Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weekend Assignment #225: You can't spell "routine" without "rut

This week, Karen says: "Okay, this one is more participatory than most Weekend Assignments. I'm not just asking you to write something; I'm asking you to do something. Are you up to the challenge?"

Weekend Assignment #225: What are you going to do this weekend (or on your next day off) that's different from what you usually do? Make plans to break out of your usual routine, and tell us what they are.

Extra Credit: What else would you do that day, if you had the time and the money?
...And when her shift is over she goes back to Mineola,
Sits on her couch, opens up a diet cola and says

"I'm so, I'm so sick of this place
I'm so ready for a change of pace
I'm just looking for a new routine"
So she spins a globe, and the next thing you know
She's living in Lichtenstein

              - Fountains of Wayne, "New Routine" (from Traffic and Weather, 2007)
To be honest, for the most part I actually prefer routines, and I'm sure that stems directly from my personal control issues. I function best when I know the plan, and I know I'm not unusual in that way. At the same time, though, I'll make jokes about the routine - "Off to Target - another exciting Friday night for the Vasquez crew" -  and I do chafe against it sometimes. After all, you can't spell "routine" without "rut."

I didn't exactly break my routine wide open this weekend - shoot, going to BlogHerCon would have really fulfilled this assignment! - but I did shift things around a bit. Sometimes, it takes baby steps.

To begin with, we did NOT go to Target on Friday night! Tall Paul and I went out for some dinner, with the intention of a trip to what Elder Nephew used to call "the circle store" afterwards, but we decided to go home instead, relax on the couch, and watch the previous night's episode of Burn Notice from the DVR. (BTW, people, are you watching that show? It. Is. Awesome.)

On Saturday, after coffee with my sister at Starbucks - a part of my weekend routine that will actually be suspended for the next couple of weeks while she and her family are on vacation, so I didn't want to change it this week - I did the Target run, as well as my other weekend errands. My husband, meanwhile, was at the movies without me, seeing Hellboy II: The Golden Army (which he really enjoyed, by the way), and my original intention was to use that "alone time" for some writing, but - well, I was already out, and we should all be conserving gas by combining trips, right?

I spent a good part of the afternoon writing, though - more productive than usual, because I actually closed  Google Reader, which is without a doubt my favorite place to procrastinate. I do have a little extension for Firefox (Google Reader Watcher) that keeps up with my unread-feeds count, so I really don't need to keep my Reader tab open all the time. And since that actually did help me get stuff done, I've adopted the same policy at the office (see? new routine!)

Not being churchgoers, our Sunday mornings are open, and we spent this one at the movies, seeing The Dark Knight (review to be posted tomorrow). Afterwards, we had lunch at Octopus, a Japanese-fusion restaurant that we'd only been to once before - and we both ordered different things than we'd had on our first visit, so I think that qualifies as trying to avoid starting a routine/rut. Once we got home, I did have some parts of my weekend routine that I'd been procrastinating about; I did a couple of them, but I'll be honest in telling you I skimped a bit on the housecleaning. If there's anything that feels more rut-like than the chores, I'm not sure what it is.

It's good to tweak the routine, or out-and-out let it slide, sometimes; it gives me a change in perspective, and things usually don't fall apart. Thanks for the nudge, Karen! I'd like to do this more often, but if I make too big a thing out of it, it may become a routine too.

As for the extra credit, I'd play hooky from work for a few days - with no plans at all.

Have you felt like you're in a rut lately? How do you plan to shake up the ol' routine - or do you like it that way?


  1. Hmmm, I hadn't thought of the rut-routine connection. Nice! Of course, routine also has "out" in it.

    I'm not a routine person at all, though my husband is. So the result is that he has made me more systematic and I have made him more spontaneous, which is probably good for both of us.

    Still. It's good to break the Target-every-Friday-night thing. Get out there, girl!

    (On second thought: I will confess I compulsively do the laundry every Sunday afternoon. This way I never think about laundry the rest of the week. People have actually criticized me for this once-a-week habit, but I believe it saves time, water, and electricity.)

  2. Working Girl - And I hadn't seen the "out" part of the word, but I'm not surprised you did. This is why systematic and spontaneous people provide a good balance for each other.

    I wish we could do laundry just once a week, but we have way too much of it! Then again, my husband usually does it anyway, so I suppose I have no reason to complain :-).

  3. You have seen my answer already. That Japanese fusion restaurant sounds scary, but Jenn would probably like it.

    Oh, yes, Burn Notice is a cool show.

  4. Mike - Burn Notice is one of those shows that my husband and I are telling everyone they HAVE to watch :-).

    I was a little nervous about that Japanese restaurant when we first went there with some friends, but it's really good. It's not Benihana, and it's not a sushi bar (although they have sushi, of course - but we're not fans), and it's not very expensive.

  5. It does sound like a fun weekend, even if it wasn't completely revolutionary! ;)

  6. Karen - It was. Now I'm inspired to see what I might be able to shake up this weekend!

  7. I'm glad you got out of your Target rut. My daughter really likes Burn Notice as well. Perhaps I should get out of my rut and watch it for a change!

  8. Kiva - Yes, you should watch it, and I'm sure your daughter would agree with me about that :-)! And this is the second Friday night in a row that I haven't gone to Target.

  9. I tend to be more of a routine sort of gal myself. You probably already know that. :-) I do like to change it up sometimes and I really don't mind change as long as I'm forewarned and prepared for it (and have accepted it). I just find comfort in routine. And like you said, there is no "rut" in "routine".

  10. Literary Feline - I've gotten more comfortable with change over the years, but like you, I'd rather be prepared for it - at least, when it's someone else's idea. When it's my own and doesn't really impact anyone else, sometimes I'll just follow a whim.


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