A Squirrel Infestation

No, I’m not talking about those cute, bushy-tailed critters that are currently making a mess under our orange tree. I mean those distractions that keep me from finishing tasks, including blog posts.

Don’t let their cute little come hither looks fool you.

I’d love to tell you that my computer desk is neat and tidy, but that would be a lie. It’s covered in squirrels. Every time I sit down to write a post, at least one of them starts nipping at my arm. As soon as I turn my focus away from my keyboard to attend to that squirrel’s needs, more squirrels begin clamoring for attention.

The same thing happens in other areas of our house. Recently I started going through my closet to purge clothes I no longer need only to be distracted by squirrels on my dresser, next to the bed, and even hiding in the linen closet. It is impossible to complete a chore while being bombarded with their incessant chatter.

The squirrels in my living room and kitchen are in competition with each other. If I’m in the living room, the kitchen squirrels start to make a ruckus. If I’m in the kitchen, the commotion the living room squirrels make is hard to ignore. (Of course, the kitchen squirrels have a distinct advantage since they can tempt me with food. The refrigerator squirrels are particularly good at vying for my attention.)

My squirrels have been especially active lately. There are multiple partially finished tasks that I really need to get done. I have sewing projects, writing projects, arts and crafts projects, and house projects, as well as organizing, gardening, and trip planning to complete. Unfortunately, once I finish my morning coffee and the daily Wordle (the newest squirrel to take up residence in our house) all the other squirrels start demanding equal attention.

I obviously can’t please them all, so I’m trying to be more selective in responding to their seductive cries. In fact, as soon as I tidy up my desk squirrels, I will finish this blog post.

If you are reading this, you know that I was successful… at least this time.   

GratiTuesday: Brick Walls


Sometimes it takes hitting a brick wall for me to finally make a change that I have been putting off. That final, immovable force which prevents continuing on a comfortable, but unsatisfactory, forward projection. The wall that tells me that I can no longer ignore the problem and hope it goes away on its own.

I’ve reached that point. It’s time to change my blog theme.

I’m embarrassed to admit that the first time I had a problem with my theme was four years ago, soon after I began my blog. I didn’t like the small size of my blog’s font but I couldn’t figure out how to change it. So, I didn’t… and I remained frustrated… but I decided to live with it and move on.

I encountered the second challenge when I found myself admiring features and cool widgets on various blogs I follow. When I tried to add the same functions to my pages, I found that many of the options weren’t available to me. Unfortunately, my fear of blowing up my site by making a mistake while changing the theme was greater than my desire to spruce things up.

Then, a few months ago, the title of one of my blog posts, Oaxaca’s Street Markets, suddenly appeared – complete with a link – on my menu bar. When I went into my dashboard to fix it, there was no indication that anything was wrong. I tried to add a new menu item hoping that the unwanted item and link would disappear when I clicked on Save and Update. Nope, it was still there. I began to consider that my problem might be greater than just my lack of website experience.

I finally came face-to-face with a big brick wall – one I could not ignore no matter how hard I tried – when my blog suddenly stopped behaving itself when viewed on a tablet. It was small. It was scrunched. It was unreadable.

That wall finally prompted me to seek help. Because these last two problems spontaneously occurred without my making any changes, I had no idea how to fix them. I know that I’m not exactly a techno-wiz but, as far as I could tell, the logical fixes weren’t fixing anything.

Turns out that I have an “expired theme.” Who knew themes expired?

Within the next week or so, I hope to have a shiny new theme up and running. One that has a larger body font, a few extra features and widgets, a menu bar without a mind of its own, and posts that can be read without a magnifying glass no matter what device is being used.

As I make the transition, I will probably be tweaking things here and there, moving stuff around, and adding features that catch my fancy. If anything goes awry or something looks wonky on your side of the screen, I’d love it if you could give me a heads up. Hopefully everything will go perfectly smooth… right.

I am grateful for the brick wall that smacked me in the head and has prompted me to make a few needed changes. Hitting a brick wall is not very pleasant but, sometimes, that’s just what I need.

If this was a job, I’d be fired!

All throughout my varied careers I was a good employee. I worked hard, stayed late when needed, met deadlines, and worked well with others. My annual reviews were consistently positive and I received regular promotions along the way. I’m pretty sure my coworkers were genuinely sorry to see me go when I retired.

DSC_0229Now that I am no longer receiving a paycheck and no one is evaluating my work but me, I have to admit I’ve become somewhat of a summertime slacker.

I haven’t posted to my blog since July. I’ve partially written four or five posts, but summoning the motivation to re-write, re-re-write, then re-re-re-write them again has been a challenge. So there they sit. I just hope they are still relevant when I relocate my “ON” button.

This is not to say that I haven’t been busy. My husband and I have been involved in a few house projects, I’ve had several events to plan and to attend, I’ve taken some interesting classes, and we’ve had a series of house guests. But, I’ve come to realize that I’m much more likely to complete something if it has a deadline attached. No deadline? I’ll try to get to it tomorrow.

I know many bloggers follow a strict posting schedule. Some have monetized their blogs so posting regularly is important to their bottom-line. Others have made a commitment to themselves to post a specific number of times a week – or on specific days – and they faithfully maintain that schedule. A few seem to be bursting with inspiration, and links to their posts appear in my email inbox almost daily. Good for them.

I, on the other hand, seem to have liquefied into a puddle of prolonged procrastination. If this was a job and I had a boss, she would have fired me long ago… that is if she could find me.

Where we live, summer weather often continues into October. In fact, that month can yield some of our nicest temperatures. Soon will begin what those of us who are permanent residents refer to as the “locals’ summer.” Most of the tourists are gone from our beaches and parks, the kids are in school, and the roads, stores, and attractions become less congested. The weeks between the first of September and the end of daylight savings time are usually my favorite time to enjoy my city.

I’m not too worried about my current lack of motivation. I’ve already started to fill my fall and winter calendar with interesting classes, workshops, and travel plans. After a long, long period of drought, weather forecasters are predicting an extended drenching of our area courtesy of El Nino. As the temperature starts to drop and the outdoors doesn’t beckon me like it is doing now, I’m sure I’ll be reunited with my self-discipline.

In the meantime, I’ll be outside avoiding anything that has a deadline and feels like work.