Adventures in Imperfection

Shiny Objects: An Ode to Sunshine and Spontaneity

If you’re a new reader to this space, you don’t yet know about my chronic disease. What started as an itch in my brain several years ago, has now morphed into an all-out syndrome.

If you’ve been reading for a while or live in my life, you already know about my ailment and you’ve probably been an unsuspecting victim at least once.

I suffer from SOS: Shiny Object Syndrome

Shiny Objects: An Ode to Sunshine and Spontaneity
Is it contagious? You tell me.

Maybe someday, there will be a cure.

For now, I have breakfast to make, e-mails to answer, a flower bed to weed, and another load of laundry to take out of the dryer. But first, help me remember where I left my drink, glasses, phone, and pants. As is the case with SOS, one has to back-track their movements to find the missing pieces.

The drink is on the washing machine, the phone is buried in dandelions, the pants are in the kitchen, and the pancakes are smoking because I suddenly decided to write a post.

Since returning from the Erma Bombeck’s Writers’ Workshop last week, my hair has been on fire. My brain has been spinning with BIG ideas, detailed plans, objective goals, and lists. OMG! The lists!

  • Finish Editing Lipstick and Laundry–2 chapters
  • Yoga. When can I get to yoga?
  • I’ll just run instead. I can throw on my shoes and head out the door. But first–
  • Make flights for work to Atlanta, Nashville, and Dallas
  • Submit a tax plan to the presidential candidates that will revolutionize the system
  • Taxes! Oh, s&*%t! I gotta finish our taxes
  • Baseball pants are dirty again
  • Tanna graduates from college in May….hmmm…should I make a cake or do fancy cupcakes with sprinkles?
  • Mmmmm…..cake
  • ACK! Invitations!
  • It’s time to transplant the snapdragons
  • Pitch a column idea to the Capital Journal
  • Oops! There’s hubby. He needs a kiss, so he doesn’t think I’m ignoring him. Hi, honey!
  • I need to write a blog post: Should I do funny or serious?
  • Wonder what others are writing…maybe I’ll just hang out at their blogs instead
  • ROSA! What am I doing with Rosa?

My husband said, “All you need now is a candle with four wicks. Then you’d you have more ends to burn.”

Shiny Objects: An Ode to Sunshine and Spontaneity

I’m not alone, nor any busier than you. The only difference between your list and mine are the items on the page. I feel your pain, but it doesn’t stop me from wallowing around in self-imposed exhaustion.

On Saturday, my blogger bestie wished me a happy day and then made the innocent error of asking me what I was doing. Without even thinking, I sent her another list. Afterwards, I thought, “she doesn’t need to hear that crap!” and then added need to be a better friend to the growing list.

I don’t often check my e-mail on the weekend, but Dane and I were waiting to be helped at a store so I decided to take the few minutes and clean it up. After I finished the work correspondence, I looked at my personal account and found this gift from her only a few minutes after I’d send the self-indulgent text message.

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

“The Word” by Tony Hoagland, from Sweet Ruin. © University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.

I shut down my e-mail, put away the phone and stayed in the moment with Dane. He was getting measured for a tuxedo–his first prom. How is his chest already almost the size of his dad’s?

Then, I spent the afternoon in the greenhouse and played with my baby plants.

 I called my mama.


We invited friends over who we hadn’t spent time with since January. We ate, drank, laughed, and provided quiet support for internal battles not always revealed or sometimes minimized: growing children, ailing parents, aging bodies, and melancholy days.

Even though I am ever mindful about living in the present and being grateful for all of my gifts and blessings, I still let the shiny objects take me away from what’s important. But, I’m fortunate to have friends and family to remind me to embrace the spontaneous moments, to live in the present, and soak up the sun!


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97 thoughts on “Shiny Objects: An Ode to Sunshine and Spontaneity

  1. so, the weather said rain for our beach family weekend…but it was sunny! our 13-year-old, who wasn’t keen on joining her cousins, aunts and uncles thanked her dad afterwards for taking her:) she really liked hearing the old stories get swapped around. I like how you put it… We invited friends over who we hadn’t spent time with since January. We ate, drank, laughed, and provided quiet support for internal battles not always revealed or sometimes minimized: growing children, ailing parents, aging bodies, and melancholy days.
    Thanks, mama

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought about you and your beach weekend and prayed for sun. How awesome you were provided with sunshine in the form of an appreciative 13-year-old. A rare gift indeed.
      And, thanks for understanding. I always worry that posts like these are too self-indulgent when my hope is that someone can see themselves in my life. You get it – I know that the May graduation is just around the corner.
      Thank YOU, mama! xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Late 1960s -70s and probably through the mid 80s. Some very serious photographers passed through there on their way to bigger things. Rich Clarkson, Jim Richardson and David Allen Harvey are a few who come to mind quickly. The photo internship there was very coveted in the 1970s.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is so cool to know, Ray. I’m going to look those guys up. Thanks for being here today, I’m getting ready for a binge session at your place very soon 🙂


      3. There’s a long piece in the current issue of K-State magazine on Jim Richardson, who now — even though he is probably the most popular of all the NGS shooters — still lives in Lindsborg. (sp?) David Allen Harvey is all over the place, He is a Magnum photographer who splits his living time between one of the beaches in Carolina and Brooklyn. He’s very easy to Google. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a terrific piece, Michelle, and such a great reminder of how easy it is to get sidetracked. As much as I talk about living in the moment, even I find myself having to re-evaluate my commitments from time to time because I end up chasing shiny objects to the point of blindness. Fortunately for us both, we have people in our lives who outshine the objects and help us see when it’s time to slow down 😉 Thanks for sharing, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Fortunately for us both, we have people in our lives who outshine the objects and help us see when it’s time to slow down😉”
      Awww….yes, we do, Ned! Thank you for taking the time to pop over and say hello. And, if you see my glasses…would you drop me a note?


  3. hhahaaaa…
    those lists. I make them and then misplace them, that’s how helpful they are to me. So often the next thing to do just presents itself, clearly….and the list is ignored.
    I love that poem, a reminder of the stop inside the go…
    thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you KNOW who sent that poem to me, right?
      “So often the next thing to do just presents itself, clearly….and the list is ignored.”
      So true, and yet another example of your wise practice of calling and responding.
      Love you, Mish! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, life. I used to be a list maker. Each morning I’d make a list of what I was going to do that day. Crossing each thing off felt so satisfying. I don’t know when that stopped, but the only list happening these days are shopping lists. Groceries. Shiny things indeed- I love things that are shiny, sparkly, or colorful. They catch my eye every time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Squeal! Hello Ann! So nice to see you here and thanks for your sweet note about my photo. I’m guessing you have a sweet pair of heels to match the laundry basket, too 😉


  5. I love your lists…but I also love that you can be real and toss them aside when the moment calls for it. I hope your son has a blast at the prom. My daughter just got asked the other night in a cute way that made my heart melt…so we’ll be thinking of our cuties at prom together. Sigh. And taxes. Yikes! I realized I still hasn’t filed when I woke up this morning. Had done it a while ago, but was waiting until it got closer. I guess it’s closer to deadline now. Good luck! And thanks for the post of sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very good at making lists, and also very good at tossing 🙂
      How sweet to hear about your daughter! Those kiddos do some really creative “promposals” these days. You’ll have to tell me about it!
      And oh, the taxes! You had the same thought process that I did. At least we still have all week, right??


      1. Taxes are depressing…I try hard not to think on them too much. Ick. My daughter had a bowl of a bunch of fruit and then a big sign with a bunch of fruit puns on asking her to the dance–like ‘We canteloupe, but…’ I don’t have her sign, but there was limes and oranges and grapes and other things. It was cute.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. And then one day we let it all go…because we discover that we are more important than all those ‘list’s’ out there. The many expectations of others…and ourselves.
    And when we slowly learn to love ourselves, we become that love, and give it out even more beautifully than before.
    Enjoy the sunlight in the garden Michelle, for there is a love in action among the flowers of your heart…breeeeathe in the scent, revel in its beauty 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Haha! Taxes are due on the 18th this year 😉 which put them down a few places on my mental list. I can’t do a paper list cus it would get lost. So glad you were able to soak up some sunshine and live in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. As well as can be expected. I have a hernia beside the colostomy that the doctors don’t want to fix – they say I am too old and smoke, so it’s not worthwhile fixing. It became problematic this week when I had an intestinal infection – a pretty normal upset for me since the radiation. It seems to be OK today but has occupied much of my last week. But life goes on. It looks like I’ll by in your area sometime in late May now as the city of Vancouver has decided to dig up the street at our new place – delaying occupancy for a short bit. But the owner has been very forthcoming and contacts us daily with an update, so I’m comfortable that all will work out. I have the dates for your daughter’s graduation, so I’ll be sure to work around that. I am waiting for a date to be set for leaving before I contact the dialysis center you suggested. We’ll know better in the next few weeks what the city intends to do. Looking forward to having a coffee with you. Hope all is well in your end of the world. 😀


      2. Well, darn it! Even with everything going on, it sounds like you are keeping a positive attitude. I love how you’re able to do that.
        Thanks for the update on your visit. We are also heading to Minnesota at the end of the month–but hoping that doesn’t coincide with your visit.
        Have a great week and thank you for taking the time to be here. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I wrote a list yesterday that had 6 items on it. At the top of the list was “call mom”. I did that first and felt so accomplished that I forgot the rest. In between the work items and “paint my ratty ass toenails” was “read Michelle’s post”. Now that I’ve done that, I think I’m done for the day. I’m just going to let your words carry me through whatever else comes at me and I’ll definitely have a smile on my face! xxoo ❤


    1. LOL! So….I painted my ratty ass toenails last night. Phew!
      I am sorry it’s taken me all week to respond to your lovely words. I read them the day you shared and have treasured them ever since. I’ve been thinking about you and can only imagine how long your list must be–hoping that life is calming down just a little bit.
      I’m honored that you took the time to read and even more honored and blessed to call you a friend. xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You do know how to make the best of that wonderful mind — and life — of yours, my wonderful friend Michelle. Soak it all up, as musical poet Shery, sings to us so well. Great poem sent by your bestie! Have a great day, dear. ❤


  10. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL things you did, and you know…I think whilst you did them, you turned away from the shiny objects and into the light, to bask in what makes the shiny things shine…

    I’m glad you got sent that poem. How wonderful 🙂


    1. Awww….it makes me smile HUGE when I think of you and your babe and your pooches in that CO sunshine. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I luv seeing your face here. xoxox


  11. You are my hero! This is just what I needed to read to night, thank you. I seem to have lost my focus and then read this and realized it is right it needs to be. 🙂


  12. Love love love this post.
    Identifiable & Inspiring.
    We must remember to soak up the sun..
    and I’m wondering how we can possibly forget that???
    Ps. just heard a quote the other day: “Rather than DOING, Why can’t we begin BEING.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The fact that you normally don’t check email on weekends tells me you’re already miles ahead of me. Not that it’s a race, but you’re doing so good already. Love the poem. Love your list too! The tax thing made me fluttery with panic…still have one more to do. Cupcakes or cake…mmm. Love from a fellow sufferer of SOS xoxo.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. …turtles all the way down, but the last big one was balancing on one side of the hones of a big bull. The interesting thing is what was on the other side of the bulls horn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …turtles all the way down, but the last big one was balancing on one side of the horns of a big bull. The interesting thing is what was on the other side of the bulls horn!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. First off, Rosa is WAY more important than taxes. Taxes were sooooo yesterday, unless of course, you didn’t get them in on time. In which case, they become scarier than a great white shark on Memorial Day weekend.

    Secondly. Okay, the first off covered my secondly.

    Thirdly, you do realize you are beyond help. Right? It’s okay, that’s what’s called BEING A WRITER. Welcome to the club. Leave your sanity at the door and please take your full arsenal of curse words with you.

    And lastly, stop picking on Britney!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Well this was quite a treat to read today.. and much needed. As always, your posts have sat in my Inbox until I can give them attention. I literally delete hundreds of emails a week out of my Blog email, but not yours! 😀 I hang on to Hook and Ned as well because I know without a doubt I will smile at something you and they have written.
    I have been burning the candle at both ends and finally had a week to unwind and rest. My homework is all caught up, the play is done and my hubby is spending the week in Austin at a conference. I could have gone with him, but I just didn’t want to be away from home. Things are quiet around here (too quiet) but yet, I can’t bring myself to write.:-( Honestly I haven’t tried. I do have a Commemorative speech I have to write and I should start that. It is my final for that class. I am almost done with the semester whew! It has been good but I’m ready for it to be over.
    My summer is shaping up to be crazy. 2 week river cruise in Europe in June/July, daughter’s wedding in Aug. New nephew on the way I have to drive 600+ miles to see in between. yeha!
    I wouldn’t change any of it, but today…? I am going to sit in the sunshine and rest my mind for a while!!
    Love ya… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so cool and you make my heart happy. I do the same thing with blog e-mails, so I’m honored beyond words that you save mine. And, coincidently – I do the same with yours, Ned’s and Hook’s, too.
      Do you get to give your speech to anyone? If so – I hope you video it!!! I would love to hear your beautiful words for real!
      And, oh my goodness…what a crazy set of weeks you have before you. I’m so proud of you for sitting in the sun and resting your mind…we can better take care of others if we first take care of ourselves. Much love, C! xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well that WAS my plan until my Yorkie decided to get a stick caught in his throat! Grrr… silly dog was doing some gardening in my flower bed! I had to take him to the vet. Not a relaxing day after all! LOL! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah… he’s ok. Silly dog! This is the second time he has done that. The first time, my hubby got the stick out. I couldn’t see it. I knew something was in there so I took him to the vet. I was also afraid I would hurt him or scratch him with my fingernails. It was about 2 inches long! I think it was part of a root… 😦


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