Little Caves of Chaos

Venture, my brave friends, into those dusky recesses under your sinks and set them to rights.

Throw away (bearing in mind local hazardous waste disposal recommendations) ancient cleaning products from beyond the mists of history.

Cast dessicated sponges to the rubbish bin.

Swab out the dust bunnies, and, if they are particularly large, see if you can enlist them in the noble duty of cleaning the floor instead of just lollygagging around on top of it. (Do not hold out much hope of success in that endeavor).

Tidy it up and add to the shopping list any supplies necessary to make it a functioning cleaning supply cupboard again.

Ask Some Questions

My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school, "So? Did you learn anything today?"

But not my mother. "Izzy," she would say, "did you ask a good question today?"

                                 –Isidor Isaac Rabi

Cultivate a practice of learning every day. One great habit to start is to view encounters with difficult people as the best opportunity you may have each day. "What can this person teach me?" is always a good question, and the lesson isn't always a negative example.

Look ahead & avoid headaches

I suppose there are folks for whom December and January are not busy months, but I'm not sure I know any.

Since the chaos is descending and won't lift for a bit, take a little time today to smooth your path.

– Renew prescriptions – and check out online or renewals by mail if your pharmacy offers the service.

– Pay bills early or set up automatic payment.

– Look over your calendar for anything else requires special action (e.g. reserving rental cars, buying tickets, finding those tickets you bought a while back, etc.)

3 Hours Of What You Most Need

Maybe you need to knock an important errand off your list so you quit fretting about it.

Maybe you need to catch up on sleep.

Maybe there's a movie you really really really want to see in the theater.

Maybe you need some time alone to just take care of yourself & relax.

Maybe you want nothing more than to go out to play with your friends.

Whatever it is, give it to yourself. Make your well-being a priority today.

Information Infusion

Feeling a little out of touch? Hanging out with a bunch of knowledge junkies at parties and losing some of the references?

If you are wishing for a boost to feel in the swing of things, it's not as hard as you might think to at least get a basic grip on all those names, places and quotations flying around.

1. Read a complete issue of a real newspaper. The New York Times is ideal, especially the Sunday paper. Be sure to go through those sections you wouldn't ordinarily read, be they sports, fashion or business.

2. Read an amusing compendium of trivial popular knowledge. Any of the Mental Floss books are probably good for this, but Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets and What's The Difference are especially suitable.

3. Read a recent issue of the Economist.

4. Read a recent issue of People or Us magazine.

You should be well into the loop now.

Bonus ongoing step:
5. Start reading, or at least skimming, the Wikipedia Today's Featured Article and In the News items.

Set boundaries for the fun, but demanding things

I strongly encourage you to try bold new adventures and push yourself in creative ways.

Participate in National Novel Writing Months or the like. Take classes in some new art form or music. Try out new crafts. Make improvements on your home. Start up a topical blog. 😉

Whatever you decide to do, it can really help you keep it fun if you place some limits on your expectations for it: "Just 30 days". "One semester and I'll drop the class if I'm not liking it for the third session in a row". "I'll see if I can make this one beginner project that is supposed to take about 4 hours". "First I'll just take on replacing curtains and then think about the rest of the remodeling after I see how that goes".

And, of course, the obvious one: "I'll write a post a day about Discardia for one year".

Which brings us to a little reminder about the next Discardia holiday, the 21st of December, 2006, to the 18th of January, 2007. It's a nice long one and a great finale to a wonderful year of thinking about this whole topic in depth.

Over the next couple weeks leading up to this delightfully long Discardian celebration, think about what you'd like to accomplish this time. I'd suggest picking one big goal and then a couple small goals in other areas.

Remember the more challenging areas as you mull this over. When you're going to work on something that's tougher for you, it helps to know you're only trying to make some progress within a finite area for now. Suggestions to consider for your big goals:
– personal relationships that are not going well
– feelings that your creative life is stagnant
– financial bad habits
– eating and/or exercise routines
– overall life goals

The secondary goals should help keep you motivated on the big one by being easier to succeed at them. Pick very finite projects or changes such as home improvements, getting a new haircut, finally setting up a backup routine for your computer, etc. Because you probably won't completely change that big situation, it can help you feel good to have checked a couple things off your list along with making a bit of progress on the harder goal.

You Deserve Some Fabulousness

Got a holiday party coming up and feeling at a loss about what to wear?

You might be very surprised at just how nice a new dress or tie you can find for $10 or $20 at Ross or some similar discount department store. Remember: it doesn't have to be something you'll wear again and again, just good enough for a few evenings out knockin' 'em dead.

Go get yourself some silky swanky thing that makes you feel all dressed up and face those social occasions with a smug smile.