Home / 2008 / January

It Ain’t So Bad

Or How Failure, Newness, and Big Choices, Bring Un-expected Clarity

The Positivity Blog‘s Why You Should Never Be Afraid of Failure espouses a “When God shuts a door, he opens a window” mentality. I found comfort in the post not because I have a hard time dealing with failure, but for another reason completely. Christine MS says that

The best part of failure is that it takes your journey on a path it could never have found without.

In my case, I would replace “failure” with “making life-changing decisions.” I have written about this before, but it’s just nice knowing that other people agree with me: Sometimes the things that happen to us, the things we choose or do not choose, help us to see our life from a completely different point of view.

And this is Life after all, so sometimes those things are positive (like moving to Germany!) and sometimes they are not (like failure). What’s happening in your life right now? Does it suck? Then take a moment to view the world from your new vantage point and see what you can learn.

Oh, those Germans…

I like reading the blog A Welsh View because it highlights the weird of the world. I like seeing things come across my gReader that make me laugh. This one was a doozy.

Cheeseburger in a Can? Seriously? Upon closer inspection, I noticed a word I learned during Christmas at Berlin while watching Tatort, a rather popular Sunday night show here in Deutschland. That word is “Malzeit” (see it there, on the can?). It’s kind of like “Have a nice lunch!”

So I click on the link at the end of every A Welsh View post that takes you to the original site. Yep. “Cheeseburger in a Can” is being sold at a German website. LOL. Why do I not believe it looks that good when it comes out of the can?

Blog Review: Ooh, you tasty little things…

Besides my best and closest friends blogs (plus here, here, here, and here), there aren’t too many blogs I read that I look forward to. Thankfully, though, I somehow came across Ohh, You Tasty Little Things, a simply delightful blog whose author bakes yummy treats, blogs about them, and includes mouth-watering photos of these delicious cupcakes, breakfast food, and cakes! If you haven’t started reading it already, you should start!

100 Mile–8 Week Challenge: Week 4

Okay, so I’m post-posting this (does that work?!), but at least I’m posting it! I have to admit that I am somewhat disappointed in myself. In 2007, from February until September, Sarah and I ran 3 or 4 times a week pretty regularly (minus a few weeks off because of vacation or pain). The last four weeks, I have managed to run three times a week only once. What’s wrong with me? I guess I miss my awesome running partner! At least I’m still loggin the miles.

Weekly total: 18.9
Challenge total: 64.8

Week 1’s post
Week 2’s post
Week 3’s post

Cool Technology: IWantSandy.com

I read about I Want Sandy over on 43 Folders, one of the blogs I read to guide me as I try to become organized and productive. It is the most useful web tool I have found to help me stay on track. I knew it was for me when I read this on her website:

Many people use their email inboxes as dynamic to-do lists, hoping that by keeping stuff “at the top” it will stay “top of mind.” Send those emails to me with the date you’d like them returned, and I’ll pass them back to you right when you need them.

Do you do that? Because I always tried to. Nope, doesn’t work. So I decided to give Sandy a try. And I have found that she is exactly what I have been needing!

Easy to Use

First of all, Sandy is easy to use; I have found that she has a very quick learning curve. Why? All you have to do is email her–you even get to set up your own special email address to use for Sandy (mine is “Help Me” in German).

Email Her

I know that I need to remember to include instructions for posting to the session log blog in my weekly email to my LC tutors, but I know I’ll lose that scrap of paper. Or I might forget to check my planner. So I simply email Sandy: “Remind me on Monday morning to tell the tutors how to post a session log. @lang-centre”. Monday morning when I get to the office, Sandy will have sent me an email telling me all the tasks and reminders I have set for Monday, including what I need to tell the tutors.

Sandy understands speech-like commands, so you don’t have to remember any fancy phrases (Although if you do have trouble remembering how to talk to Sandy, she comes with a cheat sheet).

Use Tags

Why the funny little “@lang-centre”? Funny, I thought you’d ask! The at-sign tells Sandy that what follows is a tag for that particular request. And, of course, it’s very simple: Just apply a tag via email by adding @[tag name] at the end of any command. I have tags for organization, the Language Centre, ToDos, and people, among others. Tags help to group all similar tasks so that they are easy for you to locate. Or easy for you to ask Sandy to locate for you.

Ask Sandy to Look Up Info

But let’s say that I decide to write the email Sunday night. I email Sandy: “Look up @lang-centre.” She emails me all of my active notes that I have tagged @lang-centre.

No External Site Necessary

If you’re like me, you too could be organized and on top of your life if you could just remember to check our calendar each day and scan the week and month to see what we need to prepare for. I don’t know about you, but I have too many things on my mind most of the time to remember everything I need to take care of and every think I need to check to remember all those things. I used to be able to when I was in high school. But that was high school.

Sandy delivers her reminders right to your inbox, so you don’t have to visit her site to communicate with her. Just send her an email.

I have to admit, though, that I do use her site more now that part of my 2008 Resolutions include closing Gmail while I work. I open her site while I’m working so that I can have her remind me of all those things that I suddenly remember that I just have to take care of. (Why is it that we remember so well when we are trying to focus on grading, reading research reports, etc?!). This helps me stay focused (read “stay away from my biggest distractor, Gmail”) when I’m working.

So why is Sandy the tool I’m using most to help me to be productive? As Mr. Kelso (and GTD) always used to say, “file it and forget it.”

Related Posts
Cool Technology: Drop.io

Weight Milestone #1

I cannot believe it, but I have hit a weight milestone that I have been working towards for quite a long time.

This morning when I weighed myself, I saw a number on the scale that I haven’t seen since the end of my freshman year at SMSU. This makes my BMI right at 25%, which is the borderline between “normal weight” and “overweight”!

My next goal is to lose another 20 pounds, at which time I will weigh what I did when I graduated high school. I want to fit into size 10 or even 8 pants, but since Euro sizes are different, we’ll have to wait to see if I meet those goals until I take a trip to America (maybe in 2008??) and can try on real size 10s. (Euro pants say their American counterpart size, but I just don’t believe them. :) )

100 Mile–8 Week Challenge: Week 3

Not the greatest week, running-wise, but as Deanna and LifeStudent say, baby steps are good and just moving is better than not!

One true running day this week, two lazy walk-only days that should have been running days, and one started-off-as-a-run-day, but ended up as a walk/speed-work/hill-work day because of bladder infection-induced pain. It isn’t fun to run with a bladder infection.

Weekly total: 18.7
Challenge total: 45.9

Week 1’s post
Week 2’s post

100 Mile–8 Week Challenge: Week 2

Week 2 was much better than week 1. Because we actually did some running (imagine that!)! It was still very cold this week, but I really like my new running jacket, plus, you are only cold for the first 15 minutes or so. After that, you’re body warms up, and only your fingers and maybe your ears and nose get a little cold when you run into the wind.

What I am most proud of this week is that I’ve come back stronger. Rob and I talked about pushing yourself, plus I read some advice from Arnie, and I pushed myself. The second day, when I was really sore, I thought I’d only be able to run 30 minutes. But we did 60! I am going to call 2008 the year of growth: I want to become stronger in several areas of my life, and running is only one of those.

Weekly total: 21.9 miles
Challenge total: 27.2 miles

(For more info, read Week 1’s post here.)

2008 New Year’s Resolutions


I love the new year. I love all of the symbolism that comes with seeing “January 01” on the calendar.

I made a lot of changes to my life in 2007: Around April, I discovered LifeOrganizers.com and it kick-started my organizational drive. Unlike my previous attempts at becoming organized, this one actually stuck. Moving to Germany for a new job, getting a new office (changing my environment), and realizing the opportunity I had to actually BE a new person all helped me to continue making positive changes to my life. (See below for links to blogs I’ve posted about the changes in my life over the past year.)

In 2008, I want to make these changes deeper and further reaching. So I did some research on setting and achieving goals, use external reminders, and why change fails, which I am integrating into my resolutions.

My 2008 Resolutions

One of the things I read is that your resolutions should be in the present tense, and this still sounds a little weird to me, but I like it. Also, part of achieving your goals is frequently rewriting them (DLM and PB), and already as I have rewritten them a few times since the beginning of the year, I have changed a few of them!

In no specific order…

  • I am a runner.
    • I run 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. UPDATE: I run 3 times a week: one 30-minute run, two 30- to 60-minute runs, and one 60- to 120-minute run.
    • One the weekends, I run 5 to 10 miles (incorporated into above update).
    • If I don’t run, I walk for at least 60 minutes.
  • I am organized at work.
    • I save and file everything necessary.
    • I back up my files regularly.
    • I use lists and tools to organize my ToDos (ClockingIT, IWantSandy, tasktoy, gCalendar).
    • I clean off my desk before leaving, and I put things away in the right place.
  • I am organized at home.
    • I do at least one small task (>= 15 to 30 minutes) before crashing on the couch.
    • I clean off the side table before leaving the living room.
    • I clean off my side of the desk before leaving the living room.
  • I no longer need sleeping pills to shut down my mind at night.
    • I get regular exercise.
    • I have a regular bedtime.
    • I control my thoughts.
  • I do not let myself get distracted during scheduled work time.
  • I want for everyone what I want for myself.
  • I spend two hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday working on my PhD project.
  • I am content with what I have.

Life-changes Blogs

New Job!
Treat Your Body Like it’s the Only One You’ve Got Part 1 and Part 2
Have an Internal Locus of Control
Time + Money = Priorities Part 1 and Part 2
How Moving to Germany Made Me Re-examine My Habits
Just Announced: Linden 2.0!
Three Things I Never Thought I’d Say
Affirmation
I am. . .
Linden 2.0: Now out of beta!
UPDATE Re: “Linden 2.0: Now Out of Beta”

Fun Little Post

Before we go on our long run today, I decided to check LJ, since I hadn’t in like, for ever. Found a fun little quiz/survey on syrinx-redstar‘s blog, which I then saw he got from curechik.

Band name: Green Hairstreak

Album title: (Something) We Do Not Understand

Album cover: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rainbowcolors/2183277408/

Find out your own:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover