Throughout the coming year, I plan to share the variety of things I’m learning and doing. Here are the top items that I’ve been introduced to or have been thinking about this week. Here they are, in no particular order.
1) Online To-Do lists may finally rid me of my crumpled Post-It collection.
I’m notorious for scrawling countless To-Do lists on everything from yellow pads to napkins, and it adds up to a whole lotta crazy. Today my sister tipped me off to Tadalist.com, a free site where you can create lists of tasks that you can check off as you complete them. I admit to adding “eat breakfast” and “watch 27 Dresses DVD” just so I can feel accomplished. One day I will graduate to more advanced project management software like Base Camp with milestones and file sharing and other fancy pants features.
2) Though it’s not advertised, compost can go in the yard debris bin.
In San Francisco, the city picks up compost bins in addition to garbage and recycling. Sonoma doesn’t — but they do have one for yard trimmings. Turns out that any organic material besides meat and dairy products can go in this bin. Eggshells, coffee grounds, and fruit pits are fair game. It makes me very, very happy to know that my banana peels will be fertilizing grapevines instead of being held captive for hundreds of years inside a plastic bag.
3) Technobabble isn’t all that scary when you have a secret decoder ring called “The Google.”
Who knew that the solution to most tech issues floats freely about the Interweb? From a quick Google search, I learned that you use an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) site to store files online and transfer them between computers. I learned how to change the look of my blog (you’ll notice the makeover) and how to edit bits of HTML code to adjust text and pictures. You can usually find a forum or article dumbed down enough for young children and technophobes to understand.
4) My most productive work hours are often between the hours of 4 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Now that I’m doing freelance writing, I’ve been frustrated that every day I stay up and get up late, exercise, catch up on email, and suddenly it’s gettin’ on to 5:00. Most people have gotten in a full day’s work, while I’ve only brushed my teeth and found three new Facebook friends. I’ve begun to give myself permission to putter around in my pajamas until the afternoon, since I know that I’ll be on my laptop until the wee hours of the morn.
5) A lot of my friends have blogs that rock, and I’m not just sayin’ that.
Heather keeps a blog about her devoted foodie-ness. Her husband Grant posts about everything from sick and twisted gingerbread houses to musical ESP. My sister, Gill, writes about planning a wedding without losing her soul by reading Modern Bride. Her fiance, Brian, shares what it’s like to be stationed on a military base in Iraq. Kathleen is documenting her quest for U.S./E.U. dual citizenship, and Katie is writing about moving to Chicago and starting a new life. This is not to mention the hilarious Chuck, Lisa, Keane, and a few others who will remain nameless because they keep their blogs a secret. (Hint: Find them in my Blogroll.)
6) It’s not OK for your website to link to images from other random websites.
Technically, this “hotlinking” is stealing and using up bandwidth from the image owner’s site. You can find a bunch of free images on Flickr that users have opted to share under Creative Commons licensing, from babies to baseballs to freakish bears.
7) I’m a sucker for romantic comedies.
The best ones have quirky characters and offbeat humor like Kissing Jessica Stein, If Lucy Fell, and Enchanted. While You Were Sleeping and Love Actually are two of my favorite things about the holidays. The formula, the happily ever after, is the best part. My boyfriend Darren doesn’t seem to get that, since he tried to spoil 27 Dresses for me tonight by comparing it to Made of Honor: “Which movie is the one where a star from Grey’s Anatomy has to participate in a wedding they don’t want to see happen? Oh wait, it’s both of them.”
8 ) Hanging out with little kids can teach grown-ups the secrets to happiness.
I read a great article on dumblittleman.com about the “7 How-to-be-Happy Lessons Kids Can Teach Us,” which includes “Single Focus While Doing Things” and “Absolute Faith in Getting Their Wishes Fulfilled.” The morning I spent in kindergarten last spring stands out as one of the happiest days I’ve had all year, so I’m looking forward to going back next month. Recess, fingerpainting, and eating paste….what’s not to love?
9) My hometown ain’t a bad place to live.
I’ve always said that Sonoma is a great place to grow up, and a great place to retire, but it’s nice to live somewhere else for the time in between. Now that I’ve moved back here from San Francisco’s Mission District, I appreciate what I’ve been missing. The sounds of crickets and frogs at night. The independent shops and cafes where people run into each other and stop to chat. The fact that when I smile at strangers and say hello, they don’t immediately guard their wallets and eye me suspiciously. “Slow-coma,” as I affectionately call it, is the perfect little retreat from the big city. I’m sure that all our Merlot-sipping tourists in alligator polo shirts would agree.
10) Granola is a deliciously magical substance.
The thought of a bowl of that sweet, crunchy goodness with all the fixin’s gets me out of bed in the morning and satisfies the munchies late at night. There are infinite possibilities for eating granola. I like it straight from the box by the handful, or with combinations of the following:
- Yogurt of any flavor (the best is homemade)
- Milk (cow’s, almond, soy, rice)
- Chopped nuts
- Fruit like fresh peaches or dried blueberries
Granola all-stars include Trader Joe’s Maple Pecan and Nature’s Path Organic Hemp Plus (don’t judge, you hippie-haters — it’s delicious). Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! may not technically qualify as granola, but it’s definitely a close relative. Mmmm….I think I’ll go for a bowl right now.
Flickr Creative Commons images courtesy of * _Ahbi_ *, *L*u*z*a*, downing.amanda, and nutmeg, respectively.