Those Rocks. That Tree.

As time passes, and life happens to and around us,  we are not necessarily the same people year after year.

And, it seems, to me, that we shouldn’t be.  Without compromising who we are at the core; we learn and grow. As a rock erodes into a pebble and eventually into sand over time, we have the potential to change in seemingly invisible ways every day. Our minds can change. Lord knows our bodies change. Relationships come and go and add rich layers of memory and story and sometimes hurts and forgiveness.

Our kids, the people we are raising, leave us changed daily.  Responding to the struggle(s) of the day, whether it’s the 7th grade math, freshman year jitters, college goodbyes, first heart breaks, puberty, or the teething and diapers – it all becomes part of our core. Like cooking from a recipe made so many times we feel it more than we can explain it. It just is. We just are.

My son is on the early cusp of puberty, my father has dementia. I am still a mother and a daughter but what that means and requires of me is changing as they change. Some days it looks no different than the day before, and then suddenly it’s obvious we are all different.

That said, among all that we juggle – the balls we manage to catch, and the ones we simply know are hovering in the balance, seemingly invisible but so very present – comfort can be found when we return to a place that does not change. A place that is somehow a constant for us, a landmark in both the metaphorical and concrete kind of ways.  A place that somehow soothes our soul, beckons us to memories that we can smell and feel from visits gone by, but it’s as if it were yesterday each time we return.

When you recognize a tree in the forest like an old friend, and know the one rock on which to sit by the lake.  They are unchanged and exactly where you saw them last.

That.

A place where the soul settles and rests.

And exhales.

We should all have that kind of place.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.  – John Ruskin

A place where we are sure of who we are, excited about possibilities we perhaps can’t even fathom (but like those balls hovering in the balance, we know they are there…) and revel in all that has been.  From good to difficult and everything that lies between. A place where –  no matter the season,  no matter the weather  – gives us just exactly the moments we need. No matter in what direction the winds may blow, to have and find comfort in a place that we are so very lucky to know.

And I’ve been lucky enough to learn that when someone you adore adores the same place as you – well, that’s one sweet exhale.

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Ps…thanks to Lori for the Ruskin quote!
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I dream of jewel beads and mopped floors…

Here’s to all the moms…

May your day be filled with jewel beads, clean counters and tidy rooms.

And if not, perhaps a lovely mess filled with love and laughter!

To the Mom’s – what has been one of your favorite, or most ‘memorable’ gifts over the years?

And to the rest of us ‘kids’, is there a gift you remember being so excited or proud to give to your mom?

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Hometown Girl

The old saying, ‘you can’t go home again’ has some truth to it, as we know.  However we choose to define home, the place where we ‘grew up’   –  whether physically or metaphorically –  we all know that we can’t go back and expect things to be the same, just as they were. Our mind plays tricks on us ; we often remember things as larger than they really were, selectively omit certain details and attach specific feelings to smells and sights.  But, perhaps, we can go home if we understand that we will find a new version, with new layers that add to our memory and the richness of all that we have received from that zip code specifically imprinted upon us.

I grew up in a small town and even as a kid, knew that I would need to stretch my wings in a locale not edged with orchards and one little main street. I’m convinced that came from my parents, who had lived and experienced so much of the world before settling in what became our home town.  Dad had left home at the age of 13, putting  himself through school, jobs; ultimately serving as an Army Colonel in the South Pacific during WWII. The cabinets in our family home contain boxes upon boxes of his military photos, many of which capture him in uniform, touring Sydney, AU and out in the bush of aboriginal New Guinea seated with the natives – and their lack of attire. Post-war, he became a self-made man as the only optometrist in our small town.

Having grown up in Seattle and then San Francisco, Mom was a city girl. And though barely 5 feet tall, she could finagle the worst traffic in San Francisco with the grace of a ballerina and the mouth of a locker-room jock.  She could bully her way into just about any parking spot she had her eye on and then stroll into I. Magnin with no one the wiser; she had exquisite taste in shopping and a culinary gift that clearly has not carried on with me.  And a heart softer and kinder than I can explain in words.

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McDonald Manhattan: 2 parts bourbon, 1 part sweet vermouth, splash of bitters. On the rocks.

In our home, dinners were often a formal affair, with the table set beautifully with all elements of the proper stemware, silverware and dinnerware. Our mother took great pride in presenting a meal that not only earned her the chops as wonderful chef, but her presentation was always perfect. In her mind, it had to look as tantalizing as it would taste. She would undoubtedly agonize over the details, often wearing herself out and then serving herself last; a true hostess.  Ours was a home where napkins were placed on our laps, cocktails were often served during the 5 – o – clock hour, with hors d’ oeuvres in actual serving dishes, in the formal living room. Ours was a home with a set of every day dishes, a set of ‘nice dishes’, and a set of china.  Ours was a home where people were always welcome, but by golly the house better be clean, all the way down to the baseboards.

We said goodbye to mom nearly 16 years ago, and my father, now 92, still lives in our family home along with my brother, who is beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the most patient men I have ever known. He cares for our dad, with the assistance of a part-time care provider, Gloria. Last week was John’s birthday and my son and I hit the road and made the three-hour trek south for the celebration.  The childhood teasing he subjected me to does not merit my mercy, but I will conveniently omit his age [you are welcome John]. But, let it be known that he is my OLDER brother!

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Arriving at my childhood home, and walking into the kitchen, I could not help but notice that the table – the very same dining room table – was set impeccably.  The decor, though decidedly a departure from what my mother would choose, was so well thought out, down to the last detail, and so perfectly created with my brother in mind. Gloria – the mastermind behind this party – had brought items from her home to create a setting fit for the celebration. For family celebrations, my mother would prepare a leg of lamb that as a 12 yr old I knew was special; and Cornish game hens that still make my mouth water when I remember them; and countless other dishes made to perfection. To the same height, Gloria prepared a feast true to her family; two recipes of fantastically homemade enchiladas, beans, rice, salad and more. “Juan” made the salsa and guacamole.  On tap were beer, wine, tequila and drinks for the kids.

My nephew, now 21 and soon to graduate from college, played soccer with my 9 yr old in the backyard, the way that I used to entertain my nephew when he was the only little kid in the room.  Friends from our childhood joined us for the evening and stories ranged from reminiscing of the old days, to forging new ground with sharing about the loss of our parents, and a spouse far too early in life, family dramas and old secrets, our parents’ marriages and world travels.  We exchanged these stories with a fluency only spoken by those who have come up through the same ranks, inexplicably knowing we belong to each other, because our parents had forged the the bonds for us an entire generation ago.  Photos were posted to Facebook and viewed on our phones while sitting 3 feet away from each other, in a living room where as kids we played and hung out, and would never fathom the advent of social networking or smart phones. Shots of tequila were consumed, and with my mother’s every day dishes put aside, we continued to drink and play Mexican Bingo. I quickly became unpopular as I called out “el lotteria’ over and over again. The cards were somehow stacked in my favor; which meant, that everyone else had to drink. While others could walk home, or were home, I had an early drive back the next morning. I needed those wins!

I sat and marveled at this new version of home, my home. My brother’s home. My mother’s dishes serving a beautiful meal that was never part of her repertoire, raucous laughter and banter from an unlikely group that spanned the ages from 9 to 92 and everything in between.  Our childhood friends, and folks I had never met, but hope I see again, all sharing the same dining room table where I had sat as a child. English, Spanish, and probably some Spanglish mixed in.  At one point, I looked over and  my dad was mixing a martini; 10 minutes later in the same spot, my brother was attempting to learn to dance the Salsa, in spite of a knee refusing to let him forget his age,  in the same kitchen where so many of our memories are safely held. And before I know it, my father has produced his trusty harmonica and proves that though his mind is a bit fuzzy most days, his lungs work just fine.

Report from the home front as I write is that the party may have been too much for our Dad; yesterday he had a martini at 3:30 and a bowl of cereal at 5:30. Who needs rules when you are 92!?

It seems plausible to say that it’s true, you can’t really go home again. Everything changes. We change. Physically and otherwise. The streets change, the landscape changes.  It will never be the same as it was, and it really shouldn’t be.

But, after this last visit, I find myself realizing that maybe we can go home, if we can accept that things have changed, that we are different, and when we understand that what we remember will always be with us, a part of who we are.  Perhaps the key is letting ourselves allow our memories to welcome new ones – new stories, new people, new recipes – in layers, like the perfect birthday cake?

Happy Birthday John...you are Juan in a Million!

Happy Birthday John…you are Juan in a Million!

So that, combined, with each layer resting upon the next,  as if held together by the most perfect frosting  – all the delicious life we savor during the years; the joys, losses, comforts, people, perspectives – is the “home”  that we can return to whenever we need to.

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Are We There Yet?

Road Trip – Last Stop: Are We There Yet?

Since my last stop along my Road Trip to visit Mimi  and the Karma Truck last week in Northern Virginia, and a pass through my own old stomping grounds (I could even see my old house on Google maps street view!), I have headed north and east and set my GBS for New Hampshire, so I can kick it up with Pam at the Mercantile Muse.  I have to ask, did you guess that the first potato planted in the US was planted in New Hampshire? I bet you thought I was headed all the way back to Idaho! Since I’ve been back on the road,  I’ve logged my last 500 miles…nice how it just rounded off so smoothly and caps off my coast-to-coast adventure.  And, it’s only fitting that Pam is my last stop, because as the saying goes, the first shall be last.

“Are We There Yet”via Bates Mercantile Co. on Etsy

Pam was one of  the very very  first people I connected with when I started my own Etsy shop and this blog – she was warm, welcoming, friendly and so easy to connect with. It was apparent right away that she’s not just kind, but full of life, and energy and is definitely the hostess with the mostess; hosting fabulous parties online and off. Pam is gracious whether in party mode or not, always finding a way to make you feel welcome and shine a light on other creatives; she does this with her own creative touch and a refined eye for the unique, special find you just might miss and then wonder how you did once she puts it out on the party table.

In case anyone just jumped in the car, my summer bloggin’ road trip is all about celebrating the connections we find and make through our blogs. The way this virtual visit works is  – I asked Pam some  questions I’d want to ask here if we really got to meet in person.

So, I have made it all the way to New Hampshire, and drive up to Pam’s house, aka The Bates Estate, and settle in for a nice long visit. I’ve got to get out and stretch my legs! 

Since this is a bloggin’ road trip, we have to talk about blogging, of course. Tell me about when you got started in blogging – What was it that got you started?  Did you think about it for a long time, or did you just wake up one day and think, “I’m going to start a blog”?  //  Oh this crazy blogosphere……who knew where it would all lead me when I began. I blame it all on Etsy. I opened an Etsy shop in December of 2010 and kept reading that having a blog helped drive traffic to your shop. So in June of 2011 I finally bit the bullet and started Mercantile Muse.  //  I had the same auspicious start; and I was just about a year behind you. I opened my Etsy shop in November 2011 and this blog in December 2011 – it was nice having you a few steps ahead of me; it’s like knowing a sophomore when you are a freshman! 

How long have you been blogging now, and what would you say has surprised you the most about it?  // So even though I kind of answered that question, I’ll answer it another way ….I’ve been blogging for a year and 2 months. That time flew by.  The thing that has surprised me the most about blogging is all of the fabulous, fantastic, extremely talented women it’s connected me to. That’s not to say that there are men who are bloggin’, but I think the gals really have made their mark on the blogging world and will continue to do so. Women have a LOT to say about everything from crafts to surviving illness, to matters of the heart. I love that blogging has given women a forum where they can express themselves anyway they want.  So cool.

Everything has it’s challenges, are there things about being a blogger that just make you say, ugh?  Things you put off or just like less than the rest of it?  // Trying to fit it into the day. I post most days, so I feel bad if I don’t get a post up. Only because I feel like I’ve let myself down. // I am always impressed how you fit in a post just about every day, I can’t seem to manage that! And each day, you give such a personable, warm welcome to your readers.

What topic/topics do you enjoy blogging about the most?  // That’s just too tough to answer. I really don’t know because Mercantile Muse is all about the great things in our (mine and husband Garrett’s life). And that covers a lot of ground.   // You do cover a lot of territory, which is always fun, but at the heart of it, you always seem to celebrate and muse on the joys you find in every day life.

I just rolled in – what are we going to do today?   //  I hope you had a good night’s sleep before you got here because girl, we have a lot to do. FIRST things FIRST West Coast Bonnie…………we’re driving 10 minutes, stepping on the sand at North Beach in my hometown of Hampton, New Hampshire and then we’re sticking our toes in the Atlantic. // No arguments from me on that!  I haven’t seen the ocean since I left California and I am so ready to get out and stretch my legs. YOU are driving to the beach though…I’m the passenger today!

Retro Beach via Bates Mercantile Co. on Etsy

Then, when  we’re done walking, we’re heading just a wee bit south along Rt 1A/Ocean Blvd to the main beach.  One side is sand until your eye can see. There’s a lovely new stage where they host free entertainment for tourists.  The other side is the beach strip with stores and the old Hampton Beach Casino building where we’re going to have a little skeeball competition.

Then we’ll top it off with a nice lunch at the Sea Ketch which has 4 stories of decks, all with beautiful views of the beach. When we’re done, we’ll take a lovely ride up the coast (all 19 miles of it) through North Hampton and Rye and it’s big, beautiful waterfront homes. The second one on this page is my favorite, (but there are others that are real MANSIONS) and then we’ll heat on to Portsmouth. Ready for more decks?  // I’m ready for whatever you have planned for us today; you are the queen of parties and I know to trust whatever you have in store for me!

500 miles is a trek, I would love to put my feet up and grab a drink with you…where are we going?  // Well, you know already of my love for Margaritas, so we’re going to sit on Poco Diablo’s deck over the harbor and enjoy one. On the rocks, with salt please.  I’ll sip on that while we enjoy the view of the harbor, the boats coming and going and of course, the Porsmouth tugboats. // Ok, you get no argument from me on that; I say, yes please, to the margarita on the rocks with salt. This CA girl speaks Margarita, fluently.  Can we just order a pitcher? 😉

 

What question(s) do you have for me while we relax?  //  How’d you become such a good mom? I LOVED your story about your son and his ‘technology ban’ and all the good stuff that came of  it. So cool. //  Pam, that’s an awesome question, and an awesome compliment. I have to attribute so much to my own mom, who was small but mighty. She showed me, and taught me through example,  the art of balancing unconditional love, tough love and understanding the importance of really knowing your kid.  She was tough when she made a decision [ahem, dating age, curfews, boyfriends, etc.] but was so nurturing and I always knew she was on my side, no matter what. I am confident that she was in my heart when Ben and I worked out the case of the technology and truth misstep and got things back on track. 

If you were a superhero, who would you be? I of course am known ‘round these parts as PowerWasher Woman….give me a power washer and I’ll take a chunk out of grime.  // So funny, and another great question. Raising a boy, superheros are definitely part of my life!  We’ve got action figures of all kinds around the house. Which reminds me, our SuperFur Kid made a snack out of our Wonder Woman action figure and I need to replace her! While I am not quite Wonder Woman, I can safely say I am a MacGyver Girl – I always love a challenge to figure ‘stuff’ out and coming up with surprising solutions. 

So,  I’m pretty hungry after a day of driving and I’ve had my fill of fast food and truck stop food. I  would loooove something home cooked; what would you fix for us to eat? // I hope you like seafood.  Because you drove so far to get here, we thought we’d put on a real New England lobster bake for you with all the fixin’s – lobster, steamers, potatoes, butter and sugar corn which is unreal right now, Aunt Polly’s potato salad, Watermelon George. Hope you’ve got room. // Your parties always look like so much fun, I will make room! 

Before I get back on the road, I’m going to need a good cuppa cuppa to keep me awake for the next part of my drive….where would you take me for my java fix?   // Blue Moon Evolution, my friend’s place. I’m not usually a coffee person. I’m a strong tea in the morning girl.  However, when I go to the moon, I get a cuppa because it’s just plain good.  It’s organic too. // What a little slice of heaven, the moon is. I’ve eaten my way through their menu, just looking at it, and I’ll take one of each one the beverage menu. You’re driving today, right? 

Tell me one surprising thing I would find out when meeting you for the first time?  // Hhhhhmmm, that’s a tough one too since I put most of it out there on the Muse.  Let’s see, I have crooked fingers. The middle fingers on both of my hands ‘swoop’ towards each other at the top.  You might not notice it but it’s a family thing from my Gram. Earthshattering revelations, I know.  Oh, don’t tell my parents but I can swear like a sailor. Only in the right company of course.  (Sorry Mom and Dad if you’re reading this)

It’s been an awesome stop – I want to take a souvenir home to remember my visit with you  – what should I put in my trunk to take home?  // Well that’s easy. Didn’t I mention we’d be beachcombing while we walked at North Beach?  You’ve got a mason jar filled with shells, rocks, sand and sea glass.  // I love that idea, and what a great reminder of my last stop on this excellent adventure!

I’m heading out of the driveway – you toss me a CD  of your favorite tunes to listen to as I roll on down the highway – what is it and what’s your favorite song on it? //Oh it’s definitely Gar’s 40th Birthday CD because you’ll be able to drive and drive and drive. It might be 7 years old, but it still gets us movin’.  You are going to LOVE The Saw Doctor’s HayWrap just as much as we do, but be ready to pull over so you can dance.

  

Is there anything else you want to say, I’m heading out, gotta hit the road again! // I’m so glad you made it all the way to the East Coast safely.  As my parents say ‘straight home, no parking’.  Call me when you get home so I know you made it ok.  // You got it, my mom always waited for my phone call too, so I really appreciate that. I might have to make a few stops on the way home though, it’s a long way from NH to CA!

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m Pam, an all around creative type married to Garrett, my own transplanted Dubliner. I met him while I was going to college in the Bronx.  I muse about all of the good things in our life including people, food, design, the handmade movement, crafts, vintage, places and yes, even business.  I’ve had my own advertising, pr and marketing firm- Speakeasy- for 18 + years. I opened a shop on etsy called Bates Mercantile Co. in 2010 so that I could explore my creative side even more.  That’s how Mercantile Muse came about.  I am so happy to be connecting with people all over the world, including the {PaperKeeper} herself, Bonnie.

  ***

Pam – I left a little something for you, it’s out by the pool, your favorite spot!
I want to say thank you, for the warm welcome, the great conversation, and showing me around your neck of the woods.
Thank you so much for hosting my last stop on my road trip and showing me such great hospitality!

***

I’m a little sad, this is normally where I give you a hint of where my next stop will be…but this is the end of this road, the last stop, for now, for this traveller.

But don’t be surprised if I get my GBS and my trusty Triumph revved up again sometime soon; I can’t sit still for very long, and I have so many more places to explore.

 

Thank you so much for riding along and following this epic adventure,

and until next time, safe travels of all kinds…

…wheels, heart, mind and soul.

Tellin’ it like it is

Sometimes, kids have the best perspective on things.

I’ve had this on my desk at work for at least the last 8 years…

Mother’s Day was just last weekend, and while I made my claim on some m.e. time to relax and do things all non-mom related, I also managed to persuade my kiddo to let me ‘interview’ him.  I guess I had a little extra clout for the day.

The funny part was when he said, ‘what for, what are you going to do with this?‘  His reply to my answer was even funnier. I said I wasn’t sure, just that I had some questions and it would be fun to ask him; ya know, have a special little chat on mom’s day. He wanted to know if I was going to video him and put him on YouTube and how many hits he would get.  He’s 8.  { Hmmm. Guess it wasn’t about me having some extra clout, after all. Sigh… }

I let him down easy and said nope, no YouTube, but maybe I would put it on my blog, like I did his cartoon tv show and his eyes got big and wide. I took that as a yes.  So here we are; my interview with my son, on Mother’s day.

When have you been most afraid?

When I got stung by a bunch of yellow jackets when I was 2

What was the happiest day of your life?

The day I went to the water park with my cousin Matt

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?

Mining should only be legal for the President; and he can give people permission to mine, because everyone would take all the gold, and then everyone would be trading things, everything would technically run out and everyone would starve to death.

If you could change one thing about yourself?

Not  to have as many freckles

What is the one thing you could not live without?

Stuart {my dog}

What is the worst thing about being 8?

Not being able to make many decisions

What is the best thing about being 8?

Having a dog

Describe your perfect day

Wake up early, play video games, play sports, play with my neighbor, whack some baseballs, ride scooters, shoot hoops, go back inside and play video games, go to bed really late.

What would be the job you want to do when you grow up?

Anything that requires building

Who are your best friends and why?

Henry, Parker, Aidan T and Leo  – becaues they have a great sense of humor and they all don’t like the same things as me and it’s a life learning lesson that everybody doesn’t like the same thing.

What does Mom always say to you?

I love you

What makes mom happy?

Bright colors

What makes mom sad?

Dark, sad and violent dark colors

What  does mom do to make you laugh?

By singing I’m sexy and I know it

How tall is mom?

6′  tall?  I don’t know,  5′ 8″ ?

What is mom’s favorite thing to do?

Hang out with me

What does mom do when you are not around?

Watch TV or use the computer

What is mom really good at?

Crafting

What is mom really bad at?

Minecraft the video game.

What does mom do for her job?

Works at a college

What is mom’s favorite food?

Lasagne? Butterscotch soup  [translation: butternut 🙂 ]

If mom was a cartoon character, who would she be?

The mom in Good Luck Charlie, if she changed her hair to yellow

How are you and mom the same?

We both like techology stuff

How are you and your mom different?

Mom is not good at builidng things but I am

How do you know your mom loves you?

Because she always says she loves me

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

China

What is your favorite food?

Pizza!!

If you could go anywhere for just one day, where would you go?

Do laser tag all day

If someone gave you $100 how would you spend it?

Save it until I had $500 to buy an iPad 2

What’s one thing you wish you could do but can’t?

Drive a car

If you could speak another language, what language would you choose?

Chinese

What is the one food you wish you never had to eat again?

Lasagne

What is something you would like to learn how to do?

Master computers, how to make an iPod

What is one thing you wish your grandmother’s knew about you?

That I am  a happy and playful boy

If you could learn how to use a tool, which ones would you want to learn how to use and what would you make?

A hammer and a saw, so  I could  build a table

If we could go away for a weekend to anywhere, what would you pick?

San Francisco

If could write a book, what would it be about?

A dog getting lost and finding a new dog and then the lost dog finding his way home.

What is the weirdest thing about you?

I want to walk my cat on a leash.

Want to keep track of all the awesome things your kid(s) or the small set in your circle proclaim? Check out this awesome book, My Quotable Kid.

{ talk to a kid, and get some perspective }

Get in the flow

For me, springtime is a whirlwind. Between work projects, events and deadlines; my son’s school events, yearbook duty; an annual conference and presentation; practices, sports and games,  and just life in general…once February begins, all I can think about is June…when it’s all done.

I know I shouldn’t race through time,

but, honestly, those few months are a blur anyway!

Since I work in education, I have been on the academic calendar my entire life. There is a certain flow to my year that coincides with the school calendar; and which also means that summertime is my time.  I still have to work, but the pace is slower, more relaxed, more manageable.  No big events, no major deadlines, no big heaps o stress.

So, with summer comes my chance to exhale and put back together all that came undone or just didn’t get done during the spring whirlwind. I can think again. I can focus. I can plan. I can organize.  Sigh….

But this usually means, I get a little over ambitious, trying to do everything I put off during the spring months while I was up to my ears in all things busy. So, I make lists. I love lists. To make sure that I have plenty of time to eat popsicles on the porch with  my kiddo.

Did I mention that I love making lists? I have used the old standard pen + paper lists, I have used the bulleted list in Word, of course using the little check box as my bullet.  Naturally. I  know you do the same!  I have dowloaded apps and used those too.  But, not too long ago, I came across a list makers delight.  A web-based list making, list crossing off, list sharing site. Yes, I said sharing.  I almost missed this find; it was barely mentioned in a comment on a blog post that I read while thinking of what my comment should be.  Thank goodness!

The website is called…are you ready for this? Even the name is just cool. WorkFlowy.  Yep, you heard me correctly, WorkFlowy.  And oh, is it flowy.  It’s gonna change your list making madness.

I’ll give you a couple of screen shots to show off the goodness of WorkFlowy, but first, a few teasers:

  • You can create more than one account – I have one personal and one for work.
  • When you make a list, every single item can be a task and you know what you do once you are done with that task, right?
  • You cross it out!
  • Workflowy lets you do that!
  • And, once you complete a task or parts of a task, you can hide the completed items! Poof. Wha-La…gone {but still there!}
  • Everything on your list is searchable!
  • You can share your lists. {Read: Honey Do}
  • Or, you can collaborate – you can turn any portion of your notes, tasks, lists into a page that OTHERS can view or edit! They see your updates, and you can see theirs in real time
  • Tagging – we all love tagging. Worflowy does too!  Tag an item or groups of items and then search for them later.  Just use the hashtag symbol and any keyword you like.   {i.e. #vacationpackinglist, #superimportant; #blogideas; #yougettheidea}
  • You can view your list on any computer you use just by logging in
  • You can view/edit/manage your list on your smart phone; iPhone and/or Android. No app required…just go to Worflowy via your mobile browser and save as a bookmark on home screen.  Have list. Will travel.
  • Oh, and did I mention, it’s free?!  {there is a pro level you can pay for, but totally don’t have to, more on that later}

So, what does it look like? How do you use it? Let’s take a little tour, shall we?  Here is your log-in screen at Workflowy.com

When you start making a list, keep in mind that you can break down your task/project to any number of steps. This is great for crossing things off your list, and it keeps things real. Everything always takes longer than we think and it’s easy to overlook the little steps that are important too.  And that super-human feeling that comes over you when you cross stuff off? Well the more you break it down, the more you get to cross off that list!  Beautiful!  I should sell capes in my Etsy shop, cuz you’re probably gonna want one.  Have to put that on the list 🙂

Then, using my yearbook duties as an example, let’s add a  project:

Then, let’s add the tasks that I have to complete to get this project done, using the after school program and class collage pages as two primary tasks as part of this project {you could have as many tasks as you want/need}.

{Has spell check, too, 🙂 }

Here’s a little more of the action

{ I don’t know why it says last changed in Janary – just pretend to ignore that, ok? Thanks! }

To share a list, or part of a list, it’s easy.  Using the menu that appears when you hover over an item, click on the link to share, and you get the option to let others just view, or view and edit the list.  Just send them the secret link to your list!

The last couple of  features I will show you is how you can select one portion of your list to focus on, and tagging.  Then, you are just going to have to go in and make your own list. Like that will be hard. You probably already have a list going in your head, huh?  I thought so.

Using the ‘Organize Photos” section of my list, I just click on that line of text, and it will bring it up on a page by itself, with the breadcrumb trail so you don’t lose track of where you are.

Then, you work with just that section of your list. This is especially valuable if like me, you are managing several different projects at the same time and want to just focus in on one area on a given day.  

You can use all the functions of complete, note, share, etc in this view. 

Use the # to tag projects by category, when they need to be done or any other way you categorize, organize. etc.

Use the @ to keep track of who is handling each part of a project.  I envision @honey on a lot of your lists! 🙂

The possibilities are endless. Make a list for projects, aspects of your biz, blog ideas, client lists/action required; a list for your kid(s); travel plans, books to read, films to watch; track progress on a project; outline a novel, the list goes on! 🙂

You can use Workflowy all for FREE, but if you are a ninja list maker of extreme proportions, or if your job requires it, you can go pro for $4.99/mo or $49/yr and get all this too:

  1. Unlimited Lists
    Pro users can make as many lists and items as they want. Non-pro users are limited to 500 per month.
  2. Backup to Dropbox
    Never worry about losing your WorkFlowy data. Have full backups automatically uploaded to your Dropbox account every day.
  3. Offline Editing
    (Coming soon) Want to use WorkFlowy when you’re not online? Go Pro!
  4. Password Protected Collaboration
    (Coming soon) Pro users can share parts of their WorkFlowy document to specific people, verified by email address and password.
  5. Theme and Fonts
    Pro users get to change the look and feel of WorkFlowy with a library of themes and fonts. Make your WorkFlowy more personal.
  6. Premium Support
    We answer emails from Pro members first.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out and make some  lists.

PS…I am just a regular, everyday, average user of WorkFlowy…I don’t have the paid version {yet!} and just wanted to share this great tool with you – no affiliation or any connection with WorkFlowy.

{ now, go get in the flow! Oh, and leave me a comment letting me know what you think, and what your first list will be! }