How Bad Is It..

that the book Getting Things Done has been on my To Be Read list for years and I haven’t finished reading it? That a co-worker lent me a copy over a year ago and I still haven’t finished it? I did start it, that is at least something (the very least).  I want to get things done. Getting things down somewhere and out of my head resonates with me. Prioritizing items, giving them due dates if they are important to be done, check and check.

I now have a productivity app. Something that tracks my to do list, organizes it by priority, project. I can tag and label tasks to the point where I start to believe I have OCD. But that doesn’t mean I’m getting these things done. I’m getting organizing things in the app done. I love organizing things in the app! It makes me feel in control. So far I have a list of many, many things that I need to do and want to do someday. I attempt to schedule them out, give myself due dates and accountability. This works to a certain extent. The things that have to get done are getting done, but they were always getting done, as the things that must be done tend to do. Where I struggle is the things I want to do, but don’t have to do. Putting due dates on them has helped only mildly. I must decide to focus on them and not other distractions (Twitter, television, other nonsense). Getting Things Done and my productivity app are just systems to help; they can’t make me focus on the right things (damn it!). I need to change, that is the problem. So why don’t I?

 

 

But I need to focus on getting the important things in the app done. Why is that so hard?

Dear Fire Station 49 in San Francisco

I’m sending this as an email to fireadministration@sfgov.org. You should write, too!

 

In response to the following article, I’m asking Fire Station 49 to reconsider the decision to remove their adorable Firefighter Cat, Edna.

San Francisco firefighters may be forced to surrender beloved station cat after anonymous complaint

IG: @fire_cat_edna

I mean, look at those pictures. How does separating this lovely kitty from the people who love her improve life in this firehouse? Your people have stressful jobs, having a small, non-judgemental, adorable piece of fluff to come back to can only improve their lives. Edna chose them for a reason. Cats know what they are doing.

You don’t have to take it from me. Here are a few reasons to allow Edna to stay:

1. Health benefits of having a cat:

Reduces stress and anxiety

Decreases risk of stroke

Therapeutic benefits

Boosts immunity

Lowers blood pressure

Decreases risk of heart disease and heart attacks

Lowers triglycerides and cholesterol levels

Increase sociability

Provide companionship

Aren’t these things you want for your firefighters?

 

 

2. Cats have a history of being in the workplace:

Whiskers in the Workplace

There is an entire IG account dedicated to Bookstore Cats:  @bookstorecats

Cats have a special history in firehouse and other first responder houses!

From stray to star – Flame, the Greenville firehouse cat, hits the big time

(IG: @flamethearsoncat)  Flame even made it onto My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet!

Stray Cat Wanders Into Fire House and Asks Everyone for “Help”

(IG: @station57cat)

Here is a list of FDNY Cats on Instagram:

FDNY Firehouse Cats Have Their Own Must-See Instagrams

If the FDNY can have cats, you can too!  Do you really want the FDNY to be a step ahead of you?

3. There are even children’s books written about Firehouse Cats!

The Fire Cat

Pete the Cat: Firefighter Pete

4. Perhaps most importantly, pets are family, not something to be gotten rid of due to one anonymous complaint. To separate your folks from their pet will cause them and her pain. They could be distracted, worrying about her. Do you want that.

The benefits far outweigh any downside, so please do the right thing.

 

Gary LaPierre, Maker of Snow Day Dreams

The anticipation would begin the night before. A storm was coming! Maybe there would be no school the next day. Could it really happen? A Snow Day, capital S, capital D. A snow day was a nightmare day for them, but for us they were a day off, an unexpected free day. Growing up in the pre-internet era meant teachers couldn’t reach you. There would be no additional homework, just a free day with all planned activities cancelled. The whole world stopped so you could play. Weee… creative time, snow ball fights, if there is enough snow, a snowman! Sledding! Playing in the snow in the park. Snow angels. When we were exhausted and cold, we’d return hope to warm hot chocolate. Oh please, please, please, please, please let there be a Snow Day!

On any potential Snow Day, the second we got up it was to the radio and crank it up! WBZ Radio 1030, Boston, MA. The WBZ Storm Center and the smooth sounds of Gary LaPierre would tell us our fate. Of course we heard him give the news and Gil Santos the sports every morning, but the potential snow day announcement, that got our full attention. We’d sit with rap attention, whereas other days it was just the background of our morning, something to inform our parents about the world. The school closing list was always alphabetical. Abington, Acton-Boxborough Regional, Andover, Arlington… and so we’d wait for our town. Poor suckers who live in Woburn or Wrentham! Fortunately, our town started with a B so we didn’t have to wait that long, though sometimes we’d tune in halfway through the list and have to listen all the way through, until they started over at A. If our town wasn’t listed the first time, we’d have to wait through the whole list because the list could be updated! The second or third time through, maybe our town would be there. I feel bad for the kids today, who can open a browser and see the list, while their parents receive texts to tell them. Can the joy be as sweet if you don’t experience the anticipation? Sometimes our mother would have to tell us to give it up and start to get ready, but other times: euphoria! Snow Day! Thank you, Gary LaPierre for bringing us the best news!

Gary LaPierre retired around ten years ago, so we’d grown used to the news without him. But that doesn’t mean we don’t pine for the days when his smooth voice brought us all the information we needed. Texting with my sister about his death, she was sad that her daughter, that very day experiencing her first snow day (after a whopping 2 inches of snow in the Seattle area. Amateurs.), wouldn’t have the same experiences we did. He meant something to us and he will be missed.

RIP Gary, legendary news man and of maker of little kids dreams.

 

 

Lectin This

Now that my Three Quarters Thirty month has come to an end, it’s time to party with bread, sugar and wine, right?  I’d come to the conclusion that I should continue this lifestyle the majority of the time, but allow for these things on certain occasions, eating out being the most frequent one. It is so difficult to eat out as a Whole Thirty vegan, let me tell you. Just bring me a plate of lettuce and a sweet potato, please.

Somewhere in my internet travels, I was served up an ad for a Dr. Gundry who claims to have lost 70 pounds by only eating certain foods. Really?  Go on…  A short amount of research gave me the basics of his plans to avoid lectins. Lectins are

carbohydrate-binding proteins, macromolecules that are highly specific for sugar moieties of other molecules. They are also known as phytohemagglutinins. Lectins perform recognition on the cellular and molecular level and play numerous roles in biological recognition phenomena involving cells, carbohydrates, and proteins.[1][2] Lectins also mediate attachment and binding of bacteria and viruses to their intended targets. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lectin).

No, I don’t know what that means, either. But Dr. Gundry’s theory (paraphrased) is plants develop lectins because they want to live. Lectins make them less likely to be eaten by animals while growing. I guess that makes sense on the surface (because evolution is real, people). A little further research and I found Dr. Gundry’s list of Yes and No foods:   Sigh. Almost everything I eat is wrong.  Also, foods like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach are allowed. Don’t they want to live? Do they not have lectins?

What did not escape my notice was the fairly large overlap between allowed and not allowed foods on his plan and the Whole 30. Also obvious to me is the majority of foods that I was allowing my self on my self created Three Quarters 30 (beans, lentils, edamame, tofu and more) are specifically prohibited here. Even tomatoes and cucumbers are banned, unless pealed and de-seeded (as if that is going to happen). Whole 30 is based on reducing foods that cause inflammation, so my bet is lectin causes inflammation. But on Dr. Gundry’s plan you can have a 6 oz. glass of wine and dark chocolate, so perhaps the trade is worth it.

Swinging from one highly restrictive plan to another won’t work. What I need is a plan that I can live with everyday. These diets, plans and cleanses are short term fixes. So my plan is to be as plant based as possible, cut down on these things banned by these plans, especially grains and sugar.  I plan on not having them most of the time, but there are exceptions, else there is the risk of losing it and eating an entire vegan banana bread from Trader Joe’s (which is so amazing, my mouth waters just thinking about it). So back to it… starting tomorrow. Today is the super bowl, the official holiday of carbs, sugar and alcohol.  Go Pats!

Worrying ’bout this wasted time…

The #24in48 has me revisiting my ongoing thoughts and challenges of productivity and time management. See for one weekend, I wanted to prioritize reading, but I didn’t manage to do it. Reading shared the spotlight with all the other mundane things that needed to be done. Sure they need to be done, but do they need to be done right now? I woke up thinking about how people one can’t do everything at the same time so choices must be made, priorities must be set.  I then found that just this morning Seth Godin had described this better than I would: Opportunity Costs Just Went Up, which, of course, I found while checking Twitter rather than getting up and writing this, which is what I claim to want to do. So in this case, kismet, but not most of the time. Why do I make the choices I do when I know they mean I’m not doing other things I want to be doing? Why am I on Twitter or any other app or website rather than doing any of the million other things that I want to be doing, including reading? Every time I read or listen an interview with a person who is considered prolific in their field, they say they don’t spend time on social media. I used to not spend time on social media. Until I was thirty years old, I barely watched tv. Coincidentally, this was the golden age of my reading life. Somehow social media and tv have become and addiction and I need to just stop. As Seth says: I could spend that time learning a new skill, or I could work on a creative project, I could go to the gym. It’s my choice and I need to own that choice.

What about you? Anyone kicked a bad habit and want to give advice on how?

As I often find, The Eagles have some wisdom to impart:

So you live day to day
And you dream about tomorrow, oh
And the hours go by like minutes
And the shadows come to stay
So you take a little something
To make them go away
I could have done so many things, baby
If I could only stop my mind
From wonderin’ what I left behind
And from worrying ’bout this wasted time

#24in48 Wrapup

Here is my final total… plus the 10 hours and 10 min I had when the time reset. Stupid timer

 

So 13 hours 33min. This is 1 hour 33 minutes linger than my goal.. yipee!

I did finish Travels With Charley. Lordy couls that man write and his powers of observation and description. Perfection. Plus a poodle!

I went off stack when I decided to listen to audio book, When Paris Went Dark, about the German occupation of Paris in World War II, something I’ve wanted to learn more about since reading All the Light We Can Not See and The Nightengale. I did, indeed, start The Stranger Beside Me because I want to watch the new documentary on Netflix. I had read this book as a teenager. This edition I’m reading now is updated and I’m a little nerve wracked to say I notice where some of the updates are and that Ssome of the pictures are new. This may be more burned into my psyche  than I like. As a suburban teen I couldn’t believe anyone could do the things he did.

Somehow even though I exceed my goal, I am disappointed. I had envisualized curling up and reading for large chunks of the weekend, coffee, tea or wine by my side depending on time of day. Instead more than half of the time was spent listening to the audio book while I ran errands, cooked, cleaned and did laundry. I know audio books are reading, but I also know I don’t absorb as much, especially when I’m multi-tasking. I missed probably an entire minute while trying to decide between regular or low sodium soy sauce as the grocery store. I also spent the 30 minutes before writi g this o  Twitter and Instagram. Apparently I am the only person not watching Rent live with someone who broke their foot. I was reading, so I’ve got that.  My goal was to put this time aside for me, but I let other things come first, though having clean clothes will be a plus this week. I want to chose reading more often than I do now. So that is my new goal: more reading, less tv, twitter and instagram (I deleted my Facebook account already and you should, too. They are giving out your information like halloween candy, except they make money doing it. But that is a rant for another day).

#24in48

This weekend I’m once again attempting the #24in48 #readathon. For the uninitiated this where you read 24 out of 48 hours in a weekend, starting Saturday at 12am on your timezone. Read all about it… you can still sign up!

Think you can’t read 24 hours in one weekend? You don’t have to! My goal is 12 hours because you know, life. I think of it as having a goal of reading more than I usually would (an actually having an excuse to read more than I usually would in one weekend).

Here is my stack:

20190125_220716

It’s got it all: fiction, non-fiction, essays, classics, recent works, a book about books/reading (I love those), something for every mood so I can switch it up depending on my mood. Though there is a very high probably that I’ll start with The Stranger Beside Me then move on to the Ted Bundy documentary on Netflix. Must.not.

What do you say? Are you in?

Need a word for:

When you stayed up late finishing a book, then don’t up early to do other things you want to do but you’re exhausted anyway and you don’t feel one whit bad about it, well maybe half a whit.

Coffee time.

Hair Dresser Problems

I’m the sort of person who doesn’t want to spend time on her hair. I understand many people enjoy spending the time on creative hair styles, colors, etc. Not me. My ideal is hair that can air dry and look good. That is not my lot in life, my hair is a wavy/frizzy mess that requires the brute force of a hot hair dryer to beat it into submission, or to appear in some accordance with what is acceptable in our society.

So when I go to the hair dresser, I tell them: I want it to be stylish, but simple. I need to be able to blow dry this myself. As a result, I have had basically the same hair style since kindergarten, and yet I always feel like I’m changing it up. I changed hair dressers about three years ago to one closer to my house (my long story with my old hair dresser, who I loved, and how she moved to a super upscale salon, where super upscale meant super expensive and super judge-y employee (real people wear jeans, don’t give me that look!) will have to wait for another time. Over time, I started noticing odd layers in my hair. Chunks that didn’t blend in and just seemed to be there for no reason. My hair dresser explained they gave my hair ‘light’. She must have been creating new layers with each visit because like the frog placed in cold water that starts to boil, I did not notice at any one time what was happening and suddenly I had what I think in the 70s was called a fringe. My hair had the length I liked, but only a very thin layer in the back, then all these complicated layers. One day I looked at my hair and thought: what the frig is going on here and how have I not noticed this happening?  And let me tell you, once the summer hit with it’s humidity, it was not a good scene.

The next time I went in, I told her I can’t style this. I need something simple. I think we should cut the length, try to even it up with some of the layers and then grow these out so I just have long layers. Her response was: Fine! With all the attitude of someone who means the complete opposite of fine. She cut a straight line around the back, did a little shaping around the front and announced she was done. I don’t think it took three minutes. Drying my hair took easily five times as long. Then we get up to the desk and she says their prices have gone up. Excuse me? I’m now paying more for increased rudeness and less service?

I get that I’m not the salon’s most lucrative customer. I don’t color my hair and I rarely buy the products. I know from my old hair dresser that sometimes they are required to bring in a certain amount of money or new types of business, which puts pressure on them to put pressure on their clients. I make up for this by giving the hair dresser a big tip, significantly more than 20%. So it was shocking to me when I went to a new hair dresser and told her this story and got to the price increase, she said: oh, she did that deliberately. Um.. what? Oh, yeah, we have some leeway on setting the prices. I can grandfather a customer in at an old price for awhile, if I want. So my hair dresser was so pissed that wanted to do something different that she was rude and deliberately charged me more? What the actual fuck? Is this not a service industry? My hair is easy. I can get in and out relatively quickly, I can fit in around your other, more time intensive, money generating clients. People like me need to get their hair cut, too.

So Many Books, So Little Time..

There should be a word for:

The cycle of really wanting to read a book you’ve just heard about, someone or many people are raving about it, it will certainly change your life or make you see things in a whole new way! So you add it to your to be read pile with all the best intentions in the world (my TBR already two miles long. Don’t scoff, at my average rate of reading, my TBR will take me years, years!, to get through. My TBR may be where great books go to die). I’m reading four other books right now, but then this new book, for sure. Except by that time, you have a book club book to read (I am in two book clubs, both of which read books that invariably don’t come from my TBR except when it’s my turn to pick), and maybe a book to read for work, or a library hold comes in (or two or three or five). Those books are on a deadline! I have to get to them! And simply must re-read Little Women, I meant to last year for the 150th anniversary, but I didn’t quite get to it. Then I need to balance between print reading and ebook reading, which I can do on my commute via train, and having an audio book, which for a lot of reasons I like to read non-fiction in audio, and all of a sudden the paperback of the book I really, really wanted to read is out. Horrible that I have not read that book I really, really want to read. A feeling of failure sets in, yet I continue to listen to podcasts and read reviews about other new books that I really want to read and they also go on the TBR with the best of intentions. The cycle of not being able to read all the books continues! What a ghastly realization to let sink in. I feel bad, I look longingly at the book, which I probably own (because I only request books from the library that I think I don’t need to own, then insanely feel as if I have to read them even though I should read the ones I own because I think I’ll love them). Then one day you hear the author has a new book coming out. Yes, the author has birthed and seen to publication an entire new book in the time you’ve been not reading their book that you really, really want to read. Gah…

I feel as if there is no cure for this disease, and it’s the only disease I want to have.