Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Messy Truth

Upon reflection I've decided there is a reason Unfinished Business goes unfinished. Enthusiasm wanes, knowledge for getting from step A to step B lacks, resources (time of money) are low, or something else comparably exciting comes along and captures your attention. More on that in a minute.

In the event you are a newcomer dropping in for the first time today... welcome. Our blog community is in the process of ending a successful year of idea sharing and community building. We have committed this week to closing out Unfinished Business, so that come February 18 we can celebrate with a clear conscience. The celebration, by the way, is a Red Carpet affair beginning right here on Wednesday, February 18 at 8:00 p.m. CST. Membership not required to attend. The only thing we ask... dress in your nicest, glitziest duds.

I purchased a 11x17 hook rug in 2000, because I thought it would make nice holiday gift for a friend who collects them. I counted the total number of rows, divided them by the total number of days between when it was purchased and Christmas day and determined I needed to do 10 rows a night in order to get the hook rug done on time. It's the same approach I used to assure completion of the needle point replica of, the then, .32 cent heart stamp. I imagined the finished needlepoint project - turned pillow - as a thoughtful birthday present for my friend Dawn. She was 32 the year I had the idea. She's 45 now and I still have the project tucked away somewhere. I liked the idea of "hooking" the rug in the same way I liked the idea of needle pointing a pillow for my friend. Truth is, I am no more a hook-er (or hook rugger?) than I am a needle-pointer.

Today's unfinished business is, for some reason, harder to swallow, than the hook rug and needlepoint projects of 10 or 15 years ago. Maybe it's because, today's failures aren't just personal. They impact large numbers of people and basically represent my inability to responsibly capture the energy of all of you. No, today's report isn't pretty, but it's real and, on some level, represents the inevitable disappointments of working with someone whose eyes are way bigger than her stomach.

Reading Raynbow: Success turned flop. Julie and Melanie did a masterful job of coordinating our blog's first ever Book Club. They developed a logo, selected a book, and facilitated thoughtful discussion about Gary Paush's book, The Last Lecture. Along the way I made mental notes of suggestions I wanted to pass along to Julie and Melanie about how we might maintain, and even grow, the small following they so successfully created. Some were my suggestions and some were on behalf of Book Club participants. One day turned into two, two days turned into three, and three days turned into four. Then days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and my feedback never made it to the our dynamic duo. Somewhere in all of that, the Highlowaha Book Club died a long and slow death. Is that the last word on this venture? That, I don't know. But I do know it is where this chapter of Reading Raynbow ends for now.

Altoid Table: Bust, butt.... This one is perhaps the most painful, so I will be brief and hope I can make the recant of this as quick and painless (for me) as possible. We whack Altoid Containers on a typical Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday. Lots of great ideas are offered up. Artnme shares great idea and then Tera turns it into something award winning. The idea for an Altoid Trinket Table is born. Readers are excited and start sending me in droves of small items to fit in each of "Altoid treasure boxes." I secure two end tables to which the Altoid Treasure Boxes will be affixed. Tables get painted, Boxes filled with quotes and attached to the tables. Process doesn't work. Tins have to be chipped off the table and we start from scratch. Enthusiasm and patience is wearing thin. Gather 38 new tins and re-secure them to tables. Hopeful the new adhesive worked... until Jack "jacks" with the table and the tins pop right back off. Disgusted. Tables still sit in garage 90% done. Claudia in need of a serious kick in the... butt.

Julie in Surprise: Bust or Brilliant? Again, Claudia puts an idea out there and loyal readers respond. The idea... spread the spirit of #218 by surprising Surprise Arizona (Julie's residence until May) with some home grown Highlowaha "stunts." Sparks of energy and enthusiasm for the idea fly. Readers make suggestions about tying balloons to light posts, using side walk chalk to send fun messages, and sundry other ideas for providing the element of surprise. Make mental note to call Julie and make sure she's up for the idea. After two weeks realize mental notes don't work. Write it on a my to-do list, because in the interim I had an idea of a stunt our community could do for Valentine's day. Finally I make it enough of a priority to email...just as Julie is leaving town for the full week leading up to Valentine's Day. I snoozed. I "losed." February is gone. That leaves March, April, and May. So will this idea be a bust or will it be brilliant? Let's bring closure right now. If "bust," Julie's off the hook. If "brilliant," who, what, where, when, and how? You decide.

I could continue. Sewing with Kat, Shop HLA.... But, why? Maybe the whole "three strikes and your out" thing is actually an effort to keep people from humiliating themselves. Three strikes. I'm out...

P.S. Join me in the hot seat tomorrow when we, in true Free For All fashion, pose (and respond to) questions about other unfinished business ...

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