Micromanager? Not Me!

Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

Published the week of March 13, 2017 in the Albert Lea Tribune

This past week someone asked me if I would mind if they changed or tweaked an idea that was birthed from my brain. I, of course, answered, “No problem.” I actually meant that. A few years ago I probably would not have been so nonchalant about someone tweaking a vision I had for a venue.

 I no longer have the need to be in charge. In fact, I don’t like being in charge anymore. I no longer feel threatened if someone feels something could be made better by tweaking or adding their ideas to something I created. I now like collaboration. However, I will say when it comes to my books I don’t always agree with the tweaking, and I will fight tooth and nail in leaving a line or a word or something I feel I believe in and is necessary to a story, but it is not because I want to have the last word but because I want to put out the best work.

I must admit I am still a micromanager. Aren’t we all? We micromanage the little things in our life — that we possibly can control. That can lead to amusing conflicts in our households.

I am the drawer organizer in the kitchen — or at least I try to be the organizer. When the dishwasher gets unloaded, my husband is our dishwasher unloader person, I am the person who hand washes if we have pots and pans. This division of labor works well. I don’t mind washing dishes, but I dislike unloading the dishwasher for some unknown reason. He doesn’t like to wash dishes. This is where one area of micromanagement shows up in our relationship.

He rearranges the dishes I put in the dishwasher. I rearrange the dishes he puts back in the cupboard. He doesn’t understand why I don’t load the dishwasher right. I must admit I don’t understand his formula. I don’t understand why he can’t put things back correctly in the cupboard. My theory is that mixing blades should go with the mixer. Gadgets should go in the gadget drawer. We don’t get each other, and we constantly jockey for our way of arranging things.

When we had the wastebasket sitting in the kitchen, I felt it sat too close to the laundry room door, making me have to twist my body to open the door and squeeze in the laundry room. I would set it where I wanted it. A few hours later it would be moved a few inches to where he wanted it closer to the door.

Our cats get confused when I move their cat dishes where I think they should be, and he moves their cat dishes where he thinks they need to be.

When I fry bacon it is on a low flame and takes a little longer so grease doesn’t splatter all over the kitchen. When he fries bacon, the flame is high. When he is walking past the bacon frying while I am cooking, the flame sneakily gets turned up. I slink past the stove when he is frying bacon and turn down the flame. We micromanage and drive each other crazy with these little things.

Our life becomes a negotiation over the little things, and most of the time neither one of us realizes we are doing it.

I think the same is said for volunteer organizations and our church organizations or even our interactions with our friends. Many of us have a tendency to own what we do, and not give others the chance to help us make our environment or activity spectacular because of team input.

I realized the past few years I probably steamrolled over many people in my volunteer activities or work situations. I so protected my ideas and my vision that I couldn’t see others creative and constructive suggestions would make it better. It was my way or the highway.

A good manager values input, can sift out what will work and incorporate others’ ideas into their vision.

I rejected others’ input for a few reasons. One of those reasons was insecurity about myself and my ideas. It was a threat if anyone threw out an idea that didn’t jive with mine or told me something was wrong. That would make me more rigid in my managing skills. I wanted it my way. If someone rejected an idea, I would feel it was a rejection of me as much as what I had suggested or written. In order to keep that control, I was the one who had to be right.

I make mistakes, and this week I made some doozies on a script I wrote. I make mistakes because I am not really a detail person, and so I make detail goofs. I realized how far I had come when I took ribbing about, and was laughing right along, and able to own up to the fact that — yes, it was my mistake. Although I had made the changes, I didn’t save them so no matter which way you looked at it — I flubbed.

I haven’t grown up enough yet though to not be a micromanager in my house. I must admit it keeps things interesting because each of us never knows where something is going to be moved on any given day depending on our need to control for the day. I can’t control the big things but by gosh, my mixer blades will be in the right drawer.

 

Extra Trash or a Stash?

First published in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of January 31, 2016

Something About Nothing

Do you have a stack of magazines you haven’t read from years back? I do. It wasn’t an intentional stash. I would receive my AARP magazine or my Good Housekeeping and intend to read it the day it was delivered. Of course, something else would come up, and I would put it on the stack. Today I am sorting through the stack.

Let me clarify that I love magazines. They are part of my reading world. The first magazine I picked up was an AARP magazine from 2015. I glanced through it and put it in recycling. I felt what was relevant in 2015 won’t fly in 2017.

The next magazine was a writer’s magazine. I put that in the to-read pile. I plan on reading it today. I decided to go through my stack and designate today as a reading day.

I have a little eccentricity problem. I also keep magazine pages. I will read a magazine and find an article I think I might want to reference in the future, so I tear it out and put it in a folder in my file cabinet. I do the same thing with recipes I want to try. With the recipes, you might remember I don’t really like to cook, but I love to save recipes for the day when I am going to become a master chef. And then — wait for it — I never look at that folder in the file cabinet again until I am cleaning it out.

Once a year I clean out my file cabinet. I pull the folder out and decide I probably don’t need anything in that folder and decide to toss it — but then I stop and think that I might have stashed something else in the folder in a moment of hurry, I check the items in the folder. You guessed it ­— when going through it, I look at the articles or recipe, and it is almost like the first time I saw it, and I decide to put it back in the folder. The same goes for product or appliance manuals. Does anyone ever go back and read appliance manuals? I have appliance manuals from appliances I don’t remember ever having.

This year has been a better year. My house is getting emptier. It hasn’t been hard to let go of some things, but anything to do with reading makes me feel as if I am giving or throwing a part of me away. That includes books. I love books.

E-books have simplified my life. When I take a weekend or longer trip I don’t carry around the suitcases or bags full of books that I usually do. I put the Kindle in my purse, and I have plenty to read for as long as I am gone. Getting rid of books and magazines I can touch and feel and smell seems sacrilegious — there is something about the smell of books that make me feel as if I am eating and smelling a gourmet meal. It is the book lover inside of me that has an insatiable appetite.

My magazine stack isn’t just one type of magazine. I have Good Housekeeping, AARP, Do It Yourself, Guideposts, Prevention and Writer’s Digest. I have varied tastes. If I am in Barnes and Noble or a bookstore, the magazine section is a magnet for me. It happens in the grocery store, too, and in the grocery store those magazines are there tempting me to buy as I check out. What’s another little item purchase on my grocery bill?

You would think, considering all the magazines in my stack, they would make me smarter. You would think I could ace those trivia questions on trivia night because of my magazine stash. The problem with that scenario is I first have to read the magazines, and then I have to remember what I read.

My stash is going today. Some will go to the library. Some will go to recycling. It is going to be a marathon reading day. If you catch me tonight I might actually remember something I read, but if I don’t, it actually doesn’t matter to me unless it comes up in a trivia question next week. I am reading for the pure joy of reading. I will immerse myself in fluff, facts, home improvement, decorating, inspiration, meditation, and stories that will give me a brief respite from what is happening today in our world. And if I don’t remember it and I keep the books and magazines, when I go through them again to toss, it will seem like the first time I have read them. Sometimes having a short memory is a plus. Look at all the new reading material I have.

Add on note: My paper stash of magazines is almost gone. Yikes, now my Kindle is full, and it is telling me I have to delete some books and magazines. Does that mean I can’t keep the last year of DIY on my Kindle? How can I ever let it go to the cloud? What if the cloud fails and it rains out to cyberspace all my reading material? My vision is cloudy. Will that vision become reality? Will my cloud get full, too, and they will tell me to get off of my cloud? I guess The Rolling Stones were visionaries when they told us to get off of their cloud. Who knew?

It’s The Cozy Times Chronicle!

Today I have Lisa A. Kelley and her Cozy Times Chronicle. We will find out a little about life as a book reviewer. Lisa is on my blog and I am on hers with Fuchsia’s Cozy Times Chronicle. Make sure you read both of ours to find out the lengths we go to  read books.

cozy-time

Editor: Lisa A, Kelley     Staff Reporter: Lisa A. Kelley     Staff Photographer: Lisa A. Kelley

 

feetThe Glamorous Life of a Cozy Mystery Reviewer/Blogger

I get out of bed at the crack of 7:00, sometime 8:00, okay . . . sometimes’s 9:00 AM. I go through my morning grooming routine, which takes a solid five minutes, unless I’m in a  hurry. I change into my work clothes, a fresh nightgown and my not always so fresh slippers a.k.a my scuff scuffs. It’s on to the kitchen to prepare a healthy breakfast of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies and my drink of choice for the day. Today it is Hawaiian Punch.

Armed with my nourishing meal, I head to my office, also known as my living room recliner. I  power up my laptop, and check my schedule. I am now in my blogger/reviewer/social media networking zone. My job (volunteer work really) . . . I read, blog, review, blog, Facebook, blog, Tweet, blog, and repeat.  Seven days a week, with the exception of holidays and sick days, I am plugged in.

Of course I do get out of the house. Sometimes I work in my mobile office, as I was doing when writing this article. My mobile office, a 2004 Chevy Malibu named “The Reverend”, is spacious, and offers a wonderful view of wherever I may be parked at the time, waiting for a sibling while they are at an appointment.

And there you have my glamorous reviewer/blogger life.

You know what? I love every single second of it!


Brick and Mortar Forever!

band-nThere is nothing like a real life, walk in the front door, pay at the register bookstore. I adore them! I could spend every day in one. The only thing holding me back is, my town, Dover, DE, capitol of the first state doesn’t have any bookstores. They’ve all closed down. And they were very small, without big selections. Over half of the stock of one of them was used books. (I’ll spare you my germ phobia.)

My sister(s) and I will day trips to our favorite Barnes & Noble, which is a hour and a half away from us, in another state. We do have one a bit closer in state, but it’s part of a huge mall, and the parking is a nightmare! (I digress). When I walk into “my” Barnes & Noble, I feel my worries and stress just fall away. My sister(s) and I stake out our favorite table at the café, and prepare to spend a day in paradise. It’s nothing for us to get there when the doors open, and stay until 2 or 3:00 in the afternoon. (One day I’m expecting them to start charging us rent.) Settled at my table, a stack of books and magazines surrounding me, and a cold root beer sitting before me, I am whole. I am at peace. I am home. 

I enjoy surfing though Amazon, and Barnes & Noble online, but nothing can compare to the feeling, the smell, the sight of a real bookstore. Forever may they stand!


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Pets in Cozy Mysteries

emmyI love the wonderful pets that are featured in cozy mysteries. The adorable cats and dogs (mostly) have such big personalities. Some even have sleuthing talents just like their owners.

While a lot of cozy pets are completely fictional, many are based on real life pets of the authors. Some are even based on, and named after reader’s pets!

I would love to have my Emma Belle a.k.a. Emmy show up in a cozy. However, there are a couple of issues. While Emmy is a little ole love bug, all she does is sleep. And when she’s awake, well, she has the most disinterested, bored look on her face. Think Garfield the cat’s expression on a dog’s face, and there you have my girl. Every scene with Emmy in a book would read something like, Emmy was asleep as usual or Emma looked at me  in that bored way.

No, my fur baby just doesn’t seem to be cozy mystery material. That being said, I couldn’t love her more if I tried.

You can find Lisa at:

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LK & MB Cozy Mystery Review Group

And in honor of guesting on Lisa’s Blog, Today January 25, all my books on Kindle are .99. One day only. To find them click this link. Julie Seedorf, Amazon Author Page

Thank you Lisa for being here.