• 07Nov

    It’s been a while since we just did a plain old update. So here are some things going on with us.

    • Last winter, we got a new domain. You can now find us at BlueLime.us instead of the longer address. Hopefully, we’ll streamline some of the other stuff, too.
    • At some point last winter, I needed a break from the whole vegan thing. For a while, I ate all the hot wings. :) I really just needed more options and a break from having to think so hard about my food. After a period of going a little nuts, I settled back into a balance. I’m eating vegan meals at least two thirds of the time, I’d guess. I’m working on a greater percentage with meat or dairy as an occasional exception. For example, I’d rather have the best queso in town a few times a year than mediocre queso at places that use too much cilantro. It makes it a lot easier to go out with friends.
    • I finally quit facebook for real. I don’t even have my fake account, anymore. I don’t miss much about it. I’m learning, too, that I was way ahead of the curve; there are a lot of us facebook haters.
    • Last spring-summer, I transitioned out of two volunteer roles. One was simply an expired term. The other was one of those “I’m done” moments. It stopped being fun and others wanted to tell me what to do without ever agreeing to help out (yes, I asked many times). We still participate, but now it’s less.
    • In that vein, I’m still doing the Pareto “diet” that is life. I keep culling the bottom 20% of whatever is sucking the fun out of life. We focus time on the 20% of life that brings us joy.
    • Summer was, apparently, big for us:
      • Emil’s mom fell. She went from a burst vertebrae in her back to the hospital to rehab (and back and forth for a bit) to Assisted Living and is now in Memory Care. She has good days and bad days, but is doing well considering. The “team” of siblings is on top of her care. Emil sees her many Thursday nights when he’s in Bryan for his D&D group. On the nights that they do meet and that I can join him, I go, too. After visiting Mom, he games and I hang out with Jessica or even Angela W.. It’s been nice to have some girl time with old friends.
      • My mom went through some trauma/drama. We went home to help her get through the worst of it. She’s made some progress, but it’s still a problem. We’re waiting until the problem finds a “bottom” so some healing/help can begin. Meanwhile, my grandmother is doing just fine other than worrying a whole lot.
      • We rehomed Marble. He ran off P?kný, disappeared himself for a couple of days, reappeared (I told him “you’re the wrong cat to come back!”), and was still a PITA to Purrrrrl and us. Because he chewed wires, we had to be super careful about what we left where; all cords had to be wrapped. Because he did other damage, we had to live with all the doors closed. We were prisoners in our own home….most of all the girls. So, Jessica offered that if we still didn’t have anyone after her month of travel, she’d try him out. Well, he’s a good fit (thankfully!) and is fat and happy living with her. Interestingly, I had tried to fatten him up, but since Purrrrrl can’t free-feed or have his food, I couldn’t “make” him eat enough to be “slothenly”. Interestingly, he wasn’t gone a week before P?kný came back. She’s still a patio-only kitty and afraid to come inside….but it’s like she KNEW he was gone. He is such an asshole.
      • We also used summer to kick start a few little projects around the house. I’m almost done painting all the ugly brass hardware and hope to start scraping the popcorn off the ceilings, soon.
      • Since early summer, I’ve been cooking like a fiend. I can ~always tweak a recipe to my liking, but never really learned how to menu plan. Having a busy life kept me from learning this. Well, I’ve finally figured out how to plan stuff that Emil will eat, stuff that I will eat, and stuff that we will eat.
    • This fall, we joined D&D Encounters. It’s a hot mess of red tape and I don’t think the Wizard’s of the Coast people gave any consideration to making it easy for new people to join (which is the entire purpose/intent of the series). But, after some bumps in the road, our two (yes, TWO) groups normalized into good groups to play with. It’s also nice to have set plans. Since my Monday CroKnit group and Emil’s Thursday dungeon group are still going strong, we’re booked 4 evenings of most weeks.
    • October was a blast with two Halloween weekends, two parties, and much merriment. Only 358 days until Hallowe’en 15! And, it will be on a Saturday next year. This bodes both for a lot of fun :) and also for all the parties to be on the same :( night. Whatever shall we be this time?
    • As usual, I’m not looking forward to the holidays. In fact, my annual rant is overdue since I’ve already blocked pins/posts about xmas….and warned one family member that I’ll unfollow her until new year’s if she keeps it up.
    • So, we’re ready for late fall and winter and using the fireplace. I suspect there will be several movie marathons and much gaming.

    Happy Fall, Y’all!

  • 06Dec

    On October 12th, I deactivated my facebook account. True to form, facebook reactivated it (those bastards), and I deactivated it again on October 18th.

    In the first ~10 days after closing my facebook account, I noticed a substantial–journaled/documented–increase in productivity.  Now, let me be frank: I never played games on facebook. Furthermore, I was ruthless about junk posts and hiding stuff that wasn’t useful to me for the way I used facebook. (I’ll also admit that I was a timid user given my history of bona fide stalkers who used this information to find me.)

    Productivity? What’s That?

    In the week after I killed my facebook account, I lost count of the tasks in the productivity spike I had.

    • I’ve cleaned up and cleaned out several areas of our home. I’ve done that once-a-year stuff like wiping down the insides of the cabinets and cleaning out the areas known as “I wonder what we keep in there.” I’ve kept up with laundry, dusting, etc. I even bound my computer cables to keep Marble out of them. I don’t know how many boxes of paper we recycled. I have another box to shred. And, I know have a “projects” box full of stuff I can do in shorter bursts…which means it might get done.
    • I not only had the bridge installed, I’ve been working on whitening the rest of my teeth (all part of the plan).
    • I’ve gathered a charity donation and made a lunch date with a friend so I can deliver it.
    • I’ve been shopping (shopping!) for things I’d put off much too long.
    • I set up some small marketing for our #CroKnit group.
    • I’ve planned two small parties, attended another (& I took/processed/posted images), and prepped for a wedding (some bigger tasks within that, this time).
    • I ran one marketing project for As You Wish, booked a client from it, and am prepping the next offer/message to go out in a week or two.
    • I’ve done half a dozen administrative tasks for me, us, our home, and As You Wish.
    • Shot a wedding
    • Duped/backed up images
    • Edited and posted the images
    • ..and I still went to Miami’s watch party, #CroKnit, and other weekly routines.

    What I Have “Missed” — that I know of:

    • One person wondered why I unfriended her…and then immediately realized I must have finally deleted my account.
    • One person wondered if I was the reason his friend count dropped by one. Yep, that was me!
    • One friend said she’d invite me to her daughter’s birthday party, but never did. I’m guessing it went out on facebook. Other friends only use facebook to invite friends to events. I’ll be sad to miss the ones where they don’t think outside facebook. :(

    What I Have Missed with Elation:

    • Being invited to events in places like Toledo or San Francisco.
    • The pure drivel of some. I had hidden most of those who wax poetic in ways other than those I can appreciate, but there is only so much you can do.
    • Religion, I expect a “separation of church and state” attitude. Have your religion and enjoy what comforts and supports you. Do not push your faith onto me. I have friends/family who range from Jewish-to-Catholic-to-Christian/Evangelical-to-Hindu-to-Buddist-to-Agnostic/Athiest. I’m respectful–even celebratory–of holy events of others. I share others’ celebrations. I do not acknowledge anything shoved down my throat. (Funny how that’s always some form of Christianity, huh?)
    • Politically, Emil and I don’t vote alike, but share a lot of views. Unfortunately for facebook, it’s the most prolific/asinine who use social media as a platform….and ruin the experience for the rest of us. I had to unfriend and then block the one terrible “friend”. If they don’t know me/us, then how can they dare get “upset” when I call them out for using social media cred for furthering someone else’s agenda. (Yes, that really happened.)

    And Then There Is Time

    Again, I didn’t play any games on facebook. I severely restricted the suck factor that drags you into viewing photos of people you don’t even know. I had all the gadgets and widgets to control my flow of information. I used fb purity and better facebook. I had blocked feeds from many apps and several people. I had blocked all “non-friends” so I wouldn’t see their stuff, but more importantly, so they wouldn’t see my posts.

    None of it worked. When I quit facebook, I had the most productive week of the year. Even with all the “lock down” versions of content I was willing to read and friends I really wanted to connect with, it was a huge time suck. Losing access to facebook caused very few “I miss” moments, but gave a lot of “I’m kicking ass!!!” reasons to be proud of my work. If I had realized exactly how MUCH of a timesuck facebook was (even when I had it filtered like crazy), I’d have dumped it a lot sooner.

     

  • 15Feb

    I hit another wave of some #polyphasicsleep challenges.

    I can nap easily and hit REM sleep almost instantly, now. I even start to feel a little sleepy ~40 minutes before each nap.

    Staying up until 3am has been tough for these last couple of days, though. So, I’ve been going to sleep at ~1:30. Now, this is still way better than 11:30ish in terms of adding hours to my day. However, it seems my body is still adjusting.

    Now that I’ve added all this time, I have to re-balance my time. For example, I can watch “my” tv in the afternoon, but if I wait until after Emil goes to sleep to try to watch stuff he doesn’t care for, I’m more likely to fall asleep before my 2:30 or 3am bedtime. There are also a lot of Internet things I used to do during the day that I now need to move to the wee hours.

    So, I’m not really struggling…just still mixing things up to suit the new lifestyle.

  • 09Feb

    My new #polyphasicsleep routine hit a couple of snags.

    The Superbowl didn’t interfere with my naps, but it did get me off to a bad start of the week. I just fell out of a routine. I had a meeting that conflicted with a nap, but forgot about it until it was too late to nap early. And then I fell asleep off schedule 3 times in two days. grrr.

    We are also adjusting the schedule to make it easier for Emil. A 6am wake up for me was just enough to disturb his last hour of sleep. So, we split down the middle for 6:30. I plan to stay up until 2:30 or 3am to make up the difference on the other side.

    New Schedule

    6:30 AM wake
    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM nap
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM nap
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM nap
    11:00 PM
    12:00 AM
    1:00 AM
    2:00 AM
    3:00 AM sleep
    4:00 AM sleep
    5:00 AM sleep
    6:00 AM sleep

    This gives me 3.5 hours at “night” and another hour during the day in the form of three 20-minute naps.

    They say the first week is the hardest. I was doing SO GOOD until the damn superbowl. Maybe the reason the first week is the hardest is not due to adjusting to the sleep pattern and the pseud0 jet lag. Maybe the reason the first week is hardest is because you have to work around the stuff that can interfere with the schedule…like life.

    Adjusted

    The other good news is that I’m sleeping almost instantly when I do nap. I think my adjustment period on that skill was really short. In fact, I’m starting to feel ready for my 10am nap. Since I have #AWTWX at 10:30 downtown today. I’m going to get all my stuff ready, drive there, and nap in the car before our meeting.

  • 07Feb

    It’s after 1am, and here I am, 48 hours “in”. I’m surviving quite well.

    Naps

    My 10am nap was great, and 4pm was perfect (I awakened about 15 seconds before the timer went off!). At 10pm, though, I was awake for 5 minutes or more before I finally fell asleep. Oh, that sounds pretentious, huh? Please understand: normally, if I toss and turn for 5-10 minutes, I get up. If I’m tossing/turning even the slightest bit, then I’m not sleepy enough to go to bed. Emil and I have always joked that I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow. I’ve done that my whole life, so any time spent trying to fall asleep is frustrating.

    Challenge

    My biggest challenge today was to stay focused on any sitting/thinking activities. If I’m moving around (photo shoots, errands), or with a group of people (#roundrockjelly or our Settlers of Catan group), I’m fine. I don’t notice any feeling of tired or sleepy. It’s when I sit in front of this giant monitor that resembles a tv—something I love to fall asleep to—that I struggle a little. And, little is the right word. It’s a little bit of a struggle. I still only feel like I was up late last night….and not at all like I’ve only had 11 hours of sleep across two days.

    My other biggest challenge so far when it comes to sleeping is that I can’t always turn my brain off. Ideas and thoughts and words are buzzing through my head. If I can clear my mind, I fall fast asleep.

    Alarms

    After Emil did me the favor of some research, I downloaded Alarm Clock Pro and set some sha-weet alarms for my computer. In each case, they raise the volume to the Mac and iTunes, display an alarm notice on the screen, and play music from a playlist I selected. They can also do a bunch of other things like sending emails and text messages, too. The alarms telling me to go to bed are soft and gentle. The ones telling me to wake up start gently and work their way up to peppy before they become obnoxious. I hope that this will get me used to waking up on my own (or at least while the sounds are still fairly quiet) so that I’m as little of a disruption to Emil as possible.

    Future

    I think my biggest problem with the timing will be the 10pm nap. Whether it’s our favorite tv shows or a night out with friends, I’m going to have to take a break from it. Everything I’ve read says you can postpone a nap for up to about an hour, but that skipping them requires a lot of catch up. I’m also working out a plan for how I can nap at 4pm and then 10pm during the next wedding I have where portraits start at 3:30 and we should be home from the event by 10:30. The good thing about multiple photographers at weddings is that I have someone to lean on. So, my current plan is to nap early and then late.

    Ideals

    Once I’m used to this and can focus a little better, this should result in more time for me for reading, more time for As You Wish for editing and marketing, and more time for Emil and our home. There are literally hundreds of items on my todo list at any point. They are all things I need and/or want to do. This should help me make a bigger dent in several aspects of my life.

    No Concerns

    Before I go on, I should clarify: if you do the research, you won’t see any negative health concerns. Again, huge numbers of people do this for their profession or so that the third shift worker can pick up the kids from school or whatever. And, from what I’ve read, it’s just about as difficult to switch back to monophasic sleep as it is to convert to polyphasic. So, the body can adapt. Besides, Emil’s always been polyphasic, just by a few hours at a time instead of in 20-minute increments! LOL.

    Hopes

    If this works and I can adjust, my hope is that my sleep cycle shifts down to just 3 hours (2-5am or 3-6am) so I can squeeze one more hour out of it. My theory is that I lived on 5 hours of sleep each night in college…and of course, hardly any of that was good sleep. So, if I’m getting 5 hours per day now, then I can work down to 4 total and get the same quality of sleep. Waking up ahead of the alarm at 5:20 this morning proved me right, in my mind, at least.

    [You can find our thread about polyphasic sleep on Twitter by searching for the hashtag, #polyphasicsleep.]

  • 06Feb

    Poly Who What?

    I’ve begun a polyphasic sleeping routine known as the Everyman. There is a ton of information available via Google; and Dustin Curtis offers a great article with good visuals. The gist is this, we cycle in and out of REM sleep throughout the time we are sleeping. REM is the good quality sleep we need. So, the standard eight hours of sleep is very wasteful. Napping every few hours is far more efficient and will teach your body to get “just” REM sleep instead of wasting time drifting in/out of REM.

    Why

    I’ve been without enough time for too many years. I’ve given up too many things that I want to do for the sake of others, be they professional or personal obligations or just my nature to put others ahead of myself. I’ve missed reading the most.

    So, a few months ago, when I learned about polyphasic sleeping (via @maczter in #AWTWX), I was intrigued. I wanted to try it, but I’ve never been a very good napper. I wake up with a nap “hangover” that is far worse than going without sleep. (The only advice I’ve ever had on this is that I nap for too long. Since I don’t like napping, it has never been intentional. Thus, I didn’t have an alarm.) Anyway, I wanted to try it, but felt I needed a accountability/support buddy, so I put out a call on Twitter. No takers. Twice. :(

    How

    During that time I gained confidence. I thought about all the people who use this method of sleeping: military personnel, medical staff, shift workers. When you think about it, there are lot of them. No wonder Wal-Mart can be busy at 3am (so I hear). Well if all those people can do it, I can, too! After all, I had already reduced my caffeine by a lot.

    Over the next few weeks, I kept thinking I wanted to try this. At a #AWTWX blogging session, it came up again. I said I needed a buddy and just as @maczter was declining the opportunity to be on the phone with another man’s wife at 3am, I realized that a buddy is ideal, but terribly unrealistic. They’d have to want/need the exact same schedule as me. So, while @maczter and @jeremya started that very day, I designed my schedule and then waited a couple of days for my schedule to settle around the key nap times.

    The advice is to go cold turkey rather than phasing in. It supposedly takes most people about a week to adjust. The good news for me is that I already fall asleep quickly and soundly and enter REM almost immediately.

    I picked 2am-6am for my sleep time. I know I can stay up until 2am pretty easily, but 3am seemed too much of a challenge on a daily basis. Ditto on the other end. I’ve had to get up at 6am on a regular basis before. While it’s terribly difficult, I can do it. I know myself, though. I know that if my wake up time was 5am that I’d end up snoozing (a giant no-no of polyphasic sleeping) and then would ruin my plan.

    Spinning off a pattern that @maczter selected, I picked nap times at 10am, 4pm, and, 10pm.  10am is a tad early, but it gives me time to have an early morning appointment and then nap and gives me time to nap and then go to one of my many 11am-ish meetings. 4pm is the same thing, but on the other end. I can have afternoon appointments and then have my nap before Emil gets home from work. 10pm is in the middle of the rest of the time I’m awake for the “day”.

    6:00 AM wake
    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM nap
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM nap
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM nap
    11:00 PM
    12:00 AM
    1:00 AM
    2:00 AM sleep
    3:00 AM sleep
    4:00 AM sleep
    5:00 AM sleep

    When

    Day 1

    I planned on beginning this on Friday night, but then Thursday night, I was up until 2am working on some bridal images. By that time, I knew I could adjust Friday to fit, so I took advantage. I went to be at 2am and then got up at 7am when Emil’s alarm went off. It’s not quite cold turkey, but was far better than 6am for an impromptu start. At 10am, I wasn’t yet sleepy, but forced myself to nap. I actually entered REM.

    Friday is always a very busy day for me. Between #roundrockjelly and an afternoon portrait session in downtown Austin, my day was full. It kept me busy and I didn’t feel sleepy at all. Even when my 4pm nap rolled around, I was awake for the whole thing.

    We met Hilarie for happy hour. A little bit of alcohol was a little sleep-inducing, but I had no problem making it to my 10pm nap. And, for one of the only times in my life, I awoke from that nap refreshed.

    1am was a different story. I was getting a little fuzzy brained and didn’t want to do any real work for fear of messing something up. I watched a movie (Analyze This) and was dozing briefly near the end. Emil was so supportive. He had texted me at 4pm to wish me a good nap, and he stayed up with me until 2am to make sure I didn’t fall asleep.

    Day 2

    I awoke at 5:20am today. I wasn’t bright-eyed and busy-tailed, so I went back to sleep. I regret that. I should have gotten up ahead of the alarm. Instead, 6am caught me in the middle of REM (I think) and made it much harder to awaken.

    This first hour+ while I’ve written this post has been hard. I could easily go back to bed. But, it’s not much harder for me than being at work at 7 or 8am used to be. And, it’s only downhill from here.

    Now, I have to go out and get moving. I think I’ll take care of laundry and groceries.

  • 08Jan

    I’ve been too overwhelmed in the last few years to make New Years’ Resolutions. Plus, with all the news articles about not making them so you won’t feel like a failure, it’s not been in vogue to do so. :)

    This year, though, I really wanted to do some good goal setting for me and for As You Wish.

    So, I made three major goals. After a week (ish) into the new year, I can say that I’m a solid 2-for-3.

    1. I have been doing my daily Project 365 photo-of-the-day for As You Wish.
      I set some flexible rules for myself for this. I must take a photo for every day of the year. However, I can post/blog 2-3 at a time. I keep my little camera with me, but I make an effort to use my good camera as must as is reasonable. When I have time, I also post these images to Blogger, Flickr, and Deviant Art. The point of this project has a primary goal of making me find something, every day that is worthy of a photo. I’m forced to look at the world with more detail.  A secondary benefit is that by posting the images so widespread, I draw more traffic to my site.
    2. Weekdays, I have a task that I hope will help me communicate better and more often with my family, friends, and clients.
      It’s just a little thing, but I’m putting a lot of meaning behind it.
    3. Three times a week, I’m supposed to carve out some time that is designed for me for relaxing.
      I have seclude myself, have some green tea, rest, and listen to something soothing. It’s my own little siesta. My evening is so much better when I make the time to do this. So far, this is the one that has suffered. I hope to get a better grip on this one over the weekend so I can set a better pace for next week.

    So, we’ll see how far I make it. I know that most of us lose steam for our resolutions pretty quickly. And, I’ve read that it takes 30 days to make a habit. (I’ve also read it takes 100 times of doing it…don’t know which is true.)

    Now, where did I set down my green tea?

  • 04Jul

    Fireworks Day[1]

    As always, we are in Paris for Lori’s grandparents’ birthdays. (His is on the 3rd and her’s is on the 4th). Because Paris has the band concert and fireworks show are on the 3rd, we have one big party with them every year. After a nice dinner, cake & ice cream, and presents, we headed to the concert and show.

    This year’s concert was modest and short. But, it was initially highlighted by a precision parachute team’s arrival on the field just behind the band carrying the colors. Parachutist #1 with the USA flag
    Parachutist #1 brought the USA flag

    Parachutist #2 with the Texas flag another parachutist brought the Texas flag

    Two more parachutists landed precisesly behind the band; one brought the POW flag

    The next moment was the traditional medley of service songs. Each member and veteran of the military is asked to stand during their branch’s song. Lori’s grandfather flew a glider in World War II and stood for the Army Air Corps song.

    Frank O'Brien
    Frank M. O’Brien, Army Air Corps, Purple Heart recipient

    The show ended with a nice little display of fireworks.
    Boom
    Boom

    Happy Fireworks Day!

    [1] When Lori was little, she could say Independence Day, but couldn’t recall it as well. And, fireworks was much more fun to say. Thus, we have deemed the 3rd of July to be “Fireworks Day”. The Paris celebration is traditionally held on the 3rd. A nearby town, Roxton, has held a 4th-of-July show for a few years longer. The Rotary Club that hosts the Paris show didn’t want to step on any toes. Besides, who doesn’t like to start fireworks early?

  • 04Dec

    Last week, I had three bad things happen to me in one day. It sucked.

    This week, I’ve had two, so far, good things happen. One is something I can’t blog about (but email me if you want to know. I’m happy to share.) and the other is a fabulous interview for a fabulous job! So, keep you fingers crossed for me!!!!

    If they all come in threes, I have one more good thing coming to me. Let’s hope it’s that I get the job I interviewed for!!!!

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  • 22Nov

    Today is a half day for A&M, so I tried to get as much done in the morning as possible.

    • feng shui some of the master bedroom
    • Getting Things Done
    • walking with Jes and the dogs
    • running errands
    • lunch with Emil (lemon pepper wings at Wings & More are our new favorite!)
    • project at home
    • bridal session
    • process images
    • crochet/knitting night with the girls
    • out with friends….waaaay late
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