Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Life As The Mouse

Squeezed into the last open
table at Starbuck's on a busy
morning with one of my
exercise compadres, we
leaned in close to chat over
the din of other conversations,
laughter, the rustle of news-
papers and the swoosh of
the milk frothers, churning
out lattes and cappuccinos.

We'd just been to barre class,
{and survived!} reason enough
to celebrate, so we settled in
with our tea and started talking 
about everything, the way 
good friends always do.

Our conversation turned to
chores.  I mentioned that earlier
I had turned up the music, set 
the timer on the stove and 
zoomed through the house,
a white tornado in action,
picking things up and putting
them away until the timer 
went off.

Otherwise, I lamented, I get
distracted and veer off course
very, very easily.

If you give a mouse a cookie,
Margaret stated, nodding 
her head sympathetically.


If you give a mouse a cookie,
she repeated, a twinkle in her
soft hazel eyes.

I had a lightbulb moment the
second time she reeled off the
title to this much-loved children's

Published in 1985, If You Give
A Mouse A Cookie demonstrates
how one event leads to another,
which leads to many others, until
you aren't exactly sure how 
Mouse ends up where he does.
It's a frenetic ~ and hilarious 
~ romp.

My eyes lit up as I shook my
head in agreement. 

If you give a mouse a cookie...
If Suzanne takes the clean laundry
upstairs to put away.....

He's going to ask for a glass of milk.
She's going to see the unmade bed
in her daughter's room.

When you give him the milk.....
When she makes the bed.....

He'll probably ask you for a straw.
She'll notice the plant on the windowsill
needs watering.

When he's finished, he asks for
a napkin....
When she's finished, she spies
her daughter's sketch pad....

Then he'll want to look in the
mirror, to make sure he doesn't
have a milk mustache.
Then she'll sit on the bed, looking
at all the new sketches, until the bell
on the washing machine goes off.

When he looks in the mirror,
he'll notice his hair needs 
a trim....
When she hears the bell, it will
snap her back from the sketch
book and she'll notice the clock....

So he'll probably ask for a pair
of nail scissors.
So she'll grab the laundry basket,
still in the hall, and head to her
linen closet.

I am that mouse, bouncing from
one thing to the next, never going
straight from Point A to Point B.

Which is where the timer comes in.

When the timer is on, I am like a
race horse with blinders.  The finish
line is all the trappings of daily life ~

unsorted mail
piles of shoes and boots
permission slips
magazines and books
sweaters draped on chairs
scattered doggy toys
laundry drying on hangers

put away in their proper places.

No stopping, no distractions,

I wasn't always like this.  
When my kids were little and
home all day, I was about as
far from the mouse as it gets.
Always a body in motion, I
didn't let any grass grow under
my feet.  Things got done very

I'm not certain how I've
become the mouse.  Maybe
it's years of accumulated thoughts
and ideas jockeying for position
in my head alongside the more
mundane aspects of life.

Author Laura Numeroff has
written many other books with
this same scattered mouse
mentality ~

If You Give A Moose A Muffin
If You Give A Pig A Pancake
If You Give A Cat A Cupcake

And her latest,
If You Give A Dog A Donut....

They are all pretty darn cute.

Which is what I'll remind myself
the next time I am fluffing a 
pillow or shelving a book in a
room, wondering, 
Why was it
I came in here?

Please tell me I'm not the
only mouse.  Please, please.
Sit right here.
That's it.

I just opened a new box
of Girl Scout cookies, which
means we'll each need a frosty
glass of milk to go with them.

Hmmm, who knows 
this could lead?



Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

Really cute post! And, you are surely not the only mouse! Believe me, it gets worse the older you get!

Beatnheart said...

As always ... You have such a beautiful way of putting things... And my mouse is all over the place... No plans.
but I sometimes find that a wonderful sense of freedom.

Joanna said...

YES!!!! I clearly NEED to get a timer 'cos I could spend a whole day bouncing from one thing to another, getting nowhere.

Great post :o)


poppilinnstudios said...

You are so creative! I love your post. Yes, I too am a mouse. And, I like the idea of using a timer!

NanaDiana said...

Suzanne-I don't know when it is that we start that slide...when my kids were little I was like a constant whirlwind. I would stay up half the night getting everything done just to fall into bed and get up and do the same thing all over again the next day.

I'm the same way- I hold myself to a promise. When I get EVERYTHING done that I have set for my tasks for that day THEN I can blog! That's it! That's my motivator.

In the morning BEFORE my Starbucks run (daily I am sad to say) I shower, dash on a bit of BareMinerals, make the bed, make sure there is not a mess in the kitchen and then, and only then, do I allow myself the luxury of Starbucks.

GREAT POST and I LOVE those children's books! xo Diana

Susan T said...

Oh boy am I the mouse. I flit from activity to activity, no plan, no method, no real sense of time. It is a wonder I get anything done at all, and yes I used to be organised too. Mind you I also used to have energy as well,I think there may be a link!

traci said...

this is soooo me. i do that all day long. i am your fellow mouse friend.


I am glad to know, Suzanne, that you did get a cookie in the end.

I have the same timer ... in lime green, of course.

I also, am the mouse ... and it is only getting worse. I will try to use my pretty timer and see if it helps.

Your posts are always so much fun to read.


Blondie's Journal said...

This is such a cute post, Suzanne, and so true to life! I go into the bathroom to brush my teeth and I end up cleaning it. I return clothes to the hamper and decide to do a load. I make lunch and defrost dinner at the same time. I think it is experience, and a way to save extra steps!

So...when the timer goes off, do you get to take a nap?


Felicity said...

Firstly YAY! for another successful barre class.

Secondly THANK YOU! for introducing me to a delightful picture book series.

Thirdly YAY! once again for a beautifully written post about real life.

Happy day Lovely,

The enchanted home said...

This was so well reading a wonderful story book. From a fellow "mouse" who also cannot hold back against girl scout cookies and an iced cold glass of milk..I can relate to all you said. A timer is a great thing....have a nice evening!

Frizzy said...

Oh my dear friend you are far from alone. I may be one of the biggest offenders of getting off track. I love the timer idea. I used it for my laundry so why not use it for other things too.

Debby said...

I am a mouse as well. But sometimes I just put something off until I am inthat room to do something else anyway......and hope that no one notices before I get it done.
My daughter in law teaches Barre classes.
I love this series of books.
And.....two of my granddaughters are brownies and I ordered 10 boxes from them.....oh no.

Shelly W. said...

Oh honey, are you living in MY house? This is SO me. Easily distracted. Moving from room to room forgetting why you went from one to the next. It's horrible! But so nice to know I'm not alone. :)

Have you ever read The Flylady blog? She recommends the timer, and I have to say it really works!

Farmgirl Paints said...

I don't know how many times I walk downstairs and then walk back up forgetting what I was doing in the first place. I am that mouse on SPEED:)

Jeanie said...

You are telling my life story -- or at least as it seems lately. I call it my shotgun period -- take something to the bathroom, clean the sink, put the earrings in the bedroom. Oops, should have put that in the drawer last night... And yes, as often as not I forget why I was there.

Love those cookies...

Leslie said...

Wonderful and so well written! My son was born in 1988 and this was his favorite story. :). Loved this!


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh I love these clever, and they hit on something that we all can relate to! AND DO NOT WORRY DEAR HEART...I do the same thing! I ZIP ABOUT at school, at home, and then I say, "WHAT DID I COME IN HERE FOR?"

MADNESS, but a good kind!!!! Anita

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

Always loved these books....I hate to tell you this, my friend, but for me it's plain and simple: Menopause is a real *itch! It has most definitely turned me into that mouse. I've had this identical conversation with my older sisters and as much as I want to ignore it, time is creeping up on me! But it's OK, because I know I'm not alone. And neither are you. That is, not until MANY, MANY years from now. Since you're only 29 and you've got nothin' to worry about. :)


Julie said...

sigh....I hear ya. Same story - with four little ones all over and all their stuff all was just walk, bend, pick up, move, kick to a corner, toss, wipe, rock, throw away, put away, hang up, stack, hold, close, open, move, kiss, slide, squeeze, reach, separate...oh my...STOP....BREATHE....*start over...and somehow it ALL got done, and it ALL got undone, and it ALL started remembering...just DOING. and now?
again...I hear ya. I loved those books. Read them many times to my kids. (mouse and moose) The timer is a GOOOD IDEA! Hugs to you Suzanne...
Snow flurries here today...yes...mostly melted and blown around because of the WIND!!!! :-)

Biz said...

;) Sounds familiar.
You have a case of Mommy ADD!
Oh and I have a box of those cookies in my freezer too...actually I have 2 boxes...there were 3, but in the hustle of whizzing through the house over the past few whole box seems to have already disappeared.
Darn mouse...I mean darn me!


Whosyergurl said...

I'm a mouse, too! This is a great post! Very nice. You are a great writer!
xo, Cheryl

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

OH yes I understand this, sometimes I feel I get nothing accomplished because I lose focus so easily! I used to use a timer for my children to help them focus when they were maybe I need to try it for myself!

Marie said...

I, too, am a mouse. I believe that life's little distractions are the tool that helps to bring us joy. It's the little things isn't it? I love my distractable mind! xxoo

Cindy said...

what a cute post! I love the book as well.
I do the same thing! I roam from room to room. I usually make more work for myself than what I had planned,so the timer is a great idea!
BTW..the daughter's sketches are awesome!
Have a great day!

Beth said...

You see, you are most definitely in good company here amongst your fellow mice! Yes, I can relate to this all too often I'm afraid.

SuzyMcQ said...

Joining the "Mouse Brigade!"

This is why, when my kids or husband ask at dinner, "What did you do today, Mom?" I'm not quite sure what to answer....hmmm. "The usual" sounds nebulous. "Cleaning" Nope, no one cleans ALL day! It's so much easier in the summer when they know I am in the garden.

As we all gather for the evening meal, they know that a yummy dinner has been placed before them, new cookies or some sort of baked goods are on the counter, their clothes are clean and folded, and the house is clean (Notice I didn't say dust-free!) but they ask nevertheless. I'm simplifying and I realize it's kind of them to wonder how I have filled my day, but I still chuckle to myself.

Lisa Scibilia said...

I think I need to try your timer method! I never get from point A to point B without many distractions finding me along my way! I was so much more productive at home when I worked full time! Nowadays I have to write myself a daily to-do list or things will never get done! :)

pollydove said...

oh my. it seems that every time i go upstairs for something, i inevitably do something else that caught my eye as needing attention, and head back downstairs only to realize i hadn't done what i set out to do in the first place. and then SOMETIMES i do the same thing a second time!!! i am getting worse all the time.

i had a friend give an organizing class to a group of women years ago and talked about a book called "the side tracked executive" which touches on this subject. we are all in the same boat i'm afraid! but i would be aboard your boat any time! you are inspiring my friend!

michele said...

omg you are not the only mouse. right there with you with my mousey ways! and i wasn't always this way. i was sort of fabulous, suzanne. whatev. there is a lot more stimulation and distraction these days, and of course i will take the opportunity to blame changing hormones.

i loved this post!! i feel joined and love you even more.

smiles and we have to plan a blogger meet this summer!


Tricia said...

Ummm, no, you're not the only mouse. This is exactly the way that I am too...easily distracted. I think I might need a timer too :)

koralee said...

These are my favourite books...I ready them to my K class all the time. I often think about myself as I read them...glad I am not alone.
Happy March my friend. xoxox

Lulu and Co. said...

This is my same book i live! too funny!!!

Lydia @ Twelve said...

My mum calls me a butterfly, because i flutter & dont settle - So count me in as a mouse!


Palomasea said...

Love these books, and love your creative post, dear Suzanne. What an amazingly talented daughter you have! (No surprise there :)
Indeed, I do not know what I would do without a timer.
And I am so glad you treated yourself to that (thin mint!!!!) well-deserved cookie!
- Irina

Mary Timmers said...

That is SO me! Putting on music, like The Stones or Steve Windwood, what I call workin' music, helps. You can get lost in it. But if you're not careful, other things creep in, and you're lost. I have an advantage with no kids at home, but believe me, I still can get distracted. I love a neat clean house, but would rather daydream to get there. Thanks for the post!

Leslie said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving the nice comment! I'm looking forward to following you. Enjoy your weekend.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Yes, I am a mouse too. I use a timer for chores every weekend. I allow myself about 45 minutes to an hour to do something in one room and then I get a reward. Then I set the timer again and go to another room...then when the bell goes off again I get another reward. I do the timer so that I don't get bored or frustrated and call it quits. I can always look at the timer and say I only have 15minutes left and then I can get a reward! Too funny and too sad. Especially since at work I am just the opposite...I get things done pronto. Too funny!

Miss Gracie's House said...

cute post...yes, I can very much relate...maybe that's why I don't really ever get much done around here:)...enjoy your weekend!

Debby said...

Me again. Thanks for stopping by Cozy Blanket. Thanks for the comment on my granddaughter. She is such a cutie. Everyone that meets her says the same thing,"She is hilarious", and they fall in love with her.
The buzzards are about the size of an eagle. I saw an eagle in Colorado eating a prairie dog, not pretty either.
Have a great week-end.

Eddie Ross said...

You're certainly not the only mouse. "If you give Eddie a table to set..." the linen closet will all be washed and ironed, a garden will be planted and watered, and he'll probably through an impromptu cocktail party at the end of it all. Setting a timer is such a great idea, one that I will try to employ around our home. - Jaithan
xo E + J

Lili said...

I am that mouse too Suzanne! I have to say the descriptions of the many distractions fit me to a tee. I always wonder how Henri can get so darn much accomplished while I seem to never be able to focus on the task at hand. I loved this post and love it even more because now I know I have company in my distracted ways! Loving the idea of a timer. And your photos on here are really really nice. My eye is on those GS cookies now. xoxo ~Lili

Anonymous said...

This is too can give a mouse a cookie...or you can be a Tigger and bounce...

Check out my

Tag on the kindred spirits!