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Multi-tasking Can Be Dangerous
"I was rich, if not in money, in sunny hours and summer days and spent them lavishly ... My life itself was become my amusement and never ceased to be novel." Walden, Henry David Thoreau.
I spend too much time looking backward or to future pleasures rather than savoring the here and now. Life's true success lies in the details. Quiet pleasures and small beauties, laughter and smiles are deposits in my emotional bank.
Yesterday Squirrelie was gobbling away under the bird feeder when he/she saw me. Lickety-split, it came running to the door and sat up, paws prayerfully folded, waiting for its peanuts. Uh-oh! Competition arrived.
I was sitting at the dining table in front of the greenhouse window, sorting stuff for taxes - oh hateful chore that blights my Spring every year! - when a blue jay came down on Squirrelie's stump and stared in at me. Its mate was in the oak tree. Sqirrelie wasn't pleased, but I was delighted as jays have decreased because of West Nile Disease. I threw out more nuts, and a jay came to the stump and uttered one note of its rusty-hinge call as if thanking me. Later they spied Bill and shrieked "Jay! Jay! Jay!" until he threw out more nuts. One time we laughed when a greedy jay tried to get two nuts in its beak.
I wish that I were better at achieving this:
"If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more starry, more immortal, that is your success. The true harvest of my daily life is as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow that I have clutched."
Isn't that lovely? Do join me and take a moment out of your busy day to read it again, savor the elegant prose and think-really think. Writing this good is no accident, but requires hard work and conscious thought! It makes music for the mind. We can never have too much beauty in our lives!
What a fine start to my day: a delicious cup of coffee, the splendid words of a favorite writer, this week's column well in hand and the framework of next week's in my mind. If only those taxes were done!
Poof! ... Suddenly my nice day disintegrated in disaster. Oh, oh, oh! Multi-tasking isn't always wise. I started a salad by setting two eggs to boil and then turning them off for 20 minutes per The Barefoot Contessa. I put a frozen, cooked chicken breast in the microwave for five minutes.
I went back to the office to work on some materials. Something happened to the blankety-blank word processor. I am not patient about technology. While damning the computer, I smelled smoke. "Oh dear! I forgot to turn off the eggs." I ran to the kitchen through the smoke-filled house.
It wasn't the eggs. The chicken was a blackened mess. I threw plate and all out in the garage and frantically rushed around, opening doors. I knew what was going to happen because this was the fourth time in three years - and, gentle reader, it wasn't always my fault. Sure enough, the siren on the top of the house went off, and the fire trucks arrived. Our neighbor came out in her yard. Oh, the embarrassment of it!
Meanwhile, Bill, who, but of course, had been taking a nap, woke up and came to kitchen. "What were you cooking, anyway?" "Our dinner!" I thundered. "I hope the microwave isn't ruined," he said. I put some frozen chicken planks in the conventional oven. Then I put them back in the freezer to chill. When I took them out to cut them up Bill said, "I don't think they're done.” Teeth clenched, I put them back in the oven.
While he tore up lettuce, I fried bacon. Of course, he'd put it in the freezer, so I had to untangle a frozen lump. "Rose Mary, you didn't get all the shells off the eggs." While stirring a smidgeon of bacon grease into some salad dressing, I knocked the bowl - one of my favorites - off the counter. Glass and greasy liquid covered the floor and one of my bare feet.
Sir Galahad took off one of his loafers. "Here, dear, put this on the foot that's in the glass." "I can't put on your shoe - I'd get salad dressing in it!" I roared. "And not only this, the computer - including your files - is messed up."
At last the kitchen was cleaned up, and dinner was ready. I said, "Pour me a glass of champagne and don't put the cork back in!"
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