Monday, January 31, 2011

Virtue 13 - The One and Only Day

Here we go.  Today is the day that we wrap up our Franklin virtues.  We end with a doozy:

Virtue 13:  Humility - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Dearest reader, I'm sorry to say that I completely blew it today.  First, at work.  I won't bore you with a long, dragged-out history of my job (and yes, it would be boring, long and dragged-out); I will just say that today there was a storm cloud of entitlement which settled in over my desk first thing this morning, and stayed there all day.  I freely admit that I was a bear.

And then, tonight - well, I came home from work and did my taxes, which really torqued me off.  I think I did them as correctly as I can, considering I'm in a divorce....but, well, I'm not sure.  I guess if I get audited, I get audited, and life will indeed go on.

I'll worry about that tomorrow, Scarlett.

Anyhow, here was my day:  Entitlement + Income Taxes = Humility.  I'm sorry, that equation simply doesn't balance.

But fear not - tomorrow is a new month - and promises to be full of madcap adventures as I tweak this program for a 30-day self-improvement quest. 

You do know, of course, that YOU are cordially invited to JOIN ME in each and every zany adventure on which I embark, right?  WHO'S WITH ME! 

~crickets chirping~

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Virtue 12 - Day 2

When we last left this channel, we were focusing on chastity.  Not a big challenge yesterday.  Not a big challenge today.

So, since having sex was out of the equation for the day, I decided to go to Chelan with 2 of my buddies.  For those of you who don't know where Chelan is, suffice it to say that it's the town I'd live in if I could afford the taxes and could actually find gainful employment there.  I love Chelan-it's a very small town with cute shops.  Anyhow, we hit the quilt store, so that I could get fabric for my kitchen curtains and to cover my 2 "dining room" chairs (which also come with a card table!), the indie bookstore (my favorite place in a 60-mile radius, no contest) and the health food store (well, I like to go in there, anyway).  I knew that I had $90 to spend, and between those shops and the Sweet River Bakery (my second-favorite place within a 60-mile radius) I believe I came in under the wire.

I haven't actually added it up though, and well, Monday is payday.  Today's virtue isn't "keeping track of your spending."

Which brings me to...February. 

I am making an executive decision to switch my schedule.  Originally we were scheduled for a "spending fast" for the month of February.  For those of you who are untrendy and don't know what that is, when you go on a "spending fast" you pay your essential bills and buy only the barest of necessities for a month.  The idea being that you, at the end of the month, have a pile of money that you can roll around in, ala Demi Moore in that movie with Robert Redford.  I believe it's colossally unfair to expect me to buy only the necessities during my "move" month.  And since you all love me, and want what's best for me, I'm sure you agree.

So February will be the "how many sit-ups can you do in a month" month, and "spending fast" will be adjusted to that month.  In case you can't tell by my cryptic language, I can't remember what month that is.  But we'll figure it out.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Virtue 12 - Day 1; and a shower curtain.

Our second-to-last virtue:

Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

Uh...I haven't "used venery" in well over a year.  If venery leads to dullness, I'm the sharpest girl you know. 

Moving on.

So, my mother called today and offered to buy my old sewing machine, which means I actually have some money to buy a little sofa of some sort, and maybe even a lamp, for my new living room.  I went to the local furniture store and found a rather cool-looking sort of futon thing for roughly half of what I had expected to spend.  I then found a super-cool lamp that is marked down by 66% because the shade (which is so custom, it's irreplaceable) is dirty.  Well, it may be irreplaceable, but for about 15 bucks, I can buy some awesome fabric and trim, recover it, and have a custom lamp for my sweet new bachelorette pad.  So, if I still want them on Monday, I'll pop back in and get them.

I made a little trip to Wally World today (yes, I know I was just there yesterday, you Nazi) and picked up some "Gee-I-Really-Need-These-Things-The-Day-I-Move-In" stuff.  I got a shower curtain, some plates, bathroom rugs, other little stuff like that.  None of it is particularly impressive and certainly not worth much money.  What can I say, it was a fun girlie thing to do.

I've got my goods, I'm driving home, and I remember what my friend Crissy said to me today...she told me, basically, "when you move we should have a candle party at your place as a housewarming."  And I started bawling.  Yes, it's dark, I'm driving and crying with my new shower curtain.   

You see, dearest reader, I've never really had what I am about to have.   When I was a kid, I always wanted to have the kind of house where people just "dropped by" when they were out and about - maybe bring some little snackies or maybe a movie, or just come around and we can hang out until the cows come home.  Then I grew up.  "Growing Up" meant living with an alcoholic.  When you are married to an alcoholic, you live in terror that someone actually will "drop by" unannounced and find out your family's dirty little secret.  So, from 1988 until 1999, I made damn sure that nobody, and I mean nobody, just dropped by.

Then I was a single parent with 4 children under the age of 10.  I was constantly scrounging, or so it felt, in pretty much every area of my life.  I was always on the verge of being completely broke.  I was scrapping around trying to establish some sort of career.  I was, well, a single woman in my early 30's.  I was in a chronic state of  humiliation by the end of my first marriage, and later, by the man I was dating and eventually married.  I felt that nothing I had was good enough for anyone, since it obviously wasn't good enough for the men in my life, so I needed to make sure that nobody saw any more than they needed to.  So much for dropping by.

Then I was married to husband no. 2 (and according to the laws of the State of Washington, I still am for a little while longer).  In case there's any doubt in your mind - my 2nd husband spent 10 years defiling, degrading, humiliating and neglecting me.  During that time, I was relieved that nobody would want to drive out into the middle of nowhere to see us, because our home environment was mortifying; and, of course, all my fault for not being a better Christian wife.

Well, that brings us to today.  I have no alcoholic around.  I've cut out all the emotionally abusive people that used to be in my life.  I'm about to move into a tiny, little house...and I CAN HAVE PEOPLE OVER.

Yes, my living room will feature what is, in reality, a pretty cheap sofa and my old recliner with the duct tape on it.  If you are around at mealtime, you will eat off a white Correlle plate and use a fork that is rather lightweight or worn, and probably doesn't match the fork that anybody else is using.  You'll probably have to hold said plate in your lap, because there's no room for a dining room table.  But you are welcome to come over.  I have nothing to hide, because I bet that if you are in my life now, you won't think my home isn't good enough for visitors.  And just the thought of being able to offer this to you for the first time in my adult life, dearest reader, brought me to tears tonight.

When you come by, make sure you check out the shower curtain.  It's super-cute.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Virtue 11 - Day 2

Okay, I'm totally maxxing out my points on Virtue 11.  I met today with a county government official, to brainstorm ways to make a certain application process easier for our local residents; I, personally and professionally, will see only a negligible benefit.    Tina...Champion of the Underdog.  I can tell you are impressed.

So, tomorrow my youngest is going to a birthday party, which includes a hockey game.  He's riding the bus home with his friend and they won't be home until midnight.  He has been talking about it for months.  For the past 3 weeks or so, he has talked about it constantly.  Birthday party birthday party birthday party.  I smile, I nod.  Yes, honey, you will have fun.  Fun fun fun.

It's 4:00 - we are in the car, one mile from home, having just gone to Wally World - and the words I have tuned out for the past 6 months finally sink in.  My son.  Is going to a birthday party.  TOMORROW.  And, dearest reader, what is the one thing a kid needs to take to a birthday party???

Yup.  No gift.  Heavy sigh.

Well, we went home, ate dinner, and jumped back in the car.  Oh, did I mention it's JANUARY and it's FLIPPIN' FREEZING outside??  We hit the dollar store, and birthday boy is getting $4 worth of dollar store candy and a deck of "magic cards."  He'll be thrilled.

I'm sure there's a virtue in there somewhere.

Good news of the day - I've found a rental and am moving Presidents' Day weekend.  Woot woot!  It's tinier than tiny, and I don't have any furniture, but it's good for us.

And, when it comes right down to it - the worst day in January 2011 beats the hell out of the best day in January 2010.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Virtue 11 - Day 1

Yes, dearest reader - I am back.  After 24 hours of additional healing time, I think I can now type without busting open the cut on the end of my finger and bleeding everywhere. 

Our Virtue Du Jour:

Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Well, in honor of our virtue, you will be happy to know that I went out of my way to help people out today.  The only injury I've inflicted recently was on myself and my poor, mangled little hand.  So far, so good.  I will again go out of my way to be Superman again tomorrow.  After that - woot woot - we can move back to mediocrity. 

Just kidding.

So, have I told you guys about the book I'm reading right now?  It's called "It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now" and is designed for people who are over 40.  I've heard that some people actually ARE over 40.  Isn't that strange?  I've been 38 for several years now, and it's working well for me.  Anyhow, basically this book tells you that you are never again going to be 25, so stop pretending like you actually are, and that you are able to compete with said 25-year olds in the career/dating/physical appearance arenas; embrace your well-earned mature self, quit your job because some 25-year old is breathing down your neck for it, and you hate it anyway; do whatever you want whenever you want, stop scheduling your life and wearing uncomfortable clothes, die happy, probably broke and in need of a makeover.

It's like the antithesis of my drawerful of Tony Robbins cd's.   In fact, Tony probably just clutched his heart and yelled "NOOOOO" and he has no idea why.

Anyhow - what do you guys think of that?  Is it okay to "drop out"?  Or are you in the race until the end?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Virtue 10 - Day 2


Monday, January 24, 2011

Virtue 10 - Day 1

Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

Honestly, dear reader, I think I should get a pass on this one.  I am, after all, in the middle of a divorce.  While controlling my tongue isn't much of a challenge (see "repression" in an earlier post), you can't expect me to control my thoughts.  That's just not fair.  And Ben was a very fair man.  He wrote the Poor Richard's Almanac, after all.  If he wasn't a fair-minded guy, he wouldn't have shown such consideration for the poor, now would he.

I await your decision.

On another note - today sucked.  I had several unexpected "drop-ins" on Friday who sucked my time away, so I started the day behind.  I then responded to what can only be described as an obscene amount of e-mail requests - I actually sent 15 e-mails in my first 2 hours at work - and guess what - 2 more drop-ins.  So, I basically gave up on trying to get anything major accomplished, and just worked until 3, when I stopped and left.  Some days you just have to do that, I guess.  But I face a desk of half-finished crapola tomorrow, and that makes me cranky.

Oh, and when I got home, I started to do the dishes, cut my finger on a freshly-sharpened knife, and dripped blood all over the floor.

AND I have a Planning Commission meeting tonight, which will be 3 hours with the entertainment value of, oh, watching paint dry.

But - in the interest of our virtue - I present:


1.   My Zumba DVD's arrived in the mail.  If you don't know what Zumba is, well, welcome to Planet Earth, Google it and be envious.

2.  I registered for the "Write on the River" conference in Wenatchee, joined the Write on the River club (yes, there's a club, what of it?) and requested my appointment with a literary agent.  It cost all my "fun money" for the next 2 months or so, but it will be worth it.

3.  I got out of finishing the dishes because I was bleeding everywhere.

4.  Synthia is making dinner so I don't have to cook.

Well, there you have it.  Day 1 is in the bag.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Virtue 9 - Day 2

RE:  Virtue - Again, today was not a challenge.  I went by my best friend's house, but we hadn't seen each other in almost a month, and so the 45 minutes we spent talking was in no way trifling.

Oh, but what DID I do today?  I'm so glad you asked!  Today I made Julia Child's Bouef Bourguignon.  This, basically, is a fancy beef stew.  It took ALL.FLIPPING.DAY.  I dirtied almost every single dish in the house.  But let me tell you, it was worth it.  Worth it worth it worth it.

How can I describe this flavor to you...hmmm.  It was completely and totally intense-saturated-borderline overwhelming.  I actually ate it with my eyes closed and chewed, which I never do.  In lieu of an illustration - here's a list for you:


1.  A 1972 Camaro, fully restored, preferably black

2.  Sex with George Clooney

Okay, I can't really think of anything else.

If you don't own the cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," you can Google the recipe.  Do it.  Do it now.  You will not regret it.  If you can't do it tomorrow, call in sick and do it on Monday.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Virtue 9 - Day 1

Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

PERFECT!!!  At work I was all alone today.  Not speaking was absolutely no challenge whatsoever.  My solitude, combined with my innate hatred of talking on the phone, means that today is certainly checked off.

I must say, though, that the definition of "trifling conversation" is pretty subjective.  Am I supposed to dispense with all niceties and small talk?  How do I respond to same, when they are presented to me?

Customer:  "Hello, Tina.  How are you today?"

Tina:  "Hello, Customer.  I'm afraid I can't respond to you because I am avoiding trifling conversation."

Methinks it would be simpler just to say "fine."

Also developing today - I may have found a rental.   I filled out an application, so we shall see how I scored, I guess.  It reminded me of the movie "The Jerk", when Steve Martin used his astronaut application as a form of ID...well, I would type out the rest of the scene, but come to think of it, it really isn't that funny when it's taken out of its natural environment.

Plus, it would just be trifling, and we are avoiding that, now aren't we.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Virtue 8 - Day 2

What can I say - my day was filled with trifles.  Everything rolled off my back, like water on a duck.  If you are stressed out, volatile, emotional, or otherwise suffering from a deficient personality - I highly recommend Virtue 8.  It makes the day go more smoothly.

I over-promised my day - telling 2 people that I would have 2 sizable files done, neither of which actually happened.  Tomorrow I will have to explain to the customers that these, in fact, are just trifles, and perhaps refer them to this blog.  I'm sure all will be well in the end. 

Can I just interject that I intentionally started off this year-long project with one of the easiest programs?  It is a definite ego booster.  Had I plunged into veganism straight away, I probably would have offed myself somewhere around the 10th.  Baby steps.

Honestly, I'm actually looking forward to something a little more challenging.  It's difficult to come up with meaty posts to feed you all, my dearest readers, when I'm dealing with mayonnaise and white bread.  I can't even blog about my divorce, really, until it's finalized. 

Then - stand back.  Some trifles are more interesting than others.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Virtue 8 - Day 1

Well, I see that the Queen of Spades has insinuated that I've been regress in my posting and, therefore, in my quest for self-improvement.  Admittedly, I didn't post yesterday, because let's face it - Virtue 7 was a flat out gimme, and I didn't want to rub it in to all you unclean folks.  I mean that like in dirty people, not Gentiles.  And as far as missing 2 days - I usually post in the evenings, and therefore only missed 1 day.  So there, Evie.

Anyhow, the next chapter in our ongoing saga is:

Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

Again, being the even-keeled sort, I'm usually pretty good with this one.  However, I do have to qualify that with - I work in the insurance industry.  There's no such thing as a "trifle" or a "common, unavoidable accident."  In my business, we call those "claims" and they cost "money", and if you get too many of those, you no longer have a "job."

So, yes, I do have a tendency to nit-pick, because that's what I'm paid to do.

But before you leave me, bored out of your gourd - I did have an opportunity to practice my virtue today.  I got a really, really horrible salad for lunch.  The lettuce was, basically, partially frozen - so it was really, really, really cold, and the parts that had thawed were mushy.  Did I complain?  Did I stomp?  Did I throw a fit?  No, I did not.   Because, dearest reader, this is a trifle.  It is one meal, which I frankly could miss and my body would never even notice.  It is certainly not worth making a spectacle of myself in public, nor is it worth hurting the feelings of my friend, the restaurant owner.  So I ate the chicken off my chicken Caesar, and threw the Caesar part away.

I'm so virtuous, I might just barf.   Watch me and learn.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Virtue 7 - Day 1

Ben says:

Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

Let's think this through, shall we?  Mr. Franklin lived from 1706 to 1790.  What do you think the odds are that my personal hygiene standards surpass Mr. Franklin's? 

Well, I Googled "Benjamin Franklin hygiene standards" just to find out.  And yes, a plethora of sites popped up.  The Internet, it's pretty freaky if you think about it.

Anyhoo - I'm quoting from  "An unusual aspect of Franklin's personality, at least by the standards of the 18th century, was his concern for personal hygiene. From his youth he was an avid swimmer, and in his adult life he bathed as often as once a week--a practice considered scandalous at the time. Franklin not only brought the first bathtub to America, but he improved its design and spent much of his time reading and writing while soaking. His concern for sanitation went beyond his own personal needs, and he was instrumental in creating America's first public sewer system in Philadelphia."

Well, I bathe every single day - twice a day, if I can get away with it.  I win.  However, I haven't lived in a house with a bathtub since 2003, and Ben evidently owned the first one in the colonies.  So Ben gets props.  But - I can guarantee that Ben didn't own a Maytag or a Hoover, so I'm going with a win-win on the clothing and habitation thing too. 

However, since this is not a competition between Tina and Ben - but rather an excursion of self-improvement - here's a list of things I did today to be absolutely intolerant:

1.  When I ate a pudding cup, I licked the pudding off the foil lid so as not to tolerate any uncleanliness in the garbage can.

2.  I washed the dishes before, during and after making dinner.  Actually, I pretty much always do this, because I like to do dishes.  Yes, that would be a topic for another post, now wouldn't it.

3.  I practiced acceptable hygiene for an American living in 2011.

So, dearest reader, I'm taking the checkmark with a plus sign behind it.  Woot Woot.

All that being said, I almost ran over my landlord's dog, which would have caused a rather unpleasant uncleanliness both on my Blazer's front tire and on the driveway. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

And Here's the Wind-Up....

So, I'm going to say this all in one long breath, because if I think about what I'm saying, I'm going to go into overjoyed hyperventilation for the next 4 months.

May 14 & 15 - writer's conference in Wenatchee - and as if that isn't enough, I get a pitching appointment with an editor and an agent, to pitch my RDJR blog as a book idea.

Feel free to resume breathing.  Queen of Spades, wish me luck.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Virtue 6 - Days 1 and 2

So, last night was date night with my 11-year old, which means we went to Arby's and a movie.  "Green Hornet" is in town, which we've been looking forward to for quite some time.

A movie review, you ask?  Well, in movie land, you win some and you lose some.  I would go with "loser" on this one.  Tav liked it.   I liked the car.  That's about it.  I don't really remember much else.  Unfortunately for the superhero genre, the Iron Man series has set the bar pretty darned high.   Leap over or go home.

Anyhow, since we didn't get home until 9 p.m. (gasp) and I was mentally dulled from the movie, I decided to hold off until this morning, kill 2 birds with one stone, and combine both days of virtue into one post.  In that light, I bring you:

Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.


At work, I'm an expert at this.  I don't search the web for hours on end on company time (okay, I occasionally look at stuff, but it's 20 seconds, tops).  I don't go on Facebook at work and I don't play computer solitaire.  In fact, if I owned a company and I caught an employee on Facebook or dealing cards during work hours, that person would no longer be my employee.  That's how much wasting time irritates me.  I'm into focus/time management/work flow control, big time.  I listen to Tony Robbins cd's on my computer all day, for g*d's sake.

At home, I'm a complete slacker.  If I didn't have this blog, I would basically come home, make/eat/clean up dinner, and then sit around doing nothing until bedtime.  My lack of a hobby, hindered by my current living situation, was brought up in an earlier post.  I have an ungodly expensive sewing machine sitting in my mom's closet (2, actually; if anyone wants to buy 1 of them, let me know).  But if I bring it here, then I need to bring books, fabric, a table, cutting mat, blah blah blah.  And the next thing you know, my basement paradise looks like a Kathie Lee sweatshop.

So, to earn my checkmark today, I'm going to do something.  I'm just not sure what, yet.  It's only 11:00, the day is young and so am I.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Virtue 5 - Day 2

Well, what a disappointment.  I had absolutely NO opportunities today to blow my top, and therefore display my incredible powers of forbearance.    I'm taking my daily check mark anyway, because I think I deserve it.  If you disagree, please post a scathing insult hereto, and watch me forebear it with unsurpassed grace.

Under the category of "random assumptions" - For some strange reason, I assumed that once 2010 was over and I was no longer posting to my Robert Downey blog, that nobody would read it anymore.  I assumed incorrectly.  It still gets several hits a day.  The power of the Internet, 'tis a mighty and amazing thing.

I think I might go upstairs now and forebear myself a cinnamon roll.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Virtue 5 - Day 1

Today was the coupon-frenzy shopping trip.  I foraged out to Safeway today, spent $110 and saved $38.  Woot woot.  This actually isn't as impressive as it may appear at first blush - because I always save at least 30% off my shopping bill by buying whatever is on sale.  I will leave it to you, my dear reader, to determine whether or not I am awarded a checkmark for frugality.

Our new virtue:

Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

Check it off, Ben.  I am quite possibly the most even-keeled person I know.  I mastered the fine art of emotion-suppressing when I was a kid.  After all the "fun stuff" I've endured in my adult life, particularly in the last year - I am now bullet-proof.  All I can say is, bring it.  I can forbear whatever you can dish out, baby.

Now, on a completely unrelated's BLOG THERAPY TIME!!!  I'm bored.  I go to work, I come home to my basement.  Most of my stuff is in storage.  I blog (of course, you are the highlight of my day) and I watch TV.  I go to bed and hit "repeat" at 6:15 every morning.  So, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with some brilliant suggestions as to what I can do to pass the time.  Please do not suggest anything that involves me going outside, because I do not go outside unless a) the house in on fire or b) I need to drive someplace.  If I could figure out a way to get into my car without actually going outside, I would be there.

Now, on another completely unrelated note - if you feel like you are inadequate, undeserving or even slightly abnormal - watch "My Strange Addiction" on TLC.   At the end of the hour, you will realize that you are, in fact, pretty darned normal.  It's on now, and in the past hour, I've endured a woman who yanks out her hair and eats the follicles, to the point of baldness; and a woman who owns 200+ pairs of shoes at a cost of $45,000+ and cannot stop buying them.  Unfortunately, I missed the lady who eats Comet all day.  Like in the cleanser.  Yes, I said she EATS it.

So, I'm watching this show about these nutbars and my sweet daughter pipes up with..."My mom is addicted to blogs.  She can't stop writing them.  Mom, you're tearing the family apart!" in her best Napoleon Dynamite voice.   Thanks for the support.  I guess I belong on TLC after all.  And not in a good way.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Virtue 4 - Day 2

I went online last night and found a plethora of coupon websites.  I printed out what can only be described as an obscene amount of coupons and organized them all by type.  My intent was to hit the grocery store after work and see what I could come up with, for as little cash as possible; and in such a way as to create a witty blog post for you to read.

That was the intent.  It didn't quite go down that way.

You see, last week I ordered some prints from Shutterfly - if you haven't discovered Shutterfly yet, you need to get on that - and so I needed to pick up a few little picture frames for my new goodies.  Also I ran out of contact cleaner.  If you life around here, you know what this means...WalMart.   You can't buy that stuff anywhere else.  Bummer.  My problem - I hate to shop at WalMart, especially for groceries.  I bought some bad meat there once, and frankly, once is enough when you are dealing with bad meat, right?

I decided that I would buy my frames, contact cleaner and miscellaneous crapola at Wally World and hit the grocery store tomorrow, when I became truly desperate for food.  And so that's what I did.  My apologies...I know that you were hoping to settle in for the evening, with a cup of International Foods Coffee and your Snuggie, to read my post.  Tomorrow, I promise.

Also, I've been reading my shirt-tail cousin's blog and I'm pretty bummed out right now.  It's difficult to be jovial, witty and generally light-hearted when someone you care about is going through a horrible time.  I love you Evie, and I love your mom, too.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Virtue 4 - Day 1

I suck.  I had resolved to scrub out the shower and didn't do it.  I do not get a checkmark for Saturday. 
I have disappointed Ben, my family, my readership and ... well, that pretty much covers everyone on the planet Earth who knows how to read English. 

However, I'm not one to dwell on a past failure.  Hello, the "going through a second divorce" thing should have been your first clue on that.  So today we trudge on with our new virtue:

Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

My first financial expenditure of the day was a white chocolate soy latte'.  By consuming this, I have done good to others, by providing financial support to a local small businessman and by making my personality marginally more tolerable to my co-workers.  I drank the whole thing, and therefore wasted nothing.

I spent no other money today. I packed my lunch and grazed on the leftover holiday gift baskets in our breakroom.   A money-free day wasn't terribly challenging, until I got an e-mail from someone offering to sell me something that will directly benefit this blog...but the price, which is really really low, is good until Wednesday, and this particular virtue expires tomorrow.  BINGO!   I will practice patience, which is also a virtue.

So for tomorrow, I'm going to organize my coupons into a little coupon holder thingy and go shopping.  My goal is to see how much money I can save tomorrow at the grocery store, and what I end up bringing home as a result...I think it will actually be more entertaining than it sounds.  If not, well, every post can't be a Woody Allen film, right?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Virtue 3 - Days 1 and 2

I didn't make it around to posting last night - how ever did you sleep, I wonder?  After a full day of work, Synthia and I kicked back with some Hamburger Helper and watched 2 movies.  I don't mind telling you, it was pretty nice.  She has a nice, big TV.  Here in my basement, I either watch what's on my smaller TV, or I watch DVDs on my laptop, because there's no DVD player hooked up to the TV.  It's like Haiti here sometimes.

Anyhow, after spending a year of my life watching movies for last year's blog, I miss it.  I mean, I really, really miss it.  "Heart and Souls" was on TV last week, and I got all nostalgic watching it.  (Insert misty, fog-rolling background piano here) Oh, remember how I was streaming that one through Netflix, and it look like 3 hours to watch?  And remember how sick I was that day?  And remember how much better it was than "Chances Are", which was basically the same movie, made a few years later?  Sigh.

To the business at hand.  We shall not dawdle in the past anymore.  We move on.

Yesterday's - and today's - virtue:

Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

I will lump yesterday and today together, for your reading pleasure:


1.  Call Linda.  (check)
2.  Work.  (check)
3.  Eat lunch and start reading a new book on my lunch hour.  (check)
4.  Check the mail and go to Blockbuster.  (check)
5.  Eat an abnormal amount of Sugar Babies.  (check)
6.  Make a big ol' mess of green beans.  (in progress as we speak)
7.  Clean out the shower. 
8.  Have dinner with Brandy.
9.  Watch another movie with Synthia.

Well, as you can see, I'm making fine progress, because it's only 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and I'm almost done with my list.  I was actually planning on procrastinating the shower thing for at least 3 more days, but I have resolved to do it, and I must perform without fail what I resolve to do.  Great.

Tomorrow is a day off!  How ironic that my virtue-free day falls on a Sunday, but the calendar is what it is.  I will let you you know how the beans turn out.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Virtue 2 - Day 2

Ben smiled upon me today.  By 4:30, all my 3x5 cards had disappeared, my outbox was stuffed with files, and my e-mails had all been answered and/or deleted, which of course are the only 2 things you can do with e-mails.

So - Virtue 2 - checked off.  I am now twice as improved as I was just 4 short days ago.  I almost glow in the dark.

I'm back on the topic of e-mail now.  Any e-mail I receive will absolutely, positively, in no way-shape-form spend more than 24 hours in my Outlook inbox.   I either respond immediately; print it out and delete it, to do later; or delete it, period.  I can't stand to have a bunch of read e-mails in my inbox.  After all, I don't take my mail back to the post office after I've read it and stuff it back in the box, now do I?

What say you?  Are you a natural e-mail purger, like me?  Or do you hang on to that stuff for dear life, like Cher clutchin' a bucket of Botox?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Virtue 2 - Day 1

"Order:  Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."

Okay, so in my personal life, I can't say that this is a challenge.  I do, after all, live in a basement.  99% of my personal effects are boxed up in my Grandma's garage.  If ANYTHING is out of place, I immediately put it away, because if I don't, I will most certainly trip over it and break a hip.

That being said, my goal is to put away the laundry.  Everything else is where it belongs.

As far as each part of my business having its own time - you are really going to dig this.  Today I wrote all my tasks down on 3x5 cards and lined them up on my desk, with every intention of making time for each facet of my job.

Every intention.

This is when it all sort of unravelled.  Remember yesterday, when I suggested that perhaps B. Frank was a little pudgy?  Well, I think his poltergeist decided to haunt me today, because I had THE DAY FROM HADES.  You know what I'm talking about.  The day where absolutely, positively NOTHING gets done?  The day where you are faced with one interruption after another?  The day where you put finish one phone call, only to have it ring again the second you put the receiver down?  That day?  Well, yes, that was today.  So guess what I have on my desk to greet me in the morning?

A stack of 3x5 cards.

Tomorrow is day 2.  I will not be conquered.  I will prevail.

On a side note (which is almost related to topic) - I hate to talk on the phone.  I mean, really hate it.  I will go out of my way to avoid calling someone.  I e-mail.  I text.  But I really dislike talking on the phone.  I guess it's because I imagine that, while I'm pouring out my heart, the person on the other end is wishing the ceiling would fall in on their head so that they would have an excuse to hang up.  Go figure.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Virtue 1 - Day 2

Can I just say that it's really not terribly complicated to avoid overeating and getting drunk when you have a sore throat and you don't drink?

This one's in the bag.  Mark it down, baby.  Mark it down.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Virtue 1 - Day 1

Temperance:  "Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation."  This is my goal for the next two days.

Start it off by saying that I don't drink, and I haven't drank to elevation since my 10-year class reunion in 1997.  So I'm going to go with the idea that too much caffeine also causes elevation and work with that.

After coughing my lungs up all night and getting, oh, 45 minutes of sleep or so, I decided that a latte' was an absolute imperative to get my motor going this morning.  I got my usual grande white chocolate/brown sugar & cinnamon soy latte' and can say with absolute certainty that I was NOT elevated.  "Semi-conscious and able to operate an automobile with minimal property damage" would be a better assessment.

Over the course of the day, I drank 2 sodas, one in the morning at one at about 7:30 tonight.  My caffeine intake was stretched out so far that there's no possible way I could have been even moderately elevated.

Mission accomplished.

"Eat not to dullness" wasn't much of a challenge today.  I had my latte' breakfast, and a small lunch.  I even stopped eating when I first felt full, and didn't scarf down the 3 chocolate chip cookies I had packed, because God forbid I get dull.  Dinner was late and while it was incredibly unhealthy, it didn't seem to soften any edges.

I'm going to go with mission accomplished on this one, too.  After all, it doesn't say "eat healthy".  It just says "don't eat yourself into a coma."

Okay, now for a reality check.  Have you seen pictures of Benjamin Franklin????  Of course you have.  Some come on, now.  Home Biscuit was, well, PORTLY.  You can't tell me that he checked off his "temperance" box every day.  Or even an occasional day.   I'm betting a lunar eclipse was more likely to appear on Ben's calendar that a checked temperance box.

Tomorrow is another day, Scarlett.  I'm going to put these cookies away now before I dull myself.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 2011 - Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues

Hello, my dear readers.  We are together again at last!  It's been 6 weeks since the completion of our Project for 2010 and, well, much has happened in those intervening weeks.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, kids home from college and the military - oh, and I filed for divorce.  So, while I have been suffering from intermittent blogging DTs, I have had much to occupy my mind.

However, we are now at a new year, are we not - and it's time to start afresh, anew, and any other a-word you can think to insert here.  Our 2011 Project, as you may recall, is to subject our willing subject (me) to a series of 12 experiments, each designed to improve said willing subject (me) in some fashion; all for your entertainment.  And to start it all off, we feature a Founding Father - Mr. Benjamin Franklin.

When he wasn't inventing bifocals, flying kites in the rain, and causing general hate and discontent amongst the British, Mr. Franklin was the Tony Robbins of the 18th century.  He whittled his life goals down to a set of 13 virtues, which he listed in a little notebook and carried around with him, like a paper Blackberry.  At the end of the day, he would enter a contemplative mode (which, I'm sure, included beer - because Benjamin Franklin was really into beer) and check off the virtues that he managed to live out over his day.  That Ben, he really knew how to shake it up.

A full list of the 13 virtues can be found here.  And in this list lies our January project.  To the joy and/or annoyance of all those who may come in contact with me, I will take a virtue from the list and endeavor to "live it out" as completely as possible for 2 days.  I have a nifty calendar all set up so that we can get through all 13 in January, and we will start on Monday the 3rd.  To be as authentic as possible, I will carry my own little notebook, but I will skip the beer part, because frankly, I hate beer.  OOOH - did you see that?  I made a pun!  "Frankly," I hate beer.  And we are talking about Benjamin "Frank"lin. 


Anyhow, that's the deal.  I predict that some virtues will be much easier than others.  Let the mayhem ensue.