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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Shortcut to Mushrooms

I love a good shortcut.

When I'm driving, I'll even take a longcut, if it takes me less time to get where I'm going. From my house to the bank, for example, it is about three miles if I go through town, but it easily takes twenty minutes. But if I get on the loop, it is seven miles or so...but it only takes ten minutes. I'll take the loop, please.

In terms of writing, I've picked up on a few shortcuts to make my editing process take less time. For one thing, I discovered that if I spent more time in the planning stages, really delving into my characters and plot before I ever wrote a word, I could often do a couple of brief, easy editing passes and be done. Without that extra time up front? I'd often do two to three complete rewrites, and give myself a month-long migraine in the process. Another of my shortcuts is I keep a list of words and phrases that I know I tend to overuse. Once I finish my WIP, I pull that list out and do a quick search, and then eliminate or replace 90% of the instances of those words and phrases.

I've picked up a few shortcuts with cooking, over the years. Most grocery stores sell fresh fruits and veggies already washed and prepped for cooking. Yeah, you might pay a little more...but you save a ton of time on prepwork. If I'm making chicken fajitas, why cook the chicken myself when I can buy it already seasoned, cooked, and sliced? All I have to do is heat it up. One of my favorite newer finds are the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cooking Cremes. Make your favorite pasta, choose a protein and a few veggies, throw it all together, and add the cooking creme. Voila! You've got a great tasting, quick and easy meal.

I'm guilty of occasionally taking a shortcut in terms of reading. Well, I guess that isn't technically right. I mean, if I watch the movie but don't read the book, I didn't really read anything. Still, it only takes a couple of hours to watch the movie versus however many hours it might take to read the book. (Note that I still usually read the book afterwards, so I'm not sure I'm really saving myself any time.)

I have not fallen prey to the shortcut my sister has taken, I'm proud to say. She hates doing laundry, so when she runs out of clean clothes, she goes and buys more. Um...yeah, I think I'll just wash my clothes, thanks.

Maybe my favorite shortcut I've discovered in recent months, though, is John Freida foam hair color. I've been coloring my hair at home for years (I won't mention how young I was when I started turning gray), and it has always annoyed me how long it takes to put the dye on my hair. Not only that, but I've got a LOT of hair, so it often takes two boxes of any color to get all of mine. But with the foam hair color, the time it takes to apply it is cut down drastically...and no matter how much hair I have, I only need one box. It's amazing. Not only that, but I've never had weird patches with this one.

Do you always look for shortcuts, even if they might seem like a longcut? Do you have any recommendations for the rest of us on how to save time in our way-too-busy days? Bonus points to anyone who knows where the title for this post came from. Just don't ask me what the bonus points will get you. I haven't the slightest. :)

28 comments:

  1. Catherine great post. I love that you try to find shortcuts in everyday things. When I'm driving around I try to find the fastest route to get anywhere, so I will try a couple of ways and time it and see which way works the best.

    For instance when we lived in Louisiana, we lived in Bossier City. Normally, I would go over Shreveport to get Walmart or Target cause I actually lived closer to those one instead of the Bossier City one. Occasionally I would have travel to that side of town and go down Airline Dr took about 25minutes, so I would take the back roads. I didn't save on gas, but I save my safe on sanity.

    Currently to get work on Monday's I get on HWY 1 Northbound, then get off this side road that no body uses to get to HWY 135 to go through a town I haven't gone through since I was little. By the way I pass this cute little Bed and Breakfast and I just want to take a picture and post. Anyways to get to the Freeway to my final destination. It takes me about 35minutes. Its about 5 minutes more however, the road I normally has road construction with 15 miles per hour signs, which would add more time to my travels. So I will take the long way to save on sanity. Plus, I don't mind the drive.

    My recommendation is take the road that is going to keep you sane, because you don't want to go all psycho someone.

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    1. So true, Melody. I've lived in Dallas the large majority of my life, and so I'm used to Dallas traffic. I'd say I'm pretty good about not falling prey to road rage, and I've seen my fair share of it...but a lot of that is due to the fact that I know my limitations and select my path accordingly. Since I work from home these days, I get to avoid rush hour for the most part...and since I live close to several schools, I also time my trips into town around when the school zones will be in effect. Either that, or I take the path that leads me around the school zone. No need to go through one and slow myself down if they can be avoided!

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    2. I've been to Dallas and that place is crazy.

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    3. Dallas traffic is one of those things you have to learn to live with around here. Sadly. Still, if it is raining or (heaven forbid) icy out there, stay home. Not because you don't know how to deal with it...but because 89% or so of all Texas drivers don't. You're safer in your house, even if you're out of groceries.

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    4. That is too fun, but I believe. I remember an ice storm in 2006 we were living Louisiana and they closed off the bridges after 6. People don't know how to handle it

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  2. I am always looking for shortcuts. And, I always take the longcut if it is shorter on time. I'll take the interstate over going through town anytime because I can't stand having to stop at all of those lights.

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    1. Stop lights are annoying enough, but in my town there are several intersections with only 4-way stop signs, which are so heavily trafficked that they NEED stop lights. Especially since Texas drivers apparently no longer remember the rules for how to determine who goes next at a stop sign. LOL.

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  3. Lol...I'm a short-cut gal too. Especially when driving. Or, I like to think I'm taking a short-cut, but usually my hubby and I argue the whole way home that it wasn't really a short-cut, and then one of us whips out Google Maps....yeah. We're dorks. :D
    I like shortcuts, but not if it means I'm going to short myself on quality. I disagree on pre-cooked meats, etc, but that's my culinary background showing, so we'll just leave it at that! I do have to say, the day I bought my Wet Swiffer, was the best damn day of my life...
    ;D

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    1. LOL, Olivia. I can just hear all of the chefs on Food Network now about my pre-cooked meats thing. And I don't do it all of the time. Far more often, I actually cook. But there are some times when I just don't have the time/energy/effort to cook from scratch, and they make a good alternative. Maybe not for someone who's been to culinary school...but for the rest of us. :) So funny that you'll get out your Google Maps to see who's right. I love that.

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  4. I drive backroads all the time. That way I can avoid the lights through town and the parking lot...er...traffic on the freeway. It is probably more miles in the long run, but as long as the car is moving forward, I feel like I'm getting where I'm going.

    But I'm not a planner. I think to use a lot of shortcuts, you have to plan and dare I say "plot" them out, and we all know that I'm not a plotter in anyway shape or form.

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    1. Ava, there was a point in time that I lived in Frisco and worked in Dallas. I could have taken the tollway to get to work, or the back roads. Either way, it took me the same amount of time because of the parking lot that the tollway became during those commutes, so I took the back roads. Like you said, at least that way I was moving...plus, I didn't have to pay the tolls to sit in the parking lot. LOL. You're right about needing to plan to use shortcuts...at least at first. But then, they become habit, and it is not really all that different from your pantsing ways...

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  5. Oh I love taking short-cuts, especially when I'm driving on back roads. My back roads are pretty curvy and not as traveled. So a driver can have lots of fun blasting her music with the windows down. :)

    I'm trying to become more of a plotter instead of a panster. I'm sure that if I did, like you Catherine, I would save more time when it came to actually getting it down on paper.

    Great post!

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    1. I used to live in one of the out-of-the-way parts of the Dallas Metroplex, Marquita. We had to take those winding, country highways to get anywhere. It was great to turn up the volume, like you say. Good luck with learning to plot. It can be a hassle to learn, but I'm so glad I have. Granted, it isn't for everyone. Some of us, like Ava, write nearly perfect first drafts without plotting. Don't ask me how she does that.

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  6. I love taking the back roads, Catherine. I like moving along rather than sitting still on the highway--and as you know, DFW traffic can quickly become a parking lot. :)

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    1. You know, Lily, one of the reasons I think I prefer to be moving so much is because it means the AC works better in the car. There's nothing worse than sitting in an older car in one of those DFW parking lots called highways on a 100+ degree August day. You just melt to your seat. Blech.

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  7. I take short-cuts driving all the time. This is especially important when in Wisconsin during the summer. There is construction everywhere, so it's good to know the backroads.

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    1. Any time I've moved somewhere new, I've always spent time learning the back roads. I like to have alternate routes to take, if nothing else. Construction is a prime reason why! Doesn't it seem like they're always starting construction projects and never finishing them?

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  8. I am the queen of finding the quickest way anywhere. I think it is an obsession I inherited from my Grandpa. Sometimes the dh argues the point, but then he discovers that I am right. ;-)

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    1. I've learned a lot of great things from my Grandpa, too, Deb. He was fond of taking the shortcut to dessert. Eat dessert first, and then you never have to worry about being to full to have it. That was his motto. He taught me a little too well, I think.

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    2. Grandpas rule! Mine was head of the 'Clean Plate Gang' Then we got dessert. :-)

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  9. Oh, I've been trying to figure out where your title is from and I have noooo idea. ;) No bonus points for me. ;)

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    1. I'm a little surprised no one has come back with it. Not completely surprised, since most of our readers are romance readers and writers, and it is not from a romance...but it is very much from something that is popular enough I'd think someone would get it. Now I'm feeling like a geek. LOL.

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    2. So you have to give a hint then. Is is a book, tv show, movie...?

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    3. It is both a well known and loved book and a blockbuster series of movies. The title of this post is also the title of one of the chapters from the book. It made it into the film, as well, though it would be easy to miss if you had not already read the book countless times, over and over again every year like I read them. :)

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    4. I'm a big nerd here and had to look it up, so is it from The Lord of the Rings book 1 The Fellowship of the Ring.

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    5. Good job, Melody! I would never have gotten that! I do love the movies though. :)

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    6. I wouldn't have either, but my pal the Internet.

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    7. I neglected to come back and check last night. Yes, Melody has it. :)

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