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cole haan air melanie boots


little red riding-NO-hood

honey soy glazed salmon with spinach and peppers


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2009 In Review

I tend to view myself as a fairly lazy person.  I really, really like to sit on the couch and drink coffee and watch movies.  And the sleep, I love to sleep.  Since we have declared 2010 to be The Year of Making It Happen, I got to thinking about what I accomplished last year.  So, I started a list:

  • Ran a half marathon
  • Knit my first sweater 
  • Started composting 
  • Built a raised bed veggie garden and learned about gardening
  • Planted spring and fall crops
  • Got engaged
  • Hosted a party for 75 of my closest friends on my birthday
  • Bought a road bike and started to ride distances
  • Competed in my first Duathlon and several road races (fun)
  • Organized a wedding 
  • Got married
  • Started to tinker and come up with some of my own knitting patterns
  • Had a work related article/paper published in an Australian periodical
  • Worked full time +
  • Travelled to (for work and play): Waterloo, Virginia, Seattle, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Toronto (Oakville), Panama City (Florida Ironman), Denver, Amarillo, Austin

I may have just changed my opinion of myself!

Posted in everyday stuff | 1 Comment

TYoMIH: Progress on Paper Organization


This weekend, I made significant progress on my organization project.  I started by corralling up all the paper piles and boxes in the house and dividing it into pre-shacking up and post-shacking up content.  I managed to sort through all the post-shacking up papers (the majority of what was out in the open and cluttering up the house) and divided them into recycling/shredding or keep/file.

I took a large garbage bag of shredded paper to the local fundraising recycling drop off a few hours ago.  I also figured out what to file where in two small accordian filers that I bought at Office Max last spring (from their very pretty DiVoga Mod Line).  They will accomodate most of the important papers that we need to file with the exception of some monthly financial statements.  The statements come pre-punched with three-ring binder holes so I am going to file them separately in a binder.  Finally, I contacted some companies who we have done business with in the past that mail us statements and updates and asked to stop receiving these catalogs and reports.

Things left to do:

  • Acquire binder, file financial statements.
  • Sort through old, old papers.  These are three boxes of papers that moved over here from our respective individual homes about 18 months ago.  This does not count Patrick’s random boxes in the garage.  I have no idea what he is hiding out there.
  • Recycle and shred as much of the pre-shacking up papers as possible, try to find a home for anything important in existing expanding folders with records from that era.
  • Todays sorting resulted in a pile of MacLean’s and Real Simple magazines that I want to look at before recycling.  This will be my reading material for the next few weeks when the hubbie is in charge of channel surfing.

So far, I have used existing bins (from the Casual Home line at Target) and files.  I am going to look at work for an old binder which would have otherwise been thrown out.  The one thing I am contemplating buying to finish off the project is some sort of magazine rack for our family room so that our magazines don’t clutter up the coffee table.  I’m a bit stuck though – not sure where it would go in the room and some initial web-browsing didn’t yield any that I really liked.

P.S.  I have fallen back in love with my label maker.  Who knows what labels Patrick will come back to when he returns on Friday!

Posted in everyday stuff, house and stuff, i'm enviro-mental, making it happen | 1 Comment

TYoMIH: Project #1 – New System for Paper

One of the big elements of clutter around our house is paper.  Yes, we have signed up for paperless billing and have removed our names from catalog and other junk mail lists, but we still have a lot of paper products coming into our house.  And paper is one thing that I just can’t bear to throw out – it’s just so easy to recycle! 

Since we bought our house a year and a half ago, we haven’t really been able to settle on a system which we both can live with and adhere to when it comes to mail, recycling, keeping important papers.  As a consequence, we have piles of paper stowed here and there and a constant pile of mail on our coffee table.  We lose important papers and have had a streak of being late with a couple of our bills.

Thus, the goals of this project are to:

  • Move our paper intake, sorting and recycling area to a more convenient and accessible location.  Right now we don’t really have a system, so one day the mail gets put in one location and one day it goes into another.
  • Re-purpose our existing mail sorting baskets to support our new process.  About 6 months ago, we bought bins from target which were “his” and “hers”.  This worked for a couple months until both our bins got full and we started to get confused about which bin was which.  Now, we will go with a “To Be Acted Upon” and a “To Be Filed System”.  This should better suit our needs and help us with some of our issues of losing important things.
  • Put in place a filing system and process.  Right now we have a year and a half of back log, stashed here and there.  We will file at least monthly, if not more frequently.
  • Work through and purge all the backlog.  My plan is to put it all into one place and go through it all at once.
  • See if there are any more mailings that we can eliminate.  See if we can get some of our bills synched up to the start of the month and get rid of the paper bills.  Right now we use the paper bills as a reminder to pay!  If everything was lined up, we could go online once a month and deal with it.

The budget for this project is $50 or less.  We may need some filing bins, but basically we have most of the elements – we just need to reorganize and set an ongoing process so we don’t get into this mess (pardon the pun) again.

My goal is to get the majority of this done before the end of January.  Patrick will have to deal with some of the backlog and he is going away for the last week of January – so his part may bleed into February.  We are also going to the Olympics in February, so I want to be 100% complete before we leave.  Updates and photos as I work through – blogging this is mostly for my own benefit so that I actually follow through and get this done!

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2010: The Year of Making It Happen

I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions.  I have held the belief that if I want to make a change, I shouldn’t have to wait for January 1 to start the process.  While this has worked in the past, at this point in my life I feel like I have a very, very long laundry list of “Things to get done”.  I thought about it a lot this week and chatted with my friend, Shannon, about things that we would like to cross off our lists this year.

I manage a lot of projects for work and I started to ponder why I don’t apply these same concepts to the laundry list of to do’s.  And so evolved the concept of grouping my laundry list into “themes” to be managed in one to two month segments throughout 2010.  These are the rules (using the term rules loosely here):

  • I will manage these work packages like I would any work project.
  • They will thus have phases:  Design, Implement, Commission and Transition to Maintenance.
  • I won’t restrict myself to a specific time-frame until after the design.  That way, I can take into account the amount of work and our schedule.  I anticipate that most “themes” should take 1-2 months.

At this same time that I was pondering committing myself to this,  I was eagerly anticipating Sara’s naming of 2010.  Each year, she begins the year by “naming” it.  (I can’t seem to remember what last year was.  Shame on me.)  We started discussing this today and I suggested “The Year of Getting It Done”.  Coincidentally, she was already leaning towards “The Year of Making It Happen”.  And so it has been appropriately named!

So, the first theme in My Year of Making It Happen will be Paper.

At our house, we don’t do well with our current recycling system, we need to elimate receiving paper, plus we don’t have a good system for filing and thus have a backlog of stacks of paper around.  Because of this, we lose important papers and have missed paying bills on time.  We need to come up with a plan to eliminate non-essential mail, a better recycling system, a better way to tackle important things that do come in the mail, deal with the disorganized backlog.  I will better define the problem and solution over the next week.

Like many people out there, I am hoping that writing this down and getting back on the blog wagon will help push me along.  I have definitely noticed increased rss feed coming from many blogs that I track this week!

P.S.  As I went to categorize this post, I found that I already have a “Making It Happen” tag.  Looks like I’ve tried this before – better wish me luck!

Posted in everyday stuff, making it happen | 3 Comments