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?

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.

 

 

#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).

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.

A Delicious Thrill

The delicious thrill of receiving a customer survey from an organization that wronged you is so sweet.

About a month ago I attempted to pay and renew a particular subscription service well before the renewal date. The website appeared to be having issues as the result was the little spinner for a fairly long period of time followed by what appeared to be success. A day or so later, I noticed that the payment appeared to have been processed three times on my credit card. I didn’t have time at that moment to deal with that, so I put it aside and then of course, forgot about it completely. Until I received a notice that I had been cancelled due to lack of payment and to reinstate myself I had to come appear in person and pay a late fee. Bitch, please..

I research with my credit card company and they say, yes, it went through three times and three reversals were put through. I needed the service, so I went in and I paid the late fee because the hapless clerk said there was nothing she could do. Since it wasn’t her fault, I paid it. So I contact customer support and tell them my story. Their response was: you have to come in and pay to renew. So I respond again and say I have already done that, what I want you to do is refund the late fee because I did pay before the deadline, but you reversed it, three times. I don’t think I should be penalized because your website was having a glitch on that particular day. No response. The late fee is $22. How much time do I really want to spend just because I’m in the right?  But now I have not one, but two different surveys to fill out, one for each time I contacted them. So yes, I’m going to enjoy this, with no expectation of ever seeing my $22.

(also, I received surveys from about 5 different companies yesterday. What is up with that?)

Gym Locker Grifter

Every Tuesday, I decide I AM going to the 6pm spin class tonight! I AM! Tuesday nights fits my schedule. Sure it’s the teacher whose music I don’t like the best and he does lots of hills, but I’d prefer hills to tons of sprints. I hate sprints, I’m not a sprinter. Anyway, my intentions are always good on Tuesday night, but the stars of my commute must align for me to get to the gym in time (let’s not forget I have to park, not always a guaranteed spot with the post new year’s resolutioners still crowding the gym, get to the locker room, change, and get up to the spin room well in advance of 6pm or there won’t be any bikes left).

But last night…. the angels sang and all that happened. I even had time to go to the bathroom. As I was walking out of the locker room, I thought: did I put the lock on my locker? I return quickly to check and… there is a silver lock on my locker. Oh no.

Background on my insanity: a couple of years ago, I lost my gym lock. I searched high and low and could find it anywhere. I bought a new gym lock in hot pink. I can be seen from space. Also, easy to find when scanning the lockers because you can remember which one you put your stuff in. The combination to the hot pink lock is burned into my memory by use of a movie title with two of the combination numbers in it. The pink lock and I have happily been locking things up together all this time. About a year ago, I found in the way back of a closet my old gym bag and way down deep, in some unknown pocket was my old silver gym lock. So that is where you were all this time! I happily put it into my new gym bag as a backup, in case hot pink gym lock and I ever suffer a separation. I kept the combination on a note on my phone, just in case.

So here I was looking at my locker, locked with the silver lock and me with the following in my hands: water bottle and spin shoes. What do I not have, my phone. What is the combo? I have no idea. I haven’t used this lock in close to three years. What possessed me to grab this one in stead of my sweet girl, hot pink lock? I try a few combos. Nothing. I think it’s something like.. X Y Z. It’s not. Eventually, I know I am close because the lock feels close to opening. I look around at others in the locker room. Do they think I’m trying to break in to this locker? Am I a locker thief? No one is paying any attention to me. I continue on for a few minutes. Eventually, I must admit… I don’t know the combination. What I think it is isn’t it. Do I go to spin and return to deal with this all sweaty (because I sweat in spin, yo. Oh do I sweat in spin)? Will I be worried the entire time about this? My keys! My wallet! My PHONE.

I don’t think I can deal. So I approach the front desk. Surely something like this has happened before. It must be common place because they say they will send a woman to the locker room to help. This older woman appears with a tool which I don’t know the name of, but are, in effect, giant scissors. I guess we’re just going to cut the lock off. Ok. But do you just cut the lock off any locker that anyone happens to tell you is theirs?  I could be a crazy gym locker thief! Now, I’m not and I’ve been going to this gym forever, so they know me, but who knows, perhaps I’ve become a grifter. A gym locker grifter. Imagine returning to your gym locker and the lock has been cut off and all your stuff gone? The woman turns to me and says ‘you have to be very strong to cut the lock, I’m not sure if I can do it. Maybe you can’. Ok, I’m game. The gym locker grifter is going to cut her own lock. It’s is quite difficult, but I did do it. Is there any check that this is actually my stuff? No. She actually apologized to me that the lock was ruined. No need for apologies, this 100% my fault.

But now I know the combo to that lock: 12-36-24. So easy, all multiples of 12.

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Last night I watched Jane Austen Book Club, the movie. “Jane Austen is the perfect anecdote… to life!”, Bernadette declares in the films in which six people take on reading each of Austen’s six novels, one for each person. I love this premise so much and immediately want to take on the same project, re-reading all of Austen (though in truth, I’m not sure I’ve read Northanger Abby. I think I just think I have, I must have at some point, right? But I thought the same thing about Middlemarch a few years ago, and discovered that no.. I was sadly wrong. So perhaps I have a treat left out there for me). I own all the books, some I own multiple copies of, beautiful editions that make me smile at my bookshelves. Why not? Sadly, I also wanted to take on this project when I first saw the movie about ten years (ten!) ago, and it’s yet to happen.  Desire to do is not the same thing as doing. What a sad, sad statement. Will I actually do it? Who knows. I’ve got 250 pages left of my current book club book, then the book my friend lent me, unprovoked, and now there is pressure for me to read it, the audio book I’m in the middle of, the library book I put aside when I decided to listen to the audio book on whim because an author I loved raved about it, and then my whole other TBR, an unspeakable number long to which I just added the Ursula LeGuin novel recommended in the Jane Austen Book Club, which compete with making six Jane Austen novels my next thing.

I am the sort of person who comes up with these great projects, gets excited about them, but then they languish. I just over the weekend completed a project I started over a year ago to frame and hang up some photography to jazz up a bare wall. Why can’t I just decide on a project, do it, and move on to the next rather than attempting five projects at once and making little progress on each, until some just whither away? I know that focus on something is how to will something into life. I just can’t stand to let some ideas die away, or have to be put on the back burner, but in doing so, most of them end up on the warmer burner where they slowly burn and have to be thrown away (ugh, that was horrible, sorry). Yet, the thrill of completing things and the process of doing so (for you journey is the destination folks) is so lovely. I need to commit to projects and see them through. I don’t know if it will be re-reading Jane Austen because I want to prioritize first.

How do you decide how to spend your free time? What tools, if any, do you use to keep track of all your ideas?

Up with the sun, Gone with the wind

I have always had trouble getting up in the morning. Left to my own devices, I would stay up late and get up late, but that isn’t the way our society or my life works. So the battle to be awake is fought each morning. Recently, I discovered a new kind of alarm clock (well, it may not be new, but it’s new to me). Rather than a screeching, jarring, hateful sound jerking you awake at a prescribed time, and taking years off your life, uses light, dim at first, but getting increasingly bright until the time of your alarm. It eases you into your day, like the sun does.

The experience is so lovely. Slowly waking rather than terrified out of slumber. Genius, right? Yes, and also something that occurred for millions of years before electricity and an entire sector of society whose job it is to create and develop products which we may or may not need. How innovative, working with your bodies natural response to stimuli. It seemed so obvious, I began to wonder why we been waking up any other way all this time. Why are we fighting nature when whatever you believe, that it’s a perfect design or has evolved to this place, nature works. Literally for all of time, nature has worked. Why do we make things harder than they have to be?  How can we start making things work for us rather than against us?

Not Even Close to Normal

I can see from my site stats that people like when I talk about my Whole 30 experience, but I can’t do that today because:

In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

 

I feel as if people aren’t as shocked as they should be. Basically this says that the President of the United States was (is?) under investigation for being an asset of a foreign government. I’m sure many people have long assumed this to be true, but to see it out there in print. It’s stupefying, even in Trump adjusted terms. And we all just go about our business. It’s like on September 11 around 9:30, we’d all kind of figured out what was going on, but my office hadn’t told us we could leave, so we were all sitting at our desks. I remember saying to my co-worker: are we supposed to sit here like this is normal day?  I have to hope that somewhere someone is working to do something about this. Maybe it’s Mueller, maybe it’s people in Congress. But this can’t stand. It really can’t stand. It brings into doubt everything about the United States and what it stand for.

Side note for any conservative readers I may have. I respect your views. We should have a respectful debate on these things. My perspective is you can live your life however you want, but you don’t get to impose it on everyone else, but I can have that conversation. However, this is not your guy. This is not the person you want pushing your views. He’s corrupt, he’s awful, he has no empathy. He’s dangerous. Find someone who does it because they are a believer, not someone for sale to the highest bidder.