Weekly Update 1: Birthday Edition

Yeah, so I couldn’t even hold back for a week. ¬†ūüôā But seriously, I think once a week will work for me. ¬†This time of year is always insane. ¬†My kids’ birthdays are two days apart, Geeky Boy’s tomorrow and Geeky Girl’s two days later. ¬†There are parties to plan, family dinners to cook, and often visitors to host. ¬†When I was working, it was even worse because it was also the beginning of the summer program I ran. ¬†No matter how much in advance I tried to plan things, there was always a lot of rushing around at the last minute. ¬†This year, the parties and visits are postponed a week, but we are still doing nice family dinners plus dessert on the kids’ actual birthdays. ¬†A few years ago, I had a kind of mini-breakdown on Geeky Boy’s birthday. ¬†Though I didn’t say so in that post, I was stressed beyond belief. ¬†I was basically doing everything I could to minimize my work load. ¬†My job was sucking the life force out of me and that year was the beginning of my thinking about leaving. ¬†I had begun to cry every once in a while over stuff at work. ¬†I also cried over stuff at home. ¬†I had some issues. ¬†I am much, much less stressed today. ¬†Yes, I find this time of year semi backbreaking and yes, as usual, I’m trying to do too many things at once, but I’m stepping back from it and not worrying. ¬†I’m making sure that we at least have a nice celebration for each kid, that they get to feel special for a day, that they know we love them.

Today, I bought herb plants and a nice box planter to hang on the deck. ¬†I spend almost every afternoon out there, sipping on an adult beverage. ¬†Mr. Geeky joins me when he returns from work. ¬†I’ve almost finished painting. ¬†I’m suffering from some pretty bad back pain that I hope will be resolved during my massage tday.¬† It has, unfortunately, hindered me from working too much at anything.¬† I am in the process of learning all kinds of new things and honing my old skills in preparation for the fall. ¬†I’m sure I won’t accomplish everything I want to, but I’m happy with the progress so far.¬† Yesterday, Mr. Geeky and Geeky Girl were away at a field trip all day.¬† Geeky Boy and I held down the fort, but then he went off to a pool party.¬† I skipped dog training class so that I could relax a little, have a beer and watch tv.¬† Just what my back needed, quite frankly.

Next week the inlaws descend to participate in birthday celebrations. ¬†It’s always nice to see them, but of course, preparing for the visit is a lot of work. ¬†I’ve started the Fly Lady baby steps. ¬†Don’t laugh. ¬†I need someone to just tell me what to do. ¬†My sink is ridiculously shiny, and she’s right, it made me happy.

Pulled in many directions

I almost titled this post “Mondays Suck,” but I decided that might get me off on the wrong foot.¬† And maybe just by mentioning it, I’ve already jinxed the day.¬† Sigh.¬† It’s cold and wet and rainy, which does not help matters much.¬† This weekend was evenly split between crazy busy and complete sloth.¬† On Saturday, there were soccer tryouts and training walks and then preparing for guests to come over for dinner.¬† Sunday, the rain caused the cancellation of our normal back-to-back soccer games, and so collectively, we all decided to stay in our pj’s.¬† Aside from the kids doing some kitchen cleanup, and my making brunch, we did stay in our pj’s, watching tv and playing on the computer.¬† I finally put clothes on around 3 in the afternoon.¬† It was awesome!

And then 6 a.m. this morning came too soon.¬† There are many things I want/need to do today, and I’m still sorting out exactly what and in what order.¬† There’s writing, working on some job things, painting, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and kid carpooling.¬† And I think this is why I feel so anxious this particular Monday.¬† Especially after such a slothful day, being faced with so many things to do, some of which I can’t not do, just feels overwhelming.¬† But I’m formulating a plan.¬† Normally, I write for at least two hours in the morning.¬† Today, I’m cutting that to one hour.¬† Then I need to walk the dog, and after that, I’m going to go get more paint.¬† Then, I will paint, have lunch, and after lunch, do laundry and cleaning.¬† After that, I will tackle some job-related activities while I wait for Geeky Boy to come home.¬† Later, I have to pick up Geeky Girl, who is auditioning for chorus and she’s agreed to go to the grocery store with me.¬† By the time we get home, it will be time for dinner.¬† This is the life of a stay at home parent, in case you’re wondering.¬† Always pulled in multiple directions.¬† Some days are more packed than others, but most days, you have to be prepared for the unexpected.¬† You never know when a kid will need to be retrieved or a spill needs to be tended to.¬†¬† And it doesn’t actually suck.¬† It’s just sometimes not that fun.

Tired

I’m single parenting this week on the heels of a very busy weekend. ¬†And for whatever reason, it’s really wearing me out. ¬†I just feel like I have no energy at all. ¬†I’m getting plenty of sleep, but it doesn’t seem to matter. ¬†I tried to do some reading yesterday and nearly fell asleep after just a couple of pages. ¬†Maybe it’s the weather. ¬†It was so nice this weekend and we were outside basking in the sunny goodness, and then the rain hit yesterday and it was a downpour. ¬†Today, there were brief glimpses of sun, but now it’s cloudy and threatening to rain again. ¬†Rain makes me want to curl up in bed with a hot cup of tea and watch bad tv. ¬†Also, I’ve had all these errands to run on top of regular stuff like walking the dog, doing laundry (of which we have a ton because of losing the use of the washer/dryer while simultaneously deciding that all the blankets and sheets in the house needed to be washed). ¬†I had to take the dog to the vet (in the rain). ¬†Yesterday afternoon, I had plans to go to the grocery store with Geeky Boy, but then he decided he needed a haircut and we decided we were too tired to do both. ¬†We’re doing the grocery store visit today. ¬†This morning, Geeky Girl forgot her violin, so after a long walk with the dog, I showered and drove it over to the school. ¬†I put in a load of laundry, took out another and am now staring down at least three loads that need to be folded. ¬†And it makes me tired thinking about it. ¬†But I’ll do it after lunch.

Luckily, spring break is next week and I’m taking the kids down to my dad’s. ¬†We’re staying in a hotel on the way with an indoor pool and we might make some side trips that involve woods and trails. ¬†We’re definitely going to see a movie. ¬†I’m ready. ¬†I think I need a break from the routine, the grind I put myself in every day.

Speaking of which, I haven’t been writing this week. ¬†Sigh. ¬†I’ve decided I need to take it elsewhere. ¬†So I think I’ll head to Starbucks tomorrow, mid-morning and work there for a change. ¬†I’m too distracted here by the dog, the laundry, Facebook. ¬†And maybe extra coffee will help!

Moms and GTD (Warning, kind of grumpy)

Longtime readers know that I was once a big fan of David Allen’s GTD system. ¬†But after a while, the whole thing started to stress me out. ¬†I think there are things about the system that are useful, but they’re sort of common sense–doing one thing at a time, break big tasks into smaller chunks. ¬†But in his books, Allen makes getting stuff done sound like it’s just a matter of clearing out an inbox and checking off things on a list. ¬†The important thing is making the right list. Now that I’m home, both working and doing mom stuff, his system doesn’t really work for me. ¬†For example, the other day, I put on my list “finish laundry.” ¬†Yeah, stop laughing. ¬†Because the laundry, as anyone who’s done it knows, is never finished. ¬†By the time I’ve emptied all the baskets, at least one is full again and the cycle starts all over again. ¬†On any given day, if I wrote down absolutely everything that needed to get done, I’d be completely overwhelmed. ¬†And then, add to that the unexpected crap that comes along very very regularly. ¬†Over the weekend, the basement flooded, which will entail a phone call to the plumber and lots of cleaning. ¬†One kid is sick–Mr. Geeky is retrieving him from school as I type this. ¬†And Mr. Geeky himself was sick starting a week ago, went to a conference last week, and then returned sick and laid in bed all weekend (I think the kid has this illness). We’re currently down to one car because we haven’t had time to repair the other car after the great icicle incident. ¬†The part is in; now it just needs to be put in place. ¬†And then there’s constant bill-paying, school paperwork stuff, managing insurance and wills and other grownup things.

And that’s just the house stuff. ¬†I’m not even talking about work stuff. ¬†It’s a good thing I’m being very low-key about my work because if I didn’t, nothing around the house would get done. ¬†It’s kind of a catch-22. ¬†I should put more time and effort into working so that it will pay off financially, but if I do, no one’s picking up the slack. ¬†This became clear during the five weeks I taught a while back. ¬†In part, of course, it’s because I didn’t insist on others picking up the slack. ¬†I didn’t ask Mr. Geeky to do a couple of loads of laundry or have the kids straighten the living room. ¬†And I didn’t do that because the class was so short and temporary. ¬†I have a dilemma in my head right now because on the one hand, I’d like to eventually be working more (either full or part time) and on the other, I worry about what will not get done around the house.

I can’t believe we managed all this when we both had full-time jobs. ¬†It meant, usually, that we either a) crammed it all in over the weekend and/or in snippets in the evenings and/or b) did less of it. We did have a housekeeper back then, which helped, but did not resolved some of the deeper disorganization issues. ¬†She kept the floors and toilets and carpets clean. ¬†But the papers piled up, and laundry didn’t always get put away, and we ordered out a lot more. ¬†And I was pretty stressed about all that. ¬†And I feel like I can’t return to working more until the house is in a position for it to run more smoothly and I’m increasingly feeling like I can’t get it in that position by myself. ¬†No amount of list-making is going to help me to the hard work of getting it done.

Frankly, and I know I’m not the only one, I get discouraged about the fact that I can’t seem to keep things neat. ¬†And when I got home on Saturday to find the basement filled with 4-5 inches of water, I felt even more discouraged. I stood halfway down the stairs and just said “Oh my God, oh my God” over and over. ¬†And the cat was meowing from her perch in the window across the room, and I went and put on boots and trekked across the water and rescued her. ¬†But then the dog showed up and she ran across the water and all my efforts were wasted. And then I got a broom and poked at a hole in the floor to check if it was clogged (it wasn’t) and then I took off my boots, which weren’t tall enough to keep the water out, so I took off my socks too, and Mr. Geeky was lying in bed, sick. ¬†And I just thought, well fuck. ¬†Yes, I really thought that. ¬†The whole damn thing–the cleaning, the semi-maintenance of financial order, keeping kids and cats and dogs fed and cared for–seemed completely sysyphean. ¬†And if I hadn’t been keeping it all together for the sake of everyone around me and myself, really, I probably would have cried. ¬†Cried. Over housework. ¬†Over the damn basement flooding. ¬†But really, it was kind of the proverbial straw.

And now here I am writing about it instead of tackling the basement or anything on my list. ¬†Because what’s going on in my head right now is a sort of defeatist mentality. ¬†If I clean up the basement, which will take me all day, all the things on the list that’s been sitting around since Thursday won’t get done. ¬†So it will be Tuesday at the earliest before I can tackle anything. ¬†If I weren’t being defeatist, I might just think, well, maybe you’ll get the basement done and get to the list too! ¬†Realistically (not even defeatistically), I know I can’t get the whole thing done today, and really, I’m planning to start within 10 minutes. ¬†Because it’s a big job. ¬†And somebody’s got to do it, and I am currently hating that that somebody has to be me. ¬†Mr. Geeky? Working until 8 because he has a meeting at 4 at another university. ¬†And this schedule? Typical.

All that is a long way of saying that yes, I still make lists. ¬†I still try to keep some of the aspects of GTD in mind. ¬†For example, making a plan for what needs to get done first in the basement. ¬†But in reality, such an ordered system doesn’t work for me and makes me feel bad about what’s not getting done, especially when it comes to the “mom” part of my title. ¬†I think that’s true of many moms. ¬†I need something better. ¬†And, then, I need a vacation.

Labor, Stress, Leisure, and other thoughts

I’ve been thinking about labor for the last couple of days as I’ve tried to settle into a routine where I can get my work done for my course, keep a couple of other balls in the air, take care of a household and children, and still find time for down time. ¬†It feels lazy to say this, but I don’t like working all the time. ¬†I’ve tried in my life to find work that doesn’t feel like work. ¬†I feel completely lucky to have the education and skills to pursue that kind of work as opposed to resorting to manual labor (which may not feel like work to some people, but would to me). ¬†For whatever reason, as I’ve gotten older, the pressure of work, even enjoyable work, leads to major stress. ¬†Twice in the last couple of weeks, I’ve endured massive headaches brought on by stress, exacerbated by my TMJ condition, which was itself brought on by stress. ¬†A vicious cycle, to be sure. ¬†I hate that this happens and as I’ve said before, my energy is just gone when these things come on and I don’t feel like doing anything and then I feel guilty for that which stresses me out and thus we start all over again.

From a financial standpoint, we don’t need for me to have a fulltime paycheck for us to survive. ¬†We’ve made enough cuts now and the little bit of extra income I’ve brought in and that Mr. Geeky has earned through grants and service activities have mitigated much of the gap that existed in our spending and income right after I quit. ¬†But, of course, there are things like remodeling projects, travel, and the looming college education for the kids that have more than once raised the issue of my going back to work. ¬†Not in a desperate, “omg, you have to find a job now kind of way,” but in a “well, if I went back to work . . .” kind of way.

And that brings me to another kind of labor, the labor of keeping up the house and taking care of the kids, a majority of which falls on my shoulders whether or not I’m working. ¬†Added to the general stress of my former job in and of itself was the stress of trying to manage all the kids’ activities, keep up with laundry, keep the house relatively neat, cook meals, buy food for said meals, etc. ¬†And this goes back to the “I don’t want to be working all the time statement.” ¬†I get most stressed when I feel like that’s the case. ¬†So, for example, I leave for work at 8:30, get home at 6:00, prepare a meal, supervise homework, mabye a break for tv or a game or something before having to supervise bedtime. ¬†Yes, even with tweens and teens, we still have to make sure that the kids go to bed in a timely manner. ¬†Because there’s so little time during the week, shopping, laundry and other housework fell to the weekend, meaning that a chunk of it was taken up with work. ¬†And, often, Mr. Geeky does “paid” work–grades papers, does research, performs some kind of service–on the weekend. ¬†I’ve read the academic blogs; I see you out there trying to say you’re not going to work on Saturday or Sunday. ¬†You almost always fail.

All of my self-improvement projects also start to feel like work. ¬†Exercise, decluttering, educational activities. ¬†It’s enough to make you go crazy. ¬† Tim Burke’s post about the declining value/open sourcing of cultural products gets at the heart of some of my dilemma:

If the 1950s-1990s were a highwater mark for the commodification of culture in the United States, it’s partly because they were also a highwater mark for the sequestration of leisure time from labor time. For the last three decades, working Americans have seen that leisure time slowly clawed back for the sake of work or for the sake of a productivist temperment even outside of work, towards a belief that the things we do should somehow always be generating value, towards a classically bourgeois construction of virtuous leisure. . . .

Productivism again reigns as a supreme bourgeois virtue. Time spent just listening or reading or viewing, if you can’t recuperate it as time getting educated or improved in some tangible way, is shameful time, not a shared triumph of the middle-class milieu.

Tim uses these points in a larger argument about why cultural products have lost their value. ¬†In part, it’s because we don’t have time to engage with them. ¬†And in part, it’s because there’s an attitude prevalent now that says if you spend an afternoon reading a book or catching up on The Wire, you’re wasting your time, maybe even “our” collective time. ¬†Tim doesn’t mention this, but there is a kind of “omg, Americans aren’t making anything, aren’t as productive as we used to be; the Chinese are going to eat our lunch” panic out there. ¬†As I recall, though, productivity has actually been on the rise. ¬†Anyway, this is part of my problem. ¬†My decision to work or not work, work part-time or full-time, spend time doing household work or writing that may or not pay off, spend time when most “normal” people are working playing video games or watching tv or reading a book is getting all caught up in this productivism mentality that I have internalized. ¬†I keep thinking not about how I “should” be spending my time based on what’s best for me personally or my family, but thinking about how spending my time looks to the outside world. ¬†(Go ahead, send in the psychoanalysts.) And honestly, my family, even my immediate family, are part of that outside world. ¬†I feel the need to justify what I’ve done all day, detailing the laundry that’s been done, the writing that got done, how many hours I spend prepping for class. ¬†And that’s not coming from them, believe me. ¬†They never look at me weird if they come home and find me in front of the tv or playing WoW.

What I’ve been thinking about, then, is what labor and how much of it I really should be doing, not from a perspective of whether or not that labor “looks good” to the outside world, but from a perspective of what makes me feel good–and by good I mean, relaxed yet stimulated. ¬†In other words, though I like my leisure time, I’m not one who enjoys spending all day every day doing nothing but leisure activities. ¬†Even though it’s work, I like writing. ¬†I’ve spent an hour writing this damn blog post and I have no idea where it falls on the work/leisure spectrum. ¬†It feels like work, but it feels like leisure too because it’s not connected to a paying job. ¬†Getting paid to do something alters my relationship to labor, of course. ¬†If I followed my “feel good” argument to its logical conclusion, I wouldn’t evaluate my students’ assignments this afternoon. ¬†Instead, I’d either engage in some other kind of unpaid labor or I’d use some of my leisure time. ¬† And honestly, I get a good feeling about evaluating student work that has nothing to do with getting paid to do it. ¬†It’s almost like a community service. ¬†I feel like I’m helping them improve something about their lives, which will, in this case, pay off for education as a whole when they enter classrooms.

I honestly don’t know what my answer is to this dilemma. ¬†I just know that I need to find something that works for me, and get over my anxiety about whether or not I’m working “enough.” ¬†The funny thing about this whole dilemma is that it comes from my freedom. ¬†If I had a full-time job, there’d be no real issue. ¬†I’d just do the work that was necessary. ¬†As I’ve said a million times, I like where I am, but I’m realizing it’s more challenging in many ways that it seemed at first.

Friday Fun: Chore Wars

My Chore Wars character A couple of days ago, Collin pointed me to Chore Wars, a site that lets you keep track of the things you do around the house. Better yet, it lets you keep track of what your family members do around the house. I set up a party for our family, The Geeky Household, and emailed everyone the link that invited them to join our party on its chore adventures. On the way home from not one, but two kid sports events yesterday, I was telling Geeky Girl about it, and she wasn’t too thrilled. But then when we got home, she checked her email and followed the link. “This is so cool, Mom!” She said. Apparently, I didn’t do a good job of describing it in the car.

The way it works is that each person sets up a character. The dungeon master (me) sets up adventures like vacuuming, taking out the trash, or making a bed. People can then claim an adventure and earn experience points and gold for each adventure. Sometimes you run into monsters. I faced a soap elemental yesterday while doing the laundry. There’s also a chance for treasure either from the adventure itself (I got a spatula from making dinner) or from killing a monster.

So far, it’s a big hit. Geeky Girl unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, cleared and set the table, and vacuumed the living room. Geeky Boy loaded the dishwasher, hand washed the pots and pans, and made his bed. Geeky Girl raced to make her bed and claim it this morning so she could see if she encountered any bed bugs.

The kids get an allowance every week, one dollar for every year of their age, under the assumption that they help out around the house. They’re good about cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and I make them clean up their rooms from time to time, but other than that, I can’t really track what else they might do. So, now, I’ve told them that if there are no chores claimed via Chore Wars during the week, they won’t get their allowance. Geeky Girl and I also decided that for every five levels they gain, they’ll get something special, perhaps a new DS game or a book or a dinner out at their favorite restaurant.

We’ve all kind of realized that we’re a competitive lot, so making chores into a game is a good idea. I hear Geeky Girl unloading the dishwasher. I gotta go do some laundry so I can hit level 2 today!

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My Children, Their Mess?

Top of stairsImage by lorda via Flickr

I’ve been hiding something for years. Upstairs, on the third floor, in what used to be an attic, are my kids rooms trash heaps. I’ve been trying to help them clear them out over the last couple of weeks, but it’s overwhelming. I’m soldiering on, but with every wrapper I throw away or cup I haul back down to the kitchen, I keep thinking, “How did we get here?” And the answer to that question, it seems, points to me.

You see, I’m not the kind of mom who goes and straightens the kids’ rooms. Hell, I don’t even put their clothes away for them. And it’s been that way for at least five years. My own room is no palace of neatness, but I don’t have candy wrappers strewn on the floor (new rule: no food on the third floor). So I’m not setting the best example either. In addition, their rooms are still filled with toys they received five years ago. So there’s clutter and there’s archaeological piles.

Geeky Girl dug into cleaning her room with gusto. In just a couple of two-hour-long sessions, we had her room in tip-top shape. All that’s left to do is go through a set of drawers and a small basket of toys, easily done in another hour session. Geeky Boy, on the other hand, being a teenager, will not be moved. Two days ago, I asked him to start digging out, letting him know that I would be working on it some myself over the next couple of days. He made a pretty half-assed effort. I don’t even want to describe some of the things I found in there! Okay, I will ’cause I know you want to know: chewed up gum, moldy cups, rocks, single shoes, what looks like lost homework from years’ past, smelly socks, lots of random coins. Bleh.

Once Geeky Boy and I dig this place out, I’m holding hard to the rule of having a clean room before anything can be done. It’s a standard I hold myself to–doing laundry or cleaning before watching tv or playing on the computer–so I think it should apply to my kids. Plus, they get allowance for helping out around the house and their rooms are still part of the house.

What do you all do to with your kids’ rooms? Do you have a hands-off philosophy or a set of rules? How much do you get involved in cleaning their areas?

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Ignoring time

I really appreciated seeing this post this morning about not focusing so much on the clock. I have a real tendency to do this, scheduling every minute of every day. Today, for example, Geeky Boy and I had to go to the high school to rework his schedule, so I started my planning from there. I decided I would go to the high school at 10, followed by a trip to the grocery store, lunch, cleaning, and then a trip to the pool, exercising either there or when I got home. I planned free time in the hour before dinner, dinner, and then just open time. Sounds oppressive, doesn’t it? The other thing that happened was that I didn’t wake early enough so a few things I wanted to get done on a writing project didn’t happen until just now. And, though I should be cleaning, that’s not happening now because I wanted to post this and read a few other blogs, which is not quite leisure, not quite work. So, you see, my schedule is easily disrupted and then I feel bad about not getting things done, etc. Bleh.

Jonathan Mead (author of the above post) echoes this sentiment:

Trying to constantly manage and monitor my time has only led me to greater anxiety, and always feeling like I‚Äôve not ‚Äúdone enough.‚ÄĚ I‚Äôm always thinking about how I could have ‚Äúspent that time more wisely.‚ÄĚ But the purpose of life is to enjoy it, is it not? So can‚Äôt we perform highly without the anxiety of counting every minute?

He makes a lot of good recommendations for being productive without feeling pressed for time. My favorite is having a theme for the month. Although I didn’t quite consciously think about it, my theme for this month is about getting organized and eliminating clutter. I wanted to be prepared for the new school year with a house that’s more streamlined and with everything in its rightful place. I think the idea is that, while I might schedule time for cleaning, if that’s the theme, then when I have the time and motivation during each day, I can tackle a cleaning project.

Next month, I’m going to tackle exercise, something I’ve struggled with forever. I really hate structured exercise–going to the gym, being in an exercise class (except for yoga; I like yoga classes)–but it’s not like I’m a total lump. I don’t mind walking instead of driving places. I’ll play soccer or tennis with the kids. I like gardening. Generally, moving around on occasion, even every day, is not something I’m opposed to. But it’s extremely easy for me to make excuses. It’s too hot, too cold, too wet. I have this that or the other that I need to do. I’d rather read, play games, watch tv. You know the drill. So I’m going to make some effort now, but really focus next month on moving at least a little every day.

The exercise thing is partly why I’m not as fond of Mead’s advice to follow your rhythms. That’s easy enough for me to do with intellectual activity, but inertia keeps me from doing physical things that I find unpleasant. And that’s where I think a schedule can help. And I suspect some people find the same is true of other kinds of work. Certainly people can schedule those activities for times when they know they’re more motivated, but they might have to semi force themselves to at least getting started.

I’m trying, then, to find a good flow for myself where I feel productive, but don’t feel anxious. Easier said than done, but I’m giving it a whirl.

Random Paragraphs of Crap (Because Bullets aren’t Enough)

I am inspired by Laura’s post on attics and basements. While I’ve managed to clear out a considerable amount of clutter in the living spaces of our house, the storage areas are another story altogether. We have three: the basement, a tiny attic, and a shed (we have no garage). I’m not going to tackle those today as Mr. Geeky has promised to help this weekend, but I am going to dig out my bedroom. Somehow over the last week, everything has gotten dumped in my bedroom. It’s driving me nuts. No more!

To gird my loins for such a task, I’m planning a trip to our local diner for breakfast. I’m going to walk there so I feel better about the calories I’m sure I’ll consume. There are a few minor household purchases to make: dishwashing detergent, milk, kool-aid (an insistent request from both kids). I need to look into birthday party options (we have two upcoming, always a crazy process). Otherwise, I’m not looking at the to-do list.

On my other blog, I’ve begun a summer-long project to review a huge number of social software sites. So far, I’m not hugely impressed, but I fully expect the majority to be mediocre at best. I’m going in alphabetical order, but I hope to categorize a bit once I have a few under my belt–maybe monthly. Anyway, feel free to check it out.

This week has actually been a busy one. I finished up a video for a conference I wasn’t able to attend. I started designing new business cards. I worked on the PTO web site. I perused a variety of freelance jobs (not much worthwhile), and I started work on an article. And none of that am I getting paid for. Well, if the article is accepted, then I’ll get paid for that. I’ll leave with with the video, which I really enjoyed doing:

Open Up: A Video for IALLT 2009 from Laura Blankenship on Vimeo.

I do more before noon

Not that you need a blow by blow, but good grief, I’ve done a lot already:

  1. Registered for conference in June.
  2. Rented car for said conference.
  3. Sorted through all the mail.
  4. Paid any outstanding bills.
  5. Filled out and mailed 3 forms–jury duty, gifted program conference, lost check form.
  6. Renewed car registration.
  7. Drove to county courthouse to pick up election materials for tomorrow’s election (my last one serving as judge!)
  8. Stopped by grocery store to pick up a couple of things I forgot (yes, this could have been avoided if I’d made my list more carefully).
  9. Stopped by bank to make a deposit.

Shew. And on deck for this afternoon:

  1. Thorough cleaning of kitchen and dining room.
  2. Possible trip to the library (depends on how long the above takes).
  3. Laundry.

It definitely feels to good to have gotten some neglected chores done, especially since I’ll be occupied all day tomorrow. It never ceases to amaze me how much there is to do outside of work.