Notes to Self

Notes to Self

To beat depression symptoms: Start even if you don’t feel like it. Stop before time is up, before you want to or before you are exhausted.

Make a deal with yourself you only have to do it for five minutes. Small parts or time lengths. Starting is the hard part. Doing it actually feels better than avoiding it.

To prioritize: Remember that many things may equally or also be important. Don’t let one rob another.

To move forward: Permission includes both time and resources to make it happen or to get them. (Don’t be a wicked step-mother to yourself).

As a mother: Nice is not softening consequences. Fair is nice because it is fair for everyone.


Hurricane Window Preparation

In hurricane prone areas, you will want some protection on your windows.  

Usually there is plenty of warning when a hurricane is headed your way so that you can take care of this.  Still it is easier to get the supplies ahead and prepare them so that it can be a simple thing to get covers on your windows.

Solutions I know of 

1–Professionally installed roll down shutters.  These are metal looking boxes above your windows (outside)  that look like planter boxes above instead of below the windows.  In the house will be a handle of some sort that comes down next to your curtains.  This handle can be bent to roll them down gently and fairly easily from inside the house.  THese are very nice because you don’t have to lift almost anything.  Plus, as soon as the storm is over you are not stuck in a dark house.  Plus, if there was a fire, you could, conceiveably remove the shutter from inside and get out (if you had enough time–the door would probably still work faster).  

2–Professionally installed metal  panels.  A metal track is installed above and below the windows.  Bolts slide into these grooves with the threaded end sticking out.  THese slide down to get into place to match the holes in the top and bottom of the sheet metal panels.  Slide the panels onto the bolts and secure with wing nuts.  Fairly simple to do.  Probably the second easiest to manage–it is lighter than plywood and they are ready to go.  

2b–Another way professionals secure these same panels is to drive receivers into the concrete blocks or brick on the sides of the windows.  These are like anchors.  Then, you hold the holes in the panels over the holes in the wall and hand screw a large flat head bolt into it.  These can also be tightened with a power drill, but you want to be sure to not overtighten them and yank the anchors out of the wall.  

3–plywood.  Traditionally, this is the most common and cheapest way to secure all the windows in your home.  You can get the drill bits and screws to place a piece of plywood over your window and screw it right into the wall with concrete screws.  I recommend if you are going to do this to get advice both from a homeowwner who has done this and a hardware store clerk to be sure you have both the right type of equipment and ideas of how to do it the easiest way.  You may even be able to set anchors into the wall yourself  so that each hurricane does not mean  another hole in the exterior surface of your home.  

Tips:  IF you cut your plywood to match specific windows on your home, be sure to Mark or label them so they are easy to match up next time.  

Keep them out of the rain.

If possible keep them away from your home in a shed or somewhere unattached when not needed to try to protect your home from termites.  

3b–and my personal favorite when it comes to plywood protection.  There are clips you can buy at the hardware store that look like 2s or large, squarish Zs.  The particular brand we have is called plylox.  These are wonderful for a quick set up and take down.  You do have to cut out your plywood to match your windows.  (Follow their directions) But then, you can just pop them in and out.  These clips press into your window casing a lot like a spring rod does and holds the wood secure until removed.

4–Taping:  I have seen people tape their windows in big Xs before a hurricane.  I have found nothing that indicates that this is useful protection against a hurricane.  Perhaps it would make clean up easier in the event that the window is compromised, but I don’t know of any real reason to bother doing this.  

I hope this information will help you consider how to better prepare and secure your home in the event of a hurricane.  Please leave any helpful comments you have learned that might make this process simpler or easier for others.  I love to learn from your experience.

The big picture: 72 hr kits in 6 time periods (months, weeks, or days)

A Summary for those that like to see it all in one shot:

1.  (March) Plan, Gather information, 1 gallon of water per person

2. (April)  Water (3 gal/person), Communication plans, means, and important documents

3.  (May) Food and prescriptions including glasses, baby items, needed eating equipment

4.  (June) Clothing and Hygiene items: include Emergency blankets, ponchos, shoes, etc. in waterproof bags or containers

5.  (July) Shelter and First AId:  Protection from rain, sun, bugs, heat and cold.  Extra bandaging for disaster type injuries.

6.  (Aug)  Equipment, Light, and Power sources:  whistle, flashlight, glowsticks, small shovel, rope, can opener, hammer, batteries, etc.

The battle of Bedford Falls

Drama.  Excitement. 

I am very human in the way I love to feel alive.  See the excitement in life all around me.  I love to find it for myself by trying new things, asking questions, searching for answers.

But, what I struggle with most, I think, is the very common, everyday life that is incredibly monotonous.  Wake up every morning.  Still need to make breakfast, dishes, laundry, whiney or fighting kids, dirt, sadness, meanness, decay, things that break and need to be fixed. The mundane.  The predictable.  The incomprehensibly never complete-able. 

It is one thing to be out on a horse conquering some big dragon out in the universe.  It is still another to stay home and fight ingratitude, boredom, and normal resistance to progress. 

It is like fighting gravity.  You want to be in outer space, above it all, doing something grand.

But, the fact is, life is happening on earth.  That is where it is.  Life is dirt.  It is a cycle of dirt.  It is hunger.  It is a cycle of hunger.  When you are winning, you don’t have something new and wonderful, you are just free from something distasteful. 

It takes a keen sight to find the glory is working hard to get rid of something unwanted that relentlessly comes back.  And, you know, if you quit, you will lose.  But if you work super hard you can never win.  It will always come back.

The weeds will come back, the dirt will come back, the hunger will come back, the bills will come again, the clothes will wear out, that thing will break.

Which war is harder, I wonder?  They are both necessary. 

But, it takes a very courageous person to carry on knowing it is a doomed mission.  It will never be finished.

But, perhaps that is the glory of it? 

The challenges are necessary to life, like gravity.

To win the war, we have to win the daily battle in Bedford Falls. 

(I’m just noticing how fitting that town name is.  Here is where we sleep.  Here is where we fall down.  Here is where we help each other keep getting up again.)


Drowning in Housework

My back to the ocean,

photo courtesy Carrie Keohane

photo courtesy Carrie Keohane

I didn’t see them coming.

I just kept getting knocked off my feet

and spun upside down in a salty somersault.

The flat spots grew piles,

The floor oozed grit,

The dishes dried on dirty

and all my efforts were always spent

just trying to get my head back in the air

and keep it up, treading water.

In a herculean effort I would jump

to clean with all my might to stay ahead of the next wave.

It would be beautiful

for a glorious moment,

but by the next day, whump.

Back to normal.

Floors sucking on the dirty clothes,

dust bunnies propagating,

hungry children.

I need a shower.

My head down, I’m drowning again

with my feet sprawling overhead.

I knew I couldn’t keep this up.

Desperate, I felt almost dead.

I was smothered in the life

ironically chosen by myself.

It kept pushing me under

over and over again.

I couldn’t catch the pattern.

I didn’t know about the tide.

My great expectations and reality

would constantly collide.

I had to turn and face the waves.

I had to run out to meet them as they’d come.

I had to plan for the surprises, too.

I simply had to find the sun.

By preparing and maintaining,

though I could not stop the tide,

my life got routinely easier than

going along for that ride.

© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson


Treadmill, frightful, boredom

English: Gentaur schedule

English: Gentaur schedule (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

demanding, intimidating, impossible

slow, tedious, mind-numbing

impersonal, task-oriented, bossy

inflexible limits

Predictable accomplishment,

successful trade offs and juggling,

realistic planning and pacing

In control, efficient



© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson (dsh)


English: Traditional Devil's Food Birthday Cake

English: Traditional Devil’s Food Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If perfection is not the goal because for one thing it is unrealistic, then what is?  I’m not a quitter.  I am incredibly tenacious and persistent.  Eventually starting again and again on the goals I had for a while but they got crowded out by choice and by higher priority.  Still, I’ve wondered how to also make room for and “keep in line” lesser priorities I still want in my life.  Quitting and restarting is not giving up, but, that still doesn’t get me the results I want because for so many pursuits consistency really works best.

For example, my garden keeps wilting or dying (but I keep replanting it!)  I have started to learn to play the piano at least 5 or more times (I’m really, really good at the primer level), etc.  Yes, certainly, for some pursuits consistency is just plain more effective than spurts.

Today I was studying for my personal trainer exam and the instructor said, “remember the 80/20 rule.  Consistency is not perfection”  In this case she was referring to our choices for nutritious eating.  I have applied this already to gauging my eating choices.  In other words, if you eat nutritious foods 80 percent of the time or more, that IS CONSISTENT enough.

Obviously this is in general and may not apply to us specifically.  I figured that that meant that eating a special dessert, celebrating a birthday party with traditional cake and ice cream, etc. are great, but probably not much more than two times per month.  Sometimes that can be really difficult because at work someone is always having a birthday, then at church, more birthdays.  The more people you know the more Christmas parties and celebration temptations.  But, empty calories are not out of the question.  They are just not what you USUALLY eat.  80% of the time is measurable.

But today, it struck me quite differently.  There are times when striving for excellence is detrimental.  For instance, if I guarded everything I said or wrote and only published on the web what I thought was truly exceptional and up to my standard, I wouldn’t share much.  In fact, I might not be able to write at all.  All action requires some risk.  Trying to edit as you write is a quick recipe for writer’s block.  That must be true for all action.

Of course I know it is okay to make mistakes.  Goodness, I even bought a book about all the advantages to a good mistake.  They are the learning experiences we never forget (hopefully) but if not, don’t worry, we’ll get to try to learn it again, later.

But, what if I gauged my other pursuits that way?  For instance, if I get up on time most of the time (80% or more).  Then, that IS consistent.  I could say I usually get up on time.  However, if it is causing a major life stress to me, my family, or my job, then maybe it isn’t consistent enough.  But, let’s say it doesn’t stress anyone.  Then, that can be good enough.

This is a reasonable marker because it gives 20% left for exceptional and excellent.  Really the difference between good enough and exceptional is just in the finer details or the greater consistency.  Excellence is not accepting good enough and pressing harder for exceptional.

But, we can’t grow all directions at once and sustain it.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  A focused improvement in one or a few areas is much more doable and sustainable.  So, where is the line?

I guess it is where it is consistent ENOUGH to get the results you need.  Excellence is getting or surpassing the results you want.

It really helps to have a more realistic and measurable definition of consistent.

There are really only a few areas I need to be more consistent in.  And, I see now more clearly, it may not be as far of a journey to consistent as I thought.

© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson (dsh)

Just Meet It!

I wish that cars didn’t break down

that we didn’t always have to eat

that sleep was totally optional and

all frustrating, annoying, and expensive

obstacles would just disappear.

I would wish away my physicals

and skip the appointments, too

fillings would be the first to go

then ironing and moping floors

battling moldy tile grout

an aging, leaky house

bugs and dirt

calories and weight

Dirty diapers, runny noses

whiney, fighting kids.

I’d wish it all over.

Maybe I could finally win.

Something might stay done.

Everyone would be happy at the same time.

Object permanence.


I’d wish away the very things of life

there’d be no transportation

no child’s laugh or cry

no gooey, chocolate chip cookies

or a sparkling sink with running water.

The challenges are the price of life

I must stop expecting myself to beat

And instead accept their presence

and each one simply meet.

© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson (dsh)


No pen again!

No pen again?

I could swear I

bought out the store.

Have you seen

the scissors

or the tape?

I mean

I had them here before.

My keys seem to be missing,

I can’t hear my phone vibrate.

I know I filed it somewhere

I hope I’m not too late.

Was it dentist or teeth

or medical?

I’m sure it’s somewhere smart

that would make perfect sense

if I just knew where to start.

This frustrating, tear-producing talent

has just one bright spot:

This year I hid my own Easter eggs.

Will you find them?

I cannot!

© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson (dsh)

To List or not to List, That is the Question

I am a big picture thinking, detail disliking, list maker.

I make a list for everything so I don’t have to remember anything

So my brain can be free to wonder and seek

out answers to my questions.

I’ve listed for so long,

I never realized that my list was part of my problem.

I hated writing down

get dressed

over and over

or make dinner.

But write it, I did, because I really might forget .

I’m something like the absent-minded professor that way.

This was, however, counterproductive.

Because once my list gets over 5 things long,

My list starts to stress and bother me–

a self-created monster,

task-master, and

guilt tripper.


My most recent success has been to make new rules of what will and will not be allowed on my list:

1–A permanent list of routine items are posted in two places.  These are the core must dos–most of them so mundane no one should have to write them and in fact, I sometimes wonder, why we must do them.  But, I tried not doing them and Yes, we really must do them.  So, there they are.

2–A rocks of the day list.  This is a list of 1 to 3 items per day that are the most important tasks that I WANT to do that will have the most impact if I do them.  OOH, not so hard to list.  These I schedule with a time attached into my day.  Now we are going someplace.  I found out through experience that most of my day is already spoken for.  One to three rocks is all I can reasonably hope to fit in.  And, they are so few, I might actually remember them.

3–What NOT to list:  I do not list my routine must dos.

I also realized I do not need to list anything visually reminding.  Like the mold in the shower will remind me to take care of that, or the bathroom light not working . . . you get the idea.  I am reasonably certain that even I will not forget or be allowed to forget these things.

I also do not need to list anything that is scheduled in with an appointment time.  This may be a rock of the day, but it doesn’t need to go on my list.

I don’t need to list all the awesome things I’d like to do or could do or might do.  All these glorious ideas can be kept on a could do list somewhere else for when I have room in my rock basket for the day to throw one in.  But, left on my regular list they just cry for attention or they whine because I never got to them.   I have decided I definitely don’t need to keep making my imagination list so big that it beats me up regularly in reality.

4–If it has a deadline, I schedule it in reverse and add about twice as much time (in case of emergency).  Real life continually teaches me to aim for early (partly because everything in real life takes 2-4 times as long as I imagine it will).  This will get it off my calendar and into my day in time to do it easily–I hope.

5–So the only list I have left that I make and look at everyday is on a tiny notebook.  I only write on it the things that can be done anytime, are hard to prioritize, need to be done, don’t take long to do (if it takes long I need to calendar it out like a project see #4) and I will forget–no visual or intrinsic reminder.  But, they can be done WHENEVER.  I call this little notebook my whenever book and whenever I have a small block of time, I can easily fill it and check one of these babies off.  Then, whenever I get one page done, I get a glorious reward.  I get to throw the page away!  And, I never have to see a very long list.  So I don’t get bogged down.

And, I ultimately get exactly the result I wanted.  I get to not worry.

There is always enough time for the most important things.

© 2012 DarEll S. Hoskisson (dsh)