I'm an atheist, though I do admire several tenets of Buddhist and Taoist philosophies.
the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. and anything by Kurt Vonnegut.
ideas on how to improve my life and the lives of others. how to use my knowledge for the greatest good. how to fight back against high-level corruption.
Quick subgoal links for daily and weekly updates.
-work project progress
-screen time limits
-be compassion / water my lettuce
Master Subgoal Linkage List.
Become Financially Independent
1 Pay off Credit Card Debt
2 Monitor my spending more closely with apps and spend less
3 Build an Emergency account
4 Build a savings account for long-term goals / larger expenses
6 Consider cultivating a side income
7 Donate 5% of my annual income each year to help empower others
8 Pay off my student loans
9 $5 Challenge
Be the best mother I can be
1 Remind A to spend time reading every day
2 Volunteer with A once a month
3 Limit screen time
4 Monitor the phone and internet usage
5 School Choice
6 Help A learn piano
7 Help A get to bed by 9 and wake up by 7
8 Take lots of photos, back them up, and print photobooks
9 Prepare for baby #2
13 Game Night
14Facilitate Career Exploration
15 Keep dinner at the table
Maintain and Improve my Employability
1 Find work that I can feel good about
2 Develop a Strong Work Ethic
3 Think about trying for my PhD... again.
4 Be the change: remember where I'm going and know what's important
5 Update my CV and LinkedIn Profile
6 Start a Blog
7 Improve my coding skills
9 Join Toastmasters / Improve my public speaking skills
10 Idea Journal
11 Request regular performance reviews
12 Increase my new product knowledge
13 Join some local user groups
14 Continue and promote my geo-mentoring
15 Keep track of my professional society memberships
16 Eat That Frog (improve my productivity)
17 Try the Ivy Lee method
Minimize and Organize
1 Do first things first / morning routine
2 Ensure that my goals are S.M.A.R.T.
3 Compile Home Inventory Lists
4 Organize my recipes
5 Organize my files
6 File paperwork as it arrives
7 Reapply for my citizenship certificate and passports
8 Cull my books and catalog the keepers
9 Clean the interior of my car each summer
10 Do a 43things review each month
11 Preserve my wedding memories
12 Make a 5 year plan and periodically review it
13 Update my will
14 Start implementing my home maintenance zone routines again
15 Create and maintain a capsule or minimalist wardrobe (Project 43)
16 Back up my Digital Data
17 Cultivate frugality
18 Help A cull her possessions
19 Cull and Organize my DVD Collection
Help the environment in all ways I can
1 Start using my reusable bags again
2 Practice mindful consumption - less plastic, less packaging, fabric gift wrap
3 Reduce my environmental footprint - minimize and reuse wherever possible
4 Start composting
5 Start growing my own food
6 Rededicate myself to recycling
7 Advocate for science and use my knowledge to educate others
8 Fight Climate Change
9 Get more involved in Marine Cleanup efforts
Improve my health and fitness
1 Be the change: treat my body as a temple and honor it daily
2 Go to the gym at lunch at least 3x per week
3 Develop a set of healthy weekly meal plans
4 Incorporate yoga into my nightly routine
5 Incorporate floor exercises into my morning routine
6 Ride my bike somewhere every weekend during summer
7 Practice Eating Mindfully
8 Go for more hikes and picnics
9 Go on regular evening walks with my family
10 Meditate more
11 Take that martial arts class I've been contemplating for years
12 Get to bed earlier
13 Find a good naturopath
14 weekly weigh in
Cultivate a feeling of great self worth and happiness
1 Maintain my Happiness/Gratitude Journal, in which I: List things that make me happy; Reflect on things for which I am grateful; Choose to be positive and hopeful; Recognize my accomplishments.
2 Honor Divinity: be gentle with myself, practice self care, and Pamper myself occasionally
3 Honor Divinity of Others: Be gentle and compassionate with others; Spend more time showing people that I love them and give more quality time to friends and family; Keep in better touch with friends and family; Take the dog to the dogpark once a week for a month
4 Honor Divinity: Make a family tree
5 Be the change: ask myself, what would the best me ever do?
6 Be Compassion: Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
7 Landscape my property
8 Learn how to maintain my perennial garden
9 Memorize a poem
10 Share my favorite quotes and poetry
11 Write haiku periodically
12 Write an article/book and have it published
13 Participate in NaNoWriMo
14 Work in a bookstore
15 Start a vinyl collection
16 Do one sketch a month for a year
17 Sketch portraits of each of my family members
18 Watch 43 documentaries
19 Watch some good movies/shows
20 turn my bad experiences into good by helping others.
Read more books
1 Read all of Kurt Vonnegut's novels
2 Read two books per month: one fiction, one nonfiction
3 Read every evening before bed
4 Keep my saw sharpened - read at least two academic/technical books this year, take notes, and set up a filing system
5 Read all of Shakespeare's plays
6 Read at least 2 classics in 2018
7 Read more Margaret Atwood
8 Read Thich Nhat Hanh in the mornings
9 Reread the Tao Te Ching
10 Inventory my books and ebooks
11 Rejoin my book club
Go on Adventures
aka Improve my Productivity / Eat that Frog / Do things for 5 minutes
This is a work goal but also more generally a life goal of mine. I had a journal with this quote by Emerson on it: Always do what you are afraid to do. It was a good title for a journal as it always made me pause and reflect on what I was afraid of doing and why. What I found was that it's usually not fear preventing me from doing things so much as laziness. So I could easily change the quote to 'Always do what you don't want to do' and get the same effect. Want to let your mind roam on the internet just for a bit before working? Nope. work for 5 minutes first.
Flylady also has a motto: You can do anything for 15 minutes. Which, while true, I think I will utilize her babysteps approach and start with 5 minutes. I tend to avoid things because I think they will take too long to do correctly or well. And getting started is always 3/4's of the battle for me. I know this, but I still struggle.
I'm also toying with the idea of behavior replacement technique. I want to come up with a list of my fears/aversions and the consequent associated behaviors, and a list of some more productive behaviors I could implement to address those aversions instead.
Completed a draft yesterday, which will make doing two other drafts easier. Still needs to be reviewed but it's a good start.
Finished and sent out three projects for final review this week. I'll have to take another look at them after I get feedback at the end of the month, but they are well on their way to being complete.
Now I have to refocus myself on three other projects, all of which are more complex, but need addressing before I go on leave.
Additionally I need to spend some time doing technical field planning setup even though I won't be here for field season. Also on the technical front, I need to put together some training for early next month. I have a framework for it that I've used before, but I want to tailor it more for my audience this time to make it more useful/practical.
Ivy Lee method
Have started implementing this at work. We'll see how well it goes. pretty simple idea - list no more than 6 tasks per day, cross them off one at a time, carry-over undone tasks to the next day, etc etc.
@aenea Thanks for posting this. I have a colleague who is struggling and we have tried EVERYTHING under the sun to keep this gal motivated and productive. She is on her last official warning. We all want her to succeed, but there is a limit to how long we can wait for that without it impacting overall production. I'll give this a try with her.....
@beequeen hmm sounds like it could be me unfortunately. Good luck with her.
Here's some relavent links that may be helpful. Apparently warren Buffett adheres to a similar 2-List strategy.
@beequeen so 43t doesn't like apple emoticons and deleted half my post above. I edited back in some links about the ivy lee method for reference.
Increase my trade/product knowledge
I've been contemplating the best ways to accomplish this task. One approach has been to start immersing myself more in IT/tech news. I'm also thinking about looking into related podcasts.
Reconsider a PhD
In going through my files, both paper and digital, I've frequently come across the unfinished remnants of my phd efforts, which I walked away from a few years ago now. And I have no idea what to do with these items. They make me sad as I put a lot of work into them and I wish I could continue to work on them. I know I will never be able to pick up where I left off but I can't bear the thought of just deleting it all either.
I enjoy research so much and yet the pursuit of it just seems completely incompatible with the rest of my life.
Update my resume
updating my resume at the prompting of a colleague. could be a good sign.
Facilitate Career Exploration
I want to help A start thinking more about how she wants to earn a living when she's older. She's shown interest in a few different fields, and if I look for opportunities for her to explore those fields now she'll be able to make more informed decisions when she's older. Sometimes she says she wants to be a Vet. Other times she says she doesn't want to go to college. There's a career oriented technical high school that may be an option for her to look at also.
Yesterday there was a meeting for a new Girls Who Code group at the library. A has expressed interested in computer science in the past, so we thought we'd check it out. Her favorite gift this past Christmas was an Osmo coding game, and over her winter break, we also went to a couple of Hour of Code events at the library that she enjoyed. One was Minecraft based and the other had a Frozen theme.
Unfortunately not many people showed up for the meeting, basically just us and one other girl with her mom. It may have been related to the weather, which has been pretty bad this week. It'd be nice if it could be a social outlet for A too.
Aiming to do this once a week
I talked everyone into doing a game night last night rather than doing another group cell phone zone out session as per usual. A picked Pictionary. It was fun but a little long for her attention span.
We played Apples to Apples the other night. It's one of her favorites.
So periodically I am able to convince A to do chores. Over break she got into the habit a bit in order to secure a spot in Swim Club at school. I've encouraged her to continue doing her chores to earn a bit of money for herself.
I've found the best way for me to structure this has been to make it relatively free-form. When I've made it too structured, she gets easily disheartened when she can't do all the prescribed chores for the day, and starts to loose interest. So, I've put together a list of about 40 chores with set monetary values that she can pick and choose from. This way she has more control over what she does and how much she earns.
At the end of the week we will tally up the chores she has done and their value, and I will transfer the earnings into her starter savings account at our bank. Then if she wants to spend it, she has to go physically withdraw it. Otherwise, we can check on her account and watch her balance grow together, online, exposing her to modern online banking as well as traditional banking.
@aenea I really like your approach in prompting your daughter to do chores. I feel it's important that children understand that they have a responsibility to help maintain the home that they live in. Your method seems to give her the understanding that she has an obligation to help, but allows her a measure of freedom. I may have to try this practice in my home.
@jayce65 Thanks! I agree and part of my goal here is to instill in my daughter what it means to be part of a community, be it our family or a larger group. This approach is also reinforced at her Montessori school, which helps. I've been lax at home in the past, but as she's gotten older I think she can handle the added responsibility.
Good luck with yours!
take more pictures & create more photobooks and calendars
I put together a calendar with A's help and it should be arriving in the next week or so. kind of a fun project.
An important part of this goal that I forgot to mention is the need to remember to take more pictures. I started using the Momento app last year to create a photo log but got out of the habit somewhere along the way, and I'd like to start that up again.
I set up an appointment for a family photoshoot, as D had been commenting many times on how he'd like to have a family picture done before K arrivies. D is very good at taking action on things he wants to build around the house, but when it comes to setting up appointments for this kind of thing, he tends to put it off, so I took up the slack. And the appointment was Friday. It went well and was actually kind of fun. The photographer was very friendly and happens to be due at the same time as me. We should get the pictures back in about a week.
So I've decided to try to plan my pictures out weekly, focusing on single highlights, rather than struggling to take pictures everyday with no real direction. This past week I focused on A's brown belt test, which went really well. She left town today on a two week hiatus, but she'll be awarded her belt when she gets back.
I've been trying to role model good fitness habits for A, but varying levels of success. However one thing I'm firm on is that she must participate in some type of sport. So her sports of choice are ballet, which she's been doing since preschool, and karate, which she started about a year and a half ago, but which she has been steadily advancing through.
She enjoys both, but eventually will have to commit to one or the other, as they both become more demanding with time as they progress. I think she prefers ballet, but it will be interesting to see how she evolves either way.
A earned all her stripes for her green belt this weekend and so is now ready to test for her brown belt. She's very proud of herself and motivated to keep going. I'm proud of her too because she's been practicing her forms consistently every day and has really earned her stripes this time.
Her memory is very good so in the past she has not put in much effort to advancing, just coasting, and I have commented on this. she's since been working on a new approach and it's paid off with better form and faster advancement.
to chronicle my attempts at minimizing my screen time, and become a better role model for my kids.
read an interesting interview yesterday related to this: https://www.vox.com/conversations/2018/2/9/16994794/smartphone-tech-addiction
For tracking my yoga and stretching activities.
For tracking my meditation habits.
useful article on meditation: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-achieve-mindfulness-in-30-minutes-and-finally-get-what-all-the-hype-is-about
Meditated last night in front of the wood stove for a bit. It was calming and peaceful.
Manage my Meniere's
I first started dealing with Meniere's after my last pregnancy and it took about four years for me to get my symptoms under control to a point that I felt like I had a normal life again. I knew that relapse was a possibility with this pregnancy as well, and sure enough here we are.
Acupuncture has been one of the most effective ways I've run across to treat symptoms, so I'll have to schedule an appointment this week. In the mean time, driving and anything involving concentration will have to be avoided. easy peasy, right? Also ironic that I should start having symptoms again just as I'm reviving my interest in my music collection.
I should add that this turn of events has done nothing to enhance my congeniality. Must redouble my efforts to focus more on mindfulness.
Had my acupuncture appointment yesterday afternoon. It went well but I still have symptoms today, though at least I wasn't congested this morning like usual lately.
Sometimes it takes a day or two to clear up after treatment. And sometimes it takes multiple treatment sessions, which I was hoping to avoid. But it's not surprising if that's what it takes, given my increasing edema from pregnancy.
still having symptoms, but at about $250/visit I'm not sure I'll be making a followup appointment anytime soon.
The other thing that always helped was gingko supplements, but that's off the table for the time being.
Self applied Acupressure may be an option. I'll have to look into this further.
this is getting worse and I'm starting to get depressed about it. Nothing I've tried seems to help and I don't know what else to do.
@aenea Sorry to hear this. Did you manage any more acupuncture/ did it help any? I have worked alongside colleagues, who had labryinthitis on and off, which I think is similar. It sounds truly awful - no wonder it's affecting your mood. Is there no medical/professional help available?
@irishthistle79 thanks for your sympathies. There's no treatment for Meniere's; they don't know what causes it or how to resolve it. It either stabilizes on its own or it never goes away and may get worse with time. Some people lose their hearing permanently. It's thought that Meniere's is what caused Van Gogh to cut off his ear - the never-ending tinnitus and sound distortion can get quite disconcerting. The only suggestion I've gotten from traditional medical doctors has been to change my diet to low sodium, which I tried for years without benefit.
I haven't gone back for a second acupuncture treatment yet, though I'm seriously considering it even though I can't afford it. It's stupid that my current insurance doesn't cover it. I'm waiting to see how much my first appointment is going to set me back before scheduling another. It could be another month or more yet. Insurance is slow to review claims.
@aenea Not quite sure what to say. Can't imagine the impact it has on your life. I hate insurance - they take your money, but the cover never seems to be enough. The acupuncture costs where you are seem extortionate too.
my meniere's has been awful this week. It seems to gradually improve during the day lately, but by the next morning it's awful again. It makes me dread going to sleep. I started taking an antihistamine again, as some think it's an allergy related condition. And it seemed to help a little bit, but now I feel kind of groggy during the day, even though it's supposed to be non-drowsy. My midwife suggested I see an osteopath for it, so I've scheduled an appointment with one. Insurance covers osteopaths. Though of course there will still be a co-pay and time off work to account for. My boss has said she is "concerned" about me because of all the time off I've been taking. Always a good sign.
D asked earlier this week if I felt like my pregnancy was making me irritable lately. and I almost ripped his head off (but instead merely replied yes between gritted teeth). and he wanted to know if it was the same when I was pregnant with A. He is trying really hard to be sympathetic, but I can tell that he is not getting what a struggle this is for me at all. Even my midwife, when I mentioned that it was causing me problems, failed to understand the implications, and twice I had to ask her to speak softer as my head felt like it was about to explode from all the noise. People think (if they think anything at all about it) that Meniere's just causes hearing loss so they tend to speak louder to compensate, but they forget to factor in the severity of the tinnitus and sound distortion. Hearing aids are like my worst nightmare when I'm having a Meniere's attack, though I will wear them to a meeting if it's important.
When it's bad, Meniere's is like living in a train tunnel with a never-ending train going through it. The only peace I get is in sleep, only to wake up stuck in the tunnel again in the morning. Some patients wish to hasten the deafness aspect, thinking that will end the tinnitus, but as the brain is only imagining the tinnitus sounds - improvising them to try to make sense of some physiological abnormality in the ear - unless the inner ear organs are completely removed, the phantom sounds will exist even in deafness. how wonderful is that?
@aenea Sympathy hugs that doesn't sound fun at all.
When I first started getting Meniere's symptoms a decade ago, and I was trying to stick to a low sodium diet, I'd get twizzlers instead of popcorn when I went to the movie theater. It seemed that frequently the next day my symptoms would peak and then subside for a few days. Consequently, right or wrong, I've mentally linked twizzlers to symptom remission, even if temporary. Can't be red vines, has to be twizzlers. which is insane because neither even contain any actual trace of licorice anymore so there's nothing in them that could be even remotely helpful. In any case, the result is when I'm feeling really awful and totally at the mercy of this condition, I go out and overdose on twizzlers. not the best habit, especially when I'm trying to limit my sugar intake.
tomorrow I see an osteopath for "cranial-sacral manipulation". I've read a few accounts of it helping people. so we shall see.
well no change yet. it didn't really feel like she did anything besides hold my head in one place for five minutes. We shall give it a day or two and see.
I also had some osteopathic manipulation done for pelvic pain due to my pregnancy. and it hurt. A Lot. worst pressure point pain ever. and she wants me to go back for follow-up treatments. not something to look forward to. It did relieve my pelvic pain quite a bit all morning, but this evening it seems rather worse than before.
My menieres is worse today and hasn't really shown much improvement since my treatment on Wednesday, which is too bad. I had stopped taking the antihistamine so maybe I'll start that again. It takes a few days to kick in.
Healthy Meal Planning
For the sake of both my health and my wallet, I've been trying to be more consistent about home cooking and meal planning. December went fairly well, so I'm hoping to continue with the tactic through 2018.
Planning healthy meals with kids is always challenging. What I've found helps is having A contribute to the meal planning process. So I've had her make a list of meals she enjoys, and I make an effort to incorporate at least 1-2 of her choices into our meal plans each week. And then I add a salad and a green vegetable on the side.
I'll try to post my weekly meal plans here, to track changes and also for my memory's sake. Nothing worse than staring at leftovers in the fridge at the end of the week and not being able to remember when exactly I made the item in question.
Meal plan for the week of 1/7/18:
Su: Spaghetti with bread and salad
M: Salmon with rice, veggies and salad
Tu: Hamburgers with corn on the cob and salad
W: Chicken Masala with salad
Th: Hot Dogs with baked beans and salad
F: Chicken Enchiladas with Spanish rice and salad
Grocery bill: ~$150 (approximated to include food items only)
First time making chicken Marsala the other night. The flavor was pretty good, but the sauce cooked off quickly and was very thin/almost absent. I'm thinking of halving the mushrooms and onions next time and doubling the liquids. We were conservative with the chicken also, which probably didn't help either.
A didn't seem to mind the dish which is good because it's one I like to get when we eat out. There's also a similar recipe in my Southern Living cookbook, so I want to take a look at the recipe differences again and maybe follow that version next time.
Tonight I'm trying a new recipe for chicken enchiladas, with red sauce. It's one of As favorite dishes, but I haven't found the ideal recipe for it yet.
Chicken enchiladas got pushed to last night but they turned out pretty well. A liked them which is the real test. I may try to make extra sauce next time for adding after baking.
Meal plan for the week of 1/15/18
M: Tortellini with butternut squash and salad
Tu: Baked halibut with veggies and salad
W: Lasagna with salad and garlic bread
Th: Quesedillas with beans and salad
F: southwest White Chicken Chili with bread and salad
Grocery bill: $117, down from $151 using coupons.
This week was all over the map busy, so we didn't strictly stick to the plan, and ended up eating out on a couple of evenings. So the halibut and tortellini never got made.
I made Lasagna, but A who usually likes lasagna, was not a fan, so I'll have to tweak the recipe a bit. I used leftover enchilada meat for the Quesadillas and they turned out pretty awesome, though I didn't end up putting as many veggies in as planned. In general, we were not good about eating salads this week either, so will have to work on that. We did go through a lot of fruit though, which is good.
Plenty of leftover lasagna for tonight, and tomorrow we start over again. Though I'm thinking I'll just rollover the two missed dishes to next week, which cuts planning in half. so there's that silver lining.
Meal plan for the week of 1/22/18
Tu: Chicken fettuccine alfredo with vegetables and salad
W: Baked halibut with veggies and salad
F: Pra Ram Gai with thai egg rolls and side salad
Sa: Chicken Korma with Naan and side salad F: homemade pizza
Grocery bill: $115 (plus two trips for misc items, together totaling ~$100)
Meals didn't quite go as planned this week, and I spent more than I wanted to on groceries as I had to go back a few times for overlooked ingredients. Only thing that didn't get made was pizza though, so not too bad overall. Some of our leftovers needed to be thrown out also, so I need to plan their use better. I was able to freeze about half the lasagna, so now I just need to remember to use it within then next few months.
Meal plan for the week of 1/28/18
Tu: leftovers (Pra Ram Gai)
W: homemade pizza Tortellini
Th: leftovers (Chicken Korma)
F: Steak pizza
Grocery bill: ~$100
We bought steak a couple weeks ago when it was on sale and froze it right away, which is great. But we often have a hard time remembering to take things out of the freezer in time for it to thaw nicely for a dinner. So steak was a no-go this week. We also ended up ordering pizza rather than making it at home. My daughter did a great job at her spelling bee and made a special request for Domino's, so kind of a special occasion thing. We did finally use that tortellini last week, and it went over well.
A requested enchiladas again this week. and there is still some peanut butter sauce for pra ram gai to use, so I'll get some more chicken and do that again. May be awhile before we make that again after that though.
In the freezer: steaks, lasagna
Leftovers for lunch: spaghetti sauce, ~~ pra ram gai, burritos~~
Meal plan for the week of 2/4/18
Su: Chicken Pot Pie soup
M: leftovers (Pra Ram Gai) tortellini leftovers (peanut sauce thrown out)
Tu: Fajitas D's random chicken and rice creation
W: Fajitas D's spaghetti. Which did not use leftover spaghetti. But did use ingredients I'd bought for another dish.
F: Enchiladas dined out
Grocery bill: $140 ( not counting the $32 prenatals)
Last week sucked for meal planning. A was sick all week and D had no interest in sticking to the plan, so half my groceries didn't get used while the other half got used for some arbitrary last minute dining creation. And some of my planned leftovers got thrown away before I could use them. I love it when D cooks, but it really wreaks havoc with the whole meal planning process. We've talked about it somewhat but I can guarantee it'll happen again. No one wants to volunteer ideas when I'm planning on Sunday, so it makes it hard to work together. I'll also have to start being more consistent about marking dates on foods so there's no confusion over how old things are.
Friday we went out to eat to celebrate A's successful brown belt test. Today I'm planning to have Tuesday's leftovers. we'll see how that goes over. I'll update with a meal plan if we can agree on one.
I already have this as a subgoal under Mothering and Employment, so I know it's good for role modeling and for beefing up my resume. And yet I don't have it here and so I have been aiming to do it for largely all the wrong reasons. This occurred to me today while reading the inspiring story of another.
My life has not been filled with tragedy, but there are things that felt traumatic none the less, experiences which I have often thought about drawing upon to help others, but which I never bothered to do anything with, for one reason or another. I hope to fix that here. three categories I want to address for sure include: eating disorders, spousal abuse, and sexual harassment. There may be others, but I think that's enough to start researching with.
Sketch portraits of my family members
So I've had this goal for at least 10 years. I'm a decent, if somewhat slow sketch artist. There's no way I could get any of my family members to do a seated drawing session, so this would have to be from photos. Which is ok. Part of me wants to wait until I have an art studio - someplace quiet to set up and focus entirely on what I'm doing. But none of us are getting younger and I'd like to do this before my daughter is grown. A memento of sorts for her to look back on. Using a photo somewhat decreases the urgency I guess, but I don't need any more reasons to put the idea off.
For Christmas, I gave my daughter the hardware to use Osmo apps with my phone, and she has completely fallen in love with the coding app. Another app is called masterpiece and it's basically a tracing app - it takes a picture, converts it to lines and essentially projects the lines onto a piece of paper so that you can draw it. And it occurred to me that that would be a really easy way to get this goal done... lol. but I don't think it would hold quite the same value then.
So easy road aside, first step is to identify some photos I want to use.
Buy a record player and Start a vinyl collection
I've been wanting to buy a record player for three years now but have been putting it off as an unnecessary expense.
However I got some gift certificates for Christmas and am thinking of putting them towards that. I've settled on an entry level model and could easily pick one up today but find I'm now picky about the color....eye roll
The store only has silver, but I know it's also in black and a pretty metallic navy. And I also recently spotted a lovely retro metallic red limited edition. I could get the best price on the silver but wonder if I shouldn't spend a little more and get a color that makes me really happy.
So much for frugality, right?
D says he almost bought one for me but figured it wasn't a good time because of the baby on the way. Also I'd probably have to buy a shelf just to have some place to put it, even though it's fairly compact. And while I love cherry red I'm not sure it would fit into our rustic log cabin decor.
@aenea I so miss having a record player.....the one I had previously belonged to my ex's dad, so I felt compelled to return it after breakup even though he told me I could keep it, the sweetheart. I hear ya re the expense, but good luck, I hope you can make it happen.
I have decided on black. Found it for a good price and I'm able to use my gift card as well. And while it's not as glorious as the cherry red one, it'll be less eye catching and tempting to mess with for baby. All our other entertainment equipment is currently black, so it'll blend right in. Really all I'm looking for is something simple and functional, not a statement piece.
It's enough of a statement for me that I will be able to play and enjoy records now. The thing that appeals to me most about it is the process of how the music is mechanically produced. All this digital stuff these days is so behind the scenes. I'm really looking forward to explaining how it works to A. It's pretty amazing really, and can give one a whole new appreciation for music.
Related point of interest - I was an acoustician when I studied oceanography, meaning I studied how sound travels through water bodies and is affected by variation in chemical and physical water characteristics. So consequently I have a highly developed personal interest in the physics of sound.
D, who has a past life as a carpenter, has also agreed to build a cube shelf for me, which will look nicer, be less expensive, and be better quality than the expensive cube shelves I've looked at in stores. So now we just need to rearrange the living room to accommodate it. We were planning to do this in any case for babyproofing purposes.
as for my vinyl collection, it is currently a collection of one, but I have great plans for it. the main thing will be keeping my collecting habit in check.
I'm inordinately excited about the prospect of the player arriving, and have been thinking about what kind of record collection I want to build. The goal in part would be to contribute to A's music education. So I want a small but diverse collection with albums spanning the decades of modern music, as well as delving into classical music, especially given her interest in piano.
Http://www.besteveralbums.com appears to be a promising resource for modern music.
I'll have to look for something similar for classical albums.
So far I have a grand total of two records, which is one more than last week. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi (translucent red) I picked up a few years ago when I decided I wanted to start collecting records. And this week my order of Band of Horses - Cease to Begin (translucent marble green and black) came in. Both are lovely, both aurally and visually.
I'm aiming to limit my record collecting to no more than 1 per paid period (2 per month max). I've subscribed to Vinyl Me Please, so if I don't have time to go record hunting, I'll still get a lovely monthly surprise in the mail.
A neat little record shop just opened up downtown about a year ago, and I'm looking forward to stopping by there when I get a chance.
As for genres, I'm thinking of focusing on classic rock (~pre-1980) and jazz, with a few modern additions thrown in, mostly of the indie rock persuasion. There will be exceptions, I'm sure but that's the general outline I'm aiming for.
Currently on the lookout for a good Thelonious Monk album...
one bonus aspect of this subgoal is that I'm revisiting all my cd's and mp3's and in general listening to a lot more music these days.
In an attempt to stem my record buying impulses, I'm trying to be more picky about what I buy. I like colored vinyl, for example, so I'll look for that option first. I also like cool album art because I like to display the album cover while I play the record. So that's my most recent criteria. Unfortunately some of the best artwork seems to be attached to some of the worst albums. Smashing Pumpkin's Zeitgeist and Blur's Think Tank both have intriguing album art by renown artists, but the music contained therein is neither band's best work. :\
Suggestions welcome. One of my favorite album covers is for the self-titled Rage Against the Machine LP. Good music too, but not sure I need/want to play metal/rap on my record player. I might make an exception just for the art.
on a related note, some albums come with nice art inserts - what does one usually do with art inserts exactly?
received my first VMP order on Friday, but the box was dinged pretty badly, damaging both enclosed albums. I notified the company, so hopefully they'll be sending replacements, but I'd been waiting a long time already for my order, so it was kind of a major let down.
@aenea Bummer. Hopefully the next ones get there safely! :)
What albums had you ordered?
@jadedforever moby (record of the month) and max roach (optional add-on classic of the month)
@AeneasSubgoals That's rubbish, but at least you took the step of ordering them. They definitely have to replace them.
Finally made it over to the one record shop in town here. I was disappointed because it reeked like a pot shop. I have a special aversion to this because it makes me think of my ex who could not stop smoking the stuff and would try to hide that fact from me. Also I didn't find any records that I felt inspired to buy. There were a couple that caught my eye, but nothing I absolutely had to have. I may go back but it'll probably be awhile, which is just as well.
My Precious with new arrival by Explosions In The Sky
@aenea I'm checking out the headphones? Who makes those, pretty lights on them. I'm sure that I probably can't afford them.
And again today I saw records at a thrift store & no prices...
Luckily nothing I wanted but still it would be nice to know what they go for.
@jadedforever this pair is made by brookstone. I picked them up in an airport on a business trip. They were on clearance for 70% off because they're not wireless. Apparently all the cool kids use wireless Bluetooth headphones these days.
I actually got these for my daughter for Christmas 2016 - she'd seen them and been begging for them for months. So I finally snag these when I spot a good price on them. But turns out she doesn't wear them much because they're kind of bulky. Not really kid sized. She instead steals my wired Beats headphones (gift from my parents the same year), which works out ok because they're too tight on me and make my ears hurt after awhile.
Brookstone Wired Cat Ear Headphones at amazon
As for records, depends on the popularity, condition, rarity, etc. new albums, standard edition seem to run between $12-20. New special editions or limited runs go for between $25-35. Second hand SE and Ltd can go for much more if they are in demand, out of print, and/or still in mint or sealed condition. Second hand, standard edition vinyl in good condition usually isn't too expensive. When I was at the used record store the other day, most albums were less than $5. (I of course stumbled upon one for $26, which seemed way overpriced for the album in question. Not sure what they were thinking). Thrift stores tend to sell for slightly less ($2-3) but it's more of a gamble on the condition.
@AeneasSubgoals I am entranced by two things: a) you have a means by which to play your vinyl and b) if the wall behind the records is any indication, you live in a log cabin! Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh......my dream home.
@beequeen it's part log at least. The main house was built in the early '50s and has drywall. A log living room was added in the early '70s. The living room is by far my favorite part of the house though.
The record player is what I just acquired earlier this year after much coveting. It really is quite a joy to use. If I had any complaints about it, I'd say I wish it had the ability to auto skip to certain tracks, but that's just me being spoiled by CDs.
Part of what I like about the vinyl experience is that it forces me to listen to whole albums rather than just individual songs. With many albums there is a lot of work and thought that goes into constructing a single cohesive whole that is more than the sum of its parts. Being able to spot and appreciate that effort is part of the joy of vinyl I think. A relic from a different era when music was thought of in different terms and listening was done at a slower, more intentional pace. Between not skipping and having to flip or change the record every 3-4 songs, it requires the listener to be wholly present for the duration of the music.
Watch some good movies/shows
We watched Its A Wonderful Life again last night, and I found myself in tears at the end of it. I would say tears of joy but that's not how I felt. Tears of regret maybe or tears of sorrow that life is not really full of happy endings like that, that in fact the struggle never ends. George Bailey would have gone to jail and had to make the best of that life too. And I'm sure he would have, being the bounce back kid that he is, but what kind of wonderful life is that?
I always wanted a fixer upper house like in this movie - it's so romantic afterall - and now we essentially have one and it is far from the easy life. But I suppose that's part of the point, something to bond us and bring us together. Sometimes it just seems like the world is against us though and things will never come together. We watched The Fellowship of the Ring earlier this week too - sometimes I feel like Frodo and wish I'd never taken on this ring. Is doing the best with the time that is given to us, as Gandalf advises, really all there is to life? Good people get Mordor while schmucks live in the white house?
At the end of Its A Wonderful Life, Harry Bailey says George is the richest man in town, and Clarence further clarifies that a man with friends is never poor. D and I constantly struggle to maintain and grow our social circles, especially since some of our closest friends moved away a few years ago. This is something I want to focus on this coming year, cultivating new friendships.
I gave D Season 7 of Game of Thrones for Christmas, as it's a show we enjoy watching together. Season 7 was short, sadly, and we just finished it last night. Immensely satisfying though. We're at a loss now as to what to watch until S8 is released in 2019.
Also meant to mention another movie I recently watched that I frequently think back on - Beatriz At Dinner. It's rather haunting, and makes me sick to my stomach for its realism.
Rewatched The secret life of Walter Mitty last night. Love this movie so much - great story, great acting, wonderful cinematography, and an awesome soundtrack.
We watched Spanglish last night which I always really enjoy. So much to love about it on so many levels. Got me thinking more about school choice for A though and wondering whether and which options might be more likely to engender the type of entitlement on display by the daughter in the movie. A crossroads indeed. What kind of essay will my daughter write?
Bunheads is at least as good as Gilmore Girls. It's a shame it got cancelled so quickly. Loving all the GG cameos too.
Be Compassion: Spend more quality time with friends and family. Water my lettuce.
For chronicling things I do for the people (and pets) I love.
When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.
The other day I plugged D's car in for him before bed. I knew it'd be cold in the morning and he'd be tired waking up at 5AM. It sucks having to go outside and plug it in first thing when you wake up. He returned the favor for me, plugging in my car before he left. ❤️
My elderly dog may have had a stroke this morning. She's having trouble standing and walking straight. So I took her to the vet again. They said there is nothing they can do and either her symptoms will resolve themselves over the next week or she will continue to get worse. So I have made her as comfortable as possible and moved all her food/water and toys to be within easy reach of her bed.
@aenea Sorry to hear that. Hopefully she gets better & not worse!
I've been putting this off because I wanted to find my daughters old piggy bank for storage. But I'm not even sure we still have it and, even if we do, I'm not sure where it might be in storage.
Now I've accumulated several $5 bills in my wallet, and I'm on the verge of using them any day now. I think I'll just grab an empty envelope and use that for the time being.
So I put the envelope into effect and only dipped into it once last week. Essentially, for every $20 I take out at an ATM, that turns into one $5 bill saved as soon as I buy something and break the 20. so if I take out $100, that's 25% put to savings. I'm wondering if I shouldn't just take out less money and move the difference to savings where I won't be tempted to use it.
Reduce internet usage/reliance
The internet truly is like a drug, and a very hard habit to break. We have a monthly cellular data plan that provides about 30GB of data for $250/month. We don't stream movies via Netflix or anything else. Since my daughter got her phone from my ex this past summer though, we've be going increasing over our data plan. Every GB used beyond the initial 30 costs $15. We're currently on our 4th extra GB this month with four days to go, my daughters phone on airplane mode, and my computer network connections disabled.
There has to be a better data plan out there.
@aenea Oh my that is so expensive.... I pay what equals about 40 dollars for 200 gb every month...
@morningsun Yeah the cellular network companies make a killing where I live in general. May I ask what company you go with?
@aenea I don't live in your country I'm in Denmark where everything is expensive - except data I guess....
I don't have much to invest these days, but I recently read a blog entry that has inspired me to start thinking more seriously about it anyway.
@aenea Which one?
Savings for long term goals, travel, and large expenses
some of our wedding funds are being set aside in a savings account to help with our home remodel. It's small, about 5% of what we'll ultimately be needing, but it's a start.
More urgently we are also needing to save for the potential maternity gap in my wages, which for a three month period will be considerable. I have not worked long enough to have paid leave available for the duration.
Visitation travel expenses amount to about $3k annually, and cannot be overlooked either.
Travel beyond that, to visit my family who all live 5000 miles away, is also a consideration.
On a positive note, I've convinced A to start a savings fund to visit Disneyworld. So she does extra chores for a small allowance that she is putting away for her goal. I'm hoping she learns something about money management, perseverance, and being goal oriented in the process.
Two weeks in and A is already giving up. She hates chores more than she loves Disneyworld. Which makes me sad. Im at a loss as to how to spark motivation in her on many fronts. All suggestions welcome. Next will be no electronics until chores are done. Which she will not like at all.
@aenea well maybe just let her suffer until she comes around. i was a chore hater as a kid. still am lol. as an adult.
I read about the Digit app and decided to set up a micro-save auto-transfer just within my own bank account. Similar idea, just doesn't get passed through a third party.
I was already doing a monthy auto-transfer, but I'm curious if the smaller weekly transfer might be gentler on my psyche. I've been tempted to shut off the larger auto-transfer many times already, but have been saved by my own laziness. however there have been occasions when I have to transfer money back to my checking account, which is always disheartening. but at least I'm trying, right?
@aenea i LOVE that you are teaching about money management at a young age. i wish my parents had taught me more. most of what i learned was from watching my parents make mistakes.
Build an emergency account
I get so focused on paying off my personal debt that I often overlook the importance of building and maintaining my emergency account. Currently I have a paycheck and a half worth of savings but I'd like to build that to:
A. 1 month worth of savings by end of 2017
B. 2 months worth of savings by end of 2018
C. 3 months worth of savings by 2020
All while also balancing this savings with saving for longer term purchases (like home remodel and travels) and saving for retirement.
It's so discouraging when the amount I have available to contribute is so small and then has to be split four ways to cover all my needs.
seriously contemplating using my savings for the bathroom remodel, so I might have to push my deadlines out a bit. health qualifies as an emergency, so not feeling too guilty about this. I just hope nothing more urgent comes up in the meantime.
I phrased my initial post as if I have more than one savings account that I am able to contribute to. but really it's just one account. and it only has my emergency savings in it.
the bathroom remodel still hasn't happened and that's a good thing. Part A is technically complete, but I'm focusing on saving for maternity leave, which will bite into my emergency funds a bit, and may set back my original plan somewhat.
@aenea is your home remodel a need or a desire?
@joycultivation definitely beyond doubt a need and a health issue.
@aenea why health? very curious.
@joycultivation mold. And carpenter ants.
@aenea Ugh!!! That sounds awful. Best of luck with everything!
Cull and Organize my DVD/CD/Book collections
I like movies and own a lot of DVD's, though I've pared down my collection quite a bit over the last few years. I recently ordered some DVD storage boxes to store the DVDs out of reach of baby. They arrived yesterday and it looks like they will work out really well, so I'm a happy camper.
So half the purpose of finding a new place to store my DVDs was with the aim of getting some tippy bookshelves out of the living room. I also had some CDs stored there, so I spent some time this week figuring out what to do with them.
Basically I've repurposed a binder with loose DVDs to hold my CDs instead, moving the loose DVDs to the new DVD boxes instead since they weren't completely full. Sounds simple but this involved transferring about 200 CDs, so it took awhile. It will make storing the CDs easier and more space efficient though I think.
I also picked up a small LP storage case for cheap, so now have a safe place for those too. Even if it is bright blue.
In place of the DVD shelves, I'm planning to put a toy storage unit, which will double for record storage after he outgrows it and my LP collection outgrows the case I got. I picked up three $5 bins for that.
Next step is to relocate the DVD shelves and coffee table to the basement, and bring in the toy storage unit and area play mat.
I also culled my books a few weeks ago when I relocated my board games to one of the bookshelves.
I think I need to do a second round of book culling though as somehow my shelves are still overflowing. I at least already have some sturdy boxes to use for donation this time around though.
My resolutions have made me realize that one of my top priorities right now needs to be improving my morning routines. So we'll take this step by step. I'm not going to go into every detail of what I do each morning, just focus on the routines that need the most improvement.
1 get up earlier
4 yoga /floor exercises
Today went better than yesterday.
1 got up at 5:45am thanks to my noisy dog
2 read some Thich Nhat Hanh for 30 minutes in preparation for meditation, which I havent quite decided on the best approach for. Best insight today was the idea of letting go of guilt so as to use that time more wisely, for good deeds for instance.
3 10 min of cardio while listening to a geospatial podcast. My heart rate gets pretty high pretty quick these days so had to take it easy. My calves are also now sore.
4 15 min of stretching and floor exercises. I haven't decided whether it's better to do this before or after cardio. I have decided however that I need to do a little research on pregnancy exercise and yoga poses, to be prepared with a better plan next time. Today was kind of haphazard.
I'd also like to do better on my home maintenance routines today. I thought about it yesterday but did zilch.
This morning was largely a bust. As was last night. I was so tired after work that I took a nap after dinner and hardly got anything done.
And I woke up tired this morning too but still managed to crawl out of bed by about 6:30. My calves are still sore and I didn't want to make it worse, so I skipped cardio. Yoga I just flat out failed to do.
However I did read a little more Hahn, today about mindfulness and how we can't really partition our time so that me time is separate from the rest. If we are true to ourselves, we are present for every aspect of our lives. In the example, the person began looking at time spent with his children as part of his me time rather than as an obstacle to it, and he began enjoying his life much more. It's easy to view kids as a hindrance to living a full life, when in reality they have the potential to bring so much joy and enrichment to a life. When I spend time with my daughter I try to remember how quickly she is growing and to savor every moment I have with her. It's easy to get distracted from this though, so sometimes I really need to focus on it.
So I'm doing pretty well waking up early and reading about meditation.
Moving first thing is still challenging me though. When I succeeded it was because I did it first, right away after getting up. So I should probably stick to that approach.
I do enjoy reading about meditation - most recently about doing the dishes to do the dishes, and learning to maintain mindfulness throughout the day rather than necessarily striving for the perhaps impractical ideal of making time for sitting meditation in an already busy life.
However, reading is not the same as doing and I'd like to put my reading into practice sooner than later. That said, I found another author to read for the topic. Lol
On a positive note, I was able to get some handouts on pregnancy stretches from my doctor yesterday, so I'm looking forward to implementing those.
Had a slight adverse reaction a DTAP vaccine and laid low all weekend. Got lots of sleep Saturday night though and was able to get up at 6 this morning and use my yoga ball.
I also had plans to do cardio and meditation but had to get to work to make up some time. Better luck tomorrow perhaps.
3/4 this morning. Just need to add the cardio.
-Woke up at 6:30, got A moving by 7:15.
-Did actual meditation for 10 minutes rather than just reading about it.
-yoga ball and stretching for 5 minutes
-ate a healthy breakfast of yogurt and granola with some of my favorite hot tea.
did well on yoga/floor exercises and waking early this week. I'll plan to focus more on cardio and meditation next week.
got some new floor exercises from my doula that I've been implementing this week. still need to work harder on the cardio and meditation aspects.
Thich Nhat Hanh has a book on meditation called Making Space that I want to look into next time I'm at the library.
I need to figure out a different approach for my morning routine as it's not working as it is. I have the early wake thing down, thanks to my pregnancy (been up since 5AM), but the rest I still struggle with. And then I beat myself up all day for failing to do simple things in the morning. It's a bad cycle.
I do like the mornings as it's quiet and I can do anything I want. It's basically the only time I have to myself when I can actually just sit and think. I have largely avoided coming online here to post during that time to try to stick to another habit of staying off the internet for the first few hours of the day. It doesn't really work out that way though. Invariably I look things up on my phone first thing as it helps to get my brain moving and wake me up mentally. So maybe I'll try to make a habit of intentionally coming here instead to post an update of some sort first, and get my mind in the right place, thinking about my goals.
weekly update: not much to report. I did some stretching this morning.
What have I been doing instead? let's see, since I do get up early, I've been good at having breakfast, usually of the not too terribly unhealthy variety, with some fruit and my vitamins. Then I'll read or listen to music. or research books and music that I want to read and listen to. And after about 20-30 minutes of that, it's time to get the girl up and moving.
stretching/yoga I sometimes manage to do, but I resist meditation and cardio because I'm tired, or so I tell myself. Maybe I needed to try doing these two in the evening instead. I like the idea of being energized from cardio in the morning, but if I can't get myself to do it but rarely, it loses a lot of the benefit.
Home Maintenance Routines
Time to dust off my copy of Sink Reflections for a reread. I like the concept of cleaning zones and was fully aware that this past week was Zone 1: Entryway week, but did nothing for it.
Part of me thinks my house is so dilapidated that there is no hope for it, so why bother. but that's a rather self-defeating attitude. One day, this place will be in better shape, and I want to be in the habit by then of being able to take proper care of my house. So with that in mind, I intend to post weekly updates with my Zone efforts.
Here's The Zones for quick reference:
Zone 1: Entrance/front porch/dining room – First few days of the month until the next Sunday
Zone 2: Kitchen/ back porch/laundry room/pantry – First full week of the month
Zone 3: Main bathroom/extra bedroom/kids’ rooms/craft room – Second full week of the month
Zone 4: Master bedroom/bath/closet – Third full week of the month
Zone 5: Living room/den/TV room – Last few days of the month from Monday until the first of the next month
And here's the Daily Focus Themes, just in case I need more to do after my missions:
Monday - Weekly Home Blessing (Vacuum, Dust, Mop, Polish, Change Sheets, Empty Trash) - typically done on Sunday for me
Tuesday - Planning (Menu, Activities, Family Time) typically done on Sunday for me
Wednesday - Anti-Procrastination Day (Phone calls, Scheduling, Bills, etc) typically done every day for me
Thursday - Errands (Shopping, Appointments, Drop-offs)
Friday - Declutter the purse and car Day
Saturday - Family Day. A has lots of activities on Saturdays, so it ends up being family day regardless.
Sunday - Pamper Day. Renew and Rejuvenate. my most favorite day of all.
Zone 2: kitchen. Will aim to spend 15 min here today and do two missions - scrub around the sink faucet and wipe down all the cabinet doors and handles.
Zone 3: bathroom/laundry area this week. Mission today is to throw out empty bottles and old soap. I'm pretty good at staying on top of those so I'll also do 15 minutes of general decluttering. Maybe focus on the below sink area.
Zone 4: This week's focus is the master bedroom. I moved the air purifier to our room this morning and left it running while we all did our morning routines. Does that count?
Still pretty hit or miss with this sub goal. I'll have to designate a time each day to do it, like right when I get home.
We just did laundry this weekend and Mission one is to address the clothes pile, which I don't currently have much of, so I'll plan to address the crib pile instead. We've slowly been accumulating baby items and tossing them in the crib because we haven't designated any other place for it yet. I also have been wanting to address the pile on the dresser where I want to put the diaper changing pad. But that may be for another day.
Mission 1: address the clothes pile
Mission 2: general fire drill
Mission 3: night stands
Mission 4: dressers
Mission 5: change the bed
@aenea I love the whole Flylady routine. I'm still in the baby steps of decluttering and like you I don't have piles of clothes, so today I'm spending 15 minutes decluttering our bedroom. It's not too bad, but there are things that need a home so that's my goal today. I've been doing real well with the morning and night routine and pretty good with the after work routine. I love the routines and the zones. My kitchen and bathroom have never looked better and it only takes a few minutes a day to keep them clean and shiny.
@hercat66 congrats on your progress! I generally like the fly lady approach too, although her emails are a little overwhelming.
I forgot that between my daughter's extra curriculars and getting dinner on the table before 8pm, I find that I barely have time to do my normal everyday evening routine items much less prioritize the daily mission. So my mission as planned didn't get done yesterday. I did put away the last load in the dryer though which kind of qualifies.
@aenea That qualifies I find that there is usually at least one day in the week that I don't get to her daily mission. I don't beat myself up and if I feel like it I add it to my weekly clean. I'm modifying as I go. I too forgot how many emails she sends. I usually just delete them. I don't let clutter invade my email. If one catches my eye then I will read it, but I usually just delete them. Keep at it sounds like you're doing great.
Going into Zones 5 (Living Room) and 1 (Entry, again) this week, with the following relatively easy daily missions:
Mission 1: fire drill / hot spot rescue
Mission 2: vacuum
Mission 3: clear the coffee table and find a centerpiece
Mission 4: Dusting
Mission 5: 27 item fling
Full circle today, back to Zone 2, The Kitchen.
Flylady's February focus is 15 minute decluttering; my February focus is actually doing my missions rather than just thinking/posting about them.
My missions this week, should I choose to accept them:
Mission 1: stovetop
Mission 2: silverware drawer
Mission 3: refrigerator
Mission 4: plastic wrap/foil/ziploc drawer
Mission 5: under the sink / inventory cleaning supplies
Zone 3: Bathroom/Laundry Room. eventually these updates will get more interesting, when I actually have some progress to report.
Mission 1: clean the shower curtain. ( i just did this last week with the laundry, so I'll clean the tub instead)
Mission 2: 15 minute declutter (FL's emails are so confusing to me - I click on the link for more detail on the mission and it takes me to a day of the week focus page with completely different tasks. I guess I'll add the foci to my initial post.)
Mission 3: inventory bathroom supplies
Mission 4: clean the washer and dryer. Was just thinking the other day that I need to do this one - planning to run a vinegar wash to get rid of some soap build-up.
Mission 5: empty garbage. we do this on Sundays, so I think I'll aim to wipe down walls instead.
Organize my Files
Took a much needed long hard look at my paper file organizational structure yesterday and was able to streamline things a bit. I found that I had multiple folders containing the same types of things which I then consolidated, and I was also able to get rid of several outdated papers that I no longer needed to retain. I always intend to review my files yearly but did not do a good job of it last year and am paying for it now.
I have an inbox for active papers needing to be addressed and one for papers that simply need filing. And I use them, but papers tend to get stuck there. I need to work on more regularly filing and going through these inboxes so things don't pile up so much. I'm hoping my streamlined filing system will help with that.
finally finished going through the box I'd haphazardly thrown things in from when I cleaned out my university office... two years ago now. The box had been getting pushed around and cluttering up the living room for far too long.
I'm not sure how to do this exactly but I know I need to add it to my list.
I'm planning to go through my book collection this weekend and give away about a third to make room for board game storage on the shelves, so as to avoid have to buy a $40 cube storage shelving unit. Cubes would look nicer but bookshelves are perfectly usable and I've been needing the downsize my book collection anyway.
I've begun following some blogs on frugality, in hopes of gaining some inspiration. One has a uber frugal month challenge so we'll see how that goes. Nothing too revelatory so far, but I am reconsidering how to tweak my diet to save more on food.
As for books, I picked up some boxes and scanned through my books. It will be difficult to liberate an entire bookshelf. I did read some Marie Kondo inspiration on this point recently however: does being surrounded by unread books spark joy in your heart? No not really. I think I just like the security of knowing there is something new and interesting to read nearby if I ever need it.
Someone once characterized me as liking the idea of books more than actually enjoying reading books, which I was not pleased about. Controlling my book hoarding compulsion might help to dispel this image. Maybe if I keep a running list of the unread-someday books, I can just track them down at the library when I finally find time to read them.
@aenea It's interesting how a lot of what we hold onto can be based in some sort of insecurity.
I was leafing through one of Marie Kondo's books just yesterday (which, funny enough, I plan to get rid of) and was starting to wonder if I should keep it as there was some useful information. But there was one thing that stood out: becoming a person who matches the books you've kept.
@ExplorerSoul interesting. About a third of one of my bookshelves contains tomes from my doctoral studies in oceanography, which I walked away from for various reasons, but not for a lack of love of the craft. I couldn't bear to get rid of them yet as a part of me still wishes to fulfill that dream and become that person, regardless of how unrealistic it may be.
I also found myself keeping many more of my unread nonfiction and science books (some of which are quite enormous and the antithesis of light reading) than fiction books. I used to be a bit of a literary and fantasy fiction buff, but I find that is something I'm willing to let go of now, whereas I am still driven to explore and enhance my scientific side.
So yes I suppose I've kept the books I've kept with the intent of becoming the person who has read and prioritized those books.
I freed up space on about 3/4 of a bookshelf, so I'm getting close. It was difficult but also mentally liberating in some ways, letting go of old memories that I'm probably better off not having constant visual reminders of.
The frugal challenge had advice on investing today which I intend to follow up on at the library. This will toe in nicely with one of my financial goals I hadn't even broached yet.
Remember to bring my reusable bags
For tracking my reusable bag usage
@aenea We're trying to remember to bring our grocery bags to the store too!
I sold 50 items of barely used kids clothing today to a consignment shop for about $80. I go to replace the outgrown clothes, intending to buy 10 items and am expected to pay nearly $200. How does this equate? How is this sustainable?
Reminds me that I still need to watch The True Cost.
Start using my reusable bags again
Practice mindful consumption - less plastic, less packaging, fabric gift wrap
Reduce my environmental footprint - minimize and reuse wherever possible
Start growing my own food
Rededicate myself to recycling
Advocate for science and use my knowledge to educate others
Fight Climate Change
Get more involved in Marine Cleanup efforts
Start a Science Blog
Track my reading on a weekly basis so that I continue to make progress.
ideally I'd like to finish 1-2 books per month.
Still finishing both Hocus Pocus and Untangled.
Untangled is an excellent read but it has taken me too long to finish and now I have to get it back to the library. I did order a copy to keep for reference however, so I do plan to finish it eventually.
I have some travel coming up and I'm hoping to finish Hocus Pocus on the plane, as well as make a dent into July's books. Scale was written by the keynote speaker of the conference I'm attending, so I'm hoping to make some headway before I listen to his talk, and perhaps acquire his signature. The contents are right up my alley academically too, so hopefully a rather quick read, despite its 500 pages.
Just recently finished Book 1 of The Book of Dust series (La Belle Sauvage). It's a prequel series to His Dark Materials, which is one of my favorite series of all time. Even named my daughter after one of the characters from it. La Belle Sauvage moves along at a good clip, but it's not of the same caliber as His Dark Materials. The first of three books, I'm hoping it's just the opening sequence for more intriguing things to come.
Also finishing up Book 1 of the Call the Midwife series. Pretty good stuff. I took a look at the bbc show as well, but found that I didn't enjoy it as much as the book.
A and I are working on The Girl Who Drank The Moon, too. It's a well written fairy tale that we're both enjoying immensely.
I picked up and started Ishiguro's The Buried Giant in light of his recent Nobel win. It's an interesting story, a little slow, but I've become sidetracked from it. I should pick it up again just for good habit's sake, to practice finishing books that I start.
Finished Hocus Pocus awhile ago. Purchased Untangled but still working my way through that when I find time. I'm about halfway.
@aenea Ohhh is Book of Dust out now? I was going to preorder as His Dark Materials is one of the most satisfying reads I have ever had. However I left the bookstore with 7 books and thought maybe I will wait till I am done with a few of those first.
This is a fantastic thread, which I will scour for some new reading material. Currently I am reading The Girl who Took an Eye for an Eye. I was leaving another bookstore with several books when I saw this and I almost cart wheeled over to pick it up. I loved the original Millenium Trilogy and found Lisbeth Salendar to be such a unique character who I found myself properly rooting for. When I found out that the author, Stieg Larsson (sp) had died, I was very sad, and therefore suprised and elated to find a follow up book, which has been written in his style by another author.
Do you buy your books or ontain from a library? I buy mine from bookstores and enjoy doing so, but sometimes wonder if I should take more advantage of our free library service.
@irishthistle79 the millennium trilogy is a good one. Have you watched either of the film adaptations?
I am truly a book addict and could buy out an entire bookstore if I'm not careful. But knowing this about myself, I've been trying to wean myself off of buying books. So I've been making a concerted effort to spend more time at the library with checked out books instead. The time limitation on borrowing also helps me keep better tabs on my reading. When I buy books I also find that they can sometimes sit around forever looking pretty and tempting on my overflowing bookshelves without ever being read. With library books there is more urgency.
That said my local Barnes and noble with their enormous round fireplace, comfy chairs, and integrated coffee shop is one of my favorite hangouts. Unfortunately they've all but run the local bookstore out of business since arriving two years ago. So I have mixed feelings on the issue. There are no other bookstores in town beside those two.
@aenea Same here. I used to ask people for book vouchers as presents and they were a bit resistant and used to say they wanted to get me something proper instead. I replied that a book voucher was like a day out for me - an experience voucher too as I loved taking time and choosing the right ones.
We had a book store in Scotland called Borders which was great and sounds similar to Barnes and Noble. It's gone out of business though and has been taken over by Waterstones, which is good but a little more formal. The supermarkets are killing all the independents as they are selling novels for peanuts.
That's a good shout on the library - I tend to get through all the books I buy in the order I want, but the time limitation would encourage me to get up to bed a bit earlier and read or spend downtime reading instead of on the computer. I'll add a new goal to get a book from the library!
I watched all three original Millenium films in swedish with subtitles - they were really good and then the 2 more recent adaptations. I enjoyed them, but was disappointed that like with His Dark Materials films they weren't strong enough to get backing for more investment and have tailed off.
@irishthistle79 oh yes, we had Borders in the states too. It was very similar to B&N. and I remember there used to be a Waterstones on South Bridge in Edinburgh that I used to like to visit when I lived there for a bit. I think they've since expanded and moved to Princes St. however. Loved Scotland and can't wait til the day I can go back!
My aunt always sends book vouchers and I love her for it. We don't see each other often but she knows I love to read.
Agree with your assessment of the American adaptations of both the millennium movies and His Dark Materials. Super disappointing.
@aenea You remember Edinburgh well. The Waterstones on Princes Street is absolutely massive. The one on South Bridge is gone yes. There is a bookshop there called Blackwells though that I have never been in, so must pay it a visit. I came to Edinburgh 21 years ago from Ireland and never left. It's a lovely city.
@irishthistle79 Couldn't agree more! I was there for a year-long study abroad program 20 years ago (98-99) and so much wanted to just stay but had to go back to the states to finish school. I've been itching to get back ever since.
I intend to start doing these on Sundays, but I want to start today.
I'm working on a few things right now:
Parenting Beyond Belief
Went to the library today and picked up a few more:
Beyond the Sling
Relax...it's just God
This is an Uprising
The Calculus Diaries
Making some progress on Manhattan Beach and Beyond the Sling. Averaging about a chapter a day. Started Relax it's just God and like it better than Parenting beyond Belief so far. Have yet to crack Slapstick. Also finishing Call the Midwife (1 chapter to go!) and Untangled. Thinking of starting Girls and Sex Or Queen Bees and Wannabes next. A also gave me Hiddensee for Christmas.
Also thinking I might aim to do 1 chapter of a different book each night. So maybe:
Monday: novel / fiction
Wednesday: nonfiction - math, science, activism, financial, better living etc.
Thursday: book club
Friday: classic or a play
And weekends can be whatever I want.
Got 30 pages into Hiddensee last night.
I read pretty consistently last week. I think I'll just assign books to days rather than categories tho. So:
Sunday: Manhattan Beach
Monday: Beyond the Sling or Untangled
Tuesday: Slapstick or Ready Player One
Wednesday: Relax Its Just God or Parenting Beyond Belief
Friday: This is an Uprising or Calculus Diaries
Saturday: free choice night
@aenea Wow, will you be reading all those books at once?
@ExplorerSoul yeah reading is the only thing I seem to be successful at multitasking at. My main issues with reading are making time to read each day and finishing all the books I start.
Eventually I usually get so absorbed in reading one of the books that I will choose it above all others to read until I'm done. But that typically doesn't happen until I'm about 2/3rds through, and usually it's a fiction book. Nonfiction, not so much for whatever reason.
@aenea Is there a reason you prefer to read many at once as opposed to one? It sounds like that is what is naturally happening anyway. I don't think I could do it (I have trouble getting through just one these days) but if you can and enjoy it, that's great!
@ExplorerSoul I don't know. I've often wondered about this habit too. Maybe I get bored easily or I'm just scatterbrained or something.
I also have lots of supposedly urgent interests that I feel compelled to satisfy right away, so this is my way of compensating. I learn a little bit about a lot of things very slowly. But at least I'm progressing in all areas. When I try to focus on one book I often find myself distracted by thoughts of what I'm not reading and wondering if maybe I should be investing my time better by reading something else. (No, I don't generally have a wandering eye. )
I have a really hard time justifying reading any fiction at all, for example, if I'm not simultaneously working my way through a nonfiction book of some sort that I can learn from and readily apply to my life. And right now I feel particularly guilty reading anything not baby or birth related.
@aenea I usually have 2 - 3 books on the go at once. I don't allow myself to feel guilty about reading fiction as I use reading fiction as part of my 'self care' (and I no longer feel guilty taking time for self care) My other books are usually a self improvement and a general interest.
@hercat66 self care is a good way to look at it :)
@aenea The second paragraph makes a lot of sense.
I don't think you should feel the need to justify reading fiction though or feel any guilt for taking time away from the non-fiction learning. Sometimes reading, watching or listening to something purely for entertainment purposes can be good for us too, I think.
Finally finished Call the Midwife. I was given the whole series, but don't think I will be reading the rest. Book 1 was amusing and light hearted, but almost too flippant and cute for my tastes if that makes sense. There's also a religious bent to it that didn't really appeal to me.
@aenea Is the TV show based off these books? I've never watched it but I know someone who has.
@ExplorerSoul yes, loosely. I watched the first few episodes and the show mixes stories and doesn't follow the same order as the stories are presented in the book. Basically each chapter in the book is a short story about a different woman's labor, or about one of the nuns serving with the midwives.
I read somewhere that the author was trying to write as the James Herriot of midwives, and I'd say that's an accurate description of the writing style.
I did really well on this last week but fell behind a bit on the weekend when I wasn't feeling well. It has really helped me to have a reading schedule so I don't have to think about what to read. I just look at my schedule and grab that book. If I don't like the book I don't keep it on my schedule.
This week I'll have to focus on manhattan beach though as the book club meets next Tuesday and I'm not close to being done. It's a good book though.
Also I have some library items due soon so I'll need to renew or return those. One month is never enough. I might spend some time with This is an Uprising in particular today in honor of MLK Day.
ugh this week has been awful for reading. may have to skip the bookclub meeting as I haven't gotten far enough. primarily the problem seems to be sleep issues. I've been waking up really early and being too tired at night to read. I should probably consider using my extra morning hours to read.
since missing the bookclub meeting, the wind has kind of gone out of my sails on reading. I was doing really well for awhile there.
I read some of my internet safety parenting books this week. which is better than nothing. I'm planning to go to the library tomorrow and will likely drop off some of the books I haven't been able to finish. Which is too bad, but I don't like keeping them from other library patrons who might actually put the books to good use.
I think I'll try catching up on some Vonnegut tonight.
Read some of Mothering and Daughtering last night. Interesting concept, if I can my daughter to consider implementing it or even just reading about it, I'd be surprised. Seems she'd have to be a pretty mature teenager. But maybe I just don't know enough about teenagers yet. And she's got a few years still.
Read before bed.
@aenea good one! I have to look at this as i've been wanting to do it for a while
I almost did this last night. I opened the book and then got drawn into a conversation with D. I may have to put a timeframe on this subgoal to help make it a habit: read before bed for 5 nights.
have gotten pretty reliably good at this. the main thing has been getting the rest of the family into it, namely my daughter. If I can get her to get to bed early and allow her to read for an hour before lights out, then that gives me at least an hour of reading as well.
ugh fell out of the habit again. this is why i never get anything read.
@aenea I'm out of the habit too and it annoys me. Especially when I have got such a big backlog of books at the moment. Seem to be dragging my heels getting to bed and then checking out Twitter and the net on my mobile doesn't help while in bed. It's the age old difference between knowledge and wisdom - we know what we should be doing, but we don't apply it.
@aenea I can't imagine NOT reading before bed...... :)
Read all of Kurt Vonnegut's Novels
Finish two books per month
Read every evening before bed
Keep my saw sharpened - read at least two academic/technical books this year, take notes, and set up a filing system
Read all of Shakespeare's plays
Read Robin Hobb's new series (third book just came out!)
Read at least 2 classics in 2017
Read more Margaret Atwood
Read Thich Nhat Hanh in the mornings
Reread the Tao Te Ching
Inventory my books and ebooks
@aenea Sounds good, may I however suggest, since they are plays, go watch all Shakespear's plays (or movies).
@Airos yes I'm working on that too, as a donor member of the Oregon Shakespeare festival. I find I get more meaning out of reading the plays, however, so it's worth it to me.
The last play I attended was a modern rendition of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March this year. It was interesting and quite effectively harrowing at parts, but I preferred the performance of Twelfth Night that we saw last fall, also a modern take, set in the 1920's. Very different plays of course. We try to attend at least 2-3 plays per year.
Have you seen the hollow crown series btw? It's quite well made.
I think I need to change this goal to Finish more books or maybe just Read more, to encompass journals and literary publications as well.
The Underground Railroad for a book club
The Distant Hours
To the Lighthouse
The Sea Around Us
people who read more books, live longer. periodicals don't count. just read this in the news yesterday.
I'm aiming to read at least 30 minutes every night.
I started reading this one last week and I'm already a third through, so it appears to be one of his shorter ones. I like it so far, aside from the incessant 'hi-ho's' (Vonnegut is notoriously fond of employing epimone in his works). It reminds me of cats cradle a bit.
So here's my options for my next Vonnegut book:
Slapstick presents an apocalyptic vision as seen through the eyes of the current King of Manhattan (and last President of the United States), a wickedly irreverent look at the all-too-possible results of today’s follies. But even the end of life-as-we-know-it is transformed by Kurt Vonnegut’s pen into hilarious farce—a final slapstick that may be the Almighty’s joke on us all.
Jailbird takes us into a fractured and comic, pure Vonnegut world of high crimes and misdemeanors in government—and in the heart. This wry tale follows bumbling bureaucrat Walter F. Starbuck from Harvard to the Nixon White House to the penitentiary as Watergate’s least known co-conspirator. But the humor turns dark when Vonnegut shines his spotlight on the cold hearts and calculated greed of the mighty, giving a razor-sharp edge to an unforgettable portrait of power and politics in our times.
Bluebeard Broad humor and bitter irony collide in this fictional autobiography of Rabo Karabekian, who, at age seventy-one, wants to be left alone on his Long Island estate with the secret he has locked inside his potato barn. But then a voluptuous young widow badgers Rabo into telling his life story—and Vonnegut in turn tells us the plain, heart-hammering truth about man’s careless fancy to create or destroy what he loves.
The first two sound like a summary of our times. I'm leaning towards Slapstick, if only for the distopian aspect.
@aenea My son named his shop Timequake Tattoo after the Vonnegut book. I have a copy of it. I just need to read it!
@diamondlightfoot timequake is a pretty good one. It may help to read slaughterhouse 5 first to catch some of the references, but I don't think it's completely necessary for enjoying the book. Vonnegut's humor borders on the absurd and this is showcased in timequake.
That's really cool that your son named his business after it. He must have a good head on his shoulders.
@aenea of course he does. He loves Vonnegut. My first book of his was Breakfast of Champions and I've been a fan ever since. Slaughterhouse 5 was great. It's been a lot of years, though, so maybe a reread is in order.
finished Hocus Pocus. Interesting but not my favorite. it's dedicated to Eugene Debs, which is what drew me to it. And in fact the main character is named after the historical figure as well. The commentary of the book does tie-in to Debs' philosophy to some degree, in typical depressingly Vonnegut fashion. He also makes mention of another book, one by Arthur C Clarke, who happens to have a namesake character in Hocus Pocus as well. Clarke's book, Childhood's End, interestingly appears to be a sort of antithesis or counterpoint to Hocus Pocus, chronicling the downfall of humanity via the spread of universal equality. Vonnegut was a humanist first and foremost, forever advocating kindness in all of his works. That he would write an existential meditation of a book like Hocus Pocus is no surprise. He's also a fan and producer of scifi writing, so I'm not surprised that he references Clarke either. But in doing so, he seems to be throwing up his hands somewhat, as if there ultimately is no solution to the problem of societal inequality, which is disheartening.
I found this book to not be as cohesive as some of his others. In tone, it is similar to Deadeye Dick, which was written 8 years and 3 books prior to Hocus Pocus. I know enough not to turn to Vonnegut for light-hearted feel-good stories, but man, these last two have been rough. Galapagos fell between the two in publication and it was more comical than dreary, so I'm hoping that Bluebeard may follow suit.
I think I will aim for two a year on this so I don't get Vonnegut fatigue.
so here's what I have left to read: Hocus Pocus, Bluebeard, Jailbird, and Slapstick. I started Jailbird long ago but can't really remember a thing from it. Hocus Pocus has caught my eye though, so I think I'll restart this goal there.
@postcard I have read some Kurt Vonnegut long long ago, can't even remember what exactly. Can you recommend any of your favorites? I will read it and we can discuss it later here
@sahlavit goodness i don't know how I missed your reply here. My apologies. my favorites by Vonnegut have been Mother Night, Cat's Cradle, Galapagos, Mr. Rosewater, and Slaughterhouse Five. But really, any of them. Sirens of Titan is quite challenging but interesting. Player Piano is also good and relevant to today's world, as is Timequake. A lot of people like Breakfast of Champions, but I thought it was just average for him. I just finished Deadeye Dick not too long ago and that was probably my least favorite, so perhaps not that one.
@aenea wow! That is a lot of homework and I love it !
@aenea I remember reading Breakfast of Champions around the age of 13 or 14 and thinking it was pretty great stuff, though I thought the ending was a bit of an anti-climax. I wonder how it would strike me today, 40 years later?
There are some authors I read in school and college that I'd like to go back and rediscover, including Italo Calvino and Stanley Elkin.
@taylor I've really enjoyed what Italian Calvino I have read - two books I think. I should really read more of him. Thanks for the reminder.
I'm not familiar with Stanley Elkin however. Will have to look him up.
@taylor and now I remember why I did not read more Calvino. I got stuck on If On A Winter's Night A Traveler....
Yes haha very funny writer.
I did adore Cosmicomics though so perhaps I'll give him another go. I know I have Marcovaldo sitting around somewhere.
@aenea So glad you know Calvino! I think I read Cosmicomics or Italian Folktales first. Cosmicomics blew my mind, as did If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. What made you get stuck? I also have Mr. Palomar and Six Memos for the Next Millenium. One of my favorite stories is the Argentine Ant, which made my skin crawl!
Stanley Elkin was a novelist from St. Louis. I read George Mills, which according to Wikipedia is "set in five parts, tells the family history of succeeding generations of characters named George Mills. The story covers more than 1,000 years from the First Crusade in Europe to the Ottoman Empire to present-day America. Elkin won the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award in the fiction category for the novel."
@taylor george mills sounds fascinating - I'll have to add it to my reading list.
The repetitive and unfinished chapters left me frustrated with if on a winters night. And I get that that's part of the point but I just did not have the patience to finish it. The second storyline was not appealing enough for me I guess.
@aenea I hope you'll like George Mills, who's somewhat of an everyman/commonman character. Throughout history, he's the guy who's mucking out the horse barn or doing some other lowly job.
Every year we go camping at Denali National Park with A's school in June. It's always a good time. And it happens to consistently fall on my birthday weekend.
Invariably, I forget to make advanced campsite reservations and end up scrambling at the last minute to secure someplace to stay. This year I am planning ahead. I will talk to D tonight to see how long he wants to go for this year and schedule accordingly. K will have arrived by then, so it will be a new experience camping and hiking with a baby in tow, but I'm excited.
We sold our camper last summer, but D is thinking of getting one of those collapsible roof-top tents, which would be fun. We'll have to figure out what to do with the dog though. She usually likes to be in the tent with us.
@aenea That sounds like a wonderful adventure! I find camping in the mountains to be very therapeutic- even with kids in tow!
I was watching a documentary a few days ago (Expedition Happiness) and parts of it was filmed in Alaska. The footage of Denali National Park was stunning!
Visit all 7 continents
Hike the Appalachian Trail
Revisit the Grand Canyon
See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Visit The Great Wall of China
Visit the Taj Mahal
See St Basil's Cathedral, Russia
Visit Santorini, Greece
Visit Machu Picchu, Peru
Attend Cannes Film Festival
Ride a gondola in Venice
Ride a bike around Iceland and Ireland
Visit a tropical island for my honeymoon
Visit our good friends in New England, and maybe Stars Hollow and Martha's Vineyard along the way.
@aenea Are these in order of preference or priority?
@ExplorerSoul neither. They're in order of when I thought of them. :)
This whole list is out of reach at the moment but it doesn't hurt to dream a little. When I have a basic lump sum saved up for a trip I'll take another look and decide where to go. Right now I can't put anything towards travel though. I need to pay down some debt first.
@aenea I hear you. But it's great to have something to work towards and look forward to.
@ExplorerSoul love this list!
marking this done as I feel like I have a solid direction for 2018 now. May still continue to post updates as needed.
After spending some time contemplating what's important for me this year, I've come up with a theme of sorts, and some related words:
Smooth Transitions: Metamorphosis, Facilitation, and Successful Navigation
I have many big life changes coming up this year for both me and my family, and I want to focus my resolutions around these changes and around what I can do to make the changes go as easily as possible.
1) New Job
-tie up loose ends
-brush up on technical skills
2) New Baby (a boy!)
-nutritional and physical health
-healthy home and family
3) New School
4) New Teenager
5) New Home (room remodel)
One Month Challenges
-exercise daily for one month (fitness)
-use my gratitude journal for one month (mindfulness)
-no eating out for one month (frugality, debt reduction, healthy eating)
-stick to housekeeping routines for one month (health and mindfulness)
@aenea Great resolutions! I'll cheer you on. I hope you have a wonderful year!
In refining my resolutions, I struggle to make them both grander and more specific.
What would my best year yet look like? What are some things I could accomplish that would be milestones? That I could look back on and say: this was important, and I did it well.
So now that I have these broad resolutions, I need to distill them to figure out what I need to focus on. Reviewing the above reveals a few themes:
Building Technical skills
How can I best implement these?
-set aside time each day to work on technical improvement, via training websites, reading, or other avenue
-commit to regular exercise, healthy nutrition, and mental strength (meditation)
-build routines that support my organizing goals, and minimize physical and mental clutter for myself and my family.
So in other words, I need to get serious about my routines again.