You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached

Ever feel like that? I feel like that… um, on a regular basis. Pretty much every day.

Do you ever feel like this?

Do you ever feel like this?

There is so much minutiae in our lives (don’t you love that word “minutiae?”) that it’s sometimes overwhelming. Actually, it’s often overwhelming. There are groceries to get–or in my case, since my DH does the shopping (bless him!), groceries to remember to put on the store list, or he won’t get them. This is why, as I write this, we are collecting kitchen trash in one of those little grocery store plastic bags. No one remembered to put “trash bags” on the list.

There are appointments to remember–dentists, doctors, the tax accountant. My husband’s in the process of doing some work on the garage, so there are things to remember related to that. There are school projects for our daughter, and programs we want to attend for her. There are things to do related to those appointments–medical info to collect, tax info to collect (and with three businesses, there’s a lot of that), lists of things that need to be done to the garage by the construction guy. Oh, and we’re almost out of turtle food. And will you pick up this prescription on the way home?

And that’s not even counting my to-do list relating to my books and being an author–a to-do list that’s even larger when you’re also your own publisher. I thought I had a lot to remember before I published. I’d always heard that it got worse after you published, but that’s one of those things, like having a kid, that you know mentally before, but have no idea until you have one, how much more there is to do. (And like kids, it’s very worthwhile, so I’m not complaining, just explaining.)

Add in the holidays, and there are presents to buy, parties to attend (or host, with all the additional things to remember for that), kids’ programs to see, wrapping to do, cards to buy, sign, seal and send….

Just typing that is making me stressed, and it’s over until December comes back around!

How do you manage it all?

I used to write notes. But there were problems with that. One, there ended up being notes lying all over the place. My husband still does this, and our daughter and I are constantly clearing the clutter, tiny slips of paper, used envelopes, sticky notes with a phone number or a cryptic few words scrawled on it. When I ask him if he still needs them, he almost never does, but invariably, if one gets tossed without us checking first, that’s one he still needs. As for me, when this was my MO, the biggest problem with the notes wasn’t even the clutter, but I’d lose the note.

One year my company bought me a big, thick day planner, but it was so big and thick (and heavy), it never left my desk. It did help me with stuff I had to do there, but did little that a to-do list I’d scribble on a piece of paper didn’t.

Cozi Planner screenshot

My Cozi to-do list: It’s frightening

Now we have Cozi Organizer to help, but even that’s imperfect. First, we have to remember to put something on it to begin with (trash bags?). Then, if it’s an appointment, we can put in a reminder that will ring an alert on our phone or email us at the specified amount of time before it, but that only helps when I’m actually sitting next to my phone and hear the notification when it goes off. My daughter got a tablet computer for Christmas, and one of the first apps she downloaded was Cozi. She’d used it on her computer before, but that only helped if she was actually sitting at her computer when she thought of something to add to it, or if she had her phone in hand when a text notification came in. The tablet is in her hands enough that this will help, one hopes. 😀

What do you do to rein in all the minutiae of day-to-day life? Do you take it in stride, or are you constantly in danger of forgetting something, like I am? What tools do you use to help, and how do you get the most out of them? Please tell me I’m not alone in feeling like the person in the photo!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.


Wacky Words: So When did Google Become a Verb?

My husband invented a new verb today: Cozi. As in, “I won’t forget anything at the store, because I cozied it.”

cozi screenshot

Cozi is a noun - a great, online organizer. Did you know it's also a verb?

Cozi is a free, online organizer, and it’s awesome. It lets you set up a shared, family calendar so everyone knows when the kid’s music lessons are, what days Dad has to work (my husband’s hours are irregular), and when the critters need to be taken to the vet. Cozi also lets you set up To-Do lists, Shopping lists, and add things to a family journal. So if I think of a writing-related task I need to do while I’m at work, I can log on to the Cozi website and add it to my To-Do list. Even better, I can do this on my smartphone with the Cozi app, if I’m out and about, and not on my computer. No more worries about an unexpected chance to stop at the store, and forgetting something – it’s on Cozi.

Having worked in a marketing department for close to ten years in my previous life as a graphic designer, I’m probably more cognizant than most people of the proper, and not-so-proper use of trademarked names. While I’ve been guilty of asking for a Kleenex when the box clearly reads “Puffs,” I’ve never Xeroxed anything on a copier made by Konica-Minolta, and here in Ohio, a Coke is always Coca-cola (though I have ordered rum and Coke from a bar that served Pepsi products, because no one orders a “rum and cola”). I try not to cringe when someone mentions a “Romantica” novel that wasn’t published by Ellora’s Cave, or talks about making their own “book trailer.” Those are trademarked terms: if the book wasn’t published by EC, it’s simply erotic romance (or romantic erotica), and that book video is only a book trailer if it was produced by Circle of Seven Productions. Don’t even get me started on “iPhone” – I have a Droid, thankyouverymuch. My husband has an Android phone – his runs the Android OS, but it’s not a Droid-branded phone. Only Apple smartphones are iPhones.

So it follows when someone says they “googled” something on the Internet, I always got just a teeny bit annoyed. Because my understanding was that “Google” is a noun – a trademarked, proper noun at that. And what if the person was using Yahoo or Bing? (I know, I know, does anyone? Someone must, or else they wouldn’t still be around.)

After my husband’s turning Cozi into a verb, I was curious about that other, insidious noun-that’s-not-really-a-verb and decided to google the term “google.” Guess what – it’s in the dictionary. As a trademarked, proper noun… and a verb.

The Xerox corporation has made no secret of the fact that they’d much rather you photocopy, rather than Xerox, those tax papers for your mortgage processor, but in Google’s quest for Internet search domination, they have no problem with people googling stuff on the Internet. They’d much rather you google something than yahoo or bing it.

So it looks like I have to get over that one. As for Cozi? I’m glad my husband’s willing to use it (he’s not too fond of computers), so I think I’ll just quietly let him cozi whatever he wants.

Know of any funny verbs that aren’t really verbs? Or words you thought were only nouns, but actually are verbs? Please share!