Sunday 27 April 2014

Catch Up Time

Woah - long time no blog!!! Time just goes by so fast, I didn't realise how long it had been since I last blogged (although I wasn't under the illusion that I'd blogged recently).

So - let's catch up on what's been going on since I last blogged.

My simplifying is still going, baby steps all the way. The dining room was done (although it needs a quick tidy in there again now), I sorted through most of the boys toys and their clothes, and I have sorted through my clothes. The boxes which had been set upstairs unopened since we moved here have now almost all been emptied and stuff thrown out, or put somewhere more sensible, and I now have empty boxes to get rid of, but am keeping them to fill with stuff for the brocki or ready for moving.

Yes, at the moment we are looking at moving house (staying in the village where we are). We have decided that as we intend to stay in Switzerland for at least another 10-15 years it makes sense to buy somewhere rather than rent for the whole time. The cost of a mortgage is significantly lower than the cost of renting, and not only would we be saving money on accommodation costs, but some of the monthly costs would be coming back to us eventually when we sell through the increase in our equity, so realistically it makes total sense.

The way mortgages are done over here scares me a bit (it seems that the plan is never to actually pay the mortgage off in full due to needing the mortgage interest to offset against your annual tax return - and that is a massive amount of debt to have hanging over your head, which really doesn't sit well with me). It appears that as soon as you have 35% equity in the property (20% deposit is the minimum over here - ouch), you no longer have to make capital repayments, and are moved to interest only for the rest of the mortgage as standard procedure (although you can continue to make capital repayments if you choose to do so).

The thought of paying a mortgage for the rest of my life is quite a scary thought, but when I looked on line I realised that over here it's actually quite a relief, when you consider that the vast majority of people over here rent property for their entire lives at a considerably higher rate.

One good thing about moving (if we are lucky enough to get the apartment we are seeing tomorrow, we have missed out on two places already, and I have no idea how long we'd have to wait before another one comes up) is that it is a perfect opportunity to go through everything that we own to see if we need/want it. I can't wait!!!

There are a couple of other things that will be great if we get this apartment: firstly we will be able to decorate however we want, and secondly, the new place will be a bit smaller than our current place and should therefore be easier to keep on top of :-)

I had started exercising again, but that has fallen by the wayside (again) and I haven't been eating particularly well - oops!!! One thing to get back on top of for definite (the eating better, even if I don't kick off the exercise again just yet).

I've been reading a book for work called The 4 Disciplines of Execution, which is actually very interesting. It's mainly geared at businesses, but can be implemented in your personal life too. Basically it say you should only set a maximum of two "wildly important goals" (or WIGs), because anything more than that is not going to be achieved to a high standard without falling by the wayside or other urgent usual tasks (day job or the "whirlwind") suffering. It's tough to implement, but the achievement of the WIGs should eventually assist in making the whirlwind more manageable.  There is a whole process to follow and without doing it all properly it isn't likely to succeed, but I think I can find a way to follow the processes for my goals, so all I need to do is decide on my main goals and focus on following the processes (including designing an easy to read scoreboard - obviously I won't get distracted on that part of the process - ha ha ha!!!).

In other news - I was 40 yesterday, and do you know what? It feels great!!!

I was thinking this morning about my birthday. Originally we'd been hoping to get back to Vegas for a long weekend while the boys were away, or maybe even to New York, but with the whole issue of us trying to get a deposit together for an apartment we decided that we really couldn't afford to do it. If we'd been in the UK then no doubt there would have been some sort of party/pub crawl and we'd have had a great time. So what did we do? We pretty much did what we do most Saturdays, the only real difference was that whilst at the shopping centre I got to choose my birthday presents (a lovely grown-up watch from my man, and a lovely silver Pandora bracelet with a couple of heart charms from my boys) and that we had birthday cake.

Do you know what? It's exactly what I wanted, and I couldn't have asked for anything more. Therefore I have to conclude that my life is pretty great :-)

Have a great week,


Saturday 22 February 2014

Time to Attack

OK - so I admit it. I am a terrible procrastinator... actually, that's not quite true. I am an amazing procrastinator, I could procrastinate all day long - unfortunately this has a terrible impact on my ability to get things done.

Although, technically, it's not my ability to do things that is affected, my ability is still the same, I just don't do it. I need to remember that things don't have to be perfect, but they do have to be done :o)

Since my last post I haven't started on any of the things that I suggested as my next area to de-clutter and organise, and as they are areas that don't bother anyone else, and aren't visible to people who may come round (not that there are many of those) I find it easy to forget about them, or sit and plan how I'd like them to look and how I would like them organised.

This weekend I have decided that the area that needs to be attacked next, and that is going to be most beneficial to the whole family is the dining room - more specifically the IKEA Expedit unit (basically one that is just made up of squares) and surrounding area (which often includes half of the dining table too). The unit is the 4 x 2 one which we bought to put the boys chart supplies, colouring books, jigsaw puzzles etc in. Over time however, it has overflowed somewhat due to finished (or more usually part-finished) projects and drawings, toys, general bits and pieces of various child debris that doesn't have a specific home. There are also currently a couple of boxes in the room which contain more supplies (mainly paper, pens, more unfinished projects, sticks, rocks, and I'd hate to even guess what else).

I have realised that one of the biggest problems that we have with the storage in the unit is that we have some of the boxes that fit in the unit, which seems perfect as everything can be stored out of the way, but in practice this doesn't work for us. When there are lots of smaller things that need to be kept together, putting them all in one big box just doesn't work. We can never find anything, and nothing gets put back properly, because once it is back in it's box it'll take an age to find the damn thing again (or at least that seems to be Marcus's reasoning, as he "hasn't finished with it yet"). It's amazing how much stuff he hasn't finished with yet.

To help with this I have bought a block of clear drawers to store the different types of paper in (although when I go through the boxes I may find that one isn't enough). The next step is to go through all the shelves and boxes and throw away anything that is no longer needed, finished pictures that are to be kept will be stuck into the scrapbooks that the boys have. We have so many colouring books in boxes and loose on the shelves that it will be great to see the back of. The boys don't use them, are Marcus is happy for me to throw most of them out (he is much more interested in drawing things himself than colouring in pictures).

Once the storage for this area is sorted I think (and hope) it will be much easier to keep it tidy and organised so that it is easy for us to get the crafting things out when we want to use them, but also easy to put them away again too...

Wish me luck.


Wednesday 12 February 2014

Simplifying - Is It Working?

Well hello from me on my day off :-)

A couple of weeks ago I posted about starting off on my simplifying journey by reducing the amount of electronic communication I do/read. The next question is obviously - is it working? Hell yeah!!!

My personal email inbox only has items that I need to action in it (I don't receive many emails that I need to action, so I don't feel the need at this stage to set up a separate action folder with possible sub-folders), and everything else has either been filed or trashed.

My Facebook time is now under control - apart from days like today, but it's my day off, so I'm allowed to indulge, right? If I hadn't been indulging I'd never have spotted the Gillio for sale in the Gillio group in time to pm the seller and make it mine :-)

My work email has been under control for some time now, with an action folder containing many sub-folders, a "waiting for" folder which mainly contains emails that will be deleted as soon as another item has been completed and signed off, for example the monthly report that I prepare from various submissions from others. The attachments get saved into the appropriate folder on the server for the report, but I keep the original emails until the report has been completed and sent out just in case I haven't saved something down, or it has got corrupted.

One week a month my work email inbox goes all to hell as it's monthend, and I have neither the time, nor the inclination to file mails appropriately, and many of the ones that come in relate to the monthend itself and so I like to be able to see them and flick up and down the list to make sure that everything is OK. Once monthend and reporting are finished I then go through my inbox to see what items still require action. Those that I just need to keep for reference get filed, those that are no longer required get deleted, and all others get put into the relevant action folders. I then go through the action folders to check what needs to be done - list it, and work out when it needs to be, and will be done. This doesn't work for everyone, but this system is working well for me, so I'm happy.

My next task to simplify things for me was to sort out the bathroom sink area and cupboards, to make keeping the area clean so much easier. I like to try to give the sink unit a quick clean each day to keep it looking OK, but when there are toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, hair stuff, deodorants etc all round it then it's not that quick as you have to take everything off first, and everything becomes a total dust magnet if I don't. I have now put everything we need on a daily basis into the cupboard above the sink, all my additional moisturisers, make-up, etc. have been removed and put in the desk in the bedroom, which will soon become a dressing table. Now there is no junk on the vanity unit at all it makes keeping it clean so much easier - even the boys automatically put their toothbrushes etc back in the cupboard, without being told once.

Next stop was going to be the recycling area in the kitchen, but that's a bit scary, so do I tackle the bedroom next (set up that dressing table, clear out more old clothes, see how much stuff I can throw away), or do I go and attack my special room with all it's stationery, crafty stuff, etc...? Hmmm...

I feel a need for bin bags coming on - time to be ruthless (although not sure how ruthless I can be when it comes to stationery...).


Sunday 9 February 2014

Rudeness & Copyright Issues

Some people are just unbelievably rude!!! The post below was written by Janet Carr of This Bug's  Life in response to an issue that our beloved Philofaxy King Steve Morton encountered when someone used his photos to pass off as an item that they were selling on eBay (it wasn't even the same product that the person was selling, let alone the actual one). When he contacted them to mention that this is a problem he was faced with a barrage of (totally unnecessary) abuse:

Have a look, if you will, at the eBay auction below (the listing has been taken down so I have put several screen shots instead). Notice anything?
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 5.29.44 PM
Well, the first thing one would notice is that the photograph is of a pocket Filofax, whereas he auction claims to be selling a mini. [Before the listing was removed, there was a live link above to the auction itself which showed two photographs - one pocket and one mini. I am not sure who owns the photograph of the mini but I have removed it from the screen shot above out of respect for the owner's copyright ]
The next thing one would notice is that the featured photograph (see below) comes from this post on Philofaxy, and belongs to Steve Morton.
The third thing one would notice is the description, and below that the note.
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 5.32.53 PM
The note reads as follows:
NOTE TO BIDDERS/WATCHERS I am being forced to end this listing early and re-list it. This is because the first image (showing a filofax on a pine coloured table) was copied and pasted from google images. I was then contacted on ebay by a filofax blog owner (I’ve never seen the blog before – and yes someone clearly has too much time on their hands) demanding that I remove the image. Extremely unreasonable given the fact this is in no way an attempt to infringe their IP rights and was just used for illustrative purposes in order to save time when originally listing the item for sale. As the item currently has a bidder (many apologies to you!) ebay settings won’t let me delete the stock photograph. I am therefore re-listing the item but only using my image of the item as taken on my iphone on 04/02/14. Thank you for reading this message and apologies for any confusion caused. You can find the item again by looking at all the items I’m currently selling.
The irony of the fact that she was not actually selling her Filofax but Steve’s, seems to have completely escaped her. Or the fact that doing a Google image search, copying, pasting and uploading Steve’s photograph probably took longer than taking her own photo and uploading it would have. Or that if she was using it for illustrative purposes only and it was not the one she was selling, she should have made that clear to her buyers. Particularly as the one she was selling was another size entirely and much smaller than the one in Steve’s photograph.
Right, so if you think that is rude you should see the contents of the eBay message which she sent to Steve when he wrote to let her know that the photo belonged to him.
I have seldom seen such insolence and arrogance – not to mention a total lack of knowledge about intellectual property law and how Google images works. She was apoplectic at having her entire evening wasted by a person she felt was so stupid as to feel that her using his image was wrong.
She explained rather rudely that it was perfectly acceptable for her to use Steve’s image because she found it on Google images (the mind boggles at how she thought it got there in the first place). She was utterly astounded that someone actually found out she was using said image. And felt that Steve’s completely unreasonable behaviour caused her to lose a sale. Naturally she did not express it quite so politely. The only way to describe the tone of her letter was abusive. I have been rather gentle in my description above but I was flabbergasted at the content of the message and how she spoke to Steve. None of which really comes across here but out of respect to the seller I am not going into detail.
It just astounds me that nowadays people feel that Google is an enormous website full of free information and photographs which appear out of nowhere and don’t actually belong to anyone. Or that copyright does not apply to anything on the internet. Probably the same people who feel that being anonymous entitles you to be as rude and cruel as you want to be because no one knows who you are and if it is on the internet it doesn’t matter.
What makes me most cross is that Steve Morton is one of the kindest most generous people around. He has built an entire community to which he willingly gives his time and with whom he generously shares his expertise. He organises competitions, awards, meets and is admin for about 15 Facebook groups. He is always at the other end of a post, a comment or a personal message to advise, commiserate or encourage.
Even worse, there is no way you can report abusive messages like this to eBay. Apart from writing a letter of complaint to them and including a print out of the message. There seems to be no other recourse if you are harassed in any way.
So for me it was important to write this article to show my displeasure with how he was treated. If anyone agrees with me, please re-Tweet or reblog this to show Steve he has our support.

Thank you Janet for writing this piece, and hopefully this will also serve as a reminder to others to be careful when purchasing off eBay, as people are often misrepresenting what they are selling. This isn't to bash eBay sellers generally, as there are a lot of perfectly genuine, excellent sellers out there. Maybe it should also serve as a warning that the Philofaxy community are a tight-knit group, don't mess with us, and certainly don't be abusive to our Steve :o)


Sunday 26 January 2014

Time to Start Simplifying

Wow - this is my 200th post, so I'm pleased that it's on something new, that signals the start of my 2014 journey. Yes, I am full aware that we are almost a month into 2014 already, but I'm a bit slow sometimes.

I thought that, to start my quest to simplify things that I do, I would get started with some easy wins that can be done from the comfort of my sofa - yep, still feeling a bit rubbish after the dental surgery.

So, what can I do to make my Internet time more productive? Or at least less time consuming...

Blogs     -     I follow quite a few blogs, but they come to me from a couple of different places. Some come to me via Blogger when I go to my home page there, whereas others (some by people who post a lot) come to me via email. I really need to get these out of my inbox and add them to my reading list as I am finding that I am getting overwhelmed by the number of emails arriving into my inbox each day.

Facebook     -     Reduce the amount of posts I can see from various people. Some people post a lot of things that are funny, motivational, cute, informative, etc. and some of these are lovely or even useful. However, they take up a lot of time when it comes to checking out what's going on, especially when you're like me and if the post interests you, you end up reading all the comments on the post, and possible following links to other posts - it's like a rabbit warren that you can never come out of... In theory I could also stop checking on the groups that I am a member of so often, but if I can't sort that out then I will step out of some of these groups. In fact - some of them I should probably just step out of anyway...

Emails     -     Once I have moved the blogs to my reading list my inbox will be a much more manageable place. However, my other big influx comes from these health/wellbeing/ development subscriptions. They may be great for some people, but for me, realistically I know I will never read them, but I keep them in case I find something really useful in there for me when I finally have time to read them. I need to use that unsubscribe link at the bottom of each one as they come in so that I don't get any more from them. I also need to sort my inbox (which is a total state, mainly due to the subscriptions), file the ones that I need to keep, delete the others, and archive some of the mails that are already filed.

Any suggestions that you may have of other tips that could help me in this area would be greatly appreciated.


101 Project Decision

OK guys, so it's time to make that decision - stop or go...?

If I were to stop now, and chose to focus on my key words from scratch, how many of the 14 items still on my 101 list would be on my list of things to do?

-     Watch 10 classic films (3 left)
-     Cooking/baking with the boys
-     12 date nights with Ben (6 left)
-     Embroider a sampler.
-     Learn 6 new recipes (2 to go)
-     30 minutes per day to relax/meditate for two weeks.
-     Buy some nice high heels and wear them. (not worn yet)
-     Journal daily for two weeks (15 minutes minimum).
-     Keep to a basic household routine using my Plannerisms planner.Yes
-     Set up a recipe binder
-     Manage bank accounts properly.Yes
-     Sort through the hallway cupboardsYes
-     Sort through the boxes upstairs that haven't been unpacked yetYes
-     3 month Facebook ban Yes

Wow - not many of them. Some of the other items I would still like to do, but either they are not urgent, or I wouldn't necessarily want to restrict them to a set period of time.

Having reviewed my options in the level of detail that I have (and dragged you through my messy mind), I think I am ready to make the decision, and I feel the right thing for me to do is to step away from my 101 in 1001 days, congratulate myself on the things I have achieved and let the rest go.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings, and helping to make my 101 challenge happen. I know not everything was achieved, but a lot of what was completed wouldn't have even been started if I had not made myself accountable by sharing in this blog.

Have a great week.


Saturday 25 January 2014

101 Progress and Rethink

It's been a while since I last posted an update on my 101 in 1001 days challenge (a whole month), and I have been very lax on this for a few reasons.

1)     It's been very busy at work with year end and reporting
2)     I started doing P90X3 on January 6th, so that rather cuts into my available time
3)     I seem to have lost my motivation, and when I look at that list now I don't see things that I want
        to do, but that I now feel I ought to do because back in October 2011 I said I would like to.

This post may end up being ridiculously long while I basically talk myself through the whole decision process regarding what to do, and for this I apologise now.

As always at the start of a new year, people start to make resolutions, think about their futures, and motivational quotes get posted everywhere. I haven't made any new year's resolutions, but I have chosen a couple of key words to help guide me through the year: Simplify, and Health.

Simplify could apply to my work as well as my personal stuff, and could potentially help me in my quest to simplify processes (simpler processes generally give less opportunity for user error in my experience). The company I work for will be changing ownership later this year, so I believe a large part of my focus will be on assisting in the integration process, and if I can help by trying to consider some easy wins in this through simplification (especially in the early stages), then that would be great.

Obviously with big changes at work I will be kept very busy, and therefore need to simplify more at home, potentially reducing my own personal challenges, and getting more routines in place.

Due partly to the need to simplify my life (and be more help at home), and partly to my lack of motivations mentioned in point three above, I was considering just bailing out of my 101 challenge completely, but it would be a shame to just give up without checking it out properly first. There are various things that I need to consider as there are only five months left to complete this, The sensible thing is probably to go through my options one by one:

 Option 1:     Just keep plugging away at the tasks and see how far I can get by the end.
                     -    I could do this, but don't see myself getting any more motivated, so think I would be
                          setting myself up to beat myself up for the next five months... pretty pointless I think
                          you'll agree

Option 2:     Pat myself on the back for what I have achieved and call it a day.
                    -     currently I have achieved 68 of the 101, most of which I wouldn't have done at all if
                          it hadn't been for this challenge, with a further 13 in progress. But do I want to admit
                          defeat yet?

Option 3:     Go through the remaining challenges to see if they fit in with my keywords for the year
                    and make changes where they don't.
                    -     I see this as a happy medium, and feel I should at least take a look at this option
                          before pulling out of the project.

So, what challenges are outstanding?

-     Load all music on tapes to iTunes. This doesn't fall in with either of my keywords, and at the
      moment the tapes are buried somewhere in the cellar.

-     Have music playing all day & no TV/ computers for whole family (x3). Another thing that I
      would love to have happen, but don't see this falling in with my keywords. It may sound like a
      simplified life kind of thing, but when you have boys aged 6 & 8 who are used to having  these
      things, then taking them away is not going to feel simple...

-     Watch 10 classic films - I am 7 and a half down. No, still not finished watching Some Like it Hot
      yet, although I did watch The Shawshank Redemption and How to Steal a Million (Audrey
      Hepburn & Peter O'Toole) today while I was off work after dental surgery which has left me
      feeling a bit wobbly. Related to my keywords? Not really...

-     Watch 10 musicals (films) - actually, checking this again I have actually completed this task now
      as I watched Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz over Christmas and New Year.

-     Spend 10 minutes teaching/listening to boys reading. Obviously I have spent more than 10
      minutes doing this so technically I could cross it off, but when I wrote it I actually meant 10
      minutes a day. As much as I would love this to happen every day, my boys just aren't that
      interested. Christopher is pretty good at reading in both English & German, but would rather read
      alone, and Marcus would rather be learning to write and as he is due to start school in August
      then I'm happy for him to take it as he wants. Maybe I'll get them into reading with me on a daily
      basis at some point, but for now it would definitely not simplifying anything.

-     One big family day out every month. We tend to go out for half a day rather than a whole day
      when we go out. The boys are so busy in the week that when the weekend comes they are happy
      to go out for half a day, and want to spend the other day having a PJ day and just playing at home.
      When the weather warms up again we'll be back to visiting the zoo and the wilderness park,  
      which are their favourite places to go. Both are now cycling well, so we take them up to the
      school house to play on their bikes when it's not too wet out, and they are happy doing that.
      Would insisting on making one of our trips out each month for a whole day make anything
      simpler? I doubt that very much...

-     Teach boys to swim or arrange lessons. Christopher has been having lessons at school, but still
      isn't confident in the water and spends most of his time seeing how far he can go underwater, but
      stay in water that isn't out of his depth as he's not so good at staying above the water. Marcus will
      be starting lessons when he goes to school, but there are no classes with spaces near us at the
      moment. In theory we could try to take them swimming every week, but as I'm not a good
      swimmer myself, and we are already so busy at weekends trying to catch up all the outstanding
      stuff from in the week, I don't see that this would simplify things for any of us at the moment.

-     10 photos sessions with the boys. As much as I love having pictures of my boys, they really are
      not ones to want to spend more than about two minutes posing for the camera, and I don't really
      want to get myself (and them) stressed out by trying to get perfect photos of them.

-     Write a short story for the boys. I mentioned this to them, and to be honest, they really weren't
      that interested in having me write a story just for them. I am not a natural writer (I hated having to
      write essays at school), if I were I'd probably be able to class this under health - but for me it
      would probably be more of an anti-health thing.

-     12 date nights with Ben (6 down, 6 to go). Simple? I wish. Babysitters over here are crazy
      expensive, and as nice as it is to have a date night at home, realistically, by the time the boys are
      in bed, we're both shattered and want to just chill. We will have date nights, but as we've managed
      six in fifteen months, there is no way we're going to feel relaxed even trying to fit another six into
      the next five months.

-     Take a one hour walk on my own (x3) - doing this would be good for my health, and potentially
      feel simple for the hour that it was happening, what's not simple is finding the time to be away
      from the family to do this. Weekends is our family time, during the week we're all so busy with
      both of us working full time that there is no time for this - certainly not until the summer :-)

-     Become confident enough to hold a conversation in German. Actually, thinking about it I do have
      conversations in German - would I like to be more confident? Yes, of course. But am I good
      enough to do what I need to do? Yes. So I can class this one as complete.

-     Embroider a sampler. I had to change this to a picture as I couldn't get hold of a sampler apart
      from in a cross stitch kit, and started this over Christmas. I have enjoyed what I have done so far,
      and have bought a basic booklet that shows different types of stitches to try. I would like to
      continue this, and it is good for relaxation, but is it essential? Not really, and I would rather be
      doing it as something in my spare time, than trying to force it into a deadline.

-     Read 5 books in German - really? Is this going to simplify things for me? No. I thought this
      would be a good way to become more comfortable with the language, but I don't find sitting with
      a book and a dictionary works for me.

-     Write a poem - relaxing? For some.... Simplifying or healthy? For me... no

-     Learn 6 new recipes (2 to go). This could be healthy, even homemade cakes would be healthier
      than shop bought ones right?

-     Take camera on days out and use it - I have done this on occasion, but generally Ben is the one
      with the camera, not me.

-     30 minutes per day to relax/meditate for two weeks. This definitely falls under health :-)

-     Learn to use a proper camera. This definitely does not fall into the category "Simplify" for me,
      and again, as with the embroidery, I would still like to do it at some point, but without any

-     Buy some nice high heels and wear them. I bought some boots with heels for work, does that
      count? Although I haven't worn them yet... Not health related though, or anything to do with
      simplifying things.

-     Give more praise at work and at home. It's not really measurable, but I feel that I have actually
      achieved this. Yay!!!

-     Journal daily for two weeks (15 minutes minimum). Mental health - check :-)

-     Keep to a basic household routine using my Plannerisms planner - this is definitely related to
      simplifying things, and I have been doing this on and off, but really need to knuckle down and
      stick with it.  

-     Set up a recipe binder - yep, definitely a simplify thing :-)

-     Blog re the 101 in 1001 - I think I can safely say that I have achieved this.

-     Manage bank accounts properly - this could fit into simplify.

-     Sort through the hallway cupboards - definitely simplifying things as this would mean I would
      have less junk, and would actually know where things are...

-     Sort through the boxes upstairs that haven't been unpacked yet - as above

-     Take fish oils daily for 3 months - completed :-)

-     Take iron supplements for 3 months - likewise :-)

-     3 month Facebook ban (apart from personal messages, adding my own photos etc) - this would
      definitely be a good step in simplifying things - it would stop me wasting so much time for 3
      months so I can get others things done.

-     3 month Keep In Touch project (letters, calls etc) - simplify? Hmmm... not sure. It's adding things
      to do, where previously (for many people) I could keep in touch via Facebook - undecided.

From this we can see that I have managed to complete six more items, and am closer to finishing another, taking my total up to 74 completed challenges.

The challenges that fit with neither of my keywords and would definitely be cancelled are as follows:

-     Load all music on tapes to iTunes.
-     Have music playing all day & no TV/ computers for whole family (x3).
-     Spend 10 minutes teaching/listening to boys reading.
-     One big family day out every month.
-     Teach boys to swim or arrange lessons.
-     10 photos sessions with the boys.
-     Write a short story for the boys.
-     Take a one hour walk on my own (x3)
-     Read 5 books in German
-     Write a poem
-     Take camera on days out and use it
-     Learn to use a proper camera.
-     3 month Keep In Touch project? - undecided.

So 13 items to come off the list, which would take me down to 88 in 1001 days, so not completing the challenge, but doing what's right for myself and my family at this time.

If I were to choose option 3, then I will ass a few more tasks re simplifying things, and improving health.

-     Stop reading blogs for 3 months (excluding FiloLifestyle, as this has been started by Karine from
      the FB group of the same name, which is full of great people encouraging each other in their
      health, fitness, financial, and organisational control). This does not mean that at the end of the
      three months I can go back and read all the posts I have missed...

-     Deutsch in 30 days book, this will help ensure that my basics are correct, and I can do this on the
      train each day.

-     Complete one round of P90X3 (started)

-     Follow nutrition guide for P90X3 - doesn't have to be totally rigid as I'm not on a quest for
      dramatic results (started)

-     Have a Facebook cleanup

Also, my 40th birthday is this year, before the end date for the 101 project, so there may be a few that I would add to the list to go with that (possibly to go to New York, and things to see or try while I'm there).

So, in summary, I think we can remove option one from the running as being a bit pointless. All it would do is show that, yes, I can follow something through to the end with pure dogged determination, and that I am happy to sabotage my life to do so... really, does anyone want to be that person.

Option 2 - I've completed 74 items, so could just call it a day.

Option 3 - reduce items to 88 (possibly adding others), therefore not completing the 101 anyway, but getting further.

So - 2 or 3, which is it to be?

I will be thinking about this and will be making my decision this weekend - so if you've stuck through to the end of this post (which I rambled into my notebook last night while on painkillers), treat yourself to some chocolate or something to replenish your energy after having to follow all this inane withering.

I'll keep you posted (in a much shorter post hopefully).


P.S. Sorry, my spellcheck has just refused to work, and I've rambled so much that I can't face reading through it all again, so I apologise now for spelling and typing issues... and any random autocorrects that may be in here. :o)