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My Grocery Shopping Fantasy : Being DONE

I declared sometime during Thanksgiving week, in the middle of the continuous trips to the grocery store for yet more nuts I thought I’d gotten and more butter and those trash bags I forgot to get, that I wanted to be Done with grocery shopping!

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could know that this shop was going to be your very last. You would never have to run to the store for the one thing you’d forgotten ever again. To never have to pretend to care about planning out the meals and stocking up the cupboard or getting everyone’s favorite this or that. To just be done the have tos of food hauling.Crackers and the bags from grocery shopping on

I don’t mind the cooking too much. That’s creative. But everything else about the meal prep can feel very much like drudgery. Mostly I’m resigned to slog through until it’s over. I try not to think of the decades upon decades I’ll have to continue this task.

Because don’t even suggest that Mark does it. I sent him to the store for Stove Top and chocolate syrup. He gets two boxes of stuffing which I really didn’t want to eat anyway but he likes it. And he bought a name brand syrup when it needs to be just a store brand. He overspends when he goes. I’d rather have him drive me there, pack my bags, drive me home, hump the bags in, and unpack them with me. And that hasn’t happened in a really long time.Fiona grocery shopping on

You know of course, I could feel the same way about doing the perpetual laundry. The Sisyphean nature of the never-ending laundry pile is maddening if you thought about it. And once I start the laundry, I have to go all the way. It gets folded right out of the dryer. I am a lousy folder but at least there’s no wrinkly blob shirts being worn.

Yes OK, maybe one day I’ll be able to afford to farm all the Cinderella work out. Hire people. A girl can dream. But for now, I am the best darn Cinderella this household’s got. I’m totally looking forward to little hands getting bigger to help and resigning myself that doing good job at all of this is noble. My family is important enough to me to want that for them. Providing endless opportunities for my indulged children to turn their noses up at a good meal I’ve prepared and wear the sweatshirt with the breakfast peanut butter on it to school.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Doing

The wash was still running as I took my tenth pee break of the day and contemplated how much time does all that I do really take. I hardly ever have a seat except in this situation. So what percentage of my life do I spend doing what? I would be surprised and flummoxed by what I guessed was my truth.

There’s the general household and familial obligation work including, but not limited to:

cooking, meal planning, and feeding

cleaning the house ie floors, surfaces, bathrooms, windows, and linens

laundry washing, folding, and putting away

physically attending to the children ie diapering, dressing, brushing and bathing, and disciplining

paying the bills and balancing the checkbook

grocery shopping and putting away the groceries

chauffeuring and errand running

snuggling with children,watching movies on Friday night, and fun activities

Messy closet on

And then there’s the ‘me stuff’ which would include:




showering and beautifying myself

reading blogs and emails

arting and creating

chatting with people, emails, and social media

picture taking and photo editing

sprucing and styling and decorating

Repasse on

When I tried to guess how much I did weekly in every category, I discovered that apparently I’ve been squandering three whole days every week doing nothing. Either that or I don’t realize how much time I actually spend doing all of these things. Then I went back in and adjusted the times and I only ended up with 8 untethered unspoken-for hours. Truly, I think I didn’t account for the fun times.

How do you budget your time, manage your time squandering, and delegate stuff so you can get the better stuff done more? My friend Jane Barry says she does her creative work first no matter what. She says all the housework will get done eventually anyway and the rest of the day will be more happy because she know she spent time creating just for herself. I quite agree. Eat your colors on

In her newsletter, my friend Sandra quoted singer Paul Simon in an interview with Alec Baldwin on his podcast as giving the same advice. You need to do your thing first. Do your work at the get go of the day and then, as time allows, check in on others, do your piddly stuff, and be distracted. But if you don’t do your work, when does it get done?

Trick for me is that there are some tasks that need uninterrupted out time. Like bigger writing and projects. And those most definitely can only happen on childcare days. What if I’m uninspired when those days come? Too bad because that’s all I get.

And from recent experience, even the boy (and the husband) can’t be present when I’m trying to work because he also just doesn’t know how to stop talking or thinking of himself. I found myself so irritated with him as I was trying to jam out some blog posts for this week that I had to banish him to his room or somewhere so that he couldn’t keep interrupting me.

What I’ve learned? That I’ve been desperately in need of this back to school time to get some of these bigger projects started. That apparently I really have no idea how much time I spend doing what I do. And I should really prioritize my art more than I do. Because when I create, my soul soars and I’m a way better and more creative parent as well. This time inventory was an interesting practice in self awareness.

Do you suspect you misuse your time? September is here now and there’s some big Fall cleaning in need of doing. What about y’all?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Garden of Doom

The sainted shrub did not resurrect itself this Spring. As I suspected, I had killed my birthday present to myself. The forever lusted after beautyberry bush, with its sumptuous purple berries clustered up and down its languorous limbs, was decidedly dead and was probably doomed to be yard waste from the moment I laid eyes on it last September at the Adkin’s Arboretum’s native plant sale.

Fiona at One in the garden of Doom on Shalavee.comI blamed it on last October not being as rainy as I needed it to be. The truth was that I didn’t remember to water my special shrub enough. It died of thirst right there is its driveway grave, expensive and neglected. I really hadn’t wanted the bush to die, I was just busy keeping a toddler alive and in check inside. So last week,  I ceremoniously yanked the beautyberry’s carcass from that specially dug hole and surreptitiously tossed it over the side of our yard. I was pulling the band-aid off quickly to avoid the constant pain of staring at its dead shell in my driveway anymore. Dearly departed Lady Rose in my Garden of Doom on

I have a self-proclaimed brown thumb. Not as if the pre-Spring weather last year didn’t make it that much worse when a final frost killed this giant Lady Rose shrub above and my rosemary bush plus took the fig and hydrangeas down to the ground. Yes, I had help putting my garden into their present shambles. But somewhere along the way, I lost heart too. My garden of doom on

Before the children became my omnipresent purpose, I spent hours and hours outside playing in the dirt of my house’s 9 flower beds. I have horrible luck with plants but what did survive managed to make me feel kinda good. Now I go out and all I feel is overwhelmed and like a failure. Worse, I do things like leave perfectly good planters and pots out in the weather to freeze and crack. Nothing can escape my doomed touch. Neglect and decay and ruin seem to be my decorating theme outside. One year old Fiona tending the garden of doom on

Thankfully, my husband Mark has gotten the planting bug and I watched him practice his own garden therapy last year when he lost his father to congestive heart failure. Gardening was really so very good for his soul as was the ritual distribution of his bounty. I hope to be back to gardening again some day. But until that day, I’ll try not to think about my garden.

Of course, this is also me hoping that those of you out there who love digging in dirt and like me, can find pity enough in your hearts to help me out of my dark doomed garden place. Anyone? Perhaps your name starts with M?

My Face Revisited : The Story of My Journey Onto Facebook

When I forget what I’ve been up and how much I appreciate my writing, I end up reading something and remembering.

I felt very privileged to have written this piece entitled My Face for the here. In honor of its three-year anniversary, I’m republishing it on my blog. Enjoy the fun read.

If you met me at a party, you’d notice my laugh is the loudest. I’m extremely social. Yet this fun time Charlotte has had a whole lotta nada for the social networking. I figured Twittling and My-facing were perfect ways of busily avoiding intimacy like the plague. I wanted no part of that universe made of desperate ego maniacs with short attention spans. The over reaction gave away the doubt beneath.

Like so many people of a certain age, I defensively declared I had no need for this Facebook phenomenon. Perhaps this was a knee jerk reaction to new-fangled technology making me feel stupid. Both fear of the unknown or of assimilation by the Borg are still fears. I have heard many fearful declarations to this specific anti-alliance. And sometimes we encounter our destiny on the way to avoiding it.

I was writing and publishing articles online and chose to rise to a new terrifying challenge of creating my blog. I fully understood I needed to socially network for this cause. And I was anxious. This was the ego-maniacal unnecessary and unacceptable activity. And my precious privacy was hard-earned. But I was seduced by the ability to pontificate to an enraptured audience. My ego “liked” this. Therein lay the carrot.

I asked my (very popular on Facebook) friend to convince me to join Facebook. She said flatly, “Three years from now, Social networking will be a given and this conversation would be ludicrous.” Just do it. Everybody’s doing it. She reassured me no one could see or speak with me there without my permission. Vampires need an invitation to come in.

So my angst and I joined the Facebook extravaganza on Friday May 20th, 2011, at around 2PM. I was typing away about my fab self in my profile when, Wham! , I get a friend request… from an ex-boyfriend?  One of these search buttons must be for all the people you’ve schtooped.  I don’t hate this guy but I had no plans to ‘party hardy’ ever again in a tavern of his choice. I rode out the panic and nausea and you know what I did then? I “friended” him. Because that was what this exercise in mass marketing and conquering fears was all about.

I returned to the FB flame on Saturday, finally found the link back in my spam folder, and, Wham! , it happened again. My all-time biggest crush ever from long ago and far away was requesting my friendship. My present husband was the long awaited exception to this boy who gave me hope when I wanted to give up on men altogether. I felt guilty for even reading the benign message from crush-man. In a ten minute span, I went from stunned to giddy to devastated. Of course he was married and had two beautiful children. I shut the computer down. Either these Facebook people were a specific kind of crazy or I was missing something.

I queried fellow members about the true meaning of the Facebook “friend”. Die hard FBers were bewildered by my bewilderment. It was a true friend who said she too had been freaked out initially when she joined. Now it’s her nighttime ritual. She kindly added that, in an ideal world, I would be allowed my fantasy crush forever. So it’s still me, I thought. I endeavored to try again and to pursue this friend-making thing with zeal.

After a month, crush-man became a human being. As his real life continually popped up on my news feed, I was able to release him from my heart to his happiness. Simultaneously and slowly, I sent “friend requests” to people from schools, social gatherings, neighborhoods, and workplaces of my past and present. As I connected with more people, I began to see my real deal.

This precious privacy I’d clung to and coddled was also known as isolation with a capital ‘I’.  I‘d chosen to hide my life, ashamed for growing old and fat because, you know, I was the only one getting old and fat. Who’s crazy enough to deliver themselves on a silver platter for the judgment of the free world? Apparently me.

I had worried about dredging up past resentments with this reconnection with people from my past. Instead, I found myself cheered by them. Our lives connected in unexpected ways. I caught important news I would have missed, like the birth of one friend’s twins and the loss of a beloved old cat for another. Snail mail cards went out immediately. I saw that Facebook is friendship “light”, a safe way of sharing without having to invest much. Showing up outside of this medium is how you solidify the “real” friendships.

As similar pieces of a larger machine, we need to connect to fellow human beings. I recognized how it’s not always about me as the interconnected web of humanity was scrolling up my screen. This online community cleverly coaxes people out of dark corners, away from the whisper of past shames, to a place where they are empowered to speak and be heard. I was blown away by the hope this deceivingly simplistic medium brought into my life.

Gratefully, I reconnected with the used-to-be-me, one person at a time in a memory lane parade of where I’ve been and who I’ve become. I missed the girl these people seemed to still think well of, or at least didn’t dislike. Today, I’m still timid at requesting the friendships of complete strangers but I’m gaining courage. Remember, I have a baby blog I have to feed.

When the next ex-boyfriend found me, I was ready. I asked why he had friended me and he professed he wanted to see if I was doing well. I sensed he also wanted to show me how well he was doing. Maybe, when they put my name in that search box, my ex-boyfriends sought the closure and self-forgiveness I had yet to seek. Or maybe I was a good schtooper. I am good with either possibility.

Your Story Your Way

Each of us is a storyteller. We tell our tales to our friends with big belly laughs over beers at our Summer Barbeques. We tell our children tales of our memories from our childhood about spinach and bullies. And we tell ourselves stories about our competency and our past woes and our futures possibilities.

Everyone is entitled to tell their story. Right, wrong, half told or badly told, it is still yours to tell however you want to. And in doing so you can keep what you love and edit the heck out of the rest. It’s yours to tell and yours to rewrite.

But yesterday, I realized there’s a third choice. You can embellish. You can create a magic that you didn’t have before with details that may be slightly true but add a lot of pizzazz.Samaurai Fiona on

Eamon had to fill out a questionnaire that asked what his favorite food/snack was. He said he didn’t really know. Then  Mark said he was in a seminar yesterday where everyone was asked to give a highlight of their life. He said “being a Dad” but realized that was kinda boring but he had just blanked out. He said he could have mentioned touring the world with the Michael Jackson History tour.

I thought about how there’s a culture of personality online where you see people condensed to their absolutes. They have fabulous catch words such as Kelly Rae’s “possibilitarian”. They have edited pictures and manicured lives. Meanwhile and comparatively, we feel so dull, we don’t even know our favorite color or food or what’s interesting about us. That’s because we’re thinking truthfully.

Truthfully, life’s a little dull. It can be funny but it’s dull. The drama is up to us. So why don’t we just inject it ourselves. Why don’t we each spin ourselves a little and make it more fun. Playwrights take liberties and that’s what we really are. Authors of our life scripts.  Fiona's Kiss makeup on

Why can’t we take a few minutes and come up with a cheat sheet for ourselves on ourselves to amuse just ourselves. So when people ask what do you want to be when you grow up, you can give them something to think about. I want to create a new national holiday devoted to laughter. Like Trade Jokes Day.  This week, my favorite food is egg rolls and Oreos. As always I still remain devoted to gravy, crunchy Cheetos, and really nice olive oil. Next week, schnitzel and nutty buddies.

I decided my favorite colors are Aubergine, Tangerine, and Emerald Green. These sound really cool together. And you can’t just pick one. Eamon said his was Maroon. I told him my theory and suggested Ox Blood instead. He said he’ll think about it. He’s the kid who had a favorite three digit number and is constantly asking you what your’ favorite Star Wars character/Yugio card/super hero is.
Fiona Fun Day on

I’m so serious and so honest most of the time that I’m missing an opportunity to play. And to be ready when someone asks me those questions that make me feel like I suddenly have to know myself deeply, which I never feel like I do. Instead, I can give them a story and let them sort it out. Because instead of cringing, we should be having fun telling our stories.

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