Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Juggling Act for the Holidays! by DL Larson

When I look at my calendar I inwardly groan. I have too much to do and too little time to accomplish all that is scheduled. And I don't have 'Writing time' penciled in to any part of the day. I've never written time into my day, but I've always made time despite what was on the calendar. But with the holiday season upon us, I fear if I don't officially set aside writing time, I won't make the effort to put words to paper.

I've been pondering, what is different this year? I refuse to blame my frassled feeling on the aging process which ultimately leans toward the lack of energy level to complete a task in a timely fashion. No, it couldn't possibly be that I'm getting old. Must be something else.

Hmmm, I'm thinking here. Work! Yes, my schedule at the library is overly crowded with kiddy visits and holiday workshops, but then we have a busy season every year. And I have a wonderful new high school employee bubbling with enthusiasm which in turn feeds my eagerness to get involved with our programs offered. So I can't blame my frayed state of mind on work.

My family is disjointed right now. Geographically speaking. But otherwise we are doing fine. We may have over-scheduled a tad bit. This weekend we are off to see 'Wicked!" My third time for seeing it, but my granddaughters first time! Can't wait. We'll take the train into the city, have an early lunch and then show time. The next weekend we're back to the city for a weekend of shopping, eating at fabulous restaurants and we have tickets for "Dirty Dancing!" Big grin here!!! My sister and I take our daughters on a weekend get-away every year. It's tradition! One I hope we never have to give up. The following week my sister has surgery, not such a fun part of my calendar, but I wouldn't miss being there for her. And then comes Thanksgiving and on to December.

This time of year can be hectic, but now that I have had a few moments to think about my schedule, I also remember what I've done in the past to combat fatigue and the over wrought feeling of juggling too many things at once. I paced myself and I offer that suggestion to you too. Fretting never helps anyone, so don't go there. Instead make a plan that includes your writing time. If you usually spend two hours a day with your writing, trim it back but don't ignore it. I've learned the hard way when I push my work aside, I start to feel anxious, irritated even, and that sloshes over into other areas of my life. I'm not my cheerful self if I don't keep my priorities in order.

When I make writing a priority it's amazing how many other people accept and respect my decision. It frees me to be myself. Weird, I know, but every year I relearn if I'm true to myself, other commitments and obligations willingly take a backseat and it's okay. Because when I turn to those duties, I'm clear-headed, not fretting about plots and twists in some dialogue, but am able and ready to be a part of whatever holiday task is at hand.

Another thing I do this time of year, well, many times through out the year as well, is: use my crockpot! Instead of reaching for the phone to order take-out after a busy day, try a home cooked meal. The feeling of satisfaction can't be beat. All it takes is a few minutes of morning time to appease a hungry family at the end of the day. Here's a few recipes to try:

Hearty Beef Stew: (makes 8 servings)
5 cups cut up fresh veggies ~ carrots, clery, onion, and potatoes
2 lbs. beef stew meat - cut in 1 inch cubes (can usually buy it this way)
1 pkg. McCormick's slow cooker hearty beef stew seasoning
1 1/3 cups water

Place beef and veggies in crock pot; mix seasoning with water and pour over meat and veggies. Cook 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH. Stir before serving.
And guess what? It's best if the lid is not removed while cooking!

Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken
6 chicken breasts -boneless and skinless
salt/pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup

Rinse chicken and sprinkle with spices. Mix undiluted soups together and pour over chicken in the crock pot. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice or noodles.

And no, I don't think I'm Julia Childs or some other famous chef. But again, planning a day can make life so much less complicated. If I don't have to worry about some of those everyday chores, life is sweeter and more productive.

So before the season shines down on with that headbeam kind of glare, take a few precautions and get organized. Juggling is much easier with a well thought out plan!

If you have any time-saving techniques for the holidays, now's a great time to share them with us here at Acme Authors.

Til next time ~

DL Larson


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Loved the recipes--I know I'm always happy to have ways to cut out some of the time-eating chores that just have to be done.


Morgan Mandel said...

I'll have to try that chicken recipe. Sounds good.

Morgan Mandel

Deb Larson said...

Thanks for stopping by! Good eating!!
DL Larson