Squirrels and Horseflies and Literate Ladybugs, oh my!

Three Dollar Squirrel‘s third issue is out this week with the site launching this weekend. Squirrels on the brain, it is no wonder I am seeing them everywhere. It is like when I owned both my ’61 and ’67 VW Beetles years ago; there were the same number of them in the world but they seemed to be EVERYwhere once I had one of my own.

The summer heat has brought the horseflies out to play. One more reason not to linger near the woods. Flying Teeth,’nuff said.

My little Ladybug, as she likes to be called, has been reading up a storm. She was a teensy slow going in the beginning with her reading but, like everything else she does, once she got it, she nailed it and took off. It has become very clear that, between the two of us,  we are going to need an extra room for a dedicated library.

Books on Ladybug’s reading list? Various Beck Beyond the Sea books.

51SMPKGP1GL._SS500_Books I am reading? Just finished the 2nd in Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mystery series.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

One day at a time. Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus. Make a list of everything you need to do, everything you want to do, dump it all out onto paper then make your list for today. Make is small, make it guilt-free, make it manageable.

Staying focused is a constant battle for me. How do you prioritize everything into a list you can actually complete when everything is priority one, everything is due yesterday? You don’t.

Projects I am currently working onThe Master List

My “To Do” list is four pages long, typed with three columns in landscape format, literally. Each task is outlined in baby steps which helps me focus a little more. It gets added to daily and sometimes, if I am lucky, subtracted from. There is so much that I need to do and even more that I want. Writing it all down makes me accountable for it to myself and frees up room in my brain so that I can unravel a bit.

Daily Tasks

Index cards. Godsends. Praise be to the man who invented them. I keep them around for storyboarding but have given them new purpose lately. Each evening before bed I limit myself to ten (10) tasks the next day, one card to be completed in a 16 hour span if I want a solid 8 hours of sleep. You would think that would be easy, listing 10 things. It isn’t.

Filtering out 10 from the barrage of “but this needs to be done now” in my head is pretty hard actually. I invariably make notes in the very small margins all the while rationalizing that if I get done with everything else I can start on these next. Not, it’s sabotage. It quickly turns the simple, concise list into a non-condusive-to-getting-anything-done conglomeration of disorganized notes.


Worst case, I pull out another card and force it to ten things. I tell myself, “I might not be here tomorrow, what ten things do I have to do to before I leave this life?” I restrict this to the obvious day-to-day instead of the “See Paris.Visit Africa.” things that I want to accomplish before I hopefully pass at a very old age. That is another list altogether. For this one it is the simpler, the better.

That Sense of

We all need that little pat on the back, that little sense of accomplishment to keep us going. Without it life seems to just drudge on from one day to the next, the lines in between blurred or merging. Making a small list of things for each day gives you the satisfaction of being able to mark it off which is the biggest motivator to forward momentum.


We all want to be Super Woman, Super Mom, the Perfect Partner. In reality, what we should strive for is being the Best Me we can be. Be yourself with your busy schedules and your less-than-perfect track records. Allow yourself to move forward and make things right no matter how long it takes you instead of allowing guilt and regret to immobilize you. “Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.” (Robert Schuller)

So that is where I am at now: Moving forward, making things right one thing at a time, slowly but surely, realizing that I am not perfect and letting myself off the hook for the sake of forward momentum.

Now to make tomorrow’s list.

Dear Santa,

Please send me 72 hour days and a remote control that puts life on hold so I can take naps…

My daughter has started making her Christmas wish list early. For some odd reason a Toy Story ” Woody” doll is at the top of the list. We have no idea where the inspiration for it came from but she asked for it last year as well and we distracted her with the other shiny stuff on her list instead. a) because we couldn’t find one and b) she has too many dolls and stuffed animals as it is.

She and I have an agreement that predates all of it anyway: No more stuffed animals or toys until we go through her room and cull out all the other stuff that has accumulated. She was all for the idea when she found out she could get new stuff. LOL I told her I would take photos of her old stuff so she could keep the memory and there were going to be a few things that would end up being packed away for safe keeping; special gifts, like from her beloved great-grandmother who is now gone fall under that category.

I have gotten practical about Christmas, looking more for functional goodies for her more than for trinkets. She loves to paint and create so anything I can buy her to encourage that – canvas, colored pencils, papers – I try to pick up throughout the year. She still gets clothes, pretties for her hair, the occasional toy and doll but it isn’t over-running her room like it used to. Last year her father found her a lovely cedar chest off Craigslist so the rest of her animals are in there and not strewn around so that helped too.

One of my most treasured holiday memories was from when I was about 13. My cousin Sandy gave me an enormous box, huge, full of individually wrapped mini presents floating in a sea of shredded newspaper. I remember opening the box and the sheer joy of rummaging through it looking for treasure. I don’t remember everything in the box but I do remember getting the LP for the Fleetwood Mac Rumors album. Yup, dating myself.


The start of a new month and I am entering simplicity mode. My life has been stressful this year in both good and bad ways; thankfully more good than bad though the bad tends to tinge and taint your thoughts if you allow it.

This year has been one of opportunity and growth, deadlines and stresses, all moving in the right direction though so it makes the pill easier to take. Looking forward to seeing this month through with the completion of a lot of things, a “clearing of the plate” in some ways.

Namaste and welcome to August!