Monday, March 23, 2009

Positive Talents

I have decided that I would like to dedicate just one blog entry on things I think I do well. I keep writing blogs about my bad habits and keep admitting to things that normal people would try to keep to my previous post on how great I am at procrastinating.

I don't count procrastination as a talent. Although I do procrastinate better than probably 95% of the population, I was thinking more along the lines of talking about things I am good at that are a positive thing.

This could be a very short blog. Maybe I'll add pictures to make it more interesting....

[5 minutes later...I'm still trying to come up with something....]

Okay, I guess I should put down my stand-by "Artist" talent. I don't work on that as much as I should, so the quality isn't what I think it could be...but I do like to draw.
This is a drawing I did of Max a few years ago..a dog that belonged to a friend of a friend...long story...
Right now my big daily art project is to draw in Sharpie a picture on my kids' paper lunch sacks. I'm not sure if they are enjoying the artwork, but it does give them a unique lunch sack. I've drawn two different things each morning since school started in September. I got tired of coming up with new scenes, so at the moment I'm going through the alphabet and drawing animals that begin with the letter of the day.

Let me just tell you that if I were to ever discover a new species of animal I would probably name it something that begins with the letter 'X', and rhymes with 'orange'. X because really the only decent animal out there is the Xoloitzcuintli--or Mexican Hairless Dog. And the orange rhyme is just because nothing rhymes with orange.

This is the Xolo...not very attractive is he?:

[Another 5 minutes later...Why are lists of my negative qualities so much easier to come up with?]

Okay. I'm a fairly decent athlete. I'm better when I'm not carrying an extra 20 pounds, but I enjoy sports. I like it that I can still (20 pounds too heavy and more grey hair than I want to admit) take a soccer ball and school young punks. I can still have a man goal keeper run out at me thinking I'm an easy pick, casually slide the ball around his hulking form, and leave him on the ground while I put the ball neatly in the back of the net at an outdoor co-ed soccer game.

I can bake a mean pie. (which doesn't help the shedding of those extra 20 pounds, but brings happiness to everyone enjoying said pie)

I like to write. Not sure how great I am at it, but I enjoy it so I'll count that as something I can do.

I sing really well to the car radio. Not so much on my own, but imitating other singers is fun for me. Probably has to do with my sadistic liking of mocking people...which I probably shouldn't have mentioned in a blog I'm trying to keep to positive things I do well....

[Another 5 minutes later....this is getting depressing....]
I'll stop now before I hurt myself.
The photos made it look like a longer post anyway, so that's something.
So now you can all say that yes, I have positive talents. Everyone does. And to stay with a bit of a trend here, I found this quote that made me feel a little better:
Talent counts thirty percent; appearance counts seventy. - Chinese proverb
So I'll take that and go about my life with 30% talent, and will appear to have more. :)
Works for me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I've put it off long enough--another blog on procrastination

I believe I have mentioned before that I have an innate ability to procrastinate. I have procrastinated things for as long as I can remember.

Countless last minute hours were spent finishing homework assignments that I knew about for a month, but started and finished the night before it was due.

I STILL haven't taken Christmas neighbor gifts around. For Christmas 2007.

My house needs a good thorough cleaning, but is kindly waiting for me to stop putting it off and just get to it.

And right behind me as I type this blog, I have 5 really big Rubbermaid bins FULL of "scrapbook" stuff that I have just thrown in the bins over the years to 'someday' get to and put in some sort of order showing that I actually care about my family and the mementos we have kept. I can't procrastinate this one much longer. The bins were kept tucked neatly "out of sight, out of mind" in our storage room, but when my husband decided to clean out the room he also forced my hand on the scrapping crap.

And trust me, most of it IS crap.

I am fairly certain that if/when I do finally go through these bins that I will take the number 5 down to just 2 bins.

Because I also put off deciding what is really worth keeping, so have been known on way too many occasions to just open a bin and throw in things to decide about later.

Old school work my kids have done over the years. Art work, fine. But I'm talking spelling tests and math homework. I didn't even want to DO math or spelling as a kid, why would my own kids want to keep old paperwork? For posterity? "Hey look, back in the day I could add." Ah, the memories....

I'm really not looking forward to going through the bins. But I know it has to be done. So I will do like I always do and put it off to the last possible minute.

In the dictionary the definition of procrastinate is this:


–verb (used without object)
1. to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.

–verb (used with object)
2. to put off till another day or time; defer; delay.

I admit to having looked that definition up before I started this blog entry. It is another case of me knowing half the definition. #2 was the way I thought of the word. It is exactly what I do. Put everything off till another day or time.

The first definition made me actually pause and think. "To procrastinate until an opportunity is lost."

If I were the type of person who looked back a lot on things I've done or decisions I have made, I would probably be able to come up with a pretty long list of opportunities I have lost because of my procrastination.

Luckily (or unluckily) for me, my memory is not that wonderful--especially on things that might dishearten me. I have a fairly selective memory I think. I don't hold grudges--well, except for that one chick in band in high school who borrowed $20 from me on our band trip to Edmonton Canada to buy a cashmere sweater that looked fabulous on her and then she would run the other way when she saw me and never repaid me or the other people she borrowed $20 from to have enough money for the sweater...that still bugs me even 24 years later. Not that she didn't pay me back, but that she hid from me and wouldn't just tell me she couldn't pay it...but I digress--

I don't remember reasons for arguments, which can be good and bad. Good because I'm not walking around mad all the time (and holding a grudge), bad because if the argument is with my husband he has been known to take my forgetting of the reasons for our disagreement to mean I am pretending it never happened. I remember the part where we were disagreeing, but rarely remember the why of it all.

Which I guess makes a good case for my husband because if I don't remember why we were arguing, how am I going to not do or say whatever it was that started it in the first place? But it also makes a good case for him because if whatever it was that we fought about was HIS fault, I'm not going to nag and whine him to death about it all.

Seems like a win-win for him, doesn't it? :)

I do need to work on not procrastinating. I do see things that I am missing because of this particular skill I have.

Simple things like being late for most things because I just flat out put off getting ready to go. Putting off writing so that I miss the deadline for the 'First Chapter' contest at a writer's convention this year.

Complex things like not becoming friends with new neighbors because I put off meeting them until it becomes downright awkward. Not going to see new nieces or nephews when they are born because I put it off so long that they are home from the hospital--and sometimes crawling--before I get my backside in gear and go see them.

Things that when I am old and have nothing better to do except finally let my brain look backwards into things I have or haven't done with my life, I will regret. Or I will do my best to talk myself out of the regret--even though I will have earned every twinge of guilt or remorse.

Arthur Miller said: Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.

So I will do my best to stop procrastinating. Then maybe I will have the right regrets.

Easier said than done when you have made procrastination an art form like I have.

I will probably just ease myself into closer to on time to things. Meet my neighbors within at least the first 6 months of them moving into the neighborhood. See my new nieces and nephews before they speak in complete sentences...

I guess to start I should wrap up this rambling blog that is really only helping me ignore the Rubbermaid bins behind me...

Here is a quote I found that I like..and when you read it you'll see why...and then you will have zero faith in me that I will ever stop procrastinating. :)

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. ~Mark Twain

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy Pi(e) Day!

In case anyone wants another reason to have pie...(does anyone need a reason??)

Today is 3.14

Pi Day

I'm not good at math, so Pi means pretty much just another number to me.

But I'm good at pies :) So if there is a day that combines something I'm horrible at and something that tastes pretty darn good, then I'm all for it.

So whether you like a nice fruit pie, a cream pie...a Kahlua cream cheese pie from Marie Callendars--seriously tasty--...Or even a chicken pot pie, take advantage of an excuse like today's date to indulge.
But do it my way and leave the math part out of it--no counting calories, no adding up the weight gain that will come with having that extra piece of your favorite kind of pie....
Happy Pi Day everyone :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March Ramble

Just a bit of rambling thought today. Shocker, I know.

I was driving down the freeway the other day and a car passed me that had those vinyl letters in the back window that said "Die Trying".

They were young punks in that car, so they probably thought it was a fairly tough statement and didn't mean for it to cause undue thinking on any one's part--especially a kooky lady in a crapper suburban like me.

But I did think about it for awhile. Probably longer than I usually think about things, and I'm sure I'll get over it sooner rather than later....but still. I actually pondered a bit. (Write that down, because it will probably be awhile before I ponder again..)

My first thought (after the one about punk kids and their driving habits..,), was that the phrase 'die trying' is actually what everyone should hope for.

In the religion I belong to, we believe that everyone should strive toward perfection. Christ gave us the perfect example and we should emulate that and do good deeds, love thy neighbor, etc.

But also in my religion--especially in the women--I think that they have taken that perfection route a bit too literally. There are all sorts of statistics on the number of women in my State who are on anti-depressants. And I have felt for awhile that a lot of that is due, in part to the drilling in of the perfection statements.

The key is that we are to strive for that. It never, ever says we will actually become perfect. No one can. It is just part of being human that makes it so. We cannot become perfect in this life. We can, however, try to become better people. Better wives, husbands, friends, brothers...We can help others, we can volunteer, we can set good examples and try our darnedest to not be judgemental of other people and the choices they make. And we can be easier on ourselves and those around us.

No one is perfect. It isn't going to happen in this lifetime. All we can do is try to become better tomorrow than we are today and not be hard on ourselves when we slide backwards a bit because of our human nature.

All we can do is try. Try to just be good to yourself and those around you. Try to give up bad habits and replace them with good ones. Try to learn more. Try to be an example of a decent human being when the rest of the world is going to crap. Try to be more involved. Try to be more forgiving. Try to love yourself and not stress so much about being perfect.

Try every day until we die.

Hence, the 'Die Trying'. That's what we should all be doing. We should die trying to be better people. To make the world--at least our little part of it--a happier place to be. Die trying to make other people's lives a little nicer.

A great thought that sort of goes along with this whole jumble of ramble is from Marvin J. Ashton, an apostle from my church. He said:

“Be one who nurtures and builds. Be one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them”.

I know it isn't a huge epiphany of sorts. It is just a reminder that even if we die tomorrow, we won't be dying perfect...but we will hopefully die trying to be a better person than we are right now.

And like my favorite part of that quote..."Leave people better than you found them."

If we do that, we won't just die trying.

I think we will have died succeeding.