Drowning in Post-It Notes

I have developed a bad habit. I blame it all on the inventor of the Post-It note. You see, I keep a pad of sticky notes just about everywhere. There is one in the car, one on the nightstand, one on just about every desk in the house, one by the knitting/reading/laptop chair and, of course, there are sticky notes at work. I use them to jot down whatever bit of philosophizing flits through my brain or notes from an audiobook or a grocery list or list of things to get done that day. It's the notes, rather than the lists, that are the problem. I end up with two to six new notes every day.

The problem is that I don't like to get rid of the notes. I end up losing them or they get smashed at the bottom of my backpack and crumpled into an unreadable state. I like to keep track of them and either remember what they said or develop the idea/concept scribbled on them into an essay or blog post. In hopes of saving more of these notes, I've started using small manilla envelopes to collect the notes, which I then review on the weekends and develop the essays or further ponder whatever they say. Of course, I haven't quite yet gotten past stuffing the notes in my backpack yet and I don't always have a Saturday or Sunday available to ponder the notes, so the accumulation still outpaces the musings and writing. And then there are the storage boxes of notes from the past several years....

At any rate, I need to come up with some regular method of reviewing the notes to myself and digesting the knowledge, then incorporating it. Perhaps that will become my Saturday morning musing at the coffee shop. That doesn't feel exactly like the right answer either. I don't want to give up the random writing that springs out of my head when I hang out in public, watching people, overhearing conversations and listening to the mutterings of my brain. Of course, I also don't think one morning a week will get me out of note debt, but it would be better than nothing at all.

The predilection for writing notes comes from the years and years of life in college, where I documented nearly every event with notes. This is part of the reason why I had six boxes of stuff to get rid of this weekend. I have, unfortunately, come to rely very heavily on the notes to remember things, rather than to store information in my short-term or long-term memory. If I write it down, I don't need to take up any brain space. I just need to find the right note at the right time. I also have a tendency to repeat things. I'll have a brilliant idea one week and then forget all about it, only to have it again later on. I do the same thing with some blog posts. Or I'll have contradictory ideas/notes and not remember the earlier idea/note at all. It's not that I can't make up my mind, it's that I don't always remember what my mind made up in the first place. I need to work on that. Remembering a few good things is probably a better strategy than cramming every possible thing into my head and forgetting most of them.

Excellent Black Bean Soup
I made this for dinner last night. It will likely become a fixture of my meal planning for the winter. Thickened, it would make good enchiladas or be tasty served over rice. Next time I might add sauteed onions and garlic as well, but this was darn good and quick too.

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can diced green chiles
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
1-2 tablespoons lime juice

Combine beans, tomatoes, chiles, cumin and oregano. Cook over medium heat until heated through and beginning to thicken. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir in lime juice. Serve plain as a soup/stew or cook until thick and serve over rice. Serves 3.

Tonight I drew up another menu plan for the next two weeks. It is amazing to me how much difference this makes in my attitude and motivation toward dinner. It also simplifies the shopping process since I know exactly what I need and how much of it. I like to be efficient in my shopping and to not waste any food through spoilage. I never thought it would make that much of a difference to write down on paper what I'm planning to eat in a week, but it really does.

Working Out Again
I wasn't terribly excited about the prospects of hitting the gym last week and only showed up three days. I wasn't terribly excited about getting out of bed this morning either, but did it anyway and had a fun time on the treadmill. The key, I think, will be getting to bed at a reasonable hour so that I can get up with less difficulty in the morning. If I leave the house at 5:30, I can get to the gym in time for 3 miles on the treadmill plus at least a partial weight circuit. That will be my goal. Before long I'll be hooked on the endorphin high again and will be bounding out of bed, ready and raring to go.

Soon I'll have to get to work on a formal 10K training plan. The race in January is creeping up on me. I want to finish the race in about an hour so we'll have the rest of the day to relax and goof off. Right now the plan is to get to the condo on Sunday (the race is on Friday) and I imagine we'll spend a good bit of time playing at the various theme parks. We'll leave either Saturday or Sunday, depending upon when we each need to be back at work.


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