Not Enough Hours in the Day

Ever have one of those days when you just have nothing to do? Or in my case, I have so many different things that I SHOULD be doing, that I can’t decide what to do, and end up doing nothing of value. I have so many projects in various states of completeness; too many, really. The current list stands as such (in order of priority);

  • Cross stitch birth sampler for my niece (who just turned 3)
  • Tag and organize the backlog of digital photos (currently I’m up to December of 2007)
  • Prepare for sister-in-law’s June wedding (I’m the photographer)
  • Update the online photo gallery, investigate other software options
  • Create digital address book (plans for software to generate reports and Christmas card labels)
  • Convert recipes to digital, add recently tested recipes
  • Work on denherder.net (blog up, but no content)
  • Knit baby blanket (also for my niece)

Of course, there are other projects to be added to the list. Once I finish Laurel’s birth sampler, I need to see about making a Peter Rabbit birth sampler for Marin. After I get all my photos tagged and organized, I was thinking about starting a photoblog, to give myself a reason to practice. I’d like to have my consolidated address book ready to go by this fall, so the mail merge labels are ready for Christmas cards.

Another project that has been floating around in the back of my mind has been a recipe blog. Once I get my recipes typed up into MasterCook, a cooking blog wouldn’t be too difficult. Each recipe would become a post; categories would be for recipe classification – beverages, cookies, breads, desserts, main dishes, etc. The tags could be used for ingredients, or perhaps other criteria (Bread Machine, Crock Pot, ethnicity of the dish, etc.). Of course, if the full text of the recipe is in the body of the post, you wouldn’t NEED ingredients as tags – you could simply search the blog to find a recipe that used buttermilk, for example. Pictures to accompany the recipe would be nice, too. Matt had a suggestion to rate the recipes on various criteria, as well; difficulty, tastiness, and how well it reheats. I do like the idea of giving some honest opinions on how a recipe keeps or reheats – some recipes are great, but don’t reheat terribly well in the microwave. And with any luck, I may have some friends willing to contribute to a recipe blog, so I wouldn’t bear the full weight of upkeep and posting.

And a Happy New Year!

Christmas has come and gone, and I figure what better way to celebrate the New Year than by setting some New Years goals. Matt’s post on the matter gave me a little motivation; I figure if I post my resolutions online for all to see, I’ll be a bit more motivated to actually maintain them. And so, without further ado;

#1 – Get in better shape. While I wouldn’t mind slimming down a little, weight loss isn’t really my goal here. During the warmer months, we used to take a weekly 10 mile bike ride. In 2007 we didn’t go nearly as often; the heat, moving into a new apartment, and wedding planning all kind of got in our way. The few trips we did make, though, weren’t even for the full 10 miles, as we hadn’t kept in shape over the winter. My goal is to get back into shape, so that when warmer weather arrives we’ll be able to jump right back into the full 10 mile bike ride. We have the workout area in the clubhouse to use, and Matt’s friend Leonard gave us some exercises we can do without ever leaving the apartment.

#2 – Become a better photographer. Matt got me a fabulous digital SLR for Christmas, and I would love to be able to utilize it to it’s full potential. In order to become a better photographer, though, I need to practice. I was considering doing Project 365 (photo a day, not faces), but as January 1st has already passed, I wouldn’t be able to do it for the entirety of 2008. I could always start it mid-year, and still shoot for a year, just not a calendar year. Shooting a photo a day also brings up the question of what I will do with the photos; Flickr, Gallery2, or something else? For now, though, I’ll just focus on shooting the pictures; what to do with them after that can be a concern for later.

#3 – Finish what I start. I have a nasty habit of starting projects, and then putting them on the back burner, where they languish. I have at least 3 craft projects that were moved to the back burner, where they are for the most part, forgotten. I blame at least part of this on my discovery of feed readers – I spend a lot of time on the internet “catching up” on feeds that I ordinarily wouldn’t have read. What I’m trying to do is allow myself to catch up on my feeds once ( and ONLY once) a day. I may need to prune back the number of feeds I read, in order to make time to actually do things away from the computer.

One Task Down…

With the wedding Thank You notes finished and in the mail, it’s time for me to focus on the next project; the combined address book for both sides of the family. I have a rough version done – basically enough to complete a mail merge, so we didn’t have to hand address the envelopes on the Thank You notes. Of course, this isn’t going to be a quick and easy project, because I’m picky.

I’m not going to be happy with just a paper address book, as I want to be able to do a mail merge for envelopes on Christmas cards. With over 50 people on the Christmas card list this year, there is simply no way I have the time to hand address them all. However, I don’t want a lot of redundant information – I’d like to be able to list the mailing address and telephone number for each family once, rather than duplicating it for each member of the household. This has prompted me to try a sort of 2 part address book – one part being the “Household” information (household name, mailing address, telephone number & Christmas card records) and the other part being the “Individual” information (full name, birth date, anniversary, cell phone number, work phone number, email address(es), website/blog, etc.), with a way of linking the Individuals to the Household, so I know where everyone belongs.

With all the information in a database, I’d like to be able to generate a few different reports. Ideally I could create a Birthday List, with all the individuals listed chronologically by calendar year. I tried doing a birth date report before, but unfortunately it factored the year in, as well. Rather than having all the January birthdays, it had January of 1967, and then maybe July of 1976, and then January of 2005. I would like it to list January, then the date with the person’s name and maybe the year in parenthesis after that, so I know how old they’ll be.

Another report I’d like to generate would be an address book page. I know I can’t be at my computer all the time, and having a physical copy of an address book is convenient sometimes. Having all the information in a database means I should be able to generate a view I’d like; what I want is to be able to have one page per household, with all the household information at the top, and the individuals belonging to that household and their information below. That way when information changes, I can just print out a new page to replace the old one.

Of course, all this is easier said than done. I have a basic idea of what I need to do; I have a database set up with 3 tables – one with Household information, one with Individual information, and one linking Individual id’s with Household id’s. In some cases, it feels silly giving an individual an entry; some people I have little contact with outside of the annual Christmas cards, and so the only information I have is a mailing address and the names of individuals living there.  Figuring out how to generate and format the reports exactly how I want will also take a little doing. But I think that in the end, it will be worth it to have an address book that manages all the information I need, in a format I want.

Time For Some Maintenance

I’ve been lax in updating my blog of late – what with the holiday season upon us, and the various projects that entails, I just haven’t been able to really squeeze in the time to write for my blog. We finally got the tree up, but it still needs decorations. Of course, I have to sort through the boxes of tree decorations from my childhood, and divvy them up into 2 boxes; ones that can go on the tree, and ones that I want to keep, but don’t want on the tree. And of course I need to finish the address book (with BOTH sides of our family), finish the Thank You notes from the wedding, and get the Christmas cards ready to go in the mail. Then I need to finish Christmas shopping (for both sides), and wrap all the presents. Let’s not even talk about the craft and photo archiving projects that have been languishing on the back burner for far too long now.

And on top of all that, I think I need to re-purpose my blog. I’m just trying to accomplish too many things with it, and I don’t really have any kind of theme to pull it all together. I have a few ideas floating around in the back of my mind, on how to consolidate a few things and tie it all together. Of course, one addition I was thinking of adding may require some site/theme redesign, unless I can find a way to accommodate it somehow. We’ll see how it pans out – in the mean time, I am still alive, even if I’m not posting.