Posted by: ritagone | December 14, 2011

Creature of Habit

I admit it: I’m a creature of habit.

I get up every morning around 4:30 a.m.  It’s not that I’m particularly saintly about it; it’s just that I wake up around then, and when I wake up, I’m up.  No use laying in bed awake, I say, so up I get.

I have my little routine, which I confess that I love.  First I go to Facebook and check for birthdays so that I can send birthday wishes to my friends.  Then I read my chapter of the Bible on, which I also love and seriously recommend to anyone looking for a great way to do morning (or afternoon or evening) devotionals on your computer or iPhone or iPad.  Then I check my bank account at Wells Fargo. (You never know if someone may have dropped a million dollars into your account by mistake, and you want to see it early in the morning, I say.)  Then emails.  That’s it.  The next step is to put on my wonderful lightweight walking shoes and walk on my treadmill, which is about five feet from my desk in my home office.  I take the TV remote control with me, because I like to go from CNBC to a 5 a.m. segment of “Law and Order” to CNN to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, depending on who’s being interviewed.

When I’m finished with my treadmill walk, it’s about time for my little dog Sherlock to start barking.  Even Sherlock knows the routine by now.  He’s a year old.  His birthday was December 3.  We brought him home the day after Valentine’s Day earlier this year.  He is now a creature of habit too: mine.  He knows better than to bark any earlier than 6:30 a.m., because I’m not off the treadmill until then.  Of course, often we have houseguests staying in the downstairs guest bedroom down the hall from my office, which means I must make sure that Sherlock doesn’t start barking any earlier than 6:30, which means I must also definitely be off the treadmill no later than 6:30.

So you can see why everything must work like precision clockwork timing.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I have found myself loving being a creature of habit.  I love doing the same thing at the same time each day.  It gives me comfort and security.  I’m not one of those people who thrives on the thrill of new adventures, doing things differently or just mixing things up for the sake of not being mundane or boring.  Give me boring and routine any day.

But then, of course, there are occasions that come along that are completely off schedule, like trips to Europe.  Or last Monday night, when a group of us went to the famous Disney Hall located in downtown Los Angeles, to attend the Messiah Sing-Along, something we have done for 17 years in a row at this time of year.  Yes, 17 years in a row!  Our long-time friend Danny Zarraonandia, who along with his wife Jennie have been a part of our “young married” growth group for about that many years, has been purchasing the tickets as his Christmas gift to us and others.  He loves this event and looks forward to it every year.  It has come to include a wonderful dinner at one of the many classy restaurants near the Music Center complex and the Disney Hall before the Sing-along, so of course we have to leave our house pretty early to make the drive, especially if it’s raining, like it was on Monday.

So it’s a long evening.  We leave our house around 4:30 in the afternoon and don’t return home till after 11 p.m.  Now I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal to many of you, but for someone who likes routine, it’s definitely a big deal for me.  It means that I don’t get to bed until almost midnight, which in turn means that I don’t get up at my usual time the next morning.  It throws my entire next day off.  It’s well worth it; don’t get me wrong.  It is one of the highlights of the Christmas season for me and for Michael.  Each year we pull out our Handel’s Messiah songbooks, dust them off and pretend we know what we’re doing.  We become part of the hundreds of people in the audience at the Disney Hall who sing along with the orchestra and become the chorus for one of the most impressive, stirring works of music ever written.  To be able to participate in this way – mistakes and all – is something that sustains me from one year to the next.  I appreciate Danny’s endeavors to get tickets, experimenting with various areas of the Disney Hall, from orchestra to behind the orchestra (not so good), to side to side.  We go with different people that he invites along each year, which makes the experience different in a memorable way.

And so I don’t mind, you see, being disrupted from my usual routine.  I’m not neurotic, you know.  Really.  Especially for something as splendid and memorable as a night at the Disney Hall.  In fact, that’s where I’ll be on New Year’s Eve, with a bunch of different friends, welcoming in the new year.  So never let it be said that I can’t break out of my habitual routine.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have loads of laundry and a few items to check off on my “to do” list before I can relax and read a bit.

Hope you’re enjoying this time of year and finding great peace and serenity behind the shopping and decorating and running around that Christmas usually entails.  And I also hope you’re remembering to stop and worship Jesus Christ, whose birth made all this madness possible.

Okay, I really must go…..


  1. Oh Rita, you really make me laugh. I loved reading this. I honestly think most of us are a creature of habit. It does give us stability and security. Sometimes people may think that we are boring but who cares what they think right? Bless you and Michael during this wonderful Christmas season.

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