Satisfaction and Super Woman

There are many types of satisfaction in life, and today, I’m focusing on the satisfaction of acquiring organization tools. Or really any type of tool.  Mind you, this doesn’t extend to using. I’m talking about the simple joy of purchasing, downloading, discovering, and yes, I’ll even include listing as a source of satisfaction.
 
You see, there’s the satisfaction of doing…the “I’m exhausted but really glad that job is done!” feeling. There’s the joy of creating…”I’m really quite clever, after all!” And there’s the pleasure…truly, it’s almost the best…of acquisition. You know, the feeling you have when you find the thing, the app, the tool, that’s going to streamline all your work. Organize your stuff. Manage your clutter. Enhance your life.
 
I noticed this phenomena decades ago when I was a young mom and into crafts with my kids (and without them…I can admit, here and now, that some of the crafts I enjoyed were just for ME). I realized that buying the supplies was almost as fulfilling as actually doing the project. That’s continued in other areas of my life. When I buy paint and brushes and masking tape, I feel as if I’ve done the paint job, when really, I’ve only selected and purchased. Without one drop of paint leaving the can, I have an enormous feeling of accomplishment. How cool is that?
 
I recognize the same force at work when I find a new app for my phone or iPad. (I try not to do this with apps I have to pay for…you know, it adds up!) Some app gets great reviews for organization tools, or calendaring, or photo editing, and I download right away, as if the work of organizing or photo editing is magically done just with the click of a button. Why is that? I certainly understand that a download does not equal a completed project. But never mind, the main thing is…I’ve got the app, and I can use it any minute. Any time I choose. Any minute now.
 
The magic works with lists I make in my planner. Somehow, writing a chore or errand down gives me a sense of completion. Not quite as much as checking off my list, but still, the thrill is there.
 
With all this effort at being organized, am I? Well, I certainly like to think so. I certainly am in some parts of my life. (Don’t ask my husband about this, we do NOT see eye to eye here.) But like an addict, I’m always on the hunt for the next best thing that will make me invincible, powerful, on time…no, no, I’m not really trying to be a super-hero. Just a woman who has it all together.
 
Judging from the availability of tools for organizing, I’m in good company. We’re either all really obsessed, or really tidy. You know who you are. This is my attempt to  set the record straight and acknowledge my fixation.
 
Well, well, well…I see from my lists I’m a bit behind. Must finish a task or two so I can mark them off. Now to find my marker…must be around here somewhere…think I need an app for that…how to find anything in your house. I could make a fortune! I’ll just add that to my list…
 
 

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Little Girl

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I saw Riley at the end of May, and she had just taken a step or two, but wasn’t really walking yet. Now she’s running, full speed, tilted a little forward most of the time, in true toddler fashion, and occasionally her top half gets ahead of her feet and she goes tumbling. But she doesn’t stop for long.

She’s a friendly little thing, not really shy (how could she be, with her gene pool?), and she’s a talker, even though we can only understand a word or two. Never mind, the child speaks in paragraphs (how could she not, with her gene pool?). And she uses the same sounds repeatedly. She knows what she’s saying to us, we’re the ones who can’t quite get it. I’m just waiting for her to interpret herself. I’m sure she has something important to share.

Her hair has grown long enough to pull back with a little barrette, if only she would allow that. But she’s not fond of things in her hair, lovely though they be. She prefers a natural look. She likes to go barefoot, pulls her shoes off almost as soon as they’re on. She sings. She loves fruit, doesn’t like meat, calls all liquid “juice,” likes to stand in the bathtub. She snuggles after a nap, needs a few moments to wake up, lifts her hands to be picked up, plays happily in the pantry, emptying boxes and stirring in an empty container with a long-handled spoon. She loves books, although her primary interest is in pulling them off the shelf. She can be a one-child demolition crew.

She rides her rocking horse pony, tools around in her little Porsche. She’s become a little girl since I saw her last. There are a few baby remnants, but they’re fading quickly.

I watched the expressions on her face, saw the uninhibited display of emotion, the pureness of a little personality that doesn’t hide anything. She’s transparent and genuine. That’s one of the pleasures of this age. Whatever you get, it’s the real thing. She hasn’t yet learned to filter her responses, or to temper her reactions.

After a short time of togetherness, I feel my heart connecting, feel myself surrendering to the joy of belonging. Riley is a part of me, and I’m a part of her. We are not primary to each other. No, that’s the parent/child role. But we occupy unique positions in the heartland, just as it should be.

Funny!

Saw these recently…I’m not familiar with this artist*, but I like the way she thinks! I saw some cards with these quotes, and one thing lead to another. She has a plethora of items available from a variety of sources. Actually, I don’t know if these quotations are original to Shannon, but I’m giving her credit.

 
Quotes from Shannon Martin:
 
“If it weren’t for my mood swings, I wouldn’t get any exercise at all.”
 
“My liquid diet is going well, so far I’ve lost two days.”
 
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
 
“Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were.”
 
“I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.”
 
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
 
“You can’t scare me. I have children.”

 
 
*You can find her products on Amazon.
 
 
 

The fine art of “slugging”

I think we’ve invented our own term for one of the things we do best, Rob and I. We sometimes say we’re slugs, when we have a lazy day around the house. Somehow that mutated to “slugging,” although I think we may be the only two people using that term to mean what we mean.

The fine art of slugging…and lest you think I exaggerate in calling it an art, let me assure you that it does rise to that level of perfection…is not really about being lazy, or having a day of non-productivity. In fact, almost the opposite is true. But it is the kind of productivity that matters. A slug day is NOT about getting home chores done, or running errands all afternoon. No, slugging requires mental effort, not too much physical output.

A good day of slugging can begin early or late. We’re early risers, morning people at heart, so we’re typically out of bed before 6:00. Coffee for me, tea for Rob, and market watching, email, news, reading. But no loud noises are allowed to disturb the quiet of this hour.

After a bit (the best measurement of time) one of us is hungry. Breakfast signals a break to talk, share, catch up. If we’re at home, we sit in front of the windows in the sun porch, watch the traffic on the water. Sometimes we make a plan for the day at this point. It can be weather dependent, or there may be an errand that has to be fitted into the day. But our best slug days are lengthy stretches of “a little of this, a little of that.” Usually one of us has something we’re researching online. One of us fiddles with plans for lunch or dinner so we know what to expect in terms of timing, or if we have to include a market outing before evening.

And always, after the early morning quiet, we have music going.

Sometimes we plan things we don’t do. We think we’ll get moving and go do a workout. Go for a picnic, or a walk around the lake. Or we think we’ll start an afternoon project. And sometimes we do. But not always. That’s the beauty of a slug day. If you’re doing something that holds your interest, or having one of those rambling conversations that wraps around one thing and leads to another, and another…it’s ok that the afternoon plans don’t materialize. Part of the charm is the flexibility we allow ourselves.

The key is that you have to be in sync to do this. You can’t be on two different clocks. If one of you is on whirlwind time, and the other on island time, you’re not going to have a day of slugging. You’re not going to wonder, late afternoon, where the day went. And you have to know that spending a day like this together is guilt-free. This is just as important as painting the bathroom or doing the laundry or bathing the dog. Actually, it’s more important, because not only is it a mental change of pace, but doing it together is the thing that makes it special. I can never do this successfully without Rob. Inevitably I let myself get busy with the ought-to, have-to, need-to lists. Slugging together means spending the hours together, sharing a bit here and there, pausing to exchange a glance, a smile, a thought.

The best slugging is really unplanned time. Like many of the good things in life, it just sort of happens. About the only thing you can do to set the stage is to clear your calendars so that you don’t have obligations that interfere. After that, it’s just one of those things. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. But when it does, you have a day of magic, out of nothing at all. Just time together, a little music, simple food, reading, talking, laughing.

Slugging…I highly recommend it for your mental health, your love life, for feeling satisfied with life. It’s relaxing, but more than that, it’s fulfilling. And the nice thing is, doesn’t cost a penny, doesn’t take special equipment, doesn’t take more than your time and your heart.

Thirty years today

We’re celebrating our 30th(!) anniversary today. Where did all that time go? It’s the never-ending question humans pose to themselves, to each other. I don’t have the answer, anymore than the next person. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago that we two babies (20 year-olds) got married.

We’ve been fortunate to do some amazing things in our time together. We’ve traveled, had wonderful vacations and experiences. We’ve shared time with family and with friends. We’ve celebrated in some memorable ways. Our most recent celebratory event was our sky-diving experience to mark Rob’s 50th birthday in June. (I blogged about it here.)

And what are we doing for this major milestone? Well, it may seem tame, a little quiet. We’re doing an RV trip, just us two. Spending a few days in Sedona, AZ. Biking and shopping, enjoying quiet dinners and a movie or two.

But the magic is that it will be just us two celebrating. The scenery, shopping, restaurants…it’s all fun. But the main event is all about one word: together. Believe me, spending the majority of the past two years in a commuter lifestyle has made me appreciate together like never before. Doesn’t have to be fancy or exciting to make me happy…I just want together.

Happy Anniversary to my one and only Rob ~ Sheila

Ah, Sedona!

Snoopy Rock

This is beautiful red rock country, mountainous, with elevations ranging 4,800 and above. This is also a mecca for hikers, rock climbers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. The communities of this area…Sedona, Oak Creek, and Jerome, are all a bit different, as you would expect, and each capitalizes on the sun, Native American art, pioneer spirit, the magnificent scenery, and shopping, shopping, shopping!

Sunday afternoon we went to a state park just out of town called “Slide Rock,” and joined others who were out for a cool and natural version of a water park. Slide Rock has natural rock formations in a shallow creek that allow you to slide through the water, just like you would at a water park. Only this slide has surroundings of beautiful red rock cliffs and rock formations all around it. It’s a popular kid destination, and a lot of families were there for the day with coolers, water floats, and assorted members of multi-generations gathered to enjoy a sunny Arizona afternoon.

Stephanie, Matt & Riley at Slide Rock

Sedona has a plethora of spiritual and psychic centers, and there are “vortex” points where there is a concentration of energy. You can seek counsel or guidance if that’s your interest, and with the variety of places offering these services in town, you shouldn’t have to stand in line too long.

There are “Pink Jeep” tours that take you on different sight-seeing rounds, looking at the rock formations that have inspired names like “Snoopy Rock” or “Coffee-Pot” or “Castle Rock.” You can rent bikes if you don’t have your own, go on horseback rides, or do it the old-fashioned way and hike the canyons.

Yesterday we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce to pick up some info on bike trails, and a gully-washer rain, the likes of which I hadn’t seen before, came down while we were inside. So we waited it out, watching as huge drops of rain and hail beat down, and literally created a white-out so that the magnificent views were obliterated. Let me tell you, Ketchikan rain has nothing on a true Arizona monsoon storm! Fortunately we weren’t prisoners too long. These storms are short and sweet, and keep the temps in a manageable range of low 90s…not bad for August in the high desert.

Tomorrow we’re going on a bike ride. We’ve hauled bikes all over this country, and I’m sorry to say don’t use them as much as we should. But in such a setting as this, it seems essential to get out and see nature in a more personal way.

Ah, vacation…the time of slow pace, discovery, adventure…the sweet life!