Monday, February 11, 2008

Healing Comes First

A sappy name for a blog entry, I know, but there's a reason for it.

Last Wednesday I sprained my ankle in rehearsal. Turns out I did more than that, I strained a tendon and a muscle in my right leg. I went in for physical therapy today and it's going to be okay, it's just going to take a few weeks to heal. The lesson I learned from this experience is how important regular exercise and stretching are - apparently being out of shape and not flexible enough led to the injury.

I know, some of you may be surprised, you've seen me as a pretty fit person. But I let this show get to me and I wasn't working out regularly.

So, the regular updates about getting organized are going to have to wait. I have to focus on myself first (which yes, does involved scheduling time for myself to do my stretches) and moving objects around later.

I thought about posting pictures of my foot, ankle and calf which have swelled to twice their normal size - but then decided I wanted people to keep reading my blog, not be turned off by it!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Parkin' and Barkin' again!

Goodness! I almost forgot. After all my agonizing and believing I would never work in opera again after turning down a couple jobs for Steppenwolf, I'm going to Michigan in March a couple weeks after my current show ends to do an opera. There was a moment of indecision when I was offered a local theater gig shortly after being offered the opera gig, but I'm sticking with the opera for reasons that are too boring to go into. And I feel good about it, despite the fact that my buddy who wanted me to stage manage the dance gig he's producing in April hates me for backing out on him.

He'll be back.

Organizing finances

The title of this post is an action that is VERY IMPORTANT. This post is not going to be a week in review because I'd rather not talk about how I completely failed to make a schedule for last week or a meal plan. I'd like to talk about how I reconciled all my accounts in Quicken, had it create a report for last year, and realized I spent over $200 in finance charges and late fees on my credit cards.

I know, some of you are like, so what? That's nothing! Good for you! But you see, I see it as over $200 that could have been saved towards taking a trip, put towards my retirement or invested. And really, I pay all my cards online so there's no excuse for making late payments. So one of my goals for this year is not to pay a single credit card bill late!

I would also like to whine about how ridiculous our election system is, how it's really time to get rid of the delegates and go by the popular vote, by it makes me tired just thinking about it.

Right now I'm going to make a schedule for the week.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Week 1 in Review

So, it's been a week since I started my Get Organized resolution. How'd I do?

Actually, pretty well. I haven't set any monthly goal or anything, but this week what I did do was outline a meal plan for the week and make a schedule for each day. The schedule only looked like this:

Tuesday - Rehearsal until 6, gym after rehearsal
Wednesday - Rehearsal until 7
Thursday - Rehearsal until 6, gym after rehearsal
Friday - Rehearsal until 6
Saturday - Rehearsal until 7
Sunday - Rehearsal until 7, birthday dinner after rehearsal

I also made a ritual of putting together my lunch for the next day the night before, as well as picking out my outfit and laying it out.

I had a great week! My mornings were (relatively) stress-free because I just ate my breakfast, took my shower, put on the clothes that I had already picked out, put my lunch in my bag that had already been made, and was out the door. I went to the gym on the days I designated as gym days after having packed my clothes for the gym the night before. Today I plan to make another meal plan for the week, and I'm in the process of doing laundry so I have all my clothes to pick from when making my outfits for each day, instead of just what's clean.

This week my "challenge" to myself is to make my schedule just a little more detailed. On the nights I don't go to the gym, I'm going to give myself one thing on my to-do list to try and accomplish, or at least work on. Examples include: go through my mail (I'm notorious for letting my mail sit around forever without opening it), start going through receipts from last year to prepare for doing my taxes, spend 20 minutes straightening my desk and cleaning the office, research candidates for the upcoming elections. (I was hoping to early vote today, but then I saw how many races are on the ballet, including those ever-mysterious judges, that I know nothing about.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My New Year's Resolution(s)

I haven't made a New Year's resolution in...many years, can't actually remember the last time I actively made a resolution.

But I'm turning 30 this year, so it seemed a good time to start making resolutions again, especially since there are habits that I really do want to make and break.

Some of you may know (but most probably don't) that I entertained the idea of starting my own professional organization business. I paid for two years of website hosting, I bought a few books on getting organized and starting your own business, I took a NAPO introductory telephone course on professional organizing. And then I got another stage management job, and the whole thing went down the tubes. I got busy, I started to doubt my abilities to run my own business, I looked around at my life and how not organized my personal life is, and my two biggest cheerleaders left town. That's around $200 that I'll never get back, but the nice thing about starting an organizing business is it takes very little investment money to start and there's not much overhead.

My resolution for this year is much more attainable than trying to start the business up again. My resolution is simply to get myself more organized. Once I get my personal life manageable, then in the future if I want to start a business I'll be in a much better place. I'll have practiced the methods I would be teaching my clients and feel much more confident in my abilities and authority and a consultant. Also, in looking into professional organizing, I started to ask myself questions about my own personal goals, many of them financial: such as wanting to be able to travel and wanting to own a home someday. These kinds of goals require financial organization and planning. So without further ado, my goals for 2008.

1) Organize my space. I want to develop a better system for putting things in their proper place, instead of having my stuff spread all over the office and the apartment. I will need to enlist the help of my partner on this one, but so far I think he's on board with me. I have a fairly decent filing system already, I just need to create a couple more categories to really incorporate all my needs for paper organization, and I need to make sure I use it correctly.

2) Organize my time. Plan out my day at least minimally each day so that I have time to do the space organization, to work on paperwork for work if necessary, exercise and etc. I need to develop better habits so that I give myself only so much time to play around on the computer and then move on to the next task of the day. As I'm about to go into rehearsals at Steppenwolf, I may even try meal planning for the week ahead so I can spend less time worrying about what I'm going to eat.

3) Organize my money. I made up a budget at the beginning of this year, and I want to start tracking my spending habits and the end of each month to make sure I'm sticking to the budget. I also want to continue being good (and hopefully get even better) at keeping and filing receipts related to tax-deductible expenses.

I realize that these goals are at best a bit vague right now. How will I know if I've achieved these goals? What is my measurement of success?

Well, every book I've read about getting organized stresses that the point of being organized is so that one can achieve one's goals in life. So the first thing I need to do is figure out my life goals and write them down somewhere to remind myself. These goals will include short term goals as well as long term beyond 2008 goals. Once I have my goals it's a matter of making a plan to get there, combining time and financial management. For 2008 I may take a page out of arduous' book and set monthly goals for myself. Tonight my plan is to sketch out a schedule for the week, and at the end of week I'll see how well I did.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Feminist anger

So because I've become a political junkie, I was listening to Morning Edition yesterday to catch news of the candidates in New Hampshire. One of the sound bites was a woman absolutely incredulous that so many young women threw their support behind Barack Obama instead of Hillary Clinton in Iowa.

I don't blame this woman. Our grandmothers - at least mine, I know - fought hard to be treated equally by men and to even be allowed into the workforce, let alone into Congress or the White House. According to my mother, my grandmother wanted a career outside raising her kids (not that she didn't love them and cherish her time with them), but my grandfather wasn't keen on the idea. They divorced when my mom's youngest brother was in college, and my grandmother got a job working for the now defunct Piedmont Airlines.

It is now my mother's generation that is behind Clinton, largely I'm sure because they've seen the sacrifices their mothers made and are continuing the fight for equal pay (which we still don't have) and to be taken seriously in Congress, in board rooms and on benches. And now we have an incredible opportunity before us as a nation - to elect a woman to the top position in the land, to elect a woman as the leader of the free world - and hopefully to redress all the inequalities. That's a very heady proposition, and I can understand these women's frustration that the younger generation is not seizing the day.

Well let me explain why this young woman is backing Obama and not Clinton. Let me count the ways...

1. It's all right there in the candidates' speeches after Iowa. Clinton talked about herself, "I am ready" "I will lead" and so forth. Obama said "you have done this," they said it couldn't be done, but "you have done it." Obama is empowering people to be the change they want to see in the world, instead of waiting around for some perfect leader to change it for them. This is a very powerful message for me and others my age and younger. We're ready to take change into our own hands because we've seen how badly a leader can botch things; all we need is someone we admire to encourage us. This is the most powerful thing Obama has going for him. While it is inspiring to see a woman running for president, her message so far has been uninspiring.

2. Woman can only win with Obama as president. As the first American President to be a minority, I believe Obama will do all he can to help ALL minorities, including women.

3. My main fear about Clinton is that she has too many ties to powerful interests and people who have been influential in government in the past 16 years. She has not convinced me that she would bring about change. I believe she would be a "more of the same" president. Obama has none of these connections and would be under no pressure to hire or nominate people who have had anything to do with failed policies in the past.

4. One area Clinton is very competitive in is foreign policy. Many of the world's leaders know her from her travels as First Lady last decade and from her trips as a U.S. Senator. But Obama has made many trips as a senator himself, and I have no fear that he will be able to rise to the occasion. I also believe with Obama as president the U.S. will more fully commit to its promises to Africa. Lots of lip service and empty promises have been made to this continent and it's about time we follow through.

Believe me, none of us young women are overlooking the opportunity to elect a woman to the highest position in the land. We simply want a candidate who is independent of past administrations and who inspires us to be better people and a better nation.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

More fun from Oz

I'm going to take a page out of my buddy John's book and post a link. Just two. Not going crazy.

There's this band called Flight of the Conchords from Australia and well - just watch the video.

There's also a kid's band in New York that have a fairly polished sound and a fairly polished video on youtube as well. They call themselves Care Bears on Fire - what could be cuter that 12-year-old punks?