list making

A Thanksgiving To-Do (Or Don’t) List: Ten Things To Do To Insure a Happy Thanksgiving 2

  1. Eat Pie. This comes first on the list for a reason. Pie doesn’t come along every day. If we leave it until the end, we could miss it or fail to appreciate its life-affirming qualities. Pie is life. Live it.
  2. Show up. Your family likes to see your face every once in a while. If you are a student, an athlete, a writer, a teacher, an up-and-comer, a commuter, a musician, a health-care person, a working parent or a chronic worrier, your tendency might be to use Thanksgiving Day as a “day off,” or, worse, a day to catch up on things that have spiraled out of control—like laundry or homework or grading or general sanity. But don’t do it. Not today. Treat Thanksgiving as a “day on.” Get up. Get dressed. Bring your game face and come ready to play. Eat pie. It’s therapeutic.
  3. Watch the Macy’s Parade. Snoopy is not flying over Manhattan for his health.
  4. Boycott Football. It’s dumb and it’s dangerous and it makes grown men cry. Where’s the fun in that?
  5. Nap. There’s nothing like a family snooze after a big meal. It’s what the people on the couch who say they’re watching football really plan to do anyway.
  6. Stay Out of the Stores. The Christmas Shopping Crazy Time will come soon enough. There will be plenty of time and plenty of stuff left to buy after Thanksgiving   If you want to get up at 4 AM on Friday morning, have fun with that. But shopping on Thanksgiving Day only rips families apart and insures that there’ll be an extra private jet under Sam Walton’s Christmas tree. Staying home means that  someday he’ll get the message and let all of his employees have the whole day off to be with their families and to get first dibs on the pie.
  7. Walk. How about a family stroll to clear the head, aid in digestion, fight the urge to shop and make room for more pie?
  8. Eat Real Whipped Cream. Better yet, whip it yourself. Sprinkle it with lemon zest or cinnamon or chocolate shots. What the hell. It’s just once a year. If it’s possible to improve upon the magnificence of pie, this is the way.
  9. Drink Wine. This should be self-explanatory.
  10. Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Utter the Name of Any Politician, Elected Official, Past-Elected Official, Wanna-Be Elected Official, Failed Candidate, Alt-Right Crusader, Cabinet Member, Former Cabinet Member, White House Advisor, Former White House Advisor, Press Secretary, News Network, TV Talking Head or Alleged High Profile Sex Offender At Any Time, In Any Context or In Any Corner of Any Room. You will not win the argument that will ensue, no matter what side you’re on. (And, let’s face it, we’re all on a side these days.) You will only risk getting one of those beautiful pies in your face–and that would be a terrible thing to do to pie.

In summary, be nice. Be thankful. Enjoy your family. Appreciate the bounty. Eat. Exercise. Socialize. Have a little wine. Keep your wallet in your pocket and your big mouth shut. Oh, and don’t forget to save yourself a piece of pie for Friday. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!




Item Number One 6

I’m having one of those days.

There are a zillion writing ideas bouncing around in my head and at least ten other things that I should be doing. Even as I type these words, all I can think about are all of those other ideas, all of those other activities, all of those other errands that have found their way onto my plate. They are all things that I like, things that I have promised that I’ll do, things that are good for my health, things that I’m good at. But I can’t seem to get down to any of them today, because the one thing that I am not good at is managing my own time.

I have the house to myself and a car in the driveway. I can do anything or go anywhere I want. It’s a warm, clear autumn day. The only thing standing in my way of accomplishing anything is—well, me.

The Fitbit on my wrist just buzzed telling me that I owe it forty-eight steps to make the quota for this hour. So close. Be right back.

Done. One accomplishment anyway, though not much of one. The three-mile walk that I try to fit in most days is nagging at me, but if I give it the hour that it requires, plus the half-hour to shower and change afterwards, then I won’t get to the reading that I want to do for next week’s book club. But if I do the reading, then I’ll feel bad that I spent the afternoon sitting on my ass instead of getting some much-needed exercise. I have some errands to run, but in the time it would take me to dress appropriately, go out and get back, I could have studied my choir music, practiced my ukulele and started dinner. I have lots of writing to do but if I start a new essay on one topic, that means that I’d have to ignore the twenty other topics fighting for my attention. And, even if I settle on a topic and start that new essay, that means that I’m not writing for my blog, writing for my Facebook page, writing a grant application, working on a marketing strategy or getting started on my Christmas cards.

You see? Doing any one of these things precludes doing all the other things which, on days like today, drives me into a state of inertia where NOTHING gets done. Frittering happens. Facebook, email and online shopping happen. Fitbit spurts happen. Non-consequential housework happens. Aimlessness happens. Wine happens. And then it’s time for bed.

On days like this, focusing on any one thing is the same to me as neglecting all other things—which makes it impossible to concentrate on the thing that I am doing. So, like a mother who has more children than she could possibly take care of, I wind up abandoning everything. I waste time even though I am of an age where there is no such thing as time to waste.

Then I feel terrible—harebrained, distracted, inadequate, incapable of getting the job done.

And then I make a list. I force myself to do the first thing on the list regardless of what it is or whatever else follows it. And when it is done, I cross it off with a flourish and go on to the next thing.

And I feel a little better.

I may have to feel rock-bottom useless before I resort to this. But it is my big gun and it almost always works—like today.

Now, on to item Number Two.