Posts tagged with: Celebration

One Thing at a Time…

House Renovation August 26 002 Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! I celebrated with some Mongolian Lamb and Sweet and Sour Pork takeaway on Saturday night. Let nobody say of me that I’m not a joiner:)

Back in the dark ages, when I worked in a law firm, we had an in-house chef. She was amazing. Deathly boring lunchtime Continuing Legal Education seminars were always well-attended because the catering was so good. And if it was your birthday, the chef would make you a cake, anything you wanted, from sacher torte to apple crumble (though of course the crumble was not as good as our Foanna’s!). As I said, amazing.

Anyway, unlike these days, where it seems it’s  just ‘work hard, no fun allowed’ in big companies and legal firms, there was a real ‘work hard, play hard’ ethic at our firm. We would put in ridiculous hours on a project, but once the project finished, we would party. I can vouch for the fact that on the whole it was a very happy, motivated workplace–or as happy as a legal firm gets. We didn’t mind working hard because we felt it was appreciated and we knew we’d get to celebrate at the end of the day.

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One of the partners wasn’t sold on this ethos and groused that we’d throw a party for the opening of a fridge. He meant that we celebrated too much. In fact, I think as a species we humans tend to celebrate too little. Thinking only of the mistakes rather than the successes, or focusing only on the zillion things on a ‘to-do’ list to the exclusion of all you have already achieved, can turn into a negative spiral. That’s no way to live. My friends call me Eeyore, so I should know!

Of course, you can’t throw a party every time something good happens, but you can stop, appreciate it and celebrate it, even if only in your own mind.

Last year, I read an interesting article in Marie Claire magazine, in which the journalist writing the piece had to go without electronic gadgets for a week and do one thing at a time rather than constantly multi-task. Needless to say, she found it tough-going but she achieved a lot more of her core workload when she wasn’t constantly emailing, texting, taking calls etc. I wonder if she made changes in her lifestyle after that, or if she reverted to her old multi-tasking ways as soon as she got her smart phone back.

Women are always lauded for their multi-tasking abilities but the reality is that many of us multi-task out of sheer necessity. Often, we are the primary caregivers for children and elderly parents, not to mention all sorts of other people. That means myriad unavoidable interruptions to the task at hand. 

I don’t know any men who are primary caregivers but I suspect they learn how to multi-task just as ably. Though having said that, I have yet to meet the man who would field a phone call, change a diaper or notice if his child was hungry during the grand final of his favourite sporting event! Sorry if that sounds sexist but I’m merely reporting personal experience here:)

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We like to say we are efficient when we do three things at once and we are, to a degree. However, studies show that focusing on one task at a time is far more efficient than multi-tasking. If you think about it, it has to be. You don’t have to constantly change gears. You pursue the same task in the same mind-set until it’s complete, feel the satisfaction of crossing it off your list, then you go on to the next one.

Last year, I was renovating a house while trying to do all of the things that a mother and a writer has to do. I had also decided that before we moved back in, I was going to turn my life around completely and look after my physical and mental wellbeing, as well as spend more quality time with my family. A potentially overwhelming list of goals.

I had so many different tasks in hand that I was making myself crazy trying to do everything at once. Even more frustrating, I didn’t seem to be ticking anything off my list. There was always some hold-up or interruption that was out of my control.

So I made a resolution to concentrate on one thing at a time. To appreciate and celebrate successes, hard work and dumb good luck. To remind myself of all those good things when the going got tough. I have to say, it wasn’t easy and I wasn’t always successful. For any mother who works from home, single-mindedness is a luxury. However, I keep trying and I have to say, I’ve never been happier or more productive than when I stopped attempting to do everything at once. 

Are you a single-minded person or a multi-tasker? How many things can you do at once–do you have a record? What achievements, successes or sheer good luck can you think of to celebrate? Tell us and we’ll celebrate with you! Oh, and if you could have any cake you wanted for your birthday, what would it be?

Celebrate Yourself

by Christine Wells

Now I know it’s that time of year when people list their resolutions with hope in their hearts and grim determination in their guts. We promise ourselves any number of things, from spending more quality time with our families to living a healthier lifestyle. For an interesting take on new year’s resolutions, go here.

So… Thanksgiving is over. The holiday season has come and gone. New Year fizzled shortly after the last firework and now it’s time to get serious, get disciplined, start whipping yourself into… WAIT!

No no no no no. We’re not going there today.

After all, this IS the Bandit Lair.

Instead of choosing what stick you’re going to beat yourself with this year, how about a resolution to be kind to yourself? Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals and take determined steps to achieve them, but why don’t we all spend a few minutes thinking of how we will celebrate when we make our resolutions reality?

Have you thought how much better you will feel when your goal is accomplished? Have you thought how your life will change? Try to imagine yourself *having* achieved, rather than whipping yourself for not achieving. Does that make it easier to toil toward those goals? Tawny Weber is our resident goal setting specialist. She has a wonderful article on visualizing your goals.

How do you celebrate everyday achievements like getting all your chores done, or a small success at work? Drink a good cup of coffee? Take a glass of wine with dinner? Buy that book you’ve been wanting to read? Work through a particularly challenging aerobics session? (Yes, there are people on this earth who see exercise as a reward, or so my dh tells me.) Even simply acknowledging to yourself that you have done something good and worthy of celebration can be celebration enough.

What about the big things? A friend of mine buys a new gold charm for her charm bracelet each time she sells a book. That bracelet is filling up fast and it reminds her whenever she wears it that she should be proud of her achievements. When I sold my first two books I bought two large prints of the beautiful covers James Griffin created for me. They hang, framed, on my study wall.

Now, I don’t want to come off as all preachy about this. Being kind to myself isn’t something I’ve managed to do very well until now. My writing friends do not call me Eeyore for nothing! But if, like me, you find the same, unfulfilled resolution popping up on that list each year, try picturing yourself having fulfilled your own promise to yourself and what you’ll do when that occurs.

As for me, when I fulfill my biggest goal I shall buy my own island and hire the cabana boys to cater to my every whim while Sven serves me cocktails with rude names by the pool and Joanie’s Romans whoosh down the waterslide on their shields. And yah, that is me in the pink bathing suit–well, in my dreams it is! For smaller goals, I might buy myself flowers, or even hire a babysitter and take my husband to the movies.

So, tell me your ideas for celebrating success — big or small. If you’re a goal setter and you’d like to share, tell me what your 2010 resolutions are. If not, maybe you’d like to think up a way the Banditas can celebrate our next anniversary. After all, three years together in blogland is a major achievement, isn’t it?


Nothing Can Touch This Party!


Welcome to my launch party! Whoo-hoo! I’m sure anyone who regularly visits the Banditas knows my second book UNTOUCHED comes out today! Yes, the Green Monster is poised like Godzilla to eat up shelf space in a bookshop near you. RRRRRAAAARRRRHHH! And maybe munch that pesky Golden Rooster that has abandoned me for colder climes in recent weeks. I’ll show that mangy cockerel what it’s like as a frozen chicken! Ha!

Anyway, back to the important stuff. As your hostess, I welcome you into the lair which is decorated with green streamers and beautiful pink roses (significant in the story – and yes, Christine, I know you recognize the reference. By the way, I love how you gloat, girlfriend! Makes me feel like teacher’s pet!).

The menu is Boeuf en croute and roast chicken, both of which make an appearance in the story. Hmm, maybe the rooster did come to grief after all. And I’ve done my famous baked potatoes (Downundergirl will back me up here) in virgin olive oil. Yum! And lashings of champagne!

In the shadows, mysterious masked figures move around and dance to the pounding music. Of course, the song of the evening is You Can’t Touch This!

Who could those masked figures be? Of course it’s the Banditas!

This is Bandita party central! And weaving amongst the dancers are the real versions of Buffie’s avatars! Oh, here comes the magnificent AC with her coterie of cabana boys! This party will make the New York Times social pages! I can see it now!

Cassondra, get me a shot of all this. NO, CASSONDRA, NOT THAT SORT OF SHOT! Ouch! There goes the chandelier! And what a pity Richard Armitage was hanging from it at the time. Excuse me while I take him outside for some first aid… No, no, I’m fine on my own, thank you. THANK YOU, I’M FINE ON MY OWN! Sheesh! That Vrai Anna, just because she’s got the best shoes, she thinks she’s got the right to steal my victim…uh, patient!

Tawny, all right, you have great shoes too! You should feel blaze-ay about that! Helen interrupts the argument about shoes to offer everyone a Tim Tam! Yum! They DON’T feature in the book, needless to say.

Goodness, is that Demetrius running through chased by Joanie? No, it’s Joanie running through chased by Demetrius! Ah, thank goodness, we have our Regency specialists Keira and Madam CDW to add a note of Beau Monde decorum. Donna was meant to add the Victorian morals but she’s in the corner painting something. Well, at least sable brushes are involved…

Who’s that huddled in the corner? Could it be Kirsten and JoMama and Susan and Christie? Oh, no, now I know what happened to the other gladiators! Some things you just don’t want in your subconscious! Nancy, help me! You’re always a woman of sense. Oh, right. You’re busy with the sable brushes and one of the cabana boys.

I tell you, where is the modern world going??!!

No point asking Jeanne and Kate and Beth. They’re tying the avatar boys up and torturing them with feathers! I know this book starts with the heroine tied to a table, but really, girls, there’s no need to enact the entire first chapter! And there’s only one heroine and how many avatar boys have you got there???!!!

I look around for my last hope! KJ and Trish and Suz are dragging Pam forward to sing for us! At last some high culture! Oh, no, Doglady bursts into How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?

Caren, queen of the malapropism, has the last word – she calls the evening a in-your-farce sextragavanza!

Richard, take me away from all this!

Richard, where are you?

Sigh. I tell you, it doesn’t take much to frighten the British male these days!

OK, enough of the silliness! There are prizes on the go! And I think anyone who has read to the end of this blog deserves a prize although sadly, my postage budget probably won’t extend that far. There’s a copy of UNTOUCHED on offer and consolation prizes of a couple of Anna Campbell desk calendars and signed coverflats. Just tell me about your fantasy party! Anything you like. Where? Who? How? Menu? Music? Ambience? My favorite answers win! Hurrah!

Hic! I’m off for some champagne before these wild bandits drink it all!!!

Happy release day, Grace and Matthew! May green be the color of the coming season!

Anna x