Eating Some Frogs

It’s been a while. I’ve had a lot of thoughts to share, but not so much energy to share them. A lot has happened in the last ten months, and my brain went on vacation. It didn’t invite the rest of me, and I’m a little bitter about that. The only thing I’ve been crushing lately is candy. But husband’s treatment is done, his first post-treatment scan was clear, and now it’s time to get back into life. Is my blog life? That is yet to be decided and largely hinges on whether or not I can figure out the new format on WordPress. But it’s time to actually start living again. I’m ready.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a challenge by Jon Acuff to get the ball rolling. If you’re not familiar with him, he’s a personal development speaker and writer. He has done things, and he likes queso. His writing is very accessible, and his books are short and to the point. His tips make sense. And he’s funny. Anyway, I signed up for a goals challenge, and I liked it. So I signed up for his new course called “Full Potential.” I also started listening to his podcast.

As I listened to the podcast, I started making a reading list of books that were mentioned in the podcast, either by the host or by the guest. This week, I have read Born to Win by Zig Ziglar, Soundtracks, by Jon Acuff, and Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. The last one is REALLY short, but it gets right to the point. Based on the Mark Twain quote “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day,” Eat That Frog lists 21 ways to tackle the onerous tasks.

Lake Titicaca Frogs, also known as Scrotum Frogs. Please don’t eat them.

There’s one thing all of these experts have in common. More than one thing, really, but this one thing especially. The most effective people are always working off of to-do lists. It’s how they stay organized and focused, and it’s the best way to keep track of what frogs are left to eat. So I have made some lists. I used the ColorNote app to organize daily lists for work because I can have my lists in my pocket, and it’s easy to cross stuff off. It’s also easy to uncross the stuff so that I can reuse the list.

I’m eating frogs. I’ve stumbled, one foot in front of the other, for a year, and I want to get back to who I was. So I make my list, and I eat my frogs. The goal is to free up as much time as possible for the things I am passionate about. What I’ve learned, though, is that at this moment, I’m passionate about nothing. I don’t love anything. And I realized that I am more depressed than I thought I was because if you know me, you know there’s a lot of stuff I normally dearly love. Today, I don’t care about diddly squat. But future me will.

I know that this depression is a biological thing, a combination of life stressors and biology (this weird genetic liver thing I have can express in some serious psych symptoms. I know that this will pass because I have dealt with it for years. It will pass. Today, I don’t give a rat’s hind parts if I sink or swim, but tomorrow I might And the lists I am making may help.

There’s something about seeing a list of stuff crossed off at the end of the day or the week or the month. I might not care that I did it, I might not be interested in thinking about the end results right now, but I know that not doing anything at all makes me feel a million times worse. So I have my list of frogs. They might be tiny ones right now. But I am trying.

Today I did a big one. I went to the grocery store last night, and there was an error on my receipt, and customer service was closed. That meant I had to go back today if I wanted the refund. And I did it. I got my $8 back. Today, I went for a walk. I took my older kids to an open-air market. I planned out the things I want to get done this week, AND when I am going to do them. Meals are planned for the week. I crossed things off my list. Tomorrow, I will, too. One day at a time, one list at a time, one tiny item at a time. I am going to eat some frogs.

You know I love this guy. I know I love this guy. I will tap into my passion again. It’ll happen. Until then, lists.

Work Excuse Number 637: Why I Was Late For Lunch

So, there was this 600lb tortoise sitting on the hose.

Thanks, buddy. I don't need to spread that hay or anything.

Thanks, buddy. I don’t need to spread that hay or anything.

Parked like a VW Beetle on the bale of hay I’m trying to spread.

Attaboy, pal.

Attaboy, pal.

I asked him to move. I asked nice. He said no.

"What you lookin' at?"

“What you lookin’ at?”

What could I do?

Incidentally, this is reason 1,234 why I love my job.

Attitude of Gratitude

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Life gets completely crazy busy, and I lose sight of what’s good in my world. I’ve been teaching middle school literature classes for the last couple of weeks. I love what I’m doing, but I’m so tired at night that I’m unconscious by 9pm. I’m treading water. Tears have been shed, most of them mine. But it will be okay. Today, I will be grateful.

Our pipes froze and burst, soaking a lot of stuff in our garage. But it was all good. The repair was in the most accessible place possible and took only 20 minutes for the plumber to fix, and the bill was very affordable. The really good part is that this incident alerted us to potential problems that we should be able to prevent going forward. And the boxes of ruined things I carted to the curb were things we really didn’t need anyway.

Squish has no ability to sleep in. I’m tired, my husband is tired. On weekends, we’d like nothing more than to just sleep until we can’t sleep any more. Currently, Squish’s feet hit the ground at 6am, school or no school. There is no rest for the weary. But the kid is a total morning person, and he really is a delight. He’s at his most entertaining before the sun comes up.

I can wake up to this face. Couldn't you?

I can wake up to this face. Couldn’t you?


I am too tired to write. But it’s times like this I know how much my husband loves and supports me. When my half-day at school turned into a full day, he took off work a little early to bring me lunch. And the next morning, he got up with Squish so I could sleep. After I took a shower, I came back to my room and found he had set up my writing station, complete with my cup of coffee. And he sent me out of the house to write today. Forget Valentine’s day. My whole life is Valentine’s Day right now.

I am frustrated at having no time to write. Which means I still enjoy it and need writing in my life. It would be sad if I didn’t care. I have so many opportunities that are presenting themselves. I’ve been invited to contribute to a site in my own city, which is exciting and may open some new doors, and I’m trying my hand at short stories for the first time since this one. Go ahead and click over, if not for my story then for the Severus Snape gif that makes me a little teary-eyed. Snape loves me, he really loves me. I’m going to have this new story whipped into shape by February 15.

I’m ready for winter to be over. I hate driving in the snow. My road is off-the-beaten path and is oft neglected by snowplow and salt truck. When school was dismissed early a couple of weeks ago due to unexpected snow, we almost didn’t make it home. Our neighborhood is hilly any way I go. I chose the most likely path, and it was the wrong one. I couldn’t get up the hill, and when I tried to back up, I lost control of my van on a narrow road with deep drop-offs on either side. I prayed harder than I’ve prayed in a long time. When I finally let up on the steering wheel, the skid righted itself and I eased in to a driveway so I could turn around. I felt God telling me “You’re holding on too tight.” And He was right. My whole life of late has consisted of fighting to control things that just aren’t meant for me. I’m letting go of the things I’m not the boss of. The Serenity Prayer is my mantra. And I feel free.

Besides, if Squish slept late, and if it were summer, would I have ever seen this?

Besides, if Squish slept late, and if it were summer, would I have ever seen this?

What are you grateful for this day?



All-Purpose, Handy Excuse #457

Why I was late for work:

What could I do, considering the circumstances?  I’m sure you understand.



There was this snake, see.

This excuse is 87% guaranteed to get you out of trouble, provided that you have an 8-foot boa constrictor to begin with. If you don’t have one, get one, or plan to be on time for the rest of your career.

disclaimer: It’s only guaranteed 87% because at least 13% of the population isn’t afraid of snakes. And that’s a number I totally pulled out of thin air. I can pull other things out of thin air, too. Mostly excuses.



I should have been a librarian. I love books, spend a lot of time prowling through libraries and used book stores, and getting paid to shush people is my idea of heaven. But despite my love of literature, I’ve never been part of a book club.  Unless you count Oprah’s, and I just don’t.  I’m not the only one, though for different reasons.

Some good things did come out of the Oprah thing. I was introduced to such fantastic books as The Rapture of Canaan, She’s Come Undone, and The Poisonwood Bible, which remains the best work of fiction I have ever read. But I don’t enjoy discussions. Good books become too personal. I don’t want to pick apart a book I love any more than I want to scrutinize the face of my beloved husband and describe the individual parts, their flaws, and their relationship to one another.

I realize that I may have lost some of my readership by my use of the Oxford comma in that last sentence. Who knew a bit of punctuation could be so divisive? I am what I am, and what I am is old. I was taught the Oxford comma, and you cannot teach an old dog new punctuation.I digress.

Discussions aside, I also skip out of book clubs because I am somewhat juvenile. I don’t like people telling me what to do read. I’ll take suggestions, but anything that smacks of required reading will sit on the bookshelf untouched. Forever. Just ask the dude who gave me my driver’s license exam. But in all fairness, if they really expected me to stop for that train, they should have put up some flashing lights. Wait, um…

Anyhoo, if I am to be happy, I must be Boss of My Book Club. If you’d like to join, you must agree to abide by the following laws three rules.

1) I get to pick the books. I refuse to read blurbs when choosing a book. There is nothing worse than knowing ahead of time that Jenny’s grandmother is going to die, which will be the catalyst for her turn to the dark side. And then spending 200 pages waiting for it. I like surprises, even if they are tragic ones. Rather than reading blurbs, I judge a lot of books by their covers. It turns out okay more often than the wise would like you to believe.

And be forewarned that many of the books I choose have some magic in them. You know what it’s like after you’ve ended a long relationship with the love of your life? And how for a long time afterward, you date people who look a lot like them? Yeah, that’s me and Severus Snape Harry Potter.

2) If I hate the book, we will switch to a new one.  Life is too short to read crappy books. You wouldn’t continue to date a loser when there is something better out there, would you? Sorry, Essjay. I know you feel compelled to finish a book, even if you hate it. You can still be in my club.

3) Discussion will be limited. You are allowed to talk about what you loved. Unless it is a rare circumstance in which I hated the book but was engaged enough to finish it anyway. In that case, we will trash it together. Gleefully.

My current book is A Discovery of Witches. The prose is a little clumsy in places, but the story has potential. If you can get past the obligatory vampire. Who practices yoga. It’s The Historian meets Twilight/Southern Vampire Mysteries. Don’t give up on it yet.  So far, most of the action has taken place in the Bodleian library at Oxford. The protagonist spends most of her time requesting and poring over priceless manuscripts, which are described in glorious detail. I am a fat kid watching the cooking channel.

Squish's book club has one rule. Don't pee on the books. Which is important to remember if you take your tomes to the potty.


Join me, won’t you?