On life and planners

Yesterday after work I went to Staples and got myself a small planner.  I’m gonna get my life together!  (Well, ok, *sort of* together.)

It has a pretty cover.

In my previous job, I had a google calendar on my work account that other people could see, and I could see theirs.  This made meeting planning more easy.  For personal life, I wrote things on scraps of paper.

In my academic job before that, I had a large paper planner with 1 page per day and I wrote EVERYTHING in there, which was the only way I stayed sane.  Haircuts, office hours, meetings, to-do lists, deadlines, birthdays, everything.

Now, I have too many scraps of paper and work calendars aren’t great.  I was hoping to share an electronic one with my boss, but she has an idiosyncratic system so that’s not gonna work.  So!  For the first time in like FOUR YEARS I am going back to an integrated calendar for work and life.  It’ll be on paper so I don’t have to log into anything to see it wherever I am.  And it’s pretty.  I discovered I needed it when I (finally!) made a haircut appointment and had no good place to write it down.

Isn’t it great how many varieties of little notebooky things there are these days???

It’s really hard to find perfection.  I spent a long time at Staples.  The good news is, they have many customizable and build-your-own options there, so you can put in the types of pages you want.  (task-planning?  to-do list?  month-per-page?  day-per-page?  etc.)

I think there’s some metaphors for life in the above.

#2 has a Moleskine notebook that isn’t perfect, but she’s satisficing.  (Perfect was the free calendars that various professional groups used to give away each year before everyone had online calendars on their phones instead.)  Her DH keeps all the family stuff on Google calendars, but #2 hasn’t switched over yet (plus her work is still on Outlook calendar(!)), though she does have google calendar on her computers and phone.  There’s still something nice about being able to flip through a paper book to see things and to be able to write things down with a pen instead of thumbs (plus I’m bad about keeping my phone on me– I often leave it attached to a charger, whereas my dayplanner generally stays in its dedicated spot in my Binh bag when not in use).

How do you plan your life, your work and everything?  Are you old school paper?  100% electronic?  100% memory?  100% personal assistant?  Do you integrate work and life or have separate systems for separate spheres?  How has your planning changed over the years? 

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Trying out recipes that sound kind of gross

The first recipe I remember as an adult that fit this category was egg and onion soup from Help! My apartment has a kitchen!  The name sounds awful.  But this turns out to be a quick and amazingly delicious soup that became part of our regular rotation until our children started mobilizing against diced tomatoes.  It’s a comfort food that blends different textures and feels healthy without tasting too vegetal.

Most recently we bit the bullet and made eggs sardou Cooking Light style (so hard boiled eggs instead of poached and a faux hollandaise).  Basically:  frozen artichoke hearts, spinach, green onions, with sliced hard boiled eggs on top, then covered in a roux that has a touch of thyme, pepper, and Parmesan.  Finished with Parmesan and paprika sprinkled on top.  It came out and looked terribly healthy.  But… it actually tasted good.  Hard boiled eggs, cooked spinach and all.  And it didn’t make me feel at all gross like eggs Benedict recipes often do.

This has me wondering if I should try the next appetizer in the Gourmet Magazine cookbook— it is a chicken liver pate (we’re in the crostini section).  I am not a fan of liver in any form (disclaimer:  have not tried foie gras) and hate the smell of it being cooked.  (One of my grandmothers LOVED calf liver and onions, and although I loved my grandma, I did not love that dish.)  But maybe it’s worth a try?  [Update:  it was ok– the first taste was kind of yummy, then it was ok, but then I didn’t like the aftertaste.  So not as horrifying as I’d predicted, but also not something I feel the need to make again.]

Have you tried out any foods lately that sounded gross but turned out to be ok, even good?  Have your tastes changed as you’ve aged?

A mostly unscheduled weekend snapshot

One weekend:

Saturday:

Extended morning cuddle time.
DH and DC1 go grocery shopping:  8-9:45
DH takes DC1 to robotics (last Saturday before tournament, DH is there because the last two times DC1 went by hirself we got complaints from the teacher about DC1 wandering around):  10-4
I take DC2 out for lunch:  11am-whenever
Kids chores (I help with workbooks) and homework
I do so much laundry and dishes (kids fold their own clothing– usually DH joins too but I did his stuff while he was at robotics) and made a bunch of food (start beet salad, freeze the rocky road liquid that DC2 and DH made the previous night).
Finished and scheduled a bunch of blog posts.
DC1 and DH watch Paddington Bear in preparation for seeing Paddington 2 in theaters. It is too scary for DC1 and we spend the next few nights with hir complaining about being too scared to sleep. Paddington 2 is nixed.

Sunday:

Extended morning cuddle time.
DH does online gaming with friends (I help kids with chores and putter with other chores): 9-12
DH helps my students with a tricky programming problem:  12-1
I finish making beet salad and make tuna noodle casserole.
DH and DC2 make angel food muffins with the eggwhites leftover from the ice cream we made Friday/Saturday.
Did a bunch of financial/family chores (2018 IRAs, ordered a book from the library for DC1, emailed about getting on the middle school math practice mailing list, etc.  I had a list of about 9 things that needed to get done sometime that weekend and worked on them in between answering math questions.)
DH and I kiss a bunch.
Cranked through some work emails in preparation for Monday.
Listened to a bunch of 1960s and 1970s songs and sang and danced. Taught the kids the mashed potato and a few arm moves from the 1970s (that I learned in kindergarten in California…) DC1 showed us hir preferred hopping dance move. DC2 has an impressive group of dance moves. I realize that I really need to wear a sports bra if I’m going to twist like we did last summer.
Help my sister with some activism stuff.

I just cannot schedule weekends.  It makes me really unhappy to have them scheduled.  I could be getting more work done, and before kids I worked 6 days a week, but I have a really hard time doing that now.  DC2 especially is really good at interrupting me when I’m trying to get something done that requires thinking.  I really enjoy unstructured weekends.

How do you deal with weekends?  Feel free to link up to your previous weekend scheduling posts if applicable.

A solution for DH’s snoring

This would probably not work with #2’s husband who is all CPAP’d up and whose snoring was so bad prior to CPAP that they once had to have separate beds on *separate floors* of a house.

My DH’s snoring hasn’t been quite so bad.  He’s had a couple things checked for it but it isn’t anything dealing with the dentist or some other thing that the doctor checked out.  It also tends to disappear when he’s in good shape and only creeps up when he tips into overweight, which is most of the time.  Obviously the best solution would be for him to get buff… but as that’s not a realistic forever solution, I appreciate this one weird trick that seems to be working.

Basically he bought this cylindrical pillow.  You can get it for <$25 on Amazon (you can also get it for >$60 on Amazon– choose the <$25 option… it is the same pillow either way).  And it works.  I don’t know why it works or how it works, but I sleep so much better when he’s using it than when he’s using his beloved regular pillow.  He doesn’t find it as comfortable as his regular pillow, but you know the saying, Happy Wife, Happy Life?  That’s a good saying.

(Reminder that we’re amazon affiliates, so if you click and buy we get some small percent.)

Do you have any snoring stories or solutions? 

Updates of the life variety

We’re still not ready to get back to regular posting– ask the grumpies will have to wait at least another week to get back on the schedule.  Here’s a few life updates while you wait for our wisdom to return.

  • My friend with secondary infertility who has been trying to get and stay pregnant for more than 2 years and many many IVF cycles has a pregnancy that has been sticking so far.
  • DH’s relative got a new job pretty much right away (via networking!).  It has better benefits and pays $1K more than his old job.  There’s also a little less hard labor work and a little more desk work which is good given his arthritis.  He’s disappointed because they decided the salary by asking him what he got paid and then adding 1K to it, and he is pretty sure he’s underpaid.  BUT it’s a better job and he won’t have an employment gap.  He did negotiate for another week of vacation and they didn’t blink.
  • #2’s father-in-law died recently of a stroke.  Really really sad.  :(  I remember seeing him at #2’s wedding and he was so very proud of his son.  Such a great family.
  • Went to the doctor and got lots of blood tests.  I have high cholesterol.  Doctor said to eat less fat and less dairy and to exercise more.  I already don’t eat much fat other than dairy (and use things like olive oil when cooking).  Last time I had my cholesterol tested my overall level was high but my good cholesterol was making up most of that– the bad cholesterol was normal.  I didn’t ask about that this time.  It is always true that I need to exercise more.  :/ .  Also my Vit D levels were low despite my daily supplement, so now I’m on 2000 instead of 1000.  That seems to have gone a long way to reduce the almost constant fatigue I was feeling.
  • action item for today: https://twitter.com/gaileyfrey/status/799380085610450944

Forgetting and a card trick

I have been having short-term and long-term memory problems lately.  I suspect this has something to do with peri-menopause, but it might be a B-12 deficiency or something else.  I mean to get my bloodwork done at my next doctors appointment.

DC1 is really into card tricks right now (after a week of “magician camp”), and all my life I’ve only known one card trick.

Or I used to know one card trick that I learned as a small child.  It suddenly occurred to me that I could not remember it for the life of me.  For a week I tried and tried to remember hopelessly shuffling DC1’s card deck.  I searched all over the internet looking up the term “cut the deck” and “card trick” and “bottom to top.”  Finally, after 2 days of B-12 supplements it came to me while I was trying to get to sleep.  I raided DC1’s room for hir deck and forced a sleepy-eyed DH to play the role of audience member.

Here it is in case I ever forget it again.

Optional:  Ask the person to cut the deck and restack.

Glance at the bottom card.  Do one of those fake shuffles that ends up with the bottom card as the top card.

Ask the person to cut the deck.

Pick up the one that wasn’t the top card without showing it to the person and say, “This is the [top card].”  Then glance at it and pick up the other card that was the top card and say, “This is the [other card].”  Then show both cards.

(And now I’m going back to sleep.)

Update on missing check

Yeah, I know this should probably wait for a Monday, but we’re a bit light on posts (in fact, if there isn’t one tomorrow, we’re ok, we’re just busy)…

Anyhow, emailed the landlord and zie said that yeah, zie had gotten the missing February check but had then lost it.  So I guess we’re going to write a new check and subtract out the $15 check cancellation fee (as the landlord suggested).  I wonder what would have happened if we’d never said anything.  (Though to be completely fair, this person is probably still coping with hir partner’s death.)