Saturday, February 26, 2011
My DH often sends me links to heart-wrenching articles to inform my day. I think it's difficult for him to read them, and I would rather not read them myself, but I do as a way to bear witness with him. Yesterday he sent me a link to an article on the devastating earthquake in New Zealand.
He's not a morbid person. I think he reads these stories as a way of reinforcing fundamental characteristics which constantly inspire me. He has an acutely developed appreciation for all the good that is already a part of his life - his family, his/our health - and he rejects materialism as a source of satisfaction.
He has his priorities straight, his house is in order. The article he sent me yesterday reminded me of how important that is.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
- I don't like writing on pages with rings. It's awkward, especially on the verso.
- I felt I could lose the pages, as if they would rip out with use or go astray during storage. I'm rough on material objects and I was unsettled by the fragility of the system.
- I don't like the idea of being tied to the Filofax as a long-term wallet. I DO like using it as my wallet right NOW, but I'm a serial monogamist with my wallets and foresee a break-up in our future. I've been wracking my brain devising a way to split things into easily reassembled components, components that could live in different environments as a unit.
To that end, I stripped the innards of the FF, pulling all calendar and planning pages, leaving only index cards and two inconsequential tabbed categories.
The index cards are the most important part of my Filo. They are THE reason why I carry a pocket-sized ring binder. I've tried numerous index-card-carrying methods, and I like this the best. They are easily accessible and protected during travel. I write on them all the time - in the car, standing in line at stores, etc. I just move the tab each time I use a card so I can always flip right to an empty one.
I put my beautiful, Japanese planner pages in storage - *sob* - and finally bought one of those AT-A-GLANCE Recycled Weekly Planner, 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 Inches, Black, 2011 (70-035-05).
I've wanted one for years but thought it was too small but, now that I can restrain myself from writing with a paintbrush, it serves my purposes perfectly. I LOVE it. Adore the rounded corners, unlined blocks of space, and spiral binding. Gosh. Gush. It slips right into the front of my filo and slips out, too, for ease of writing. [Note - I carry four or five post-its stuck to a credit card; also, I started utilizing an idea I recently came across of inserting a tarot card in a plastic sleeve ].
The weekly calendar fits into the billfold of another wallet I already have. If (when) I switch wallets, I might use the Oxford At-Hand Notecard Case, referred to in an earlier post. Or I might have to buy a LEATHER Filofax as my new wallet. Have to.
I'm still using my Moleskine Plain Cahier Journal Kraft Pocket: set of 3 Plain Journals to plan each day and I'm LOVING IT. They are just like me - messy, dirty, colorful, flexible, ambitious and near tears, yet very functional and effective. I can change the layout daily, as I please. The At-A-Glance weekly planner keeps me on track. It's just like my husband - clean, tidy, and conveying only what's necessary.
Now I just stick the cahier in the billfold. I got tired of messing around with the clip I used to use to hold it against the inside back cover. So what if it sticks out a little? And do you like the teeny little re-placeable tab in the cahier? I love those Avery tabs, they are so durable and useful. I bought mine at Office Max.
In addition to this all-in-one wallet/weekly planner/daily planner/index card holder/pen holder/pencil holder, I carry a PaperBlanks notebook.
It is so beautiful, the picture doesn't really do it justice. Here's a close-up:
It's what I use when I want to write AT LENGTH, and without a keyboard. My Varsity disposal fountain pen is a joy to use on the heavy pages - bleed-thru is negligible. I'm hankering for the Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen Assorted Ink 7-Pack Pouch. Some other month.
So this, plus my phone and lip balm, is what I put in my purse before I leave the house, and take out of it when I return.
With these few items, I'm good to go, ready to respond to any phone call or email. More importantly, I'm primed for some alone time at a cafe.
P.S. Here's how I store my index cards and my abandoned Filofax inserts. I bought mine at Office Depot. It's just like this one at Amazon - Globe-Weis Fiberboard Index Card Storage Box - but a different color. FF pages are at the back of the box, after the first tab. I have partially-used one-day-per-page inserts, two types of one-week-per-page, one one-week-per-two-pages, and two types of one-month-per-two-pages... all abandoned!! The gray-blue, goldenrod, and gray tabs came with the Urban FF but were so dreary I yanked them immediately. Most of the index cards in this box are blank, just a few at the front are written on.
Here it is closed:
That's all for today's "Report on Office Supplies in Excruciatingly Painful Detail". Thank you, and good night.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Recently I purchased an Moleskine 2011 12 Month Daily Planner: Dark Pink Hard Cover X-Small because, like a two-year-old, it radiates CUTE and PICK ME UP, HOLD ME! Yes, you can eyeball Laurie at Plannerisms as the most likely suspect in prompting this purchase.
Every object must have a purpose, so I decided , with a smug sense of cleverness, that this teeeeeny notebook might serve as a microscopic tracker of information I've had scattered about in multiple, larger, notebooks. To wit, physical activities, choices and conditions which affect my health and energy level. These, of course, affect my sense of well-being and self-confidence. I try to optimize both as a the basis from which all other activity flows.
First, a pic of the moleskine:
This thing is TINY and ADORABLE. It feels great in the hand. Now here's the stamp:
I ordered it through rubberstamps.net. Go to 'art-mounted stamps' and select your desired size. Mine was a 3" x 3" stamper. I created the image in Adobe Elements and then uploaded it to the site. Rubberstamps did a great job, I'm very pleased with the actual stamp and the turnaround time was quicker than I expected. Here it is from the top (it has a black, wooden, handle):
And, now, here it is in use in the pink moleskine, for which it was designed (note the bleed-thru; imperfection reigns):
Here is an explanation of the categories:
- Calories And, of course, shortly after this stamp arrived I decided to stop counting calories, at least for now; more on that another day.
- Offs Meaning days I eat foods not on the 'legal' list of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which I've followed for four years. It is a real godsend in combating a chronic disease with which I'm afflicted.
- Sleep Number of hours.
- Alcohol Obvious.
- Exercise More obviousness.
- Pain I was born in 1962 so I'm on the wrong side of forty.
- Pre-hab Measures I take to improve chronic, recurring, or cameo appearances of pain. I have the attention span of a gnat and need to remind myself that, YES, there is a correlation between using my SpinalStretch and reducing the intense pain I feel along my right, IT band!
- IBD Symptoms of an Inflammatory Bowel Disease flare. I have Ulcerative Colitis, one of the two IBD diseases (the other being Crohn's). This is why I follow the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Disease). Dx'ed in 1996. What a nightmare, prior to SCD. Now it's just very hard, but not a living hell.
- Mood Track as a way to see the correlation between mood and behavior and vice versa.
My hope is that tracking these behaviors will automate them, positively, to the point I no longer have to track them. It's a type of behavior modification. However, even if I have to use this current approach FOREVER, it's a short form and beats the pages-long journal writing I used to do to get to this point.
I've been using it like this for a few days, but found the space too cramped (very little room to write any extra bits and pieces I may want to add) and I dislike having to track/carry/remember/reach for yet-another notebook as part of my organizing arsenal. Reluctantly, I'm abandoning the pink moleskine - sacrifices must be made. Instead, I'm incorporating the stamp into my messy, dirty, Moleskine Plain Cahier Journal Kraft Pocket: set of 3 Plain Journals which I use as a daily planner (pulling the bones each day from my weekly planner). Here's a pic of the controlled chaos:
You can see that I pulled out an old date-stamp and played with that, too. It took me awhile to realize that I had stamped '2017' instead of '2011'.
For now, I'm going with this. It's not such a bad little Christmas tree, after all.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
This morning, as I slowly adjusted from sleep to waking, a thought skittered through my brain, "Oh, no! Another day of obsessing over planners!" I've been infected by planner-mania for the last four months to a degree I've never felt before, partially due to the fact that I decided to let this preoccupation of mine run it's course, rather than forcing it into hiding with a foul-mouthed streak of self-criticism. I decided that perhaps I know what I'm doing instead of considering myself a fool. However, I would rather be done with it and get on to the rest of my life, the reason why I plan and organize -- to be able to have the time to do what I want without a nagging sense that something has gone undone, or unattended to.
That goal may be where the trouble lies, perhaps it's a fool's dream. Time (as recorded on lines spaced in a pleasing fashion, not too close together and not too dark so as not to dominate the space) will tell.
Last night, before my blood-shot eyes closed for a few hours, I ordered the Quo Vadis Minister Habana weekly planner (evidence of Laurie's influence) using my newly-beloved netbook, in the dark, from bed. Clicking through the final steps of paying via PayPal I could feel my delirium mount, a combination of surging fever and anxiety. My worried self advised a moment of reconsideration, yet-another mental review of how, EXACTLY, would I incorporate this new material object into a position of usefulness into my life? Would it REALLY be worth the almost $20 cost of purchase (including shipping) and subsequent upheaval inherent in transitioning from one planning system to another?
That squeaky, plaintive question was dismissed by the gruff, impatient realization that I couldn't stomach the thought of poring over any more dimensions and features of weekly vertical planners any longer. Screw it. Buy it already and be done with it. I'll never know if it will serve it's imagined purpose if I don't have it.
It's on its way.
Friday, February 18, 2011
I moved a company site from a shared hosting environment to a new, dedicated server at Liquid Web and couldn't be happier. They never made me feel stupid and their turnaround time for help tickets is super fast, same with direct phone contact.
I can't say enough good things about them.
...one side to hold finished notes (either for immediate action, i.e, to use at the grocery store, or to transfer to my large index card box that holds reference notes)...
...and I store extra cards inside, in the middle of the case.
I really enjoy these cases. They are cheap and very functional. I can throw one in my purse and nothing happens to the cards or the pen. I love how I can grab the one I keep in my car and write a note at a red light. The surface is stable and the pen is always handy. Very low stress note-writing!
The blue one that I keep in my car, below (note the stack of blank index cards stored in the compartment above, along with a now-unused spiral-bound pocket notebook and my meter change purse), is described on the website as 'gel'. It's similar in feel to those soft, cushiony, cell-phone covers (vague, I know, sorry). Vinyl? Poly-something? Definitely man-made and most likely not biodegradable, so only buy it if you plan to use it for a long time (forever?)! I had my consciousness raised about these types of considerations after communicating via email with Rickshaw and asking them if they would use a piece of vinyl I have to make a folio (they allow customization of their products with your own fabric selection - hot!). Their response was polite and lengthy, and the answer was no. Very cool they took the time to educate me and plead the case for Mother Earth. One day I will get my hands on one of their cleverly-designed products! A little too expensive for me, right now, but I know quality doesn't come cheap.
You can find the note card cases at the links, below. I bought mine at Office Depot, so cheap!! Amazon also sells the black one, but it's twice as expensive as the ones sold at Office Depot.
Esselte At-Hand Note Card Case Holds & Includes 25 3 X 5 Ruled Cards, Black
Office Depot index card case, faux leather
Office Depot index card case, gel
BTW, I just noticed that the Office Depot link for the faux leather one says it is a 'stylish gel design', but it definitely has a different feel than the blue one. It is slightly stiffer and doesn't have the 'clingy' feel that the blue one does.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I used to look down on counting calories. I thought people who counted calories were uptight. That's the hippie in me that I trot out when convenient. I was very snooty about the whole idea without giving it a whole lot of thought. I have a vague memory of perceiving calorie counting as just too... much. Now, having done it for a number of months, if not a year or more, I realize that (a) it IS hard, (b) it HAS helped me figure out HOW MUCH I CAN ACTUALLY EAT and still maintain (or improve) my physique. I didn't need to count calories when I first undertook to lose thirty pounds, the changes I needed to make were obvious. However, now that I'm very, very close to my goal weight (within five pounds), it's a battle royale and I need every tool I can get.
I used to record my food in a notebook but I would never review what I wrote, so I thought, "What's the point of saving all this junk if I never look at them?". Last year I bought the Busy Office Page-A-Day Calendar 2011 (but for 2010!), plonked it on my kitchen counter, and scribbled my food intake into it ALL YEAR LONG.
I couldn't believe that I actually found a method that worked for me for an entire year straight. I enjoyed it so much, I bought another one for this year: Busy Dad's Page-A-Day Calendar 2011 (see photo, below). I enjoy the solid block of pages, the wide-ruled lines, the roominess for recording and making calculations, and tearing off the pages and throwing them away the next morning. And, when I bother to read the left margin, it's usually entertaining or insightful.
Workman Publishing makes a variety of these, six in all.
I also use the The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter 2011. It, too, has a good feel in the hand and has everything I need. It's small enough to fit on the counter, too.
Through MUCH trial-and-error, I've gotten a pretty good handle on how much I can eat (approx 2100 cals/day with one day of 3500 cal/week; I tend to distribute the 2100 per day into a two day allotment of 2400/1800) and still change my shape (in an excruciatingly slow process - rapid changes always blow up in my face). I do short, INTENSE, metabolic resistance training and am aiming for a cartoony, Wonder Woman, appearance. I have a lot of muscle (relative to the 'typical' female... see Skwigg's blog for a great post on the variety of body shape ideals and the mis-match in shared perceptions that result when the ideal is unarticulated), and thus my ability to ingest such high calorie amounts. I'm 5'8" and 143, last time I weighed (which is rare, I usually just judge by appearances and the way my clothes feel).
Disclaimer: No, I don't always adhere to my own rules. I don't always record every day. I don't always stay at or under my limit every day. It's all very much a work-in-progress. If I like it, if it's helping me (not always the same thing!), I do it. And sometimes I don't always do what's best for me. Sometimes I question whether or not calorie counting is more helpful than not. Calorie counting is simply a tool that may or may not work for you. Do what works, nobody can make or enforce rules except yourself. For me, when I do choose to count calories, this is the set-up I use.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The larger item is a BusyBodyBook Undated Weekly Grid Pad, which I purchased via BusyBodyBook. It originally had a magnet on the back, but I tore that off because I was using it in a binder. There are thirty sheets left to the pad, and each piece of paper is quite heavy and of high quality. Go to the website to see examples of how people use it. You might have seen the spiral-bound BusyBodyBook (which I have - more on that, later!) sold on the Franklin Covey site. This is your opportunity to see how you like living with a grid planner.
The second item is [NOTE: no longer available] an At-a-Glance Monthly 2 year 2011/2012 Planner 3.25 x 5.75. Oh, how I coveted this little guy! I've shown it with a Sharpie next to it so you can get a sense of scale. It just feels really good in the hand with the considerate, rounded corners. You can see that I wrote the letters UC on the cover with a silver Sharpie, but I've covered it (almost) with a black Sharpie.
Inside, the monthly blocks are BLANK, UNLINED (HOORAH!) and quite roomy for an item this small. I did use part of January, but I used a pencil only and have erased all entries. The calendar goes through December 2012. I will include a replaceable Avery tab as a monthly marker.
Obviously I've abandoned these friends in favor of my current relationship with my Filofax, but I hate to see them go to waste. First come, first serve! Email me [NOTE: the At-A-Glance is already taken].
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I also experimented with customization on this before doing it for reals on my Urban Filofax. The silver curlicues are my doing, as well.
It's pretty cute and comes with nice, undated, weekly (two-pages-per-week) and monthly (two-pages-per-month) filler pages, in addition to some note paper and and address book with tabs. The lines in the monthly are not too narrow and light enough that they can be ignored. Key quality, for me!
This organizer does accept FF refills, but the FF refills are slightly smaller in height and width. The pages in the PlanAhead are 3x5.
The photo, below, shows the inside but I don't think it shows all the tabs that came with it (not 1000% sure). I cannibalized parts of it when I was testing out how to live with my more recent Filofax purchase. Once I decided I could live small, and with rings, I decided to buy the FF so I could incorporate a wallet into the set-up and thus always have my planner with me.
It also has two vertical slits, one on the left of the open cover, and one on the right of the open cover. You can also see the small, horizontal pocket on the left of the open cover.
It's made by PlanAhead. I was able to find the website before, but I can't find it now! Sorry! However, it didn't say much, other than telling you where you could buy the products. I recall a listing of CVS, Walgreen's, and Walmart. Maybe more, but I'm not sure so I won't hazard a guess. I saw them at CVS and Walgreen's.
Here's a link to a pretty cool, faux-leather one, which will have a more broad appeal than sky-blue denim! I haven't seen this one before, I like it.
All in all, other than missing a billfold and change pocket, this is a great value and very competitive with the Filofax. I'm really surprised the company isn't putting more effort into marketing them and making them available online as they are a solid product.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Look away before it's too late.
Oh, and let me know if you find these babies anywhere on-line! There were four other designs, too, including two with photos of kitties and puppies! The other two had odd, cartoon drawings. One set involved cupcakes, which I do NOT need to be thinking about on a regular basis.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I have seven parts to the planner (well, eight, really, because it's my wallet!):
- Blank index cards - used for writing down ideas for a book I'm working on and for disposable notations. (I also use them for the two upcoming sections to be described below.)You would not BELIEVE the hunt I went on to end up with 500 6-hole-punched index cards!! That's a story for another post. In sum, victory was mine... after writing on a note, I move the Avery Write-On Tab so I can just flip to a blank card the next time I pick up my FF. I put the tab on the index card I wrote on last.
- A couple of cards to track eating out expenses. Very informal, and I don't bash myself over the head if I don't track everything. It's more of a way to raise my awareness about the cost of eating out/fast food. I realized lately that my family was spending a lot of money eating out and I wanted to cut back. I don't save these notations, I throw them away or, if it's not a hassle, I write them down on the weekly planner (and it's a beauty, by Taschen!) which I use for planning and recording meals (my Taschen lays open on top of the microwave next to a cups of pens).
- A couple of cards to write notes about what I want for my planner and organizing needs!! Ha-ha-ha! A wish list, essentially. Writing things down allows me to mull them over and decide if it's worth the responsibility! Ha-ha-ha! Seriously, though, every single thing we buy becomes a responsibility and requires care. I was stressing today as my husband and I cleaned out part of the garage and my footprint on our nation's landfill increased. :-( But, back to happier things... one of my wish list items is a pencil highlighter to use in my beautiful Paperblanks journal!
- My weekly appointments.
- My monthly tasks sheet.
- My monthly calendar for project planning.
- My Moleskine Plain Cahier Journal, which I use as a daily planner.
Keep reading for more pics and obsessive details.
I recently found some planner refills made by Midori that fit my Filofax. They are slightly taller, so they line up better with my index cards and allow for more room to write. I found them at a tiny Japanese stationery store inside a Japanese marketplace. They are BEAUTIFUL. Delicate watercolors with a different design for each week. I'm almost sorry to share them with you because you might want to try to find some online and THEY ARE NOT THERE!!! Believe me, I tried!!
The weekly calendar goes through January 2012.
Here's a page from April (below). I use carats to encase items on my planner that are important, but do not have a time associated with them. I also stuck my monthly tracker sheet in here just so you could see it; obviously it's in the wrong spot, but I didn't want you to read my current pages because they are embarrassingly boring. My monthly tasks page is a mess, I have to re-do it. I only recently decided to undertake the creation of a monthly task list and over-booked myself right away. I figure it might take me a number of months to figure it out, it doesn't really matter. Eventually I'll work it out and be able to live with it. I keep in in the plastic page-holder so I can remove the list and flip it around to face the proper page each week.
Here's a page from my monthly planner section(below). I was using it to track calories and exercise (y/n) plus symptoms of a chronic condition I battle, but decided to move that information to my extra-small pink moleskine because, wanting to track a couple of other items related to staying healthy and super-fit, I needed more room (and I just ordered a custom stamp today for that purpose -- I can't wait to see it!). Again, this calendar is a beautiful creation by Midori, with different colors and designs for each month. They are also considerate enough to go all the way through March 2012! I'm going to see if it makes sense as a tool to sketch out big projects. I'm not sure if I'll like that, because I don't like to look in more than one place to plan out my day (right now I just have to look at the weekly planner as I plan out each day). I'm going to add a 'Projects' section using index cards and then marry it with the monthly calendar. We'll see. I just hate to remove these pages because they are so pretty and I DO need to figure out how to make these multi-part, back-burner projects happen.
And last, but not least, is the moleskine cahier pocket notebook I keep at the back as a day planner. It's blank, which I love, and flexible in that I can use as many pages per day as I want! I typically use two, however, with tasks on the right-hand side and notes/post-it's on the left. Once, however, I was feeling very inspired on how to improve my life so I wrote, freely, on the left-hand pages for five or six pages. I then planned my day using the right-hand pages and, amused, I re-read my heart-felt out-pouring, in one-page fragments, as I prepped for each day. It was actually helpful and kept me more easily focused on my over-arching goals.
Note that I keep the clip at the top now, instead of the bottom. Makes a lot more sense.
And here's my customized cover:
Here's the back:
I bought the Urban because it was cheaper than the rest and more flexible, laying flat easily, and because I liked that the change pocket is on the back. However, the gray denim came off as a little too conservative for me, so I decided to jazz it up with some stencils from Office Depot and a couple of pens. I plotted the spacing, then taped the stencil in place. I then used the fine black marker to do the outline, then the Pilot silver marker to fill in the letters. I didn't realize when I bought the Pilot that it is actually a paint marker (when you shake it you can hear the metal ball rolling around instead), but I think it was for the best.
If you've read this far, you are a FANATIC and I recognize you as part of my tribe! A BIG THANK YOU to Laurie at Plannerisms for posting pics of my Filofax; her enthusiasm encouraged me to finally let my freak flag fly.