Time time time

If you’ve ever googled the number of songs related to time (and I have) you can find more than a thousand. Preoccupation with time seems pretty standard, and it’s certainly true of me. For a long time (ha!), I’ve tried to develop some means of time management that will work for me. One of the phrases I’ve hoped to eliminate from my vocabulary is “I don’t have time to…” because it makes me flinch inwardly every time I hear myself say it.

There are probably as many books written about time as there are songs, but I don’t have time to…


Here, loosely, are my current time management guidelines to try to meet my own and other people’s expectations.

  • The joy of saying no. Just no. Not “no I don’t have time,” “no I wish I could, but,” or any other qualifiers. Just NO. This saves mountains of time and frustration to everyone, even though people don’t like being told no. It’s an honest response and it’s better than stringing people along while they wait for something I’m never going to do.
  • The hope inherent in saying “we’ll see.” This means I’m inclined to want to do what is being asked, but I genuinely don’t know if I can. It’s the only answer I can offer. It’s not the same as the parental “we’ll see” which means “when hell freezes over, kid.”
  • “I’ll try” means just that. I will try, but I can’t make any promises. If it’s something you need a definite commitment to, you’ll probably want to ask someone else.
  • “I can try to do this by” is stronger because I’m providing a self-imposed deadline. If you need it sooner, you’ll probably want to ask someone else.
  • “I will do this when I can” is a definite yes, but I have to balance my work life and my personal life with what you’re asking. I work pretty insane hours, and I feel like when I’m not working, my family, friends, and dogs are high priority and then there’s my own need for down time. Whether it’s thirty minutes of Netflix or the joy of reading, I need to lose myself in these sometimes to thrive and recharge. However, what you’re asking is not a burden and that’s why I’m saying yes even though I can’t commit to a due date.
  • “I will do this by” is an answer basically given to those who pay me. I’m careful about what I commit to because I do have an employer with definite expectations of me, and that employer comes first with regard to paid work. My volunteer job turned into a part time job, and that part time job turned into a full time job, and that full time job can require work from me in increments anywhere from six AM to after midnight, and while working an 18 hour day is rare now, in between those two and three hour increments, I have commitments to my family and my household.

Also, sometimes I just do nothing but stare at the sky and try not to think that the world has lost its damn mind.

Button Sunday

I don’t know why this button makes me laugh so hard, but so be it.

Early afternoon one day, Jim and I were sitting in the office drinking coffee and talking when I spotted a female cardinal under one of our trees. Jim turned around to watch for her and was rewarded by the sight of her mate in his gorgeous redness. He’d never seen a cardinal “in person,” so hey, Houndstooth Hall is like a nature preserve. (We won’t talk about the sighting of the palmetto bug about the size of the cardinal…)

The day we went to Body Mind & Soul, I was studying the shelves of Tarot and other cards to see if anything caught my eye–and the animal spirit guide deck did. There was an open box for interested shoppers, and when I turned the deck over, the card on top was the Cardinal. Jim and I locked surprised eyes; Debby spotted an unopened deck; and Jim made a gift of it to me. Now I need to learn how to read and lay out this deck in my leisure time. (ha ha, leisure time, so funny)

It’s in the bag

Another set of tiny things I found in the bin with Mother’s stuff was her collection of thimbles. I actually thought I gave these away after she died, so it was a surprise to see them. Debby said she remembers Mother buying some at antique stores, and I’m betting many of them came from various friends and from us. Maybe one of her great-grandkids will like sewing, so I’ll know who to give them to one day.

Hands down, my favorite is on the far left, a roadrunner behind a cactus. Clearly more decorative than a working thimble. I wonder if she picked that one up when she and Daddy traveled in the RV out west with Aunt Arliss and Uncle Roy Jr. Arliss was six years older than Mother, but outlived her by six years. Whenever they were together, they acted like girls, and there would be whoops of laughter as they reminisced or navigated the challenges of aging.


Tom has a knack for finding random things on the ground and making them into little gifts. Usually they’re something from nature. But a tiny toy is always welcome.

Today is my mother’s birthday. She’d have been 91. That astonishes me. I have stories of her from every age, including her childhood during the Depression. Her great joy was being able to go to a Shirley Temple movie with her brother for a nickel. Toys were things she and her six brothers and five sisters made out of whatever they could find. A stick became a sword for a fencing match. A scrap of fabric and some straw became a doll. They hung vines from trees to swing on and play Tarzan.

I’ll bet something like this little guy, dropped in a parking lot and left behind, would have been a treasure to them.

Related: Happy birthday, Timmy! A treasure to all who know you.

Living on the edge

I don’t know what it is about writers that we can’t seem to pass up any kind of journal, blank or otherwise. When I saw this one, I thought, It’s true. We should do something every day that scares us.

It’s how we grow. It’s how we learn. It’s how we live bravely.

Now¬†every time it catches my eye, I mutter, “Shit. Isn’t reading the news every day ENOUGH?”