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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

It's Gonna Be A Good Day!

Well, we got DUMPED on yesterday, and snow ALWAYS makes me happy!  I love snow!  Annnnd, it's sunny!  Whoo-hooooo . . . 3 hours of solar charging!

On Tuesday, I began running out to the battery room in the garage at regular intervals to start a diary of when (on sunny days in the winter) the system is acquiring solar gain.  I've thought of doing this before, but it hasn't been 'til now, when my power is at an all-time low, that I've actually done it.  I know I need to spend a bit more time out there before 11:00 and after 2:00 to get the timing more precisely nailed down, but I made enough progress on Tuesday that I know that those are the three hours (at this time of the year) when I have ELECTRICITY!  I was out at 1:56 (and was charging) and then again at 2:36 when the sun had moved too far to the west of the solar panels (that I wasn't).  But, it feels great to know that I can DO STUFF within those 180 minutes.  I've started a list, too, that includes things like:  heat (circulating pumps) on, laundry, air exchanger on, vacuum, charge laptop, charge Coleman lantern, and high-usage things like ironing & using my laminator (for Chicken Mama Designs).  Then, at 2:00 (or whenever that magical time will turn out to be), all that stuff goes into cease-and-desist mode.  And, the double bonus is that, now that we are past the solstice, each day will bring a little more solar gain.  It will be somewhat of a bother to get all the timing detailed in the diary, but once it's done, it's done forever.  That is to say, where the sun is today at 1:54 is the same place the sun will be on December 29, 2025.  In theory.  Until the harm we're doing to Mother Earth throws THAT off-kilter, too.  ;)  So, point being, I'm excited about that.

I utilized those three hours well on Tuesday, but yesterday was a gloomy, cloudy day (despite the snow) for me, and I'll admit that I was definitely practicing a little head-in-the-sand (non!)defense as far as all my financial woes go.  By bedtime last night, I was really disgusted with myself and so tucked myself into bed with this here laptop (which has a TERRIFIC battery life, I'm tickled to say!) to figure out what my problem was . . . why I was avoiding all the things that NEED to be done.  This is what I wrote, verbatim:

If I get one unpleasant task done, I can reward myself with . . . what?  I can’t watch a movie (electricity).  I can’t . . . what would be fun?  What would be a treat for me right now that DOESN’T COST MONEY?  Hmm.  Blank.  Can’t think of a damn thing.  Okay, here’s something I’ve been wanting to do but not allowed myself the time:  work on cleaning out, cleaning up the workshop.  Okay, so, if I get one unpleasant task done, I can work in the garage for 30 minutes.  Fair enough?  Another fun thing I’d like to give time to:  New Year Greetings (letter/cards).  Another thing I’d like to take the time to do:  water, care for all the houseplants, including trim all the dead.  Repotting those that need it would be a REAL treaty-type thing!  Another fun thing:  2012 calendars.  Another fun thing:  dairy spreadsheet.  And, egg / cottage cheese spreadsheet.  Take a shower!  Walk up to trapper cabin to find pan for Mom.  E-mail Ms. Apple Pie.

After the first "fun thing" of working out in the garage (yeah, I know I'm just a little WEI-IRD!), it was HARD to find any other things.  I switched over to my "computer Solitaire until I can sleep" mode but quickly flipped back and forth to my Word document as I thought of more and more things.  See, it ALWAYS helps to talk it out, work it out!

So, what are the things I'm avoiding that REALLY NEED TO BE DONE?  Now?  There were, ugh, 29 of them.  I realize most of them won't make sense to you, but they do to me, and that's the important part.  And, too, some of them are things that I'll actually really ENJOY . . . it's just that I'm dragging my feet about them for . . . I dunno.  Some unclear reason.  Simple malaise?

  1. E-mail D thanking her for interview, let her know I’m interested in other positions.
  2. E-mail G, same as above.
  3. E-mail school woman, same.
  4. E-mail TL about interviewing for Trading Post PositionJust got word this AM that that job HAS been filled.  Which is just fine - it would have been a thankless and completely exhausting one.
  5. Prep resume, write cover letter, do any application work for HE position.
  6. E-mail JS about CH positions.
  7. Check ads again for help wanted.
  8. Advertise Chicken Mama’s Web & Graphic Design.  Make sure website is ready, first.
  9. Follow up all work with L – time it.  Note 2 hours spent in training at his house.  Note time yesterday spent on search engine optimization.
  10. Respond to cousin M.
  11. Prep card racks for TB, make plan, inquire about gallery mounts and canvas wraps for walls.
  12. Call Netflix, follow up with bank.
  13. Prep all items to send for Chicken Mama Blog.  Post new item.
  14. Prep, assemble T’s pieces.
  15. Respond to S re Christmas cards.
  16. Sympathy card to L & C.
  17. Sympathy card to G.
  18. Cards to JR.
  19. Respond to P.  Ready invoice, including tax.
  20. E-mail to CU woman.
  21. Medical paperwork back to clinic.
  22. E-mail HDC about bill.
  23. Post RM ad.
  24. End of the month / end of the year invoices.
  25. SL quick edits, check on website, work on brochure, set up time for training.
  26. Cards, thank you for DL.
  27. Water batteries.
  28. Photograph hats for website.
  29. Litter boxes.  ALL!
So, my plan for the day is this, in order:  go clean the snow off the solar panels, take a much-needed shower (I am stannnky!), clean litter boxes, back outside to do chores, water batteries (animals & electrical system come first!), maybe do a little vacuuming while the sun is shining . . . and then begin prioritizing the remaining 27 MUST-DOs and ATTACK . . . with the incentive "treats" sprinkled about as needed.  Oh, and go out and plow between 2:00 and dark (4:15 onward).  I should check back in with you tonight so I'm held accountable to someone for all my grand plans!  ;)


  1. I wonder how much of the avoidance is just frustration with the wonky weather and the financial situation. I am feeling it too, and seems I am very good at avoiding things that need to be done, then end up putting out fires later because of it. Praying you have a productive day!!

  2. I am feeling similar things as well right now... financial woes have me feeling down, BUT my mood seems to have changed along with yours and I'm putting my mind and hands together to make a plan, whatever that ends up being. I have a list that is growing by the day, but I'm convinced that it will help me conquer some of this stuff or at least look at the hard truth and begin crossing things off that I don't need (Netflix, maybe home telephone, that sort of thing). You are on my list too! LOL you, your mom and Apple Pie Gal are all on my list to write a long email to and catch up, seems like this time last year it was much easier to keep in touch - must be a result of events over the past year here along with finally taking stock of long-term issues like money. I really got a charge (get it haha) out of reading this post, and it has inspired me to get going on this stuff :) Love & hugs and more solar hours wished your way!

  3. What would we do without lists? I think your frank honesty is so energizing for the rest of us. I should call you Tess Trueheart! I find myself doing all kinds of useless things when I'm trying to avoid something I don't want to do. What a waste of energy! You are an inspiration, you are.

  4. Well, I can relate with all those things on the list that you KNOW need to be done, but can never find the "strength" to do them. Maybe I'll do my list today!

    I can help, however little, on the advertising part, #8 on your list. When you get everything photographed / finished, don't forget to email me the link so I can put it under my sidebar "Support a Small Business". Probably won't get a single transaction from it seeing as I'm a teeny-tiny blog, but ya never know!

  5. I feel your pain in not getting things done, I will start something, then barking dog or some other interuption gets me off track. Or I will see something that needs to be put away, do that, come back and start something else, need to stay on track and get those things completely crossed off the list.

  6. Tombstone, great to find your comments! I know you're a new reader (or have come out of lurker-dom) over at my Mom's (Mama Pea's) blog. Great to have some men join the crew! ;)

  7. Mu blog's just a bitty thing, but I would be happy to link to your site for some advertising, too. Let me know!

  8. Stephanie, THANKS! :)

    Erin, yup, it's easier to cut some of the frills than one might think. Yes, I miss movies on Netflix BUT it's also saving me time (if I get a new disc of CSI, I have to watch the ENTIRE thing that night!). AND, the neater thing is that it's forging an even better relationship for me with my library! (Why, when I *had* money, was the library never on my donation list? That said, I always kinda feel like my late fees are my donation - ha! . . . 'cause, living so far out, I sure do wrack 'em up!) And, as far as telephones go, I've never understood why people keep their land line when they have great reception, so maybe that would be an easy thing to cut? And, I'm SO glad I'm not the only one b-e-h-i-n-d on catching up with friends! Lastly, a huge THANKS for saying you appreciated my post. I sometimes hesitate writing posts like this because I worry that they're too close to complaining.

    Ditto Susan the Great on that last note! Tess Trueheart - ha! Actually, I kind of like that! And, it gave me an idea . . . I might just change the name of this blog! Ooooonly because I'm getting too many local hits on Google when you search my name. No, that shouldn't be a bad thing, but I want the searches to pull up the business and not my personal blog!! And, to say that I am an inspiration? Puh-leeze. Maybe only in the lesson of "don't have all your income be based on your husband, 'cause when he leaves . . . "! ;)

    Carolyn Renee, exactly! The "strength" to do them! Why is that? That we have to muster up the psychological STRENGTH to do these things?! And, I haven't forgotten your wonderfully kind offer to advertise Chicken Mama Designs, and I WILL take you up on it!! You, too, Anonymous . . . although you might, umm, need to tell me who you are! ;)

    Tombstone, I am a QUEEN of Not Finishing Something! Matter of fact, over Christmas, my mom was "hollering" at Dad over just that: "Finish what you START!" Dad and I, sitting together on the couch at the time, just grinned at her, and, in exasperation, she pointed at us and continued with, "You! You two! Peas in a pod, you are!" Yup. I come by it naturally! :)

  9. Tombstone! GAH! I'm SO SORRY! I just got an e-mail from Mama Pea asking "What makes you think that Tombstone Livestock is a male commenter?" I could have SWORN I looked up your profile once via her blog and it brought me to a man-blogger. But, I just double-checked to confirm, and NO! You be a grrrrrl! MY (very public!!!) APOLOGIES!

    (Am I forgiven?)


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!