Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Getting Things Done

I've previously mentioned the Getting Things Done system, but it deserves another shout-out. It truly made a revolutionary difference on how I look at tasks and projects. I was never a big to-do list person (though I did enjoy writing things down after they were done so I could still check them off) but since reading GTD, I am convinced of their value when used correctly.

After doing the "index cards held by a binder clip" system for a while (known on the street as a Hipster PDA), I decided to kick things up a notch (but affordably!). With a little postcard taping and fancy writing, I put together a spanking-new system that I quite like. I tried having little tabs to demark each section at the top, but found that they simply got too mangled in my bag and it looked messy (and I am never messy...never) so I just took them out.


St. Joan of Arc has fascinated me since primary school; she is one of the original female warrior figures, before superheros were invented and before Tolkien wrote about Eowyn and her prowess on the battlefield. Besides her obvious courage in war and perseverance, I've always been inspired by her determination and resolve as a young woman, though she was considered simple and uneducated by those around her.

Now that I am in her homeland, I will be doing an independent study this semester about her life and work, which I will chronicle at Jeanne la Pucelle. If anyone has recommendations on good Joan-related books that I ought to read, I would love to hear about it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Live from Paris (well, sort of live)

So, the long-awaited parental visit to Paris was awesome.

Those of you who keep up with Parisian weather reports (don't try to pretend you don't...) may have read that Paris had a "tempest" on Friday. Yes, we were there.

Photos are here, with more on the way.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


One of the elements of the Getting Things Done productivity system is the "Waiting For" list. It's not complicated; it's simply a list of what you are waiting for from other people. The knowledge that you are waiting for someone else before a task can be completed can be vital; but if you forget about the task while you're waiting for a response, then you've dropped the ball.

The "Waiting For" list can also be a place for more exciting items, like packages of books (I speak hypothetically) or upcoming albums from one's favourite artists.

Anticipation is a lovely, elusive thing (I will avoid copying Emily Dickinson and will therefore not call it "a thing with feathers"). My parents' phrase was always "delayed gratification," which still holds much merit. Saving a new book for a trip, or having only one square of chocolate a day instead of an entire bar of Green & Black, or saving a special tea for an afternoon with a friend -- the enjoyment may not be immediate, but then one has a double-savouring of thinking about the event and then the event itself.

In less than two weeks, one of my major "Waiting For" items will come to pass. It's not written on any index cards; I don't need any memory aids for this one. There is not a chance that I could forget. It's been in the forefront of my mind since I arrived in France. And I cannot wait until January 17th.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year, New Pictures

Ah, the first post of 2009! How very exciting. I have great hopes for 2009 to be a most excellent year.

I've been keeping busy during the holidays with trips hither and yon and much time spent knitting. There are many new photos up on Flickr from Brussels, Brugge, Amsterdam, Villers Abbey, and the continuous production of knitted items.

The new semester will start in a few days and then I'll back in the swing of things. I do plan on taking more pictures of Tours, though, as I've not posted many pictures of the city itself (besides the Loire, of course). The Cathedral is absolutely lovely, so perhaps I will do a little photoshoot around there.

In other news, I've become enthralled by GoodReads. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it's a book website that allows you to list books that you have read, hope to read, or are currently reading. It's a bit shameful to see just how many books I have in the works right now, but also extremely handy since I am always reading about new books to try. It's a convenient place to keep the future books list, and it's fun to see what other people are currently reading.