The five Rs to getting back on track

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[Image credit: Chaiwat]

I can hardly believe one-third of the year is already behind us.  Which means there’s only nine months remaining to plow through our list of goals — or resolutions — until it’s time to start all over with a clean slate.  In the event you’ve forgotten your good intentions over the past 90 days, the following five Rs may help you get back on track:

  • Revisit your list of resolutions.  What was #3, again?  A few days ago, I pulled out my list of 24 goals and found I’ve only completed or dabbled in eight of them so far.
  • Revise any of the objectives you’ve outgrown.  No sense in putting effort toward something you no longer care about.
  • Recharge your excitement.  What made you want to tackle these goals in the first place?
  • Recommit to pulling out your list on a regular basis — or posting it where you see it often.   It doesn’t hurt to have a visual reminder that you do have a purpose.

This should be a working list, one where you have permission to customize it as your life circumstances change or the mood strikes you.  And don’t forget the best tip of all:

  • Reward yourself for each accomplished resolution.  This can be as easy as a new pair of heels as soon as you learn how to dance, or as complicated as planning a trip to New York City to pitch your completed novel to an agent.

How are your goals taking shape in 2012?

Grammar lesson #4: Whose or who’s line is it anyway?

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Here’s another question about the matter of possession.  Thankfully, we can answer this one the same way we’ve tackled the topic of its and it’s.  Again, if the word is a conjunction as in the case of who’s, we’re simply dealing with the shortened version of who is; without the apostrophe it means belonging to.  So whose line is it anyway? is correctly stated because we want to know who possesses the line.  Otherwise, it would read who is line is it anyway? which is clearly wrong.  As noted in previous grammar lessons, repeating the sentence out loud will ensure you know whose line it is every time, and you’ll also know who’s (who is ) not following this tip when the incorrect form is used.

Whose common grammar slip does this one belong to, or who’s without fault … are you?

Starting from scratch

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It’s never too late — never too late to start over,
Never too late to be happy. ~ Jane Fonda

What if you’re middle-aged (considering you’ll live to be 90) and you have no idea what you want to do or be when you grow up?  Imagine you’ve also been asked by a close friend what your deepest passion is, but you look at her (or him) with a blank stare because you really have no idea.  Perhaps you haven’t given it much consideration before.  You’ve been too busy living the life you began adulthood with — raising a family, with no time to cultivate your own dreams, or you took a job you really didn’t want, simply to pay the bills.  But you know there has to be more.  You just have no idea what it could be.  You long to discover it, though.  You wish beyond anything else there was something new and exciting to get up for each morning, that single most driving force that may actually be the catalyst to define you.  Perhaps it’s not really starting over, but more like moving forward.  Either way, if you’re still breathing, then you still have time to figure it out.  You still have time to find happiness.

What is your deepest passion, the one that defines you?

Listening to your heart

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Money may be an issue.  Distance can create challenges.  Lack of communication, miscommunication, commitments, poor timing — these are a few of the logistics that try to pound a nail into the coffin of our dreams, when the heart cries out something completely different.  I wonder if it’s possible, then, to don the blinders in order to maintain focus on our desires — without allowing reason to squash our hopes.  After all, common sense doesn’t always take into consideration that certain things defy logic, and that’s just the way it is.  Period, end of story.  Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer, or a beach bum or a multitude of other wishes, but you have a family to support, you’re allergic to sand or you’re not the throw caution to the wind type.  That doesn’t mean your heart isn’t talking.  You simply may not be listening hard enough.  The outcome, the one you work toward and dream of every day, doesn’t have to change.  You do.

Never let the odds keep you from doing what you
know in your heart you were meant to do. ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Does your head tell you one thing, while your heart beats out a different tune?

A day late and a dollar short

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I have noticed that the people who are late are often
so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them.
~ E.V. Lucas

Punctuality has always been a problem for me.  When I make plans, I like to arrange them between such-and-such times, because on-the-dot causes me a mini panic attack.  My mother used to say I’d be late for my own wedding — or was it my own funeral?  Either way, when the tables are turned and I’ve sat in the doctor’s office twiddling my thumbs for 20 minutes after my scheduled appointment was supposed to begin, I get grouchy.  Which I understand is a double standard.  One of my friends suggested I change the clocks in my home to reflect a later time than it really is, so I’d be fooled into thinking I have less time in reality.  Unfortunately, I’ve tried that with the clock in my car, but because I know my secret, I would just calculate the real time in my mind.  Now that I think about it, punctuality may be a virtuous goal to work toward in 2013.  Or maybe I’ll tackle it in baby steps now, so when January 1st rolls around, I’ll be right on time.  After all, with a future brimming with happily-ever-after, I’d really hate to be late for my own Someday.  Or a dollar short.

Are you typically an early bird, right on time or is running late a fact of your life?

Word-of-the-month: perspicacity (noun)

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[Image credit: Master isolated images]

At my age, and with all the books I’ve devoured over the years, I figured I’d probably run across all of the words out there.  In fact, for nearly three decades, I’ve affectionately been dubbed “the walking dictionary.”  So when I come across a new word now and then, I can’t help but be excited to add another to the vocabulary coffer.  After all, the dictionary is always being updated, so why not me?  My contribution for this month is perspicacity, a word that showed up in a Dean Koontz novel a friend of mine was reading.  According to, perspicacity is the keenness of mental perception and understanding.  Synonyms include: astuteness, shrewdness, clear-sightedness, cleverness, intelligence, sharpness, acuity, insightfulness and wisdom.   Used in a sentence, it may read: The young writer displayed perspicacity beyond her years in matters of character development.  And now that I’m familiar with this word, I feel like I’ve gained a bit of perspicacity, myself.

What new word have you learned lately?

Nobody’s perfect (not even me)

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

The other day, I posted on Facebook and misspelled the word rode as road.  Not surprisingly, one of my friends commented right away.  For a split second, I contemplated deleting the status update.  But despite my grammar lessons (and upcoming “word-of-the-month” posts), I decided to let my imperfection hang out there.  After all, I’m the first to admit I’m not without fault.  And when we are in a hurry (like another recent update where I wrote soups on … without the apostrophe of all things), we oftentimes overlook words that look right because they are right — except for their context.   Other words I’ve noticed incorrectly substituted (by others, of course) include: loose for lose (not tight and not winning, respectively), affect (verb) versus effect (noun) and don’t even get me started on their, there and they’re (belonging to, location and they are).  Hopefully, your audience will be as forgiving as mine and laugh right along with you.  Because I guarantee … they’re not perfect, either.

What is a notable boo-boo you frequently see spelled correctly, but is used incorrectly?

Try it, you’ll like it

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Remember forcing yourself to attend a function or participate in something you really didn’t want to, and then discovering it wasn’t as bad as you expected?  You may have even enjoyed yourself a tiny bit.  Or perhaps a lot.  That used to happen to me all of the time as a young girl when I had little choice over my circumstances.  Now that I’m a grown-up, however, I have more opportunities to decide if I’m in — or out.   Although I’m getting better at avoiding commitment at the get-go — when I’m convinced it’s something I’m not interested in — I sometimes vacillate this way and that with my decision-making.  Like yesterday morning when I decided to skip the gym to catch another hour of shut-eye.  I told myself I could bring a change of clothing with me to work and head over for some quick cardio at quitting time … if I felt up to it.  I gave myself a huge out, but forced myself to go anyway.  And I’m so glad, because not only did I run my second (and a half) mile this week (pain-free!), but I met a potential new friend in the parking lot.  Plus, I felt a whole lot better than if I had spent the better part of the evening lounging on the sofa.

When was the last time you did something you didn’t want to, but were pleasantly surprised with the outcome?

A cyber burnout

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[Image credit: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot]

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a self-imposed time out.  It’s when enough is enough and you just need to step away from technology and all its demands.  Not the commitments that are necessary to keep business running smoothly or remain available for family, but the ones that take us away from the things we should be doing.  In fact, sometimes I’d like to declare an email bankruptcy — an opportunity to purge every message and start over with a clean inbox.  Other times I tell myself: only one more game of Words With Friends and then I’ll start the laundry, do the dusting, make dinner, work on taxes, write 100 words, fill in the blank.  When it gets to a point where your life revolves more around your IP address than the location you call home, it may be time to pull the plug for a pre-determined period in order to regroup.  For example, I’ve known friends who have taken a hiatus from Facebook for weeks at a time to focus on whatever it is that needs attention on their side of the monitor.  I’m getting close to that place, myself.

Does your real life take a back seat to the cyber world, or is it well-balanced between the two?

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