The Bullet Journal: An Update

My original post on bullet journaling is easily the most popular post on this blog. It hit Pinterest some time back and I get multiple hits on that one post every single day. Since people seem to really dig it, I thought I’d give you a bit of an update on my bullet journaling techniques now that I’ve been doing it for almost two years.

First, I have become a hardcore fan of this method of life tracking. It keeps everything in one place and I can be sure to know what I’ve got coming up as well as be able to look back to remember when certain things happened. This was especially helpful when dealing with a thousand doctor’s appointments this fall for Liam’s concussion. Keep your Erin Condren, I’m all about the bullet journal.

I’ve made some changes in how I use it since my first post. Last year, I added in a section at the beginning of every week were I listed tasks that needed to be completed that week but that didn’t necessarily have a specific day to get them done. They were just things I needed to remember and this was a great spot to jot those things down. I did this in the daily tasks pages before each new Monday list was started.

This year, I revamped even further:

Ooooo....pretty.

Ooooo….pretty.

So. Let’s break this down. I’ve used washi tape to divide each page in half vertically. On the far left, you’ll see my weekly task list. Below that, my “notes” section. I found in previous years that I didn’t make notes on a daily basis so having a space for each week is plenty for me.

Moving to the right, you’ll see my daily task lists for the week (and you’ll notice that tasks migrate from day to day as I fail to complete them. Looking at you, kid laundry). Last, on the far right, I keep my Target list and my Grocery List. Having this separated out also helps things be more organized. They don’t end up all willy-nilly in the middle of my daily tasks pages whenever I happen to make a list or am planning to go do that task.

The other advantage to this method is that I can see the whole week in this layout. There’s still plenty of room for me to make my daily task lists but everything is much more organized. I’m liking it, a whole lot.

You can get as creative as you’d like with this set up. Mix up tapes, colors, etc!

What do you mean you don't coordinate your washi tape and you pen color!?

What do you mean you don’t coordinate your washi tape and you pen color!?

Last, I moved away from the glasses case as a pen case. It works, yes, but only if you’re carrying two or three pens and they’re just the right size to fit. So, I picked up a small pouch to use instead. Skip the office supply section of Target when looking for pencil cases. Go to the makeup department instead.

Cute and functional!

Cute and functional!

So that’s it! That’s how I’m bullet journaling these days. It’s been two years and I have no intention of quitting. It’s working great for me!

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My Powerball Fantasy

The Powerball lottery is drawing tonight for a jackpot of 1.3 BILLION dollars. As I understand it, should a person hit the whole thing and take the cash payout, they’d get several hundred million after taxes.

So, what would I do if I won?

  • Pay off my house. Then, I would pay off the houses of my sister and my sister-in-law.
  • Do all the things to my house that need doing: new windows, fix the mortar on the porch, new gutters, etc.
  • Pay off Scot’s new car. Then, buy a new car for me. Probably another Prius, to be honest. Or maybe a Tesla.
  • Fund the kids’ higher education. Whatever that may be – college, trade school, whatever. Put money away for it.
  • Hire a cleaning service to clean my house weekly.
  • Go on a fantastic trip with Scot. Our honeymoon was very low key so this would be so much fun.
  • Help our parents with whatever they needed. I know both of their homes are paid off but if we could help in some way, I would.
  • Invest. Get a GOOD financial guy and make my money work for me.

And what wouldn’t I do?

  • Buy a boat or a bigger house or super luxury cars.
  • Following on from that, I wouldn’t move. I like where we live.
  • Get divorced. I love my husband, I think I’ll keep him.
  • Quit my job. I like my job. I enjoy getting out of the house and doing something that I know is making a difference in someone else’s life.
  • Put my kids in private school. We live where we live for a good reasons and one of them is the school district.
  • I wouldn’t give away money just because people asked for it. Would I want to help people? Absolutely. But I’m not a bank.
  • Blow it on some kind of high roller Vegas blow out. No hookers and blow for me.

Basically, I’d do everything I could to make our lives and the lives of those we love easier – to the extent to which money can do that. And then I’d invest the rest so that our lives could remain easier and live a normal, middle class, suburban existence.

Books Unread

Over the last couple of years I’ve accumulated a fair number of books that I never got around to reading. The pile keeps growing and I finally decided to gather them all up and make a pile and start reading through them. I love to read and I have been terrible at reading anything new. I seem to want to read the same old things over and over again because it takes less brain power. But, enough. It’s time to get back at it.

Books. Many books.

Books. Many books.

I have books from a bunch of different genres here – from straight nonfiction to fantasy to pop fiction. So, in no particular order, here’s what I have.

The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman. I’ve been told that this is sort of like Harry Potter for adults and even Scot (who is picky about fiction) liked them so I’ve been meaning to get to them forever.

Enemies at Home and Master and God by Lindsey Davis. The former is the second in her historical mystery series featuring Flavia Albia. The Flavia Albia series builds off her 20 book Marcus Didius Falco series, which I love. I enjoyed the first Flavia Albia book so I’m looking forward to the second. The latter book is also historical but not mystery; it’s straight fiction set during the reign of Domitian.

The Yard and The Black Country by Alex Grecian are historical fiction set in Victorian London. I picked them up last year when I was in Houston visiting my friends Trista and Dan. We stopped at a mystery book shop called Murder By The Book that was a great place to browse for new mysteries to read. These two are what I chose to buy. They look fun!

The Dark Knight Returns and Superman Earth One (Vols 1 & 2) See, I even have graphic novels/comics on my pile! I read the first volume of Superman Earth One a couple of years ago and really loved the art and the story so I’m looking forward to re-reading it and moving forward with the story. The Dark Knight Returns is a classic I’ve never read. Time to remedy that.

The Imager Trilogy by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Scot bought these books for me a couple of years ago for Christmas or birthday – I can’t remember which – and I never read them. I have enjoyed good fantasy since my teen years and Modesitt is a prolific and well regarded author that I’ve never gotten into so this should be a treat.

The Heather Wells Mysteries by Meg Cabot. Yes, that Meg Cabot, she of The Princess Diaries fame. These are fluffy pop fiction with a mystery twist. I’ve read the first three of these books but not the last two. It’s been eons since I read them, though, so I’m planning to re-read from the beginning. Sometimes a good beach read is what you need.

Fire and Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. These two novels are a continuation of the world Cashore created in Graceling. I loved Graceling and I’ve also read Fire – which were both amazing. I started Bitterblue but didn’t finish. These were some of the finest YA I’ve read in a long time and I will be blogging about them in depth when I finally finish Bitterblue. I’ll probably reread Graceling and Fire in the process, too.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. This book was big about 10 years ago. Now, it’s been made into a movie. I love the original Pride and Prejudice so I’d really like to read this twist on it. Maybe I’ll even proceed on to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory. Ok, I’m not sold on this one. This book was a gift and I enjoy the time period but I’m not sold on Gregory’s twists on it. The Other Boleyn Girl made me want to throw things. We’ll see.

The Woman Who Died A Lot and The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. The former is the latest in his Thursday Next series of books which I love but are almost impossible to describe. Science fiction crossed with alternate history crossed with literary fiction would be the closest I could come. They’re well written, funny, and engrossing. The latter book is meant to be YA fiction. I love Fforde so I’ll give it a try.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I will read this knowing that many people didn’t really like it all that much, it’s kind of depressing, and it’s clearly not Harry Potter. But I’m curious so I’ll give it a go.

That about does it for fiction. But I do have some non fiction I want to read. And they are:

Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr. This should be fucking awesome.

Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children by Susan Daniels and Michael M. Piechowski – this was recommended to us by Liam’s therapist a year ago and I never read it. Oops.

Elizabeth and Leicester: Power, Passion, and Politics by Sarah Gristwood. I know quite a lot about the reign of Elizabeth I and her relationship with the Earl of Leicester but this is more in depth on that relationship rather than Elizabeth’s reign as a whole.

Blood and Roses by Helen Castor. This is an interesting book. It’s about a family during the Wars of the Roses. But it’s not about the Yorks or the Lancasters, it’s about a family that worked hard to earn landed gentry status and how they weathered the ups and downs of the Wars of the Roses. The story is told via a remarkable cache of letters that was found. This one should be really cool.

Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir. I will read anything that Weir writes. I started my love of her work with her biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine and I still think her finest work to date was her book on Queen Isabella. This book details the life of Elizabeth of York – the mother of Henry the VIII – and deals with a time period of English history that I’ve long found confusing – The Wars of the Roses.

Humans: From The Beginning by Christopher Seddon. Recently, when the announcement of the discovery of H. naledi was made, I realized that it’s been 15 years since I really knew what was going on in the world of human origins. (Christ, I’m old.) Anyway, I decided it was time to brush up on what I knew and any new discoveries and how theories have changed since I was in college. Hence, this book.

Some of these books will be quick reads; others will take much longer. I still have school reading to do as well so the idea that I’m going to tackle this whole stack in the space of the next year is silly. Still, it’s time to start whittling it down. Now, I just have to figure out where to start!

2016 Goals

I am not a resolution maker. I never have been. People set them and forget them like they’re some kind of Ronco Rotisserie except that you don’t get a tasty roast chicken at the end.

Instead, I decided to set five goals for 2016; five things in my life I’d like to make more of a priority.

  1. Finish School: I have two more classes to finish until I can get my certificate in medical coding and billing. This was supposed to be done in the fall of 2015 but life got in the way (hello, concussion). So. I have the books for my next class. On Monday, I will sign up and get started. Time to knock this one off the to-do list.
  2. Eat Better; Exercise More: I eat like crap. I don’t exercise at all. Age 40 is coming for me in a few short months. It’s really time to start making this something I choose to do everyday. Every time I go to the kitchen I need to choose to make this my goal. Every time I’m feeling slothful I need to choose to make this my goal. This one is going to be the hardest one for me.
  3. Audition For Listen To Your Mother: This one will be the easiest for me. I have a piece written. I’ve had an editor look at it. It’s about 5-6 minutes long. Now, I just need an audition date and some time to practice.
  4. Get Better At Balancing My Responsibilities: A husband. A house. Two kids. A dog. A job. School. My plate is very, very full most of the time. If I’m going to attain any of my other goals, I need to attain this one. Something is always left undone and it’s usually housework. Whether I learn to better delegate the work to others (and remind them to do it – AHEM, CHILDREN) or learn to be better at time management or both, I have to make this a priority. Which leads me to…
  5. Blog More: Another thing that gets left undone is writing on my blog. It’s just another casualty of my overflowing plate. I’d really like to post more often. I have ideas and things that float around my head but then I never write them. Even if nobody reads them, I’d like to write them.

One last bonus goal…

6.  Continue Using The “Good Things” Jar: This was such a great way to end 2015. I got to relive all the great things that happened and I’d like to do it again.

Look out, 2016, I’m coming for ya!