Wednesday, September 30, 2015

More on Time and Laura Vanderkam

It would be an exaggeration to say that I'm obsessed with Laura Vandkerkam: but I keep a time log as she suggests, I get a weekly Time Tip email from her, and I like her blog so much that I am reading it backwards from her first post.

I have a book of time management tips, a book on time shifting, a book on motivation, and a copy of seven habits of effective people (not quoted because I'm not sure of the exact title--I never got around to reading it.) That doesn't include numerous magazine articles I've read over the years.

I don't know if Laura speaks to me more than the other authors, if I'm more receptive now or a combination of both.

I've been trying to work on several areas to make my life better. One example is that I'm more mindful about how much fruit and vegetables that I buy. I got sick of throwing out spoiled fruits and veggies. I'm now buying fewer of each fruit, and fewer types of vegetables despite how good the selections at the farmers markets look.

I'm going to the gym more consistently and also doing more exercise at home. I'm not achieving my goal of exercising 30 minutes each day, but I've always known that was a reach.

Our condo is cleaner than it has often been in a while. I still have books and papers piled on the coffee table and love seat; I still have major cleaning/organizing projects to complete, but things are looking up.

I'll never be the person who schedules herself down to the minute. I don't want to be that person. But I like being more productive and efficient. That's good. 

Back in Business: PC Edition

Picked up my PC yesterday. The Geek Squad had to reset the motherboard and reconnect the battery. I'm not sure what that means. The "Geek" couldn't explain why my PC needed that since it hadn't been dropped or "moved around a lot".

Jeff had purchased a spare PC when Amazon had Prime Day a few months ago. I've been using that for the past week-and-a-half. That keyboard is much larger than mine and has a number keypad on the right. I was just starting to get used to the configuration. Now I have to relearn my own keyboard. It shouldn't take too long.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Time Management Paradox

As I've written before, I started tracking my time for a week. I decided that I should track another week or two before I do any analysis.

Unfortunately, my computer died last Friday. On Monday when I planned to start the time log for my new week, I realized that I had saved my time log worksheet on my computer that was in the shop. I tried to download the form again, but the link wasn't working.

There must be several other time spreadsheets. But when I tried to download another, it printed a blank page. I gave up.

So I wasted a half hour trying to manage my time efficiently.


N L East Champions!

They did it! The Mets won the NL East with a 10-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. I'm crying as I write this. This is the Mets' first trip to the post-season in nine years.

Today we saw a Duda grand slam and another Granderson home run, punctuated by the Wright's three run O Captain! My Captain!

The Mets are for real. Let's go Mets!

Is everyone a Mets fan now?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lucky Number's One

I was going to play this song when the Met's lucky number was two, but the Mets (with the help of the Phillies beating the Nats) have leapfrogged to a magic number of one.

Maybe we should just listen to the first verse (paraphrased): "We're having so much fun. Our lucky number's one."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Magic Number Down to Three

I wasn't happy with the recent performance of the Mets at Citi Field (3 and 6) where they had been so good all year. But tonight's win combined with another Nationals loss lowered the Mets magic number to three. I finally believe.

Let's go Mets!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Autumn

Today is the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn, my favorite season.

I completely disagree with article. It isn't even internally consistent: fall is the worst season because it's "an off-ramp straight into the worst time of your life." WTF?

I prefer F. Scott Fitzgerald's: "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." courtesy of  Glamour Magazine, October 2014.

RIP Yogi

Yogi Berra died last night at age 90. Yogi is first and foremost a Yankee. But he also has a link to the Mets: briefly as a player and later as a manager.

Years ago, I picked up The Yogi Book at Shea Stadium. I loved this book so much, I read parts of it out loud to random fans as I waited in line at a Shea concession stand. I showed it to my friend Annette and she barely talked to me the rest of the evening; she kept reading it and laughing.

Yogi was brilliant: the Buddhist magazine Tricycle once ran an article, The Koans of Yogi Berra.

My favorite is "When you come to the fork in the road, take it." This is my mantra against indecision and inertia.

"You can observe a lot by watching." This also speaks to me. I need to pay attention.

Thanks Yogi.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Specter of 2007

I've written 60 posts about the Mets, describe myself as a Mets fan in my profile, watch almost every Mets game. Obviously, they are important to me.

No matter what happens next, this has been a good year. (Why does that sound familiar?)

In April, I would have been happy with a winning season. But it wasn't long before I wanted (and expected) more. 

Watching the Mets has been exciting, but also exasperating and nerve-racking.

Tonight was one of the exasperating nights: the Braves won 6-2.

Many Mets fans are haunted by the 2007 season. The Mets had a seven game lead over the Phillies on September 12. They lost 12 of their last 17 games and missed the postseason. Some of us will never feel secure until the Mets clinch the division.

The Mets lost their last two series to the Marlins and the Yankees. Tomorrow is the rubber game of this series. I'm not afraid of a collapse a la 2007; I don't think the Nationals can prevail, but I am concerned about the Mets young pitching staff tiring out.

At least the Nationals lost tonight; the Mets magic number is down to six.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Last Summer Sunday

I've had many weekends off this summer; most students want the weekend off for vacations and college visits. Now that school's back in session, I'll be working many weekends.

But not today. This may be the last Sunday I have off in a while. On Sundays when I don't work, Jeff and I often have a full breakfast. Our go-to breakfast is scrambled eggs--which I made today--and a fruit cup of apples, peaches and raspberries with a touch of Grand Marnier.

I did a few light chores before we left to go to a flea market at Mathews Park.Then we headed to Sedona Tap House for beer school. Today was the second IPA lesson. In addition to the beers, we shared kobe beef sliders and Thai shrimp--delicious.

We came home and sat outside with Spike to end a beautiful summer day.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I went through a phase for about four or five weeks when I just felt overwhelmed. I was relatively busy with tutoring students; I had prep work to do for the revised ACT essay and the redesigned SAT. I was concerned with Spike's health issues and worried about finances, especially my seemingly never-ending car expenses.

I kept telling myself that I shouldn't feel overwhelmed. I am lucky and privileged in many ways. I have free time and financial and emotional support. So many people have it worse than I do.

But telling myself how I should or shouldn't feel is pointless. I can't rationalize or talk myself out of my feelings. I just have to feel them. I just have to accept them.

Accepting my feelings was the first step to overcoming them. I still have a lot to do, but feel better about it. I've tried to focus on doing a few things each day. I  did a time log of a week.

Baby steps that I hope will lead me somewhere.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

168 Hours

I think I learned about Laura Vanderkam from a Linked In article. I've linked to her before. Recently I signed up to get a time tip emailed from her every Monday.  Last week I did a time log based on her book, 168 Hours (which I haven't read.) I've decided to track my time for another week. I'll start again on Monday.

I discovered that by tracking my time I'm somewhat more mindful of how long things are taking me. I know some of the things that are eating up my time. I have to be more precise about what to record. Sometimes I combined things: e.g. watched the Mets, made dinner, did dishes.

 This post will help me make sense of my time tracking.

I've tried to track my time before. Nothing much came of it. I hope to do it right this time. 


Today is our 27th wedding anniversary.  No getaway this year, but we're going out to dinner. We decided on Harbor Lights Restaurant. We haven't been there in a long time; I remember going there for a Valentine's Day lunch.

At about this time 27 years ago, we were in the middle of our ceremony. I was late because of the limo from hell.

Marrying Jeff was one of the best moves I ever made.

Monday, September 14, 2015

High Tech Frustration Dream

Had my first last night. I couldn't access my voicemail messages from my phone. In reality, that is one of the easiest things to do on my phone.

The dream included other frustrations as well. I bought an ice cream bar and then couldn't find it. I was walking long distances carrying books and a quilt. I don't remember why I didn't or couldn't use my car. I had years-old appointment books with me; I didn't know if I had a tutoring appointment scheduled. If I did, with whom?

There was more to the dream, but it kept coming back to my inability to work my phone--my usual frustration dream foe.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Romesco Sauce

One of the things that I love about Blue Apron is trying new things. I enjoyed the catfish. 

Last week we tried Romesco Sauce. It was awesome: simple and delicious. You roast red pepper, tomato and garlic cloves with olive oil and smoked paprika. After they cool, finely chop them, then add pistachios, vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.

We originally served the sauce over seared steaks with roasted potatoes. We had enough left over to save. Later last week I served it with salmon. It would also be good with chicken. I'll have to try that sometime.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


I went to a work reunion today. I had run into a former co-worker at the dog park about a year ago. She found my card with my email address, forwarded the invitation to me, and Jeff and I went.

I was one of the few from my division, but I still knew most of the people. It was fun to see people I haven't seen in years, plus a few I'd like to see on an ongoing basis.

Two people told me how our old company was like a family, and that they haven't experienced the same feeling in today's corporate world. I didn't quite get the family feeling myself. For one thing, I didn't work in the original smaller location. I was also a little bitter when my job was eliminated. Other managers saved people who had lost jobs. No one cared enough to save me. Maybe that was my fault, I don't know.

Regardless, it was fun today, and I'd like to go to another reunion.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Magic Number

How long has it been since the term Magic Number meant anything to the Mets? Maybe seven years: in 2008 the Phillies achieved their magic number and took the National League East pennant from the Mets.

17. That's the Mets' magic number to clinch the NL East. Yesterday it was 19. But the Mets beat the Nationals again: the second sweep of the year against Nats. 

Last year the Nats won 15 of 19 games against the Mets; this year Mets have won 10 games and the Nats six.

Is this a changing of the guard?

I'm ready.

Jeff and I will be there at the last game of the season, ready to celebrate.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Tonight's Mets game was incredible.

Background: The Nationals had closed to four games behind the Mets; the Mets lost the weekend series to the Marlins as the Nats beat up on the Braves.

On Monday, the Mets took the series opener against the Nationals 8-5. Big.

Tonight Matt Harvey started. I was feeling ambivalent about Harvey after the recent controversy about his innings limit. But I figured he could prevail.

Harvey didn't look very good: ultimately giving up seven runs in five-and-a-third innings.

At the top of the seventh inning, the Nats were up 7-1. But these Mets are never out of the game. They tied the game against three Nats relievers in the seventh. In the eighth, pinch hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a home run against Nats closer Jonathan Papelbon. That was all closer Jeurys Familia needed to gain his 38th save.

I heard a Nats announcer last week claim that the Mets were scared of the Nats. I beg to differ. This game could be the nail in the Nats' coffin.

Back to School

Beer school, that is.

We attended the first session, but then missed a few. We returned this Sunday for Massachusetts beers. Unfortunately, I got stuck in traffic returning from a tutoring appointment and was about a half hour late.

I didn't get detention, but my punishment was worse: I missed three beer tastings.