Tag Archives: procrastination

May? How Did It Get To Be May?

I was just sitting here, innocently checking my iPad games and wondering how early I can retire for the night, when I suddenly realized it’s Wednesday. Wednesday! Wait … that means I have to come up with a blog post before I can retire for the night. I’m sleepy, people. I have a long day of pre-soaking ahead of me tomorrow and I need to get some rest. Yes, I am still working on pre-soaking, not dyeing. Yes, I know it’s May the fourth. I’ve been on Facebook; I know it’s May the fourth.

Thanks to my friend George, I got my first “Happy Star Wars Day” wish at 6:35 this morning. He knows I’m an early riser. I returned the good wishes and got back to my morning pages. Once I made it to the internet, I saw a lot more such wishes. I shared one on Facebook myself. May the fourth comes but once a year, after all.

The problem with it being May the fourth, of course, is that means we’re already in the month that also holds Memorial Day and that is the holiday weekend when we attend the Florida Folk Festival, our biggest tie-dye event of the year. We’re in the month of May and we haven’t dyed anything yet. It’s going to be a busy month.

We have made progress. Since last week, we have washed and dried all the new cotton blanks and we have finished pre-soaking all the Rainbows. Pre-soaking the Rainbows took a whole day, because, between the cottons and the Rayons, they took up all four of my clotheslines. My daughter has started tying those Rainbows. I have finished listing all the cottons we need to dye and all of those blanks have been sorted into bags by color palette. I have cleared out all the old dyes and located all the dye bottles. We use eight-ounce squirt bottles for our dyes and we have dozens of them, so keeping track of them in the slow months is not easy. I have found them. I know where they are.

See? We have made progress. Tomorrow the forecast calls for sunshine all day, so we should be able to get four more clotheslines full of pre-soaking done. More progress! With that goal in mind, I’m going to wrap up this post and get it published, so I can get my rest. There you go. I blogged. Now I’m going to bed.

It’s Time to Make the Tie-dye

Okay, I’m already tired of tie-dye. It’s still April and I’m tired of tie-dye. It occurs to me that I am not as young as I was when I started this tie-dye business. I was still in my fifties then. Working twelve-hour days in May seemed like a reasonable thing to do back in 2008. We were a tiny tie-dye business getting ready for a huge festival for the first time and we had to make as much product as we could, even though my daughter had birthed her second child in January of that year and we had to take turns holding him so at least one of us could work on the tie-dye.

I remind myself of that first year whenever I get tired of tie-dye and don’t feel like working. We may be busy, but we are not “first big festival with a tiny new baby” busy. That was a huge challenge. This is just work. It would be less work at this point if we were not horrible procrastinators, but we are, so we have to pay the price.

The price is long days in May – really long days if we haven’t started them in April. I guess I can say we have started. We ordered blanks last week. They were supposed to be arriving tomorrow, but they surprised us by showing up today. We have checked in our package and thrown one load of cottons into pre-wash. That’s progress.

Are we a day ahead of schedule, then? I like to think so. I’m fooling myself, of course, but that’s okay. It makes it easier to get up in the morning and put on my dyeing clothes. The actual dyeing will be happening in May. Before we get to dyeing, we have to pre-wash the new cottons and pre-soak load after load of cottons and Rayons in a soda ash solution. Then they go to my daughter for tying and then they come back to me for dyeing.

That’s a lot we have to get done before we even start applying the dye. Still wonder why we charge twenty dollars for a T-shirt?

Paperwork and Peas

Somehow, my head has still not exploded. I have spent hours and hours reading tax forms and publications, feeling as if my head would explode any moment, but my head remains intact. I am grateful. I still need my head, because I am still trying to understand my tax return and get it filed.

I spent all of yesterday and much of this morning reading tax publications and trying to figure out which forms are necessary and what I need to do to make sure they are properly filled out. Yes, I have an accountant, but my poor accountant seems as confused as I am this year. Ours is, apparently, an unusual situation.

Let this be a warning to any of my readers who may, ever in their lifetimes, retire. If you decide to do that in December of one year, do not wait until mid-march of the next year to start trying to figure out your taxes. Don’t do it. I kept putting it off because I wanted to make sure all the necessary forms had arrived, but now I’m two days away from the filing deadline and I am still full of questions about the tax consequences of what we did back in December.

Yesterday, my head was spinning in the evening and I worried about how I would ever manage to get it to stop doing that and let me sleep. I took a break and went into the living room, where my husband was busy shelling peas he had brought in from his backyard garden. I sat down across from him and started to help.

As I opened up the bright green pods and stripped out the peas, I felt my shoulders begin to relax. My breathing slowed. All I did was shell peas, but my attention shifted completely to that activity and my whirling hamster-brain stopped thinking about taxes. My husband found some travel videos on YouTube and put them up on the living room TV. We shelled peas and watched videos of faraway places until all the peas were out of their pods and all my tax questions had given up and gone away for the night. I went to bed and I slept.

This morning, I tackled those forms again and reached a point where I could crystallize my questions and send them to my accountant. She has not answered them yet, but I am not going to lose sleep over that tonight. I still have two days and if I can’t work it out in time, I can always file for an extension. If I work it out and then find out later that it was not correct, I can file an amended return. There are options. It will be okay.



That’s what the little green peas told me, anyway.

Painting and Paperwork

I seriously considered not writing a post today. I’m in a new year and I haven’t made any promises or commitments yet. I am under no obligation to publish something today. I could let it go. I could give it a rest. I could take a week off.

I could do that, but I just keep thinking about that lovely progress report WordPress sends me at the end of the year, and how pretty that chart looks when there’s a post every Wednesday. That nice, straight line calls out to me from the future and begs me not to let it down. I don’t have a new goal, but I do love that straight line.

I may not set a creative goal for this blog year. I know I want to paint, but what I want to do with that is just keep learning more about working en plein air. I don’t know if a new goal would help or hinder that effort. My last goal did get me to do forty paintings in just a few weeks and that was what taught me that I love painting outdoors, but I am not sure I want to have another Sword of Damocles hanging over my head.

I may yet decide that I do. It won’t be this week, though. This week, I am too busy giving myself a hard time for putting off my income tax spreadsheets until the last half of March. I have started them, but I haven’t finished them. They are not difficult, but they are tedious. Most years, I start working on them in January in order to have the business information together, or at least starting to come together, by the time the W2 forms and 1099 forms start arriving.

All those forms are here now. I have even received a corrected form that replaces one that came in January or February. I just need those spreadsheets for the business and I will be ready to bounce the income tax ball into the Accountant’s court. I have finished all the easy ones. That leaves Cost of Goods Sold, which can’t be calculated until I value my inventory. That’s the hard part. I can sit down and add up all my other expenses in a single session at the desk top, but valuing my inventory takes days.

I will get there. I have begun it and I will finish it. Then maybe I will be able to think about painting again.

Palette Mess

Palette Mess

I guess I should clean out my palette first.

One More Painting

We are under a wind advisory in Jacksonville, Florida today. I can look out my window and watch the helicopter seed pods on my maple tree go flying off across the yard. Before the day is out, a lot of them will be gone, which makes me glad I finally got around to painting them a few days ago. I had been admiring them for days, watching them get prettier and prettier while I procrastinated about trying to capture them on canvas. I painted a sky on the canvas first, because that was easy.

Another day, I sat on the front porch and did a pencil sketch of the branch I wanted to paint. It was a complex little branch and I wanted to give myself some time to play with the shapes before I brought out the paints again. Once I had a light sketch of the branch, I set the canvas aside for another day or two, waiting for the right weather at the right time of day.

I wanted warmth and I wanted sunshine. I found it at about four o’clock in the afternoon, when the sun was low in the sky and those bright red helicopters sparkled like jewels on the delicate branches.

Maple Branch

Maple Branch

Of course, I couldn’t capture all that magic, but I had fun trying.

New Paintings

Last week, I was celebrating the completion of a successful blog year and wondering how the new one would go. I wasn’t ready to set a new blog goal, but I did say I would keep painting. I cleaned out my Sta-wet palette and gave myself permission to rest on my laurels for a while. To be honest, I wasn’t sure when I would be painting again and I was a little worried that I would put it off. Putting things off seems to be what I do best.

Saturday morning rolled around and I prepared for my usual trip to the flea market. Saturday is the one day of the week when I almost always get out and about by myself for a while. I choose the flea market because I’m a morning person and the flea market opens early. They let the buyers and the sellers in at the same time, so I usually just park for a while and read a magazine while I wait for the sellers to set up. I was thinking about this, and looking around for magazines to bring, when I remembered the pretty cedar tree I can see from my favorite parking spot.

The tree had been the subject of one of the tiny paintings that helped me meet my blog goal. I caught it at sunrise with some pinkish clouds in the background and it was fun to paint. I thought about that and I suddenly really wanted to bring paints with me to the flea market again. I tried to talk myself out of the idea. I had overslept. I didn’t have time to get my paints together and still get to that parking lot at my usual time. Then I remembered that a new piece of palette paper would have to soak for fifteen minutes before I could use it.

“That’s it,” I thought, “I just don’t have time to make this happen today.”

That would have been the end of it, but I had another voice in my head that said, “Are you going to give up that easily? Just put the paper in the water and start loading up the rest of your gear while you’re waiting.”

This may be hard to believe, but I actually listened to that voice. When I left the house last Saturday morning, I had my painting supplies with me. I was late and I missed out on my favorite parking spot at the flea market. I circled through and I moved on. I drove to a local park. It has lots of pretty trees and it also has a pond. I parked by the pond and I painted what I could see from my car. Then I painted something else that I could see from my car. I started with tiny canvases because they are less intimidating.

Two Tiny Paintings

Two Tiny Paintings

When I had finished two of those, I decided to move the car. I drove to another part of the park and I pulled out an 8” x 10” canvas. Again, I painted what I could see from my car. Some of it, anyway. I edited the scene for space and composition. I’m allowed to do that. It’s a painting, not a photograph.
One Larger Painting

One Larger Painting

One thing I know for sure: if I’m going to paint outdoors in Florida, I’m going to have to learn how to paint palmettos.

I Finally Painted

I know the handful of people who read this blog regularly are wondering about the paintings. I suppose there may be some people checking out my blog for the first time and they wouldn’t know about the paintings. You might be thinking, “What paintings?” Just in case, I will explain.

I started this blog on my birthday almost three years ago. I was turning fifty-nine and I wanted a way to motivate myself to do something creative before my sixtieth birthday. I set myself a goal of doing fifty creative things, including at least one art doll, one art quilt and one 16” x 20” painting. I managed to meet that goal (barely) and then I set a new goal for my second blog year. I had surprised myself by enjoying the painting more than any of the other creative projects, so I decided to do fifty paintings in my second blog year.

I procrastinated, as usual, so I ended up doing the last twenty paintings the last twenty days before my birthday, but I got them done. Woo hoo! Then I had to set a new blog goal. I resisted doing it for a while, but then I settled on fifty more paintings, with a new requirement. I had always wanted to learn to paint en plein air, so I decided the new paintings would all be done outside. I knew I was setting myself up for a very uncomfortable January if I procrastinated again. I hoped that thought would be enough motivation to keep me from putting off half of my paintings until just before my blogiversary.

Well, I didn’t put off half of my paintings until just before my blogiversary. Over the course of this last blog year, I managed to finish exactly ten plein air paintings. Instead of twenty paintings to finish in the last twenty days before my birthday, I found myself needing forty of them. Then I procrastinated one more day, which brings us to today.

Today, I finally painted. I took a tiny canvas into my side yard and I painted my neighbor’s camellia blossom.



My daughter was visiting and she encouraged me to paint another painting. She found a potted spider plant and suggested I paint that. Then she saw the look on my face and suggested I try painting just the baby plant that was hanging over the side of the pot. I decided to give it a try.


Two down, thirty-eight to go.

Two More Sleeps

What, Wednesday again? Not only is it Wednesday, it’s Christmas Eve Eve. If you read last week’s post, you might be wondering how far I have progressed in my Christmas preparations. I would like to be able to say that everything is done and all I have to do now is sit around and drink eggnog, but that would be a big, fat lie. Not the eggnog part; I do have eggnog in the house, but I am not sitting around drinking it. I drank some earlier today as I was wrapping presents. I also drank some as I was baking cookies.

Don’t worry; the cookies are fine. I don’t like alcohol in my eggnog. I like calories, lots of calories. As you can imagine, I’m having a little trouble managing regular meals. I’m not sure how long one can live on cookies and eggnog, but I’m hoping it’s more than a couple of days. I just need to get through a couple more days.

My cookies are done and the ones that I made for folks outside my immediate family have been delivered. My tree is completely decorated and makes me feel happy every time I look at it. The family taffy pull was this past Saturday and the weather was perfect – sunny and cold with low humidity. Taffy making demands low humidity and we usually have to create it artificially by turning on the air conditioner, but not this year. This year there has been only one cold day in North Florida in December and it came exactly when we needed it.

If it weren’t for wrapping, I would be in great shape. Wrapping is what I should be doing now, instead of writing, but I’ve kept my Wednesday blog post commitment all year and I’m not going to let it slide the last half of December. I can still get up before dawn and wrap all day tomorrow, right?

I need to get back to wrapping.

I need to get back to wrapping.

Right. Merry Christmas, everyone. Peace, love and light to you. I’ll see you on the other side.

Another Wild Wednesday

Last week, I was pretty sure this week’s blog post would be easy. Last week I wrote about my lack of Christmas preparations. I had no tree. I hadn’t baked the first cookie. I hadn’t shopped for presents, which meant I hadn’t wrapped any presents. I was worried enough about it that I thought I would finally stop procrastinating and get something done. This week’s post would be all about my dozens of finished cookies, my beautifully decorated tree and my perfectly wrapped packages.

Well, there is a tree in my house now. My husband is putting lights on it as I type this. It’s evening, so that’s as far as we will get today. Once the lights are on, the next step is to put the burlap angel on top and that has to be done by a grandchild. No other decorations can go on the tree until we get a grandchild over here to put that angel on top. That’s a tradition, and we aren’t going to break it. Not this year.

Cookies? I have baked two kinds of cookies. That’s two down and ten to go. I do have dough for two more kinds of cookies in the refrigerator. I’m trying to decide whether I’m ahead of or behind last year’s cookie-baking schedule. This time last year (according to my morning pages) I had three kinds of cookies completely done but no extra dough in the refrigerator. I guess I’m ahead on the dough-mixing and behind on the baking. Being ahead on anything is not that much of an accomplishment. Last year was the most frantic last-minute Christmas of my life.

I keep reading my old morning pages to see how this year compares to last year. Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m doing when I could be baking cookies or shopping or decorating. I’m reading that I was even further behind on this date last year. I’m also reading direct messages from my 2014 self to my 2015 self, messages that say, “Don’t do this to yourself next year!”

For any normal person, that would be the takeaway from last year’s morning pages. I, however, am not just any normal person. I am a seasoned procrastinator. I read about what I went through last year and all I see is that I managed to pull it off. Somehow, the baking got done, the tree got decorated, and the presents ended up under the tree by Christmas morning. I did it last year and I can do it again, even if I end up doing it in another mad last-minute rush.



I’m afraid that might be my most cherished Christmas tradition.

Waiting for a Train

Wednesdays keep showing up, even in December. This is the second Wednesday in December and I still haven’t begun my Christmas preparations. My husband has put lights on the outside of the house, but we have done nothing to the inside of the house. We don’t have a tree. I haven’t baked any cookies. I haven’t done any serious shopping and all the wrapping supplies are still in the attic.

I’m starting to feel a bit worried that this is going to be another frantic, last-minute Christmas, but at least I’m keeping up with the sketch-a-day challenge. Every day, I pick up my sketchbook and my colored pencils and I take a little sketch break. So far, I’ve drawn a lot of leaves and a couple of fruits and a nut. That’s what we have around this time of year in Florida.

I took my daughter to the grocery store today and I finally remembered to pick up some small, round fruits while I was there. Soon I will be adding more drawings of fruit to my sketchbook. An unexpectedly magical thing happened on the way back from the grocery store. Our route crosses a railroad track and we saw as we approached it that the bars were down, though we couldn’t see a train yet.

The person in front of us decided it was time to turn around and choose a different route. We stayed, waiting to see if it would be a freight train or a passenger train. We listened for the whistle. When we heard it, we turned in that direction to see what kind of train was approaching.

“Hmmm…,” we said, “…not a freight. Must be an Amtrak.” That thought made us happy because an Amtrak goes by a whole lot faster than a freight. We waited. As the train got closer, we started to see that it was not an Amtrak. It was way cooler than that.

Circus Train

Circus Train

It was longer than an Amtrak but we didn’t mind.