Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Rs

Right before the new year--when I was figuring out how I was going to get the new year off to a good start--I had a revelation:  I dislike the word routine.  It sounds so unimaginative and choreful.  What I do like is the word ritual (no doubt that is the Catholic in me).

Ritual makes things sound so much more important and meaningful.  Rituals are ceremonial.  Rituals matter.

Changing the word routine to ritual on my daily to-do list has transformed my attitude toward those tasks completely.  Now I am now ready and even eager to get to them, and the feeling of accomplishment after they are done is almost like a sacrament.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Each day on one of my favorite Facebook groups, we post our to do lists then report back later with our progress.  My list begins with the same item every day:


This is the idea:  Jerry Seinfeld's Productivity Secret
This is my chain:  52 Weeks to an Organized Home

So far this is working for me.  It's like Flylady but without the nagging.  So far I've only broken the chain once--when I had the flu and pneumonia with a side of sinus infection--I gave myself permission to mark those days with half a chain and to make them up as I am able.  So the chain has a weak spot but it's still holding on.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Don't let the chickens get you down

My next book is going to be called, "800 Easy Steps to Trussing a Chicken in Just Over an Hour".

I already have the outline:

Chapter 1:  Do as I say, not as I do
Chapter 2:  Hazmat and You
Chapter 3:  Why can't we do it in the road?  or the driveway?  or the backyard?  anywhere but the kitchen?
Chapter 4:  Flaming Lysol© is your friend"
Chapter 5:  Why you should never, ever truss your own chicken

PS--I bought a spool of baker's twine at, of all places, a gift store inside a car wash (wrapped in an enigma).  It has 100 yards on the spool.  "Mama, that's enough for you to truss almost 10 chickens!".

Monday, February 4, 2013

Why I like knitters more than I like dancers

(Before anybody writes me an angry email about how their mother’s uncle’s niece is an aspiring dancer and the loveliest person you’ll ever meet, please bear in mind that your VoHostess was herself a professional ballerina for 20+ years, so she speaks from a place of intimate familiarity, which we all know breeds contempt).

The following are the rules for participating in the most prominent dancer's forum on the web.  Since I don't want to get kicked off the forum, I will just describe in general terms.

There are SIXTEEN STICKY THREADS DISCUSSING RULES.  You read that right--the moderators started independent threads in which to expound on each rule individually.

Rule #1:  The first rule about dance forum is don't talk about dance forum.

Rule #2:  Rule detailing who is allowed to respond to whom and more emphatically, who is NOT allowed to do so.

Rule #3:  Rule detailing allowable grammar and punctuation.

Rule #4:  Rule detailing procedure that will be followed for violation of Rules.

Rule #5:  Rule detailing punitive actions that will be taken against those who have been deemed to have broken the Rules.

Rule #6:  Rule detailing which spellings and definitions of ballet terminology will be TOLERATED [sic].

Rule #7:  Rule detailing acceptable decorum and netiquette (in which the word "netiquette" itself is described as "borderline acceptable").

Rule #8:  Rule detailing what is and more importantly is NOT allowed in signature lines.

Rule #9:  Rule detailing conditions under which new members will be allowed to begin participating in the forums.

Rule #10:  Rule detailing exactly how you will be kicked off if you disagree with the Rules.

Rule #11:  Rule detailing who has authority to edit and revise Rules.

Rule #12:  Rule detailing which Rules have priority over other Rules.

Rule #13:  Rule detailing how often and under what conditions Rules will be revised.

Rule #14:  Rule detailing the procedure for repealing a Rule.

Rule #15:  Rule detailing why there is no appeal process for getting yourself kicked off the forum (the essence of which is "ignorance of the law is not an adequate defense").

Rule #16:  Rule detailing why there is to be no discussion of the Rules amongst non-Rulemaking members.

And that, in a very large and grumpy nutshell, is why Ella takes karate.


By contrast, here are the rules for the biggest KNITTERS forum on the web, having approximately a zillion* more members than the biggest dancers forum on the web (* that number is not much of an exaggeration--the biggest knitters forum on the web has over TWO MILLION REGISTERED MEMBERS--whereas the biggest dancers forum has only 10,000 registered members).

Rule #1:  Be respectful.  No hate speech, no personal attacks.  Don't tell other people's secrets.

Rule #2:  Some people will disagree with you.  Let it go.

Rule #3:  Offer only constructive comments.  If you have an issue with a person or business, take it directly to them and give them a chance to make it right.

Rule #4:  People of all ages, races, nationalities, ethnicities, religious, political parties, and knitting abilities are welcome.  Welcome others and help them be part of the gang.

Rule #5:  No spam.

Rule #6:  Don't use the forums for personal gain.  We're help to help each other, not just ourselves.

My favorite part of this forum's policy statement is this:  "These rules are meant to help our community grow and stay healthy."  That is a worthy and noble goal for any group, including the family unit.