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Showing posts from 2010

Be a dilettante

In the interest of open education, I'm sharing this Guide to Free Internet Courses with you! For free! There is an accompanying academic paper which explains the concept of open education, which I will share with anyone interested. But all you really need is this list of resources to get started on your free, high-quality education.

An Annotated Guide to DIY Education OnlineApple Inc. (n.d.). iTunes U [Application]. Retrieved December 5, 2010, from http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/From the company known for its pioneering in consumer technology, iTunes has become the standard for digital music management for Mac users. iTunes U applies that platform to educational resources available from more than 800 universities, including Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, and Berkley. Content is also available from museums, libraries, and public media outlets. While the bulk of content is in the form of lectures, iTunes U also supports distribution of slideshows, videos, PDFs, ebooks, and …

By the Book: It's no hassle if you don't do it

I haven't been posting about cleaning, because I haven't been cleaning! Too under the weather for about a week. So sadly, I haven't yet been able to witness the cumulative effect of cleaning 45-60 minutes a day. However, I do think the strategies in the book are useful. I prefer to approach house cleaning in short bursts rather than being overwhelmed by the whole process. My favorite parts of the book are the last section which has a checklist of tasks for each room. It's not as if I don't know I need to mop the bathroom floor, but seeing it on the list is that extra bit of nagging that will make it happen.

No-Hassle??? Part 3

(Day 2 confirms it -- all I can do in 15 minutes is start a load of laundry and unload and load the dishwasher. These are things that have to be done every day and don't get faster the more you do them. If I live to be 70, I will spend another solid 133 days on this 15-minute task.)

Did you know I'm a gold medalist at Olympic Husband Steering? Like when you enter Target and he attempts to veer toward the wrong aisle? Subtle pressure on his arm can wordlessly steer him where you need to go. Also, hand-holding in public may seem super sweet, but it's also an effective method of Husband Steering.

I mention this because No-Hassle House Cleaning has inspired me to attempt a sort of mental husband steering! (This might be more effective if it were actually covert, but he may read this and rebel against my efforts.) Spence (<-- she has a blog!!!) writes, "A positive attitude is contagious." I think there's also something about how nagging doesn't work. So…

No-Hassle House Cleaning Part 2

Despite sleeping only four hours last night, I took the challenge and spent a total of 45 minutes cleaning today!

The first step was to add a notebook to my maid caddy -- to write down needed supplies or big tasks to remember later. Good advice from the book which also has me a little nervous about cleaning for 45 minutes everyday. This is how it breaks down for today:

15 minutes quick cleaning in the morning: a load of laundry in the washer, wiping a few things in the bathroom, barely started unloading the dishwasher15 minutes quick cleaning in the evening: another load of laundry, a little folding, finishing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen sink/counters15 minutes focus on the living room: dusting, decluttering, de-cat-hairingYes, I am shocked at how little I got done in all that time! I know the effects will be cumulative, but after 45 minutes of vigorous cleaning, that's it??!?! Still, I'm committed to seeing if the house stays a little cleaner after doing this for a litt…

By the Book: No-Hassle House Cleaning

(Bookstores are choking with books that claim they will change your life! And I'm a real sucker for them. Every time I'm stumped by a problem, I think "Is there a book about this?" Starting with the assumption that any instruction/self-help/advice book is only as effective as the reader's intention to make it work, I started this project. This is the first in a series of "By the Book" posts in which I read a book, follow its advice, and let you know how it works out.)

Today, out of growing anxiety that I'm not a good enough housekeeper, I picked up No-Hassle House Cleaning by Christina Spence. The first challenge, it seems, is to admit I'm "a happy slob and proud of it." I'm guessing a proud, happy slob would not worry the Borders cashier is judging her for needing a book to clean the house.

I was happy to discover in the first few pages that I'm already doing some things right! From Spence's list of ways to make cleaning…

Feeling Good

Today is the official first day of my self-employment after the long weekend. I have exercised, studied, read, finished sewing the quilt top for Lori's baby, and folded a good deal of laundry. Productivity is obviously a key component of my sabbatical.

Over the next six months, I will take seven classes and finish my master's in library science. I will also be writing, sewing, and getting into shape for a half-marathon in November. If the weather's nice I'm going to get a good tan. If the weather's not nice, I'm going to spoil my cats. I'm going to take vacations and read a couple of books a week. I'm going to cook Nick's dinner and keep the kitchen clean.

If life starts to feel too domestic, I'm going to spend a day at the coffee shop, writing. It's the happiest time because I can do what I want, be what I want. What do I want to be? A student, an artist, a writer, an athlete, a hippie, a person of great wit and depth! I want to be …

An embarrassment of riches

I have a friend who has the rare dilemma of choosing between two great job opportunities: one would divert his career path but put him closer to family; the other is a "dream" job that is considerably further away from family.

Career vs. Family -- Does the phrase suggest an ambitious woman deciding whether to have children or go for more job responsibility? Does it make you think of the woman who must choose between putting her kids in daycare or going the stay-at-home route?

I am thinking of neither of those scenarios. This is about the 20- and 30-somethings who have to choose between living close to their parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, friends -- or moving farther away and facing isolation from the people they care about.

I know I feel a lot of guilt for living 12-hours away from my family. A few days ago a friend asked me how often I visit Atmore and I said, sadfaced, "Only a few times a year." He laughed and said "ONLY? That's a lot!" There are …

making my confession

Last night I did something I feel pretty guilty about. (Bear with me, because it's not about what I ate.)

We were driving home from Denton and it was time to stop for dinner. I was holding out for Schlotzskys because I've been dreaming of a Cinnabon! (No, really, my guilt is not about that.) Finally we stopped at an exit that happened to have a Schlotzskys, so that's the good news. The guy at the counter flubbed our order a little and said "sorry, it's been a crazy night." No worries, but I thought it was a strange thing to say since there weren't many people in there. It was maybe 10 minutes later when the red flags started to go up. I heard a customer complaining that she had waited more than 30 minutes. Uh oh. Not what you want to hear when you are trying to get through a 5 hour drive before midnight.

I listened, amused, and started to wonder if I should worry about our order. I saw that a customer who ordered after us was bearing down at the c…

No one is looking at you

Dear Diary,

I waited almost a week to tell you about my last 5k!

Every one of these experiences comes with its own lesson, and this one was clear from the beginning. This is me when Nick and I pulled into the parking lot at 7:30 Saturday morning:

Hey, do you want to just save the entrance fee and go do our 3.1 miles at the park?

And we would be done faster because we wouldn't have to wait til 9 to start!

Etc.

He got really frustrated with meand said, "If you don't want to do it, just say so!"

He forced me to realize I did want to do it, I was just afraid. Afraid of being chased by jackals? Afraid of the ground swallowing me up? (No joke it happened very nearby not too long ago.) I wasn't even afraid I couldn't do it because 3 miles is no big deal anymore.

I was afraid people would look at me funny! With there little beady zero-body-fat eyes! Look at that girl! She got lost on the way to IHOP this morning! I HATE that kind of judgment, but I am the one visiting…

junky secret

I'm working my program at Weight Watchers, as you may know. I say "working my program" because that's the way they say it at Alcoholics Anonymous and other addiction programs. I've never been to AA, but I know enough from pop culture to see the similarities. We show up for our meetings every week (more often if you're really struggling), tell our personal tales, get stickers and trinkets for passing milestones. I'm ok with the analogy.

So I'm working my program, tracking everything, using the motivational tools. But I have a dirty little secret. My secret is the junk I eat on the way home from work when I'm stressed or upset.

You can find the evidence of my secret in my car. The garbage in my car at the end of the week tells the complete story of how bad my mood has been. This week you would find a KING SIZE Reese's wrapper and a bag from Sonic (with clearly visible tater tot residue).

When I stopped at the grocery store Tuesday, the though…

Wake-up call/Plan B

Image via WikipediaI went to the doctor today. I haven't been in months because I kept canceling appointments. Pretty much from June-December I pretended I didn't have diabetes. Now I guess I'm reaping that foolishness. I told the doc, "I'm going to Weight Watchers, I'm back on track, I still believe I can do this on my own."

My doctor, always supportive but frank, said, "What is your goal?" I told him my goal is to lose 50 lbs by this fall.

"That is a good goal, but only you can hold you accountable for it," he said. "You have to have a goal and a plan, but when a plan doesn't work out, you have a Plan B. Plan A is preferable, but if you don't reach your goal with Plan A, you move on to the backup plan. This is not a threat, but it is your second-best option. You have a progressive disease and you have been here since 2008 without much improvement."

My doctor is not gruff or callous. But he is frank. Maybe you ca…

I got a medal!

Last Sunday, Nick and I participated in the 3M relay half-marathon in Austin. He took the first leg -- 6.4 miles -- while I did the second leg -- 6.7 miles. The morning started about 6, still dark, very cold and windy. After an hour delay, the first half of the race finally started and I just had to wait for Nick to show up and tag me in. I was so far from confident.

Thankfully, Nick was faster than either of us expected, giving me a good lead time. You may remember my last race experience, the San Antonio Rock N Roll Half Marathon in November. The heart-breaking truth of that race was that I was too slow to stay ahead of the sweepers and got pushed out at mile 6. I know I didn't get any faster since then, so I was expecting the same sort of thing.

Did I mention it was pretty cold Sunday morning? Exercising in cold air tends to give me asthma. Half a mile into my leg of the race I was having an asthma attack, and everyone around me was passing me. I stopped at the portypo…