Tag Archive for '#NaBloPoMo2009'

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: A List

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I did it! All 30 Days of NaBloPoMo are done!

Now that December is here, and I’ve feverishly written for the last thirty days, I may be taking a break.  Or not.  I guess you’ll just have to see what happens.  Every time I say I’ll take a break, I get more blog fodder dumped on me than I know how to sort.

It’s kinda like laundry. . .but not really.

Anyway…

Like any good perfectionist, I’d like to give you a handy list of all my confessions. So…here they are!

  1. How this project began: The thought of breaking the “NaBloPoMo” chain makes me sick.
  2. I remember very vividly the day I thought I’d gone crazy, and I remember being totally okay with that.
  3. I’m the Grammar Snob about whom your mother warned, and even I sing the “I before E” song in my head.
  4. I will spend more time avoiding little projects I hate, than it would actually take to get them done.
  5. I tried to learn how to be patient, but it took way too long, so I gave that up. Now, I just pretend.
  6. There isn’t a word to describe how much I love puzzles.
  7. While cleaning, I’ll bend over, pick a small piece of trash up off the floor, and if it’s small enough, I’ll drop it in the path of the vacuum.
  8. I love to be spontaneous. In fact, I always try to leave time in the schedule for lots of impromptu things.
  9. If I complete something that wasn’t on my To Do List, it takes every ounce of my being not to write it on there anyway, just so I can cross it off.
  10. I love taking things literally, sometimes too literally, but I never take things to Literally. I mean, I’ve never been to Literally, so how could I take things there?
  11. I named my BlackBerry, and I refer to her as a she.
  12. I have my Holiday Letter done, and they’ll be ready to mail by the December 1st deadline.
  13. I love numbers.
  14. I’m not bossy; you’re just not very good at taking direction. Okay, maybe I’m a little bossy.
  15. Nine years ago today we eloped. Kinda.
  16. I have a super power, but it’s only effective in the winter.
  17. I don’t like holiday decorations.
  18. I used to be a wizard, and I had a dragon as a pet.
  19. My daughter told everyone I had a boyfriend named David. Our imaginary relationship lasted for over a year, and I missed him when he left me.
  20. Sometimes I’m the one who wants chicken nuggets for lunch.
  21. I never really worry about something dreadful happening to my daughter’s stuffed-lovey, because we have an exact replica hidden in a secret location, and they trade places often.
  22. I have created an effective Queue Management system that creates less stress while providing more drama, and when we’re talking about movies, more drama and less stress is always a good thing.
  23. If you don’t show up when you said you would, I’ll assume you’re dead in a ditch somewhere.
  24. Some people are “Glass Half-Empty” kinda people. Some people are “Glass Half-Full” kinda people. I’m more of a “Please Don’t Put the Glass Too Close to the Edge of the Table” kinda person.
  25. I’m a scientist at heart.
  26. I wanted to skip a post today, since it’s Thanksgiving, and just do a “Happy Thanksgiving! This totally counts as a post today” post. But I can’t bring myself to do it. (In other words, if I say I’ll do something, I’ll do it.)
  27. I am a Night Owl. In a perfect world, I’d get up at the crack of Noon.
  28. I’m a time traveler.
  29. I have a really cool process that combines a fun photo of the party with a Thank You Card. It works like a charm!
  30. I love milestones.

So, now what?  I have big plans for this little list.  😉  It’s helping me jumpstart a project I’ve had brewing for a while.  So, stay tuned!

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 30

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 30!

Today’s confession: I love milestones.

We’ve made it to the end of NaBloPoMo! The first and last days are always the easiest. “I’m going to do this, and this counts as a post!” Day One? Check. “I did it, and this counts as a post!” Day Thirty? Check.

Well, I have it doubly easy to finish NaBloPoMo, because today is my Baby Claire’s birthday! Somehow, she’s four. I’m not sure how the math on that works, since four years seems like a long time. At others, it seems so short.

Funny how that works.

We’ve spent the whole month talking about Claire’s birthday and building it up. The excitement has culminated today, and it’s going to be a great day. I’ve spent a whole month talking about my confessions as a Casual Perfectionists, and today is going to be a great day.

This all folds nicely into my confession for today. I love milestones. Reaching them makes me sigh with relief before I take a deep breath, regroup and figure out when we’ll hit the next one. In fact, I’m working on a nice synopsis piece of this fun little Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist project. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, we made it!  …and it’s Claire’s birthday!

Happy, happy day.

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 29

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 29!

Today’s confession: I have a really cool process that combines a fun photo of the party with a Thank You Card.  It works like a charm!

Yes, we already have Claire’s Party Thank You cards done, but it’s not really my fault. Don’t blame the perfectionist; blame Target Photo’s One-Hour service.

I’m a firm believer in Thank You Cards. I love writing them, and I love receiving them. I think it’s so important to remember to show our gratitude, and getting a real card in the mail makes me feel special, so I always try to reciprocate. (Yes, we thank people in person, but there is an added bonus to doing a “real” Thank You Card, in my humble opinion.)

We had Claire’s 4th Birthday Party with a few select friends at the local Build-a-Bear Place today. We took a cute photo of the group, and when we got home, I uploaded it and she helped me pick out a cute Thank You Photo Card from their online photo card selection.

I got it all arranged, and got it set to print, and I chose the “pickup at the store” option. It really was done in less than an hour, so I went to pick them up. I mean, once I’m on a roll, why stop?

They’re addressed, stamped, and beautifully artworked by Claire.

The Perfectionist Part is SO glad to have it done. The Casual Part is SO glad the process was easy and painless. Plus, now my friends will think I’m either super-organized or a touch insane or both.

Not that there’s anything wrong with either one of those diagnoses.

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 28

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 28!

Today’s confession: I’m a time traveler.

It’s true. I’ve traveled to the 70s, 80s, and 90s. I’ve even experienced life at the turn of the century. I know about things that happened in the mid-to-late 1970s, because I was there. I experienced some great adventures in the 1980s. The 1990s were the catalyst of some of my favorite memories. The turn of the century just added to my time traveler memorabilia.

Time travel isn’t as difficult as people want you to think. In fact, when you’re good at it, getting from one point to another happens relatively smoothly. It’s the details that are hard to keep straight. Time travelers have a lot of memories, and sometimes it’s hard for them to keep them all straight. Bell-bottom jeans? For the first time or again? Hearing Elevator Muzak of Madonna? It’s okay.  You’re not going crazy. Déjà vu is a side effect of time traveling.

Speed regulation is hard at times, too. At times I’ve gone too slowly, and at others, I feel like I’m going too fast. Some days the details blur together, and I have to take a moment to get my bearings.

A helpful note to other time travelers: For memory and speed-related side-effects, it’s best to remain hydrated, and taking a nap sometimes helps.

I’ve been time traveling so long that sometimes I forget that I’m doing it. It’s not until something major happens, like…oh, I don’t know…like when your baby turns FOUR YEARS OLD. Time travel is the only explanation for how quickly this all happened. Just a few days ago, you watched her make alien movements in your abdomen, and you couldn’t wait to meet her. Yesterday (or was it the day before?), you brought her home from the hospital. And this weekend, you’re celebrating her 4th birthday.

Time travel really is an amazing thing…

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 27

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 27!

Today’s confession: I am a Night Owl. In a perfect world, I’d get up at the crack of Noon.

If given a choice between getting up early to do something or staying up late to do it, I will choose the late-night version. Hands. Down.

In a former life, I was forced to be a morning person. I needed to be presentable and agreeable before the crack of dawn. I did it because I had to, but not because I wanted to. You do the things you have to do when you have to do them so that one day you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

What I lacked in genuine civility and cheer, I made up for in caffeine. The result was the same, and no one knew that I was really a Night Owl in An Early Bird’s feathers. I did what I had to do, and when I could move on, I did so at the speed of light.

They say the Early Bird gets the worm, and I’ve always felt sorry for those poor worms.

If you must know, in a perfect world, I’d get up around 11am to start my day. Lunch would be my breakfast. I’d do what I needed to do during the daylight hours, and then at the end of a “normal day,” after dinner and some quality time with my loved ones, I could easily write [or play on the Internet] into the wee hours of the morning.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

But, it doesn’t work that way. Morning comes when it comes, regardless of when I’ve crawled into bed. We were blessed with a child that sleeps late into the morning, but even my optimum schedule is too unrealistic. Domestic obligations will not allow me to have the schedule I want, but we do run on a later schedule than most, so I really can’t complain. It works for us.

People assume that Night Owls can’t sleep, that we’ve got some sort of problem that keeps us awake. Maybe some are like that, but I’m not. I don’t suffer from insomnia. I can sleep if I want to; I just don’t want to. I find other things to do at midnight and beyond.

The house is wonderfully quiet at that hour, and I can focus, the words slipping from my mind, through my fingers, onto the keyboard, and appearing on my monitor. I’m not interrupted in my projects by a wonderful helper, and even the kitties are asleep. The juggling I do during the day is put on hold, the different colored balls resting in the basket labeled “Tomorrow.” They’ll be waiting to be picked up where we left off.

I’ve adjusted to getting my work done in the midst of sunlit chaos, too, but there is something so magical about the new hours of the morning, the hours just after midnight. These dark, fertile hours don’t really belong to the day before, and they’re not yet claimed by the day to come.

Only the Night Owls know where to find this magic, and it is awesome.

Even the Early Birds aren’t awake yet at that hour, so the worms are safe for at least a little while longer.

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 26

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 26!

Today’s confession: I wanted to skip a post today, since it’s Thanksgiving, and just do a “Happy Thanksgiving! This totally counts as a post today” post. But I can’t bring myself to do it.

My Perfectionist side is to blame. I said I’d list a confession every day in November, so I’m obligated to list a confession every day in November.  The Perfectionist side would also like to point out that it is technically after midnight, so this counts as Day 26’s post.

Oddly enough, the Casual side agrees.  She is also pointing out that because I listed a confession, and it’s technically on the 26th, she’s stopping me right here.

We (me and the voices in my head) think this is a good compromise.

So…

Happy Thanksgiving! (And this totally counts as a post today…) 😉

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 25

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 25!

Today’s confession: I’m a scientist at heart.

I loved school and did really well in all subjects, but all the aptitude “What Should You Be When You Grow Up” tests all pointed me in the direction of a career in science. (Did you know that I was the only girl in my Advanced Physics class in High School?) On those little tests, science was ranked slightly higher than writing.

When picking a major and focusing on a college degree, I refused to listen and went into Spanish and Social Work instead. I sometimes wonder how my life would be different had I become a scientist.

I have a feeling it wouldn’t matter. It’s not like I’m a social worker anymore anyway. Well, I don’t hold the title officially, but a day doesn’t go by where I’m not someone’s counselor, on one level or another.

I am glad to have gotten more in touch with my inner Writer via The Casual Perfectionist, and my inner Scientist loves reading Popular Mechanics and watching Mythbusters.  Science is magical, and I love it.

Speaking of my love of science, I was given the opportunity to “test” some “products” from Steve Spangler Science. (Okay, okay…replace “test” with “play with,” and replace “products” with “toys,” and you’ll have a clear picture of what went down.)

You can read all about it here!

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 24

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 24!

Today’s confession: Some people are “Glass Half-Empty” kinda people. Some people are “Glass Half-Full” kinda people. I’m more of a “Please Don’t Put the Glass Too Close to the Edge of the Table” kinda person.

In reality, I am a positive person. I believe that “happiness is a choice.” I believe that focusing on the negative things is not an efficient use of energy.

I’m also realistic. I assume things will work out the way they’re supposed to, yet I have an alternate plan for when things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes I have to be pretty quick to come up with a MacGyver-like plan on the fly.

Worry is a negative energy.  I used to worry. I used to worry about things that were outside of my control.  I used to worry about things that were under my control.  In other words, I used to worry a lot.

Now, I don’t.

I read a really cool book and decided that I’d acknowledge the worrisome things so that I could step over them and move on to more positive thoughts. I’d put my focus on the positive and my energy where it belongs.

Most of the time, I’m really good at doing this. When I notice that things seem out of whack, I step back, re-evaluate and then make some adjustments. It only takes a couple tweaks to get back on track.

Claire’s preschool has a quote on their office wall that I love. “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength.” It’s so true.

…and I’d bet you those people keep all the glasses, the half-full and the half-empty ones, away from the edge of the table.

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 23

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 23!

Today’s confession: If you don’t show up when you said you would, I’ll assume you’re dead in a ditch somewhere.

Ten years ago, my husband went on one of his mondo-hiking trips with the guys. This wasn’t one of those little car-camping trips we’ve done; this was a “strap all your belongings on your back, hike 8-miles into base camp, and be gone for a week” kinda of trips.

He’d told me that he’d be home on Sunday around 1pm. “Maybe we can have lunch together?” he’d said.  I hadn’t asked a specific time, but it was nice to have one.

1pm rolled around, and there was no sign of them. 3pm rolled around, and I went ahead and ate without him. (I was just sure that I’d finish my lunch just as he walked in, and that would be so rude of me!) 5pm rolled around and I was beside myself with worry. 9pm rolled around and I was just sure he was dead in a ditch somewhere. I’d told myself that if he had miraculously survived the crash, I’d kill him with my bare hands.

It was right around that time that he got home.

I was livid. I was so glad he was safe, but angry that he’d made me feel so helpless. This was back before cell phones were terribly prominent and the coverage was terrible. Still.  You couldn’t stop and make a simple phone call?  You couldn’t tell me you were running horribly late?  He’d forgotten that he’d told me 1pm. He couldn’t understand why I was so upset.

He just didn’t get it. He was home on Sunday, so what was the big deal? The big deal was he’d given me a specific time-frame, and I actually adhere to those. It’s disrespectful to be late. If there are extenuating circumstances, call! Let the person waiting know! Don’t just waltz in and then act all confused as to why she’s angry.

If I’m late (to anything!) I feel terrible. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people disrespect others by being late. I try my hardest not to be one of those people.

My being angry at him didn’t mean I was trying to control his life. I mean, I’m not the boss of him. I don’t care when he gets back from his trips.  It doesn’t bother me that he goes on these trips without me. In fact, I’m glad he goes on trips without me. Everyone needs something that is their own.

I only care when it conflicts with my expectations. Get back at 1pm or get back at 9pm; I don’t care. But, don’t tell me you’ll be back by 1pm and then get in at 9pm.  If you’re 8 HOURS late, I’ll assume the worst. I can’t stop it. It’s part of my Midwestern genes.

Tell me you’ll be back “on Sunday.” Don’t give me a specific time.  Give yourself a HUGE window to hit, and I’ll be fine. Give me a specific time, and I’ll hold you to it. I have no choice. I don’t make the rules of perfectionism. They make me.

He finally understood why I was upset or at least pretended to long enough to apologize profusely. I forgave him, but I’ve never let him forget it. The next year they went on their trip (they’ve gone almost every year since), the guy planning it pulled me aside and gave me specific information. He told me where the trailhead was, what the ranger station was, and the best number to reach the ranger. He said they’d be back “sometime” on Sunday. But, then he added that if they weren’t back by 3am on Monday morning to call the rangers and give them their information. He explained which trails they were taking but that they alter that on the fly, and that there’s no way to know an exact route in the backcounry. I told him that I totally understood that, and I appreciated the information.

My husband actually learned from what had happened the year before and was very careful in managing my expectations.  “We’ll be back on Sunday.  Probably,” he said with a smile.

And, whatdoyaknow? Again, he arrived after 9pm, but this time, he wasn’t late. He was right on time. Go figure.

Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 22

nablo1109.120x90It’s NaBloPoMo Day 22!

Today’s confession: I have created an effective Queue Management system that creates less stress while providing more drama, and when we’re talking about movies, more drama and less stress is always a good thing.

My husband and I love watching movies. Even before we had a child, we’d rather watch movies at home on our entertainment system than go to a crowded theater and be forced to watch a movie straight-through without pausing to use the bathroom. Of course, we enjoy a night out to the movies every once in a while, and some movies are best seen on the big screen, but we love watching movies at home.

In my opinion, the only way to truly enjoy the process of watching movies at home is with Netflix, an online video rental service. Our lives have been so much easier after having ditched the local rental store and joining Netflix over six years ago (April 2003…can you believe it!?). Things are peaceful here. Life is good. We have no rush to return movies we may or may not have had time to see. We no longer have to search through rows and rows of movie titles only to find the last copy in the hand of the person standing in front of us in the long check-out line.

With Netflix, we choose the movies we want to see from their online database. Those movies go into our list, or Queue. They have varying plans available, and we happen to be on the 3-at-a-time plan, meaning, we have three movies at our house at any given time, all for one low monthly rate. (Disclaimer: Although I sound like a commercial, Netflix is not a sponsor here, and any ads you see on the sidebar for Netflix are purely coincidental.)

When we’re done watching a movie, it goes back in the pre-paid envelope and in the mail. (I’ll give you three guesses as to who is in charge of that…and the first two guesses don’t count.) We live super-close to a major distribution center, so we get the next movie on our list within the span of two days. No late-fees. No lines. No stress. The only drama comes in the mail in the form of a DVD.

Sometimes we rock out and watch all three in a weekend, and sometimes one gets stalled while the others get watched and replaced, and sometimes we go on vacation and they sit there. No harm, no foul. We’ve rented more than enough movies per month to more than beat the cost of the typical video rental place by a landslide.

They recently added an “Instant Queue” that we can access through our Xbox 360, and we love it! Television shows, classic movies, and even new releases are all there, and they don’t count against the number you have at home! At times, though, it’s not very “instant” when we realize we’ve spent longer looking at the movies than it would take to actually watch one.

We can also rate movies that we’ve seen, and then Netflix uses magical spells and mathematical algorithms to suggest movies we may enjoy watching as well. We’ve rated over 1,500 movies (1,543 at last count), so they have a lot of good data to crunch. Sometimes, it suggests some really good movies, and other times we wonder just what kind of people they think we are.

There is also a Friends Section, where you can invite your friends to see your movie choices and ratings. We have a lot of friends on our list, and this can work in a couple of different ways. We have some friends who really like the kinds of movies we like (for the most part), and we always trade movie suggestions back and forth, usually with good success. We also have some friends who really have the opposite taste in movies. The suggestions we get from them usually say, “We hated this movie. You’d love it! You have to put it in your Queue!” Whatever works; that’s what I say.

My husband teases me, but here is the key to getting newly released movies to arrive at your door within hours of their release to DVD: Effective Queue Management. I have it down to a science, and he can make fun of me all he wants, but it’s because of my system that we always have the newest movies in a timely fashion.

Here’s how it works:

  • When we see a trailer for a movie that looks interesting (and, actually, with trailers these days, all movies look interesting…so this is getting tougher and tougher to judge), I log on to our account and save the movie in the Saved section of the Queue. That way, I can forget about it for the time being and go on with my life.
  • I can casually keep an eye on the Saved part of the Queue, and when the movie gets closer to actually being released, a date will pop up, and it will automatically be moved to the bottom of the Queue.
  • I can then move those movies up to the top, or wherever I want, if I so choose, and just wait for the date to arrive.
  • The final key to getting this to work is making sure we have an opening for the new movie. We can watch a movie or two and turn them in, just in time to fill that opening with the New Release we’ve been wanting to see.
  • And, voila! Odds are, the next movie in your mailbox will be a newly released DVD!

Luckily, my husband and I have the same taste in movies…for the most part. There is a large portion of the movies that we both really like, and then each of us has our own kind of movies we enjoy. As the one in charge of Queue Management, I try to be fair in the movie selection that arrives at home, and keep these things in mind. I try to make sure we have a varied selection of movies from which to choose throughout the week.

He may not always believe me, but I really do put all of his specific requests at the top of the list. See? Aren’t I nice? His problem is he needs to make his requests out loud, and not in his head. I may be an expert at Queue Management, but my mind-reading abilities, though getting much better, are still a little lacking.