Bucking the New Year Resolutions

I decided to get the New Year Resolution — eat less, exercise more, blah blah blah — out of the way before 2020. It’s December; why ruin a perfectly good January with self-loathing and guilt?
So I went to the gym two days after Christmas, stepped on a treadmill, started running at a good 4.6 mile clip, got distracted, and was thrown four feet backward by my own feet and automated machinery.
Yes, the treadmill bucked me.
I’ve seen the videos on America’s Funniest, and on YouTube — I think there’s an entire section set aside for just such inanity, and I’ve now spoken to one other person in the flesh who’s also been tossed aside. His empathy did not add salve to my bruised ego, but it’s good to know I’m not the only one in the Yukon Isle to have been bested by technology.
Interesting: after a thorough inspection and a good but slow walking couple of turns around the gym to show people that ignominy will not set me scampering towards the car to nurse wounds — “Can’t stop me, I got no pride left, I’m not hurt; ignore the whimpering” — I realized I made a seven-point landing in my escapade.
I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t counted the giant bump, contusions, and road rash myself. Seven. Must be a record.
Plus, I broke three fingernails.
When I make a resolution, folks, I do it big.
Now I’m done with this pesky Take Care of Myself nonsense, and I’m on to the Don’t Wound Myself Further Until I Get Better Insurance portion of the year.
Aaaaaah, 2020…gonna be a slow, safe, steady kind of year.

Fortunate Future

I don’t know precisely how to take this.
I ate my meal and trusted in a dessert of future well wishes but opened the cookie to find…nothing.
After bandying several ideas, most of which were pessimistic, I landed upon, “Hey, Michelle,” — because my cookie wanted to know it cared enough to learn my name — “Your future is open to all possibilities; the universe is endless and it is yours. YOU choose your fortune.”
Then I ate the cookie…because…cookie.

Listing to the Past

In order to learn Focus, a problem for me in every regard, I keep a daily journal. A day runner, not a diary, though I list anything relevant that happened during the day.
My most recent entry: “Dog threw up on my bed at 2:30am, watch him for signs of illness. Don’t kill him.”
As a pathway toward Focus, I make lists. Sunday evenings, I pen a schedule of To Do for Monday, my one proper day off work, often finishing a few before going to bed. (I can’t stand an unfinished list; it needs Doing immediately.) Then I have to make a new list.
Vicious, vicious cycle.
An example of Focus: each November, when I tackle the National Novel Writing exercise, I won’t stop writing without knowing what I’m going to write about the next day. It’s comforting to know. Stewing on topics is stressful, uncertain, and under NaNo pressures of jotting 1,667 words per day, calm is a blessing. My wee brain mulls on the next day’s activity while I contemplate vacuuming the floor until Netflix loads.
Days when I absolutely have no concept of how to proceed, I falter, flailing in my chair like an angry toddler forced to sit. While I panic that I have nothing to write, I organize my pen caddy for the eightieth time because that helps with thinking. (Nibs down, for best ink flow.) Though the ink pens are tidy, I waste half a day  and kick myself for doing so.
On the internet yesterday, I shopped for a new yearly log, a fresh slate for 2020 throughout which to jot things, because jotting is fun.
Oh, and make lists.
But while I was searching, I learned I’m not blazing new trails, that lists are not a Me Thing.
Ridiculous, I say!
Seems the internet believes focused lists like mine not only exist, but have a name, and it’s not mine! It’s called the Ivy Lee Method.
Who’s this Ivy Lee gal? I thought, indignant that she took my idea.
Ivy is a guy, for one, and he lived a hundred years ago, pointing out to high powered businessmen that making a list of six items — six, specifically — to focus on the next day centered the mind and got crap done.
I know! I railed at my computer monitor.  I’ve been doing it for years!
Unlike Ivy Lee, I did not receive the equivalent of 400,000 dollars for my genius, which is galling. I’ve channeled the bodiless mind of a smart humble man of Yore — “If it’s successful, pay me what you will,” he said, in my paraphrasing brain — whose simple idea has saved my day a thousand times.
You can do it, too.
Here’s the premise:
Before leaving work, write down your top six must do’s for tomorrow. Number them in order of priority.
The next morning, work on only your number 1 item until it’s complete.
Work the rest of the list the same way.
At day’s end, move incomplete tasks to the next day’s list.
Repeat every day until you retire, then do this after that.
That’s it.
One caveat: don’t wind down with a meditation app before getting down to business. I still struggle with a course in my favorite app, Headspace, and its aptly titled Focus course. I get too relaxed after forty-five seconds, then think about something else, and/or fall asleep.

But I’m no quitter. I’ll get through the course somehow. Because it’s on my list.

Recycling by Returning a Tree from Whence it Came

Readying for a fundraising event for our public library, I need ten live Christmas trees.
Each year we offer a fresh wreath-making class. All supplies — wreath frames, bits and pieces of trees and other area indigenous bushes and decorative flora, and ribbon — are included in the nominal fee that goes toward library operations.
But, as always happens when working with the public, not everyone who signs up to take a class will show for the event. I’d guess the attrition rate to be around thirty percent, unless it rains. If it rains/snows/mists/clouds up, all bets are off. Call it a “snow day” and cancel the whole mother until next year, because no one will set foot outdoors.
To have enough tree parts for wreathing, I calculated that for each four wreaths, I need one seven-foot fir tree. (No pine, especially Loblolly pine. They are no good for our purposes, I’ve been told over and over, because they shed quickly. You don’t want your wreath to shed, you know.)
Math is not my strong suit, but with thirty attendees on the roster, I need seven and one half trees, which is not a likely prospect as Home Depot frowns upon selling only a portion of any previously acquired merchandise.
I feel that holds true for all items, not just sawed-off fresh greenery.
Still, I wasn’t certain. If I bought, say, ten trees, and cloud cover derailed my event, could I return the corpses to the store for a refund?
Management at the Depot said, “Yes, just bring your receipt and you have thirty days to return the tree.”
“Thirty days?” I asked.
“Yes,” she confirmed.
The date being December 8, I utilized my weak math ability to calculate that Christmas occurs in seventeen days.
Just to be certain, certain, I clarified. “So if I return the trees within thirty days…” Thinking, I have until the 38th of December, I continued, “Then I am refunded?”
“Yes,” she confirmed yet again, patiently and with no irony.
“Is there a restocking fee?” I asked, to which she replied no. “And is there a partial charge for cleanup, like removal of wayward tinsel or vestigial ornaments?”
I did not ask the last question, though it was very much on my mind. No one likes a smart aleck.
Except other smart alecks.