Friday, February 25, 2011

'Sick' Happens!

And it happened to me this past week. The nasty four letter word quietly hinted at scratchy throat last Friday afternoon, come Saturday morning, it shouted FLU!

Slowly over the past week, I have moved my sorry self from bed, to sofa to finally - today - an upright position at the kitchen table. My tissue box and throat lozenges have migrated with me, however I'm confident my past weeks companions will soon no longer be needed.

Needless to say, this blog along with other plans, projects and appointments were cancelled.

In true form however, I could not let a little flu keep me from doing something, so I plowed through my stack of old magazines. Honestly, the word stack hints that I had control of them. The truth is I had piles of them - some from 2008! While curled under the covers, between naps, I enjoyed looking through them, tearing out articles, sorting and finally placing them in the recycling bin for the week's pick-up.

Now with that task complete and the tissue box popping up it's last few squares, it's time to pick myself up and get a move on.

I hope you'll check in next week, I have all kinds of projects up my pajama sleeve.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guilty as Charged! Part 3

I know, I know, yet another post about that darn desk? Well, in this third and final post (at least for now), I'll say this, about that - yes it is time to move on! But, with a plan in place, designed to make this important family project realistic, enjoyable, memorable, and everlasting.

As previously determined, my desk and it's contents will surely take more than a day or two, most likely more than a month or two - it could take a year - or two. And, that's OK! I have given myself permission to let this one percolate for awhile. Hint: step two accomplished - giving myself permission to take it slow.

I need to see progress -  yes -  but I also know it's just as important to sit back and evaluate every so often. So, as I work through the stacks of pictures, folders and envelopes, each tattered album and the ENORMOUS stack I too have contributed, (easy to blame others for my issues), I will move forward.

Here's how; Hint; this is step three - devising a plan with realistic goals.
By month's end, I WILL get through the bottom drawer of memories, identify (or not) the people in the photos, make stacks, separated by decade if possible (that seems to make sense), and designate a stack of unknowns.

Come March, my plan is to get through the middle and top drawer of the lower half of the desk. Given my daily schedule, this seems realistic. By April my plan is to excavate the desk's interior caverns. In May, smitten with all I've accomplished, the top drawer should be a breeze. Mind you, this narrowest of drawers is almost unopenable! By May's end my plan is to have sorted and stacked each and every inch of the desk. An honorable goal being Memorial Day is the end of the month. Seems appropriate for a desk of memories - don'tcha think?

I hope you'll check in periodically to see my progress. My intentions are real, my plan has been established.

In the meantime here are a few hints to ponder if you too have a large and looming project of your own;
• Identify the problem
• Give yourself permission to take it slow
• Make a plan with realistic goals and timelines
• Re-evaluate your plan as your project progresses and adjust goals if necessary

Remember, the first step is always the hardest. What's most important is to identify your roadblock. Then, with your plan in place and a bit of time, the solution will reveal itself, it will show you the way.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guilty as Charged! Part 2

As promised in my last post, I have given some serious thought to my "large, looming desk of guilt". I will admit, I have not yet opened it's heavy drop front, but I think I'll take a peek later this afternoon.

Since deciding to write about my desk and it's contents - all sorts of questions have been surfacing like:

• Is this really just another organizing project? Yes and no. Yes, it will need to be well  thought out and well designed. No, this is personal, it's family and it's on-going.
• Am I avoiding it because I'm afraid of what's inside? No. I know it's contents are family treasures (just maybe not all our treasures). 
• Could it be that I have put this project off for so long because I truly don't know where to start? A resounding YES! The answer really is this simple: "Miss Organized" does not know where to begin!  

The organization (and responsibility) of the contents of said desk have stumped me for years. Here are a few of the reasons why, (I think):

• Honestly - I'm not sure I/we want to be the the keepers of the family treasures. This is HUGE! Have you ever taken on a task only to soon discover, you really didn't want the responsibility?

• OK - not to be rude but -  who are these people! Sadly, many of the scrapbooks, boxes and manila envelopes we have accumulated over the years did not come with any notations, clues or dates as to who, what, or why these photos were taken. I can't just toss 'em! Or can I?

• A good number of the photos are in duplicate or triplicate - what do I do with all of the extras? Toss 'em, send 'em on? Who am I to decide who gets what?

• When I finally do manage to get this project organized - who will take it on after we're gone? Will they be truly interested? DO I want someone else to feel the same burden I do?

• This project is going to be really time-consuming. Do I have the time, energy and interest to do it well?

All these seem like valid questions and concerns (laden with a healthy dose of guilt), don't you think?

Woohoo! First step taken - Identifying the problem!

By now I bet you've figured out that this organizing project is not one to be taken lightly, nor will it be accomplished overnight. So, while I ponder my next move - the next step -  I'll take a look in the desk, slam it shut and tackle the bathroom cupboard instead. I do need to accomplish something today!

Do you have an organizing project that has been stifled because of guilt? I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guilty as Charged! Part 1

I have a large, antique pine secretary that I had originally purchased to house the television in the master bedroom. As I started to work with the desk, move it around and see where it would best fit, I realized it could be put to much better use containing an ever growing collection of family archives.

For years, I'd shuffled various boxes, bins, scrapbooks and journals, (mostly inherited from other family members), from the guest room to the living room, to the garage, never seeming to find a worthy home for all of the memorabilia that had come our way. After our remodel, I was determined to accomplish this important task and saw the desk as a potential solution to this organizing dilemma.

Well, 6 years later, I can tell you the collection (and more) did made it into the desk - however, it has never been properly organized!

Honestly, I have made attempts at getting this project done. I've purchased photo storage boxes (that makes sense right?), added a shelf, (gotta have levels of storage - I think), a vintage drawer unit to hold scrapbook tools and papers, (cute - except I'm not a scrap-booker!) Honestly, you can't say I haven't tried! I've worked towards getting all of the needed components - right?

Wrong. All of the boxes, bins and storage solutions available will never organize what's really going on here - a big 'ol helping of GUILT!

Com'on, I'm supposed to be"the organized one"right? This should be easy. Well, let's just say I too have my issues! Or better said - other folks  - ahem... family members - issues. Yep - my husband and I have been issued the title of "the family archivists"!

Why us? Maybe it's because we are both the oldest children in each of our families therefore it is an inherited responsibility? Hummm - I don't think that's it. Instead, I think we didn't have the backbone to say NO. We felt guilty. Sound familiar?

So, this week, once and for all - I plan to take on my large, looming, desk of guilt.
Stay tuned as I attempt to embrace this responsibility (or not)!

In the meantime, I'd love to know what "organizing issues" you have. Do you have ongoing projects you've been avoiding?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rattle those Pots and Pans

I cook dinner 6 nights a week. I love my quiet time in the kitchen so come 5pm or so, I tie on my apron, pour a glass of wine, find my recipe and and give 'er a go.

While I do have my favorite go-to recipes, 5 nights out of 6 I try something new. Beware! If you come to dinner here, you'll often have something I've never made. Needless to say, every once in awhile, calling out for pizza may have been a better idea!

I'm one of those, "If you can read, you can cook" kind of cooks. Although, along the way, I've learned to get creative with a recipe once I've attempted it a time or two.

I thought I'd share a few favorites I made last month. None are difficult (I never go for those)! All are delicious and each makes plenty of leftovers.

January 2011, Real Simple; Chicken with White Beans and Tomatoes. Hands down, this is a keeper! I've made it three times now. I added about a 1/4 cup of pitted Kalmata olives to the bean and tomato mixture and served it with a Caesar salad and crusty bread. The prep time is just 5 minutes. Fabulous!

December, 2010 Better Homes and Gardens; Classic Pot Roast.  I've been with my husband for 25 years and you'd think I'd have mastered Pot Roast by now! NOT! Enter Chef Scott Peacock. Finally, a perfect, fail-safe, go-to pot roast recipe. It's about time!

Everyday Food's Rich Chicken and Squash Lasagna. This is definitely a dish I'd make for company. It's rich and delicious but also easy to prepare.

January/February 2011Cooking Light; Green Chile Chili. So good on a cold night, easy and quick to prepare, and low fat. How can you go wrong?