Archive of ‘Life Without A Manual’ category

No Notes

My Notes app went missing this week. I downloaded the app again, and no luck. There is no trace of my grocery lists, the start of several blog posts, meeting notes, job hunting to-dos, website links, random reminders, and thoughts I just needed to put somewhere until I could find pen and paper.

I don’t know what happened to it. Did I overload it with too many ideas? Is this a sign that I’m giving myself too much to do? Did I accidentally break the app? Could it not take any more of my hopes and dreams and foods from Trader Joe’s to try?

Maybe it was all the screenshots I took of my solved Wordle puzzles. I’m too good at it, and pissed off the app.

Yep, that’s probably it.

Whatever the reason, I’m hoping I don’t have to start all over again. I just saw someone post the same issue on Facebook, and 44 people commented. Looks like I’m not the only one dealing with this issue.

Therefore, I’m making this a short post tonight so i can dive into the rabbit hole of the internet and hopefully come out successful.

XO,

Elisa

Small Changes Make A Difference

I’m a fan of The Lazy Genius podcast, whose tagline is “helping you with the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. Today’s episode is titled “10 Small Changes I’m Glad I Made.” After she listed hers, I created a list of my own. I’m not sure I’ll hit ten things, but let’s see how it goes.

  1. Trash bags – I put an empty trash bag or two underneath the current one I’m using. When I’m ready to throw the current bag in the outside bin, another bag is underneath to open and put in place. It’s super convenient.
  2. Folding laundry – I used to fold laundry in front of the TV in the den. Here is the problem with this: I don’t watch a lot of TV. So, the piles sit there until I get around to it. Now, I’m taking the laundry out of the dryer and dumping the clothes on the dining room table. I don’t like a big mess for everyone to see, nor do I want people to see my underwear. So, this small change motivates me to fold all the clothes and put them away as fast as possible.
  3. Practical Medicine – I’m supposed to take one medication in the morning. I used to forget because the container lived in my cabinet with the rest of our prescriptions. By the time I remembered to take it, the morning would be over, and sometimes I skipped a dose. Now, I put that medicine downstairs where I make breakfast, so I see it and remember to take it.
  4. What’s for dinner? – Before I go to the supermarket, I decide what I’m making for dinner that week and make sure I have everything I need. This decreases the number of times I have to go back to the store during the week. I also set aside Wednesdays or Thursdays for leftovers so they get eaten and don’t go bad.
  5. Restocking – On weekends, I restock the bathrooms with tissue boxes and toilet paper rolls. While there, I throw hand towels in the laundry basket and bring the trash downstairs to put away. I’ll take another minute to see if anything needs to be put away. The whole process takes no more than five minutes per bathroom and means less aggravation when someone runs out of toilet paper.
  6.  First-Aid – I cleared off a shelf in our hallway linen closet and corralled all our Band-Aids, cortisone creams, Neosporin, aloe lotion, thermometers, and ace bandages. And although they aren’t necessarily considered first aid, I collected all of our COVID test kits and added them to the shelf. This way, we don’t have to search the entire house for one when we aren’t feeling well.
  7. Monday Trash Day – According to our township, the garbage trucks come down our street on Tuesday morning to remove our trash. But in my house, Monday is trash day. I go through every room with a few large bags and throw away what is obviously trash. Along the way, I’ll find empty plastic bottles and other recyclables to add to the bin. Once finished, I put everything outside and roll the trash cans to the curb. No more running out of the house in my pajamas to throw out one more thing.
  8. Items for the Car – If I’m going out, I look around the house to see if I need to drop off or pick anything up. This past week, I had two library books, some dry cleaning, and something to return to the store.
  9. Set an alarm on my iPhone – Time flies during the day, and before I know it, I need to be somewhere. Setting an alarm on my phone 30 minutes before a meeting is super helpful because my phone is always with me. Thirty minutes leaves me enough time to get myself together and get out of the house (or set up Zoom on my laptop) on time.
  10. 99-cent cards – I have a drawer in my bedroom full of 99-cent cards for birthdays, thank yous, and other occasions. There is always a special day for someone around the corner. And these cards are pretty nice. Some are thoughtful. Others are funny. I usually find exactly what I need when I open that drawer. 

Okay, it’s your turn. What small changes have you made that have made a difference?! Or, what change do you want to make in the near future? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

XO,

Elisa

Mid-January Book Report

New Book Reviews in 2024!


I’ve decided to do two book reports a month—one mid-month and again at the end. Last year, as I was writing these reviews, I found myself forgetting the storylines of the books I read earlier in the month. This could be due to brain fog, but more likely, I’m just easily distracted by shiny new titles. Does anyone else have this problem? Seriously, who remembers what they ate for lunch yesterday, let alone the plot of the book they read recently (but not that recently!)?

The other reason I’m going to write two posts a month is because I really want to read 50 books this year. To accomplish this goal, I need to finish at least four books a month. I know I’m a fairly fast and avid reader, so this is doable, even though it is a bit of a stretch. And if you are doing the math, I know that only amounts to 48 books. However, I can sneak a few extra titles in here and there. Some months, I may only read three, while others may read eight novels (see my December 2023 Book Report).

Without further ado, here are two book reviews to consider for your TBR pile.

The Life Council: 10 Friends Every Woman Needs
by Laura Tremaine

The Live Council book coverAuthor and podcaster Laura Tremaine wrote an engaging book about making and keeping friends as adults and creating a sort of cabinet of go-to people you can rely on. She also talks about letting go of friends who no longer fit into your life, which is never easy but sometimes happens.

Her book promises to:

  • Create your own “life council” with the friends you already have
  • Understand the ten kinds of friends every woman needs–and how to find them
  • Learn how to evaluate your friendship circle for what’s working and what might need to change
  • Navigate tough conversations with friends
  • Get excited again about the possibility of new friendships

This is what the book promises, and IT DELIVERS!

As I was reading, I reflected on my friend groups and began to sort them in the categories Tremaine set forth. Some categories were easier than others. And for a few categories, I had no one specific in mind.

For instance, I have a friend I used to work with, and we were both mentally exhausted by the toxic leadership style where we were employed. We have been through hell together on a daily basis and survived it. And the best part is that we continue our friendship to this day, watching and helping each other grow from that shared experience and thrive. She is what the author referred to as my “battle buddy” —someone who has walked with you during a difficult time. There are nine other categories proposed by the author that aptly and accurately describe the friendships I have today. It was interesting to see where some seats need to be filled, and how other seats had more than one person who could sit there.

The Life Council is not only a book you will want on your shelves, but you may want to gift it to a friend or someone you love. I give this book four stars. For those of you who read my Book Confessions blog post, you now know this is the book I was planning on getting for my daughter for her birthday but couldn’t find. I’m ordering it online and sending it to her this week instead.

Being Henry: The Fonz…and Beyond
by Henry Winkler

I grew up on Happy Days and The Fonz. Tuesday nights were must-see TV in my house. The shows were funny, brilliantly written, and always entertaining and family-friendly. Henry Winkler plays such an iconic character, and it’s no wonder he was typecast after the show ended. However, he made the best of it with producer and director credits. And then, he has a comeback story with the movie Water Boy and the popular HBO series Barry, for which he won his first primetime Emmy.

I gave this book three stars because while the behind-the-scenes stories were fun to read, I wanted to know more about his battle with dyslexia and how he came to accept and work through it. I was also sad to learn he had a rough upbringing because he was raised by strict parents who doubted his intelligence and abilities. Back then, I’m not sure if dyslexia was as documented as it is today. Still, his parents could have been a lot nicer and more supportive. While discussing his dyslexia in any TV interview, he didn’t elaborate much more than what I already heard.

Also, this book won the Goodreads 2023 Best Humor Award. But let me say this: this is not a funny book. Henry Winkler writes about his anxiety as a result of his upbringing and dyslexia in a way that makes me feel sad for him. I can empathize with his situation, but I’m not laughing with him like other writers who have written on this topic.

Side Note: This is one of the reasons I don’t read reviews on Goodreads. It’s an online popularity contest. As a reader, I wonder why this book is in the humor category at all. The other choices were books written by actual comedians like Leslie Jones and Amber Ruffin or essay collections from professional writers with a keen sense of humor. My only explanation is that whoever was in charge of this category didn’t read this book. However, if the book were in the memoir category, he might have had a shot. However, he would have gone up against Brittany Spears’s memoir, which won by a landslide. Hence, the popularity contest.

Anyway, Being Henry is a nice story, and his treasured friendships with Ron Howard and John Ritter were especially poignant to read. I’d recommend it, but I would check it out of your local library.

Sorry, Fonzie, I still love you and hope you come to Philly sometime so I can meet you. Above all, you are a mensch!

XO,

Elisa

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