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To Do lists, Halloween costumes, hammock chairs, and outdoor adventures

I’m sorting things and reorganizing today, not in any logical or focused fashion, but random things as I bump into them. So you get this blog post which is much like my organizational method today.

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It was past noon when I first looked at my To Do list. I’d drifted my way through the morning, mostly sleeping, occasionally staring at nothing in particular as my mind turned over possible plans for the day. I opened the list in an attempt to find focus. I knew there were things to accomplish, some of them urgent, many of them order dependent, and I did not want to arrive at Monday morning to discover that my lackadaisical attitude on Saturday had gifted me with a crisis. The first thing I noticed about the list was that I had not checked off any tasks since the prior Monday. Five days where I barely even glanced at my list because I was completely occupied with a few large, urgent tasks. This cycle is normal to me. Sometimes my list is my constantly-checked lifeline. Other times I neglect it completely. I need it when I’m tracking lots of small tasks. I don’t when I’m working on a few large ones.

I re-ordered and updated the list so that it reflected a plan for next week instead of the abandoned plan for last week. The organization process is useful even when the list goes unused. Unfortunately the list did not clarify which of my possible paths for Saturday I should choose. There was the “get the car fixed” path which had me sitting in a waiting room having new tires put on the van. Then sitting in another waiting room to make sure that the van passes its safety inspection. These final two steps were the tail end of a path which began with getting the windshield replaced and turn signals fixed. I also contemplated the “get ahead on work” path which would have pinned me to my computer working layout and design. In the end I did a mix of “working on house projects,” “vacation day,” and “accomplishing odds and ends.” This was a nice shift from the driven pace of the week just passed. Most importantly, I could wander myself from task to task rather than trying to herd children into doing tasks which I was not allowed to do for them. Much nicer.

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Last year I was burned out on Halloween by the second week of October. This was because I spent four intense days scrambling to make a costume for Kiki to wear to an anime convention. Kiki was grateful for my efforts, but dissatisfied with the costume. The other kids pulled their costumes together from stuff we had on hand, no effort from me, and they loved their costumes. So this year I declared a hands-off policy for me. I would render minor assistance with costumes, particularly for Patch, but beyond that they were on their own. They agreed with this plan. Kiki planned an elaborate armored costume which she intended to make out of cardboard and paper mache. Link planned to buy a Halo costume with his own money. Gleek and Patch made no particular plans. In the end Kiki found that her visions exceeded her skills. Link decided he’d rather buy a video game. Gleek created a Tiffany Aching costume which only required the purchase of a hat. Patch will be a Nac Mac Feegle, but the Halloween shopping fairy smiled upon me and let me find all the necessary props in a single store. Costuming has been remarkably stress free. Possibly because none of us had any spare stress to expend. The end of term exhausted us all.

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The weather has turned brisk and my lawns are littered with leaves. It will soon be too cold to go outside and garden. The weeds in my flower beds may have to keep my flowers company this winter. Again. I did get outside long enough to shut off and drain the sprinkler system. We’re due to have two more mild days, I decided to leave my hammock swings up for those two days in the hopes that I’ll have the chance to lounge in them once more. When I bring them in, they’ll be headed to storage for months. I haven’t sat in them much this past month, but they were there. Ready. For the rest of the descent into winter, and for winter itself, I will have to find some other retreat.

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Last week I came home from Antelope Island filled with the intention to get myself and my children outdoors. I scoured weather reports and thought that today would be warm enough to gather them all and go. It was warm enough, but the drive was worn out of me. I need to remember that this is not a failure. We need restful times with routine relaxation just as much as we need new and inspiring adventures. Sleep is needful. Drifting can be important. That said, I’m still watching the weather and wishing it would tell me of more warm days ahead. I shall have to find some indoor adventures I think.

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