Self Improvement: March 2006 Archives
Other than neglecting friends less and sleeping a little more than I would normally, today saw none of my to-do items get done. Some big family-related stress derailed the day early on. On the plus side, I did get to see my family today, and I did some things that aren't officially on my list that are nevertheless nice: six rows on the blanket I'm crocheting, the living room tidied, and a scene wrapped up on the MU* I play on. Downside, I now have a headache. I'm going to bed now, after I take some Aleve. Some days don't really ever pick up.
I'll be crossing stuff off as I get it done. I have... nine days, and a total of eighteen items. I think I can do all of what I have to do, and a good deal of what I want to do, so yay!. First, the have-to-do's, in order of have-to-do-it-ness:
- HOMEWORK: Write up four labs. Three of them were technically due last week, but they're really lenient about due dates for these.
TEACHING: Grade labs - four classes worth. HOMEWORK: Optics, due 3/22.
- HOMEWORK: Math Methods, due 3/24.
HOUSE STUFF: Fridge overhaul. Remove anything expired, green (as in, moldy) or unidentifiable. HOMEWORK: Decide on a topic for my Optics term paper.
- HOMEWORK: Start working on my Economics honors paper. Due 4/24, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to get less and less time to write stuff like this as the semester progresses, rather than more.
PERSONAL: Neglect friends less. (You know who you are.)(Not that this can really be crossed off as "done", but I'm making good progress. It's not a particularly well-defined task or goal.) PERSONAL: Work on the Protest Signs project.(Bought supplies and started on slogans for this. I'm satisfied that I can work on this in small spurts while in school, with this much out of the way.) PERSONAL: Read Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time". (Review forthcoming.)
- PERSONAL: Newestart design.
- PERSONAL: Talk to Eric about photography for Mythos.
- PERSONAL: Writing-foo.
- HOUSE STUFF: Plan garden. Begin execution. (Sunday. Mom's coming over to lend her gardening brain.)
PERSONAL: Start reading Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State, and Utopia".(Nozick's smart. I believe this may mark the first time I've gotten a book from a professor that I enjoyed. I'm working on the second chapter now, which is enough momentum to keep me going, I think.)
- PERSONAL: Braindump at Sam about OpenNotes.
- PERSONAL: Braindump at Tyler about Guilt.
PERSONAL: Sleep. Sleep as much as the rest will allow.(Sleep GOOD!)
Before spring break:
Optics homework. Ben concert. Try toget labs graded. (Partly done.) Tryto get labs written up. (Started.) Maple homework.
- Grade labs. Lots of them. Assuming, that is, that I didn't get this done before break.
- Get a head start on Math Methods homework.
- Decide on a topic for my Optics term paper.
- Start working on my Economics honors paper.
- Write up my labs. Also assuming not already done.
- Work on the Protest Signs project.
- Plan garden. Begin execution.
- Read Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time".
- Start reading Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State, and Utopia".
- Braindump at Sam about OpenNotes.
- Braindump at Tyler about Guilt.
- Sleep. Sleep as much as the rest will allow.
Our bed (headboard, footboard and rails) was delivered today. It's gorgeous! I submit to you: I'm deeply, deeply in love with this bed (and the other furniture - some of which is partly viewable in this photo). In fact, it inspired the oft-skipped (or rather always-skipped) making of the bed, and a lot more cleaning than I usually do. It's funny, but the bedroom stuff is really inspiriing us to keep things cleaner. (We've had some of the set for about a month, some more of it for a week.) I want the pretty wood to show. I don't want the nifty little embellishments piled under a stack of junk. Look at it - it's beautiful! The gorgeousness of the bed greatly reduced the pouting when the bed that matched the rest of the set wouldn't fit up our staircase - a tight squeeze: Anyway, photographic digression aside, it's pretty stuff. And rather than thinking that's frivolous (as I used to), I'm starting to appreciate the psychology of nice things. We invested almost two thousand dollars, after all was said and done, in that bedroom set. Our previous expenditures on furniture have been pretty modest - we have a Sleep Number bed that goes for about that much, but I got it on employee discount back when I was a sales professional for them back in Colorado, which was... a ridiculously substantial discount. Close behind that was our $400 couch. All of the rest has been $10-$80 stuff from Walmart, Target and thrift stores. Now, the stuff from thrift stores looks pretty good - I wouldn't have dropped money on used furniture unless it looked nicer than new stuff at that price point. But the basic white or black or (gag) brown pressboard assemble-at-home shelving units and cabinets and stuff? It's just... ugly. It's uninspiring. It invites clutter, because there's nothing to make you care about it. We're not the tidyest people in the world. Sue us. Life happens and we don't always have the time to pick up after it. Our studio apartment was atrocious. No, make that disgusting. That apartment was basically the equivalent of pressboard assemble-at-home furniture, besides being too small; there was no inherent beauty to it, inspiring us to keep it clean. We still don't have a perfectly clean house, but we do ever-so-much better than we ever have anywhere else. The house is gorgeous. Our stuff is starting to match. And it seems like the more we fill it up with stuff we actually care about, the easier it gets to keep it all nice.
My stress level has dropped immensely this week, from the beginning (oh god two homeworks two tests three labs to teach and one to write up and no I don't have time for proper punctuation in there) to now (...wow. I don't have anything that I have to turn in by tomorrow.) Some of this has been refocussing, and some of it has just been that I was so busy I didn't have time to be stressed. I'm missing classes (two of them, both of which happily have dependable people who are willing to photocopy their notes for me) tomorrow for an appointment that got rescheduled during the morning, which conveniently means that I'll get to sleep in tomorrow. The getting-up-at-five thing will commence on a consistent basis after this weekend, I think, as while I do have homework, I'll also have a relatively large block in which I can sleep unstructured. I think I should be in a place where I'm not dragging ass from the cumulative sleep I've missed through the last month then, which will be good, and put me in a place where I don't feel like waking up at five is preventing me reaching my ultimate goal of being more focused and "on". I'm working on lab writeups this weekend; hopefully I'll be able to turn them all in before spring break, leaving the week-long holiday from school wide open for projects for which I've been trying to find time (photography and writing, mostly) and relaxation. Tomorrow night I'm heading to Liz's place for her birthday party; her hat's done, and I'm started on the fingerless gloves for her. The hat has an ostentatious pom-pon on the top. (N.B. If you're ever trying to make a pom-pon and you think to yourself, "Oh, that's going to be too small," - trust me, it'll be just fine that way.) I love Homespun. It is full of internets. That is all. In other news, my replacement iPod is back. I think the last replacement hated me for giving it the same name as the original, so I'm calling this one Jin instead of Jezebel.
I finally dragged my ass into bed early this morning around 3:00 am. "Sam?" I said, and waited for the grunt-like noise that indicated he'd floated far enough out of his unconsciousness to hear me. "Let me sleep until six." Another grunt. A day into the first of my goals, and I haven't met them yet. I know the typical criticism of resolutions - they basically begging to be broken, and then once you break them you have a "well, I've failed - fuck it" reaction. I think goals are a better frame of reference. Unlike a resolution, I'm not assuming success until failure, I'm assuming failure until success. Not meeting one today doesn't mean quit, it means work harder. The reason I was dragging myself into bed at 3:00 am is I spent most of last night staring at Math Methods homework. I'm actually being really successful this semester:
- In Calculus, my lowest quiz score so far is 9/10; I've only missed one quiz entirely, due to illness; my first test was a 98%. I have my second test tomorrow. I should be at an A+.
- In Math Methods, I've been getting consistent A's on the homework, which, unlike the Calculus quizzes, is a non-trivial feat. I managed a B+ on the first test, and considering I hadn't finished the homework in time so was missing part of the material, I think that's pretty solid. (It also followed a Friday Optics test on a Monday, which caused me to make a sad face.)
- In Optics, which is probably my most difficult class, I'm sitting at an A. I got a C on the first homework, then turned that around with two perfect (or nearly-perfect) assignments and a test grade which wound up being an A after scaling.
- Economics is an A. It's easy. You don't meet a lot of anarcho-capitalists, libertarian types, or people who ascribed to objectivism (lower- or upper-case) at some point who don't understand the most basic economic principles.
- Ethics is another relatively easy A. It's a similar situation to Economics, really - even if objectivism flies in the face of something like 90% of all of the other philosophies out there, you don't learn about it without picking up on a lot of other random philosophy-foo, particularly formal logic. Rand turned me into a philosophy nerd, and an exacting one at that; while a lot of the class struggles with memorizing examples that are meant to illustrate principles, I struggle with arguments I find less than compelling. Thinking about the course that critically fortunately means that just giving back what I've been given is fantastically easy. When the instructor asks, "Based on our class discussions, why would you accept or reject theory X?" my reaction is to answer with, "Well, we rejected it based on a, b, c, d, and e; here's why each of them is flawed." All I have to do is curb the impulse to answer exhaustively beyond the scope of the class - I leave off the "here's why each of them is flawed" part - and I can carefully word my answer so as not to feel dirty about implying I agree with something with which I don't.