I'm excited to share the results of the first month of Unfinished, and I hope you'll share some of your results, too! (You can read all about this project here if you missed it.) So what did I learn this month?
1. In addition to the many reasons why things go unfinished around here, I have another reason: embarrassment. I missed this one on the original list, because I hadn't really thought of it as a reason yet. But it is, for me: sometimes something is so far past its window of reasonable timeliness that I am actually embarrassed, so then just slip into a solid state of denial. I discovered that finishing something that falls in this category can actually cause a physical reaction of shaky relief in me.
2. It was really fun to move some things off my list. And a little contagious. A small measure of success made me excited for more.
3. Accountability is a powerful thing, and setting a deadline for the end of the month made a big difference because I didn't want to show up to this party empty-handed : )
Here's what I finished:
MAIL MANAGEMENT | This was a big one. I had many things that needed my attention: wrapping up the prep and sending of some very belated thank you gifts for Phone Photography Project 2 (I sent the first half before Thanksgiving, then stalled on the rest because of Thanksgiving and December); finishing up Christmas mail (correcting addresses that were sent back, writing a couple of extended letters to include in some cards, etc.); moving some other package mail out of the house (at least one person reading this will think I am totally on top of my mail because I sent something the very day I mentioned it, but believe me, it's all a matter of good timing for that one thing).
Two other big things in this category that deserve mention: I replied to two letters that I've been meaning to reply to for... years, actually. (Hence the embarrassment.) It's so silly that I didn't already do it, but I guess I was just waiting for the magical moment where I had time to do it properly, and then that time never really came, and then I kept putting it off until the moment presented itself, then I watched five full seasons of Boardwalk Empire, and then I still hadn't done it. One of the recipients is someone I'm still in touch with and was just so happy to receive a letter that it didn't matter, and the other person? Well, she may or may not even remember who I am, and might have been totally creeped out by the sheer volume of stuff I'd been earmarking to send (i.e. think multiple years of Christmas cards that needed an extended letter but were just clipped together waiting for the magical moment where I had time to explain why I hadn't written back). Anyway. All sent, HALLELUJAH!
ADDRESS BOOK MANAGEMENT | I am an address book girl. I got my first one in elementary school, then used it until after I got married and replaced it with one exactly like you see here. I replaced that one about ten years ago with one exactly like it (pictured on top) and used it until this week, when I transferred everything over to the one you see pictured on bottom. What can I say? I am a creature of habit, and I found the best address book ever and fully intend to buy two more to squirrel away for when I destroy this new and pristine one. In case you're wondering, it's this one. In addition to transferring and cleaning up my address book (and cleaning OUT my address book—the stuff I stuff inside its pages is comical) I also worked on correcting/updating my phone contacts, syncing correct addresses from Facebook Messenger, texts, Christmas card envelopes, etc. This was a much overdue project that I meant to do last year, but didn't. When more than one Christmas card came back with an incorrect address that was right in my address book but wrong on my phone or vice versa and I discovered that the same thing had happened last year, too (hello first cousins!)—it was time to sit myself down and plow through this task.
It's possible I am the only person I know who thinks this much about mail. Everyone has their thing, I guess.
SAD STORY, HAPPY ENDING. | You might remember that in 2011 I did a terrible, horrible, uncharacteristic thing. Inspired by the whole idea of tying up loose ends this year, I finally put on my big girl pants and paid Canon to fix my lens (that I have in fact been using despite being vaguely broken since it happened). Seriously. I wish I hadn't waited so long, because OH MY GOSH IT'S LIKE HAVING A NEW LENS. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Canon. Why did I wait so long to do this? Sigh. All's well that ends well, though, even if I let it lurk in the background for years.
THE GREAT CALDECOTT PROJECT OF 2013-2014 | Stay tuned for a full wrap-up of this project next week, but for the purposes of this post: we finished, we finished, we finished! Gracie, Bridget and I decided last February that we were going to read every single book on the list. We were making excellent progress for a while, because the library system in Bossier Parish had a full set of Caldecotts in the main branch and kept them together on the same shelf so it was easy to grab a handful every time we were at the library. However, when we moved, we discovered that not only was there no Caldecott shelf, there wasn't a full set at any of the library branches in Montgomery—making it very difficult to track them down for a variety of reasons (i.e. you have to pay to request a book from another branch if it's checked out when you request it, there are many miles between branches and I already drive 80x more than I care to this year). But in the spirit of getting things done, I bit the bullet and drove all over town tracking down books and WE DID IT! Just in time for the 2015 Caldecott to be announced next week, in fact.
So how about you? Link a blog post or picture (you can use a web browser link for an Instagram picture) of something you finished in January! Comments are fine, too. There is fuel in other people's successes, and I am excited to selfishly snatch it for February momentum. Speaking of which: check back on Monday, because February's interview guest is going to inspire you. Here's to a productive February!