Everything Else

I’ve Been Tagged – Would you like to play?

What’s this? One of my new blogger friends, Erika Gardner, tagged me with a blogosphere chain letter type activity. The way it works is this, she blogged her answers to questions that someone else tagged her with, and posted the following 11 questions and tagged me (and 11 other bloggers) to answer them. The idea is that I write a new set of 11 questions and tag 11 other bloggers to continue the fun.

Hmm, well I’m going to change the rules a bit. I’ve answered the 11 questions that I was tagged with and I’ve written new questions for anyone who wants to play. But I’m not specifically tagging anyone. If you are a reader of my blog and would like to participate, if you have a blog, by all means, post your answers and tag new bloggers with new questions or continue this open-ended invitation to participate. If you don’t have a blog and you want to answer the questions, then email me privately and share your answers. It’s all in the spirit of fun and getting to know one another or learning something about a friend that you may not have known.

So here are the questions that were put to me by Erika…enjoy!

1.)  What is your favorite quote?

Generally speaking I don’t like choosing favorites. But for the purposes of playing along, here are a two that seem to always be with me.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.
~ Tim McGraw

2.)  What is your first memory?

Wow. I have no idea. I have a few memories that are so gray and fuzzy that at best I can say they are early memories for their lack of clarity.

Hmm…I can remember being so small that I looked up at the kitchen counter and I could not reach it with my hands. Not much of a story but a memory nonetheless.

For more of a story, when I was very young we lived in a two story house and I had a somewhat round toy box that looked like a pig. My older sister and I would dump all the toys out and stuff pillows inside for cushioning all around. I would crawl inside. She would put the lid on and roll me down the hall and down the stairs. I thought it was the greatest fun ever. I’m pretty sure she held on to the pig as she went down the stairs. I don’t think she just pushed me and let me go. 🙂

3.)  If you could have any dish cooked by anyone in the world (living or dead), what would you have and who would prepare it for you?

I’d have my husband make his famous meat log. Don’t care what meat. Any will do. Every log he’s made has been out of this world. See examples one, two, three.

4.)  What languages do you speak?  What language would you most like to learn?

Just my native English, and a little Spanish learned in high school. I don’t really have a desire to learn another specific language but I do think it is a valuable skill, most useful if you learn the language of an area where you are going to be traveling or living.

5.)  Do you have any pet peeves?  What are they?

Having to repeat myself is probably my greatest pet peeve.

6.)  Name one thing you like about yourself.

My excitement and joy in experiencing new things.

7.)  If I handed you $1000 (American) right now, how would you spend it? No fair saving it!

Well, given our current circumstances we would pay down the loan we just took out. But, if we had $1,000 to blow and no other obligations, we would put a bed liner in the truck and take photography classes together.

8.)  What is your favorite song?

Damn. Favorites again. Well, not only are favorites hard for me to choose, but I’m notoriously bad at knowing titles and artists for music. Here are a few top faves…(I had to look them all up in my ipod.)

Anything But Mine, Kenny Chesney
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman, Bryan Adams
Don’t Follow, Alice In Chains
Not Over You, Gavin DeGraw
Song of the South, Alabama

9.)  Do you play any musical instruments?

Not anymore. I played clarinet in 6th grade, played the flute in middle school, and played the piano for a couple of years around that time too. I’ve always wanted to learn the guitar or another stringed instrument like a banjo or violin. Maybe one day…

10.)  What is your favorite piece of poetry?

Sorry, really don’t have a favorite or even an example of any poetry. Not to say I’ve never read any, but I’ve never saved any for recall.

11.)  Name your favorite season and why.

I like to be able to be outside and enjoy the outdoors and fall seems like the best season for doing so more and more. Usually the weather is warm enough to be out, but not too hot to be unbearable.

Now, if you want to play, here are my new 11 questions that I put to you. Use them to write a blog post and tag others (see example how to tag here), or simply answer on your post with an open-ended invitation like this for others to play, or if you want to play but don’t want to share your answers with the world, you can email me here.

  1. Thinking of your most recent vacation, where did you go and what did you do that was most memorable?
  2. What celebrity are you most often told you look like?
  3. What is your greatest fear?
  4. Have you ever won a contest of any kind?
  5. Can you remember the first time you saved money/allowance as a child for something special and what you spent it on?
  6. What was the last movie you watched?
  7. What book are you reading now?
  8. What do you miss most about being a child?
  9. Tell a story that your family/in-laws/partner love to tease you about.
  10. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
  11. What was your favorite sitcom growing up?

Friendship is like a prism through which the many variations of beauty are revealed in our lives.
~ unknown

A Mardi Gras Ball

We went to our first ever Mardi Gras Ball last night, thanks to the generosity of my friend Yvette who invited us to her Krewe’s ball. (Thanks so much!)

It was great fun sampling this aspect of Louisiana culture. Certainly was a new experience for us.

The dress code for the ball was formal, to-the-floor dresses for women, and black tie for the men. Some men wore tails even. Don wore his military dress uniform (since we don’t own a tux, and because it was a unique opportunity for him to do so.) I got an amazing deal on my dress at a consignment store last month; my clutch and gloves were my late maternal grandmother’s and it was special to me to have an opportunity to use them; Yvette loaned me the beautiful jewelry that coordinated wonderfully with the dress; and Yvette also treated me to a day at the salon to have my hair done. My goodness!

We first enjoyed an hour of performances and awards during the presentation of the royal court…

then we ate, drank, and danced the night away. I even managed some line dancing! Wish I had some pictures of all that but it was incredibly hard to get any photos because it was so dark. The choices were to blind folks with the flash, or get blurry shots without it.

It was a great time. We met some great people, might have made some new friends, and enjoyed the most formal event we’ve ever attended together. I felt like a train wreck this morning after not getting to bed until 2 am and getting up at 7:30 to help get Don back to work today, but in the end, a little lost sleep is worth the memories made I think.

The moments may have ended, but the memories last forever.
~ Unknown

Creative Connection Event

Today is the last day to enter to win tickets to attend the Creative Connection Event! This HUGE event will be held in St. Paul, MN in September 15-17, 2011. It is a 3-day conference packed with creative sessions and workshops designed to help women to capture their creative interests and turn them in to a business, or to grow their existing business.

Don and I are frequently going back and forth about different ideas for our own business and I would love to attend this event together so that we can learn tips on how to launch a business, how to leverage the power of social media to market our business, and just to help inspire our creative energies. (This post earns me five more entries in the contest. Wish me luck!)

You can check out the schedule of events here. In addition to all the general sessions on marketing and business development, there are hands on sessions on knitting, photography (oh yeah!), cooking, baking, screenprinting, painting, writing children’s books, making jewelry, and so many more crafts I can’t even list them all.

Take a few minutes to explore the ways to enter to win two tickets, plus hotel, for this event. What can you lose?

I’ve been lucky. Opportunities don’t often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them.
~ Audrey Hepburn

Thoughts on Self Management

A friend recently put the question to her readers, how you do self manage? How do you hold yourself accountable? I’ve been thinking on this, and what I’ve come up with is that I’m a list maker, and that when needed, guilt can also be a strong motivator. lol

Many years ago I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. It’s been so long since I’ve read it that I can’t recite the 7 habits or give detailed accounts of how to employ each, but I can tell you what did stick with me: the value of making lists.

I know this sounds really straight-forward and simple. But really there’s more to it than just a list.

Image courtesy of nuttakit

Each morning, make a list of the things you need or want to accomplish that day. Big things, little things. List it all. Then, periodically throughout the day, check back to the list, and mark things off that have been completed. This process is two-fold. It can hold you accountable and it lets you pat yourself on the back for those things you have accomplished, no matter how small they might seem.

When I first started this method of listing making, I was struggling with the stress that many people have when they work in a high pressure, fast-paced work environment. That feeling of being buried, not being able to come up for air, not ever getting ahead, not feeling good about yourself because so much is still undone. Employing this process helped me see what I was getting done and helped me re-align my perspective to recognize and reward myself for the work that was done, not just focusing on what wasn’t done. There’s always more work to do. There’s always more chores waiting to be done. If all you ever think about is the things you didn’t finish, then you can really get mired down in negative thinking. (I am the queen of beating yourself up with negative self talk and this really helped me turn that around in this aspect of my life.) 

At the end of the day, review your list, congratulate yourself for all the wonderful things you accomplished, large or small, and move those items that you did not complete to your list for the next day.

I still make lists, more for personal use than professional these days. Not just because I naturally am a list person, or because as I get older I’m less and less able to remember things without writing them down (sigh), but because it really does help me feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if I don’t get to every item on the list.

Here’s a sample list for you visual folks. (Don’t laugh at the little things! If you only list the heavy hitters, and you don’t get to any of them, then this can cause discouragement by making you feel like you didn’t get anything done. When in truth, you may have done a million little things with your day that you aren’t giving yourself credit for.)

Clean catbox
Return library books
Call Mom
Post pics
Pay bills
Bake banana bread

At the end of the day it might look like this:

Clean catbox
Return library books

Call Mom

Post pics
Pay bills
Bake banana bread

The items not marked off move to your list for the next day. If you still don’t get to them the next day, keep moving them forward. The point is, they will stay there until you complete them. But even better, look at all the things that are crossed off! Yay me! 🙂 (Hypothetically of course.)

Of course this doesn’t mean I’m always on top of everything. I still find myself putting off really unpleasant tasks, or sometimes just not getting to everything. Usually that’s when the guilty conscience kicks in. I’ll eventually get the thing done just so I can stop feeling guilty about procrastinating.

On a side note, I discourage writing permanent post it notes as reminders. I personally believe it is much better to actively interact with your list each day, even if you’re looking at some of the same things. The process of writing a task new each day keeps it fresh. A sticky note on your calendar, or fridge, or computer eventually becomes invisible due to being seen every day. Your brain starts to disregard the content because it’s always the same, always there. That’s how I recently forgot to mail a greeting card on the day I wanted to mail it. I bought it three weeks early, put a post it note on it with “Mail June 4th” and although I saw it every day for those three weeks, I didn’t realize until June 8th that I hadn’t mailed it on time. Doh!

If you’re interested, you can read more on Habit 3 which tackles personal management, as well as explore the other 7 Habits, here.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
~ Confucius

Celebrate Your Differences

One of the bloggers that I follow wrote an interesting post for today. Her post was also in response to another post she read on BlogHer yesterday about celebrating the differences that make us unique from one another. I thought it would be a good exercise to see if I could come up with a list of 25 things about me that makes me different from the person standing next to me.

Here goes…

  1. I have a crooked smile. (I think it’s kind of endearing. Maybe?)
  2. I have a lazy left eyelid – or something like that. It tends to close up just a bit more than my right in pictures sometimes.
  3. My right front center tooth  looks bigger than my left. Ugh, not something easy to celebrate.
  4. I’m taller than the average gal – 5’10”.
  5. I love to wear heels even though it makes me even taller.
  6. I have an intense fear of speaking in public. Actually I don’t like being the center of attention at all, even in small groups, but speaking to a room of people, especially if they are all sitting, and I’m standing (center of attention) terrifies me.
  7. I’ve been told that I see the world through rose colored glasses. I do tend to always try to look at the brighter side of things, or give people the benefit of the doubt before making judgments.
  8. Roller coasters terrify me but I love ‘em. I scream so much that when I get off my hands are often tingling with numbness and my legs are spaghetti.
  9. I’m socially nervous and generally shy until I get to know people.
  10. Give me a glass of wine and I’ll suddenly start talking.
  11. I love to read, historical fiction and fantasy are my favorite genres.
  12. I might be 10 years old at heart – I love animated films, I like to get my shopping cart up to speed in the parking lot, step up on the bottom and ride along, I like to belt out my favorite songs in the car while I’m driving. I couldn’t tell you if I’m any good.
  13. I can’t stand to take the time to bother with make up or hair styles. So, I don’t wear make up (although I go through phases when I try but it never pans out, mostly because I don’t really know how to do it properly) and my hair is often swept up in a ponytail or pulled back in a clip. I just don’t have the patience. I want to get on to doing things not just getting ready to do things.
  14. I have a knack for noticing proofreading errors, in books, in menus, in advertising – just little things that were missed. I wish I was doing it for a living.
  15. I love to take pictures! I always have. I have photo albums full of friends on the playground from as far back as elementary school. I hope to develop this interest into something more in the coming years.
  16. I don’t have kids and I don’t have any plans to. I’ve never longed for motherhood and I’m much more comfortable with being an aunt than being a mom.
  17. My husband is my best friend. My whole world. We are Team Walser and we are making our dreams come true one step at a time.
  18. I’m great with little details, remembering things that need to be done, but my memory of events and past experiences is riddled with holes. Things like that pass right through like a colander. I have to make a concerted effort, when I’m in the moment, to record thoughts or memories about the moment if I want to remember it. Or I can just ask Don later because he remembers everything – right down to the clothes a person wore or what a person said. It boggles my mind.
  19. I am not a risk taker so I surround myself with people who are (Don, Joanna – my BGFF) and we balance each other out.
  20. I’m always hearing from people that I have great skin. (I think I get that from my mom. Thanks Mom!)  
  21. Once upon a time I dreamed of working as a trainer at Sea World and performing with the dolphins and killer whales. I still dream of swimming with dolphins in the wild one day.
  22. I am terrified of spiders! I can’t even look at pictures of spiders without getting the creepy-crawlies for the day. I can take snakes, rats, cockroaches – things that make many other women shudder in their boots. But not spiders.
  23. I LOVE cake. I cannot even describe with words how much cake excites me. Cake is my divine pleasure. I don’t have it often but when I do, oh, baby. Give me white cake, marble cake, yellow cake, carrot cake, spice cake, anything but plain old chocolate cake.
  24. Oh, did I mention I don’t like chocolate much? I know. Am I even from this planet? 🙂
  25. Friends is my favorite TV show of all time and if you had to peg me as one of the characters I would be Monica. From The One With All The Resolutions… (this is sooo me)

Monica: My resolution is to be less obsessed with being neat and clean.

Rachel: Really? Hmm. (grabs some crackers and crumbles them into little pieces and drops them on the floor.)

Monica: Noooooooo!!!!!!

Phew! That was actually kind of challenging. I’m not even sure some of these things really make me all that different from other people (well, the chocolate thing sure does) but I guess when you roll it all up in a package, it does make for a unique individual. Hopefully someone worth knowing.

What’s your list? Come on, celebrate yourself. You might learn something new about yourself (or I might.) Email me or use my contact page if you don’t want to post it in comments.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. 
~ Dr. Seuss