letting them be more independent. For example, I still cut their food and give them baths. Shh, I know. Don’t chastise me! But, I sort of like that they need me. I bring them snacks, clean their rooms, play with them all the time. In short, I create some of this “stress” there. Maybe I can work on that.
  2. Go to work. I can’t change this. We all need a paycheck. And I like my job. But, yeah, it takes up a lot of time and headspace. I think about it when I’m not there, and I check my emails at all hours. I can work on that too.
  3. Walk my dogs: I could hire a dog walker, but why even have the dogs? I LIKE walking them, but it also stresses me out when I haven’t, or when I’m rushing to work, and getting the kids out the door, and they are imploring me to take them on some long walk with their sad, little eyes! I guess I could get up earlier. Oy.
  4. Writing: I want to finish my book. I have 300 pages. I need to finish it. I want to continue to write my blog. I love writing it, and I love reading blogs. I need to make the time, or the quality suffers.

Well, okay. OMG, you know what I left off that constant list? Take care of MYSELF! I just realized that! Self-care. This is something we often forget, right? It takes a back seat, and then I go to the dentist and find my teeth are worn down. Or I cry for no reason when I listen to Piano Lounge music on Spotify while driving. I’m like bawling to some Kate Bush song and thinking, “Wait, why am I crying right now??” This happened yesterday. Then, I realized I think I’m just to freaking busy and overwhelmed.

Sorry to vent. I know we all have a lot of must-dos and should-dos.

I also need to stop apologizing.

But, first, I’ll work on grinding my teeth.

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My Favorite Things (today)…What do We Have in Common?

You know that song, My Favorite Things that Julie Andrews sang? (I sang it at my first audition in fifth grade…I thought I was good but only got the nonspeaking role of “Peablossom” in Midsummer Night’s Dream...guess I sucked it). Anyway, I decided I’d like to share some of my favorite things these days, maybe to inspire you to try them!

1. SHIZZLES. I can’t think of one thing!

I think I’m depressed. Well, no, it’s like a post-war malaise or something where this surge in COVID is legit taking an emo and physical toll. Physically, because I just wolfed down a Twix ice cream bar (so not in the diet–oh wait, I’m not on one); and mentally, because I feel sort of dulled. I tried to sharpen up and read a book on my Kindle, and I did some Words With Friends. This is also why I have not written my blog, or worked on my novel, in like a month! I am dead inside!!!

Well, that’s not true.

BUT, okay, so here are some of my favorite things lately:

1. TV. Yeah, I’m sorry for all y’all that extol the virtues of not owning a TV and not paying for cable (even though we know you stream…be honest!), because it’s legit fun to binge watch shows on Netflix, like The Fall (watching now,) or on HBO (The Undoing). I also still enjoy Housewives of NYC and Salt Lake City and OC. It’s like these people are my friends now that I don’t see other friends as often. #bravotv #netflix #cable #HBO

2. “Yasou” Greek salad dressing. I make a lot of salads. And I’m Greek. To my dismay, I think this salad dressing is the most I do with my Grecian heritage. I thought to join the Greek church here, and I went with good intentions, but I can’t speak Greek! I can, however, say “Yasou!” which means, “Hello!” in Greek. Maybe I can bring the dressing with me to church. #yasou #greek

3. Spotify. I basically crank music daily and the best part is that you can purchase a subscription and play whatever song you want whenever. It’s like having your own jukebox. I love me a good jukebox. My fave songs to play are Sweet Thing, by Van Morrison, One, by U2, and She Wouldn’t Be Gone, by Blake Shelton. #Spotify

4. Work. Yeah, I know that sounds basically cray, but at least it’s something to DO besides focus on myself, my kids and ruminating about things we can’t plan! “Make a plan, and God will change it for you,” is a quote I just heard on Real Housewives, actually. LOL Honestly? That fact that I am quoting from Bravo, instead of like Darwin or Plato, is kinda rotten–well, and funny at the same time. But, it’s good to have a sense of purpose and to get a paycheck after my summer off and my dwindling bank account. Oh, and RIP to my “Preferred” banking status at Bank of America. Apparently, I am officially too poor to maintain that privilege, since I kept withdrawing and not depositing for months. Whatevs. I never ASKED to join that club, m’kay, BOA? Ya’ shut it!

me at work

5. Coffee and Wine. Not together, but like as bookends to my days. Maybe I should mix them together and see if the day is all a hot mess and turned upside down! Or, maybe that is just another word for —“a problem.”

Well, what are your favorite things???? Please share!