Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You've Got Mail

If you are old enough to get that reference, sit next to me (and I'm not talking about the movie with Tom Hanks.)

Remember when all it took to make you happy was to hear that little voice when you logged in declaring that you were in demand? Kept in the loop? Dare I say even popular?

How things have changed. Getting email is no longer an exciting event (okay, I'll admit, I'm still always a little excited to see that I have a bunch of new emails on the off chance that I get an email from one of my friends. Note I said off chance.

These days it's more likely that your inbox is full of junk from various places, past interests, mailing lists, and newsletters you don't know how you got signed up for in the first place.

Wonder why you haven't heard from me lately? Here's a little glimpse into my life.

My junk filled life.

In case I have to point out the obvious, that's 5037 UNREAD messages in my inbox. Unread. There are actually 7159 messages in my inbox altogether, but I've read about 2,000 of them. And then didn't delete them or deal with them in some appropriate way other than just leaving them to rot in the trash can known as my inbox.

This doesn't even count my Spam folder which filters the majority of ads for Viagra, bigger boobs, and low cost mortgages. Thankfully, Mr. G-Mail takes care of these for me on his own and I don't have to even deal with it. (Reminder to self - send Mr. G-Mail a thank you for that.)

If I had a mind to, I could easily hide a clandestine affair in plain view in my inbox because Vern takes one look at it, shakes his head, and runs away screaming.

The truth of the matter is that there are only about 10-15 emails a day that I'm really interested in or that are from family or friends or related to business that I need to take care of.

I have no idea who first said it, but clutter is nothing but delayed decisions. Even virtual clutter like email clutter. There are newsletters that I'm not interested in any longer but haven't taken the time to unsubscribe. There are letters from friends that I need to answer but I either didn't have the words or I put it off until I had more time. There are coupons and sales that I thought I might take advantage of but didn't.

I'm going in. I'm unsubscribing from newsletters I don't enjoy. I'm answering those emails to friends. I'm deleting the coupons and sales that are way past expired. I'm putting filters on the people who do nothing but send me forwards of chain letters that threaten me with bad luck if I don't immediately send it to 15 other unsuspecting people (although considering our last year or so, those may have some validity).

If you don't hear from me, shoot me an email. I might even answer.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Will It Play in Peoria?

I was born and raised in Peoria. I started my married life there, and I had my daughter while living in Peoria. I even worked in one of those two tall buildings in the center of this photo, aptly named the Peoria Twin Towers. I went to grade school, middle school, high school, and even some college while in Peoria. I owned my first house in Peoria.

It's funny how, when driving out of Peoria for what was probably the last time yesterday, I realized just how many things in Peoria that I've never seen or done. There are restaurants that I've always said "I should eat there sometime" and stores that are unique to the area that I haven't shopped. There are community events, seasonal fairs, and even some cultural events (yes, Peoria does indeed have some culture) that I've never attended.

Just like with relationships and people, you always think "there will be time to do that or say that" but often it gets pushed to the side and you never really do it.

I don't know if I'll ever go back to the city where I was born and raised, but it has made me realize that I need to take the time to take in more of the things that are offered wherever we live. We talk a lot about where we can travel and what we can see and do, and yet there are so many things to do and places to see right under our noses that we largely ignore.

We don't plan to live in our current home, or our current town, forever. Therefore, I know that our time here is limited and that there won't always be "tomorrow" to do some of those things. I'm going to challenge myself - and you! - to make a list of 50 things to do, places to visit, or sites to see in and around your town. And then I'm going to challenge myself - and you! - to actually do them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Five Will Get You Ten

Ever heard the phrase "Five will get you ten?" Loosely, it means that you firmly believe something or that you are willing to bet on something - "Five will get you ten that it rains today since we have a picnic planned."

But I think it should mean something else. In fact, I think it should be stated as "Five will save you ten." As in, taking five minutes now will save you ten minutes later. You know - that whole stitch in time saves nine theory.

How many tasks that would take five minutes or less do you routinely put off? You walk past the dishwasher and think "I'll unload that later." Or you set a bill aside rather than just log into your bank account and schedule it for payment.

In the end, those things end up taking more time than they would have originally just because you put them off. Dishes pile up in the sink because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes to put away. That bill gets piled under other papers on your desk and you have to spend a few extra minutes looking for it a week later.

The other problem with those five minute projects is that they clutter your brain because you want to remember to do them yet they aren't important enough to put on your written list of things to do.

I challenge you to try to take care of those five minute or less projects immediately when you think of them. Empty that dishwasher right away, pay that bill that came in the mail today, fold that stack of towels laying on the dining room table, pick up all the shoes laying around the house and put them away. As you walk past something that needs to be done, ask yourself if it will take five minutes or less and if the answer is yes, then just do it.

Excuse me while I go fix the handle on my popcorn maker. It's been broken for over two years and I can't even tell you how much time I've spent moving that little piece around and trying to keep track of it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No Children Allowed

I ran across a fun little tool the other day where you can input your web site and it will give you a rating based on the content.

Mine should probably be no surprise to anyone.

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Rate My Blog

I apparently used the word "ass" a few too many times. Oddly, I also used the word "punch" one time and that helped me get my rating bumped up to NC-17.

Does this disappoint or upset me? Not a bit. Kind of like Vegas, some things should be reserved just for adults.

I'm okay with that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Sound of Silence

I wish I could say that my absence since February has been due to some amazing vacation or being super busy with fabulous projects, but unfortunately, that's not the case.

My dad's car accident turned out to be much worse than we originally thought. His broken neck turned into three separate breaks in his vertebra, and he was placed in a halo brace to stabilize it and keep him from being paralyzed. His broken hip turned out to be nonhealing, and he never was able to walk or bear weight on it again. The scrapes on his head turned out to be a severe brain injury that caused him to hallucinate and caused severe injury induced dementia.

He spent over a month in intensive care after the accident and struggled with pneumonia in addition to all of his injuries. We were fortunate to be able to move him to a hospital and nursing facility in our area, so we were able to spend every day with him.

After another bout with pneumonia and two run-ins with MRSA, I'm sad to have to say that he passed away on July 16, 2009, never realizing where he was or what happened to him. He was, however, surrounded by our family and by the loving staff at his skilled nursing facility who became like family.

I wish there were words to say how sad we all are at his loss, but there were also many memorable moments that we were able to share with him during those months, so we will cling to those rather than the sadness.

Like the time he called me a "little shit" because I wouldn't give in to some unreasonable request.

Or the time he told me that he needed more photos of Vern in his room (despite the fact there were already more photos of Vern than anyone else).

Or the time the nurse came to shave him and told him he was a hairy man, so he quickly told her that she was a hairy woman.

I also need to spend some time searching for the son I didn't know I had since dad not only insisted I have a son, but that his name is J.P. Morgan.

He spent his final months not remembering that he was injured in a car accident and was unable to move or walk, but instead insisted he was a farmer who needed to get his crops into the ground, or, even better, a gunslinger from one of the many westerns he enjoyed so much. That's not such a bad thing, if you think about it.

So yes, the past 6 months have been incredibly hard and incredibly sad, but it will be the good times that we will try to remember rather than the sad and the laughter rather than the tears.