Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tami's Lists - What I'm Thankful For

By Tami Brothers

Okay. I admit it. I am a list maker. If you look at my desk, bulletin board, purse, books or any other place I might have slipped a piece of paper in you will see some kind of list. I have lists for just about everything; meals I want to try (most of them not so healthy), tasks I have to complete on a day by day basis, classes I still need to take if I want to keep my targeted graduation date, things I want to do before I kick the proverbial bucket, and I even have a list for the dates I placed boxes of Kleenex in certain areas of my house so I have an idea of the most frequent usage areas (I know, this one even I’m surprised by).

I sound like an over structured drill sergeant, when in reality I’m so scatter brained that if I didn’t have these lists I’d be wondering aimlessly through life not accomplishing squat. But that’s just me. Or is it? Imagine my surprise when I ran across this really cool series of books designed specifically with list makers such as myself in mind.

Talk about a neat idea. This series of books created by Lisa Nola has my name written all over them. They are books with specific topics and a question listed on each individual page. Under the questions are blank lines so the owner of the book can fill in the information. The website describes the series as follows: “listography is a personal tool for creating a database of lists, such as: things to remember, to-do's, wish lists, references, likes/dislikes, autobio lists, photo lists...”

See what I mean? This is right up my alley. But why would YOU want a whole book of just lists?

Have you thought about how telling lists are? I’ve always loved those books for grandparents and parents where they write about things they did when they were younger. It’s a neat way to live on in your own words long after you are gone. Look at the Kleenex example I listed above. Unless I tell someone about this little quirk of mine, no one will ever know. I sometimes wonder if this lunatic act is unique to me or if maybe I come by this crazy obsession genetically (knowing my family, I’m voting genetically). So really, when I’m obsessing over next year’s Kleenex budget and making a list as to how much I’m really going to need, I’m not just showing the world my psychosis. I’m sharing a small glimpse of myself with my future grandchildren (or at least helping their psychiatrist figure out why they are obsessing over Kleenex boxes ;-) ).

Staying with this month’s topic, I wanted to share a short list of some of the things I’m thankful for. After all, what would a post about lists be, without an actual list…
  • --I’m thankful for my ability to make the most of Life.
  • --I’m thankful for my health.
  • --I’m thankful for my job.
  • --I’m thankful for my family and friends (yay, Petit fours and Hot Tamales blog sisters!!!).
  • --I’m thankful for the gifts God has given me.
  • --I’m thankful for just being able to be me.

Now it’s your turn. Are you a list maker? Have you thought about the lists you would like to pass onto your descendants (thanks Elaine!!!)? Or at least their psychiatrists???


Pam said...

Tami, I'm a listmaker too, but until I read your post, I never thought about how revealing lists can be. The Listography books look great! My grandmother filled out one of those "Grandmother Remembers" books for me, and I love it, but she clearly spent HOURS putting it together for me; the Listography "Life" book looks a lot less intimidating.

Thanks for the great post!


Cyrano said...

Well Tami,
I'm not a list maker. But I should be. You say you're scatter brained, but I am the Queen of Scatterbrainopolis.
If I made a list, I'd forget where I put it. And like my mother says, its a good thing my head is attached otherwise I'd be in trouble.
BUT...that being said, you've made an excellent argument for lists. They do help. My husband uses them all the time and the guy is a masster at keeping our family from forgetting our heads.
I can't remember when it was, maybe last year, but you told me about these books at a GRW meeting. You had one with you and told me where to get it. I loved the idea as I thumbed through it.
But, alas, I forgot about it.
So I'm so glad you reminded me. I'm going to order one the minute I'm done commenting...otherwise I'll forget again.
Thanks for the excellent post.
Have a great, Kleenex filled day!

Sandy Elzie said...


Yes, I'm a list person. I have lists for To Do Today, To Do This Week, To Do Each Month, etc.

The award winner though is when I was raising kids I'd plan a whole month of menus...writing the item on the monthly calendar date. (it cost sooo much each time I went to the store that I tried to cut down the number of times I went) I'd use the menus to make my monthly grocery list.

I even had to laugh at myself when my son told his mother-in-law one day that my calendar even showed "left-overs" on the days I planned to use up all the left-overs in the refrigerator. My only excuse was that money was tight and we couldn't afford to waste...I'm still on that soapbox today. (It doesn't matter how much is in the bank, don't waste money!!!!!)


Maxine Davis said...


I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I, too, make lists, but you make LISTS.

Thankful for? Now that would be a long list. Here are a few:

Family, health, faith, happiness, retirement, writing, loving hub.

Thank you for making me take time to realize it.

Tammy Schubert said...


You are officially my sister in list making. It's my obsession. Frankly, I'm not sure I could function with out my multitude of lists.

The listography web site sounds interesting. I'm going to have to check that out later today.

EC Spurlock said...

Hi Tami,

I'm not so much a written list person except in times of stress when I've got lots of things going on at once and need to prioritize. I do make a running grocery list, but otherwise I tend to keep my lists in my head. Most recently, I did use a list to help resolve a plotline problem. I had several things that needed to happen almost simultaneously in my WIP but I wasn't sure of the best sequence of events. I ended up putting them all in a list and then going over it and numbering them in the most logical sequence. It helped ease the confusion a lot.

I am, however, a calendar person. I learned a long time ago that unless my appointments, deadlines, etc were right in front of my face I would never remember them. So I got into the habit in college of putting up a wall calendar with big open squares for the days, on which I write EVERYTHING down -- meetings, deadlines, appointments, kids' days off, events, everything! I'm sure future Spurlocks would probably find some interesting tidbits there.

I have also kept a family journal since my first son was born, detailing all the minutiae of life from milestones of growth and development to family squabbles and issues to what we had for supper. One for each year since 1990. These will get passed down to future generations -- with the hope that someone among them will be able to read my horrendous handwriting!

And to forestall another rant from my genealogist husband -- you can't pass things down to your ancestors because they're already dead. You can only pass things down to your DESCENDANTS because they are yet to come! (Believe me, you have no idea how common this error is, so don't feel bad! We see this ALL THE TIME and it only sticks out to us because of the genealogy experience.)

Tami Brothers said...

Hi Pam! I bought both my mom and my mother-in-law one when my son was born. My mother-in-law did an awesome job on hers. So much so that she asked us not to read it until much much later in life. I have honored that, although I am curious. But talk about a legacy to pass on.

Hi Tami. I remember showing you that book. Some of the LOVE Listography book is a bit more revealing than I am able to do (at the moment), but I hope I can take a page from my mother-in-law and be honest about what I write down. Trust me when I say I HAVE to have lists or I would forget to do so many things. They are my sanity!

Hey Sandy. We must be twins!!! I do the same thing. I actually had to break my meal lists down into two week segments, though. With me in school 3 nights a week, hubby gets stuck doing a lot of the cooking so I’ve gotten less structured and have a list of 8 things he can choose from listed on the fridge. I have the recipes laid out in the cupboard where I keep my recipe books and I make sure and have the ingredients ready to go. I have to cut it down so much because he tends to take him and the kid out to eat a lot. With soccer practice 2 nights a week, cub scouts 1 night and art club 1 night, it tends to get overwhelming. A lot of times those 8 meals will last us 3 weeks and in order to keep things from going bad, I’ve learned to adjust.

I will admit that I have done the whole month worth of cooking in one day, also. That is a real chore and after a day of shopping, a day of nothing but cooking, I tend to NOT want to eat any of it. That’s just me, though. I’ve read other posts where people do that and LOVE it. It just turned into too much work for me at this point in my life. Who knows. I might try it again someday.

Hey Brenda! Another sister list maker…grin… I love your list of things you are thankful for. I am thrilled to be your car riding buddy to our monthly GRW meetings. I should have added that to my list. Even though the drive is really long and I could complain each and every month, I’ve found some days it’s not long enough. There are times when we don’t get through everything we want to talk about…grin…

Hi Tammy. I totally expected you to be a list maker. Man, I guess we are now quadruplets…grin… I know what you mean about not being able to function. On those days when I forget my list book (yes, I have a whole book just to put my lists in….) at work, I am sooooo lost…. Definitely check out the site. There is a cool one I want to get for my son. He MIGHT like it. Then again, as regimented as I am with my lists, I might have scared him away from it!

Thanks ladies for commenting. I’ll check back later!


Debbie Kaufman said...

Hey Tami:
I like lists, I really do! But I frequently lose them and then they become ineffective :))

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Elaine!!! Thanks for pointing that out to me. I totally see that now. AND I’m going to change it. I will add the ancestor/descendents issue to my list of things to catch in my writing (that’s another long list I check before I put ‘the end’ on my writing projects). Definitely a huge thank you for that!

I am also a calendar person. With school, work, writing (for me); the same type of stuff (minus the writing) for hubby; and now all the crapola for the kid there is no way we could keep up with it all. So we have that huge desk calendar on our desk. People actually hate to call and ask us if we can come over for dinner because most of the time we are booked two or three months into the future with stuff we have to do. The same goes for me at work. I don’t add anything but work stuff and the TWO training programs I am on to that calendar. Already, it’s just as full as my calendar at home. I’m thinking about starting a third calendar for just my writing, but that may be tooooo much.

Also, I am with you on the journal for your son (I think I’m adding a 5th twin – can’t think of what’s that called off the top of my head and my office is in pieces due to a piece of paper I’ve been searching for for a week). I started several for my son. I have a book that I write down everything we do each and every holiday. This is just for him and I list the presents he receives and the movies and books he watches and loves at that time in his life. I had no idea how cool this was going to be when I started, but I LOVE reading back through that. I also started a book that every time he says something funny or smart (or embarrassing), I write it down. THEN there is the scrapbooks for birthdays, school, sports, ….. Okay, I’ll stop now. You guys are really going to think I’m wacky if I keep going.

Thanks for sharing, Elaine!!!

Nancy said...

Hi, Tami--

What a fun post, and thought-provoking.

I don't generally make lists. I used to but realized I quickly lost them, which nullified their effectiveness as guides to tasks. I have, however, found them helpful for clarifying my thought process. Making lists of pros and cons for any one thing eventually leads me to realize I'm slanting the list toward one or the other, which helps me know what I really want to do.

Sally Kilpatrick said...

And to think I thought I, along with my mother, was one of the only ones who suffer from this particular neurosis. (Another vote for genetics)

I write to-do lists, lists of what I need to fix in my manuscript, lists of people to pray for, Christmas lists, lists of books to read and movies to watch, lists of places to go and what to do when I get there. My mother gave me a box full of pads that have lists: things to do before a trip, shopping lists, etc. Oh, and Sandy, I do groceries by the month and create elaborate shopping lists that I cross-reference with the Coupon Mom web site. I, too, have leftover night only I call it Smorgasbord night--it just sounds more exotic.

Anyway, I was giving thanks this morning. I thank God for family and friends, for the opportunity to write and hopefully the talent, for not wanting for anything, and for so many other things, like my Petit Four sisters.

Thanks for the post and for admitting your Kleenex statistics. I try to figure out when detergents and paper goods will be bought, too.


Carol Burnside said...

I confess. I'm another list junkie. Yes, as I sit here writing this, there are several notes stuck to my credenza.

1. A whole sheet of paper with 4 lists on it. Goals for 4th Qtr 2009, and To-do lists for last week, this week and next.

2. Our Nov blog calendar with my days responsible for circled in red and notes in margin.

3. A list of my NaNo buddies with their real names beside their aliases so I can remember who is who. :)

I've also got a list of all the JD Robb books, in order by release date so I don't read them out of order.

And there's always a running list posted on my fridge of things I need to pick up on my next grocery run.

I keep a small notebook in my purse for mini lists, or started lists that I think of while I'm out and about.

My lists also take the form of spreadsheets, where I track a lot of things and update as needed. Submissions, Chapter Contests, and my biggie: My Writing Goals Workbook. In it I list my writing progress for the year. It's like a daily diary of writing statistics. This year is my 3rd year doing this and it's truly eye-opening to see how much you have (or haven't) accomplished at the end of each year. You can also see how much you have (or haven't) increased your productivity from the year before.

I even created an alphabetized list of all the DVD's we have because I'd be in a store and couldn't remember if I already owned a certain title or had just rented it at one time.

Lists come in handy. I totally understand your need for a Kleenex list. The busier your life is, the more lists are needed, don't you agree?

I'm thankful for so many things today, but especially my blog sisters, a comfortable life and the much needed writing vacation I have planned for next week.

Nicki Salcedo said...

Lists are my favorite. Clean neat. Happy.

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Debbie!!! I hear ya. I just found a list I had made for the fourth of July. Found it in a book I had sitting by my bed. Guess making potato salad wasn’t as important as I thought it would be…grin…

Hey Nancy! Welcome to the blog. I agree on the slanting thing. I don’t do a lot of Pros and Cons because I’m pretty big on ‘slanting’ myself…grin…

Hi Sally. Another twin, triplet, whatever…hehehe…. I can definitely see the two of us being sisters. Although I have to say I haven’t heard of the Coupon Mom website. I’ll have to check that one out!

Hey Carol. I am really racking up those twins. This is great. I have the same type of lists hanging around my desk. The college classes, phone numbers for the school, PFHT Calendar (woops, that’s September… Better change that one.). The fridge has the list of healthy snacks, the meals for the next two weeks, the kid’s lunch menu for November and a list of soccer games. Yours sounds a bit more organized. I need to look into that.

Hi Nicki!! Short and sweet and to the point. That’s what I love about you!!!

Thanks for commenting, everyone! I’m headed to class and will check back in when I get home tonight.

Have a great Veteran’s Day!!!


Anna Steffl said...

I sometimes make grocery lists. I find if I make a long list I can remember everything on it without looking back at it.

If I just try and remember four items without writing them down, I invariably forget one.

I think it is something in the act of writing things down that puts it in my memory. Wow, maybe I am meant to be a writer.

Susan May said...

Oh, yes I make list. My father taught me the value of lists. I make a list for everything. Without one I have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing. It is my memory process. I'm only as good as my list.

Linsey Lanier said...

Me, too, Tami. That reminds me. I really need to clean out my purse, LOL.

I have lists all over the place, most of them on the computer are labeled "To Do." It feels so good to cross things off. I also jot down snatches of description and dialogue and other gems that comes to me when I'm working on a project. They don't qualify as lists, I suppose, but sometimes they come in list form.

Yes, like Tamara, it's because I can hardly remember to do anything at times. I've got to have reminders. They get lost and forgotten, too. But at least I try. :)

I also have Kleenex all over the house, but never thought of a list for them. I'll have to try that.


Linsey Lanier said...

Hey Carol,

Not to change the subject too much, but you can get an ordered list of the J. D. Robb books on wikipedia: I'm listening to the CD's and just finished number 10, Loyalty. Great book. Susan Ericksen is a fabulous reader. You should hear her Mavis!


Tami Brothers said...

Hey Anna! I’m with you on the forgetting the 4 items. I’ll be walking into a store knowing what I need and by the time I get my cart I’ve forgotten 2 of the 4. Frustrating!!! And, girl, you are definitely meant to be a writer!!!

Hi Susan! “I’m only as good as my lists.” I love this line. Makes a ton of sense to me. If I don’t have a list of things to be done, some of them don’t get done. I too am only as good as my lists and those lists have a great way of making me look good. Love ya, Susan!!!

Hi Linsey! I totally love to cross things off. I’ve been known to carry some of the things over to a new list because I can’t cross anything else off anytime soon. I know it sounds silly, but those slashes across the paper make me feel like I’m getting things done…grin… The Kleenex thing started out as a joke with my hubby when he complained about me putting lotion Kleenex only by the computer. I had to prove to him that there was lotion Kleenex all over the house and ended up finding a box of regular old tissues (no lotion to get all over his glasses when he cleaned them) by a plant in the entry way. Apparently he would grab one on his way in or out to clean his glasses and ‘accidently’ grabbed a lotion one by mistake one day. Only then did he realize they were there.

Shorty story long, I was proven wrong. It was funny then…

Thanks guys for commenting today! I love reading about the different things all of us do. Makes me feel like I have twins all over the world…grin…

See ya!


Ana Aragón said...

Sorry I got in here late, but I was trying to finish up yet another weekly paper just hours before it's due.

Alas, I am not a list-maker. I invariable lose the list, only to find it weeks, months or years later in the bottom of a purse, stuck between the console and car seat.

Fortunately, I have two ways of dealing with this. One, I married a listmaker who's made it his job in life to keep me organized. He sends me all these outlook invites with the information all ready...all I have to do is accept the invite and I've got it in my calendar, too!

The second one the family makes fun of, but it's great for me. When I've 6-10 items I need to remember (things to get at the grocery store, errands I have to run, etc.) I put them in various places in my car.

No, not literally, but figuratively. So if I have to get milk, I always put that on the front hood. The bread is on the dashboard, dog food in the trunk, soft drinks in my lap, lettuce on the back bumper...well, hopefully, you get the picture (haha...)

That's me. I just grab the basket, close my eyes and imagine my car. Never have forgotten anything I've put in/on my car!


Cinthia Hamer said...

Hi Tami, great blog! And I'm so sorry I was late to the party...had a very early day which drifted into a late day.

Anyway, I thought I was a list maker, but I see I have NOTHING on some of you. LOL!

And my listmaking isn't so much a neurosis, it's a way to help me function in a semi-normal way. If I don't make lists of things I need to do, I'll completely forget them. If I were to have a CT Scan, I'm convinced that instead of a brain, they would find a big wad of cheesecloth. So, if I don't write down everything, it vanishes.

Even with my writing, if I don't write down things like the cook's name, or what color hair someone has, I'll completely forget.

Very frustrating.

Now, as to what I'm thankful for...that list would be a mile long.

First and foremost, I'm thankful for life and relatively good health.

I'm thankful that my daughter, her husband and their unborn baby walked away from what should have been a fatal car wreck.

I'm thankful for the donors whose blood enabled my dad to live long enough for me to say goodbye to him.

I'm thankful for the cousins I never knew growing up, but who've embraced me and my family.

I'm thankful for having a husband who's loved me and my idiosyncrasies enough to hang around for over 30 years.

I'm thankful for my computer. It enables me to write, even when my hands hurt so bad I can't hold a pen. And it keeps me connected with friends and family far away.

I'm thankful for my over-active imagination.

I'm thankful for this blog, and so grateful to have been invited to participate in it.

I could go on and on...

Thanks again, Tami, for a great blog.

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Ana! Better late than never. Those darn papers just keep getting in the way, don’t they!!!

I love you way of making lists. That is so cool. I don’t know that it would work for me though… I know I’d forget something and it is usually the one thing I wanted in the first place…grin…

Hi Cinthia! Again, like with Ana, I’m glad you commented. That is extremely funny about the cheesecloth. I think that’s what they’d find in mine, also. I tend to forget even my closest friends when I have to introduce them to someone. That is one of my fears, in fact. Introducing someone and completely forgetting their names. It HAS happened on more than one occasions…grin…

Great list of stuff you are thankful for. I loved reading all of these. It makes me want to add more to mine. In fact, I think I’ll do just that! Have a great week to you all!


Darcy Crowder said...

OMG! This is too funny. I think maybe list making is more about being a writer than family genetics...from what I'm reading here. I confess, I too am a huge list maker. I have them for everything and scattered all over the house. :) I do, however, draw the line at Kleenex! LOL. Tami, I can't imagine how you find the time to even THINK about Kleenex. :)

I'm grateful for my health, my family, this time in my life that allows me the freedom to pursue my dreams, my best friends (including my PF&HT sisters), my faith, my house in the woods...even though the list of house 'fixes' gets longer every day. :) Thanks for the smiles today, Tami. And I'm definitly going to check out that Listography book.

Tami Brothers said...

Oh man! I can't believe I missed your comment, Darcy! Thanks a ton for commenting.

I totally relate to the 'fixes' on the house. My husband and I are fixers and tend to buy the houses that need fixing. It always seems once we get all those fixes done, we find another one that 'calls' to us...grin...

I'm glad I could make you smile...grin...