Eating Frogs, Spring Cleaning, and Other Fun Things

A long time ago, a dear friend of mine had the habit of cleaning her home on Mondays. When I asked her why she chose Monday as her cleaning day, her practical answer was that Mondays are a day that no one looks forward to. So she felt that getting the cleaning out of the way paved the way for a happier outlook for the rest of the week.

This is the mentality found in Mark Twain’s frog quote: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

We all have places we want to go in our lives: personal goals and dreams that we are reaching for. But we have to do the hard and tedious stuff first. It’s necessary! Whatever it is you don’t want to do right now (and these are on my list this week): call the insurance company, get a new social security card, find a way to make a wireless printer work with my new 5G connection…just do it. Quit procrastinating! Use Mel Robbin’s 5 Second Rule if you need to…Make that dentist appointment, finish a sewing project and ship it, declutter the back room, clean the bathroom…just pick one and do it first thing in the morning. I promise you will feel better knowing you did that hard thing first.

In her book, Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis shares a pretty clear message: you have to do the work and be the hero of your story. No one will do the hard things for you. Dreams are important and you need them, but, as Rachel says, you can’t live on hope. To make those dreams a reality requires a lot of uphill effort. In her podcast episode 72 about the daily practice that changed her life, she tells us we should write out our dreams, like it’s already reality, and then begin to reverse engineer what it will take to get you there.

So make your list and eat a frog first thing tomorrow morning!

And, in case you are doing some cleaning and want to know what cleaning products and tools (and a few books on home organization/care) I use, here’s my list of favorites. In my own life, having a clean and organized environment is necessary for my mental and emotional health. I am with Marie Kondo on this–the more clean and uncluttered your living spaces, the more you will enjoy your life.

Home Comforts

Organized Simplicity

Biokleen All-Purpose Cleaner

7th Generation Glass Cleaner

7th Generation Wood Spray

7th Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop

Shark Steam Pocket Mop

Microfiber Cloths

Share your frogs and cleaning adventures in comments!

What is Saving My Life Right Now

How was your Monday? I felt like I didn’t move very quickly from one task to another today. My theory is that my body gets to the point where it just has enough and purposely slows down. The weekend was full with late work hours and going to see my daughter in The Addams Family Musical at her high school on Friday and Sunday.

On Sunday evening after the show, Alan and I made a Vegan Shepherd’s Pie and Gluten Free, Dairy Free Irish Soda Bread while listening to Celtic music in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. It felt good to return to a tradition I enjoyed with my children when they were younger and had let go of in the past few years. I am looking forward to the rest of this week and to another celebration– the first day of Spring!!!

So here is where I follow several bloggers who have taken a cue from author Barbara Brown Taylor to answer the question: “What is saving your life right now?” Here is my list of current or ongoing lifesavers.

My Bullet Journal Notebook: I’m not going to stop singing the Bullet Journal’s praises, so if you’ve never heard of it, here’s an in-depth delve from Lazy Genius into the Bullet Journal world. (It really is the ultimate guide and will answer lots of your questions.)


The Bullet Journal is this ridiculously simple analog method of keeping your life together in one place. It works for everyone, is completely customizable, and once you start using it, you will be lost without it. This year, I got Alan on the Bullet Journal train and he’s enjoying using it to keep his life organized. This is my fourth year and I am continually finding new ways to entrust my life to its pages. The good news is, you can start it anytime. Check out the Bullet Journal website for short videos showing what it is and how to use it. Once you start, you won’t look back.

My diffuser: I haven’t been sick once all winter and I credit my diffuser, as well as my diet full of whole and green foods and low in sugar! I have several essential oil blends I’ve made and tested to keep me healthy. I’ll be sharing a few blends this week on Wednesday’s post.

My Blackwing Palomino 602 Pencils: as a left-handed writer, my hand tends to cramp up and get tired fairly quickly. There is a fluid elegance and ease to these pencils that have earned them high praise from many famous creatives.

Glo, formerly YogaGlo, is the primary way I practice yoga. In early December, I signed up for the free trial and never looked back. From 5 minute meditations, to 90 minute yoga classes, from super chill restorative Yin and gently Hatha to a sweaty Vinyasa Flow, there are choices for everyone.

You can search by time length, by instructor, by style, by body part you wish to focus on, by time of day, etc. As I work toward my goal of yoga and meditation everyday, Glo provides me with a feast of opportunities to practice.

Barre3 is the other exercise life-saver that I am in love with. It is a combination of ballet, Pilates, cardio, and yoga and is always low-impact. You will sweat, but you will never jump. Even their Barre3 Burpees are slow and much attention is paid to proper alignment, so my wrists and knees have never been sore afterwards. My butt and legs have, though!

It is a workout unlike any other I’ve experienced and the Barre3 message is body-positive and affirming. They’re never pushing you through a workout so you can look great in a bikini. Their language is aimed at building strength, confidence, and feeling good in your own body. They encourage people to pay attention to how they’re feeling (example: “If there is any tension in your neck, lower your arms, etc.”) and to modify each move to make it their own. Here is $10 off if you decide to join!

I’d love to hear what is saving your life right now! Please share in the comments below. Also, I will be giving away my copy of The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll and a couple other goodies on Instagram this week. So head over to my Instagram tomorrow Tuesday March 19 to enter. (US only)

Songwriting Madness in Winter

 

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At Hector Wine Company November 2017

We were at Hector Wine Company two days before Christmas, listening to The Blind Spots when the owner, who is friends with Alan, asked when we were going to play there. He said he had openings on all the Friday nights in February and we could have our pick. So Alan told him that we could do the last Friday night, February 23. I was inwardly panicking, my heart pounding and dread replacing the happiness I had felt at being out, enjoying the evening during the holiday season.

Here’s why I panicked: it’s an all-originals show that we’ll be putting on and we only had a handful of originals penned. How were we going to write 20-25 songs in two months? Alan, ever the optimist, thought it was completely within the realm of possibility. So is being stressed to the max and writing every spare minute we have!

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My songwriting notebook

Fast forward to this week, by which time we’re nearing fifteen completed songs. Completing the number of songs we need feels more like a possibility, but it’s going to continue to be stressful. I need to be disciplined to write during my mentally sharpest hours, while making time to create new products for my Etsy/craft business¬†Delicata House, spend time with my kids, exercise, cook, clean, etc.

It’s a huge challenge, but we will meet it–we have to–and the reward will be that we’ll have access to several more local venues that only allow originals to be played. So if it’s been quiet on the blog lately and if it continues to be for the next three weeks, blame it on Alan. No, just kidding, it’ll just be that I’m songwriting my heart out. When we get some of these tracks recorded, I’ll share a link. In the meantime, if you’d like to check us out, here’s a link to the covers and one original we currently have on SoundCloud.

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Thanksgiving and Parkinson’s Law

 

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I only just heard about Parkinson’s Law this year, although I’ve lived it my entire life. Here it is: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” It’s so true! If I have a month to prepare for a musical performance, I take that long; if I have a week, well, that’s how long it takes too.

And this carries over into how many possessions we acquire and store, how much food we consume, etc. If we have a large plate for dinner, we will fill it and eat everything on it. If we have a lot of closet space, or a garage, we’ll accumulate stuff until we fill the available space. This article from Medium posits that constraints are the best thing you can work with. Give yourself a shorter time to complete tasks and you’ll be more productive.

This article shows how you can use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. I was thinking about Thanksgiving preparations, in particular. I guess we should all try making the list and then allotting ourselves a certain amount of time for each task.

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For example, I need to make sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and chocolate pie, all tomorrow. Yikes! All gluten free and dairy free. When I’ve made them and if they’re a success, I’ll share photos and recipes with you…

But I also need to take a trip around the corner to the Amish market to purchase spices for mulled cider and flax seed for my friend’s flax and lavender pillows. And then sew up the pillows. That feels like a lot. So I’ve got only one day and am going to become a pie making and flax warming pillow machine. I’m giving myself three and a half hours for the food and two hours for the pillows, plus a half hour for the shopping trip. By sundown tomorrow, I’ll be looking forward to an evening of reading and writing.

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I’ll report back on how my day goes…

What’s on your day-before-Thanksgiving Day list?