ISO: Organization System for Ideas

A few years ago I came across (on 43folders, click here to see that website) the The Noguchi Filing System. I have been using it ever since. You put everything you need to a seperate file into its own large envelope. Then you mark on the outside the last time you accessed the envelope. When you access an envelope you put it at the front of the envelopes. Eventually, you archive the envelopes you never use, which end up at the back of the box. Fair enough; it works for me...for most things.

What I need is a better way to organize those little bits of paper, torn out magazine articles, the random detritus I collect. I keep design ideas and ideas for stories. I just don't know how to keep everything organized, so my desk looks like a huge mess.

Anyone have any ideas? I have tried notebooks, not big enough. I have tried piling, but the piles are about to all collapse. I have tried ignoring the problem, but alas, I must now do something.

I am thinking a nice looking box...but that might merely contain the problem, rather than organize the papers!


Progress, not Perfection

I did it again; the oven was not on because I forgot to turn it on to pre-heat. *$#*&# comes out of my mouth in a rush. Brent calmly asks what is wrong. I tell him that I am an idiot because I once again forgot to turn both knobs on the oven to have it re-heat. Brent tells me to stop being so hard on myself. And then I remember two other conversations from last week.

I have one girl friend who is hyper critical of herself. Specifically, she is hypercritical of her choices with respect to leading a healthy lifestyle. When I hear her berating herself I cringe inwardly, because I know and love her and she is great. She is one of the healthiest people I know. I can’t run a mile, yet she is able to run 4.5 miles twice a week! Yet, she is down on herself because she isn’t up to 5 miles yet.

Another one of my other girl friends posted a blog entry where she relates to her readers that a friend of hers asked her to stop being so self-critical. Her friend told her she is an amazing mom and friend and that really, she needed to stop putting herself down so much. (I can vouch for all of these things…when/if I am ever a mom, I will have this friend over to help me!)

So why are we all so hard on ourselves? Where does one learn how to put one’s self down?

Honestly I don’t know the answer. But I was recently given a new mantra, which I am trying to put into effect to counter act my own negativity.

The mantra: Progress, not perfection. In all things I am doing, especially my effort to become healthier myself, I am seeking to make incremental progress, NOT seeking perfection.

To that end, I am happy to report I have lost 8 of the 30 pounds I hope to lose this year. Additionally, my knees feel great and my jeans are fitting much better. No major changes, but definitely progress towards my goal.


writing: this week's assignment

* UPDATE: I only wrote the start of the story and only had 350 words to do it in!

This week in my fiction writing class we had to write a story about a man and a woman who have an affair resulting in a pregnancy...here was my piece:

The phone rang just as she picked up the mail by the front door. Her children last used the portable phone so she ran around the living room looking for it. The call came from the hospital; her husband had been in a horrible car accident. While she listened she absently mindedly put the mail down on the fireplace mantel. There this pile of mail would sit for the next six months, through nights of crying, through false hopes, and through the eventual post-funeral gathering at the house after her husband eventually succumbed to the injuries sustained in that car accident.

He had been texting someone when he over corrected and drove off the bridge, just before the guard railing started.

She finally noticed the mail as her daughter helped pack up the house for the sale. Her daughter handed her the mail, after riffling through it herself. Finally her head was clear again; she knew where she was going in her life. She and the children would make it through this tragedy.

The letter struck her as strange when she saw it. The handwriting scrawled on a cheap envelope addressed to Mrs. Dutton. It was rare to see her married name on envelopes. Everyone knew she had kept her own name because of her medical practice. It seemed the easiest thing to do at the time.

The letter came from his mistress. The mistress was tired of playing second fiddle, and explained in the letter that she and Cal (not Calvin, who was this man?) met in an elevator in Chicago more than three years ago. Their son would be born on what was now tomorrow, May 23rd.

Everything clicked into place. The late nights at work, the learning how to send a text message like her children even though he hated technology, the midnight calls to the house, and the woman at the funeral who said she was an employee of Calvin.


art: machines that almost fall over

Machines that Almost Fall Over from Michael Kontopoulos on Vimeo.

(K: the name of the artist sounds Greek to me!)


Book Review: French Women Don’t Get Fat

By Mireille Guiliano

I listened to 2/3rds of this book at least a year ago. Stuck on the plane back from Berlin on Saturday I finished the book. On the second go I liked the book a lot more. The author is a French woman who has lived in America for 30 years. In college she put on some weight and was sent to her doctor. Whether this really happened or not, Dr. Miracle serves the important role of explaining to the author and the reader the mysteries of how French women eat.

So the bottom line you ask? Eat anything you want, in moderation and walk a lot, and by a lot I mean three times as much as you do now.

Her tips, however practical, hit home. For instance she suggests carrying an en-cas, or emergency snack. This keeps her from splurging on some unplanned candy bar and pacifies her when she feels hungry, because she knows always has a snack.

One of my favorite chapters talks about the importance of chocolate and bread in your diet, again only eat the best, and in moderation. “French women don’t eat Wonder Bread.”

In Berlin last week I wore a pedometer. I have been wearing it in DC for four months. My daily step goal is 10,000 steps, but in DC I average 8,000. In Berlin I took at least 15,000 steps daily and one day took 25,000 steps (a.k.a. 10 miles). I loved it. I felt so good. I am going to work on walking more. The author talks about taking the stairs, parking in the furthest parking spot, and trying to incorporate movement into your daily life. She might be right in thinking the machines at the gym are vestiges of our Puritanical history, and serve only to punish us in front of our community.

After listening to the audio book, I bought the hardcover book which contains some very cute little illustrations and French recipes to try. I plan to try the yogurt recipe in the book tomorrow.

I must say I saw the book as more of a fad then anything I might really like, but I was wrong. She offers solid permanent life changing options to help us all look a little more French.


travel: Berlin

Fire up guys...we are headed to Berlin tomorrow. So excited. I know you will miss my daily posts, but you will have something to look forward too...We are back on the 18th.


Brent's brother: Brandon

Brent's brother, Brandon, is an oncologist who is also a cancer survivor. (He HAD cancer in 1998.) His story was posted on Lance Armstrong's "Live Strong" blog yesterday...so I thought I would share some excerpts. To read the whole thing, click on this paragraph.

I did not know that cancer was and is the #1 natural cause of death among young adults, and I had not considered that we may face unique types of cancer with unique biology compared to other age groups.

Despite high rates of survival, I did not know that unlike younger and older groups, there has been no real change in the rate of survival since the 1970’s, and that childhood cancer survival rates passed those of young adults during that time. There has been a lack of research efforts aimed at explaining these survival gaps.



two months salary

Who can tell me what the average American woman expects the average American man to spend on her engagement ring? Two months salary. WOW. I guess I did not know that. An artist named Lee Gainer went out and computed the two month salary for a number of professions and then took pictures, which look like ads, of the diamond rings a man of said profession could afford.

I love art.

What a great idea. (Click here to see more pictures!)

What strikes me about the art is how similar all of the rings look. I can't really tell the difference between the "Cashier" rings versus the "Structural Engineer" rings. The only rings I can tell are noticeably bigger are the "A List Actor" rings. Honestly I like the simple rings more than the ornate ones...but who am I?


dryer balls

Ok, stop giggling...Dryer balls are not what you think...I think...

Visiting Maureen a few weeks ago I bought some dryer balls. The balls promised to obviate the need for dryer sheets and reduce wrinkling. Brent immediately remarked that someone put their dog toy in the dryer and realized that it kept the clothes from wrinkling. Said person is now selling dog toys for $16.95 to silly Americans.

The results: We love our new dog toys. They are really helping in the dryer and we are ironing less...well we don't iron but things seem less wrinkled.