Before I get into the topic of the week, I have to report on one aspect of my minimalist journey. This was the week to rid the house of junk food. I even threw away things I just purchased a few weeks ago. What prompted this sudden revelation was that I haven’t been feeling very well for a few weeks, so I decided that something needed to change and change now.
Judy and I have tried different dietary changes in the past, but none of them seemed to stick. We would get fired up, watch videos, read books and be gung ho for awhile, but it seems we always revert back to some unhealthy eating habits. Judy started trying some different things a few weeks ago, but I kept to the old habits. That was until one evening last week when I felt really bad. It was at that point I decided that a sustainable change would start the next day.
I visited my doctor in the morning (he works at a walk in clinic) and told him that I planned to go on a Keto diet. He was very supportive and told me that he and his family had experienced real lifestyle improvement after starting Keto. He even suggested that I watch a movie entitled “The Magic Pill” on Netflix. Since my subscription was paid for until January 9, I was able to watch it. And it was very good. If you have Netflix, I highly recommend it.
After leaving the doctor’s office I headed to the grocery store and bought a few items to start the new way of eating. This week’s picture is my attempt (yes I started cooking too) at beef tip wraps and, if I do say so, they were pretty good. Essentially, I am limiting my carbohydrate intake and using healthy fats as the replacement energy source. I will be discussing my progress with Keto in the months to come. As a reminder, this is not an endorsement that the diet may be right for you. So if you decide to consider a similar change, make sure you consult with your doctor first.
Now, back to the topic of the week. I have been struggling with the best method to maintain and organize information for a long time. Over the years, I have purchased many types of information management software that have all ended up not being used after the newness wore off. Technology changes so quickly that it seems there is always a better product with more bells and whistles on the horizon. That’s great but, with each new software, there is a learning curve. As I get older, I find I don’t want to take the time to learn how to use another piece of software. I just want the functionality and I want it to work the way I think (I know that’s a scary thought!). What’s key to me is being able to organize data in various ways and being able to easily retrieve specific information when I need it. My ultimate goal was to stay with one family of products (Microsoft or Google or Linux or etc.) because many of the commands/menus would be similar and this should reduce the learning curve.
I am not a big fan of Windows because it bogs down my computer. After just a bit of internet surfing, pages load slowly unit the computer locks up. When this happens I use another piece of software to clean up Windows, restart the computer and things work ok for awhile. Judy likes to have 50 web pages open at the same time and her computer would have to be cleaned a couple of times a week. She kept blaming the computer so we would buy a better faster computer with more memory but the same thing kept happening. Finally, I said enough is enough and suggested she use a chromebook which is really just a chrome browser that can make use of android apps (newer models that is). I bought a chromebook a few years ago and I use it when I get tired of messing with Windows. She used this chromebook for awhile and she seemed happy with it. Of course things didn’t always work the way they did in Windows so I would I would hear “Vince, how do I ______ on this computer?”. I am not a chromebook expert so, most of the time, I would look it up on the internet and tell her or send her a link. Now she seems to have the basics down and she even looks up her questions without much assistance. I would use a chromebook exclusively but many of the software programs I use for design and 3D printing run best on Windows. I have also learned that if someone sends us a document to print, it’s usually in MS Word. And while I can read it, printing it in the correct format can be painful. I don’t see us totally giving up on MS products any time soon.
That being said, we will continue to use Google products for everyday activities and revert to Windows when needed. This post is typed on Google Docs and stored on my Google drive. Pictures are taken on an android phone and transferred to the post with Gmail. Google has an information manager called Google Keep and I looked at it for managing information, but it doesn’t have all the functionality I desired. I also considered some other software, but again I didn’t want to experience the learning curve. Over time, stand alone products seem to disappear or are bought and integrated into other products. Finally, there is the cost. A simplistic version of a product may be offered for free, but if you want the robust version, you have to pay and sometimes that can get pretty expensive.
One of the things I wanted to undertake this year is journaling. I was first introduced to journaling (morning pages) when I read the book, “The Artist’s Way”, almost 30 years ago. The key concept in the book is to write out three pages, each morning, with the goal of unclogging one’s mind of all “stuff” that gets in the way of being happy, productive, and creative. I even remember some woodworkers taking about the benefits of the approach on one of my many visits to Unicoi.
Like many other things, life got in the way and I didn’t follow through. One of the benefits of being retired is having the time to resurrect some of the timeless “good stuff” and see if they can now be put into practice. One of my pet peeves is pens. I love good quality pens that write very fine. And as you learned in a past post, a fountain pen using blue-black ink is my favorite. Getting to put journaling in practice with one of my fine pens is very tempting. The only reservation I have about keeping a written journal is being able to find and retrieve information. I want to use the journal not only to clear the cobwebs but also to be my information storage medium. This makes me believe a digital approach would be more appropriate.
A couple of years ago, I was introduced to bullet journaling. Again, it was present in a written journal form, but after a short time, digital versions began to emerge. I remember looking at all kinds of tutorials and even Judy got the bullet journal bug.
During one of my morning internet surfs this week, I came across this Youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czoYcvELUR0
I have used MS OneNote in the past but never spent the time to learn much of its functionality. This video made me think that OneNote might be just what I have been looking for, especially since it can be used on a chromebook and android phone too. There are tons of tutorials on OneNote, so that is where I will be spending some time over the next few weeks. I want to make sure I can make this work for me. One word of caution, if you choose to take a look at this software, the 2016 version is the last which can reside on your PC because it is now web-based. It’s my understanding that some functionality is different between version so make sure the tutorial picked is for the version you plan to use.
I need to go find “My Artists Way” book before it gets miniminalized out of the house. See like I have always thought, if you wait long enough, old things sometimes get a chance to become new again? Who knows, it might even work that way for old bones with the right lifestyle changes. Better watch out Judy, there might be a “new” Vince in the making! Happy New Year Vince