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Exhausted

We finally got to Lafayette the day before yesterday. We had expected our things to arrive yesterday, as it had been four to five business days since we loaded the truck and they picked it up.

HOWEVER. Our stuff is...still in North Carolina! They have "committed" to having it here by Friday, though we don't know what time on Friday. Gah. So now we're sleeping on body pillows for a couple of nights and drinking canned Starbucks coffee in the mornings.

Blogging, then, will still be light for a while. Today we're going to campus to get office keys, fill out some various paperwork, and join a credit union.

A Web 2.0 Opportunity

I'd love to see a new program available online which would let users enter what they eat. I know FitDay already does this, but it doesn't have the flexibility I would like. I want a food log program that would let me do the following:

  • Enter times for when I eat, in addition to letting me enter what I eat -- or better yet, timestamp the entries but let me change the times if I want
  • Turn off calorie, fat, protein, and carbohydrate counting if I want -- because sometimes I'm more interested in just logging my foods, not entering all that nutritional information about each food
  • Tag each food item I eat (in other words, there would be one entry per day, but within that entry there would be subentries, like to-do lists in Nozbe and Jot. The subentries would be the foods, and you'd be able to tag those)

Right now I'm using my LiveJournal account for food tracking, to see how that works. It's particularly important for me to be able to enter the times I eat, because that helps me to see my overall patterns and sort out the difference between actual hunger and perceived hunger.

For example, yesterday I was pretty much ravenous all day. At about 11:00, I ate some cherry Jello and some yogurt with granola, then about 2:00, I ate some brown rice and vegetables (peas and peppers) with szechuan sauce. I was working on some writing after that, and I became aware of acute hunger. I looked at the clock, and it was 2:40. I thought to myself, there is NO WAY I'm going to eat again, not a mere 40 minutes after I ate a generous portion of vegetables and rice. It helped to see the types of foods, portions, and times I ate so that I could recognize the hunger as a psychological perception and not a true physical need. I'm also interested in seeing if the feelings of hunger pass after a half hour or so. My general guideline is that if I'm still hungry three hours after eating, I eat something else. Otherwise, I'm okay, and there's no good reason to eat more.

Anyway, I think a good web application would probably help a lot of people who are trying to lose (or not gain) weight. Tagging and dating/timestamping would be key, though; it would be useful in all kinds of ways. People who were trying to switch to a vegan diet could tag meals "ovolacto" or "vegan," and people who go off the wagon and have a big slab of cake could tag that "cake" or "sugar," then track those patterns over time to see when they're the most vulnerable to cravings.

Reduce, Reuse (and reuse and reuse) and Recycle

I just realized that I have used the same cardboard boxes (salvaged from grocery and other retail stores) in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR MOVES:

Portland Ave. apartment in St. Paul --> Cushing Cir. apartment in St. Paul

Cushing Cir. apartment --> Decatur, GA

Decatur, GA --> Greenville, NC

Greenville, NC --> Lafayette, LA

Hooray for me. Four will probably be it, though, because I don't think we have a dedicated storage space for them in the new digs.

Use What You Have

I've been enjoying Merlin Mann's War on Clutter posts:

My War on Clutter
My War on Clutter: Never “organize” what you can discard
My War on Clutter: The Tools to Purge BIG
My War on Clutter: Inspiration for Independence Day
Vox Pop: Converting clutter from trash to treasure

Because we're moving in three weeks, I've been frantically packing MANY boxes, and I've done one haul to Goodwill so far, with at least one or two more to come. I did a variation on the 27-fling boogie, and as I've mentioned here, I implemented a plan for us to eat all the food in our house so that 1.) we won't have to waste much; 2.) we can pack the dishes, pots, pans, flatware, and glasses sooner; and 3.) it will be easier for us to clean the refrigerator and pantry as we near the moveout date.

As I've also mentioned here, I haven't bought shower gels or soaps since late 2006, which has ended up meaning that we had, so far, a seven-month supply of the stuff. It will end up being a lot more than seven months total, though, as we still have two bottles of shower gel, one Bath & Body Works coconut lime verbena soap, and last night I used all of my samples of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfume oil to make soap using a base I got from a craft store several months ago (nine soaps total). I still have more soap base and perfume oil, too. I wouldn't be surprised if my supply carries us into 2008.

Being conscious of this copious supply of bath stuff has been less than pleasant. I do love good smells, but I'm painfully aware of the need to declutter by using the things I have,

(I'm talking here about my particular impulse overbuys, which are:

  • bath stuff
  • hair products
  • perfume
  • lotion
  • cute office supplies like gel pens, little notebooks, and stationery
  • makeup)

and not buying new stuff just because it smells good or has seductive packaging. I can reduce so much of my clutter-related anxiety and save so much money just by using what I have. It's such a simple concept, but it's been a breakthrough of sorts for me. I've put an official moratorium on buying the things on that list until I've used all of my current supply of that thing.

My mom has always been big on stocking up on supplies. I agree that it's important to have about a week's worth of stuff you need, like food and toiletries, but I've been taking it way too far.

Anyway, my contribution to the War on Clutter blogging effort is the following:

  1. Identify the specific things you have way too much of (also your buying habits)
  2. Don't buy any more of those things until you use what you have (if the things you overbuy are, in fact, use-up-able)
  3. Get rid of anything you feel less than taste-confident about. As I've mentioned recently, I feel somewhat insecure about my personal taste. Most of my knickknacks are cute, but they look like stuff that would be in a 21-year-old's apartment (because hey, that's what I like). So if I'm not really proud of it, off to Goodwill it goes.

The Way I Looked in College

From the professor's vantage point (I've never had a student in class whose look was nearly as experimental as mine):

Me in college: the way I looked in class

And in front of the student center:

Me in college: Bringing back 80s fashion

I was so excited about that outfit when I was getting ready to go to class that day. I actually thought I would, singlehandedly, bring back 80s fashion with my Flashdance sweatshirt and my legwarmers.

Eight things meme

As seen everywhere, but most recently B's:

  1. I love the end pieces of loaves of bread.
  2. Related: I have a weird bread-crust-to-pizza-or-sandwich ratio thing. If I'm eating a slice of pizza, I can't just eat the tip of the slice first, then the crust at the end. I have to have a little bit of crust in every bite. Same goes for sandwiches -- no bite with just middle-bread and sandwich stuff, there has to be some crust. If I have two end pieces of bread or a crusty bun, though, this isn't a problem.
  3. Regarding pizza crust, I prefer it to be thin, as close to a cracker as possible. It canNOT be doughy, gag. I like a lot of sauce, only a tiny amount of cheese, and a couple of light toppings on it, like fresh basil and banana peppers.
  4. After reading this article and a few others, I decided to watch a few of Riefenstahl's films, as well as a couple by Fanck. Tiefland was among these, and I was struck by the irony in the way the Roma people from the concentration camp were used in the film. They are extras playing peasants, and Riefenstahl's character is trying to convince the evil marquis to let the peasants have water for their crops so they can live and prosper.
  5. Jonathan and I are in the middle of an Entourage-watching kick. Netflix discs come so slowly...
  6. I had a go-cart when I was a child/young teen. I used to drive it around a lot when I was 13-14 with my Walkman. My favorite go-cart-driving tape was Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil
  7. I dislike most candy -- chocolate and sour candy are okay, though -- but the worst ones are Skittles, jelly beans, licorice, candy corn, and Peeps.
  8. In my coffee: Silk vanilla soy creamer and one teaspoon of Sugar in the Raw.

Can you tell I'm hungry?

Another post about moving

Like New Kid, I'm thinking a lot about moving lately. There are so many little things to do, phone calls to make, etc., and I'm trying to keep track of everything. I'm also constantly mentally sorting our inventory of stuff to think about what we can use, recycle, or give away.

I realized a little while ago that I have not bought any shower gel in the year 2007. This is remarkable for two reasons: first, I haven't bought any shower gel in six months (though there were big hauls in June and December of 2006); and second, we have had a well over six-month supply of shower gel in the bathroom closet. We have the equivalent of two eight-ounce bottles left, so we won't be buying any more until we've relocated, nor will we be buying any hair care products.

Jonathan says that bath products are a big part of my consumer identity, which is an understatement. Still, I think about how much money we would save just buying Suave or store brand shower gel. I would like to turn over a new leaf once we get to Louisiana and spend less on bath stuff. I have a boatload of perfumes and lotions anyway, so I'll smell expensive for many years to come. Will I be able to do it?

Also, Jonathan had a brilliant idea last night. He has wanted to sort our books according to the Library of Congress classification system, as we have a lot, but so far in our moves, we've been too anxious to unpack and just put books on shelves. Plus we didn't want to reshelve if our predictions about quantity of each classification were wrong. But Jonathan is now planning to sort our books (or maybe only his books, we'll see) as he packs them. The great leap forward.

Second Annual Big Announcement on June 15

Why not make it an annual tradition to announce something on June 15, if I have anything to announce? It just so happens that I do.

I'm excited to say that starting in August, I will be an assistant professor and the Director of First-Year Writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. That we've been traveling to the heart of Acadiana to find housing and eat delicious food is part of the reason I haven't been blogging much.

Laissez les, etc.!

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