Category Archives: #shipping

Mid-afternoon Popcorn Thoughts

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My brain is like popcorn kernels in an air popper today. Every few seconds another kernel explodes into a fluffy piece of popcorn. Suddenly, I’m aware that my daily post is unwritten, even unformed. There are only minutes before I must leave again to do another thing.

Just like every other area of my life, my blogging works best when I work a bit ahead, have a plan, and execute the plan.

I would really like to seek out my desk chair and focus on my writing this afternoon but I cannot.

However, I still have made progress today. I’ve read about and acted on being motivated. I made my bed (recent habit developed thanks to my grade standards). An hour was spent at the primary school volunteering. The lIbrary books were returned. The care package was prepared and mailed.

It’s a beautiful spring-like day. I’m missing the Apple keynote, but being kept apprised of the important bits by my Apple employee daughter.

Some days there’s more trying, than doing, no matter what Yoda says. But if you really look for accomplishments, they are there. Some seem small, but to the actor, each one accumulates into success.

And guess what? While typing this, my next appointment cancelled, so my writing dream can become a reality. Found time is pretty sweet, wouldn’t you agree?

The Quietness of a Quiet Day

My social media landscape over the past 24 hours has had fewer ringing bells and slide whistles going off. And I am bereft.

I have actually still interacted with many. There just haven’t been new emails and Facebook notifications coming in as fast as I would like. Which could possibly mean that I like them a little too much.

So, I’m just going to enjoy the quiet for now. It’s a good day for rest and relaxation anyway. And some offline reflection about some issues that need attention.

Quiet is actually a lovely state of being. One of my favorite times in nature was a solo experience I had along the shore of Lake Superior where I was on my own for two days, fasting, nothing but a journal, pen, sleeping bag, and flashlight with me. That peaceful time still feeds my soul.

Brings to mind lyrics from a Michael Card song:

In stillness and simplicity
In the silence of the heart I see
The mystery of eternity
Who lives inside of me

Doing the Job Perfectly, er, Perfectly Imperfect


So, I knew a man once who often said, “Good enough for who it’s for.” I used to bristle at that, because I was really good at judging people and felt superior to most people most of the time, and thought he meant that the job could be cruddy because the recipient of the job wasn’t all that valuable. He was kidding (sort of). Of course, there is a sense in which there is some truth to the idea that sometimes something is good enough though it is not perfect. Indeed, perfection isn’t even possible a lot of the time.

I once knew another man whose actions seemed to say, “It can never be good enough unless it is perfect.” And he did damn fine work. Took forever and a day, but the precision was unmatched.

When I am with someone who places that high of a value on precision, I can turn into the purple minion, because I slip back into that place of judgment, thinking that I know something about how much time any particular person should spend on any particular job. But, I so do not.

Yesterday, while I worked on my kitchen, I was the perfect example of the saying, “Work expands to fill the available time.” Had I an appointment on my calendar for 11:30, or 12:30, I would have had to finish the job, or at least get to a stopping place. Instead, I just kept emptying out more cabinets, and making bigger piles of stuff to deal with. There are still a few little pieces to finish up today.

My friend who is SO good at the work he does often allows the work to expand the fill the available time, and sometimes puts off other important things to continue on the work.

How does this relate to shipping and creating?

1. Having a deadline and/or parameters help me get the work done, even if it is not perfect. I have been blogging every day now for 50 days today, and that is because I have the parameter of writing a post every single day. Without that intention, my blog would be more like it was in 2009-2014 where I blogged sporadically and terribly inconsistently.

2. Focusing on perfection can easily become a reason not to ship or create. After all, when I sew something, I ALWAYS do something wrong in the process. Sometimes the wrong thing can be fixed. Sometimes it cannot without starting completely again from the beginning. My blog posts are certainly not perfect, and too much emphasis on perfection for me is going to preclude consistent shipping.

3. As my favorite author, Adrian Plass, says: Everybody is I. What works for me and meets my needs to get me shipping isn’t necessarily applicable to everyone. Others who focus on creating things of the highest quality have a place in the world. Probably my favorite Dan Fogelberg song speaks to this idea. There is room in the world for all of us. (Note: one of the reasons I am not perfect at things is because I often have a little person talking to me, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” So, friends, I couldn’t find a video of the song that would play here on my blog, but you can watch this on YouTube.)

4. Should I ever get to the place where I actually sit down to write a book, that will definitely be a slower process than blogging is. There will be much revising, editing, rewriting. I still don’t think my book will ever be perfect, but perhaps it will be perfectly imperfect. For me, perfectly imperfect is quite perfect enough.

Where can you embrace perfect imperfection today?

Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2015

A couple years ago, I participated in my very first blog challenge: Blogging from A to Z. Held every April, the challenge is quite a lot of fun. I met some wonderful people throughout the world during my first experience and I am still in contact with some of them, either via blog or in some cases, Facebook.

The idea is that each blogger blogs 26 days in April, taking off Sundays, and connects each day to a letter of the alphabet. April 1 is for A, April 2 is for B, etc. You can choose a theme, or just blog in a random manner, as long as your subject coordinates to the letter for that day.

I’ve signed up again this year. I’m already blogging on a daily basis currently, and I look forward to the encouragement and fun that this next blog challenge will bring.

I have also signed up to be one of the minions who each visit a small group of blogs every day to make sure that everyone’s blog gets traffic during the challenge. I’m part of the Holton’s Heroes group of blog assistants.

This year’s schedule is as follows:

If you already have a blog, I would like to cordially invite you to join into this blog challenge. If you have been thinking about blogging, now is a great time to jump in!

You can find out how to register, and much more, right here!

We Interrupt This Program to Bring You This Fearful Interlude

Well, dag diggity dog. Thrice I started a post and thrice I have now lost it.

While writing the lost post for the third time, a question burrowed its way into my brain.

Is my blog just self-indulgence?

I looked around. Who’s asking that question and why?

Self indulgence :excessive or unrestrained gratification of one’s own appetites, desires, or whims

Perhaps this is the resistance of which Steven Pressfield speaks in “The War of Art.” Perhaps this is an old thought pattern which arises when “someone” thinks I’m trying to be a tall poppy.

Thing is, I do blog for my own enjoyment, in addition to creating content that I hope will inspire, amuse, resonate with my readers. Doesn’t every writer write at least in part for him- or herself?

And if I can’t be unrestrained here on my own damn blog, then perhaps blogging is more of a performance and less of a creation.

Am I performing? My heart says no. I am sharing myself through this blog. Most people aren’t going to be interested, but that’s ok. Continuing to persevere, refine, practice, ship, is making a difference in my life.

I think what might be going on is that so far this has all been really, really easy. And the time might be coming when Life will ask me to actually do something uncomfortable either by blogging even more authentically, or stepping into another form of sharing and expression. Maybe Life will ask me to do something that could potentially impact individuals, one at a time. All I can think about is the two spectacular failures I have had when I tried to step into personal training and life coaching.

Dang it.

I’m reading “What to Do When It’s Your Turn” right now, so I pulled it out while writing this. I’m trusting:

“Not everything has to be okay. 

Perhaps it might be better for everything to be moving. 

Moving forward, with generosity. 

Moving forward, with a willingness to live with the tension. 

Moving forward, learning as you go.

The person who fails the most, wins.” 

(What to Do When It’s Your Turn, Seth Godin, p 23)

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Just saw this and had to add it.

The Shipping Connections

When you change your outside, your outside changes.
When you express what’s inside, everything changes.

I belong to a Down syndrome awareness/support group. The group meets every month for social events, and occasionally for educational events. Mostly interacting on Facebook, I believe I have attended two social events in the past 18 months.

Monday evening was the occasional educational event: a workshop on puberty. Never mind that I have four older children, two of whom are male. I have questions about this! Issues of personal space, awareness of social cues, and misunderstandings already are a reality for many people with Down syndrome. Add in hormones, curiosity, and sexual desire, and woohee, it sounds terrifying.

Needless to say, I attended the meeting. The leader, a 62yo woman certified in sex education, with 41 years of experience with the special needs population, had a lot to say. Less about puberty than most of us were expecting and a WHOLE lot more about parenting in general. She has seen the fallout from situations where parents do not require anything of their special needs children. It’s not pretty.

I came away from the event with some new things:

  • A kick in the butt to get on the stick with helping Kepler be as independent as possible.
  • The realization that I have a story to share. I have parenting experience that could be valuable to other parents and sharing my experience is stepping into something bigger.
  • Several in-person connections with people I had only talked to on Facebook or seen from a distance.

So what?

Kepler has been in his dance class since September. I rarely speak to anyone during practice. In fact, most of the parents there just read or look at their phones. This week at class, I caught up with Norma (the lady I helped with the parking issue), and Chris and Beth, moms who were at the puberty workshop. Chris and I had an across-the-room conversation about parenting our kids that I noticed several parents were listening carefully to. Two other moms even jumped into the conversation.

So what?

All of these things are happening because I am blogging; I am expressing what is inside me, what is in my heart, what I want to share with others. Reflecting on what I am experiencing is making my experience of other people very different. I’m starting to understand that shipping is changing how I am living my days, how I am thinking about things, what I am willing to risk, and how I see my contribution to the world.

Isn’t that cool?

What changes are you seeing in your life owing to the shipping you are doing?

What if we Still Received Report Cards?

What kind of grades did you get in school? In college? How important were grades to you?

Imagine if we still got graded as adults, receiving a report card periodically:

Here are my subjects/categories for this day:

  • Showering the people I love with love
  • Keeping Important Stuff from Becoming Urgent
  • Following the Path to Excellent Town
  • Living and Telling my Story
  • Being a Real Bunny
  • Stepping Over the Edge
  • Yowch!
  • Shipping News
  • Tiramisu for my Mind
  • Watching and Listening to Ahs for my Soul
  • Sharing like a Big Girl
  • All the Diamonds in This World
  • Be Careful, Little Hands, where you Put Your Stuff!
  • Doing the Best Version of the Job
  • Walking My Theory Feet into My Action Shoes
Maybe this is a different way to approach the values clarification discussion. I cared about my grades. They helped me see whether I was doing the work.

These days, teachers and professors clearly define what it takes to achieve a certain grade. I’m my own professor now. What would it take for me to get an A in my subjects? Here is my grading scale.

10 self-defined Standards per Category/Subject

Number Met
Yeah, BABY
Getting There
Let’s Try Hella Harder

Could this work? Would it be too cumbersome? Is it worth a try? [yes] The act of defining the standards in itself creates a more intentional lifestyle for me.

I decided to go ahead and create my lists for these categories. So, I’m trying to distract you in case you would rather not read them. They are probably not all that interesting to anyone besides me. You are welcome to read them for edification, education, erudition, exclamatory expressions, etc. But feel free to skip them as well.

What categories/subjects would you like to receive grades in?

Showering the people I love with love
Telling those I love that I love them, every day. 
Sending monthly letters and packages to my away loved ones.
Getting gifts and cards shipped and mailed in time to arrive on or before the special date.
Being on the lookout for small tokens/gifts to show my love and appreciation
Taking good care of myself; speaking well of myself
Receiving compliments graciously
Being affectionate with the ones I love; touching them
Keeping the pantry stocked with their favorite foods
Making sure the bathroom is clean
Getting up at a reasonable time and being productive
Keeping Important Stuff from Becoming Urgent
Bills are paid on or before their due date 100% of the time.
Online payments are initiated in time to process by the due date.
All tax payments and estimated taxes are paid by the due date.
Gifts and cards for special occasions are mailed/bought in plenty of time.
I complete jobs by the date I commit to
Arriving at appointments on time without speeding like a maniac
Allowing myself extra time to accomplish anything
Using the library without incurring fines.
Paying off credit cards every month
Grocery shopping on a set day every week.
Following the Path to Excellent Town
Doing the most I can in a situation
Making and keeping regular checkups
Making my bed every day
Taking pride in my appearance
Taking pride in my home
Eschewing all fast food, but especially Wendy’s, Boston Market, Kroger fried chicken
Finding out how to clean my house efficiently and regularly, and doing it.
Overcoming set-down disease. 
Cleaning as I go.
Embracing the messiness of being human.
Living and Telling my Story
Blogging daily
Reading The Message of Me as committed
Setting goals for sharing my story in at least one speech
Connecting with a person face-to-face every week
Looking for opportunities to share my story
Finding a way to observe or practice improv
Act on impulses which urge me to action
Be willing to fail
Complete the storyline exercises
Write for a set time every day with butt in chair
Being a Real Bunny
Looking people in the eyes
Asking about their lives
Giving the person I am with my full attention
Keeping my phone away when I am with someone.
Saying yes when I mean yes.
Saying no when I mean no.
Acknowledging my feelings, aloud where appropriate.
Asking for what I need.
Being willing to receive help even if not at death’s door.
Not engaging in activities I think I “should” do
Stepping Over the Edge
Saying yes when I mean yes
Saying no when I mean no
Acknowledging my feelings, aloud where appropriate
Asking for something I want without assurance of getting it
Shipping/blogging about things I am not completely comfortable with
Stepping boldly into bigger things as they arise
Finding times when I can do something other than play it safe
Trusting people I have been afraid to trust
Trying a new activity/group/way of thinking
Doing the most I can
Limiting or eliminating my cat naps
Making healthy choices about food
Going to bed and getting up at a set time
Fighting through negative thoughts to get to the positive ones
Saying no to what I need to say no to
Experimenting with outgoing behavior in group settings
Limiting or eliminating credit card use
When tempted to Fight or Flight, STAY and ENGAGE
Learning to delay gratification 100x better than I do it now, or
even 1/1000th better
Going outside and walking no matter the weather
Shipping News
Blogging every day
Getting the blanket supplies by March 1
Making a weighted blanket by March 15
Surveying moms of boys with Down syndrome about special clothing needs by March 1
Attend the Lifestream of SisterGiant (3/28-29/15)
Create list of 20 for ScaryClose group by March 8
37 Fling Boogie 3x week Feb 20-26, 2015
Revive profiles on elance and odesk by March 4
Create outline for Down syndrome presentation by April 1, 2015
Continue discussion with TL about creating Improv group
Tiramisu for my Mind
bloom, a memoir
The Message of You
What to Do When It’s Your Turn
Infinite Jest
Blog posts by fellow UTYC members
Blog posts by Martha Beck, Geneen Roth,
Reading good stuff every day
Responding in writing to some of what I read
Do more creating than consuming
Read book club book and interact with it
Watching and Listening to Ahs for my Soul
Define what it means to feed my soul
Drunk Ex-Pastors every week
Marc Maron WTF podcast once a week
Limit episodes of Netflix shows to no more than two per day
Reflect on what I am listening and watching
Create a list of shows and movies worth watching for this purpose
Create a list of questions to ask about a show or movie
Write about my musings
Listen to ebooks and write reviews of them on Goodreads
Walking at the park and looking around me
Sharing like a Big Girl
Volunteering in Kepler’s classroom
Spending quality time with Kepler doing the 3 r’s
Help people throughout my day as I meet them
Do more creating than consuming
Celebrate others on social media
Ask my sisters and mom how I can support them
Reach out to JE on a daily basis
Continue discussion with TL about improv class
Blog daily
Contribute in the schools in the ways that nourish me as well
All the Diamonds in This World
Print out texts and comments that are meaningful and supportive
Freely ask for help even if not at death’s door
Say yes to generosity from others
Drink in compliments
Receiving with gratitude the lessons the School of Life presents me with every day
Trust that others can be responsible for their own feelings
Focus on the joy that DB gets out of clearing our driveway
Keep the good energy moving — take it in, give it out
Asking for what I need or want
Stepping boldly into bigger things as they arise
Be Careful, Little Hands, where you Put Your Stuff!
Manage clerty clothes by hanging, laundering, or folding
Keeping track of charging cords, lip balm, glasses, purse
Regular joyful clearing space for joy by decluttering
Processing email every day for [20] minutes (OHIO)
Pick up living room every day — have Kepler help
Share my extra things with others
Create to-go lists/bags for each outing, esp for Kepler
Fix house stuff within one month of noticing, or have plan by then
Clean: K-Mon, LD-Tues, FStrs-Wed, OK-Thurs, MBR-Fri, Ba-Sat
Laundry start to finish one day per week
Doing the Best Version of the Job
Putting folded clothes away where they belong
Washing up the broiler and griddle same day
Create and use OHIO system for my paperwork
Practice making decisions NOW
Schedule my day a little more
Do the work (It’s always my turn)
Persevere and finish what I start
Put my stuff away when I come in the house, first thing
A place for [every]thing and [every]thing in its place
Spend time thinking about what result I want
Walking My Theory Feet into My Action Shoes
Actually do the things on my list of things that make me feel better
Fulfill what I commit myself to
Take care of myself by scheduling appts for myself and kids
Have a spending plan and carefully adhere to it
Find my yes in the uncomfortable no’s
Do what it takes to stay in a good brain space
Commit to paper the results that I want
Let go of something every Friday
Practice Making Decisions NOW
Join the Mobius of Giving/Receiving

I Miss my Spleen. A Story.

I am reposting a blog that appeared here a couple of years ago. It is the story of how I lost my spleen.

I’ve been missing my spleen this week, as I have been fighting a mean infection.

This is the first time in the long and storied history of Siouxsies Musings that I have ever reposted something. But it is simply the next step in my story.

Realizing that not everyone wants to click links, I will also put the text of the original post here:

MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013

S is for Storytelling: A Sled, A Spleen, and Siouxsie

With only two days left before Christmas vacation, the snow began falling early, but not early enough to score a snow day. We all focused on the snow even as the teachers asked us to focus on the blackboard.

After school, Linda and I completed our chores, put on our snowpants and mittens, and met outside in her front yard with our sleds and our excitement. We knew Judi’s yard had the best sledding on the street, and we were more than ready to ride joyfully down the hill after a year of memories and anticipation.

While Linda stood contemplating the hill, I noticed there was a little bit of an extra hill behind us so I suggested we start from the tippy-top to enjoy the extra speed that would surely result from such a daring start.
Gallantly, I offered Linda first dibs. Her face clouded up. No, she said, I’m too scared. Overly bold, I declared I wasn’t scared, and hopped into her sled (it was cooler than mine).

All of the kids on the street had been down this hill a thousand times, but this was the first time this year. Eagerly, I started down the hill. Just as my descent began, the back corner of my sled bumped the corner of the sandbox and altered my course just enough so that I knew immediately that I was on a collision course with the tree.

In this “artist’s re-enactment” you see many trees. But in reality, the tree I was headed for was one of only three on the hill. And there was plenty of space between them.

In an attempt to miss the tree, I rolled partway to my right, and then a little more, and just a teensy bit more, effectively stretching out the skin on the left side of my abdomen just as taut as could be, and

 BAM, hit the tree.

I knew I was hurt. All I knew was I needed to get home. I jumped up, and ran full-tilt all the way down the street to my house, thereby inadvertently allowing the internal bleeding to ramp up to a fast flow.

Once home, we settled into our normal injury/medical routine: wait to see if it gets better on its own. Judging by the stabbing pains I experienced all night long (due to internal bleeding), it would be safe to say it wasn’t going to get better all on its own. However, I was still alive in the morning! Barely able to walk; weak as a newborn kitten; unable to keep even a sip of water in my stomach. “I … want … to … go … to … school … … please. Can’t …… break … perfect … attendance … streak.” Mom decided that perhaps these symptoms were suggesting a trip to the doctor, rather than the preservation of my perfect attendance streak, so off we went to see Dr. Blatt.

In about ten seconds, he had me diagnosed: ruptured spleen, need surgery NOW.  I didn’t really care at this point. Thankfully, it wasn’t up to me to get it done!

Back before hospitals and health care were so strictly monitored, one was admitted and kept for quite some time for such a procedure. I was in the ward for two weeks, which constituted my entire Christmas break. My two sisters bravely agreed to postpone Christmas until I could be there with my family.

What remains:

  • This lovely scar, eight inches across. 
  • The opportunity to write on a million health forms, Splenectomy 1974, and to answer the consequent questions about what happened. 
  • An amused recognition that all I really needed to do was roll out of the sled and I would have missed the tree completely!
  • complete set of non-perfect-attendance records in my school days. 
  • boss immune system which picked up the slack resulting from losing my spleen.
  • precious memory of playing Boggle for the first time with my dad that Christmas and finding the word SPLEEN. (I didn’t ever think to ask if he had stacked the cubes!) 
  • Gratitude that my body did what it was designed to do, stopping the bleeding on its own, and getting me through the night and through the surgery.
And a lovely quote from Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee (highly recommend!):
“On the girl’s brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.” 
― Chris CleaveLittle Bee
A scar means I survived. 

Will You Die in Quicksand today?

I was a sheltered child.

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I carried an umbrella inside a lean-to, within a bomb shelter, surrounded by a castle fortress, guarded by a moat filled with ravenous alligators, and I had the Sword of the Lord by my side.

I was carefully sheltered from racy television shows such as Happy Days and the Dick van Dyke show. Of course, we watched Emergency! religiously every week so my off-the-charts fear levels were amped up every week, 500cc of wringers lactate notwithstanding.  It is a wonder I made it out of childhood intact in any way, shape, or form.

The natural world was also presented as a terrifying place. Fish bones could easily choke and kill you. Creeks contain holes you can inadvertently step in and instantly drown. And everybody said there was quicksand in the creek next to my house.

(Apparently the 60s was a decade when there was a popular tv trope wherein people would sink in quicksand. The more they struggled, the deeper they sank.)

In spite of all this sheltering, somehow, under my umbrella, in my lean-to, in the bomb shelter, in the fortress, behind the line of hungry hungry alligators, with Sword of the Lord at my side, I saw a depiction of this deadly quicksand on some tv movie.

image from

OMFG. Poor siouxsie.

Turns out, fish can be eaten fairly easily without causing death. Holes in creeks are almost never large enough or deep enough to swallow you whole and kill you. Happy Days and the Dick van Dyke show weren’t quite as bad as I was led to believe, and quicksand? I laughed this morning when I read about it on Wikipedia.

Quicksand’s not even dangerous.

Guess what social media taught me?

Social media has taught me that the most effective comments are not about me, but are about what I just read. I’m still finding the balance, but I used to think that my comments explaining how the post/status related to me were important to the author. I came to understand that people are most interested in knowing they have been heard and understood.

Here’s a recent post I saw on Facebook: 

Poster: I will never order from Domino’s again! They messed up my order! 

Responder A: That must have been terrible since you were trying to feed four hungry teens! 

Responder B: Aw, that’s too bad. I’ve had really good luck with Domino’s all the time. 

Poster: Exactly, Responder A! I had to scramble to find something after we had already waited an hour. 

Poster in response to Responder B: *crickets*

Another example:

Author of article or blog post: The popularity of the Super Bowl is on the wane. It has turned into a business and the joy of the game is no longer in evidence. People only watch because they want to see the commercials, but the commercials can be seen elsewhere. 

Responder A: With social media, we can watch the commercials outside of the game and still be connected to the experience.

Responder B: I’d rather watch the commercials in the context of the game.

Author: Yes, Responder A; that is exactly my point. Watching the Super Bowl is such a social experience, and we can have the experience without even watching the game.

Author in response to Responder B: *shrugs*   

These types of examples help me see what I think helps the Poster/Author feel heard. . He/she wants to know that someone understood what they were trying to express. Giving this type of feedback requires a deeper level of interaction and attention on my part. It’s really a win-win situation.

N.B. YouTube comments are a unique species altogether and are excluded from reasonable discourse.