The Bologna and Beer Method Of Self Evaluation


I have a really difficult question today, one which seemed to bubble to the surface just as I woke, like a loud belch after bologna and beer, neither of which I am particularly fond of. The beer? Well I’ve had a few in my lifetime, the first one shared with my younger brother Keith at the age of eleven or twelve. It was totally disgusting, probably because it was skunky; at that time my parents seldom had beer in the house except for the infrequent social occasions when offering a beer was obligatory. Keith and I had found it under the basement stairs and we poured a bottle of it into two equal glassfuls (as if a drop less for either of us would have been a terrible inequity.)The beer was disorienting, but the bravado of a dare made it imperative to ignore the foul taste and just get on with it. We were such crazy kids then that it was a good thing we hadn’t challenged one another to drink cough syrup or something worse. I remember trying to go up the stairs to the bedroom I shared with my sister Marsha and having to lean against the wall.

Actually I felt a little like I do just now, not quite up to the task ahead of me. My side of the bedroom was a mess, and because the  blame for that mess lay entirely on my shoulders, I had been told by Mom, at my sister Marsha’s behest, to tidy it up pronto or else! I feel a lot the same this morning. No, not inebriated, just overwhelmed. I have been, as my girlfriend Carol told me on Sunday “really prolific” in my writing since I started my blog, on April 1, (April Fools Day I just now realize.) She may have wondered at how I was doing it, so Carol, here is my confession.

This place looks like we’re in the middle of a rummage sale, combined with an office move, on the day after returning from a summer holiday. Rolly has been trying hard to maintain his equilibrium amid the flotsam and jetsam of my jotted notes, torn out magazine articles, family photo albums, old letters, and rumpled papers. As the ever-widening maelstrom has swept up my desk, the living room, the bedroom and the kitchen into its hungry maw Rolly has been frantically plucking out empty coffee cups, cast off bedroom slippers, misplaced bills, dirty dinner plates, lost library books, gym shoes, and miscellaneous bits and pieces of our PFADL (Pre-April Fools’ Day Life). On that crucial day I watched several videos about blogging and the gist of the one that I appreciated the most was that you should blog daily if you wish to develop any kind of readership.

I set this as my goal and I have met it for 44 days in a row, not because I am in a great rush to become some kind of blogging sensation, but because once started it, it felt so good. Kind of like a runner’s high only I have been on a typer’s high, if there is such a thing. It could be that I am having a mid- life crisis, because I feel like I have so much to do that I haven’t done yet, and for me the primary goal was always to become a writer or a ballet dancer. I’m not a “day late and a pound short” for that last profession, but rather a half a lifetime late and a lotta pounds too many! Rolly laughed at my suggestion of mid-life crisis when I brought it up or more accurately, he hooted with laughter— “How old do you think you’re going to live to? One hundred and twenty?!” Needless to say, I was not amused!

The conversation was really meant to describe to him the sense that I have that there may just not be enough time to reach my goal of putting down the oral history of our family. As well I’d like to give some kind of explanation for who I am and how I am, and a kind of catalogue for those after me of the special things in life that I valued most. I belong to such a large family with so much history and so many stories, and I have had so many blessings in my life, that putting it down on paper seems hugely important to me. Rolly does get this too, despite his momentary facetiousness. He especially understands, in the same way that I do, that acute sense of the impermanence of life that each of us eventually comes face to face with. We are still grieving the sudden loss his sister and his mother only two short months apart. We have also wrestled side by side through the grief of losing two of my sisters’ husbands, and a number of friends. In the past few years we have wept with many of our friends at the funerals of their parents. This is what life is about though, but sadly for many people they fail to listen to the ticking of the clock.

I am blessed with four adorable nephews. Two of the little guys, Jacob, aged 2, and Joshua, aged 3, have an inordinate love of clocks and watches; they both call them “tick-tocks” and point them out everywhere; they  sometimes even ask to be given them right off people’s wrists. (Future pickpockets or street magicians? Time will tell!) I know that their preoccupations are due to the fact that when they were just little babies, their grandfather, my brother-in-law Jody (George) would hold them up in front of a big clock in his and my sister Kathy’s dining room, so that they could hear it ticking. Then he would turn the clock’s hand so that they could hear it chiming.

He has taught them something valuable for their whole life long, that time is something that passes, that it always moves forward. How awesome for them that each of them, being held in their loving granddad’s arms, felt that together. Jacob was an early talker and because I have had the privilege of babysitting him from time to time I have been able to track changes in his vocabulary with much joy and amusement. Before he was two he actually said to me “in a minute” when I asked him if he wanted something to eat. I was nearly floored, as time is such an abstract concept for a toddler to express his comprehension of. There are plenty of adults who just don’t seem to get it!

My big question as I woke this morning, as uncomfortable for me as a beer and bologna burp, was just how I was going to spend the time I have been given today. How should I prioritize things? I know what has to be accomplished, and what I will have to pay for each task (in time, more or less) so how should I budget it out?

Cleaning out the fridge and allocating to compost, chicken food or left-overs—1 hour

Sorting the paperwork, paying the bills— 2 hours (not many bills, just overflowing stacks of papers)

Doing 2 loads of laundry and hanging it out—1 hour

Making supper for tonight and something extra for the freezer—1hour

Doing my Nanny/Housekeeping job this afternoon—3 hours

Writing – the time I have already used—3 hours, so no more than another 20 minutes from this point.

Tidying the house — 1 hour

Writing tomorrow’s post sometime tonight (as I will be busy with a necessary workout at the gym, and then 4 or 5 hours at my job tomorrow)—Some undetermined length of time.

How would you spend your time if you were me— given my great desire to write daily, but also considering the many things that compete for my time? Should I still strive to meet my goal of blogging daily? Some may say,” Simply write less in your daily post.” Sadly, when I begin to write it, it just evolves until I am finished and that is very difficult to control sometimes. Like most of the long-winded story tellers in my family. “My story is done when I say so!” Yes, we all tend to be control freaks so; I say my story is likewise done now! 

Hope you wake up with a good burp or two of your own over the next few days. It certainly is a great help in motivating us to make a change, even if it’s only to move some of you away from a diet of bologna and beer!

4 responses »

  1. I think you should write until you develop a routine, write and write and write until your inner storage of thoughts you have wanted to write for so long settle down and then maybe you’ll develop a rhythm. This is what I’ve found at least with doing what I love, I have to almost get it all out of my system and then it somewhat calms down (and then I don’t know what to do with myself, what happened to all the busy-ness!?) but I have somehow over two months or so developed some limits on my work giving way to a more routine schedule. I’ll give it a year and see what happens. Maybe the same could happen for you?
    ❤ Brinn

    • Thanks so much for your advice Brinn. Today I got caught up with some help from a few loving family members, and by writing a very short post that follows this one. I am going to try your suggestions out. Happy writing!

  2. Ehhh……a girl after my own heart…creativness can get messy sometimes but that is OK. It is fulfilling a need for you and filling us with pleasure and appreciation for you and yours and giving us some inspiration!

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