I used to knit about twelve projects a year. I liked knitted socks and shawls. Occasionally I’d toss in a hat or a pair of gloves, maybe a scarf. But, for the past three years or so first the number of projects I finished went down and then the number of projects I started went down. Last year I finished two things (a pussy hat in time for the Women’s march and a shawl that I started in late 2015) and I think I started three things (the pussy hat, a pair of mitts, and a cowl made on massive needles with massive yarn).

I miss knitting.

There is something to be said for a little social time that involves crafting. I no longer have a knitting group and maybe that is why I now make fewer projects. But, even just unwinding at the end of the day, listening to a chapter of an audiobook, getting in a few rows by yourself can be nice. Or, watching an episode of something and getting in a few rows. I dug one of the projects I started last year out and I put it by the chair I sit in when I watch TV with my family. Perhaps I can get back into it.

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10 step skin care routine

I have become one of those people with an obsessive and lengthy skin care regime. It started simply enough. I had a daily set up on habitica to moisturize and use some of the treatment products that I already bought. I mean, I had the stuff, right? So I might as well use it.

Then, as I ran out of stuff and went to replace it, I discovered some of the products I had been using (because I am kind of a skincare and makeup hoarder) were no longer being made. Or, that the stuff that had once been ideal for my skin was now too strong or not strong enough. So, I started looking for new products. I started reading some blogs and watching some youtube channels. I tried new things. I liked them or I didn’t like them. I started getting samples of things. I introduced Mud Mask Monday. I change up my dailies on once a quarter and when I’ve started changing up my skincare then, too. You have to try new things for awhile to see how you like them.

And, what started as something to do every day to use stuff I already bought started to become part of a routine for how I structured my day. Days don’t really feel like days without it. It’s become part of how I mark time.

Routines are things that can get us stuck in a rut, they can be the comfortable space that we stay in and that doesn’t allow us to grow. But, they can also create the safe zone for the parts of our lives where we are growing and doing things that make us uncomfortable.

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Favorite Apps: Habitica

Sometimes, it is hard to get stuff done for yourself. Sometimes, you need to know that your actions really do have tangible effects on others. It is for those days that I keep my to-do list in the app Habitica.

Habitica is role-playing app and website for your to-do list. You create a character. You can join a party and a guild. You can go on quests and all of your roles and hit points are gotten through checking things off your list. So, if you can’t get stuff done for yourself, you can get stuff done for the party. Or, to keep your little guy from dying. I’m a level 55 rogue. Look at me, aren’t I cute?

The website has three different ways you can earn points and level 1. There are habits that you can up or down as you do them. There are dailies that you refresh everyday (and that you can set to weeklies, monthlies, etc. They are great for things you want to remember, like bills.) And, there are one-off to-dos. I put my goals for the week in the one-offs and I have dailies/weeklies/monthlies for things that I want to do regularly. As an example, my dailies include meditation and the water I want to drink every day.

The website/app helps me keep on track, even when things in my life are actively derailing me. Plus, it is sometimes fun to think about riding into battle (like, grocery shopping, for example) on a butterfly while wearing vampire armor.

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Spring Cleaning

I have a feeling that this entire year is going to be taken up with spring cleaning. This just feels like a year where I’m going to be spending a lot of time making room, digitizing notes, giving away clothes I don’t wear anymore. Even just thinking about that feels good.

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Favorite App: Forest

As a follow up, I thought I would post las week’s forest. The trees are each a half hour’s worth of time and the bushes are 20 minutes or less. This is how I’ve been getting things done without my phone. One tree at a time 😉

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Favorite Apps: Forest

I will admit it, I am addicted to my phone. I love twitter. I love insta. I will happily while away the hours playing games. This is a problem. I admit it. I have freedom installed on my apple products (but if you’re a freedom user, you know that it is great for keeping you off websites but not always great at keeping you off apps). So, I’ve found something that keeps me off my phone. It is called forest and it is available for both apple and android. I can set periods of time I want to be off my phone and, as long as I don’t leave the app, I grow a “tree”. It’s great. You can earn points in the app for different kinds of trees and white noise (if you like to listen to white noise while you work. And, I do.) You can also use the points towards planting a real tree, which is pretty great.

I’m working on a forest of sakura trees this week. It is a silly thing, I know, but even when I’m not excited about whatever I am currently working on, I can be excited about growing my forest. Whatever works, right?

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Sometimes your best choice is a still a bad choice.

I was recently chatting with a friend of mine who’s wife is in ministry. One of the things that came up in a conversation was answering hard questions in youth ministry and how, sometimes, you just don’t really have the answer. But, I feel like that is an answer. Life is hard, working together with people you sometimes disagree with and sometimes don’t like is hard. Working even when you didn’t get any sleep last night is hard. And, sometimes there are no good answers. I think if I had heard as a teen that sometimes your best choice is still pretty sucky that would have been meaningful to me.

Even though I know that now, I still feel like I need to be reminded sometimes. When things are going well and you’ve had nothing but good choices for a while, you sometimes forget that what you’re experiencing isn’t how it always is for everyone. It is good to be reminded.

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When I first started my dissertation project, I was really excited to using my new found skills from a workshop I attended on a particular kind of software. I collect conversation data and one of the first things I have to do in the processing of that data is transcribe it. The software the workshop had taught facilitates transcription and allows you to create tiers of information that can be connected. So, if you are transcribing and then translating something, you can have a tier of what people said and a tier of the translation of what people said. If you then want to look at the subjects and the predicates, you can add a tier so that you can divide sentence information. Or, word information. Or, gesture information. Any information that you want to use.

When you first start a project, you have an idea of what is going to be relevant or useful. You know what research questions you are asking and what kind of data you will need to answer those research questions. But, sometimes, as you are working, you find other things that are interesting and you start looking for those things, too. It is really important to be consistent, though, when adding category names, especially retroactively. I was not careful, sometimes capitalizing names and sometimes not. This meant when I went to analyze the data, I had to combine a bunch of categories that were actually the same category because the computer program did not know that THIS, This, and this were the same thing. It was a valuable lesson in consistency. (Also, in updating my template).

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What is it for?

I haven’t been meditating recently and I have been trying to figure out how to get back to this practice that has meant so much to me. I would like to get back to it because I feel like I’ve been pretty exasperated by many things recently and I think it could help me better manage that feeling. I am concerned that acting on my exasperation will not lead to the kind of change or forward motion that will lead to less exasperation in the future. This is a desired outcome because part of my exasperation comes from repeating actions and conversations, redoing them. I am being vague here, partially because I do not want to get into particulars and partially because particulars do not really matter. I have reached this point with many things. The question I found myself asking this morning while feeling exasperated was, “What is this for?” Why do I do exasperating things? Read exasperating things? Engage with exasperating people? Discuss exasperating topics?

What is it for?

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Always, Always, Always back up.

I am a user of the Pomodoro method. I think I do will another post about my Pomodoro routine. Planning how long things will take has always been difficult for me. I have trouble getting and staying focused and often underestimate the time a task will take (especially if I do not include the time it will take to get focused.) So, when my laptop would not charge earlier this year and then again earlier this summer, I was very grateful for my studious backing up of things. That is, until I realized that, in July, when my laptop was replaced, that one file was not backed up at all. So, now I find myself calculating how much time to recreate the file that has gone missing.

If you put something in a spreadsheet and have to properly format it, that can take a long time. Getting the details right is important. Problems in a spreadsheet can have pretty big consequences. Maybe not world-changing consequences as a linguist, but certainly we-have-to-redo-all-this-work consequences. And, nothing is more frustrating than spending an entire day to redo work you have already completed.

So, ladies and gentlemen. Always, always, always back up.

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