As I sit here on Monday morning and reflect on the weekend, I look back on it and think that even though I seemed to be busy every second of each day, I didn’t really get many things of substance accomplished. In reality I did check several things off of the list, but I can’t help but think that somehow I could have done better.
I suppose that sometimes I am not the best manager of time. I noticed that there are times like this past weekend when I appear very busy and I really and truly am, but at the end of the day when I am tallying what to check off the list of things to do, I come up rather short. It can be a bit disappointing.
I have always liked Mondays because they symbolize a fresh start to a new week. I think that is why I like the mornings too. By getting up before the rest of the world, it gives me a chance to get my bearings and jump a little ahead of the game.
Yesterday I talked about my blogging here and I was very happy to read that I have become a part of your daily routine just as much as you have become part of mine. I feel that even though it takes a little time for me to post every morning, the amount of positive returns that I receive back from the experience on so many levels is certainly worth it.
We are all creatures of habit. We like routine. No matter how spontaneous we are, there is comfort and security in organizing and controlling our lives. Although curve balls are a very real part of life, most of us are able to better cope with them if we have certain anchor points that we rely on to remain unchanged. What those anchor point are varies with each individual. Some need job security. Others find it in family. The requirements are as unique as the individual, but I believe they serve as ‘resting points’ in between the chaos that each day brings in our lives and helps us deal with life’s ups and downs.
Keeping a journal has long been looked upon as a positive activity. It helps us to slow down and step out of our life for a bit to ponder and evaluate our surroundings and events that are happening. It also helps us to think and reflect on our actions or on certain situations which may be overwhelming us at any given time. It allows us to document certain events in our lives, both positive and negative, so that we have a better understanding of them and perhaps make better decisions in the future. The bottom line is that it makes us think.
When I had jobs that I needed to drive to, I did much of this thinking on the way to and from work. In commuting each day back and forth, the driving itself became somewhat routine and it left lots of time for thinking and reflection on the days events. I found this ‘mental journaling’ to be very helpful. The car itself served as a buffer from the rest of the world, as there were no cell phones or other interferences to clutter my mind. To this day, I still enjoy a nice long ride in the car at times when I feel overwhelmed and overloaded. It clears my head and helps tune out the interference and clutter of life when I am trying to sort through something.
I find my writing here to be very similar. Many mornings I play barely audible classical music. I find it calming and peaceful. As I write here, I figure out what will be the priorities of the day. Those of you who read often know that I don’t always accomplish what I set out to do, but I don’t think that it really matters. The way I look at it is that it is a start or suggestion as to what I would like to see done. Frequently, I am over-optimistic and I do find that it is rare that I accomplish all that I set out to do. I have learned though that it is OK if that happens, and I have learned to stop chastising myself for not completing my daily mental list. The bottom line is that there was a list in the first place, and it served as a framework for my accomplishments of the day. I have learned that allowing the list to remain fluid is very important to my own well-being and satisfaction, and that I shouldn’t be judgmental if everything on it isn’t completed.
With all that said, it is time for me to get on with it.
I did get the 72 ponds cut yesterday to go with the figures. As usual, it took a bit longer than I anticipated. Each of the skating ponds measures approximately 8.5” x 11”. Each of the corners of the ponds are rounded 1.25”. I could have left the corners square, as it would have been much less work for me to do, but I felt it looked rather plain unfinished by doing so. My partner noted that it would be a bit of extra work for me to round the corners, and I conceded it would, but once I had the picture in my mind that it was going to be that way, there was no turning back.
I had toyed with the idea of cutting the rectangles on the scroll saw, as the trip to Bernie’s to use the table saw would take up half the day or more. There was no way to just drive up there, use the saw and leave. It would require at least half a day’s visit and a meal. Since I haven’t talked to him all week, I didn’t know if he had plans or not and didn’t really like the idea of ‘dropping in’ as Ellen so often invited us to do. In all likelihood, they were at the cabin anyway.
But cutting 30” x 30” sheets on the scroll saw did not seem to be the way to go either. Besides the fact that cutting a straight line on the saw is questionable on even a good day, cutting seemingly endless inches of 72 ponds with four straight edges each and making them look nice and professional was neither appealing or even probably possible for me. I must admit that I did seriously consider doing so for a bit. If anything it would be a challenge and hone my skills of cutting straight.
But now wasn’t the time to experiment. I wanted these to look nice.
We opted to go to Keith’s parents’ house and use his dad’s antiquated table saw to do the job. Although the saw was old, it usually did the job and since pinpoint accuracy wasn’t really required, we thought it would suffice. After a couple of tries, he actually got the motor going (under protest) and we were able to cut the long edges of the ponds. However, when we turned the saw off to reset the fence to cut the short edge, we found that the tired old machine has taken its last breath and refused to start. After several minutes of attempting to resurrect it, we made the final call and pronounced it dead.
What to do now?
Over in the corner, sat our cheap 10” sliding miter saw. We had picked it up cheap at Canadian Tire a year or so ago, and it sat on the floor of one of our closets for almost a year before we finally decided that the space would be used better by other things and stored it here. It finally had its chance to become the hero of the day and we put it to work.
We were able to finish our task uneventfully and got the 72 boards cut. I then took them home to round the corners on the scroll saw, which I also did without incident.
By the time that was done it was time to make supper, and just as I was doing so, I checked my mail and there was a call from Stevinmarine here on Lumberjocks. It was a challenge to make a band saw style box smaller than his own. Being up for the challenge and not to be outdone by him, I jumped right in – dinner could wait! I even got Keith involved in the design (if you could call it that) and gluing up of the box. It was a fine effort I felt and even though we were quickly unseated by KnotCurser, who made a box much smaller than ours, we had our moment of glory .
Most of all it was FUN!
So there went the day. Not without fun and silliness and a sense of friendship with my fellow woodworkers here. I find it to be a good life and one that I am happy to have. I am looking at 84 emails in my mail box at this moment. Some which I need to answer and some which I don’t. So if you are waiting for me to do so, please be patient. I need to play sometimes too.
I have my list mapped out for me today. Will I accomplish everything on it? Probably not. But the important thing is that I will enjoy doing what I do and push that pile a little further. After all, that is the difference between just going through life and actually living.
I hope you all enjoy your Monday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"