Tag Archives: five things & gratitude lists

Five Things, Early 2010

One, the weather — It is snowing. And cold. Colder than yesterday.

One thing I did well yesterday — shifted out of major crankdom. How? By allowing myself to return to the cellar and the big piece on the floor. Brought sections up later and worked them by hand. This is new! Sections brought upstairs and worked by hand.  Can’t wait to lay them back down.

One thing I could have done better yesterday — I could have shifted earlier in the day and spared my family my verbal torrents of discontent.

Two things I’ll commit to doing today that I might not otherwise do
** get all remaining boxes and bags out of the house
** locate the remaining stink in the fridge before loading it with new groceries.

And, by the way, this SoulCollage card, made this summer, represents a prayer for the new year.

Five Things (and a rant)

1.  Weather — Today is cold.  Steely sky, breath condensing.  Hat and glove weather.

2.  One thing I did well yesterday — Can’t think of anything.  I’ll have to come back.

3.  One thing I could have done better yesterday — Responded more neutrally when D. said he had a sore throat.

4. and 5.  Two things I’ll commit to doing today that I might not otherwise get done

  1. download H1N1 vaccine forms and fill them out for the boys. 
  2. cut out pictures for SoulCollage® gathering this weekend. 

Back to doing something well.

What DID I do well yesterday?  I made a muslin angel that I ALMOST love — but I loved her better before I sharpied in a face, which on some level feels to me like I ruined her, so THAT doesn’t count.  Overcooked the pork chops, which were still okay, but can’t count that.  Spent hours on the phone finding out about Mass. Health, ECOB, COBRA for my sister… but all of that felt like a big muddle so that even though I came out of it with a couple of appts. and a located birth certificate, I wouldn’t put that on the list.  So, what then?

Can I count NOT being awful as doing something well?!!

Yesterday, I contained my rage waiting for 25 minutes at the post office.  There I was picking up a certified letter (on my sister’s behalf — so there’s THAT) that my postal carrier SHOULD have rung the bell for me to sign and receive at the house.  He had THREE chances to make life easy for me.

There it was, the first ‘real’ business day after Thanksgiving and presumably the beginning of package-mailing-season and my wonderful post office branch had ONE window open (the line was ten deep the entire time I waited).  Furthermore, (does this count as TWO things I did well?)  I did not call the postal carrier a liar when he claimed to have rung the bell and knocked when he delivered the three notices, which I know for a fact, he did not.  I was there when the mail hit the floor every single time and no bell was rung, no door was knocked.

And now, I’ll rant about this guy.

This is a postal carrier that defies the notion of service and veers into some creepy realm of vindictive laziness.  When he was assigned to our street, it was all anyone could talk about for weeks — what stupid, incredulous thing he had done THAT day (e.g., drop envelopes with checks in them onto the curb, not deliver mail because a rug-cleaning hose was threaded through the front door, refuse to bend over and pick anything up on a stoop because of a bad back, act like my dog is a vicious, postman-eating predator).  Many of us reported his errors to his supervisor, he was put ‘on probation’ for awhile, and now he is back to his tricks.

Though it serves no purpose, I spend a fair amount of time wondering, as he strenuously cuts corners and makes life difficult for everyone on the route, whether he is acting out of a generalized incompetence or out of some sort of shrewd and calculating desire to inflict misery on his customers.  I tend to think the latter.

Can’t I come up with ONE THING I DID well yesterday?  Oh, here — I added some machine stitching to my Full Moon in Taurus quilt, and miracle of miracles, located the missing moon, by, again miracle of miracles, cleaning up my work area a little.

Five Things


My friend Sarah Goodman (author of Ferry Ride and other books) approaches her journal writing with this structure lately —

Write five things —

  1. The Weather
  2. One thing I did well today (or, since I write early, yesterday)
  3. One thing I could have done better, and
  4. and 5. Two things I commit to doing today (that I might not otherwise do).

The weather has always and naturally been noted on my pages, but the other four things are new and helpful.  The evaluation of things done is structured perfectly for a self-flagellant like me — notice, it does not say, “one thing I did well, one thing I did badly“!!!  This teeny exercise helps me note the things I am accomplishing, which I tend to skip over.  It also allows the discussion of things I am doing badly (mostly in the parenting department) to take a softer tone.

The last two things are also helpful and decidedly different from items on a To Do List.  Now, I am a big fan of having a To Do List, and when I can find mine, it is helpful (that speaks volumes, doesn’t it?!)  Lately, I have been housing my To Do List in a beautifully hardbound daily calendar — a strategy which helps with the location bit (the clip board didn’t work, the post its didn’t work, and it’s too much script to include in my weekly APPOINTMENT calendar).  The TO DO items occupy the entire seven days, without reference to particular days of the week.  This tends to encourage more Long Term Goals making the list.  I can easily refer back to earlier weeks and bring forward things which did not get done and which are still important.  I cross off items with enthusiasm.  This may be childish, but for instance, “Pay Sales Tax”, was on my list every week since Newton Open Studios in May, and when I finally did it a couple of weeks ago (Note to Self — it only took two minutes online), I got to cross off about 10 entries!!

But here’s the difference with the “Two Things I Commit To Do”:  To Do Lists tend to be lengthy and aspirational to some degree, whereas the Two Items are more like commitments.  Try it.  It’s different.

Yesterday one of my two items was to sort the bins under my studio desk and put more fabric on the curb.  I did not do it.  (I DID call the friend, though, which was the other item).  So, TODAY, again, I put that on my list and make myself even more accountable by posting the intention here!

The yarn pictured above was dumped out of a bin which we needed to take on our canoe camping trip.  Without this commitment, it might sit there for months!!  The other bins have been recently sorted, during my Big Sorting weeks, but have no where to go.  This poses an organizational challenge that is going to require many, many daily plugs of effort.


In keeping with the spirit of The Five Things, here is the commission for a boy’s baby blanket, finished!


The satin binding is a crucial element.  My two boys (and I) used the soft satin bindings of their (my) baby blankets for comfort, rubbing them while sucking a binky (in my case, my thumb).