Coffee in My Garden – Balancing Act

Baby lizard likes my orchid as much as I do

Baby lizard likes my orchid as much as I do

Normally I am at my garden table, laptop warmed up, coffee beside me, first thing in the morning on my days off.

But I’ve been shaking things up a bit lately and so here I am noon-ish with a cherry coke instead.

My blue jay, squirrels, and cardinals have no doubt come and gone in disgust. The squirrel bowl is fully stocked, one bird feeder is full, the other one was due for a good cleaning so I’m waiting for it to dry. No birds, no squirrels, but there is a baby lizard on my orchid.

The parrot is happy. She has been feeling neglected with regards to outside time. The weather is iffy but we’re taking a chance.

There are a lot more butterflies this time of day, though I’m no better at photographing them.

Being a Gemini, I am constantly trying to balance my list-making, scheduling, spreadsheet designing, plan everything down to the last second self with my “screw it – let’s go to the beach” self.

I'm a spreadsheet person

I’m a spreadsheet person

Last year was a tough year for us. Fewer work hours for me (and my coworkers throughout our organization). The free spirit part of me said “Hurrah!” while the responsible numbers nerd thought “Holy crap! How are we going to survive?” Which turned into a blessing as I was more available for my mother-in-law in what turned out to be her last year with us.

This year started out even tougher. Fran, my mother-in-law, passed away shortly after the first of the year and as many times as one goes through it, it never gets any easier. For the past several years our lives have revolved around Fran and there is an emptiness now where she used to be.

Most years I make my goal list around my birthday, where I think about the things I want to do before my next birthday (God willing that I be so fortunate). This year I did it during Christmas vacation.

After Fran died the list (which was law during the years we juggled work, Fran’s dialysis and doctor’s appointments, hospitalizations, and keeping two houses running) fell by the wayside. There was too much else to do – clearing out her house, bringing her animals over to live with ours and all of the other things that go along with surviving a death in the family.

Close up of baby lizard

Close up of baby lizard

Me being me, I kept the list (one spreadsheet for every month plus my regular planning calendar) but survival took up all our time, followed by exhaustion and numbness. It wasn’t until along about April that I even had the energy to look around and think “now what?”

So in the spring I got my list out again and began to check off things here and there. At first it was overwhelming and I felt as though I was bailing out the Titanic with a thimble. I was drowning in the Sea of Things To Do without a lifeboat in sight and I was mighty tired of dog paddling. And even though I’m very efficient, I realized I needed to cut myself some slack. So I threw away January-March. It was enough that we had survived them and done what needed to be done for Fran.

I almost started over with a new list in June (my birthday month) but me being me I hate to abandon a goal list if I think there’s the slightest chance I may be able to pull it off (I specialize in ambitious projects on ridiculous deadlines). So I kept the list from April to the end of the year. I worked on whatever week the calendar said it was and when I finished that I went back and looked at what I could check off from past months.

I realized I had been listing all of the have-tos and no want-tos. So I went back and put in some things I hadn’t been getting to – like writing (which led to this blog), art (still working on that one, but I’ve drawn more this year than I have since college), and going to the beach – we live in Florida yet trips to the beach never seemed to happen – and I am a child of the beach. This was unacceptable. So now I have gone to the beach twice in the past month (once with the dogs, once with my daughter). And plan to go again (did the Atlantic side, now I’m aiming for the Gulf).

I give myself gold stars (drawn by hand the way my Daddy taught me – he was a list maker too). So was Mom, but she liked to cross things off her list. I like to dress mine up.

My daily calendar

My daily calendar

There is a lot I still need to get to, but now I’ve learned to schedule Monday-Friday, leave Saturdays/Sundays open for life (and catch-up time if need be), celebrate whatever I do get to, and make sure I include treats like hammock time as well as the everyday stuff.

Life is good and getting better.