Saturday, December 18, 2010

"To do" Lists

Some time in October I realized that I had an awful lot of "to do" lists. As I pondered why I had the propensity to constantly have the need to generate a list that keeps me busy all the time - it occurred to me that this need is a terrible habit that must be stopped. Having a running "to do" list means that you are perpetually busy. Is this a good thing? (No) and who is responsible? (No one but me. What a dummy.)

First realization, then much pondering, and (as I always do) there can be no pondering without a fomulated idea, and putting that idea into action. The decided upon action was to implement a "Just say No" campaign. So (hold your breath) I decided that I was going to chuck my "to do" list out of the window and try to live without one. At first this was very liberating, and relaxing. It was very odd. This relaxing inactivity state, “take it as it comes” attitude, “respond to the need as it arises” bearing was not really in my genes. I come from a long line of "busy babes". My mother is constantly "busy". Her mother was constantly "busy".  Her mother's mother was busy, and so on and so on... Centuries of very efficient and very busy women. (But I digress.) Once the luxury and enjoyment of my newfound mental state started to wear off, I started to struggle with my need to "be prepared" and to "use my time wisely" in anticipation of all that was to come.

(Damn this was hard.)

I vowed that I would not have a "to do" list (and I was sticking to it) but not writing it down (I'm a visual type of gal) meant that I had started keeping the list in my head. Keeping a mental list was just too much. Before my brain fried I tossed that "to do" list out. Finally I had reached a state of mind and being where I was just reactionary. Again liberating.

(But was it?)

Now the holidays were approaching and this was a major "to do" list time for everyone. Was I going to survive through November into December unscathed? Perhaps this no "to do " list thing was a bad idea? (Yup.) Boy, did I struggle. I know I don't have to inform you that I lost the struggle. Yet I did not struggle in vain. I have a "to do" list, but it is a more of a "if you want to list".

I found that not being constantly proactive and filling up my time with chores, that I had time to relax more and not worry about things. I also found that I gained some downtime, and the urge to fill it up with activity waned. It was not that I was unbalanced (I'm not that nuts) it was that a "to do” list that is constantly demanding of your energy and time is not worth it. I am not preaching that it is ok to be lazy. What I am preaching is that it is ok to focus on other things like leaving the shopping for another day and going for a walk with your significant other, or biking with the kids, or to go get coffee with a friend. If you are not doing these life activities with those you care about than the problem is not the "to do" list itself. The problem is that you have written the wrong things on your list.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Manners and Movies don't Mix

Last week my family and I braved the crowds to watch Harry Potter.  I was looking forward to this time together. Once inside the theater I started hoping I was not going to regret that decision.  This was not based on my family’s behavior, but the behavior of others.  I am happy to report that while there were indications  (prior to the movie starting) that the audience would have ill-mannered members it actually behaved quite well (all except some idiot with a laser pointer. )

The idiot with the laser pointer was tame compared to some of my theater experiences.  Seems like manners and movies don’t really mix these days. (Though many of us would agree manners in general have been on the decline.) I thought I would compile a list of offenses (none that should be new to you) that usually send me scrambling for the movie theater manager.  (That’s right this woman is a tattletale.) And some ways I handle these situations that may work for you too.  

An infant in the movie theater
Get a babysitter!  (I adore babies and children, but even I draw the line here. )

Under aged children watching inappropriate movies
Poor parenting skills, selfish, ignorant and unaware? 
(Dare I say… all of these?  Yup – I dare.)

Talking during the movies
What about this situation makes you think you are at home? Go to the nearest
Startbucks if you need time to verbally socialize.  (I have been known to yell “ENOUGH – BE QUITE NOW” in my best angry mommy voice. This usually works. Even my husband trembles.)

Cell phones or texting
I must admit with the whole texting craze cell phone are not ringing. I don’t mind this actually, but should my kids (or group) I am with start texting -  I use my best dirty looks.  (I have perfected my dirty looks to academy award level acting. Watch our Merle Streep.)

Kicking a chair or putting feet up on the chair you are sitting in.
Don't parents raise their kids to keep their feet off the furniture? 
(Only solution is to pull an Ace Ventura Pet DetectiveStand up, turn towards the person behind you, wave your hand in front of your face (like there is a bad odor) and yell,  “PU!  Your feet smell like crap! Could you please keep them down and away from me!”  Works everytime. Makes Jim Carrey proud.)

Laser pointer
Someone thinking it is amusing to project a laser onto the screen while the movie is on.
(I would have loved to have taken that laser pointer and shoved it up a certain unmentionable orifice. Fortunately for the laser owner I could not triangulate their position.)

Leaving trash.
This sloppy, shocking behavior can be attributed to the decline of western civilization.
 ( It’s either that or these people live in filth homes, and have never heard of trash cans and personal responsibility.)

There you have it. 

At least 7 annoying activities people do in the movie theater to drive us (or possibly just me) crazy.  If you have more activities to add to the list please share. And if you have crazy stories to tell – DO TELL!  (Best story gets 2 free movie passes to AMC)