introducing trudi, my dayplanner

Yesterday, on my way out to the laundry room to get the Wednesday wash done, I dropped my dayplanner into my bag and stopped to get the mail. Didn’t think anything about it as I’ve been trying to get into the habit of taking my planner with me everywhere, and though it was early, I thought I’d see if the mail had already run.

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Why I thought I might need my planner in the laundry room, I had no idea. Like I said, I’m trying to make taking it everywhere a habit. So far, so good.

After I got the clothes in to wash, I sorted through the mail – sales papers, but I always go through them in case other mail got stuck in there somehow. I can’t say how many times we’ve almost lost/recycled/thrown away something important (tax returns, mail from Preston’s parents, lightweight letters, etc) because it’s been jammed in with the sales papers. And low and behold there were the Container Store planner stickers I’d ordered two weeks ago.

I spent the next half hour arranging stickers and taking pictures.

Love my divider pages! I ordered them from an Etsy shop, and the designer cut them down to fit my compact planner! The Hello Kitty stickers came from an eBay shop. I printed and cut down the menu sheet – and sheets that can’t be seen: “about this week” and an adorable “to do” sheet. There’s also a “right now” sheet I printed and cut down. (I really need to get a paper cutter!) The page sticking out the pocket in the back is from where I was going to get my yearly mammogram – they shut it down to consolidate it with the Markey Cancer Center on campus.

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This picture is blurry; sometimes I just can’t get steady pictures with the camera on my phone. These are probably my two most-used tabs. The labels are from the stickers from the Container Store, and the divider tabs are from my Etsy purchase. For Projects, I created a “client sheet” for the editing and book reviews I do, so I can better keep up with what I’m doing for whom and when, payments and so forth (I don’t get paid for reviews; just editing). That section is a bit thin right now, but I’m taking November off for NaNoWriMo. Schedule is where my daily planning sheets start. For the rest of this year, I have the standard wo2pp that comes with an FC planner. (I have my pack of do2pp starting ready to go when I need it; I already have January in my planner.

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Here she is from the top. The black piece is the top page lifter; I have one in the front and in the back. They didn’t come with the planner, so I ordered them separate before I ever thought about getting custom dividers. I may not need page lifters with the dividers, but this way I know my dividers won’t get damaged. Right?

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I got the Blooms monthly divider pack from FC for the color, and they’re great. The borders are a little bit more pink than I care to have in my life, but I keep telling myself they’re “more pale lilac”. I stuck my monthly and daily Etsy stickers over the FC tabs. Again for the color. And they’re easier for me to find and to read. I really like having the daily stickers! Those will come in so handy at the start of the new year when I get to start working with my actual daily pages. The Santa is from a card I got from my sister last Christmas. (When you journal, you save bits and pieces of everything. I’m up to two boxes and five folders of ephemera from nothing this time last year!)

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She’s a bit fat, but I have another planner due to ship next Monday. It’s still a compact, and the same model (this one had a defect with the closure), but maybe by the time it comes in, I can figure out what I really need in here and what I don’t. What helps is that this model (DayOne) can also be used as a wallet, so I won’t have to carry a separate wallet around!

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Why did I name her Trudi? After noticing on the Planner Addicts group on Facebook that the other ladies name their planners, I boiled it down to a choice between Trudi and Priscilla. I’m not entirely sure why those two names came to me, but that’s what did. I asked PA for advice and got some really great suggestions, including Molly – which I’d have totally gone with, but right now she’s a character in my YA project, and I don’t want to get them conflated somehow. I thought I might go with Priscilla, but every time I picked her up, I called her Trudi. So here we are.

Why a physical dayplanner? I realized with my ADHD I needed something physical outside of my Outlook calendar, especially these days since I don’t leave Outlook on 24/7, so I’m not able to get my reminder pings (and I don’t carry a smartphone). With the ADHD (I have the distractive/inattentive type), I’m more visual, so need visual cues and reminders. Otherwise I’d forget my own name some days. I started by using a Moleskine daily planner in January and liked it a whole bunch. Over the course of the year, I saw all these beautiful, creative planners and wanted to be able to do more with my planner – including organizing it to suit me instead of how a book binder put it together for me.

I got to thinking about ring binders. I’d used one from 1997 to some time in the early 2000s. A tiny thing, and I don’t think Mead makes it any more. Fat Little Dayplanner. I still have the binder! I did some digging around and some research and thought about the planners anyone can buy at Wal-Mart but wasn’t sure that was the route I wanted to go. Then someone at either PA or JJ posted a link to an FC DayOne on sale for $9.95. I waffled for some time but decided I couldn’t go wrong with FC and especially not at that price, so I had some spare money and bought it and waited for it to arrive.

It arrived, and I went nuts customizing and organizing it. Buying dividers, stickers, tabs, post-its, and gods know what all else. A pouch to carry said stickers, post-its, and pens in, of course, but I’ve already almost outgrown it and have barely had it a month!

But I’m set on starting 2014 organized and ready to hit the floor running, as they say. With my head on, my shoulders back, and knowing what needs to be done and when and where I have to go and why. And so forth. That makes a huge difference in my life. I realized before I knew about the ADHD that I need a structured schedule. Daily. Even if all I have down for a given day is a list of household chores. (Speaking of which, I never ran the dishwasher last night. Oy! See?) The daily pages I got are divided up into an appointment block running from 8am to 9pm, which is perfect. There’s also a task list and a daily tracker (for whatever I need to daily track). The second page is more like a diary page.

When I get my January calendar all set up and start setting up those daily pages, I’ll take more pictures. With hope, it won’t take me two months to post again!

Now you know where I’ve been the last while! I’ve been eyebrow deep in dayplanning and organizing! Also, I’ve been doing a bit of writing again, but mostly on that front I’ve been doing the NaNoWriMo-Plano for next month. Which includes getting what manuscript I already have written (I write longhand) typed up into Word, so I don’t have to worry about that next month and get on with the actual writing again!

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of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax

Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings

Today has been absolute insanity.

First, because of the way buses run, I had to be up a little bit after six this morning to go through my morning routine and wake up somewhat before I left the apartment. It’s always good to be a little bit awake when playing Frogger on Armstrong Mill Road to get to the inbound bus stop. But crossing at 8:15am is easier than crossing at 8:45am. We shan’t discuss crossing at 5pm!

And of course the bus was late. Even after being on time all the way along the route, the driver somehow managed to fall back five minutes late on the last half of the loop. I always have anxiety when I go to therapy anyway — the clinic itself sucks — late buses don’t help that at all. But I had a good book to read along the trip, so that helped.

Then I get to the clinic, and the lights are off and the door is locked. Generally this isn’t a problem, as I’m the first appointment. But usually the hallway door is open, and I can at least go in and sit down. Not this time. The place was locked down tight. So I made a phone call and found out they’d “moved next door”. Isn’t that something someone should have told me during my reminder call yesterday?

So I go in, sign in, and sit down. Then I can hear someone in the back saying she doesn’t know who I am and that there’s no information on me anywhere — and my therapist hasn’t gotten to the clinic yet. The anxiety that landed on me outside the other building settled in on top of me. I refrained from going outside and bashing my head against the brick wall.

Good thing, too, because my therapist came in shortly after that, and around the same time, I got to an intense part of my book, so I had plenty to keep me busy.

Once we got into the back, my therapist said this was her first day in this building, too — she even had to ask where her office was! The bad thing was that she didn’t have my records or her computer. She had to dig pens and notepaper out of her bag. And we never really got to talk about anything I’d gone in there to talk about, and I’d been trying to get in to see her since the middle of May. Just more of the usual crap that clinic shovels out on a daily basis.

She had plenty to tell me, though. Two things in particular.

1. The cost of generic Ritalin has skyrocketed. She didn’t even know until patients started calling or coming in and telling her about it. Here in Lexington, it’s gone from $4 for 30 10mg pills to $126. So, we’re switching me over to Vyvanse. The problem with that is, there’s not a generic (yet), and I have to qualify for their prescription assistance program — but my cost could still be $30 a month, which I can’t afford (that’s about what I pay for all of my medications combined; there’s no way I can pay that for one medication). The other problem with that is that it takes at least two months to go through the approval process. I have one week of Ritalin left.

Now, the part about this whole Ritalin thing that sucks, I found out when I got home is that apparently there’s another “shortage” on, like there was earlier in the year, like their was last year and the year before. This page says most of the issue is “supply constraints” or “due to delay in obtaining raw materials”. I would pull my hair out by the roots, but it’s taken too long to grow it this long.

Personally, I feel it’s Big Pharma being greedy assholes.

2. “It’s very probable” that clinic will be closing its doors soon — as in, I made an appointment to see my therapist again in October, but if the clinic closes, then I won’t be seeing her again. We actually cried together. She said the clinic doesn’t want their workers telling people what’s going on, but she said she and a handful of other therapists agree that their patients need to know. I mean, really — you’re a mental health service. You have to disclose this kind of thing so we can look and get referrals and get set up elsewhere. My first choice is to go back to Comprehensive Care, but I can’t get medications there. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, I guess. My therapist gave me enough prescriptions to get me through until the first of March, so I’m good there. (except for the whole Ritalin part) And we’ll deal with the whole Vyvanse thing when we get there.

3. She said they were all pledging to do follow-ups and so forth and said she definitely would be in touch one way or another. I told her to find me on Facebook if I don’t see her in October. I can’t stand the thought of not seeing her again. She’s been my angel (one of my angles) these last three years. We both cried; it was awful.

I left and walked up to the bus stop and got ready for the long trip (an hour) to Wal-Mart. See, that’s the thing with Lextran. It takes you just about anywhere, but it takes forever to get there. An hour to the clinic, an hour to Wal-Mart, an hour home. And people wonder why, when I have therapy, I’m gone all day and need a nap when I get home! I read another good chunk of my book, of course, and had my mp3 player to keep me company; I learned years ago (2005?) never to get on the bus without an mp3 player; it keeps you saner. In 2010, I added my Kindle to that equation. (Wow – I’ve had my Kindle almost three years! Time certainly flies.)

Got to Wal-Mart, did my shopping. Got a text from Josh saying they’d be there shortly. They were meeting me to hang out while I finished and then taking me home. We have such rich, busy social lives! And of course Micah had to be with me in my buggy and not his parents’. Since my child seat was full of stuff, I just dumped him in the buggy with all the food. Which he didn’t mind at all. It meant he got to practice stacking and made cool towers with my Noxema, instant tea, and a can of gooshy food. He was so proud!

Then he wanted to go back into his parents’ buggy, which was fine, and he had more room over there anyway. By the time we got around to the frozen foods, though, he was getting bored, and it was getting on toward his naptime. Mandi left us to go find herself a bag of chips, and Josh and I were talking, and next thing I knew, Micah was face-first on the floor. I keep hearing the sound he made when he landed, and I keep trying to forget it.

He’s fine, though. He’s fine!

He got a nice goose egg on his forehead and a fat lip, and we got a package of popsicles so we could give him one to soothe his mouth. And I still feel like absolute shit about the whole thing even though it’s been ten hours. Everybody keeps telling me that they do stuff like that, and since I have two grown boys, I should know this myself, and I do know this myself. But I still feel like shit.

In the checkout line, I was telling Josh and Mandi to make sure Micah got some Tylenol when they got home, and Micah nodded his head, “Yes.” We laughed. Josh said, “Do you need Tylenol, Micah?” And he nodded his head yes again. He is so rotten.

So while I was sitting here doing Internet things — ie, writing group and writing this post — I managed to find the prescription assistance application form I need, and Preston printed it out for me. I got it filled out, and am going to fax it to the clinic in the morning.

Speaking of which, I asked to get Micah early tomorrow, and I have a ton of things to get done before he gets here. It’s midnight. I should probably get to bed!

It’s been a long time since I’ve really given any kind of update, and I do apologize for that. It’s been a long, insane year. A lot’s happened. I promise not to be gone so long between now and next time.

how i organize with onenote

About this time last year I made the switch from Evernote, which I’d used since it came out, to Microsoft OneNote, which is an integrated part of my Office software. After making a ‘trial run’ of OneNote to see how I could organize everything, I knew this was the better program for me. I hated to let Evernote go – they’ve been very good to me! But I just needed more than what their program offers.

imho, the worst thing about OneNote is that there aren’t a lot of templates available (although I’ve found they’re easy made), and there doesn’t seem to be much support / tips’n tricks available.

The biggest plus is that it integrates with the other Office programs – you can “print” to or from OneNote and share in the Office cloud (though I don’t use Skydrive – does anyone?). I keep my OneNote files inside my Dropbox folder – so it backs up its own backups, essentially. The program is largely intuitive. It’s easy to figure out what does what and what you can and can’t do with it. As for the lack of support et al, googling OneNote turns up what I’m looking for. I like that I can customize the interface, too. In the quickview bar, I have only the tools I use most often; everything else is tucked into the ribbon.

I have ADHD (leaning toward the Inattentive/Distractive side), so the way I organize things drives people straight up a wall. For them, it’s not intuitive or organized. For me it makes perfect sense. (I have friends who don’t like using my laptop because they never can find anything – but to me, its organization makes perfect sense)

From this article:

OneNote is designed to mimic a collection of spiral notebooks, with metaphors of tabs and pages. It has six total levels of organization–notebooks, sections, subsections, pages, and two levels of subpages. OneNote also has a system of links that allow notes to contain links to other notes, or to a Web page, a Word document, or a PowerPoint presentation.

I have three notebooks. One is for all my personal stuff, one is for all my blogging stuff, and the third is for all my writing stuff. I could break the writing notebook down into three notebooks, really: writing advice, adult stuff, young adult stuff. And I might if it keeps getting more crowded in there.

Another thing about OneNote is that you can size and position the sidepanels. You can put them on the right or the left and collapse them or widen them as large as you need them to be. When you open a notebook, tabs open across the top of the display, so really you can collapse the notebook pane entirely to give yourself more workspace. As well, you can minimize the pages panel. You can also color the notebooks and individual tabs any color you like, just like a physical notebook, to help sort this into that. “Oh, that’s in the green tab.” Click! Very handy if you’re as visual as I am. One thing I don’t like is that each page and subpage (and sub subpage and sub sub subpage, ad nauseum) under a given tab is the same color as that tab. I’d like to be able to color the individual pages – that’d be awesome!

Like I said, I prefer OneNote over Evernote; it’s what works for me. OneNote gives me so many more organizing / sorting / filing options. Also, the workspace is more user-friendly – I can make everything else smaller in order to view what I need to see / work on. OneNote pastes text into blocks (similar to a text block in Word) that you can click and drag around to reposition where you’d like. If you have a lot of small elements (small text bits / pictures) on a page, this comes in handy; it allows you to put things where they’re more available to you.

Since I started using OneNote last year, I’ve dumped almost all of my writing notes into the program. Some stuff still remains on my hard drive, but bit by bit, I’m moving it all into notebooks. This is so much better to (and for) me than having endless folders with endless streams of documents. Click FAQ tab, and voila, there’s everything in a neat little row for me to pick and choose from. Even with descriptive file names, I’d find myself sitting here thinking, “Is this the file I need? Or is it this one?” I don’t have to do that any more. Less muss, less fuss – I’m all for that!

living with ADD / ADHD

I wrote a response to this post at ADDitude Magazine online, and thought I’d post that response here. Because it’s relevant.

What I do is set myself a schedule for every day of the week. Every single day. It varies but the gist is: have set routines.

I get up, take my medicine, make the bed, shower, and have breakfast. Always take your medicine and make the bed before anything else. Coming out of the bathroom into a clean bedroom always makes me feel better, or at least good that there’s one less thing I have to face in the day!

I have breakfast and allow myself to surf the ‘net while I’m eating. (i feed our cat on my own eating schedule, which works for her; others may vary) I clean up after myself then clean something around the apartment. Even if it’s just wiping the dust off the television or some such – it’s something, and it’s gotten done.

This is time to figure out what to fix for supper, if we didn’t the night before. I’m a big believer in my crockpot, so if it’s a crockpot meal, the meat comes down from the freezer to thaw in the fridge overnight – then the meal goes into the crockpot after breakfast to cook until 5pm.

I’m a writer and an editor, so after this is when I get to work, and I work my way through/with lunch (and take lunchtime medicine!). Then I get to take a ‘net and/or gaming break. Especially if I’ve been editing. It’s draining, so I either pop in a movie to watch, pick up a book to read, take a nap, or play a game (The Sims 3 is good; it keeps me busy).

Our apartment has seven rooms (well, the living room and dining room are one room, but i count them as two!), including two full bathrooms and bedrooms. That gives me one full room to clean each day of the week. The bathrooms aren’t that big, and since I keep everything clean, they’re not that messy, so sometimes I do them both on the same day to give myself a “day off” here and there.

By then it’s time to get the mail and finish supper. After supper, the kitchen and dining room get cleaned, including loading and running the dishwasher, cleaning out the microwave, washing off the stove, and sweeping the floor.

Having a set schedule and keeping it has made a huge difference in how I feel, how my house is run, and how my life is lived.

why ‘what i want to be’ is psychologically damaging

This is the comment I left with that pin @ Pinterest:

There’s one problem I see with stuff like that. And that is we’re not all meant to be anorexically model thin. It’s not in our genes to be that small. Our genes predetermine what we’re supposed to look like, how we’re supposed to be shaped. If we struggle against that, then we’re going to be fighting a losing battle for the rest of our lives. This isn’t something someone taught me; this is something I figured out on my own over the last year. And I’m glad I did. I may be a “big girl”, but I got a clean bill of health from my doctor last week, and I’m healthier now – physically and mentally – than I have been in my entire life. This, folks, is what’s important.