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Life Plinko

I finally watched an episode of The Wall.  It’s a game show and it involves people answering questions and a giant game of plinko.  Some people are on-screen and others are off-stage, and no one can communicate with one another.  It’s like chance on overdrive.  You need a lot of things to line up — most outside of your control — in order to win.

I watched the show because I read about it on FiveThirtyEight:

As the orbs skitter and kerplunk their way down the wall, the contestants scream, beg and plead with the wall to deliver the orb into the desired slot. They beseech; they supplicate; they importune. Actually, the only really fitting verb for what they do is “pray.” They pray to the wall.

And it’s precisely this deeply believed illusion — that you can fight fate, that you can control the randomness, that prayer works if you just pray hard enough — that makes the show so fascinating. Don’t get me wrong: When the show’s on, I, the supposedly cold, statistically minded viewer, deeply believe that I can control the randomness, too.

The one episode we saw didn’t feel like entertainment.  It wasn’t like Jeopardy where it comes down to your base of knowledge or Ellen’s Game of Games where everyone is having a great time having whipped cream blown into their face.  This was painful to observe.  I wanted the couple to win.  At the very least, I didn’t want them to walk away disappointed.


Adding to the tension is that you can’t be contestant twice.  I mean, maybe you can, but let’s assume that contestants get one chance to play the game and see the outcome.  There is no time to learn, no time to gather information, no time to try something new.  It’s just chance.

And I don’t know which is worse: to do the same thing over and over again, trying new things as we do in family building, or getting one shot and then walking away knowing that the outcome was out of your hands.

I have prayed to pee sticks.  I have sat with my hands clasped in prayer, watching the window.   I have asked it to show me what I want to see as if it has the power to decide whether or not I’m pregnant.

The oversized and minuscule tangible reminders of chance.

January 21, 2018   No Comments

677th Friday Blog Roundup

I don’t do yoga on snow days.  I sleep in instead as a treat and get up when I would normally be finishing yoga.  Then I attempt to go through the rest of my day.  This is how that looks:

Morning: I’m going to make bread and soup for dinner.  I’m going to write three documents and complete dozens of small tasks.  I’m even going to get downtime in the afternoon!  I’m going to finish it off by finally scheduling some appointments.

Noon: My brain feels like mud.  I am not getting enough done.  I’m going to make the bread, but I’ll buy the soup.  I’ll be fine if I get one document done and complete the tasks.  And I can at least schedule the appointments.

Afternoon: I didn’t make the dough for the bread.  Fine.  I’ll buy the bread.  I’ll buy the soup.  At least I got two documents done and the tasks complete.  I haven’t made a single appointment, and I’m definitely not getting downtime right now.

Dinner: (Eating store-bought bread and soup) What happened?

Evening: I’m going to do better tomorrow.  I’m going to bed early, and I’m going to wake up and do yoga.  And then I’m going to power through things without taking a breath.

Night: We are totally on track to have lights out by 11 pm at the latest.

Midnight: Why are we still awake?

Rinse, wash, repeat because the snow keeps coming.  It’s like my brain becomes sludge any time my schedule is thrown off course.


Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Anabegins has a post that resonated with me, especially when you look above and see my own experience with spring winding.  (Or, I guess the times that my spring becomes kinked?). There is a part that stands out: “I also remind myself of all the things I shouldn’t be doing: no wine, no snacks, no phone in the evenings… It takes many turns of the spring to make sure I’ll keep moving all day.”  So there’s the to-do list, but there’s also the don’t list.  And what happens when they’re both equal in length and everything is looming over you?  Gives me food for thought.

NotMyLinesYet has a post about those cycles where bench warming has a silver lining.  I like this post because it’s aspirational.  Maybe sometimes an imposed break can be a good thing, and it takes an open mind to see that.

Lastly, Kmina’s mother died, and she writes about it in a brief post.  She is having a very hard time as she is still processing her father’s death.  Please circle the wagons and give her support.

The roundup to the Roundup: My brain becomes sludge the moment my schedule is thrown off-course.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between January 12th and 19th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

January 19, 2018   2 Comments

Free Advice 1: Sponsor a Puffin

Every so often (by which I mean about three to four times per week), I come up with a great business plan for an existing establishment or organization, and I share these ideas with Josh at around 11:34 pm when he is trying to fall asleep.  He suggested that I stop holding in these ideas and instead share them with the world.  So that’s what I’m doing.  You’re welcome.

When my idea only works for a single organization, I’ll send them the idea directly.  But the ones I put up here are free for the taking for any enterprising, forward-thinking organization.

So while this first idea is for the National Audubon Society or Oceana (or really, let’s include RSPB, the National Wildlife Federation, and the World Wildlife Fund), there is no reason why another organization couldn’t put this plan into motion.

Background information for this idea: I decided to sponsor a puffin.  I went online to look at my puffin sponsoring options.  For $100 per year, I could sponsor a puffin through the National Audubon Society.  I would get a photo of a specific puffin that I would name Cromarty after the estuary listed in the Shipping Forecast.  (We fall asleep to the Shipping Forecast every night.) For a one time fee of $50, I could sponsor a puffin through Oceana.  I would not get my own real puffin, but they would give me a stuffed animal puffin as a gift.  Very appealing.

Or I could make a donation through the RSPB, choose the amount, and get a stuffed animal AND postcards.

Let’s just say that there are many, many, many puffin sponsoring options out there if you Google enough.  But none of these options give you the chance to sponsor your very own immortal puffin.

Hear me out.

Cromarty the Puffin

Let’s say that you are the type of person to get attached very easily and love very deeply.  You want to sponsor a puffin, but you hate the idea that said bird will one day die.  Yes, you know puffins easily live into their twenties, but still, let’s say you don’t want to think about your sponsored bird’s death when you’re in your sixties.  You could go the general route with Oceana, sponsoring any and all puffins, but you really relish the idea of knowing that your puffin, Cromarty, is somewhere in the world.

This is where an organization could appeal to this very niche population: people who want to be lied to about their puffin.  For a set yearly price, that organization would tell the person they were sponsoring an immortal puffin.  (This idea works for other animals, too.)  They would take hundreds of pictures of the same puffin but only mail one per year.  They would give the person an update on the whereabouts and activities of their immortal puffin.  The location and activities do not need to be real; the person is fine believing anything told to her about her immortal puffin.  The person could make an additional lump sum donation so they could bequeath this immortal puffin to someone in their will once they’re gone and the new person would receive the yearly update and photo of the immortal puffin.

Which organization will jump at this idea to create a fictitious set of immortal puffins open for sponsorship?  My promise to that organization (as long as you have a decent rating on something like Charity Navigator) is to continuously promote their program via blog and social media and get those immortal puffins to good homes.  National Audubon Society?  Oceana?  RSPB?  National Wildlife Federation?  World Wildlife Fund?

You all have programs for mortal puffins, but which one will be the first to start a sponsorship program for immortal puffins?  Talk to me.

Do you think this is a good idea?  Are there any holes in the plan I haven’t considered yet?

Image: David Klaasen via Unsplash

January 17, 2018   5 Comments

Controlling Annoyances

I read the best piece of advice.  It was about controlling your emotions when you’re getting annoyed by the small things in life. ” Annoyances are small, not serious problems, and it would make all of us and the people around us happier if we could learn to stop being bothered by them.”  Amen.

And the advice was spot on and all do-able, especially the idea of telling yourself you’re being watched and acting accordingly.  Or not telling yourself the story of your annoyance while you’re annoyed because constructing the story you’re going to tell others actually gets you more irritated.  (Um… so I shouldn’t write blog posts in my head when I discover Wallaby maple yogurt has been discontinued.)  And I like the idea of giving my imaginary self what I want even if my actual self can’t have it.

The problem, of course, is dividing the annoyances from the more-than-just-annoyances.  I’m sure there is a scientific scale that ranks irritants from neutral to boiling rage, so there has to be a term for something that is more than being annoyed that you have to wait in line but less than having a screaming match with someone or watching the news.  (What?  Am I the only person who feels like screaming every time she looks at the news?)

All of those listed steps helped to curb my frustration when it was at a low, manageable level.  But rage sort of feels like that episode of I Love Lucy when they’re working in the chocolate factory.  When the chocolates (or annoyances) first start moving down the conveyor belt, it’s simple to deal with them quickly and effectively.  It’s when the chocolates (or annoyances) start moving at a brisk clip that pretending someone is watching or giving my imaginary self what I want is too flimsy to hold up to the irritant.

Still.  Better than being annoyed at the truly little things?  Now I just need help figuring out the annoyances that are truly annoyances and the things that are more than annoyances.  And the annoyances that stem from strangers vs. people I know; the impersonal from the personal, which adds an additional layer to an annoyance.

Read the advice in the articles and tell me what you think.

January 16, 2018   6 Comments

#Microblog Mondays 177: Delurk

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


I’ve been celebrating International Blog Delurking Week (the first week in January) for 11 years.  11 times I’ve asked the people who silently read to raise their hand for one comment and then go back to silently reading.

And then this year I forgot.  We were all the way through the week when Parul wrote and said, “Uh, aren’t you doing International Blog Delurking Week?”  Thank you, Parul, for reminding me AND for making the badge this year.

So if you are reading, let me know you are reading by simply saying, “here!” or anything else you want to say.


Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.

1. How to Deal With Disappointment 9. Persnickety 17. Middle Girl
2. Unpregnant Chicken 10. Jess 18. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
3. Raven 11. Virginia 19. Not My Lines Yet
4. balaka 12. Journeywoman 20. Laughing IS Conceivable
5. Isabelle 13. Suzy at Someday Somewhere 21. Different Shores
6. Lori Lavender Luz 14. Mali (A Separate Life) 22. Inexplicably Missing
7. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 15. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)
8. Shilpa 16. Mali (No Kidding)

January 15, 2018   29 Comments

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