Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 276 - Nightly Roundup

Marriage - Check.
Parenting - Greg's been out of town - returning tonight - so we've had a lot of play time which included tag, hide and seek, light saber battles, dinosaurs, blocks, etc. Will be ready for adult conversation tomorrow;-).
Business - Sent a weekly update to my mentor group, whom I will be meeting with for the second time on Monday. They've been ENORMOUSLY helpful in finding people in everything from manufacturing to video game development.
Book - Got an update from my writers who were at the focus group to hear their thoughts on the parents' opinions and will print these tomorrow to bring to my mentor group to share on Monday.
Health - Continue to struggle on the healthy eating front - it seems the busier I am the more a junk food (specifically sugar) junkie I am. Around three I become convinced I need Dr. Pepper and chocolate covered raisins to make it through the rest of the day;-). Today I took the time to write down the ingredients for several healthy meals for grocery shopping tomorrow from Deceptively Delicious - written by Jerry Seinfeld's wife Jessica.
FI - Went no where/spent nothing today.
Spirit - Will read something uplifting tonight.
Garden - Read about a coastal garden today that happened to mention a Madison couple's beachfront home in Florida. Intrigued, I looked them up and it turns out he is a direct mail catalogue guru, so I sent the name to several people to see if anyone knows him to set up a meeting as I'd love to talk about the ins and outs of direct mail.
House - Will do a wee bit of Valentine decorating tonight.
Bus. Vocab. - asset based lending, chart, cash basis accounting, price skimming

Day 277 - Nightly Roundup

Kai and Brandi watching Curious George. I went to bed last night before I updated.

Marriage - Check.
Parenting - Pizza/pop/candy party;-) Not too nutricious. Greg was out of town so we did a Friday night no-holds barred pizza party.
Business - Had a very helpful meeting with someone who has worked in toy product development and may work with us as a consultant.
Book - The two people I met with yesterday both didn't like the fantasty/time travel idea at all - but preferred a straight history story. Will have to give some thought to this. Meeting the writers on Tuesday for chapter one.
Spirit - A rare day with no spirit stuff.
FI - Nada - unless I count the work on the company - but that seems like double dipping.;-)
Health - Nada.
Garden - Nada
House - Some tidying.
Bus. Vocab. - nada
You begin to see why I didn't update;-).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 278 Nightly Roundup

Uber tired! Busy day!

Marriage - check.
Parenting - Not the best day - lots of meetings, then a dinner/cocktail thing for Greg's work, but I promised the kids tomorrow and the weekend we're just family - no work.
Business - Met someone today who has done a lot of manufacturing and he walked us through some of the steps and estimated costs - wee bit scary here - but at least we now have some grasp of the start up funds required.
Book - Had my two student co-authors attend the focus group last night and they had some good feedback on what we can work into the books. We meet for the first chapter next week.
FI - Not much!
Health - Did my workout with trainer/friend today. Hard workout!
Spirit - Helped out a friend.
Garden -nada
House - Looks quite good actually. We had to have a babysitter so everything is quite tidy.
Bus. Vocab - Really need the sleep tonight, so I will restart this tomorrow.

To all a goodnight!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 279 - Nightly Roundup

Had some great parents show up for the second focus group - Hurrah!
Marriage - Check
Parenting - A bit rushed tonight because of the focus group, but I am reading a book called "How to have fun with your kids with the time you do have" - i.e. games to play at mealtimes and bedtimes, etc, so hopefully it will be slower soon and I can incorporate some of these into our schedule.
Bus. - Second focus group had five wonderful parents in attendance and they had a lot of opinions. I realize we have a LOT of work to do, but I keep remembering every obstacle is an opportunity.
Book - Parents pointed out again tonight how much their boys don't like long blocks of text, which goes against the Harry Potter concept - though I like to think if it's written well enough, they will come??
Spirit- Helped out someone today, ironically enough, who needed business strategy suggestions.
Health- Grapes as a snack.
Garden- Nada
FI- Skipped planned dinner out tonight to do the focus group.
House - General tidying.
Bus. Vocab - median, mercantilism, microeconomics, mixed economy

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 280 - Nightly Roundup

Went to my improv class tonight - one of my goals this year was to go beyond my comfort zone and this really did that. It was a bit scary, but not as bad as I thought and all the other students (10 in the class that range from a high school freshman to a 70 year old former actress) were supportive. I hope to become more comfortable in a wide variety of social situations as a result. Outside of my role as teacher, I have a really hard time - things like pre-dinner cocktail chit-chat is somewhere between pulling teeth and a weightlifting session;-)

Marriage - check.
Parenting - Dinner at McDonalds with about five minutes to spare - not so good, but I did start reading a book about having more meaningful/fun minutes with your kids during dinner times - so hope to incorporate some of those ideas soon.
Business - Had a good meeting with some of the people at a local college to see what work students would be able to do on the website.
Book - Just a bit of brainstorming
FI - This is really stretching it, but I had thought I would need to pay for lunch today and someone else insisted on picking up the tab.
Health - Bad on food again - thinking of joining a weight watchers to get those final 10 pounds. Did a tiny, tiny bit of weight work.
Spirit - Will do a "universal mind meditation" c.d. that always makes me think big picture and feel peaceful when I go to bed.
Garden - Gave my about to bloom lovely red amaryllis a good drink.
House - Needs help!
Bus. Vocab - just came in from class and still have a lot to do, so I'm giving myself the night off on this one.

Goodnight and good wishes!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 281 Nightly Roundup

Inauspicious beginnings - nary a soul showed up to my first focus group at a local bank.;-) Hoping for a better turnout Wednesday night.
Marriage - Check
Parenting - Kirk and I spent a lot of time reading Star War books tonight and Kai and I spent a fair amount of time singing.
Business - A good meeting today with a company that does video games to discuss some sort of video element on the website.
Book - Did some creative brainstorming for this.
FI - Other than three candy bars - for me and my two musketeers - no money spent.
Health - Did the cardio, but still really struggling on the food - Candy bar and Dr. Pepper again today - it always seems to be the 3-4 p.m. energy dip that has me craving sugar.
Spirit- Kirk and I gathered a bunch of change to bring to his pennies challenge to help the people in Haiti.
House - 20 minute speed clean got it fairly presentable for tonight.
Bus. Vocab - Marginal tax rate, market economy, Karl Marx, George Meany

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 282 Nightly Roundup

Good wishes to you all. Hope the week ahead is filled with little happy moments.

Marriage - Check
Parenting - I must admit to being tired and grumpy today and not doing the best job here. Grateful that tomorrow is a new day to start again.
Business - Did a bit more reading in Art of the Start, about creating a new business.
Book - Trying to figure out a character that can go through the whole series - some sort of time travel - without getting too far from the history aspects. Reading a lot about why boys do and don't read.
FI - Updated some accounts. Did the weekly groceries for about $80 which is pretty good for us. Need to eat out of the cupboards more.
Health - Dinner tonight uber healthy - roasted veggies and whole grain rice and grains.
Spirit- Hoping the tired/grumpies go away tomorrow - not really the person I want to be today - always glad for a fresh start and a new day. Greg took Kirk to see The Blind Side, which he said was really inspirational - one of those movies that remind you how good people really are.
Garden - Read an article about deadheading.
House - Put another 15 items in the donate pile and cleaned out the front hall closet.
Bus. Vocab. - macroeconomics, Madison Ave., Thomas Malthus, marginal cost

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 283 - Nightly Roundup

A fun day today! We watched some ice fishers (a very WI activity), went to the library where the kids did some pretend baking, watched the yoyo champion show, went to the modern art museum and out to lunch. Last night I was going to update, but I got home late from the movie, which I LOVED, Meryl Streep in "It's Complicated".
Marriage - Check
Parenting - Had a great day - lots of family time.
Business - Good 20 minute round up meeting tonight with Greg.
Book - More research on boys and literacy.
Garden - Watered some overwintering plants.
FI - Got several books from the library rather than buying.
Spirit - Good long chat with a good friend.
Health - Did body for life lifting tonight.
House - Had Kirk and Greg help with a fast 10 minute clean-sweep that did make a good impact.
Bus. Vocab - Keynesian economics, laissez-faire, leisure class, John Lewis

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 284 - Nightly roundup

Something I want to be very conscious of is making our products/books as environmentally friendly as possible from the marketing to the packaging to the printing. My mom bought this plaque 20 years ago when she and I took a trip to Maine and she recently gave it to me.
Marriage - check
Parenting - Had fun tonight. Turned off all the lights in the house and had a candle-lit dinner then played flashlight tag.
Business - Got some books from the library about the differences between boys and girls in their reading habits/skills
Book - Met with the second potential writing team member today - he had some great ideas, a senior at UW in the creative writing dept.
Health - Worked out with weights with my friend/trainer and worked harder than I ever had and felt like a puddle of wobbly muscles as the end! The theory behind Body for Life is to fatigue the muscle to the point you "tear" it - not literally, then it gets stronger as it repairs itself. Did pretty well with healthy eating today.
Spirit- Going to watch a video from a group of comedians tonight. Talked at dinner about each of our acts of kindness for the day.
FI - Getting more donations ready.
Garden - Watering my blooming hyacinths.
House - Tidied up quite a bit and got my pile of five donations ready.
Bus. Vocab - invisible hand, journeyman, Das Kapital, John Maynard Keynes

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 285 - Nightly Roundup

A day with some anxiety about the whole business undertaking creeping in around the sides. It is that sort of unease that makes your breathing shallow and your mind continually spinning what ifs in the negative. Greg and I were up talking last night and he admitted that sometimes he too wonders if we have what we need to tackle such an enormous undertaking. Some part of me realizes this first set of doubts probably kills a lot of great ideas. You're just past the euphoria of the "big idea" and the execution issues and all their attendant challenges are showing themselves and it all seems a Herculean undertaking. But I'm hoping that by pushing through this first set of angst, we'll be past a big hurdle. An analogy might be that when a rocket ship takes off, a huge part of its energy is just breaking through earth's gravity field to start, then much less energy is required to stay the course.

Also helpful are reminders of the really big picture. Our time on earth here is limited and it should be one of joy and stretching, but realizing it is all temporary and the purpose is to grow as much as anything. I have a saying up in the kitchen that speaks to this. I'm not sure if you can read it in the picture. The text is as follows:

A Precious Human Life

"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it, I am going to use all my energies to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can." His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

So on to tonight's round-up and thanks for letting me share my anxieties.

Marriage - Check.
Parenting - Kai went into the pool! Kirk came over after his lesson and Kai agreed to sit down next to him, then threw a little ball and went with the instructor out into the pool to get it. And Antoinette - the instructor did ask over and over to go in, so that seems to have worked too.
Business - We met with a company here today that does websites and other marketing to share the concept and get a proposal for the cost to start down that part of the path.
Book - Got an email from the NY writer that she is going to send her proposal. Don't know how it will all play out. Maybe we will go that route, maybe she will be a consultant to the group of university students who will write it. We soon need to come up with a final plan and just get started. There is some quote Greg often uses about perfection being the enemy of the good. We may have to correct as we go, but that may be better than too much planning waiting for the perfect concept to appear.
FI - Have been eating a fair number of the meals I made early in the week.
Spirit - Going to read more in the Power of Now - a calmer as of course worries are always in the future!
Health - Followed the Body for Life food part a bit better today. Only slip-up would be a Doctor Pepper and not enough protein.
Garden - Had a nice long chat with my neighbor as we walked around the block about her horticulture class she just started and the whole conversation reminded me how much I love plants;-).
House - Pretty sorry looking tonight - and I don't have the energy to do a thing, so that may just have to be a cop out for tonight.
Bus. Vocab - recourse loan, long term equity anticipation, interstate commerce commission, investment tax credit.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 286 - Nightly Roundup

On big trash day last year, someone was getting rid of this four wheeler. The battery doesn't work and I'd kept it in the basement with the thought that when Kirk turns six I'd buy a battery so he could ride it in the driveway in the summer. As it turns out, the kids are thrilled to just pretend to ride it whether in the basement or in the family inexpensive and likely much safer option;-).

Marriage - Check.
Parenting - I'm continuing with the Love and Logic book tape and being a bit more strict. Today when I picked Kirk up from his science club (a five week activity), he was pretty "mouthy" as my mom would have said about not going to McDonalds - we did this to celebrate his first class last week. So we did the book's suggestion of consequences and he seemed to go with the flow just fine after that. Sometimes I wonder if I "coddle" the kids too much when they talk back or are disrespectful. It's a line I'm not always sure I get right.
Business - Called the local bank to confirm the first focus group. I only have one person signed up for the local one so I posted signs around town hoping for more. The downtown focus group has five, so hopefully I'll get more feedback there.
Book - A university student contacted me after she saw the ad for writers and asked if I would be looking for an illustrator - which we will eventually, and she said she'd send her portfolio, so that will be helpful. I also did some research to figure out why Harry Potter was so popular and there are as many opinions on this as you can imagine;-). It seems to boil down to a main character to whom readers can relate, who has powers (appealing to kids who are often powerless) and just great writing.
Health - 20 cardio for body for life. Didn't do so well on the six mini-meals with just healthy foods (Pepsi, bagel, cream cheese, and chocolate covered raisins snuck in there somehow;-), but I always take awhile to get into the swing of things, so I'm figuring this is my ease in time).
Spirit - Coordinating with my aunt to go to the big Garden Expo here in Madison.
Garden - Finished up the Garden Gate magazine today.
FI - Went through all the various gift cards we likely won't use and posted them on Craigslist.
House - Got rid of at least 20 more items, mostly from Kirk's overstuffed dresser drawers.
Bus. Vocab. - Price to earnings ratio, strong dollar, bid, interdependence

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 287 - Nightly Roundup

Hello! Hope this finds everyone having a good night. The hyacinth bulb I planted earlier this fall is just now beginning to bloom and smells heavenly. The blog, the idea for which Greg planted into my mind over lunch in June, just showed 10,000 views...visual representations of dreams manifesting;-).

Marriage - check.
Parenting - Listening to a book tape these past few days called "Parenting with Love and Logic" and I've found it helpful with Kai at two and a half, who is more of a "tester" than Kirk ever was. I was a bit firmer tonight, buoyed by the books suggestions that even a one year old knows right from wrong and doesn't need more than one warning. Hoping this brings more peace and quiet to the household;-).
Business - Greg and I have instituted a habit of sitting together for 20 minutes at night after the kids go to bed and coordinating our schedules for the company and trading thoughts and ideas of the best ways to proceed.
Book - Got a second submission from a possible writing team member. His first submission was good, but too adult, so I asked him to submit something more targeted for kids, with action and dialogue. He's getting his degree with an emphasis in creative writing, so I'm hoping he will work well with the other writer and me. We will meet sometime this week or next to explain the concept and get his thoughts.
Health - Did my first day of body for life, which is much more based on weight lifting than cardio and I pushed myself pretty hard. The theory is 3 days lifting - alternating upper and lower body, 3 days of cardio - 20 minutes per day, but really pushing it. The food is 6 meals a day, no junk, balanced between a fist-size portion of protein, healthy carbs, and fruits/veggies for each meal, with one day a week free to eat whatever.
Spirit- Had a really nice visit with my parents when I met them halfway for Kirk to come home after his three day weekend, which he loved.
Garden - More garden magazine dreaming.
FI - Updated accounts.
House - Really getting into the toss/donate mode. At least 15 more items ushered out the door today - though my mom sent home quite a bit with Kirk, so we may be a wash.
Bus. Vocab. - inelastic demand, inelastic supply, institutional investor, international monetary fund.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 288 - Nightly Roundup

Hello! I took a few days off as my mom was here, and I must admit those days off here and there are very restorative! I feel energized and excited for the week ahead. I hope each of you are finding those baby steps adding up.

Marriage - Check.
Parenting - Kirk went home with my mom for two days and so Kai got to have mom and dad to himself, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. I wrote earlier about an article I'd found that suggested looking at time as creating value rather than being productive. That's been a good mind-shift for me as I spent a lot of time singing songs with Kai, despite the fact the dishes weren't done (and still aren't as I type;-). But I realized big picture -that was high value time.
Business - We had a series of meetings last week and have a list of three people with contacts in the manufacturing sphere - so we will proceed with that in the week to come. I will have my focus groups next week and hope to have a better sense of the market. One great book I'm reading about bringing new products to market stresses over and over, You need to build your idea with the customer, not create a product you hope will sell.
Book - I've decided a team approach will likely work best here until I master the art of writing fiction. I put an ad at the University for help with the project and one person really stood out. He's a second year law student and has a real knack for dialogue and action scenes. We met Friday and think it should work well. He will be paid $20 an hour for two hours a week of writing and another $20 to meet with the team once a week (the other members yet to be decided). My thought is this collaborative approach will get results much quicker than just me writing and will be more creative than if we just hired one writer. Wish us luck!
Health - Decided to commit to the Body For Life program, one which Greg has followed for several years to great success as well as another of my friends. It focuses on short, intense rather than long periods of exercise, and a healthy diet. The before and after pictures in the book are mind-boggling. I'm at 140 now and would like to be at 127 by April, with a healthy, energized, more toned figure. Reaching for the stars;-).
FI - Made three dishes tonight - Spinach casserole, a spinach/potato dish, and a black bean/salsa casserole so we'd eat healthy the week to come and not be tempted to order in pizza.
Spirit - Lovely long chat with a very close friend who is at an exciting time in her life - newly engaged to a great guy.
Garden - At a thrift store today on the way home from the grocery store, I picked up the Body for Life book and long with a Garden Gate magazine, which I plan to enjoy with a cup of chamomile tea tonight.
House - Found five items in one dresser drawer to donate. Trying to keep up with a minimum of five items donated/tossed each day.
Bus. Vocab. - business risk, cross hedging, demand guarantee, rule 144

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 289 - Nightly Roundup

My wonderful mom is visiting here for the next two days. I don't get to spend enough time with her, so I will just enjoy her visit and will post again after she goes home. Good wishes to you all!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 290 - Nightly Roundup

Marriage - Check
Parenting - Kai still refuses to go anywhere near the water for swim lessons, so we just sit by the side and watch. At $25 per lesson, the is pricey entertainment;-). Kirk joined a sort of twice a week science club that is part of his school. That means we have after school activities three days a week, plus Kirk has Sunday school, and I'm not sure if maybe that's all just a bit too much with not enough down time. I'll have to reevaluate in a few weeks.
Business- Met a good friend and his two partners today who specialize in technology for further discussions about our website and what we'd be able to do on it and how hard it would be to set up.
Book - Thinking of working on a team for this and sent out a job posting at the University.
FI - Updating some accounts.
Health - Not a good day here. Didn't plan meals, didn't exercise, ate lots of junk...need to focus more on this.
Garden - Watered some overwintering flowers.
Spirit- Read a bit in The Power Of Now - which I love. Whenever I find myself getting too caught up in the what ifs - this book is a great calmer.
House - Doing great here as far as tossing and donating. I'm a woman on a mission!
Bus. Vocab. Random walk theory, holding company, import quota, individualism.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 291 - Nightly Roundup

Marriage - Check.

Parenting - Doing a much better job enjoying the kids. I had written that down as a goal. Much as I love them both, sometimes our ideas of fun and interesting can diverge;-). And there are still some Sundays around 3:30 p.m. where it seems the day may never end, but that said, I'm making progress. Baby steps, baby steps....
Business - Had a great meeting with someone from Herzing College about the various technical aspects of everything from 3 D imaging of the figures (there is still some disagreement about whether we need to use a traditional sculptor to start).
Book - A bit more work on an outline.
FI - Large group of donations and tax receipt.
Health - Followed my training program. I find I really like having a specific program and having to touch base with my trainer/friend at night. Need to do better on the food. I think I'm going to try and plan out my diet the night before and see how that works.
Garden - Plotting a lot of begonias this year. They have 100 for $135 in one of the catalogues - may be where some of my Christmas gift money from my in-laws goes.
Spirit- Good phone chat with a friend today.
House - Thrilled to donate at least 40 items. Hoping less is more also means less stuff is more time.
Bus. Vocab. relative strength index, milestone, John Kenneth Galbraith, Gresham's law

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 292 Nightly Roundup

Marriage - Check.

Parenting - Kai and I have a new routine that after stories we sing songs before bed and I think we may have our very first family member on either side with some musical talent... When I try to join in, he quickly admonishes me, "NO Mommy - Just ME sing!";-) Played light sabers with Kirk and did a puzzle with Kai. Not lots of quality time today, but a bit. Kirk helped with the dishes to earn computer time.

Business - Met today with someone who works with CAD design and showed him our idea. He told me that for the level of detail that we want, we would have to work with a sculptor initially.

Book- Will do a rough outline tonight in case the proposal from the published author doesn't work.

Health - Did my training routine 30 cardio and 10 minutes ab work - nine more weeks of training. I've also been reading about food more. One think I know I need a lot of this year is energy. There was an interesting article stating digestion is the second biggest user of energy in our bodies and that digesting some food (steak for instance) takes up to 9 hours of time your body would otherwise be free to repair cells, eliminate toxins etc. On the other hand, a fruit salad can be digested by your body in 30 minutes, leaving your body with a lot of excess energy. The idea was to eat foods that give you a large net energy gain, not energy in some form that has to be counter-balanced by a lot of work to digest. I found this interesting - and a big argument for more whole, raw foods in my diet.
FI - Updated accounts.

Spirit- We did our one act of kindness discussion tonight at dinner (just Kirk and me as Greg was working and Kai was feeling a bit under the weather) Kirk led with, "I helped my team win at messy soccer today in gym!";-)

Garden - Looked through a wonderful catalogue of specialty flowers, just a bit of dreaming.;-)

House - Saw a segment on Oprah about the Danish - and do they ever have uncluttered homes!! One guy was saying he believes less stuff and less space (small apartments) equals more life. I liked that and vowed today to collect 20 more items to donate, which I surpassed.
Bus. Vocab - Prospectus, MRO, weak dollar, investment proposal.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 293 Nightly Roundup

The beautiful picture is of an orchid my friend dropped off today as a birthday gift. It makes me happy each time I pass it!

Marriage - check.
Parenting - Kirk and I spent some one on one time at Panera with bagels, soda, and a history book before church today. Then Kai and I cuddled and watched the Leapfrog Letter Factory video (for the 21st time...). I notice Kai is much better behaved the more one on one time he gets. Kirk was proud to announce his "act of kindness" for the day and Greg and I did the same. I moved that poster closer to the kitchen table as a reminder to do it at mealtimes each night.
Business - Greg and I made a checklist of all the things that will need to be done to get the company launched - somewhere between scary and inspiring;-).
Book - If things don't work out with the proposal for some reason (we are to get it in the mail Jan. 26), I may outline the 10 chapters myself, then see if I can find someone with experience in dialogue and action scenes to fill in the blanks so to speak.
FI - We hit our next big milestone!!!!
Spirit - Nice phone chat with my mom - today is her 68th birthday and she is coming up later in the week.
Health - will need to finish ab work tonight and email my trainer that I finished.
Garden - Got my zinnia box outside to start the winter chilling period.
House - Some donations boxed up - about 5 items.
Bus. vocab - free market, free trade, Milton Friedman, fringe benefit

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nightly Roundup Day 294

Last night, I intended to be home early from a movie to do my update. My friend and I stopped briefly at a local restaurant en route as her husband had called to say he'd locked himself out of his car. We arrived to the restaurant to a big surprise birthday party planned by my dear husband to celebrate entering my 42nd year. It was a LOVELY time and we didn't get home until almost midnight. That was my first surprise party and the first birthday party I've had since fifth grade, so a big event. Hopefully all your spirits were there too as I blew out the candles - cake decorated with lilies and daffodils - and sent wishes that all the wishes of friends and family would also come true this year.

Marriage - Check
Parenting - Reading a book that stresses you need to first identify what values are important to your family, then have some sort of accountability. They suggest choosing one per week and asking each night for an update. We are going to start with kindness or compassion. In one of those wonderful "coincidences" that I begin to believe are not truly coincidental, I got five posters about values from a thrift store that look like there were from an old classroom.
Business - We have a good friend who is very knowledgeable about websites and he was at the party last night. Hoping to meet Monday to get his input for this aspect of our company.
Book - More work on the right type of illustrations to use.
FI - No spend day! (Admittedly balanced by big party last night;-)
Garden - Planted a box of zinnia seeds for winter sowing. This will go out into the yard tomorrow.
Spirit - Watched again the Tony Robbins video on personal power.
Health - some ab work. I'm supposed to email my friend/trainer each night, so that will keep me accountable.
House - While I was taking a shower today, Kai emptied about three side shelves from the refrigerator, emptying the contents of several bottles onto the floor. Thus we have vastly decluttered the fridge...
Bus. Vocab. - foreign exchnage, fortune five hundred, franchise, free enterprise.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 295 - Nightly Roundup

Marriage - Check
Parenting - Lots and lots of reading tonight. Kai picked out seven books for bedtime and Kirk and I made great progress in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, before he remembered he'd checked out a school library book on all the fighter ships in the Star Wars series and we "got" to read that for about 25 minutes;-).
Business - In a book about bringing new products to market, they pound home the message that you MUST know what the customer wants early on in the design rather than making something you hope they will buy. So I think I'm going to post on Craigslist for moms of boys aged 5-12 and offer a $10 gift card to Target to get some early, very concrete feedback on the whole concept.
Book - The original person we contacted about illustrations seems to have lost interest, so I have been thinking of alternatives. We may have to start from scratch on this.
FI - Found a big box of lovely cards, all occasions, for $1 at a thrift store that must have been left-over stock from a card store. I seperated out about 50 I could use and will donate back the rest. This easily is a $150 value, not to mention time and effort as they even came with the dividers. How easy to "shop" in my own office for the perfect card this upcoming year.
Garden - Set out my box and some seeds that I will sow tomorrow with the kids.
Spirit- Listening to a book tape called, "There's a spiritual solution to every problem" as I run errands.
Health - Had my first of 10 personal training sessions with my friend turned personal trainer - tough!
House - Cleared out some of the kids' videos to donate and a pile for our garage sale too.
Bus. Vocab. - Compound interest, FICA, fiscal policy, fiscal year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An article to share - Why People Hate Productivity - From the Illuminated Mind.

I really liked this article at the Illuminated Mind, which I subscribe to through my email. Feeling "productive" is something I struggle with and I thought his take on it was enlightening. He talks about his own struggles, then gives three key suggestions. Here is his article:

1. Focus on Fulfillment
The first shift is to switch from asking How many things can I get done? to What actions can I take that will make me fulfilled? This is a simple shift, but the results are dramatic.
Just this slight alteration can be highly challenging. Often what makes us feel fulfilled, doesn’t seem to “get much done.” A typical fulfilling day for me might look like:
15 minutes of meditation.
2-3 hour hike in the morning + strength training on gymnastic rings.
30 minutes responding to email.
Write one or two articles.
Work on marketing plan for a product for an hour or two.
Spending quality time with my wife.
Jeet Kune Do class in the evening.
From the outside, it doesn’t seem like I’m getting much done, does it? I’m not really checking lots of items off a list, or completing a lot of measurable tasks.
However, I am creating a lot of value for myself and others. Which leads to the next key…
2. Create value
I’ve found that creating value is a much more meaningful way to view how effectively I spend my time. If I’m focused on always being productive, it’s easy to lose focus of the value in you’re doing, because productivity usually involves maximizing time. Value, on the other hand, has no interest in maximizing time, because value is not directly correlated to time spent.
You can be highly “productive” without creating much value. Or you can spend very little time producing and create an immense amount of value.
Also, value is relative to perception. I may perceive something as highly valuable ( hiking for instance), and others may think it’s quite boring or uninteresting. Whether or not it’s productive doesn’t really matter. Whether or not it creates value to the individual, on the other hand, is extremely relevant.
When I plan my day, I like to think of the different levels of value I’m creating:
Value to myself.
Value to my family.
Value to the world and my community.
Obviously there is a lot of overlap within these circles. And in some ways, anything I do that adds value to me greater enables me to add value to others. Every time I add value to others, I benefit in some way as well.
So there are activities where I’m primarily the one that is benefiting (exercise, recreation, etc.) and it increases my capacity to provide greater value to others (because I’m maintaining or increasing my ability to expend energy).
They are all interconnected and interwoven. But I’ve found it best to split them as equally as possible. So in a given day I may spend…
One third of the time doing things that I highly value — hiking, gymnastics, reading, etc.
One third of the time spending time with my wife, and family — quality time.
One third of the time spending time creating value for others — writing, creating products, marketing, etc.
All of my days are obviously not perfectly divided. Sometimes I’m highly unbalanced where I spend the whole day or week creating value for others. Sometimes I spend the majority of the time working on a product. And some days I’ll take the day off to spend time with my wife. But thinking about dividing these roughly into thirds helps me keep perspective.
3. Following your natural rhythms
This is probably the hardest of all three keys, and the reason I listed it last. What does natural rhythms even mean, anyway? It sounds ambiguous and kind of whimsical. You can’t measure it, you can’t plan it, you can’t really control it. That’s a little unnerving for most people. At least that’s the reason I’ve had such difficulty incorporating it myself.
Following your natural rhythms is a highly intuitive way of living. And it’s messy. Too much scheduling and measuring can obstruct it, because it requires more flexibility.
It also involves trusting yourself.
Learning to do that has been the most challenging thing for me. I never really realized how much we don’t trust our natural impulses and subtle intuitive directions. For me, this has mostly been about learning to trust what I need.
Following my natural rhythms (at least the best that I can) has lead me to spending days or weeks where I do nothing but connect with nature, or times when I spend entire days reading and meditating. And it’s led to me the opposite spectrum; holing myself up in a cave and writing or creating for days or weeks on end.
Ultimately, when I do this the fulfillment and value takes care of itself. And surprise… I’m highly productive.
But it’s not on a schedule. It’s not on a rigid time-line. It’s not something that I can measure or regulate. To be honest, it can be a bit intimidating at times.
But it’s also led me to the greatest happiness that I can possibly experience. And because of that, learning to become adept at this will be my focus for a long time.
That’s what I like about it. The best paths have no end in sight.
End of quoted article.

Day 296 Nightly Roundup

Hello to all in 2010! It's chilly here in Wisconsin! My company idea is really starting to take form and I'm enjoying it a lot. I feel myself stretching - which is good. I've was watching a Tony Robbins video last night called Personal Power that I picked up at a thrift store and he talks about setting goals and reaching for them, not just for what they bring, but for who you become in the process - something I ascribe to. An aside, I think I could be a walking case study for self-help materials. At this point I'm awash in a sea of self-help posters, books, videos, etc. It will be fun to see where it all leads by year's end. I definitely feel more energized, positive, and courageous (not to say there aren't moments of pure self-doubt) but I do think I'm at a really good place, so thanks to all the "mind over matter" gurus;-).

Marriage - Check. Greg just got back from the Orange Bowl a happy man. Go Hawks!
Parenting - Trying to use the Jedi code (lots of Star Wars this past week as Kirk just found this) of controlling emotions and being in the moment rather than worried about some future event or aggravated at things. Kai had a disastrous first night of swim lessons despite being so excited for the past three weeks he would dance around and demand to go NOW to lessons. Once there, he was having no part of it (despite being in pools and the lake many times) and refused to go anywhere near the teacher for most of the lesson - SHRIEKING his disapproval of the whole process toward the end. Hoping this goes better next week. Staying calm, patient and Jedi-like;-)
Business - Have contacted a potential writer, potential illustrator, and now a potential designer for the action figures (the premade ones likely won't work as some of the joints and parts are too small - it was designed for collectors not kids.)
Book - Hoping the writer works out. She is sending a proposal by the end of January so then I'll have some sense of the cost. The good thing is she LOVES Lewis and Clark, has written three books on them and is very enthused about the project. I found her from a library book I'd really liked, then tracked her down, emailed, then we exchanged calls, now waiting for the proposal. It's fun to watch those baby steps add up.
FI - Rechecked library books and videos on line to avoid late fees.
Spirit- Nice long chat with my dad on the phone tonight. He worked so very, very hard all the years I was growing up. I really enjoy talking to him about my idea, though it is a long way from his construction/redi-mix world. He is always very encouraging to take chances. He likes to say, "As long as you're learning, you're doing good." Sort of a toned down Tony Robbins;-)
Health - 30 cardio and really need to recommit to the healthy eating. Anyone here not take a bit of a nosedive during the holidays??
Garden - Watered some plants that are overwintering - it gets really dry with the furnace.
House- Put up a few more inspirational posters. They are a bit discordant with the living room decor, but just thumb tacked up for those moments of needed inspiration.
Bus. Vocab. Green shoe, accounting rate of return, real capital, Federal Trade Commission.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Apologies for the lag time.

Sorry for the lag time. We had out of town guests, then Greg had some minor surgery (he's fine), then he had to go out of town and it's been a whirlwind. But some good progress which I'll address tomorrow. Best wishes to all! Eileen

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 297 - Nightly Roundup

Marriage - Check

Parenting - Found Kirk, newly a Star Wars aficionado, a working light saber for 30 cents at a thrift store (they sell by weight). I will save it for his birthday next month along with an action figure that I had purchased for his Christmas gifts before I realized he had too much already between us and his sets of grandparents and three uncles, etc.;-).

Business - Packing up our prototype action figures, my outlines, and time lines for Monday's meeting with my mentor group.

Book - May have found an illustrator. I went to the library and checked out about 50 books on Lewis and Clark and found one really stands out for its quality. Some Internet research allowed me to track down the illustrator and I've emailed him.

FI - Dinner out tonight was free at Olive Garden, by cobbling together several old gift cards to Red Lobster (which is owned by the same company) and Olive Garden cards.

Spirit- Nice chat with a good friend today.

Health - 30 cardio and 20 yoga.

Garden - Watered my hyacinth bulbs. They are just starting to bud; I can't wait to see the full bloom.

House - My aunt (who has BEAUTIFUL taste in all things household) gave me a subscription to House Beautiful and it came today so I'll enjoy visions of my perfect home tonight before bed.

Bus. Vocab. economic indicators, entrepreneur, equity, federal reserve system.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 298 - Nightly Roundup - Happy 2010!!!!

It's wonderful ushing in a new era. I remember as a kid thinking I would be 31 when the year 2000 came and thinking that was so old!! Now ten years past that marker at 2010, I feel so young and full of hope and excitement for all the new goals and hopes I'm working toward that I wish I could go back and tell that younger self, "You'll never really be "old" unless you so choose;-). Probably a bit deep for my nine year old self..

Marriage - Check

Parenting - Organized toys so cleanup is a bit easier and favorite toys are more accessible.

Business - Emailed someone with experience in the toy industry in the hopes we might meet.

Book - Will watch a video on Sacajawea tonight for research.

FI- Updated all spending accounts.

Spirit/catchall - Nice long chat with a good friend who is the hardest working woman I ever met (Greg and my dad being the hardest working guys I've ever met) and she had a huge bonus at work that made her feel good for the hours and hours and hours she's worked.

Health - 30 cardio and stayed within the recommended 2032 calories. This calorie tracking is from The SELF magazine website, is free, and is good for accountability;-).

Garden- Experimenting with using large cardboard boxes as planters for winter planting as I think they will retain moisture quite well. Using small plastic pots often is a problem as they dry out too fast.

House - More work on "the corner pile".;-)

Bus. Vocab - callable, corporation, deficit spending, deflation