Tag: planning

the three PR’s

Photo 1

the attorney’s father was a probate judge who never did his own will. with six children and no will, there’s trouble. hurt feelings. old hurts and memories and grudges rise quickly to the surface. they are not speaking, the children, and everybody including us, wonders why a man who dealt with wills for a living wouldn’t take the time to draw up his own. the shoemaker’s children go barefooted, and the probate judge’s children feud.

Photo 4

not a fun way to spend a morning – even with the story and the walk the engineer and i treated ourselves to afterwards (the source of these photos) – but a necessary expenditure of time.

here’s the thing: drawing up a will, creating a living will and powers of attorney (healthcare and property) doesn’t bring on your death. it simply means you are smart enough to know that you will die one day and that you love enough to face that irrefutable fact and show love in a way you never thought about before.

do you love yourself enough to draw up a living will so that your very existence doesn’t fall into the hands of a medical staff who don’t even make eye contact?

do you love your heirs enough to draw up a will so that all you’ve worked for and created doesn’t get divvied up and disposed of by the government?

do you love your support people, be they family or friends, enough to draw up powers-of-attorney so that they can tend to things for you without resistance and interference from strangers?

Photo 3

we have a God Forbid book, i tell the attorney to stop him as he launches into Creating A Will 101. i tell him about how i see this as love – living love, leaving love. i tell him about how as a personal historian and an end-of-life doula i know that people just flat out refuse to put themselves in touch with their own mortality. even the smartest among us, i’m talking about.

i tell him about the God Forbid (as in God Forbid you ever need this information) book i created eons ago for the children telling them everything they need to know – bank accounts, memberships, software, who to call lists, medical info, location of keys and important papers, and well, you get the idea. i tell the attorney how we keep it updated and have annual meetings with our children every thanksgiving (as in we’re so thankful we’re here to tell you about it again this year). he is suitably impressed and we are able to skip ahead to the changes we want made. it’s not that we have much, it’s just that i want our children to have time to grieve. yes, really.

it’s not just the heirs who have all sorts of bric-a-brac float to the surface when dealing with wills. i find myself thinking about who’s been most attentive, who makes an effort to stay in touch, who’s responsible. do i want to use a will to reward? do i want to take the easy and nice way out and just divide everything equally (which feels an awful lot like socialism to me)? some things are obvious and require no angst decision making. the child who always baked the cakes gets the bowl and spoon my grandmother used to make cakes with. the child who laid in the floor laughing as we read bedtime stories gets the books. i’m not saying it’s the right or wrong approach, i just think it’s good to be clear and clean about these things, about the motivation, even if only on the inside. or, if you want to be like me, right out in the open on your blog for the whole galaxy to see. when preparing these important documents, it’s important to bring the right amount of emotion and good sense, to be sure that decisions aren’t made solely on emotions or logic.

a note, though: probably not a good idea to give the child in prison power of attorney, and that’s not a character assault, it’s a matter of needing to have someone who can show up in a jiffy. just saying.

Photo 2

years ago, i began to ask the children what, in particular, they wanted when we die. even though it might be tinged with anticipation, i’m hopeful that the items will be imbued with even more meaning, memory, sentimental value knowing that they will own it one day and i’m now using it regularly.

i make a list and write letters of explanation, just in case.

this year i’ll ask if either of my chiclets want my journals or any of my hymns of cloth. it’s a question i dread asking because i don’t want them to feel obligated to say “yes” even though i deeply and desperately hope to year a quick and hearty “yes”. if you want to know the truth, i want them to argue and fight over the journals and cloths. at least a wee little bit.

will they want pieces from In Our Own Language 1? or 2? or 3? will the Rinse Cycle series prick their interest with tales of pivotal epiphanies in a woman’s life?

Photo 1 1

will they want pieces from the My Kitchen Table series in which i create cloths for each person who’s nourished my life in some way? like this plate for my maternal grandmother. biscuits from scratch, cake contests, quilts, piano, flowers growing everywhere, feather bed, the irregular whir of the treadle sewing machine, gardens, canning, clothes hung on the line to dry, hand lotion that smelled of rose water. she never drove a car, but she had her very own riding lawn mower, and let me tell you what: she enjoyed using it, always wearing her straw hat, both hands kept on the wheel at all times. i don’t ever remember seeing her wearing pants. she taught me music and sunshine and planning for the future.

preparing for the future.
preserving the past.
not a bad way to spend the present.

breadcrumbs 2: the paper part of it all

Evidence1a

in the timeless classic Gift From the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes:
“What a wonderful day, I think, turning it around jun my hand to its starting point again. What has made it so perfect? Is there not some clue here in the pattern of this day? To begin with, it is a pattern of freedom. Its setting has not been cramped in space or time. An island curiously enough, gives a limitless feeling of both. Nor has the day been limited in its kinds of activities. It has a natural balance of physical, intellectual, and social life. It has an easy unforced rhythm.”

yesterday i told you about Evidence, the visual and tactile log i’m keeping of this year. what i didn’t tell you (because i couldn’t find a way to insert it seamlessly) is that the inspiration for the design of the cloth came from this moment of sky spotted while walking one day when i was trying to sort all this out:

Evidenceclouds2

Evidence1b

i’m after the same kind of day anne writes about. and because i’m on the finite side of infinity, i recently devoted a great deal of time to determining what i want to do with whatever time i have left. being a systems girl of the first order, and preferring color coded systems for visual delight as well as facility, i’ve been using color as a sorting system since dirt was a child.

my first color coded system went like this:
red = family (blood)
green = finances (the color of money)
blue = reference, factual, retrievable information (i just like blue)
yellow = opportunities, fun (sunshine)
i used these colors throughout my life – in my day planner, on file folders, on the calendar.

last year i matched what i wanted to have to show for my life to the colors of the chakra system, using the color biographies provided by my friend bridget. it looked like this:
red: movement
orange: creative pursuits, time spent in the throes of creativity
yellow: moments of spontaneity, the unexpected
green: shipping and producing
aqua: blog posts, storytelling, journal writing
pink: relating to others
violet: memorizations, reading poetry and other good books, living and creating by moon cycles

Chakracolorcode

i started keeping a book of amazements last year in which i documented each color’s contribution to that particular day. it was fun to keep, and it did keep me more focused, but there was still tweaking to be done*, so this year, i tightened the focus and streamlined the colors, allowing space for that “easy unforced rhythm” and that natural balance while still enjoying a daily sense of accomplishment:
red: movement
orange: making
aqua: marking
purple: laughing
these colors always appear in this particular order on the Evidence cloth to distinguish the days.

RED: moving
as in moving my body through space. last september, i quit wearing the fitbit (a gift from my son for Christmas 2012) as jewelry and started taking it seriously. i now walk a minimum of 12.5k steps (or 5-7 miles) every day. every. single. day. i also do the occasional yoga, and whenever possible, i take dance breaks. my goal? i want you to see less and less of me.

ORANGE: making
as in stitching or creating assemblages and collages. i log in the hours spent stitching every day and note the particular project worked on. i like to do a collage every sunday to close out the week (it’s something i can start and finish in a couple of hours), and am slowly gathering bits and oddities that i’ll use in assemblages. my goal here: building a legaSEE. we’ll talk more about this later.

AQUA: marking
as in writing, be it in a journal, a blog post, a book, or a notecard. doesn’t matter, i just know that if i miss a day of writing, i start all over when i pick the pen up again – even if there’s only a day’s gap. that’s just the way it works.

PURPLE: laughing
as in surprise, wonder, chortle – anything that ignites a sound from me that ranges from “hmmmmmm” to “oh!” to a full-body guffaw. anything that makes me giddy. for this, i make more detailed notes in purple ink in my books of amazements.

* like not having to carry 14 pens around with me (2 of each color in case one runs out of ink along the way), for example

Booksofamazement

two important notes:

1) i change, so this year i’ll keep quarterly books of amazements to give myself room to move around.

2) of course i also want an accounting of accomplishments – written testament to the annual accumulation of accomplishments – so i’ll be keeping a log of things like books read in their entirety (and reviewing them over at goodreads), projects completely finished, and miles put on my new shoes.

and, i have specific notions about what i want to turn out/produce/accomplish this year. but we’ll save that for another day.

[ ::: ]

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers is a planning, productivity junkie. She just is.

um, about that new year’s plan

viewfromabove.JPG

’twas the season of more chaos than usual (deaths, travel plan changes, weather surprises, etc.), and though i rolled with it (and actually, in a strange sort of way, enjoyed letting it push me around), after i ushered everybody back to their lives and cleaned the house, i wanted nothing more than to bring some order to the aforementioned chaos. so i pondered and squinted and grunted and eventually churned out an admirable (if i do say so myself) plan.

and before it was 24 hours old, i had second thoughts.

i have something i want to write about, and for reasons i can’t explain – except maybe that i was drunk on (the illusion of) control – i bowed to the masculine, the left brain, my inner anal retentive or whatever you want to call it, and planned to rev up a dormant blog and post this particular topic there all by itself.

then my heart joined the party, and that changed everything.

now there was a stint when i had two blogs going, but a year or so ago i reached an age where i grew weary of compartmentalizing my life. shoot, i even chose the online name @whollyjeanne to profess to the world (and mostly to remind myself) my intention to shed the outgrown parts and bring me altogether. no more different pieces in different boxes, each box clearly labeled to avoid surprises and waste anybody’s time.

so i’ve scratched it off: no new old blog. when i come up with a name of this topic (maybe before), i’ll be writing about it here, giving it a category name and calling that fine.

two days into the year, i’m having marvelously huge fun writing 6 impossible things before bedtime. most of the time, i blow right on past 6 without even slowing down. creativity is funny like that.

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