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AdviceDecember 28, 2012

I have all the machines running (dishwasher, laundry, Roomba, kitty litter robot) and I thought I'd drop in real quick-like to tell you the amazing things I've learned this year. 

1. If you need to leave the house in a cat-haired sweatshirt, no makeup, and hair that was washed three days ago, wear the reddest lipstick you own. You'll look like you planned it. 

Photo on 12-28-12 at 2.11 PM

2. A good bra is worth every single fucking penny you spend on it, even if that is eight thousand pennies. 

3. If you have a day you want to spend doing All The Things (as I so frequently do), do yourself a favor and break it down in hour blocks. One hour to write, one hour to clean, one hour to sew. Honor this agreement. At the end of the day (I just did this today for the first time, and it worked so well I can't stand it), you will have actually done all the things. Maybe you didn't complete all the things, but then again maybe you didn't go all A.D.H.D. organizing your pens during the time you could have been sewing had you not lost your damn mind. 

4. When you need help, get it. (When in doubt, reread number 4.) There are people who just live to help, who are waiting for you to ask (this may not be your mother/husband/coworker. You might have to hire someone. That's okay. That's actually preferable in many cases). If you get a lemon, try someone else.

5. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE. I don't know how we don't all know this. Hire a skywriter. The Californians don't know this, people. This is practically life-or-death out here in Oakland.
     When your avocado is ripe on the table (when you squeeze it with your thumbs it says, "Oooh!" not "OW!"), put it in the fridge. It will last for, like, forever. And when you cut into it, it will be perfectly green inside, not all brown and mushy like they are when you've missed The Day You Should Have Cut It. I learned this from the woman at the avocado stand on Highway 46, and I was gobsmacked. So obvious. Come back and thank me. I'm sure you will. (And I'm sure you already how to ripen things faster, esp. avocados: put them in a closed brown paper bag.) 

What did you learn this year that you should have already known? 


I went to read this only for the avocado tip, which I am sure to use this year. Thank you.

Holy sh*t, woman. Where were you in January?


(I'm all over #s 1-3 but I've yet to find a red I can wear or a bra I truly love.)

Happy New Year!

I totally agree on the bra thing!

here's to an awesome 2013!! Hope to see you soon!

I wish I'd known that avocado thing a couple of days ago. The tip about a good bra also goes for shoes in my book. Happy New Year!

Spot on about the bra thing. I learned that this year for the first time, too.

I should have known years ago that i needed to quit a job that was crushing my very soul. In august, after my boss spent several minutes screaming in my face over a minor issue, i found the strength to do just that. In the blink of an eye i weighed my underpaid salary against the heart attack i was sure to have if i stayed in that job. Thankfully we have always been frugal and that bought me some time to look for a job that i wont dread every day. I could not live like that another minute.

You are so right about the bra! And I'll add that women who want to start jogging should shop for a good sports bra first - the shoes can wait!

Love love the red lipstick!

Wet floor + Converse = ouch! Also, 38 is probably a good age to no longer wear Converse.

Holy Hannah....you made me laugh out loud tonight. Happy new year to you!

I think your blog is fantastic. Full of love, and kindness, humor, and great advice. Thank you. On to 2013. Fingers crossed-a god year for one and all.

I learned that it's much better to work out to get fit instead of working out to lose weight. Fitness is more easily measured (and maintained), and it isn't totally derailed when someone brings in cupcakes to work.

#3 and #4. I think I knew #4 but I'm shit at practicing it but #3 is so smart it has to work. The pens can organize themselves and I'm gonna do all the things!!! happy New year!

Best advice ever, all of it.

figured out the avocado thing myself this year and it was a REVELATION!! #3 will seriously come in handy. This happens ALL THE TIME big goals and then nothing but half of everything started and all over the place. You're so smart. :)

The bra thing is so true and I embraced it this year. It feels good. I don't own red lipstick, guess I should get on that!

I also learned: really nice sheets (from a discount store or not) can make you sleep better and feel sexier; there is underwear out there that you can feel sexy in, it just is likely expensive and not what most media encourages, however feeling sexy is pretty rad.

On the iPad if you just hold down the comma key you will get an option for an apostrophe! No toggling boards, no heavy duty grammatical errors (well fewer) and its a little thing I learned two weeks ago that I love. Check out what when you hold the period key too.

Ohhh... I've known the avocado one for a while, I feel bad that you'be been missing out! You can also put them in the fridge before they're ripe, which not only slows the ripening but seems to make them ripen more evenly. But maybe that's only an issue in places where the avocados are inconsistent to begin with...

I learned that minivans have their virtues.

I already had the bra (2) and avocado (5) thing down, and I'm glad you shared them because they are The Word and should be shared. I've learned about asking for help (4) the hard way this year, and it's made a world of difference in my life. I've considered breaking down the day into one hour blocks (3) but I haven't done it yet - your post has me motivated to try it. And the lipstick thing (1) was a revelation. I *loved* this post - practical and fun!

You are awesome and it lifts my day reading your blog. Not sure what the skywriter thing means... are you being literal?

I often feel you are my younger self - only you are wiser than I was at that age (whatever that age may be).
I had just put my avocadoes in the fridge before sitting down to read blogs. The bra thing isn't for me anymore. After 2 nursing kids and 66 years of gravity, mostly they stuff into anything -very pliable! I'm all about compartmentalizing my day, or I used to be. I have retired and find myself drifting through the days, doing whatever I feel like.
The iPad hint is fabuloso! Thanks Afton.
I love your thoughts and observations. I especially love your enthusiasm and impetuousness. I, too, went out to get something and ended up buying a car I loved.
Happy 2013!

Avocados don't last that long around here once they are ripe. Too yummy spread on toast in the morning (or in the afternoon for a snack).

I have always had a hard time bra shopping, and was devastated when Lane Bryant discontinued the comfy one I had gotten there. Then I found the Ahh bra. Bought one on a lark (how can something that simple keep the girls contained?), and ended up going back and buying several. Not only does everything stay where it should, I can breathe! Almost forget I have it on, which is amazing.

My best advice - remember that this too shall pass. That applies mostly to the crap that life throws at you, but it also helps prevent smugness when everything seems to be going perfectly.

I learned that -- in spite of what people tell you -- painting is NOT necessarily easy. Related to that, I learned that it's worth the effort to find a good, reasonable, intelligent painter who can do that work for you.

I learned the bra thing last year -- at 50 years old! -- from a friend who basically roughed me up when she saw what I had been wearing. She was SO RIGHT. Related to that: ASK FOR HELP AT THE BRA STORE. I got great help at Victoria's Secret, and also great help at Macy's in the Foundations Department, and between the two of them my bra drawer runneth over with good stuff.

I should have known, when my sister in law said her analyst said she was bipolar, and she said no way, and then quit her medications, that bipolar, when researched, is what my husband suffers from, which is why we are living in our motorhome, contemplating another swing around the country, and I thought he was .....what did I think? I am taking control of this roller coaster, and we are settling for three months in Tucson, then returning to Copalis, Washington. Why did I never equate those mood swings with the same mental health issues his sister displayed?

The Avocado Thing I did not know, so thank you, because I LOVE avocados.

This year, I learned that when I have the right blazer paired with the right top underneath it, I can feel more powerful and in control than I'd ever though possible. I learned that clothes can HELP make the "(wo)man". When I get all dolled up and dressed appropriately, I feel differently, and then my behavior follows. This from someone who blatantly avoided corporate wear for a very long time.

Definitely the lipstick. I tell my family I don't care what clothes you put me in for my funeral but DO NOT forget to put on my red lipstick. And in 2012 I learned family is everything.

Yeah, the bra thing is a game changer. I went from 34B to 32DD with the help of a bra fit. Sure, the 32DD are more expensive (I like Wacoal)but so worth it! Good one to share girl.

I learned that the wax you use to take off hair (eyebrow/bikini et al) that you drip on the bathroom floor or rug will come off with WD40. That was also a good thing to learn.

Take care and happy new year!

that was a great list and i have nothing to add other than this quote i just stumbled on via susan donovan. it, uh, might have started up the sniffly faucet again. love you. "Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused..." Alan Cohen

I married the right guy 36 years ago and I learned in August that I'm still glad to spend 2 weeks in a car with him driving from WI to Yellowstone and back.

and it's okay to be wrong about things.

I'm stunned by your avocado trick. WOW. Can't wait to try it. lol

I also love your breaking down ATS hour by hour. Good idea. Will try soon.

What did I learn this year? I learned it just the week, nothing like waiting until the end of the year. Put your yarn in Ravelry. Put it in the day you buy it. If you wait you will forget how much you have, how much you spent, when you bought it. Most importantly, you will know FOR SURE you don't need to buy more yarn. lol

The pen thing might be the funniest thing I've ever read. And it's SO true!

I will take #5 to heart!

#4 I have learned, slowly, this year.

#2 I did know, and have been mourning the slow, painful deaths of my favourites this year. However, a good bra sometimes doesn't have to cost the earth. I found a lovely one yesterday for $10! It helps that I am a fairly common size (34B).

#3 Some of us don't last the hour at a time. I break it down into 15-20 minute chunks and rotate through the list. I even set a timer. Some days, even with meds or caffeine, it's hard to stay on task for even 15min. The timer helps as does referring to the list. Every 3rd or 4th item is "not work" as in knitting or spinning or weaving or reading etc.

#1 I'll work on it...

For myself, this week I learned a new way to look at New Year's resolutions. Instead of making a list of "to dos" like "get exercise", "declutter", "make menus" etc a friend suggested choosing one word to focus on. The word should lead you to those tasks by working on your attitude/thinking. Appeals to the cognitive/behaviourist in me. I chose "DO". I know what I need to accomplish, I just need to adjust the attitude enough to get up and "DO". I've been practicing the last few days. It does help. We'll see how it lasts for the year.

Rachael - you always bring a smile to my face... but the red lipstick thing had me in stitches! Thanks for all your tips. They are all very sound bits of advice. Happy New Year!

Number Five!!! Thank you!!!

You brilliant, brilliant woman. I've just successfully tried your thing number three. I've always kept 'to do' lists each day and been daunted by all the stuff I've expected myself to complete on my day off. So today, instead of trying to whipper snip, weed, mow and water the entire place, I spent an hour on one area and it is complete. Now I'm going to have scrambled eggs made entirely from things I've grown here - eggs, spring onions, tomatoes (more bugs than a drug dealer's phone but if I cut them up I have plenty), zucchini, comfrey, spinach and parsley and then I'm going to complete another area before walking the dogs, etc etc. Thank you, thank you, thank you - sometimes it can take one person to see a simple solution. Happy New Year!

This year I think I finally learned that there is no such thing as benign neglect...neglect isn't good for houseplants, relationships, or pillows left out in the rain. If you care about something enough to have it in your life, you have to take good care of it - or get it out of your life, which is also sometimes the better answer.

I do know that I found a great blog! Love it.

Red lipstick, always; a good bra (or 3) a MUST; hire help; always put it in the budget! My addition; once you and your dogs have been "skunked" more times than you can count, you will all still smell skunky every time you get wet. You just wont notice anymore,(i know this from experience). Thats why you have friends.....

PS: Red stripe dress fab!

That's great advice, all of it. I need a bra and will heed your admonition.

the avocado thing works. we live 30 minutes from the grocery store so i like to buy ahead, and was always a day or two behind The Day I Should Have Cut It. thanks for the tip!

33 years I lived in Florida and never bought an avocado. I never had a tree either; I just never learned how to pick out a really good one and tell when it's perfectly ripe.

I just earburned you in rav for an aspiring writer of a tweasel who needs relationship/writing career advice. Her guy dropped his previously supportive attitude, and if you have time to read the thread perhaps you can give her a good word? So much love for you, Lala and the managery.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I really needed to hear #3 today. My office is looking bombed and I can't get through any of it because every single thing seems to be taking too long. Monday each thing gets one hour of my attention just so some dents start getting made!

Love the avocado tip, maybe now I'll buy them more often.

As for the thing I learned this year that I can't believe I never knew before: when casting on a huge number of stitches using the long tail cast on use two balls of yarn, you will never run out of tail!

I learned that, like a good bra, color catchers or dye magnets or whatever are well worth however many pennies you need to pay to keep a box on hand. That way when you realize the one white item that didn't get in the white load is the same item someone absolutely has to have clean, you can toss it in with the dark load. No harm, no dye migration. I've also fulled a black purse, a pale pink and green tote and 6 small white bells in the same load with no color transfer. Genius.

I heart this list.

Having a terrific red lipstick at the ready in every bag you own is a must. And don't just spring for a good bra. Get it at a good department store that has professional bra fitting women. The bra might be more expensive there, but it's worth it.

Five years after moving out of Florida, I learned that I love, love, love Florida pink grapefruit. Hated grapefruit since I was a kid. Got a sample (and a $2 off a bag coupon) from the lady in the grocery store and found the juicy part so nommy that even the pith was not bitter! Bought a whole bag and have been nomming them all week.

Ok, way way off topic here. Thank you so much for the recommendation of the Bed of Nails a while back. It is a life saver. (Or why I finally got to sleep last night)

Holy cow. How did I not know about the avocado thing? Genius!!!

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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