Dear God is it ever a two cup morning. It’s all gray outside, such that I expect it to be winter and cold enough for a nice cheerful fire. Which it SO IS NOT. It is, however, 63, which is a heck of a lot better than the 85 we had all week. I’m satisfying my crackling fire desire by taking advantage of one of my ambient noise stations and hanging out by the fireplace in the Griffyndor Common Room. Bet you didn’t know you could do that, did you? You’re welcome.
I’ve been quiet lately. This is largely because I’ve been hella busy at the Evil Day Job. I went on the hunt for a project management/productivity software/website that would help me take control of my professional life again, which descended into chaos back in January when the university insisted that our department wasn’t allowed to do it’s own thing with all Google products–which actually WORK properly–and instead forced us to go to the craptastic Microsoft Exchange platform, which has a non-functional spam filter, terrible interface, and generally has caused me to lose things left and right. It’s made me disorganized and since I fully believe an organized life leads to an organized mind…this is a problem. I tried out Producteev, Asana, and Azendoo (and a few others I can’t remember), before finally going back to Todoist, which I used a few years ago and moved away from (I THINK because the lists don’t remain accessible on my phone without an actual cell connection, which meant I couldn’t get to my grocery list while in the black hole of service that is Walmart or Kroger). They’ve added a lot of bells and whistles since then. I went ahead and upgraded to Premium ($29 a year) for the ability to send myself reminders about stuff, along with several other bonuses. By far my favorite feature is the plugin for Outlook, which enables me to easily make an email that comes in a task on my list, which is then linked to said email (which I would’ve lost before as soon as it fell off the main screen). So I spent a fair chunk of this week laying in the entire 3 year timeline of the current project at work. And now I don’t have to think about various bits until they pop up. So I’m feeling a lot more positive and in control of the situation (control being a good thing since I’m the project manager).
I’ve also been quiet because I’ve been making some changes to the website. If you’re getting this in your inbox or directly through a link to this post, go click over to the homepage and check it out. When I opted to go self-hosted back in January, I merged both my main blog and my cooking blog. And, quite frankly, I have a lot of stuff. This made for very confusing, multi-nested navigation and just a generally overwhelming user experience. So my landing page has now been totally simplified to link to my three main areas: Books, Bites, and Blog. I got rid of the nested navigation entirely for the books section and now visitors can click on the books link, get to a page that shows all my series and stand alones, and go from there into pages that describe each series, and from there, each book. It’s all the same info that was there before, just a more obvious pictorial navigation (I hope).
I’ve still got more to do. The food blog side is going to take quite a while, as I’ve got to go into each individual post to make some changes that will ultimately allow me to make a handy dandy thumbnail archive that’s much more easily searchable and user friendly. I also need to update the SEO for each post, and insert the recipe card through my EasyRecipe plugin. As I have well over 500 recipes…that’s just going to take a while. So, for now, the recipes link goes directly to that tagged category and the nested navigation remains up top. I also plan to put up an RSS link so people can subscribe JUST to my recipes rather than the whole blog because I know that quite a few people are just interested in that. I also need to do an update for all my writer extras related to the downloads, classes, services, and my stuff for A Round of Words in 80 Days. But…there’s that whole time thing. So, it’s a work in progress.
I carried over the organizing motivation to my house last night. Hubs and I got into a ridiculous fight yesterday morning that was, at the root, over space on the bathroom counter (as in there’s not enough and I was encroaching on his side and inadvertently getting my blush and powder on his contact case, which was then getting into his eyes because he’s blind as a bat and can’t see that there’s anything on it until his contacts are IN). Our bathroom is something of a challenge. It’s big, but it has virtually NO WALL SPACE. It’s all doors–bedroom, both our closets, the powder room, the shower. There’s not even a place for a towel bar near the shower. We had to get an over the door rack to stick on hubby’s closet. So…it’s a challenge. Naturally the solution to this involved a solid hour trolling Pinterest looking for ideas. In the end, I spent $5 on some plastic shoeboxes and drawer organizers at the Dollar Tree and came home on a mission. I tossed 3 Walmart sacks full of expired or never used crap that I’ve been lugging around for YEARS. I am so over the whole “But I might use it.” It felt really good to clear all that out. Once I’d done that, I got rid of 2 existing drawer organizers that weren’t really working in that space, and reorganized beneath the sinks, so that I finally had room in the drawers for a lot of what was being stored in a big basket on the counter (and therefore taking up half the counter real estate). Then I went on a safari around the house for other containers and whatnot. My mom mocks me for my obsession with baskets and boxes and containers of all sorts, but they come in handy! I ended up having a 3 tiered decorative shelf that’s been sitting in the guest room floor for a year since it got replaced by a new painting I got as a gift from my mom. That was JUST the right size for the lone 20″ of wall by my sink, where I had a little apothecary cabinet holding purfumes, nail stuff, and makeup. I swapped stuff out of the packaging and into mason jars and other containers and managed to clear EVERYTHING off the counter but a small collection of use all the time things that I corralled with another basket I robbed from elsewhere in the house. Then I ended up taking the little cabinet and putting it into the guest bath to hold my essential oil collection. So, now I have two organized bathrooms. Hooray for the purge!
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What is it about getting all cleaned out and organized that makes me feel like I can take on the world? I kinda want to take the next week off and do the same to my whole house, but that’s not possible. But I probably could manage to take a day off every couple of weeks to tackle a closet a day. It’s so long overdue. We’ve been in this house for 3 and a half years, and it’s never been done. And due to the speed at which we ended up moving, it wasn’t done properly before we moved or when we arrived. Plus all the stuff our various parents divested themselves of as soon as we had more square footage than a cracker box. The clutter is not adding to my life, and all those things I’ve held on to for YEARS because I might use it–I haven’t. So, I want to go through and toss anything I can, sell anything that’s worth a few bucks, and donate anything worth donating. And if I can’t get what I want for something I’m trying to sell, well, hanging on to it isn’t doing me any good and isn’t adding value to my life or bank account. Stuff is only worth what somebody’s willing to pay. Getting something is better than nothing and getting it OUT OF MY HOUSE is worth something to my sanity. So. Yeah. I’m on a mission.