Friday, May 09, 2014

Here's your reading list for the week

I've been blogging up a storm over at The Papercraft Lab, so I thought you might like to see what I wrote.

Nine numerical facts about nine years

My secret mobile photography weapon 

101 things to document about yourself  (useful for blogs, Project Life, art journals and more!)

What color is the grass now? (mentioned by author Laura Vanderkam on her blog!)

Apparently people have been finding these posts useful because my stats are crazy high this week.  Hooray and hope to see you over there!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

We're still having fun (and still blogging)

Logo for The Papercraft Lab - custom scrapbooking service

I was so excited about my clarity of purpose in my last post, getting all into Essentialism and writing that shizz down, that I forgot to say one thing.  I am taking a break from blogging here, but I will still be writing at The Papercraft Lab.

I do like to write, but I can't maintain two blogs. I also can't write about *just* crafting 100% so my secret to keeping up my business blog is to make it more like this one, and open to other topics.  Granted, they will at least tenuously relate to either photography, crafting or documenting interesting life happenings, but that covers a lot of ground.

So I'd appreciate if you could update your feed reader and come on over.  Today I've got some time management tips for crafty folks.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Even if we won't admit it to ourselves

I am in the midst of an EXCELLENT book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It is the kind of book that resonates with the ideas I have in theory, but is compelling enough to get me to actually DO something to live those ideas.

In a way, it's a time management and productivity book, but instead of squeezing more things into your limited time, it's about choosing VERY strategically what is actually worth spending time on. I'm reading it slowly to savor it and I am thinking about how to put these concepts into practice.

To that end, I sat down today and wrote up my priority list. It hasn't changed, but I am committing to be disciplined about focusing only on these things instead of getting distracted by shiny things on the Internet.
  • FAMILY - kid-wrangling, being wifely (whatever that means), doing *fun* stuff together
  • HOME - finish unpacking after the remodel, laundry, dishes, keeping the filth and clutter down
  • CRAFT - work on my scrapbooks, and continue making them for others via The Papercraft Lab
  • SELF-CARE - exercise, eat well, cook at home, sleep enough
  • WORK - yep!  Starting a part-time contract gig next week
Work was a new addition to the list and actually triggered the re-evaluation of my commitments.  I am setting up shop as an independent consultant project manager (sounds so much fancier than it is!) and have a couple of clients for a total of about 20 hours a week.

Our new business covers my PM work and TJ's motorsports mobile app development.  Here's the fancy new logo I got on Etsy.  Pretty cool, huh?  I have to say that as a papercrafter and lover of stationery, I was especially excited about choosing a logo.

Here are some of the things I am completing or quitting to "find" 20 hours a week for this work:
  • Completed Coursera Creative Problem Solving class online, which completes my credits needed for renewing my PMP certification for 3 more years.
  • Completed two scrapbooks for Papercraft Lab clients
  • Un-enrolled from two other Coursera courses that "sounded interesting"
  • Declined the role of coordinating summer playdates for our toddler group
  • Stopped taking custom metal orders in my Etsy shop (still selling ready-made items!)
  • Facebook (I may need to detox gradually - I've already removed it from my phone. SO hard.)
  • Quit trying to be "social coordinator" and making new friends - need to focus on my existing ones!
  • Buying the snack for T's preschool at Trader Joe's instead of baking it
  • Stopped watching TV (no more Glee, Grey's Anatomy, The Mindy Project, etc.)
  • Finishing a scrapbook layout that will be used as a "demo" in an upcoming class
  • Decided not to enroll the girls in additional classes this summer other than Little Gym
  • Blogging. I haven't been motivated to write much here, so I'm taking a break for a while
In addition to going through my existing activities with a fine-toothed comb, I'm trying to be VERY selective about what I take on. I have a tendency to add projects on a whim, or volunteer for stuff when asked, so this is going to be a significant mindset change.  Wish me luck! 

If you read Essentialism, I'd love to know what you thought.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Lovin': Bastille (the band not the prison)

Sometimes you hear a new song and you just have to stop and HEAR it, because it's so perfectly awesome on the first listen.  I remember exactly where and when I first heard Bastille's song Pompeii.

It was a freezing January evening at the gas station near my parents' house, where I was filling up before the daily trip back to the house to "camp out" in the living room during the remodel.

While the song was playing, I used the Android "what song is it" widget to find out who it was and hopped over to Amazon MP3 to purchase it immediately.  I should have listened to the other songs on the album and just bought the whole thing right there, but of course I was looking for instant gratification and had two kids perilously close to bedtime.

We've been listening to a lot of Pandora in the house, and after I gave Pompeii a "thumbs up", other Bastille songs started creeping into the mix.  And I loved every song I heard.  So I finally bought the whole Bad Blood album last week, and Oh. Em. Gee. It's amazing. So catchy and such great lyrics.  Any band that leaves me the earworm of "Icarus is flying too close to the sun" is A-OK.  Apparently if you buy the CD, the MP3 download is now free.  (I missed this entirely since I purchased on my phone, sigh.)

I'm noticing a pattern.  British male singers with obvious accents.  Sound reminiscent of 80s music. Thoughtful lyrics not always about lost romantic love.  Hello Passenger, The Script, Scars on 45. So I guess I've become predictable in my old age.  But at least I'm finding new music to listen to!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ready to Run

I have a love-hate, on-and-off, breakup and get back together again relationship with exercise.  When I was 24, I lost 40 pounds by combining Weight Watchers and serious exercise. That was the first time in my life I tried running. I was inspired by John Bingham's book about getting started as a runner despite being middle aged and overweight. I love that he dubbed himself "The Penguin". I went to Alaska for one of his running clinics and it was awesome.

Because this is a blog post and that was 14 years ago, I can fast forward through all the sweat and side stitches and hours on the treadmill, and say that I went from no exercise at all, to a ton of walking, to running a 5K.  It was glorious - I was thinner than I ever had been as an adult, I actually started to love running and working out and I gained some serious self-confidence in the process.

You know how the story goes. First it started with a new consulting gig where the gym wasn't so convenient and lots of dinners out.  I eventually gained some of that weight back. In 2004 after I got engaged, I got my vanity on - I wanted to look *good* in my wedding pictures.  So back to the gym I went. I got a trainer and a nutritionist and got back to running.  I ran another couple of 5Ks in Seattle and learned to love running again.

But again, the lazy won out.  I did work out fairly regularly, but stopped running.  When I got pregnant with T, I stopped going to the gym entirely because I was SO tired all the time. I dropped my gym membership and haven't had one since (5+ years now!).

Two pregnancies later, the situation is not pretty. I have about 20 lbs to lose to get back to pre-T-pregnancy weight.  And that was not a healthy weight for me, so it's more like 40-mumble pounds to get back to something actually healthy for my height.

One of my goals for age 40 (next year - arghhh!) is to get to a healthy weight for my height.  I don't have a lot of time, and I do have a lot of work ahead of me.  And yet I have been unmotivated to DO THE WORK. I can talk a good game, I can make charts and lists and motivational collages, but actually getting down to the treadmill and walking?  Naaah.

And then my friend A told me about Beat the Blerch.  It's a crazy running event hosted by the guy who draws The Oatmeal.  There will be cake, and people in costume chasing the runners. This appealed to me. Plus, I love The Oatmeal.

My first 10K, god help me

So in a fit of crazy, and encouraged by several friends, I signed up.  The shortest distance is 10K.  Which I've never run.  The last time I did any running was in 2005.  What have I gotten myself into?

I started where all new runners start these days.  The Couch to 5K walk/run program.  Now in our fancy age of smartphones, there's an app for that.  It's fantastic- it gives you prompts to start running or walking over the music you're listening to.  I really could have used this back in 2004.  Or 1998.

I completed a week of running workouts before I got this horrible cold which I've had for about 2 weeks now.  (Sigh).  This means I'll probably have to start over.  I couldn't even DO the Week 1 of that program - I'm so out of shape that even running for 1 minute 8 times was too much.  So I scaled it back to running 35 seconds and I'll add more time slowly.  

I've got 5 months before the race in September so I should be able to work up to 6.2 miles by then, *if* I can be consistent.  That's the hard part, right?

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