Order of operations

I don’t know if anyone might have figured this from visiting with me here, but I may be a tad on the impulsive side. There is absolutely no end to the number of times that I have executed the order of operations in my life like this.

Conceive – Execute.

I come up with an idea, and then I just let’er rip. Whatever will be, will be. Sometimes (“Hey, you know what sounds like fun? Knitting Olympics.”) ideas take off and end up way bigger than I expected. (“Do you think maybe knitters could raise a little money for MSF?”) When this happens, because I missed a step, often I’m left running behind at a thousand miles an hour, trying to catch up with the idea I had in the first place. (“I think having three children would be so much fun.”) For the longest time, I had no idea why I kept getting messed up by this. What was going wrong? How did my own ideas keep ending up way more work than I thought they would be? (“You know what? I should spin and knit Joe a Gansey.”) I was thinking this right up until this morning, as I sat entering more of your generous donations. It’s overwhelming. Dizzying even. (Do you see that total?) I’ve finished entering all the emails that I got through the 16th of December, and there’s still tons to do and man….I wasn’t expecting this…

Same thing with Christmas. Same day every year, lots of lead time… it’s not like they announce the date in late November and everybody’s got to scramble to get it done by whenever Christmas is that year. No, no. December 25th. Every year. No surprises. I know I need cookies, I know I need presents, I know I need to have the shopping done and the house clean. I know. I conceive of a certain sort of holiday, and I start executing the idea and disaster ensues. This year I suddenly got it. I figured out what I’ve been missing. What on earth I’ve been doing wrong – the step I’m missing. It hit me when I got out what I have left to do this year.


1. Argyle socks. (No hope.)

2. Large socks. (Maybe. If I don’t sleep, and while I’m not a big fan of sleep – it’s hugely unproductive time, I have come to accept that I do require it.)

3. Cabled scarf. (No worries.)

4. Kitri socks. (These only need one beaded lace cuff. Walk in the park.)

5. Shawl. (Stop that laughing.)

6. Half done green socks. (Too easy.)

7. (not pictured) a pair of socks that I didn’t even start yet but still have high hopes of finishing.

Also not pictured is all the baking and wrapping and shopping. Although we’ve cut way back because of our MSF donation, there’s still some of this that’s unavoidable. (Apparently. I tried to avoid it but it’s still here.) I was looking at this whole mess and trying to pull it together and come up with some sort of an idea for how to manage it all, and that’s when it hit me. Order of operations. The missing step. I’ve been doing it like this:

Conceive (think it up) – execute (leap in and get started)

The step I’m missing?

Conceive – PLAN – Execute.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I need to go get me a plan. Should help a lot. (Let’s discuss the idiocy of learning this at the age of 38 another day, okay?)

162 thoughts on “Order of operations

  1. Good luck… the plan part? feeling the pain, still keep forgetting it sometimes (and im 32)
    Merry christmas and i hope it all gets finished. Optimism is a good thing πŸ™‚

  2. I quit wrapping to come read–and laugh at how much I relate. Uh, yeah, I shipped everything last week that had to be shipped out to the far-flung relatives. Um…

  3. You should write a self help book. You and Dr. Phil could save us all from ourselves. Man, I wish I’d thought of the plan angle!

  4. You’re not the only one! I just promised to knit my dad an aran sweater for next Christmas. I’m sure I’ll conveniently forget about it until next November.

  5. I love you…I really do. At 55, I have LOTS of areas of my life that could use some planning, but I never seem to get there. But, I keep hoping.
    Happy Holidays…go get ’em girl!!!

  6. Not just the figuring it out at 38, but the figuring it out on the 19th. But, hey, you still got 6 days to plan, right?

  7. Ohh….plan.
    So that’s it. Let me know how it works out for you. Maybe you can convince me to try it too.
    Merry Christmas. (w/ or w/out cookies)

  8. Oh how I feel your pain, thankfully with the deadlines of the US postal service I am almost done. I am just hoping people who don’t live far away are understanding about late presents=>

  9. Well you could do the MSF total after Christmas and do family things first, we wont mind honest.
    Although now I’ve written that I realise that if you leave it that long you’ll need a year to catch up on your emails.
    Hmmm, Ok another idea, start knitting for Christmas 2007 now, well, after doing the MSF totals, say March maybe?
    It was a brilliant idea, but maybe you need to ask MSF to tell you what their total is rather than adding it up from individual emails. So they need to put a new ‘are you a knitter? Do you know Steph?’ box on their website and Bob’s your uncle. :o)
    Go do christmas woman, we’ll wait.

  10. planning is for sissies! only the faint of heart need to actually PLAN-the rest of us are SPONTANEOUS, EXCITING, LIVING LIFE TO THE FULL! we’re not held down by silly things like deadlines and cleanliness and looking foolish b/c we forgot someone’s gift AGAIN in our rush to get out the door while we’re trying to catch up with our spontaneousness….of course my sister, an excellent planner, always seems to have beautiful, well-coordinated, stress-free Christmases where everyone has gifts and dinner…i’m sure it’s for some other reason-planning is for sissies

  11. my dear, it’s the only way to be! why waste precious time even sweating it? Go for it and know, if all else fails, we are patient people–we are knitters for goodness sake. The MSF can be entered later.

  12. I’ve got spreadsheets for any occasion, not just guage to guage conversion. Some of us are born to plan and just can’t help ourselves. Funny thing is, most of us with that streak of OCD (obsessive/compulsive disorder) wish we could lighten up and be a bit more relaxed about things.
    Embrace who *you* are!

  13. Wow! And I thought I was behind! Seriously Ms. P-M, you are doing great stuff. Planning WILL help, but sometimes there is NOTHING like jumping right into execution. I just found out about the MSF push today, and good grief! The total has grown and grown and grown. So by the time you get a chance to post the entries through Christmas (you ARE going to take a break and do Christmas, right?) That goal you set (a pretty good goal, and without planning) should be toast and lying on the floor while the actuality rises far above it.!
    Holiday Hugs!

  14. I’m 55 and haven’t added in the “plan” phase to my lifestyle and things still work fine . . . don’t make any hasty decisions about adding it to yours!
    It’s ever so much more fun to do what I call “creek-leaping” – referring to that gleeful childhood practice of dashing down a stream, leaping from unstable rock to unstable rock, outrunning the instabilty and not landing in the water. There are few things in life that are more fun than that. It’s a joyful dance in this wonderful universe where things want ever so much to buoy us up if we will only let them . . . without us in the driver’s seat.
    So yes, plan occasionally, but don’t overdo it! If you were a habitual planner, you probably would never have given all of us the Knitting Olympics nor this amazing charitable radiance you have kindled. It is a small price you pay for the glorious results.

  15. Your Christmas gifts in progress look lovely, good luck with the deadline knitting. Also, I wanted to say that your spur-of-the-moment MSF idea is really inspiring to me, and obviously to many other people. Anyone who happens to be reading the comments might also want to know that WendyKnits! has a registry for another great cause.

  16. Plan?
    BwaaaHahahahaha!!! What’s that?
    I’m in the same boat, we can paddle together. πŸ˜‰
    I have added stress…we’re planning a trip from Maryland to Indiana to surprise my family by just showing up at the usual appointed times for family events. No one knows we’re coming! 700+ miles. 13+ hours of driving time. I wonder how much knitting i can get done? I’ve switched from knitting the things that should have been shipped, to knitting the things that need to stay here in MD. It’s making my head spin!
    Do not fear, it will all come together in “some” manner and it WILL be just fine. THis is what i keep telling myself, let me know if it works.

  17. I don’t know, Steph…I think SOME things require little or no planning. If you planned for the Knitting Olympics first, do you think you would have still gone through with it? I think that, sometimes, the BEST things are unplanned (also works with pregnancies/children, which I’ve personally experienced) and may not have been as spectacular as the planned version either. Now….if my hubby was reading this, he’d have a heart attack because I am one of those compulsive planners. So, maybe I’m just talking from the “better” half of my brain…not the side I use regularly.

  18. Plan? How did I forget to do that? Actually I did plan….it just didn’t work out like I thought it would. That’s why I am shipping the presents that I am wrapping this evening along with the Christmas bread (of which I baked 20 loaves on Sunday) out to our relatives by second day UPS tomorrow. I figured (here comes the plan) that I’d just put everything in one box each, rather than shipping the presents out earlier and then just overnighting the bread. What on earth was I thinking?!! And to top it all off, who did I think was going to wrap those gifts that have been laying around our house? Thank goodness that I decided there would be no Christmas knitting this year. People will still get things, but at my desire, rather than the big push. It’s my only sanity retaining measure for the moment.

  19. I was excitedly telling my husband (a programmer) about the latest donation and how it’s climbing with several emails still to go and he offered to write a script where people can enter the amount they donated and it automatically totals everything up. It could even keep track of who gave what. All you’d have to do is update the new total amount on the main page. Perhaps for next year?

  20. Don’t worry. We all do it.
    My modest, pared-down, do-able list:
    – socks for dad (started in August)
    – scarf for sister-in-law (ditto)
    – thrummed mittens for niece
    – socks for mom
    – sweater for me
    – THESIS
    eventually became:
    – THESIS
    – socks for dad (started in August)
    – scarf for sister-in-law (ditto)
    – mittens for niece
    – socks for mom
    – sweater for me
    – 10 more pairs of mittens
    – 3 more scarves
    and realistically will be:
    – shirt and tie for dad, with a pair of bonus socks delivered in January
    – book for sister-in-law (with scarf set aside for birthday)
    – one thrummed mitten for niece as a deposit, along with something yet to be bought
    – one mitten for some friend of a child or nephew (depending on size) which was started on my flight home early to spend time on the lab working on the THESIS (give me a break, the other projects had metal needles!)
    – one still-unfinished THESIS
    Ummmm… I guess this comment qualifies as procrastination.
    At least I finished the shopping and wrapping and I refuse to bake this year.
    Good luck!

  21. Yeah, I’ve got, what, 11 years on you? and I’m still learning it too. Or rather – I learned it a long time ago, in theory. It’s the *practice* that presents a problem! I plan and plan and plan. I make lists. My lists have lists. But where *are* they, these magnificently-organized lists, when the time comes to follow them? You can’t check off items on a list you can’t find. And a plan is only as good as your adherence to it. And the adherence itself has to be reasonable, flexible, intelligent, which means the plan has to have those qualities too – and a plan which is flexible is a plan which can be changed and messed with as unexpected circumstances arise. The only good plan, in short, is a plan that may run amok at any moment, and then where are you? Why, right back where you were before you started trying to plan.
    Give it up. It’s pointless. Just go ahead and *do* – strike while the iron is hot and the inspiration fresh. It’s who and what you are, and it works and it’s wonderful. Accept it. Embrace it.
    Or, as someone I know of once said – try to think like you. Believe me, that doesn’t include anything so onerous, so restrictive, so inhibiting, as planning.

  22. Steph – your ideas must be awesome, because they become such monsters in reality/execution. If it was dumb, nobody would play and you wouldn’t have this problem. So, rejoice in your brilliant ideas, and beg/borrow/steal some help with the counting, cleaning, cooking and whatever else you need! (You know, the problem really is that it’s so hard to ask for help, we always think we need to do it all ourselves!)

  23. Plan? You don’t need no stinkin’ plan!
    Ok, maybe if you want to maintain sanity, but frankly I think that’s over-rated.

  24. There is supposed to be an order to these things? What? Who told you that? Where did you read that? Nobody told me!

  25. Oh, that plan thing – it really is more trouble than it is worth, don’t you think? Okay, well, I haven’t planned this holiday and man, I’m in a pickle! I have to admit it is a little more exciting (and stressful and nailbiting like) than I had thought!
    Happy holidays to you and your family. Thank you so much for being an inspiration and a down right good laugh just when I need it most.

  26. Lest we forget…”Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans…”
    I started last January making plans for Christmas knitting. It was totally cool. Sweaters for the girls (2). Fair Isle for DH (if he was good enough this year). Socks for all my partners (6 sets should suffice). Scarves for the bosses (3) in cashmere (fun). What I have done? Nada! Zip! Zilch! You see, they keep making me actually work to afford all this yarn! We picked up 2 more hospitals and innumerable surgeons to provide anesthesia for (good thing, since I crave yarn)! Plus, Grandson came at Thanksgiving…had to make him a sweater!
    Oh, well, at least I have the yarn to begin next year’s list…..

  27. Hey, what about that friend that used to create the plan for you – remember? Bake cookies from 3:37-3:52, knit 4:00-6:00 – that one. She was the one that helped you with IT. Lene? The summer countdown woman? Surely not Rams. Who was it and where was she? I don’t really think you can take the blame on this one. Sure, she prolly has a life, is maybe a little busy right now, but one can’t just stop providing a service like that and expect you to succeed… it’ll be better next year. You won’t get married, be on TV, knitting progressional green socklettes or all those other things that got in your way, and next year at this time you’ll have your feet up, maybe your nails done (just because), nice glass of merlot, some chocolate and some purely recreational knitting in your hands. mmm-hmm. Absolutely.

  28. Steph– you don’t have to do everything. Do the knitting– no one else can do that for you. Let others do the rest.
    You don’t have to buy presents; you’re knitting them. Buy bags for wrapping, and save yourself two days of wrapping. Make Christmas dinner pot luck this year, and you’ll only have to make one dish. Forget the baking– when people say, “What can I bring?” tell them, “Cookies.” It’ll be okay. What people will remember about the holiday is how great it was to be with the people they love, not that you had six kinds on homemade cookies.
    Now, take a deep breath, make yourself a cup of tea, and finish that knitting.

  29. Aw, come on! Divvy it out to all of us. We can get it done! And a merry Solstice to all and sundry.

  30. There are people who do things (altruists) and those who plan (rational self choice). We stopped having children when we found ourselves outnumbered. I stop my holiday preparations when we have to go to church – merry christmas!

  31. At least you know what day Xmas is. My husband actually asked me that last week. I replied that it’s going to be on a Monday this year and he said, “No, I meant what DATE is it this year?” So of course I had to totally go off on him about his having lived for 49 and 11/12 years and it’s been on Dec 25th the whole time he’s been here and they don’t keep changing it every year, you know and etc, etc…

  32. Puh–pluhh… what? I’m sorry, I do not have the pleasure of understanding you.
    “Also not pictured is all the baking and wrapping and shopping.” You crack me up. Yes, I feel your pain.

  33. Hey, $80000 in four days and no doubt much more to come. You’re a fund-raiser from heaven! Plan schman. It’s the chaos that keeps us alive and kicking. My solution to xmas this year was to bail. Told my family and my partner’s family we were going to New Zealand. We’re not, we’re going to go sit on a beach and eat lobster and read novels all the day long. Not that I don’t love our families, but mmmm. Bliss.A year off is good.

  34. I finally went and made my donation. You know, Christmas and all.
    I’ve pledged $25.00 per month so over the next year that gets us $300.00 more.
    You go girl! Plan – Blech!

  35. I’ve got 2 yrs on you & I’ve gone the planning route. Guess what I find it more frustrating to plan. When you plan & life messes it up (which it naturally does)it’ll drive you nuts. All the best things happen spontaneously, you’ve got the universe on your side, your Karma must be great. It’ll get done & it won’t be a disaster if it doesn’t. Slow down & enjoy your friends & family.

  36. plans are highly over-rated. Just let go! If things happen, that’s GREAT! If not…FLY BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS! That’s why we have patches:)

  37. The age of 38 and 6 days before Christmas! It may be too late for planning this year. Chalk it up to something you should implement in 2007.

  38. A major part of the plan could involve hypnosis. Back in high school, we had several hypnotists come. One of them said that an hour of hypnosis was similar to 8 hours of sleep. Now, I don’t know the long term affects of that kind of sleep deprivation, but a night here and there fueled by hypnotic bliss might get you through the holiday season. Now I’m no expert on the subject, but I would guess if you tried it once or twice a week in the month before Christmas, no harm done.
    Another thing to consider that is completely unrelated to the conceive-plan-execute thing is that no one really knows what day Jesus was supposedly born. Dec. 25 was just a random day that was chosen many centuries ago. So, you might be able to fudge the “Christmas is on Dec. 25th” rule. You could even make it a different day every year as needed (kinda like the American Thanksgiving).
    And as far as this year’s Christmas knitting goes for you, it was all Knitty Gritty’s fault for forcing you to crank out green socks rather than lace scarves and festive hats.
    Good luck. I’m going to try finishing my mother’s sweater now (my very first one! Its really going more smoothly than expected. I must’ve done something wrong).

  39. Stephanie, I thought Lene was supposed to do the planning! You just go on being you — it seems to work very well.

  40. Stephanie
    Sit down after brewing a nice cup of tea, put your feet and relax. The counting up of the donations can wait until after Christmas. Your sanity and enjoyment of the holiday is more important. DWB will still get the funds and you will, eventually, catch up with the final total – and it might be a nice surpirse to all of us to see the final without the small increments. You were awesome to have started all this and my hats off to all the generous knitters out there!!

  41. I conceive of an idea. I plan. I love to plan. I always fall short when it comes to executing the plan. Something (i.e. Life) always gets in the way and tries to derail my plan.

  42. Oh, and hey, everybody… notice how blasΓ©e we are now about that scary beaded lace cuff? “Walk in the park,” says she. Reminds me of a good friend of mine who used to say “What, you want me to read the book? But – I haven’t even taught the course yet!” Good on you, Stephanie. Tout est possible.

  43. How about having your girls make the cookies while you knit?
    I yesterday I finished making 400+ horse treats to give to folks at the barn where I board our pony, and tonight have to bake cookies, do you think that says something about my priorities?
    Last night, between finishing an aran mitten and starting the second one, I spotted 2 balls of a chenille yarn in a cool purple to browns colorway I had in stash and impulsively cast on a shawl for my sister. Shawls start easy on 3 stitches but I am now remembering why I like shawls that start with lots of stitches and decrease.
    Good luck with getting everything done.

  44. As I used to say in a presentation I would give in my past life…. plan is a four letter word. We don’t like four letter words.
    Woman, if you actually planned things you’d rule the world…… besides you give us all hope that we are not all that unusual if even you get caught by surprise.

  45. Planning is overrated.
    There is only so much planning you can do before it qualifies as procrastination.
    Flying by the seat of your pants is infinitely more exciting.
    If you really feel the need to plan remember: rough plans are the best way to go. They don’t take long to make and they are flexible.

  46. You, me and Federal Express, who, when responding to a complaint yesterday, said, “Well, it’s gotten really busy lately.”
    I am still gobsmacked. Christmas … when it gets “really busy” … happens at the same time every year! I don’t see how that can be an excuse for a DELIVERY SERVICE to be caught flat-footed.

  47. You called on us to take over the world. Have a plan in order for that or shall we keep overwhelming your senses? πŸ˜‰

  48. I finally learned (after 53 years on this planet) that christmas actually falls on the same day each year, and yet every year I’m totally sideswiped by it. So I solved this problem by (a) no baking, (b) presents for Children only, everyone else just gets my love and (c) knitting myself a pair of socks. Many of worlds ills can be cured by the simple act of knitting a plain vanilla sock in the yarn of your choice. I sit, I Knit, I’m happy.

  49. Yeah, plan. Like, I want to get such a gift, and I know just the shop out on the Danforth. And such a one, I can get that at the Duff Mall. And the other one, I have to go to Queen Street. Right. On transit. While bringing my kid home from school for lunch, doing the groceries, laundry and perhaps cleaning a toilet. I say, jump in and do what you can and perhaps buy all gifts at one big place… or knit them, starting in February.

  50. “Cabled Scarf. (No worries)” Excellent, only you would not worry about this one. I finally figured out what my problem was with knitting and am beginning to master it, but just managing to work my way across each row is still a worry.
    But thanks for the inspiration! By this time next year I’m sure I’ll be working on just as many last minute projects.

  51. Yep, I thought the four letters of “plan” were code for “Lene.” If you were to sail serenely into this coming week we would call the medics to alert them to a possible personality-changing stroke.
    Frankly, it looks perfectly reasonable to me. Okay, maybe not the shawl. But that’s recreation, presumably…

  52. Not planning has a name – it’s serendipity. Whatever happens, happens. And that can be a good thing!

  53. Hey, the plan aspect is why you keep me around and in return, I get to watch the disasters at a distance.
    The offer of a schedule stands.

  54. Planning does not help. Planning only discourages. It destroys hope, fantasy, dreams. Do not plan, Ms. Harlot, it takes all the fun away.
    And why do I say this? Because if you plan, you will figure out that it is impossible to knit a pair of socks for everyone in your family between Halloween and Christmas. That one row of a shawl takes half an hour, there are 127 rows left, which means 63.5 hours of knitting, which is impossible to fit in before Christmas. That knitting, cookie-baking, card-writing, tree-erecting, present-wrapping all take 17 times more time than you planned, and therefore nothing will get done by Christmas.
    And yet, and yet – most of it does get done. The socks get knit, the shawl is cast on, there are homemade cookies still uneaten on Christmas morn, tiny lights sparkle everywhere, and all’s right with the world.
    That, my child, is the miracle of Christmas. At least, it is to this non-believer.

  55. Best laugh ever: the year I tried to put my Christmas knitting projects into Microsoft Project (project managers use this software, normal people do not). Oh yes! I did! Start Uncle John’s sweater on April 5, allow one week for each major component, task dependencies (B can’t be done before A and so gets pushed out if A is not done on time), Ghant charts and all!
    No, it didn’t work. It did, however, give me precise and up-to-the-minute data on just how far behind I was… :-/

  56. As has been said, the $80K raised in such a short time is not a bad accomplishment. You’re doing fine without plans. I would also point out that acknowledging the need for a plan is an important step, whether or not you recruit a planner like Lene.

  57. I thought Lene was your planner. What, is she slacking?
    BTW, maybe next time Ken the Blog God could write you some little page that allows us to enter our information and then tallies the info automatically. Something like what Alison uses to keep track of the sockpal participants.

  58. I’m nowhere near done either, and I gave myself a lot less to do. Hmm… giving ourselves less to do… nah. Wouldn’t work.

  59. Well, you’re doing better than I am, and I have at least a year on you. Basically Christmas just makes me want to take to my bed, and ignore it’s even happening – just lay back and think of Scotland type thing.
    I just do not have the resources to buy or make for others right now. My knitting and spinning time is precious to me, and I use it very selfishly (most of the stuff I make is for me and me alone!)
    I do need to get a baby blanket done for my one and only nephew, but I haven’t even started it. I’d like to make some hats for my brother’s. And my mom let me know that my stepsister lost the spindle spun scarf I gave her for Christmas last year, and she is now in need of another one. Easy right? Yeah right.
    I just try really hard to do as much as I can and don’t let it get to me too much – though that’s *much* easier said than done. Sigh. It’ll be over soon.

  60. IMHO, “the plan” is highly overrated! Just try sticking to “the plan” and see what kind of stress that adds! Let alone losing the plan and trying to remember what it was. Takes more time than it’s worth!

  61. Ok, the first thing I read was Conceive and the first thing that popped into my head was–Baby, hehehe, but I think I got it wrong, hehehe.
    About the unfinished presents–I have yet to hear someone complain about receiving a late present :D…you can always say that you didn’t want it to get lost in the suffle, hehehehe.

  62. Ditto Marina’s comment: “What people will remember about the holiday is how great it was to be with the people they love, not that you had six kinds on homemade cookies.” I sure hate to see folks, especially us women, pressure ourselves to manufacture all the “stuff.” By the time the holiday is here, so many of us are exhausted, irritable, and cranky. Who needs that? Let’s take a chance on cutting out all the gifts and focusing on the nontangible things that really matter!

  63. Forget the planning stage. That’s when the rest of us get intimidated and give up. That’s why YOU raised over 200K for MSF, and had the Knitting Olympics. The rest of us just come up with ideas, plan, see obstacles, and that’s it.

  64. I agree–planning is definitely overrated. Planning is thinking, and it is so easy to think yourself out of a good idea. Besides, if you become a master planner where would we get our annual “It” fix? No, the only plan you need right now is coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

  65. You don’t need to learn how to plan. Let’s face it – it’s a little late for that. You need to hire some elves. I’m sure you could find some that would knit for cheap. I mean, you got knitters to give $80K in a matter of days. Surely you could find some willing and able knitting elves to help you make deadlines. πŸ™‚

  66. You are doing better than you did last year, I think. I quit my Christmas knitting at 2 pair of socks and 2 pair of fingerless mitts (they take MUCH less time). And think of all those MSF donations as a personal comment about how much you are treasured and respected by so many people.

  67. Another spot-on post. “Conceive – Execute” leads to all kinds of fun & unpredictable things, many of them good. (As another mother of 3, I certainly can’t imagine sending any of them back!)
    I was reading something the other day about procrastination actually being a GOOD thing. I’m having trouble finding the article again, but in looking for it, I found this: http://phoenix.swarthmore.edu/2006-11-30/opinions/16655 which is also very funny & somewhat applicable to knitting.
    Have a Happy Holidays, regardless of how the “plan” goes!

  68. Stephanie, there are natural planners (that OCD-type that someone else mentioned) and people who just can’t do it. Trying to do something that you aren’t cut out to do is, well, unnatural! Besides it is probably counterproductive. If it don’t come easy, just let it go. How are you at delegation? (You’re not a non-planning control freak are you?) I agree with all those who said put the gifts in bags or let the girls wrap them and let the girls do the baking (you can supervise and knit at the same time…I know you can). You do the knitting…you’re the only one who can do that. Men love computers, maybe your husband could help with the e-mail and totals…if not, we’ll wait. We WANT you to have Christmas because next year, thanks to you, a ZILLION other people are going to have a better year. You are doing a wonderful thing…doing it more slowly does not change that. P.S. I urge you to remember Douglas Adams’ quote about deadlines in ‘At Knit’s End’ :). Hang in there!

  69. The last time I baked Christmas cookies, my husband took the kids and left the house because he didn’t want them exposed to the language coming from the kitchen. They’re all adults now, so you can see it’s been a looooong time since I’ve felt compelled to bake! Now, I just have to finish my brother’s sweater which I started in August!

  70. Holy crap, lady, you’re almost at your goal!
    As a geek I highly recommend you incorporate an online form to accept submissions, preferably one that hooks up to a database and replaces the current “email me to sign up” function. Highly. Recommend.

  71. Well, it’s seems like lack of planning has, for the most part, worked for you so far. Sure, it’s crazy stressful sometimes, but don’t you feel like a superhero when it turns out fine anyway?
    Plus, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas unless one is feverishly grafting a sock toe as the relatives are walking up the front steps.

  72. Ummm – I hate to say this but I seem to get LESS organized as I get older. when my girls were very small (preschool), I used to have all of my Christmas shopping done & presents wrapped by Thanksgiving so I could spend all the time in between Thanksgiving & Christmas, baking cookies & doing crafts with them. Then I went back to work full time & things became a lot tighter time wise. No more present bought & wrapped by Thanksgiving. But still time for cookie baking with the girls. Eventually I retired & decided (for some peculiar reason) to make presents this year – something I have avoided like the plague in previous years. Small s & they’re mostly finished BUT I still have to felt a ton of small items. And I cannot find that GALLON of Eucalan that I know is hiding somewhere in my house. And, of course, I have all those small items to wrap. Oh, and did I say we’re having our extended family gathering early this year – on the 23rd (that’s this Saturday for those without a calendar nearby).

  73. I am not a big fan of sleeping either. But we do have the plan. Problem is it goes like this:
    It’s there, we just don’t find it πŸ™‚

  74. To your last request…oh, ok.
    Hey I’m with you on all the knitting that still needs to be done….but no shopping here, none. not going there, and it’s alright..it would be futile.

  75. $200,000 – woohoo!! And all without a plan.
    Remember this famous quote: “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” –Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke. Substitute ‘reality’ for ‘enemy’, and you’ve gotcher life right here. πŸ˜‰ Plans are all very well and good, but only if you keep ’em loose enough to adapt. Which, really, means nothing hard and fast, just a bunch of good ideas, so in fact… Spontaneity works better!
    Right? (I sure hope so, because that’s basically what I’ve been doing all my life, LOL. Plan, what plan?)

  76. I started the xmas knitting this afternoon. The first recipient is coming over in three hours and I still think I can be done (headband, big needles, no problem).
    I’ve deleted most of the knitted items from my xmoose list but still. I’m not well.

  77. Wait, I thought the knitty gritty socks were part of the xmas PLAN?
    That’s why I resolved no gift knitting this year. I am tempted to sway from that, but when I realize how relaxed I’ve been this year and how I’ll be able to enjoy the holidays a bit more (e.g. no blocking lace scarves upstairs at grandma’s house while everyone else is downstairs eating cookies).
    Now, I wonder how my so’s mom would feel about a donation to MSF in her name…

  78. Like several others…pushing 50 and still don’t have it together..My excuse now is “after the kids grow up a little more” and as I have a 16 yr old and a 6 yr old (see the whole planning thing), fortunately it sounds not too bad. What happens when they do grow up some and I still don’t have it together hmmmm…suggestions anyone.

  79. I agree with those who said you can add up the total donations after Christmas. That’s a dead time anyway. It would be fun to see the totals going up then. It’s not as if the money would be delayed in any way. The $ are already doing good.
    Yeah, let’s have a post-holiday-slump-busting total in January.

  80. Hmmm…I’m a retired financial planner. Not an investment salesperson. No. I actually **wrote** plans for people to follow to enable them to retire in reasonable financial shape. You’d be surprised how many of our clients didn’t show up till their mid-fifties…with plans to retire in less than 5 years!!
    All that to say, Luv, you’re not alone in your Failure To Plan behaviour.
    And hey — even those of us who are BPs (Born Planners) fall down occasionally. I still have a pair of fingerless gloves to knit and 2 quilts to attach to batting and backing and, um, quilt. πŸ˜‰

  81. Plan? What the hell is a plan? That’s just crazy talk! Good luck with that… let us know how it works out for you. πŸ™‚

  82. One more comment about planning. Newman’s Own brands, started by Paul Newman (woof), has, to date, given over 200 million dollars to 1,400 charities.
    He says, in a USA Today interview, “As long as I keep things spontaneous, things work out better. That’s the motto of the food company: If we ever have a plan, we’re screwed.”

  83. Good Grief woman! You have missed an entire step in this process!
    So far you have been practising the M.E. method (where you do it all yourself) based on the Model > Execute strategy.
    What you must do now is to progress to the next stage if you are going to dabble in the dark arts of Planning (whereby you spend huge amounts of time writing and sticking Post-It notes on every vertical surface, all the while feeling supremely virtuous about your organizational skills). The stragety changes accordingly and is immensely popular with all those CEOs and Chairperson-of-the-Committee clipboard-toting types.
    Model (come up with the idea), Advertise (tell everyone what a good idea it is), then DELEGATE (get someone else who agrees with you to do it for you). The M.A.D. Plan
    Stephanie, I think you are ready for the next level. Delegate! Then you can achieve the pinnacle of organization: Supervise. That’s when you get to watch everyone else doing the work!
    P.S. By the way, donation heading your way. I’ll email.

  84. Look on the bright side: at least you didn’t decide to do something crazy like MOVE four days before Christmas. Or wait until after the move to buy some gifts for your children…
    Plan, schman, just have fun with it all (aka d-e-n-i-a-l).

  85. Stephanie, if you’d stopped to plan, MSF might not be as blessed as they have been this year. (“See, if I ask the knitters to donate and send me an e-mail and I’ll total it up, we might not get all the Christmas knitting, baking, wrapping done….”) I’m sure the universe is blessing you now, too.
    However, my advice: call Lene. Didn’t she set you up with a plan that helped in one of your previous time crunches? (And it may be time to break out the Screech, too!)

  86. Honestly, I saw screw the people that you aren’t really connected to. Just stuff for immediate family, and those special relatives that are simply awesome. But if you can’t choose, do this: When you get the urge to knit them a gift, knit 2, one for christmas and one for their bday. That’s it all year long. You should have more than enough by Christmas next year.
    A book is a great present. Or those weird wrist cuff thingys. Or leg warmers. Or hats. Or hair bands. Do this all in chunky yarn. It’ll go by quickly.

  87. WOW! I don’t feel so overwhelmed anymore. I only have one sock and half a scarf to finish. Best of luck to you, Oh and if I don’t get a chance to comment before next week…Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  88. uh Steph? Don’t you remember the very detailed plan you had for last christmas? It had every minute of your day mapped out so you could get your christmas knitting done – and it didn’t work? It’s not the planning, it’s you. As Joe says, you are a very contrary woman.

  89. Didn’t Laurie put together a schedule last year (or was that the year before?) with timed periods for working on each project? I have been wishing for a Laurie since then!

  90. The whole plan part messes me up. I’m sort of like the Underpants Gnomes: Step 1: Collect underpants
    Step 2: ?
    Step 3: Profit!
    It’s never too late to learn.

  91. so, I had this delusion that I wasn’t going to knit a single thing this holiday season. Then I cast on and i cast on and then, suddenly, i had four projects I was knitting for christmas. I actually managed to finish those, only to cast on for another project. So. we’re all crazy and we will (mostly) finish all these projects and we’re not *too* delusional and even if we are, at least we’re not alone. *hugs* and good luck w/the christmas knitties!

  92. Heres my idea. Forget doing anything else to the projects you’ve got started. Start the last pair of socks and get the first one as far as the heel. Wrap up each project as is, complete with the rest of the yarn and the needles intact. Do your shopping and christmas baking in the rest of the time and when the presents are opened on Christmas day get each knitting recipient to pull a number from a hat, 1-7 and finish them off in the order pulled!
    I had 3 pairs of socks to knit, but knew I would not get them done (I have only ever knit 1 pair of socks before) so this is the route I have taken. I have 1/2 a sock to knit by Monday (I should get this done in time) and still have 5 days to shop and bake!
    Can’t donate till the New Year but will let you know when I have. I do have a skein of Fleece Artist Slubby that I would be happy to donate for your prize draw though. I’ll send you a picture to post when I track it down ( It’s buried under the socks I think!)

  93. No way I’m second. No. Way.
    Beware of plans too; I had a plan this year, but it totally didn’t help. Coming to terms with my unrealistic expectations, on the other hand, has made my holiday a grand one =)
    Anyway, planning really cuts into your knitting time…

  94. Ummm … you have teenagers, do you not? Can’t they do the baking? I’m sure they’d be happy to if they knew that this small thing that they were doing would save Mom from insanity. (and if they haven’t learned to bake yet, now’s the time)
    Subcontract the baking and you have time to knit. While knitting, you can figure out who’s going to wrap the presents. (Hank? Bet he’d love to do it)

  95. Plan?…..PLAN??!!! Why that is freakin’ Brilliant!!!! I am 55 and seem to always skip that part too….Wish you had mentioned it a bit earlier however!
    Happy Holidays…and wowie zowie…those donations are pouring in!!! Guess we all found we could give up that one extra skein of yarn..makes the heart warm all over.

  96. Okay, how dumb am I? I have been reading faithfully, and thinking you always do have plans. Even though you’ve “mentioned” in many of your previous adventures how they take on a life of there own. Even though with this one (DWB) I “wondered” how you were going to juggle donations with holiday knitting. I’m Dumb, I tell you! In the spirit of letting you knit, I will make my donation on 12.26! And, just to give it a little perspective, your lack of a plan ain’t nothin’ compared to the disaster that is now happening in the Middle East. Just sayin’…

  97. Plan? Girl, you don’t have time to plan! It’s way too late for this! Get the girls to make cookies, or tell them to go to the store to buy some. You couldn’t make cookies — you were in Burbank. Make Joe wrap things — he can go the Dollar Store and buy gift bags and put stuff in ’em. You couldn’t do that — you were knitting all those parts of green socks. You don’t need a plan — you need good excuses.

  98. Tranquilapa che ama!**
    As my mother always says “man~ana” And isn’t there some proverb or saying about how God laughs at people who make plans?
    Planning can be helpful; it can also get you bogged down in detail or leave you feeling intimidated by the task so much that things don’t get done.
    Christmas has a way of sneaking up on you. Our family tradition was to start the Christmas season on Dec. 15 or so. That meant I was going to put up the lights and such last weekend- I got the box out and that’s as far as it got. The weekend was spent knitting caps to the capital and a Christmas present dinner with friends. Tonight was supposed to be baking…
    **Guarani for ‘chill out dear woman”

  99. Hee! This whole post made me think of the Underpants-Stealing Gnomes on “South Park.” When asked WHY they were stealing underpants, they summarized their order of operations as:
    Step One! Collect underpants!!!!
    Step Two! (long silence)
    Step Three! PROFIT!!!!!

  100. I think your greatest gift is showing us how amazing we ALL can be WITH or WITHOUT planning –how a mere seed can grow ever so quickly if tended to, just a minute or so a day, and how the rhythms of every day life have secret treasures just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed/revelled in/wallowed in/cried over/cursed/blessed. You and your blog begin the journey and the ensuing comments continue it, adding wisdom/sarcasm/cheerleading/humour and silliness along the way. Discovering you and your world has been one of my most favourite (albeit early) Christmas presents EVER. Thank you. I hope someday I can “gift” something to you or pay it forward — in the meantime, will be donating to DWB. Cheers and Merry Christmas to you and your (extended) family!

  101. Hey you can always wrap the project half done and finish it after the holidays. Actually I have some to finish also, a nordic sweater American Girl sized, a hat, a scarf and haven’t even started a second sweater for the other twin’s doll…

  102. I came up with the best excuse for not knitting this year: carpal tunnel. I was diagnosed with it, I have to wear stupid splints at night, therefore I have to cut way back on the knitting…except for the scarf that I had to finish for my brother. By 3 today so that I could get it in the mail. And I did, even though it meant knitting 15 inches of the damn cabled thing in 24 hours. And even though my wrists are now killing as a result. And even though I spent money I really didn’t have to make up for the fact that “I couldn’t knit.”
    Obviously my body should have thought a LOT harder about this whole carpal tunnel thing before I got it. Stoopid body.
    Now I have to go knit two pairs of Fetch mitts by Christmas. And make a whole bunch of earrings. And stitch markers. Yeaaah.

  103. Here I was, reading your blog, laughing and just plucking away at the stranded colour work sweater I conceived and started yesterday. Feeling pretty lucky… Then I realised that I have a company pot-luck dinner to go to the day after tomorrow! I haven’t planned what I’m bringing much less buy ingredients and make the damned thing. And here I was hoping to chart my colour work today (knit now, chart later. Yeah, that’s my knitting motto) . Am dashing out te door in a minute.
    A plan will be just the thing for me too.

  104. Hello stephanie,
    here’s a plan, let someone else make up a plan and be sure that that one does it right and you go on being yourself.
    You need to delegate, find someone who does it for you and you’re fine.
    Take care,

  105. Plan?!! Plan? plan, new concept. Plan. I’ll try it.
    My hubby is good at it. He will often ask things like, “So, what’s your plan?” or make statements like, “Here’s my plan” or “if you don’t have a plan B, you don’t have a plan”. He is a person that understands and has a firm grasp on the subject. He is my hero.

  106. This is funny and of course, so true. I started a sweater (Rowan complicated cables) for my college son last MAY and just yesterday seamed it. And really…I did have 4 days left. What’s the rush? But he get home today and I knew I couldn’t work on it right in front of him. But still…did it really need to take me 8 months?? And then I knit a “Grown-Up Bonnet” (hooded scarf) for my mom and mailed it a week ago. What is up with that? So so early. But still, just because I felt a little…restless or empty or something, I quickly decided to knit a fairisle ski hat for my other son. I’ll probably finish it on Christmas Eve. Or maybe not.
    The moral of the story is that I think Christmas and the entire month of December (well, really after Thanksgiving) is like a giant vacuum that women/mothers/ must fill. Because it’s there and we must make it happen. It’s like if I finish my Christmas shopping early, I just buy more. If I finish my knitting gifts early, I just knit more. If I have an extra day with nothing on the calendar, I decide to host a party. We can’t be stopped or helped. It’s a womanly holiday disease. It won’t let up until January 2nd when we start to wonder what we did before the holidays. (And that’s when YOU started the Knitting Olympics last year. See?)

  107. Plan? Isn’t a list a plan? A list of all the stuff I thought up to do?
    When a big chunk of your professional life is plans, and budgets a year ahead of time, and grant proposals, it is utterly AMAZING how profoundly unplanned your home life is. You know, the cobbler’s kids and all that.
    Yes, I can tell you how much suture and how much opthalmic ointment and how many #22 syringes the vet clinic will likely need in the second quarter of 2007.
    No, I do not know what we are having for dinner at our house tomorrow night.

  108. Balance.
    On the one hand, the military has their “six P’s”: Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. On the other hand, there are those who plan everything and never manage to actually do any of it.
    When I was an engineer employed by others, I kept a sign over my desk as a reminder. It said “In the life cycle of any product, there comes a point when it’s time to shoot the engineers and put the damn thing into production.” Otherwise, there is always the temptation to keep fiddling with it until it is perfect (or the sun goes cold, whichever happens first). Now I’m a consulting engineer, so I only get to fiddle with whatever it is until the client is happy enough to stop paying me.
    More to the point: it takes all kinds. There are many paths and niches in this world. Those who are not inclined to plan well shouldn’t be brain surgeons or bridge engineers. Those who are inclined to plan carefully and follow those plans shouldn’t do any work that involves children or animals.
    Personally, I’m inclined to stop and plan any activity in which failure could cause death or permanent injury to someone. Otherwise, I say just go for it.
    We like you just the way you are. No one ever died from a late Christmas present.

  109. Don’t add plan! Or at least if you do, recognise when it’s best not to plan. I’ve got OCD, and so so so so many of my good ideas never make it past plan because of it. πŸ™

  110. Try mindmapping, Steph – A3 paper, coloured pencils, train of thought, stick it on the wall with blu tack so you can see where you are. A revelation … (of course your mind maps are likely to scare the family, but hey, that’s a detail! Lol!)

  111. Planning…nope. I too am 38 and have never managed it. This is how I ended up doing a full time job, a dissertation, a folk music festival and much knitting All At Once this summer.
    In my brain I see planning time as time you could be *actually* doing stuff in, and I actually *do* get the stuff done (though I do have a very heavy tea and dark chocolate habit).
    You do get a lot done, I am amazed at reading your blogs how much you fit into a day! In extremis, you could get the teenagers to help (I only have cats and they’re useless ;o)

  112. Planning just takes up valuable execution time, and then you have the added panic of when real life dares to intrude on your beautiful plan.
    For example: I carefully planned my days off this last week so that I could do my last bit of shopping on either last Friday or Monday. Real Life (AKA my loving partner) arranged that things would be delivered or fitted on those days, so I couldn’t leave the house. Plan screwed, still no shopping.

  113. Don’t feel bad…some people never learn.
    Planning is fine unless you overdo it — but it’s not as entertaining!

  114. Hi Stephanie! Remember me! I am the one who logged on about this time last year and bragged about having all my Christmas knitting done way, way in advance! Here I am again this year bragging once more. And would you believe this … I am knitting a tea cosy for my girlfriend … for next year!!!!! chuckling softly to myself … I have a plan … start knitting early and I’ll be in touch again … around the same time next year … to gloat some more! Love your blog. Have a happy holiday and best wishes in the New Year.

  115. Because of work and schedules and travel, our family Christmas isn’t until Dec. 30 this year! Five extra knitting days to finish a sweater for each grandchild and a pair of sox for a friend and a shawl for another friend. Seems I found a solution – move the gift opening day! Best wishes on your projects, knit on.

  116. Good morning, Stephanie,
    Can I comment on “the idiocy of learning this at the age of 38…”? You have made a life, and as an outsider I’d like to say it looks like a pretty damned good life; you have educated and inspired LOTS of us spinners, knitters, crocheters, weavers, dyers, paper-makers and so on; you are responsible for raising HUGE amounts of money to help those who are less fortunate, and let’s be brutally honest, that’s most of the world. I have to say, I don’t see much problem with the conceive-execute thing.
    Planning is okay. I do it sometimes, most people do it sometimes. Here’s what you might be too over-whelmed to see at the moment: your creative spark has raised the bar, has made all of us who read you raise our bars. Challenging ourselves is vital to our creativity and to our ability to contribute to the greater good. We don’t always think to challenge ourselves, after all it’s hard to do. Most people can’t live or create in a vacuum, so when you give us the Knitter’s Version of Mickey Rooney’s “Let’s put on a show!”, we are glad to sign up! Please keep on conceiving and executing, stick in planning when that happens, don’t sell yourself short for heaven’s sake, and don’t stop writing, spinning and knitting.
    Happy holidays, Steph. Your drive for DWB/KWB will make a MUCH better New Year for lots of people around the world.

  117. Please let me know when you find a place that sells these plan thingys… I could use a few. πŸ™‚

  118. Good luck on the plan thing. I’ve come to accept that there are areas of my life where things aren’t going to run smoothly. I just try to not let them spill over into everything else.
    My holiday “baking” got a shot in the arm this year because I’ve been down with pneumonia for 3 weeks, 1 1/2 of that at home by doctor’s orders. I looked thru all the cookie recipes and just did not have the energy. So I pulled out some candy recipes. I’ve made dark chocolate truffles, several kinds of fudge, and white chocolate egg nog bon bons. All of which equal “work 5 minutes, wait 15-45 minutes for setting, work 5 minutes” which I could do.
    You do what you can do, then you do the next thing.

  119. I’ve been crocheting (because it’s faster than knitting) an afghan on the train to work, on the train from work, after dinner, then start all over again and whenever I can on the weekends. Since I had no idea what to make for my boss, even after I bought the yarn, the afghan ended up being a totally different pattern than I started out to do. (Talk about poor planning.) I started two weeks ago, the end is in sight, but all those ends I have to weave in AND do a border! I’ll never get it finished by Friday! Do you hear? Friday!
    I bow down to the Mistress of Completed Projects!

  120. πŸ™‚ My Mom only has 2 christmas knitting projects left to finish, and she only learned to knit about 3 months ago.
    All the gifts were hats or scarves knit on US10 or larger needles and double strands of yarn. πŸ˜‰

  121. Please, please, PLEASE hold off on tallying emails until after Christmas!! We’ll all love seeing the final tally, but there is no rush and we all have PLENTY of other things to think about at the moment! (finish socks, get to Sears, make fudge, pack for trip…) Bake, knit, wrap in peace and get back to us when you catch your breath.

  122. Don’t you have your handy-dandy scheduling app that you used last year? You know: bake cookies, 1 hour, do laundry, 1 hour, knit socks, 20 hours – that thing? I seem to recall it was whipping your arse into shape pretty well, timewise. Of course, then you had this idea… Wow. $80k and counting since Friday. Wow.

  123. lol well at least you figured out the missing step. some people never get that far.
    and wonder all their life whats going wrong
    hugs and happy holiday knitting to you.

  124. Hi Stephanie,
    I’m just like you: conceive – execute! When my husband is upset at me, he always mentions how impulsive I am. Like it’s a bad thing. Hrrmmmph. I tell him that’s what’s keeping him young. Ok. So we don’t agreee on everything. πŸ˜‰

  125. Execute? Oh crap, I’ll have to get back to you….
    Seriously, though, one hat to go and I’m done. Unfortunately I knitted two “extra” hats on the way to picking the right pattern. One of them turned out to be utterly glorious but completely inappropriate for my brothers-in-law. But my son’s second-grade teacher will love it. (At least, I trust she will be gracious enough to wear it in public at least once. I like her kind.)
    Sometime last week my DH looked at me and suggested very kindly, “Maybe it’s time to think about just buying them something.”

  126. See, I’m really good at coming up with plans. They just don’t always have much relation to reality. Good luck! I hope we get to see your plan. (I’m weird. I love seeing people’s lists/plans/etc.)

  127. OK, So now I have to put in my 2 cents. My plan goes like this…..
    I work on what pleases me all year.A hat, a pair of socks, Whatever I get in the mood to do, and I don’t have to worry about those little issues of will it fit who I want without measuring the size of their feet. Wash, block, fold & large box it. 3 weeks before Christmas I take these very large boxes to my local elves( The charity of my choosing) with directions to distrubute items to those who need them. I then sit at my computer & design a card, simple picture on front the inside says, ” In the spirit of the holiday season a handmade gift has been donated to ???? (you now have the discression to name the charity or not) This works wonderfully for bosses, co workers, family that just don’t need another afgan no matter how long it took you to make. Save the card. Print 20 or so, and if you need an emergency gift for someone, just print extra cards.
    Part 2 of the plan… Wrap a pattern in a box with a coupon for the recipient to choose the wool that they would like. This gives you extra time to complete projects & avoids that sweater that you adore but your kids wouldn’t be caught dead in at school.
    Part 3, relax, easier said than done since i jusst frogged an item that was supposed to be for christmas but it will get done eventually. WHenever I start to freek about it I just remind myself that I could be alot worse off than I am.
    When all else fails there is always 12th night. Happy Holidays.

  128. I find that planning gets in the way of lofty dreaming. However, I did initially mis-read your list that included “baking” as “barking”. And I did quite the double take. Because at least with barking, you can still knit while doing it…..

  129. Conceive – Execute
    Conceive – Plan – Execute
    Reminds me of the “Underpants Gnome” episode of South Park, where the Underpants Gnomes’ scheme was:
    Stage One: Collect Underpants
    Stage Two: ?????
    Stage Three: Profit
    You’re way ahead of the Underpants Gnomes now that you have Stage Two: Plan.

  130. I’m just impressed that you have your tree up already. Mine is still lying on the living room floor in its storage bag.
    I no longer knit for Christmas. I do however give yarn and a picture of what I plan to knit. Then I can take as much time as I like!

  131. I am right with you on the Christmas sneaking up on you. I am glad to see that I am not the only one!

  132. I make up for your planning by my complete, obsessive, and total over-planning which prevents me from executing anything.
    I’m hosting a tea party for 6 four-year-old girls today. Eek!

  133. I just realized the difference…I am a planner by profession (City, not party – darn !)…I probably plan too much…not enough execution !

  134. Wow…I’m 39 and I’m impressed that you had a 2 step plan–my plans are all of the “execute execute exe-frickin’-cute variety…the only actual conception that’s gone on has been of the the “it starts out small and pretty soon it’s going to high school” variety… Good for you–you’re actually ahead of the game!!

  135. Ha! “exe-frickin’-cute” That’s awesome.
    The problem with adding planning to the mix is that nothing ever goes according to plan. That is, unless you don’t have a plan… then it all works out just fine. It’s when you have a plan that it all goes wrong.
    I believe you already know this since you applied something similar to buying yarn.

  136. Planning?? Isn’t it just a bother when life gets in the way of your fibery fun???
    At least when I write down my plan I can send it out into the universe. Some days I actually succeed…others…well we all know how that goes..
    Enjoy! The holidays are for family and fun…you bless so many… Relax and let others bless you!
    hugs and more
    Doll in Ottawa West (aka Stittsville)

  137. So today when I found myself completely and utterly overwhelmed by the scope of everything I still have to knit by Sunday…. I found myself standing in a yarn store. Fondling of all things synthetic! And thinking to myself “if I picked something in a large enough gauge I could totally whip off a sweater for hubby by Christmas”.
    Insane, we are all insane. ~pops another bottle of wine and gets spinning~

  138. I know about Christmas. I started and finished all my shopping last Saturday morning, at Walmart. Done. Anyway, perhaps this will help you. I seem to recall that at various times during the year, you have shown us some socks and maybe a few other items which you actually finished and stashed away to give as Christmas presents, and I recall that you were patting yourself on the back for being so organized. Might those items not be lurking in a closet somewhere, ready to rescue you from the black horror of “IT” which you described in one of your books?

  139. We need remote controlled Christmas trees. You push a button, they roll themselves out of the attic or tree lot and once in the house, they pop themselves up, jump into a stand, open up, all decorated.

  140. Well. This plan thing sounded great yesterday when I read it. But today I was just about telling a friend, when it hit me between the eyes: not planning, but skipping to plan might be the solution to get things done.
    You see, sometimes I wake up on sunday mornings and I think about what I could do today, and I have an idea, like for example, reorganizing my sewing room, and then I start to plan, what would I do first and what next and so on. And next thing I plan ahead to redecorate the whole flat, and then I am usually overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done, and how much work this all means, so I turn around and take a nap, and when I have finished that, I realize, it is to much work and not worth the effort, so I get myself a cup of coffee and start knitting (or sewing), and my sewing room (just an example!)never gets reorganized. So much for the value of planning.

  141. Allow me to paraphrase one of your own offerings: there are no Christmas police, it’s only a holiday, it’s what you want it to be and nothing more or less.
    Have a happy one, whatever you end up with!

  142. Oh I meant to ask…being a new knitter (since this past summer) I am still learning and expanding my skills (according to my lovely fellow yarn addicts at the local shop here who say that they are amazed that I have only just learned … they are such lovely friends) …anyway my next challeng during my school break is to begin doing lace items…I have been inspired by Ms. Harlot and others….ANY adive at all from anyone would really be appreciated (can contact me via email or my blog) …..Oh yes I also forgot to say before…..YES YARN SHOPS ARE WAY MORE FUN THEN ANY STINKY OLD PUB! My yarn club proved that last night…hehehe with lots of yummy food and lovely wine!
    Once again Happy Holidays to all!

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