Ta-Da List

Since this past weekend, I’ve been working on goal-setting and breaking big dreams down into achievable targets and tasks. My overall goals fall into these general categories: improve as a writer, improve my health, enrich myself/experience the world, and give back. Under these categories I have various broad targets, and under those targets I get more and more specific until I have drilled down to tasks. For example, under improve as a writer one of my targets is read consistently, and I have laid out some tasks for myself to help me get to the point where I am reading more. My first task is “create prioritized list of books.”

A lot of my initial steps have been the creation of some sort of list. And I have set up a spreadsheet that has a list of all my current tasks, Getting Things Done-style. But one list I haven’t quite figured out yet is my Ta-Da List.

Alongside having targets to reach, I want to have a place where I can look back and see all the things I have accomplished. I feel like this would be a great motivator. In the individual project tabs on my spreadsheet I do leave finished tasks in with their completed dates, but over time this will become infeasible–I’ll need to delete them just so I can keep the spreadsheet manageable. So I’m thinking I will need some sort of area to round up achievements. A daily report might be too hard to maintain, but perhaps weekly or monthly. I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

For now, I thought I’d list out here all the tasks I’ve done since I started this effort on Saturday.

Project Management

  • Wrote out a list of all the goals I’d like to work on
  • Created a spreadsheet to manage the goals
    • Features a main tab listing current tasks for all projects and then a tab for each project
    • On project tabs, automatically strikes out tasks for which I enter a completed date
    • On task tab, automatically turns items due that day orange and overdue items red
    • Note: I’d like to automatically pull tasks and due dates into the task tab from the project tabs, but I haven’t figured out how to do that, or if it’s even possible
  • Came up with tasks for each goal
  • Set due dates for each task
  • Next step: figure out how to do a ta-da list

Create a Writing Routine or System

  • Brainstormed milestones/targets
  • Next step: set a plan or schedule to test out for each target, or perhaps a combination of them

Travel More

  • Created a list of desired travel locations
    • Included driving time for close locations and flight cost for farther locations
  • Next step: continue pricing out each location (lodging, transit, activities) and then prioritize

Meal Planning

  • Created lists of easy-to-pack proteins, fruits, vegetables, and starches
  • Purchased supplies for a test run for the last three days of this week
  • Next steps: create a list of example meals so shopping is easier; purchase a single-serving set of dishes and flatware to keep at work

Exercise

  • Made a list of aerobic exercise options
  • Next step: make a plan/checklist for weekly aerobic exercise
  • Also, I walked for two hours on Sunday :D

Read MorePhotography, ExplorePolitics, and Volunteer

I have set tasks but I haven’t done anything on these projects yet.

  • Next steps: create prioritized list of books; finish editing and uploading Hawaii pictures; make lists of local gardens, museums, restaurants, hiking locations, and festivals; make a list of all my various representatives in government; make a list of local volunteer opportunities

One-Offs

I also used my spreadsheet to keep track of a couple errands I’d been putting off.

  • Paid medical bills
  • Shipped some packages

This is looking pretty impressive, and it’s only been four days. If I continue to complete tasks at a decent rate, I probably won’t be able to sustain doing a post like this every week. Or if I do, I will have to reformat so I can just copy and paste from my tabs. But this is a start!

I like rearranging

I got home from a visit to family in Kentucky on Thursday and immediately started moving stuff around in the apartment. My brother lent me his electric piano, so I found a place for it in the second bedroom/office, moving the wingback chair to the master bedroom and the file cabinet to a new spot under a desk.

Yesterday I went a little crazier and moved my computer and standing desk to the office as well. I now have three desks in here: the lawyer-style desk my laptop is now on; my hutch desk for paperwork; and the standing desk, which is now a multipurpose project area. These desks are arranged in a three-sided square, and I sit in the center. The piano is off to my left, next to the bed. It would be ideal to have it right next to my computer, but this will do for now.

Then today I decided to clean up the set of shelves in here. I took Sean’s comics down and sorted them and ordered some more binder sleeves and backing boards. Then I started rearranging books in the living room to make room for the comics out there so I could put books more relevant to my goals in here. Now when I look past my monitor I see rows of Japanese-language manga and light novels, Japanese study materials, and a selection of English-language books I’ve been meaning to read.

In between bursts of moving and organizing, I’ve been playing the piano. I have a book of Clementi sonatinas, two of which I learned as a teenager, so it’s been fun revisiting them. I also have a copy of Clair de Lune, which is not coming back as easily as I’d like. I first learned that piece at the request of my late grandfather, so I definitely want to get it back up to performance level. Of course I still know Fur Elise, so I play that whenever I start to feel overwhelmed. There are a couple of other pieces from my former piano days that I halfway remember, so I’ve been playing what I can recall of those as well.

Today I also finished up the coursework for the introductory Python course I’ve been taking on Coursera. All that’s left is to take the final exam sometime before November 19. I’ll start reviewing tomorrow and see how I feel about my grasp of the material. As usual, I’m least confident about designing algorithms, but I think that sort of ability would come more easily if I spent more time learning the features of the language. You’ve got to know what tools you have to work with before you can expect to efficiently solve problems, after all.

I’m really happy with my office arrangement. I think this environment will be more conducive to getting things done. As I continue to add goals and plans, I’ll start looking at filing systems that can help me keep track of where I am and where I’m going.

A little link management

Occasionally I like to go through my links and remove outdated ones, ones to pages I don’t read anymore, etc. Did that today and thought I’d document it, so my biographers can know what I was reading at this time of my life.

First up, I removed a link to a friend’s private blog which has now been deleted. The blog had been gone for a long time, but I only now got around to removing the link. I really enjoyed the blog while it lasted; she wrote about the exercise program she was doing and the outfits she wore and occasionally about her travel experiences. I don’t know what compels people to delete their blogs (obviously; have you seen my archives?) but I’m always sad when it happens.

Next, I removed some webcomic links. Quiltbag is, all of a sudden, over. I was sort of surprised by T’s reasoning, especially his citation of Girls with Slingshots and Dumbing of Age as suitable replacement reads. I already read and enjoy those, and Quiltbag does different things for me.

T’s writing has something I don’t get from any other webcomic author. I’m not quite sure how to describe it. Other comics are, generally, easy to read. I may have to refresh my memory about plot details, but in terms of following character motivations, I tend not to have trouble. Not so with T’s comics, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think he presents characters with personalities completely different from mine and from what I am accustomed to in storytelling, and I enjoy trying to figure them out. I’m really going to miss that. Quiltbag, like Penny & Aggie, was an ideal setting for this sort of storytelling, as there are no conceits or epic storylines to distract from the character interactions.

So I’m disappointed that I won’t have a T Campbell comic in my read list anymore. I don’t really know anything about Guilded Age; fantasy stories aren’t usually my thing, and what little I read about it didn’t sound all that exciting to me. Meanwhile, I haven’t read the sci-fi epic Fans! since Rikk and his new beard rode off into the sunset with Rumy and Alisin. I loved the series, but I pretty much figured it was done. (Maybe I’ll jump back in again someday.)

To be honest, not continuing with Quiltbag strikes me as playing it safe. So Quiltbag ended up being more challenging than it seemed it would be at first. So what? It’s good. It’s got the potential to be great. It’s uniquely positioned to tell stories only T can tell, in a way only T can tell them. And the kinds of stories T was telling there were important. I don’t think deciding not to tell a story because you don’t think you’re good enough to do it justice is a good reason. It’s a decision based on fear.

I know from fear. It’s why I haven’t written a damn thing. Don’t be like me, T :>

But I digress. Back to my link organization.

I finally removed the link to No Need for Bushido. It’s been on hiatus for three months. There was a Kickstarter, but it was unsuccessful. The artist is trying to step back, gain some perspective, and return fresh to the comic, and he estimates that will take about a year. If NNFB is ever reborn, I’ll definitely check it out again.

Shadowbinders is now gone from my link list as well. It’s not over, but I’m just not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. The story feels kind of tired. I’ll stick to The Dreamer for my “girl gets pulled into another world” itch.

And so here are the comics I am currently reading:

Abominable Charles Christopher: I love the art and the stories that are almost imparted rather than told.

Bad Machinery: I’ve been a fan of this universe since Scary Go Round.

Darths and Droids: We’re finally into the Holy Trilogy and I’m loving it.

diesel sweeties: I don’t read this one for the storylines. I can’t keep track of which robot is dating which human, or who hates who, or whatever. I just like the jokes.

Dreamer: Beautiful art and intriguing story, plus US history! What more could you want?

Dumbing of Age: David Willis does it again. (Is this the only DW comic whose title does not end with an exclamation point?)

Erstwhile: I’m really enjoying these retellings of lesser-known fairy tales, so much so that I funded the Kickstarter and will be receiving a print copy of the first several stories soon.

Girl Genius: The story can seem to move slowly (each day’s update is written like a page in a comic book) but the humor is quirky and hilarious and the overarching tale is epic. Also, a bunch of smart people and a bunch of insane people (and a bunch who are both) all fighting to rule the world mwahahaha!

Girls with Slingshots: I actually somewhat dislike the main character, because she doesn’t really do anything but get drunk and complain, but the other characters are really interesting, and the series tackles social issues in a funny way.

Kevin & Kell: The only furry comic I imagine I will ever read. It gives me a Sunday comics feeling, but with interesting stories and good jokes.

Minion Comics: I link here for Wizard School, which just wrapped up its first storyline. I’m actually not sure if I’ll keep reading, because I’m getting a bit bored of the conceit (Voldemort-inspired bad guy chooses Archer-inspired grown man as his Harry Potter).

Misfile: At this point I just want to know what’s going to happen. Kind of the same reason I will read the rest of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Multiplex: The current zombie movie storyline is driving me a little crazy. I am not a fan of monster movies generally, and while I can develop strong attachments to certain titles in the genre–Night of the Living Dead, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series–I ultimately find the whole vampire/werewolf/zombie/whatever hysteria to be pretty boring. Kind of like pirate/ninja obsessions. It sometimes seems like people like things because they have these elements. For me, if I like something that has one or more of these elements, it’s usually in spite of them. Don’t give me gimmicks. Give me good stories. That all said, Multiplex has a great story and great characters, which is why I’m still reading.

Nimona: This series is pretty new, but I’m enjoying it a lot so far. The art is really cute, and the story offers a fun twist on good vs. evil.

Nukees: I may just be reading this out of habit. I’ve been reading it for so long. Could I tell you how the story has progressed throughout the years? No. But I can tell you about Gav, Danny, and King Luca’s personalities. And I still vaguely remember Suzy Gee…

Penny Arcade: Another habit read, though it can still make me laugh. I used to love reading Tycho’s news posts, but I don’t have time to wade through them anymore :( Not being a gamer, I’d often have to follow a bunch of links just to understand what he was talking about, and I can’t commit that much time to a webcomic these days.

PvP: Don’t really know what to say about PvP. Story-wise, I’ve been a bit bamboozled since the setting change to Seattle. I don’t really feel the same connection to the characters as I once did. I love watching the changes in art style though.

Questionable Content: Love love love love love this comic. Love it so much. The characters are so interesting, the art is so wonderful, there are people with different body types omg, and the discussions of anthroPC rights are really intriguing.

Red String: Lovely art and compelling stories.

Roomies!: Yeah, I’m reading it again from the beginning as Willis posts them, because why not? It’s fun to compare his storytelling abilities from years and years ago to his storytelling abilities now. Just goes to show that practice does indeed make perfect.

Shortpacked!: Love the one-offs, love the storylines. Love David Willis (though not in that way).

Sluggy Freelance: The first webcomic I ever read. I still love it and I’ll read it until it ends. Which may be soon. It sort of feels like all the stories from the entire history of the comic are being pulled together somehow in the current story. Gives it a sense of finality…

Wandering Ones: I think I read this comic out of a sense of vague curiosity. I’m interested in the author’s interest in naturalism, and how he renders his post-apocalyptic (or whatever) world. But I don’t find myself really remembering much about the characters or plotlines.

With Fetus: Another new addition to my reading list, this comic is extremely well-written and I appreciate and enjoy the accompanying notes. I wish the creator had partnered with an artist instead of taking on drawing the comic herself. She does a passable job, but better art would give the comic a broader appeal.

Wondermark: I adore this comic.

xkcd: There are times I don’t get the jokes. When I do get them, I feel like a boss.

Zap!: I may give up on this comic soon. I’m not exactly sure why I still read it. Probably because I like the art.

So that’s an update on all my links. As far as other sidebar changes, you may have noticed that the widget that showed my latest tweet is gone; I’m not real happy with Twitter these days and have been spending more time on App.net Alpha. I tried pulling in the RSS feed from my ADN account, but it looked pretty dumb, so I took it right back off. I’ve also removed the RSS feed of my latest SmugMug photos. To replace all these things, I’ve simply created a link category called “Heather Meadows”, under which I’ve linked to my various profiles. (I’d call it “Me”, but then WordPress alphabetizing would put it below “Japan”, and I want it to be at the top.)

On the “if I have the time and inclination” quasi-to do list in my head are a proper About Me page and a new graphic design for the blog. I don’t want to change the theme really, but a new header and background and some nice matching text and link colors would be spiff. I would eventually like to create my own WordPress theme, but I seriously don’t have the time to commit to that sort of project right now.

Problems with prioritizing

As planned, I started out my morning without consuming media. I got dressed for my workout without looking at my phone except to check the weather conditions, and I didn’t turn on my computer to look at any websites or social media. I put a load of laundry in the washer, pulled on my RoadID, slipped my phone into my Clean Bottle holster, and headed out the door.

Normally I try to walk five kilometers, but today I did two and a half, thinking that would be more manageable for a daily routine. I was quite tired of walking by the time I was done, even though it was nice and cool out, I think because I was anxious to get to work on my writing. I got back to the apartment, put the first load of laundry in the dryer and started another load in the washer, did my weight lifting and crunches and stretching, then grabbed an Atkins shake for breakfast.

It turned out that the first thing I wanted to write about was the Fringe season four finale, which I watched last night. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do when I have things I want to write about that aren’t going to result in publication or profit or pageviews or whatever. Today, I decided to go ahead and write it. Then, when it was done, I posted it to Twitter and Facebook like usual. I managed to keep from scrolling down on Twitter, but I ended up reading Facebook like a big doofus. Fifty points from Gryffindor :(

Now I seem to have run out of steam. I’m wondering if my approach is wrong. Should I be putting off chores and my workout until after I have done a significant amount of writing? The chores actually don’t take that much time, though, and they can be done concurrently with other activities. The workouts are necessary for health, and I’ve found in the past that if I don’t do them first thing in the morning, I’m far less likely to do them at all.

I also have a few projects unrelated to my new purpose in life that I need to get finished as soon as possible, so my mind is free to concentrate on moving forward. Maybe I should wait to start on my Serious Writing until those are done. But my creative brain seems to work the way it works, and it wants to plan or write when it wants to plan or write, so instead of making a hard and fast rule, I suppose I should just commit myself to working on those projects as much as possible and then taking the time to write when inspiration demands it.

I’m also concerned that writing this post is itself a form of procrastination, so I’m just going to stop now and go see about my laundry and try to clear my head and get back to work.

Here’s where I am

Sorry I haven’t written up my blog redesign process yet. I have been extremely busy at work and that has drained me for the rest of the time. All my projects are suffering because of it. But I’m not discouraged, really; I know that after this craziness is over I’ll have more time and brainpower. Of course, I’m going to England in under two weeks, so it may be awhile before I’m back to a decent routine.

One thing that has been bothering me is the fact that the design of my blog right now is not the design I wanted. It’s more like a design I conceived and never finished in 2004. When I put this thing together, the look was secondary to getting the structure workable. Now that I have the blog set up with an external stylesheet, I will hopefully be more easily able to change the look.

A redesign of this blog will need to take a backseat to other things, though: my website project with Mike, my webcomic project with Sam, the redesign of and new shopping cart implementation for my parents’ business website, etc.

I’m also rereading (or rather, reading, since I never actually finished it) Getting Things Done. Hopefully I will learn some techniques to better organize my time and keep from stressing out over everything I want to do!

New email subscription setup

Up until recently I had been using Yahoo! Groups to provide a mailing list for my blog posts. However, I’ve been wanting to burn my RSS feed with FeedBurner for quite some time, and I finally did that the other day. FeedBurner also offers an email subscription service, so I decided to use that instead of Yahoo! Groups.

Anyone who may have been subscribed to my Yahoo! Groups email updates will need to resubscribe via the new “subscribe via email” form in the sidebar. (I think there were two people signed up. Sorry for the inconvenience, guys! ;>)

Setting a routine

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I see my personal trainer at 8am. This causes me to adhere to a strict morning schedule. Unfortunately, on other days I am less rigid. On weekdays this means I might sleep in and not work out at all. On weekends I likely won’t do anything productive.

I’ve decided that the best way to make sure I’m on track each day is to set up a routine that I’ll do every morning, regardless of what day it is. I can then add items to my evening and weekend schedule as appropriate.

Here’s a rough draft of what I’m thinking:

7am-8am: Wake up, do a little reading, get dressed in workout clothes.

8am-9am: Work out, either with N or on my own.

9am-9:30am: Shower and pack lunch.

9:30am-10am: Commute.

10am-7pm: Work. Try to get in a photowalk at lunch :)

7pm-7:30pm: Commute.

7:30pm-9pm: Work on projects.

9pm-11pm: Goof off.

11pm-7am: Sleep.

Thanksgiving timeline

2:30: Prepare stuffing, stuff and baste turkey, begin to roast (325).

3:30: Start rolls.

3:50: Let dough rise.

5:00: Start potatoes.

5:15: Put potatoes in oven.

5:20: Punch down dough. Let rise again.

5:30: Remove aluminum foil from turkey to crisp skin.

5:45: Begin steaming green beans and making sauce on stove.

6:00: Remove turkey from oven. Form rolls and bake (375). Start on pear crisp.

6:10: Begin steaming broccoli and making sauce on stove.

6:20: Remove rolls and potatoes from oven. Bake pear crisp (375). Carve turkey. Add sauces to vegetables. Eat dinner!

7:10: Remove pear crisp from oven and put in dishes with frozen yogurt. Eat dessert!

Final office layout

Here it is: the second best possible configuration for my office. (I can’t do the first best configuration because the cables and internet jacks are all on the wrong side of the room.)


The floor plan.


View from the door leading to the north side of the building. Speaking of wires…I’m thinking of covering them with a curtain.


My workspace.


View from the door leading to the south side of the building.


View from that same door, looking straight over my desk.


View from the north side door again.

So far I really like the new layout. People have plenty of room to walk, and I don’t have people coming up behind me all the time. I think this’ll work!

Previously: Office Evolution

Even More Previously: Transition and What can I say, I like moving furniture.

Edit: Added floor plan and captions.

Office evolution

This is what my office looked like originally.

At first I shared the office with a full-time graphic designer. Nowadays I have the office to myself, except when various people come in and use the graphics computer.

When that change first happened, I rearranged the desks like this:

This was okay for many months. I really liked having the extra work space that the second L-shaped desk gave me. However, the room was really cluttered, and I felt I could do more with the space if that second desk was taken out. I ended up trading it for my boss’ old desk, and I put the graphics computer on her desk rather than the flimsy white table it had been sitting on. Everyone was pleased to be using a real desk at last, and I was happy that the room was more open. You can see that layout in this movie I took at Christmas time, and in these two pictures:

However, the loss of the arm of that second L-shaped desk eliminated what I considered to be useful privacy. Now I had people coming up standing behind me all the time, which was the last thing I wanted to encourage. It’s just not feng shui.

So I spent a few months pondering what sort of furniture arrangement would make it so that people wouldn’t stand behind me, and also allow better traffic flow through the office, since it’s essentially a hallway these days. Finally I drew up a floorplan of the room using the ceiling tiles as measurements, and that enabled me to move things around without actually moving them…so I tried lots of different arrangements that I hadn’t considered before.

That led me to this work-in-progress:

It may not look like much in the pictures, but I got it rearranged a bit more after I took them, and I think it’s going to be pretty sweet when I’m all finished (and I’ve had a chance to dust, yeesh). Only time will tell if it’ll keep people from coming up behind me, but the idea is that the arm of the desk pointing towards the door will create the feeling of a hallway, so that people won’t turn left and come into my desk area.

What’s great about this layout is that there is a much wider path to walk through the office. I’m thinking it will work out pretty well.

I’ll put up final photos once I’m done.

Edit: I just realized you can’t really make out the door I’m talking about in any of the new pics. It’s to the left of the CD shelf. You actually do see it in the second new picture, but it’s hard to tell that it’s a door :>

(That gray strip alongside it is not the door frame; it’s a shadow due to the fact that the wall juts out behind the door, causing the door to only open about 90 degrees. The reason for this is there is a water fountain on the other side of the wall. And Now You Know.)

Back on the horse

I’ve decided to try the early schedule again, so I got up at around 6:15 this morning. Sean went to bed not long after that, so it looks like if I want to spend any quality time I’ll have to get up earlier. But for now, I feel at least like I’ve rested.

Yesterday I went to Outspokin’ to see about a bike rack, but as it was Sunday they were closed. My bike does fit into the back of my car, but only if I jam the handlebars in (I haven’t figured out how to remove a wheel) and I don’t like doing that, especially since it rubs some of the handlebar material off. Plus, it’s just awkward; it’s easier to lift a bike off and onto a rack than it is to turn it sideways and roll it into a car. And if I have a bike rack, it means I don’t have to put the seats down in the back, which means more people can ride along with me even if I do have my bike.

In other words, I’m hoping that getting a bike rack will make it easier for me to ride my bike, which will mean I’ll ride it more.

My mom and I were talking on the phone the other day about how exhausted I am all the time, and she said I needed to go biking and walking a lot like I used to, because there was one time that I visited when no one could keep up with me. I’m pretty sure that was this visit, when I brought my bike to Kentucky. And I remember…I felt good back then.

So this week I’m going to try getting up early, which means I’ll have time to work out and run errands and also to pack a lunch and workout clothes for my lunch break, so conceivably I can save money while I’m getting back in shape.

I’ve tried this before, this getting-into-a-routine-so-I-can-lose-weight thing. But I’m feeling somewhat heartened by the fact that I was, at one time, in pretty good shape. I don’t think there’s any reason why I can’t be that way again. My problem is just a combination of laziness and an awkward schedule, which I can work through.

I really do love being awake in the morning. I feel like I have all this extra time.

Of course, I don’t anymore…I’ve spent it all writing this post, reading old posts, and chatting :D So I better get in the shower!

Tidying up

I’ve made some changes to my sidebar.

In the Links, I have finally gotten rid of my old “Things We Lost in the Fire” Amazon wish list. It’s been almost two years! I did, however, move the items from that list that I still want to have into other lists.

I’ve broken out “Reference and How-Tos” from “Nonfiction”, and I’ve changed “In My Dreams” to “Electronics and Appliances”. I’ve also added my “Games” list, which I’d created on Amazon awhile back but never gotten around to linking.

The wish lists are now grouped according to type, so my list over at Amazon.co.jp is with “Help Me Learn Japanese“, “CDs” and “DVDs” are together, all the books–“Fiction“, “Manga and Graphic Novels“, “Nonfiction“, “Cookbooks“, and “Reference and How-Tos“–are in a group, and “Games” and “Electronics and Appliances” fall last.

I’ve also made some changes to Fun Stuff. My Twitter, Ficlets, Dandelife, YouTube, and MySpace profiles are all linked now. I’ve grouped these with other communities/sites I’m affiliated with. The next group of links are fun Flash videos, then Japan-related stuff, and finally various cool things, to which I’ve added NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Finally, down in Comics, I’ve removed Bruno, which is over, Venus Envy, which updates so slowly that I don’t even care about the story anymore, and Help Desk, which used to be interesting but is now just “meh”, and I don’t have time to read “meh” comics. (I don’t think the content has really changed…I think I’m just tired of that kind of humor.) I have added Achewood, which I could never get into before but for some reason am finding intriguing now, and Evil, Inc.

I’m more and more wanting to redesign my blog template. I know so much more about web design now than when I first put it together. I’d like to keep the main features–the checkered background, the colors, even the style of the boxes around all the content, if not the boxes themselves. But I think the site could flow a lot better, and I would like to lay out my sidebar in lists. I mentioned before thinking it’d be a good idea to have the search as part of the header, and I’d still like to do that. I’m also interested in creating an archive drop-down up there. Of course, ideally, my design would be achieved through CSS, with none of this table garbage.

We’ll see what happens as my ideas congeal. Hopefully this won’t go the way of my fabled shift to WordPress.

(Speaking of which, I probably won’t make that shift. Blogger has had its issues, but it works for my purposes. I like the fact that I essentially have a backup of my entire blog–the static files here on my server, and the Blogger database of my posts and comments over on their server. Plus, WordPress gets hacked regularly, which means I would have to update my software all the time. Also, one of the main features I found attractive on WordPress is obsolete these days. That feature is dynamic pages, and the reason they’re obsolete is that they use too much bandwidth. So, there you have it.)

Ta-Da!

One of the things FlyLady suggests doing in one’s Evening Routine is “Work on journal/’Ta-Da’ List”. I figured I’d do a smattering of both.

I haven’t written anything in the past few days, not for lack of desire but because I have been simply too busy during the day (either doing things on my to-do list, or thinking about how I should be doing things on my to-do list), and at night I have been exhausted. Thursday, Friday, yesterday, and today, I have gotten up at ~7 am in order to get ready and make Sean’s breakfast for him before he leaves for work. (He ate all the breakfasts except today’s, because he was running late this morning.) Since this is well before the time I would normally get up, it has taken some getting used to. Yesterday I got up at 4 am; muscle soreness was preventing me from sleeping any longer. Because of that I ended up taking an extraordinarily long nap in the afternoon. Still, I was able to make it to bed at a decent hour (around midnight or one, I guess) and then I got up this morning right on time. No naps today, though I did relax in the La-Z-Boy for a bit.

But I feel like I’m getting better! I feel like I’m actually doing something instead of just sitting around all day. I have started writing up brief to-do lists for myself, and accomplishing as many things as possible. Sometimes I’ve had to switch priorities; updates to the family business website have taken precedence over some old data entry tasks, and when my boss emailed me with a menu update today, I penciled that in and got it done right away. In fact, here is everything I accomplished today (the Ta-Da List!):

  1. Successfully followed morning routine (getting up/dressed/ready; cleaning; breakfast)
  2. Dropped off half a year’s worth of aluminum cans at the fire department as a donation to help burn victims (I have been meaning to get those cans out of our outdoor storage space for, well…a year. I’ll get the rest of them tomorrow–they wouldn’t all fit in my car!)
  3. Played tennis for approximately 30 minutes
  4. Watched two DVDs (8 episodes) of Martian Successor Nadesico (hey, I’ve been meaning to do that!)
  5. Fixed a problem on no-dog.com
  6. Updated a menu for 2go-Box
  7. Worked on some birthday club data entry for 2go-Box
  8. Made dinner and managed to keep the counters and sink clear and clean
  9. Ate dinner with Sean at the dining room table (I’ve been trying to do this more; for awhile we’ve just been eating at our computers ^^;;)
  10. Did dishes (dishwasher)

So yeah, I’m feeling pretty good! Tomorrow’s to-do list includes grocery shopping, taking the rest of the recycling over to the fire station, and working on more data entry. I may or may not add in AMRN stuff; it depends on how urgent I feel the matters are. There are a lot of little things in the back of my mind that are bugging me and that I want to get done…and with this system, I feel like I am slowly on my way to doing them. This is great :)

I’m also trying to make sure we take vitamins at breakfast…I think we could both stand to be more healthy.

Thursday and Friday, I got myself in the frame of mind to get up in the morning. I didn’t do it Saturday or Sunday, and Monday I totally slipped up–stayed up too late the night before. But Tuesday I was ready to get back on track, and so not only did I finish my morning routine, but when I took the garbage out I decided to take a fifteen minute walk for exercise.

It was a little chilly out, so after I’d made it most of the way around the apartment complex I decided to use the weight room’s treadmill instead. I obtained a key from the apartment manager, so now I can get in whenever I want, and then I finished up my fifteen minutes. My muscle soreness did end up increasing…but it felt great, really. It’s kind of sad that fifteen minutes of walking seems like a big accomplishment, but that’s just the point I’m at right now. I’m going to get better. I’m going to get awesome :>

I was going to take another walk today, but since Paul and I had previously decided to play tennis on Wednesday and Saturday, I figured that I should keep those appointments instead. It will throw a little variety into my routine, which is always welcome. So Wednesdays and Saturdays will be tennis, and the rest of the week will be walks.

After awhile building up my walking endurance, I’ll add more to my routine, such as the stair climber or the weight machines. I’m also going to start doing kung fu stretching. But it’s going to be incremental. I don’t want to burn myself out early and quit altogether.

I don’t know if I’ll lose any weight doing this, and to be honest that’s not my primary concern. I just want to know that if I needed to, I could run a long distance, or lift something heavy, or do strenuous activities without passing out. I also just want to feel better, and not be as tired as I usually am. Today I feel energized. That’s how I always want to feel :)

Eliminating my back pain would be a plus, but I don’t know if that’s even possible :>

Cory Doctorow’s new book is online, so you know I’ll be reading it. Kevin linked me to Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom awhile back and it was a fantastic read. I haven’t checked out Doctorow’s short stories yet, but I’m sure I’ll get to them. For now, though, Eastern Standard Tribe is on my short list, along with Master and Commander (I’m somewhere in Chapter Four–and yes, if I haven’t mentioned it, I’m reading it because the protagonist’s name is Aubrey) and The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I have yet to crack open.

With that list, I’m making it appear as though I am a voracious reader. However, I have had those two books since Christmas. :> I’d like to get back into my old reading habits, but it’s a struggle, especially since I spend so much time reading online. Online reading is not necessarily a bad thing, but I usually end up reading blogs and entertainment news (and occasionally real news, home and garden tutorials, and self-help articles). I am a websurfer extraordinaire, but I’m not sure if I’m getting enough meaningful input.

Well, that’s about it for me. I’m going to follow FlyLady’s advice for the evening routine and try taking a relaxing bath, and then I’ll putter around online until bedtime. A comfortable end to a lovely, productive day.